For the Republican establishment, they’ve been going through the five stages of grief over Donald Trump’s candidacy. It’s been quite entertaining to watch and I can’t wait to see how this continues to play out with Iowa two weeks away. While I personally can’t see Trump winning Iowa or the candidacy, I’m still looking forward to seeing what happens. Then again, maybe I’m going through the different stages of grief myself. Maybe I just haven’t managed to get passed the denial phase. But regardless, the Republican establishment has certainly gone through a lot of changes over the past six months.
Stage One – Denial
Everyone just assumed that his candidacy was a joke. After his announcement, people simply assumed it was another publicity stunt for the man who has become a controversial personality. No one took him seriously, yet he slowly climbed to the top of the polls. The higher he climbed, the more people were saying “it won’t last” and believing established candidates like Jeb Bush would stop his momentum. That never happened…which led to the second stage.
Stage Two – Anger
When they realized that a man like Donald Trump was now atop their party, the establishment did everything they could to try and bring him down. Across the board, you saw a media blitz by establishment Republicans coming out attacking him and saying they were not the party of fear…but to no avail. It didn’t matter what they did, or even what Trump said, he seemed to only go up in the polls. The more he was attacked, the higher he climbed. The crazier his statements, the higher he climbed. It’s truly remarkable.
Stage Three – Bargaining
When Donald Trump said he would not promise that he wouldn’t run a third party candidacy if he didn’t win the election, Republicans again pounced on him. After realizing that hasn’t been working they decided to bargain with him instead. They gave in and said that they would stop the attacks on him and take his candidacy seriously if he would sign the pledge to support the nominee if it isn’t him. After all, the most important thing for them is to beat Hillary Clinton, right?
Stage Four – Depression
Two weeks from Iowa and the Donald is still at or near the top of all the major national polls. The establishment Republicans have tried everything they know and nothing seems to be working. They have done everything short of selling their souls to the devil (I’m assuming they haven’t went this far yet, but it hasn’t been fact checked) to try and get someone like Bush, Cruz, or Rubio back to the top of the party.
Stage Five – Acceptance
I think the establishment is slowly transitioning into this stage right now. They’re looking at the current poll numbers and can’t see any way to stop the Trump Express. The only hope is that Bernie can continue to climb in the polls and win the nomination over Hillary. They’d be far more comfortable with a Trump vs. Sanders general election, where they can really drive home the socialist/communist rhetoric.