“The Republican Party, 162, Has Died”: Media Ridicule GOP’s Collapse Amid Presumptive Trump Nomination

Following Donald Trump’s decisive win in the Indiana Republican primary, media outlets across the country have been quick to proclaim that Trump’s presumptive presidential nomination spells doom for the Grand Old Party.

Trump’s Win In Indiana Clears The Field Ahead Of Convention

ABC News: “Trump Has Bent The Republican Party.” A May 3 article by ABC News political director Rick Klein said that Donald Trump “has bent the Republican Party” to his will over the course of an “ugly” campaign, and that the presumptive nominee “is remaking -- and now is owning -- the Republican Party along populist, often angry contours.” [ABC News, 5/3/16]

Reuters: “Former Reality Television Star” Has Become “Presumptive Republican Presidential Nominee.” According to a May 4 article by Reuters, Trump’s “commanding victory” in the May 3 Indiana GOP primary, which pushed rivals Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) to suspend their campaigns, set up the “former reality television star” as the “presumptive Republican presidential nominee.” Reuters reported that Trump, who “has never held public office,” is already turning his focus to the general election in November. [Reuters, 5/4/16]

Media Write The Republican Party’s Obituary Following Trump Victory

Fusion: “The Republican Party … Died Tuesday Night At The Age Of 162.” On May 3, Fusion news director Kevin Roose published an obituary for the Republican Party, describing the party’s life and evolution over 162 years, and attributing its “cause of death” to “the presumptive selection of Donald J. Trump” as the Republican nominee for president of the United States. The article was illustrated with the image of a tombstone with the text, “Here Lies The GOP 1854-2016” :

[Fusion, 5/3/16]

Talking Points Memo: “Failing To Stop Trump … May Just Exacerbate The Civil War” In The GOP. A May 3 article by Talking Points Memo reporter Lauren Fox published under the headline “How Donald Trump Dooms Republicans Way Beyond 2016” said Trump’s presumptive nomination “may just exacerbate the civil war [the GOP has] been engaged in for most of the last decade.” The article quoted conservative American Enterprise Institute scholar Norman Ornstein joking that the Republican Party’s next “autopsy” report for a general election defeat “might really be over a dead body” (emphasis added):

In failing to stop Trump, the Republican Party may just exacerbate the civil war its (sic) been engaged in for most of the last decade.

“We might see a second autopsy only this time it might really be over a dead body,” joked Norm Ornstein, a political commentator and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. “You are going to see a real struggle for control over the Republican Party.”


But a fight over the soul of the party after a general election debacle for Trump could give Cruz a platform once again, Ornstein says. He will have been the last man in the race fighting to save the party from moderate interlopers.

“This may give Cruz traction,” Ornstein says. “You are certainly going to see Cruz type forces, tea party type forces who are going to use a Trump defeat to gain traction for a more radical conservative party and point of view.”

And so the vicious cycle repeats itself. [Talking Points Memo, 5/3/16]

US News: “A White Flag Flutters Over The GOP Establishment Tonight.” A May 3 opinion piece by U.S. News & World Report managing editor Robert Schlesinger outlined the Republican Party’s slow demise at the hands of “the Trump virus” over the course of the presidential primary campaign:

A white flag flutters over the GOP establishment tonight, and all that's left is for the big, beautiful gold “TRUMP” sign to be affixed to the Republican National Committee. [U.S. News & World Report, 5/3/16]

The Atlantic: The Indiana Primary Marked “The Day The Republican Party Died.” Atlantic politics writer Molly Ball opened a May 4 article by asking readers to reflect on where they were “the night Donald Trump killed the Republican Party as we knew it.” She went on to note that while the Republican presidential primary was essentially over “for the GOP, the reckoning was only beginning.” [The Atlantic, 5/4/16]

Boston Globe: “The Republican Party, As We’ve Come To Know It, Has Ceased To Exist.” A May 4 column by The Boston Globe’s Michael Cohen headlined “RIP, GOP” suggested that Trump “will probably lose the general election to Hillary Clinton” and may hurt the chances of Republican candidates running in contested House and Senate races. Furthermore, Cohen questioned whether the Republican Party itself could “survive what’s happened to it over the past year” as Trump ascended to the nomination on a platform of “nativism, xenophobia, crudeness, and misogyny” (emphasis added):

At one point, the Republican Party nominally stood on a platform of economic and social conservatism. At least that was the public face of the party. Today, with Trump at its helm, it’s a party of nativism, xenophobia, crudeness, and misogyny. Those elements were of course always present in the party -- and are at the root of its modern political success. But they were generally hidden below the surface or utilized with dog whistles. With Trump, there is no mistaking the fact that what drives GOP voters is not conservative dogma, but rather resentment, anxiety, and fear, particularly of minorities, Muslims, and immigrants.


It’s far too early to draw any conclusions about where the Republican Party is headed. Will it crack up? Will it stay together and stumble along as a rump party? Will it even find a way to reform and rejuvenate itself? I have no idea. But what I’m sure of is that as of today, the Republican Party, as we’ve come to know it, has ceased to exist. [The Boston Globe, 5/4/16]

LA Times: GOP Effort To Stop Trump Is “Stiff And Ready To Be Pumped Full Of Embalming Fluid.” A May 4 opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times reflecting on Trump’s presumptive nomination began by arguing that the coordinated Republican attempts to stop Trump “may not be dead and buried” yet, but are “certainly stiff and ready to be pumped full of embalming fluid.” [Los Angeles Times, 5/4/16]

Quartz: “An Exodus From The Republican Party Has Begun.” On May 3, moments after Donald Trump was declared the winner of the Indiana Republican presidential primary, the digital news outlet Quartz published a roundup of conservative politicians and media figures who pledged to continue opposing Trump, citing their comments as evidence that “an exodus from the Republican Party has begun.” Among those who remained opposed to Trump at all costs were Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Ben Sasse (R-NE). When taken together with a similar roundup from Media Matters, more than a dozen prominent conservative media figures have declared their opposition to Trump in the wake of his Indiana victory. [Media Matters, 5/3/16; Quartz, 5/3/16]

NY Daily News: “Dearly Beloved, We Are Gathered Here Today To Mourn The GOP.” The cover of the May 4 New York Daily News eulogized the Republican Party, stating that the “once-great political party” was “killed by [an] epidemic of Trump”:

[New York Daily News, 5/4/16]

NY Daily News Column: “What Donald Trump Really Did Was Take Out The Republican Party.” A May 4 column by the New York Daily News’ Mike Lupica argued, “What Donald Trump really did” with his seemingly victorious campaign for the GOP presidential nomination “was take out the Republican Party” in addition to “all the other candidates who started out on the stage with him.” Lupica's column went on to declare that Trump’s resounding victory in Indiana “was the end of what people are still calling the Republican establishment,” before outlining “how terrible the demographics are for him” in a general election matchup against Hillary Clinton:

What Donald Trump has done across the last 11 months is not just take out all the other candidates who started out on the stage with him, so many of whom eventually looked like they were piling out of a car at the circus.

Trump absolutely did more than take out Low-Energy Jeb and Little Marco and even Chris Christie, who ended up working as a bouncer in Trump’s campaign. What Donald Trump really did was take out the Republican Party.


Only Trump himself knows if he really thought he could pull this off. He says he did, that the only thing that surprised him, as he said to me months ago, was “how quickly it happened.” No one will ever know if he could have gotten to where he is without the low blows.

But the reason he thinks he can beat Hillary Clinton is because he just put an entire political party out of business. Republican Party. Just put an “i” in the middle. So the initials read this way: R.I.P. [New York Daily News, 5/4/16]

Wash. Post’s Rubin: “Republicans' Presidential Prospects … Now Look Nonexistent.” A May 4 blog by conservative Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin opened with the statement that “Republicans’ presidential prospects, once so bright for 2016 now look nonexistent” as a result of Trump’s Indiana primary victory. Rubin suggested that Republicans who are opposed to Trump throw their support behind a third-party candidate, warning that they “should not sugarcoat” the threat Trump presents to down-ballot Republicans:

Republicans should not sugarcoat this. Expecting a Senate candidate to run 10 or 15 points above the top of the ticket is unrealistic in deep blue states like Wisconsin and Illinois where Republican incumbents are fighting for their political lives. That puts a premium on triage — which in this case means going all-in to support Portman, Ayotte, Toomey and the GOP primary winner in a state such as Florida (where Democrats have their own problems). What the GOP cannot afford is disgusted Republicans sitting out 2016. The best solution: Find an attractive third candidate for whom they can proudly cast their vote. [The Washington Post, Right Turn, 5/4/16]