The California Republican Party has now lost something else: its ability to thank people acting in its best interests.

Meg Whitman, the Republican nominee for governor in 2010 was criticized by current and former state party officials for her public repudiation of Donald Trump and endorsement of Hillary Clinton.

They shoud have praised Whitman. She was acting in the state party’s best interests—by putting out exactly the sort of clear, high-profile, anti- Trump message that the state party’s leaders have failed to produce themselves.

The CRP’s fundamental problem is that it seems hostile to California’s demographic changes. Some in the party have recognized this, and have responded – by making the party less anti-immigration, and recruiting diverse slates of candidates.

Trump is thus a threat to these efforts – and to a state party with no shortage of problems. Trump’s bigotry, idiocity, and incitements to violence are dangerous to everthing he touches. And it’s been obvious that the state party needs to denounce him, and take a Never Trump position.

Instead, party leaders have been supportive officially, if not all that vocal about him. Which raises questions: 1. Do they agree with Trump’s bigotry? 2. Are they willing to tolerate it for short-term election reasons, or because Trump won the primary?

It doesn’t matter whether their reasons lie in #1 or #2. Either way, they’re demonstrating that they’re putting a bigot and their party above California and its people. And that will reinforce the idea in many California that the party is beyond repair. As a registered non-partisan who takes every opportunity to vote for a smart, open-minded Republican, I have to say that the silence on Trump – who so obviously has no business being president — makes me wonder if I should ever vote for a California Republican again.

Whitman, to her credit, understood the stakes, and made a strong statement. And she was right to embrace Clinton – an unprincipled person with real judgment problems – since she’s the only alternative.

The party needs to follow Whitman’s lead – it’s the only path that makes sense if California Republicans want to have a future.