Maybe someone like Jim Brulte, the California Republican Party chairman, could save his little remaining credibility with a resignation combined with an abject groveling public apology for accommodating himself to Trump.
But probably not.
The legions of California Republicans who went along with Trump simply shouldn’t be able to get a hearing from Californians – and they won’t. Kevin McCarthy, the Bakersfield Republican who is House Majority leader and thoughtlessly became a Trump delegate to the national convention, ought to apologize and quit. Duncan Hunter, a leading Trump defender, deserves to be shunned; he’s got a safe GOP district, but is it so safe he can survive his Trump association? If he wins and sticks around, the party should make him persona non grata.
Opposing Trump wasn’t a hard call. His bigotry, recklessness and total unsuitability for high office was obvious. He openly called for political violence, including against Hillary Clinton. Back in early March in this space, I wrote about how Trump could destroy the California Republican Party. You can publish the party obit there.
The party has two choices—keep the Trump appeasers around and shrink down to a few white supremacists. Or start over from scratch. Apologize for Trump. Purge anyone who didn’t oppose him. And put itself in the hands of its few viable politicians – Ashley Swearengin, Kevin Faulconer – while trying to move into the space occupied by moderate, diverse and pro-business Democrats.
I’m an independent voter who likes to cast ballots for candidates of both parties. But now I can’t even let my kids read the newspaper. Until I see the Republicans rid themselves of all vestiges of Trumpism, consider me a #NeverRepublican.