Put a blond combover on the elephant. Take down the pictures of Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan.
It’s over. It’s Donald Trump’s GOP.
The anti-Trump candidates are fleeing, and the ones who stick around are getting trampled. The chill has gone out among whoever’s left: there’s no more speaking up, and if there is, it’s just for the sake of a speech, a protest quote that quickly disappears.
They chalk it up to party loyalty, or staying unified for the midterms. They say they still believe in the principles, but they don’t tend to do more than say the words. Then, when the microphones are off, they confide. They complain. They nurse fantasies that there’s a reckoning coming, that maybe this will all end with the Republican Party nominating someone like Eisenhower. Or at least like Paul Ryan.
And each time they watch another of their own go down, they wince, try to move on. Don’t look back. Try to forget.
“This business is a lot like being a professional fighter: Over the course of it, you get a lot of shots to the head, and sooner or later, you’re knocked out,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), mourning fellow Rep. Mark Sanford’s loss in Tuesday’s primary. The race was a referendum on Trump, in the South Carolina House district where he ran weakest in 2016.