McCain’s Campaign Manager Renounces the GOP

Steve Schmidt, who was campaign manager for John McCain’s presidential bid in 2008, announced he was quitting the Republican party.

Said Schmidt: “29 years and nine months ago I registered to vote and became a member of the Republican Party which was founded in 1854 to oppose slavery and stand for the dignity of human life. Today I renounce my membership in the Republican Party. It is fully the party of Trump.”

Cohen Resigns from RNC Post

Michael Cohen, President Trump’s longtime confidant and former personal attorney, has resigned from his post as deputy finance chair of the Republican National Committee’s Finance Committee, sources close to the RNC told ABC News.

But Cohen notes the federal investigations into him weren’t the only reason for stepping down.

Said Cohen: “As the son of a Polish holocaust survivor, the images and sounds of this family separation policy is heart wrenching. While I strongly support measures that will secure our porous borders, children should never be used as bargaining chips.”

Riling Up the Base May Backfire on Trump

Stan Greenberg: “Mr. Trump’s base strategy brands the Republican Party as sexist, racist, xenophobic and anti-immigrant, which magnifies the anti-Trump reaction among Democrats. But it also leaves a tenth who are conservative Catholics and a fifth who are nonreligious conservatives more tentative in their support of the Republican Party — and it pushes away the quarter of Republicans who remain ideologically moderate.”

“The harder the president bangs these drums, the more Democrats become enraged and a segment of Republicans gets demoralized. The more he trashes and defeats his Republican opponents in primaries, the more these voters may contemplate different political options.”

How Corey Stewart Embraced the Dark Side to Win

Matt Lewis: “Yes, he has always had a huge ego and that machismo image that so many Trump fans exhibit, but he wasn’t always an alt-righter. I know this because, well, I used to know Corey… To be sure, he was always an immigration hawk and a hard-core Second Amendment activist, but this is all within the spectrum of mainstream conservative philosophy.”

“The fact that Stewart is now running (and winning) as a alt-righter shows that this isn’t a case of a few bad apples—this is a systemic problem. The incentives (for attention, for buzz, for winning elections) are all perverse now. What this means is that ambitious opportunists have realized that the way to win a Republican primary is to go to the dark side.”

The New Republican Party

Politico: “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.”

Washington Post: “As a result, the Republican Party appears united now not by fealty to ideas or policies but to a man, one who defied the odds to win the presidency and who has magnetically drawn the party’s power bases to himself.”

For members: Trump Is In Total Control of His Party

‘By and Large, They’re Delighted’

BuzzFeed News: “How do Republicans who don’t seem to care much for Donald Trump gently rebuke him without provoking his wrath or alienating his supporters?”

“They register a complaint about the tweets — or his attacks on the press and the FBI, or his mollifying of white supremacists — before pivoting to how, by and large, they’re delighted with his policies.”

“Those words are emerging as an operative phrase for many conservatives trying to reconcile themselves with Trumpism. Nearly 18 months into the Trump presidency, it’s both a verbal crutch toward fragile Republican Party harmony and a rueful but not exactly complete explanation of why most won’t abandon Trump.”

Charlottesville Marcher Elected to State GOP Post

“An affiliate of a ‘pro-white’ group who marched in Charlottesville last year was elected to a Republican Party post in Washington state last week, part of his campaign to take over the GOP for the alt-right,” the Daily Beast reports.

“James Allsup attended the ‘Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where white supremacists chanted anti-Semitic slogans and one allegedly drove a car into a crowd, killing a protester and injuring more…. Fallout over the rally led to Allsup stepping down as president of the Washington State University College Republicans, a group he once boasted of taking over. Now he claims he’s on the way to taking over the local GOP.”

Trump’s 500-Day Coup of the Republican Party

Jonathan Swan: “In 500 days, Trump’s hijacking of the formerly conservative GOP is complete — an astonishing accomplishment. The majority party in America is fully defined by his policies, his popularity with the base, his facts-be-damned mentality, his ability to control and quiet virtually all Republican elected officials.”

“Trump has wiped out a large portion of Obama’s legacy. He’s exited the Paris climate deal; signed major tax cuts, especially for corporations; confirmed an ultra-conservative Supreme Court justice and record numbers of circuit court judges; deregulated like crazy; exited the Iran deal; exited the TPP trade deal; repealed the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate; and moved the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, recognizing it as Israel’s capital.”

“New hardline immigration enforcement is in place, including separating children from parents of illegal immigrants.”

Axios points out that Trump “commands the second highest ‘own party’ approval rating of any president at the 500 day mark since World War II, behind only President George W. Bush, after 9/11.”

Independents Now Outnumber Republicans In California

“Independents have surpassed Republicans to become the second-largest voting bloc in California, according to a firm that analyzes county voter registration information for campaigns,” the Sacramento Bee reports.

“Political Data Inc. on Tuesday released its latest count showing that voters registered with no party preference now outnumber Republicans by about 73,000 in California. The company regularly collects raw voter files from county registrars to maintain an updated database of the state’s 19 million voters.”

Playbook: “California Republicans have been sliding into obscurity for some time. But this seems particularly ominous in the long term for House Republicans, who have 14 seats in California.”