Republicans are admitting that their party is in chaos, according to The Hill.
"It's splitting right before your eyes. It's happening now. There is a civil war in the party that is going on right now. The question is whether, after the election, the party will be able to repair itself; or cease to exist; or continue to exist in some diminished way," according to Rick Tyler, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz's former communications director.
Whether Donald Trump wins or loses the presidency, supporters and the topics he addressed are not likely to go away. Trump's critics could make the case that the party should return to its core values, while supporters could claim that the establishment never supported him.
Florida Republican adviser John "Mac" Stipanovich said that "people of good intentions and good will" could return the party to prominence, but it could take a while.
"It's not like there is going to be a meeting, we will take a vote, and it'll be over. This will play out over the next several election cycles: '18, '20, '22," Stipanovich said.
Stipanovich said the party needs the time to decide on its own future: "We may be about to enter a wilderness here in which we will wander for a decade or more, and hopefully emerge. But if that's the case, then we need to wander. I personally don't want to be in a party that is characterized by Trumpism."
GOP consultant Steve Schmidt predicted that the party would split into "alt-right" and "center-right conservative" parties. "I think the Republican Party has an outstanding chance of fracturing," Schmidt said.
Tyler said he did not want a new party, he wanted the Republican Party to return to its roots: "Why should I have a new party? I want to make the Republican Party the conservative, free market, freedom party. That's its history."
The Hill reported that Trump changed the GOP's image to align it with the "Breitbart" wing, named after the right-wing news organization whose chairman Steve Bannon is Trump's campaign CEO, saying that the faction promotes "nationalism, warnings of globalist conspiracy and vigorous attacks on both Democrats and GOP leaders in Washington."
"The core principles that drive Breitbart seem to be gaining popularity. There is a movement," Breitbart News editor-in-chief Alex Marlow told CNNMoney.
Trump's history of controversial rhetoric would doom the party if it continues on that path after the election, Stipanovich said. "You cannot be crazy and win a national or big-state election. You may do so in a safe district. But in a Florida or a California or a Texas, we are about to learn that you have to stay somewhere within a rifle shot of the center," the adviser said.
Trump's supporters are not going to go away, according to GOP consultant Ron Bonjean. "They are going to push and pull for the soul of the Republican Party," he said.
The party's future is in doubt, according to Bonjean.
"We are, right now, in a raft navigating the political rapids — without any oars," he said.
An editorial on CBS News said the Republican Party must evolve.
"If the GOP ever wants to win again, much less become the dominant party, it will have to change. And that change will involve a severe moderating of the Republican agenda," the editorial said.
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