There’s probably no phrase more perfect for describing the state of this Presidential election: “Your chickens have come home to roost.”

Whose chickens? Well — everybody’s, really. But we’re here to talk about our favorite know-nothing motormouth, Donald Trump. Was he always this inevitable? Did the GOP ever seriously expect anything different? Let’s dive in.

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A Symptom — Not the Cause

Lots of people are now crediting Donald Trump with the long-overdue demise of the domestic terrorist organization known as the Republican Party. This is, and is not, true.

It’s true that Donald’s disruptive influence in the GOP’s primary has shaken the party to its core, but his campaign is a symptom — not the cause — of the GOP’s problems.

I’ll explain by pointing out what many Conservative pundits seem to miss about The Donald and his hateful rhetoric, and I’ll make it really simple. Donald Trump differs from mainstream Conservatives in only one way: He’s simply less polite than your usual Republican.

Rational folks already know that racism, xenophobia, sexism and ignorance are inextricable parts of the GOP’s DNA. It wasn’t always this way, mind you — the Republican Party my grandmother joined 60 years ago had not yet sold its soul to truthless rhetoric and apparently bottomless avarice. No — they were hijacked by rich folks with a talent for stirring up economic, racial and gender-based intolerance. The only reason the GOP exists at all today is because they’re really good at pitting the American people against each other — and then claiming they’re the only ones who can save us.

How is Donald Trump any different? His followers want to believe that he’s an iconoclast — that he’s giving reason to the ruling class. Nothing could be further from the truth. His foreign and domestic policies are ripped straight from the Republican Party’s handbook of failed ideas. And his comments about women, immigrants, the poor, the handicapped and the non-heteronormative are merely tasteless verbal representations of the GOP’s commitment to screw over anybody who’s not rich, white and straight. Donald Trump is merely expressing, out loud, the ugliness that before now only saw the light of day in the form of spiteful, regressive, GOP-sponsored legislation.

The Would-Be Coup

Donald Trump was always inevitable. He is the culmination of everything the GOP has been working toward for the last half-century, but now that he’s saying in public what GOP leaders have previously only been able to insinuate or say behind closed doors, they’re panicking. They know the American people can finally see them for what they are.

What happened when party leadership started to see which way the wind was blowing? They started whispering about knocking Trump off his pedestal and replacing him with somebody a little more palatable for Middle America — like a Romney-bot, for instance.

That didn’t quite work out, and it reveals something important about the inner circle of the RNC: They offered themselves up freely to a tyrant.

On the Democratic side of the aisle, we find a stark contrast: Bernie supporters are staunchly refusing to go quiet into that good night. Is it working? No — but at least there’s an effort.

So, no — Donald Trump didn’t kill the GOP. He gave them the tools they needed to kill themselves. And it’s working like gangbusters.

What’s truly stunning, though, is that a sizeable number of Trump fans seem able to correctly identify character traits like unscrupulousness and dishonesty in Hillary Clinton, while giving Trump a free pass.

Donald sometimes changes his mind on major questions of policy in a matter of hours — and sometimes even in the course of answering a single question.

It’s clear that he subscribes to no cohesive ethos or ideology, and that, too, speaks to the current state of the GOP: They revel in ignorance, satisfied with a phrase like “Make America Great Again,” even in a total absence of specificity.

What does he mean by “great”? And what does he mean by “again?” For some folks, America’s greatness ended with the passage of the Civil Rights Act. Is that what he means? We need details, people!

The terrible sins of that other great political juggernaut, the Democratic Party, is a matter for another day. Suffice it to say, though, that when a committed Republican calls out Hillary for being a crook, but gives Trump a pass, they’re falling headfirst into the fallacy commonly known as confirmation bias. They see evil only where they’ve been trained to see it.

In the meantime, we have an honest-to-god fascist leading the charge toward November. He’s pulling ahead of Hillary Clinton in half a dozen polls already, and, frankly, I don’t think things are going to get any better for her as we move forward. Whatever else he is, Trump is truly gifted at leveraging people’s outrage and spite — and there’s a lot of both to go around.

Four Percent

Here’s a small piece of good news:

Donald Trump has only received 13 million votes so far. In a country with 319 million people, that works out to just over four percent of the American population. That math is encouraging. It means we barely broke a sweat putting the GOP in its grave.

The next battle is making sure a viable third party can emerge from the rubble of both the Democratic and the Republican parties — because neither of these broken machines have anything left of value to offer us.

Header image by Gage Skidmore

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Holly Whitman

Holly Whitman is the author behind Only Slightly Biased, a freelance journalist and striving to be one of the best women political writers on the web. Her work has been featured on Yahoo Finance, Fortune, Politicus, Bust and Feministing. You can find her on Twitter at @hollykwhitman.

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