The GOP inherits what Trump has wrought

From The Washington Post — Written by Karen Tumulty and Robert Costa — Image courtesy of Getty

The angry forces that propelled President Trump’s rise are beginning to frame and define the rest of the Republican Party.

When GOP House candidate Greg Gianforte assaulted a reporter who had attempted to ask him a question Wednesday night in Montana, many saw not an isolated outburst by an individual, but the obvious, violent result of Trump’s charge that journalists are “the enemy of the people.” Nonetheless, Gianforte won Thursday’s special election to fill a safe Republican seat.

“Respectfully, I’d submit that the president has unearthed some demons,” Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.) said. “I’ve talked to a number of people about it back home. They say, ‘Well, look, if the president can say whatever, why can’t I say whatever?’ He’s given them license.”

Trump — and specifically, his character and his conduct — now thoroughly dominate the national political conversation.

Traditional policy arguments over whether entitlement programs should be overhauled, or taxes cut, are regularly upstaged by a new burst of pyrotechnics.

Few Republicans expect party leaders to do anything to lessen the toxicity.

Charlie Sykes, a conservative former talk-show host in Wisconsin and author of the forthcoming “How the Right Lost Its Mind,” said “every time something like Montana happens, Republicans adjust their standards and put an emphasis on team loyalty. They normalize and accept previously unacceptable behavior.”

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