Several experiments conducted at various intervals during the 2016 presidential election seasons help to put on display the collective shift in the ‘Republican brain’; those experiments were quite revealing.
In the beginning of the 2016 presidential race, 98.7% of those surveyed (in the Republican Party) would consider unpatriotic, insane even anyone who would vote for Donald Trump, let alone to promote him to become the nominee of the Party. That sentiment was shared among both the Leaders of the Party and the constituents. The only other time a survey registered such high percentage of people who agreed on something was in 2014 when the whole of Crimea, Ukraine voted to be annexed with Russia.
By the third month of the race, something aloof happened; Donald Trump’s rallies attracted most Republican constituents – challengers Marco Rubio, John Kasich, Jeb Bush and many others had already dropped out of the race – but the Party’s leaders (at least most of them) were reluctant to embrace a candidate whose platform is racism and division. And even after clinching the nomination, some leaders of the Party were looking for a way to deny him the delegates count needed to be formally recognized as the nominee of the Party. In the end, they all caved in and crowned Mr. Trump the nominee of the Republican Party.