Krauthammer: Donald Trump Will Be De Facto Leader Of GOP Whether He Wins Or Loses, And He Can Win


BRET BAIER: Right now he is speaking in Pennsylvania, which is a traditionally blue state. There you see him there. Your thoughts? Is Donald Trump now the de facto leader of the Republican party no matter what happens?

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: I think he is. This is not a Michael Dukakis -- he can win. But let's assume he loses. He's not walking away. He's not a Bob Dole who will retire. This is a man who as he says created a movement out of nothing. He basically fashioned a populist faction in the Republican party, took over the party at least in this cycle. And then the question will be, is he goes to walk away and go back and become a businessman? I doubt it. It's very hard to do.

The fact is, he will be the power broker. I see the party splitting in two, at least in theory. The populist element that he is now creating, and mobilized, winning more Republican votes in the primaries than any candidate in history. He will have won at least 40% somewhere in the 40s of the national electorate. Yes, he is a force. The other side I think will be led by Paul Ryan, representing the traditional party, the Reaganite party, the wonkish party, the pragmatic party, and conservative party. Which is different from populist.

If Trump wants, which I think he will, he will have created something. Why will he leave it behind? He leads that faction and can become the de facto leader. I think the test is going to be, can he bring down Paul Ryan, who will be -- if Trump loses, will be scapegoated to some extent in the loss and will be the leader of the rival faction. If he's able to get behind a movement to deny Ryan the speakership, he becomes a de facto leader and the force in the party for the next years while they're in the wilderness if that's the outcome.

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