In the short term, Donald Trump is in less trouble than he appears to be at the moment.
He's not in trouble because Republican members of Congress are having second thoughts about his candidacy. In the wake of his comments about Judge Gonzalo Curiel, two of the least conservative members of the Party's Senate caucus, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Susan Collins of Maine, have sought an apology from the presumptive presidential nominee.
According to Politico, even some supporters are highly critical. South Carolina Senator Tim Scott maintained Trump's remarks "were toxic and they were inappropriate and they were offensive and they were wrong. His walking it back was to some extent a sign of leadership, but we've got a long way to go." North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis asserted "He's still got some work to do to establish confidence in people that would be inclined to support him." Senator Hatch of Utah acknowledged "you know those remarks were completely inappropriate." Lindsey Graham, never a big fan of Trump, previously had stated "There'll come a time when the love of country will trump hatred of Hillary."
No, there won't be, not in his Party, and that's why these reactions as well as others ultimately will harm Trump very little. Once the convention comes and goes, the GOP will be largely unified behind Trump's candidacy. As former Governor and Democratic National Committee chairperson John Dean explained Wednesday evening to Chris Hayes, Mark Kirk and other officeholders who withdraw support for the nominee will find that not only will Republican voters resent them, Democratic voters will not rally to their side. It comes close to a lose-lose and they know it.
However, the defections are a sign that Trump faces an enormous hurdle. Trump didn't get blowback from his ethnically offensive comments because fellow Republicans suddenly got a twinge of guilt or conscience. They're looking to save their own hide or that of their Party.
However, they're not reassessing their extremist ideology. Ohio Governor John Kasich reportedly told Fox News on Wednesday "We’re like two companies. You know, we have a different vision, a different value system and a different objective. So it’s pretty hard to put that together. But the divisiveness, the division, the name-calling, it just doesn’t go down well with me.”
Kasich evidently isn't aware that Trump has gotten religion, conservative religion, on Medicare and Social Security.. He added "And then when you look at the entitlement stuff — ‘We don’t have to deal with entitlements’ — are you kidding me? Of course we have to deal with entitlements. We have to modernize them." (Add "modernize" to "preserve and protect" as the conservative euphemism for cutting earned benefits.)
It's reducing earned benefits, arguing workers are overpaid, opposing a federal minimum wage, proposing tax cuts for the wealthy, applauding torture, opposing reproductive freedom, and on and on and on. Charlie Peters recognizes "Trump is not an aberration. He is an exaggeration." When Republicans inch away from the candidate, it is a bad sign. But when they realize he's fully on their train, they will accept him as the conductor. It's a bad option, but the other is worse.