Any number of unforeseen events still might upend the race for the White House. Right now, as it happens, a powerful hurricane is barreling down on the Southeast that might affect the region’s electoral calculus in November—though how exactly we cannot know. But if no exogenous event dramatically changes the dominant dynamics of the race as it stands today, Donald Trump is likely to lose. As such, Republicans need to start thinking about the fallout from 2016 and how to heal the lingering divisions from a fractious year defined by internecine conflict.
This project is necessary because so many on both sides of the lingering divide over Trump within the GOP do not particularly want to reconcile. Currently, Donald Trump is underperforming Mitt Romney among white voters. While Hillary Clinton is having a bear of a time reassembling Barack Obama’s winning coalition, Republicans are unlikely to see gains among minorities, women, and young voters. Trump will have run the campaign that Republicans warned against in the oft-maligned 2012 “autopsy” and proven every one of its recommendations correct. His loss should finally put to rest the idea that the GOP can win the White House on the shoulders of “missing white voters.”