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Republican intellectuals are not panicking about Donald Trump. Really, not panicking at all, why would you even think that.

Alex Wong/Getty Images

At times it seems like Trump is trying to blow up his own campaign, but no matter how many anti-Semitic jokes he makes, no matter how fascistic his proposals get, Republican voters just won’t quit him. 

This would appear to be a problem. But not to David Brooks and card-carrying GOP establishment member William Kristol, who both write today that they are seriously not worried Trump will actually be the nominee. Brooks compares Trump to a pink rug and quotes Montaigne and concludes that, in the end, “voters tend to gravitate toward the person who seems most orderly.” Kristol acknowledges, with a bit of understatement, that Trump is “not quite fading,” but similarly contends that “it’s hard to believe that, as voting gets closer, his support will go up rather than down.”

Now, I also don’t think Trump will win. But the Trump phenomenon is about much more than that. As the New Republic’s Jeet Heer recently pointed out in his article on Trump and Barry Goldwater, a popular losing candidate can still fundamentally change “the orientation of the party.” And that should be enough for Brooks and Kristol to be very worried indeed.