With his debate performance last night, Donald Trump may have managed to keep his own running mate from jumping a sinking ship, but for the rest of the party it’s a free-for-all. Speaker Paul Ryan effectively gave his troops license to abandon the nominee to save their own skins, declaring that his sole focus this November is “making sure Hillary Clinton does not get a blank check.” Ryan’s position is hardly a courageous one—indeed, he squandered what was probably his last chance to officially withdraw his endorsement for Trump. But there is no longer a pretense that, if Republicans band together, they can eke out a victory in November. Ryan is telling the rank-and-file in Congress that the presidential election is over, and it is now every man for himself.
A new, devastating poll from NBC and The Wall Street Journal appears to bear this out. Conducted after the release of the now-notorious tape of Trump making casual remarks about sexual assault, it shows that Hillary Clinton has an 11-point lead over Trump in a four-way race that includes Jill Stein and Gary Johnson. (In a two-way contest, the lead expands to 14 points.) More polls are sure to come this week that will incorporate the public response to the debate, but if these numbers hold up come November, Clinton could win in a landslide.
Update: Trump isn’t too happy with Paul Ryan.