I recall some lines from the wonderful play "Marat/Sade" describing the violence of the French Revolution: "Now it's happening and you can't stop it happening. The people used to suffer everything. Now they are taking their revenge. You are watching that revenge, and you do not remember that it was you who drove them to it?!"
These same words could be said by Republican voters to the leadership of the GOP. The electorate as a whole is fed up with the political establishment, but the Republican base in particular has had more than a belly-full. They are saying: "We have given you plenty of opportunities -- we elected you, we reversed forty years of Democrat control of Congress, and we believed your pledges and promises, only to watch you (with precious few exceptions) go to Washington and sell out. We have seen you steamrolled again and again by Obama, and we still find ourselves saddled with Obamacare, a twenty trillion dollar debt, a war on the cops, the Iran nuclear deal, a lawless administration that rules by executive order, and, now, the prospect of Barack Obama appointing a successor to no one other than Justice Antonin Scalia.
"So we've had it. Had it with your lies, your hypocrisy, your betrayal. Now we are taking our revenge, and you pretend that you don't know that it was you who drove us to it. We're going to vote for Donald Trump, no matter how outrageous, irrational or dangerous he becomes. And every time you attack or malign him, we will only grow more determined to well and truly Trump you, even if it means tearing the Republican Party apart and putting Sanders or Clinton in the White House. Yes, we'd accept even that if it means finally teaching you a lesson, and tearing down the whole rotten, corrupt, treacherous edifice you've built. We'll burn your house down and Trump will be the torch we'll do it with. And you'll have no one to blame but yourselves."
That, I have become convinced, is what this election is really about: revenge, pure and simple. At least on the Republican side. On the Democrat side, of course, we have a criminal running against a communist, which has its own contorted logic. But in the GOP primaries, we are watching a spectacle that is nothing short of self-annihilation. It is not a pretty sight, but it may be a necessary one: The Republican Party has repeatedly betrayed its base, and the base is turning on it and will destroy it. And perhaps from its ashes, something resembling true Constitutional conservatism and political integrity may yet arise.