CNN analyzes the Republican establishment’s reaction to the possibility that Donald Trump could be the party’s 2016 nominee.
The unexpected and remarkable rise of Donald Trump has sent the GOP establishment into a recognizable spiral. Even before he formally entered the race in June, politicos and pundits were seized with early signs of denial — Trump was bluffing again, they said. Now, with the first presidential primary contests on the horizon and Trump still firmly in command, the mood ranges from purple-faced anger to limp acceptance.
It’s an emotional journey Dr. Elizabeth Kübler-Ross would have recognized.
In her path-breaking book, “On Death and Dying,” the Swiss-born psychiatrist introduced what would come to be known as the “five stages of grief.”
Originally composed as clinical guidance for doctors trying to better understand patients coming to grips with their own “finality,” Kübler-Ross’ treatise has emerged as a staple of the broader culture — a document as instructive for physicians as it is for candidates, political operatives and the reporters who cover them.
It is “inconceivable for our unconscious to imagine an actual ending of our own life here on Earth,” she wrote in 1969, but, over time, the place of death in her theory has been rented out by an assortment of mind-bending concepts. In 2016, that means Trump.
While the GOP is obviously not in the final stages of death — they control both houses of Congress and a majority of state governments — they have been slow to reckon with Trump. Most of the political world has experienced at least a few of the “five stages” — here’s what they’ve looked like:
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