GOP lawmakers plotting escape from Trump over possibility he'll lose election in a 'landslide': conservative
US President Donald Trump, pictured on July 8, has assailed Britain's US ambassador as a "pompous fool" and slammed outgoing premier Theresa May's "foolish" policies following a leak of unflattering diplomatic cables. (AFP/File / NICHOLAS KAMM)

In a column for the Daily Beast, conservative commentator Matt Lewis said there are indications that more than a few GOP lawmakers will turn their backs on Donald Trump as it becomes clearer that he will go down in a major defeat in November.

According to Lewis, who abandoned the Republican Party specifically because it became the party of Trump, the president is stumbling into the November election and running scared.

"Donald Trump is scared," he began. "He has beaten, dominated, and bludgeoned the Republican Party into positions that would make a drunken riot cop blush with shame. But now that Trump may lose in a landslide, his captives and quislings are plotting their escape."

As Lewis notes, the tipping point for conservatives and Republicans to seriously consider turning on the president was brought about by comments made by retired General James Mattis in the past week.

"Mattis, one of the few adults to serve in Trump's administration, resigned on principle, and his criticisms were strong and pointed—so I don’t include him in what I’m about to say next, which instead applies to the many elected Republicans who acted like pantywaists before they started to smell Trumpian blood in the electoral waters: When it looks like a ship is sinking, the rats begin scurrying off," he wrote. "Take Sen. Ben Sasse, for example; he wrote a book about the 'vanishing adult' before becoming one himself. After taking a proverbial knee for the last couple of years, Sasse has reemerged recently as a Trump critic. He (coincidentally) rediscovered his courage after winning his primary election—at the very moment that Trump was (and still is) losing by double digits to Joe Biden."

 "The danger for Trump is that Sasse isn’t the only one putting down markers for potential political support," Lewis suggested before noting that Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) also took shots at the president --which the Trump returned -- meaning Trump's aura of invincibility within the GOP is fast fading.

'"It’s better late than never," Lewis explained. "The future of the country is at stake. Republicans are facing a profoundly moral choice—the moral choice of their careers. They've already failed, repeatedly, and fed me column fodder for years now. But fate is handing them one last chance to get on the right side of history."

While admitting that not many will take the opportunity to flee the president, Lewis suggested that -- with polls showing losing badly to presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden -- the temptation is there.

"It’s finally hitting Republicans that there will be life after Trump. And if they want to hang on to their careers and reputations, they better paddle faster, " he wrote before adding, "This raises questions about the vulnerable Republicans who are on the ballot in November. Do any of them begin distancing from Trump?" 

"It's possible that one or two incumbent Republicans might ultimately conclude that sticking with Trump and getting re-elected are mutually exclusive, and that would make things interesting. Maine’s Susan Collins, who has an independent brand that predates Trump’s political rise, is one such example," he explained. "It’s conceivable she will, at some point, conclude that her best chance to win is to distance from Trump and try and localize the election. Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner is the other possible defection. This is probably the kind of last-ditch maneuver you see after Labor Day."

"Trump, the man, will not go quietly into that good night. But a landslide loss would cast this one-term president in the role of a 'loser,' more akin to Jimmy Carter than Richard Nixon," he added before concluding, "Trumpism. One day, it’s a miracle, it will disappear."

You can read more here (subscription required).