GETTYSBURG, Pa. — Anne O’Reilly, a lifelong Republican activist, was in the audience here waiting for Donald #Trump to arrive Saturday morning. She remains hopeful that Trump can win the presidency but has no doubt what will happen if he doesn’t.
Trump came to Gettysburg to deliver what his campaign billed as a closing argument for the presidential campaign, to lay out plans for the first 100 days of a Trump administration and, citing Abraham Lincoln’s famous address here in 1863, to restore a government of, by and for the people.
The speech was a laundry list of familiar promises on the economy, national security, immigration and other issues, though the candidate’s message was muddled by his assertions of coming lawsuits against the women accusing him of sexual misconduct and his pledges to break up media companies that he said are trying to deny him the presidency.
It was ironic that Trump chose Gettysburg, the site of one of the most decisive battles of the Civil War, for his speech. Win or lose, Republicans are probably headed toward a civil war of their own, a period of conflict and turmoil and a reckoning of potentially historic significance. That debate has already begun, as the tension between Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan has shown throughout the year. It will only intensify after Nov. 8.
Unless Trump reverses his fortunes over the next 16 days, the Republicans face defeat — a potentially sizable one — in the presidential race, along with the possible loss of control of the Senate and the prospect of a smaller majority in the House. Trump’s future is in his hands. Saving the Senate and protecting the House are the priority of GOP leaders.