Republicans burn voter registration cards after Donald Trump becomes likely presidential nominee

Donald Trump's political insurrection has seized control of the Republican party. Credit: Reuters

There are some striking images as Americans - some with glee, others in horror - stare at the political insurrection that has seized control of one of America's two great political parties.

Pictures on social media showed Republican voters burning their voter registration cards after Donald Trump all but secured the party's presidential nomination.

The Republican Party is divided between those who will accept Trump, and those who see him as a narcissistic populist who will lead the country to ruin. The Never-Trump movement is battered and bloodied, but not dead.

Let's remember what Trump represents. Let's call it as we see it, or rather as he says it:

  • Donald Trump is a "birther". He's the leader of the absurd movement that says President Obama was not born in the US, and therefore should have been barred from running for the White House.

  • Trump has said Muslims should be banned from entering the US, a religious test for the movement of people that is almost certainly illegal.

  • Trump is committed to building a gigantic Great Wall along the US-Mexican border, and will then seek to humiliate his neighbour by expecting Mexico to pay for it.

  • He is committed to the expulsion of 11 million "illegals" - the paperless immigrants of America who would face mass deportation under a Trump administration.

Furthermore, he appears set on taking the party on a policy journey that would make it unrecognisable.

The party of free trade would embrace tariffs, protectionism, and anti-globalisation. "America First," he calls it.

The party of a muscular foreign policy would become isolationist, walking away - for better or for worse - from the Middle East and other hotspots around the world. He mocks NATO for its ineffectiveness, and admires President Putin as a strong leader.

None of this takes away from Trump's political skill and tactical brilliance. He shows an instinctive understanding - with no pollster in sight - of America's economic pain and the frustration of the country's white working class.

That is remarkable. But it won't take him to the White House unless he can deal in more than conspiracy theories and provocations.