(Slate) -- From the time Donald Trump wrapped up the GOP nomination in early May, the Republican Party has achieved a degree of unity that would have shocked observers of the race just a few months ago. House Speaker Paul Ryan may be withholding his endorsement, Mitt Romney and the Bush family are unlikely to ever come around, and some senators in tight races are sitting out the Cleveland convention. But the Republican Party, from its representatives in Congress to its political operatives, has otherwise fallen in line at an astonishing rate. Even the politicians Trump has insulted and demeaned—from Marco Rubio to John McCain—are, to one extent or another, supporting his candidacy.
They’re not lining up because Trump has become “presidential.” Trump has steadfastly refused to develop into a more mature and policy-oriented candidate. The only consistent feature of his positions is that they keep changing: His platform remains a black hole; he resists even minimal efforts at coherence. But there is one aspect of the man that never changes and thus forms the core of what we might call “Trumpism”: He appears to actually believe in a sort of ad hoc authoritarianism. The prominent features of this ideology include a respect for thuggish foreign leaders, an appetite for violence, a hatred of the press, and a quasi-fascist disregard for anything that can be perceived as weakness. His press conference on Tuesday, in which he raged at reporters who were (at last) asking him some tough questions, was a near perfect embodiment of his nature.