Source: The Washington Post - Link
Ten years ago, the rift that defined the Republican Party was between the party establishment and the insurgent tea party. The GOP saw a massive shift in its power after the 2010 midterm elections, when hostility toward President Barack Obama fostered by the party and conservative media overlapped with a new far-right activism to swing the House.
But the win only tamped down the party’s right-wing rebellion for a while. The tea party’s emergence overlapped with the expansion of social media and that, combined with an expanded conservative media universe, helped the activist fringe of the party to balloon in size.
The first politician to effectively tap into that fringe at any significant scale was Donald Trump. He would say the things that were on Fox News and Breitbart because that was what he consumed and because he was unencumbered by any sense of political propriety or norms. Even people like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) who built their political identities on rejecting the party establishment were still more bound to that establishment than Trump was. Trump could simply come out and say whatever nonsense he wanted without recrimination. He was not only not beholden to the party in any way, he also overtly rejected it and its most famous voices.