This commentary originally appeared on TheHill.com.
After the 2012 presidential election, the Republican National Committee published the "Growth and Opportunity Project" in 2013. The 100-page document was a self-assessment of why Republicans lost the 2012 presidential election and a significant portion of it attributed that loss to the party's inability to court minority voters.
Now we take a look at the 2016 presidential election and the Republican nominee, Donald Trump. When you compare what's in the "Growth and Opportunity Project" to Trump, who has exhibited behavior that is antithetical to the GOP's own self-assessment, you have to wonder how so many in the party came to endorse and support the nominee.
His behavior throughout this presidential cycle severely hinders the Republican Party's ability to reach out to and mobilize minority voters, which the party itself noted as critical to maintaining a strategic political advantage going forward.
If Trump loses this election — and it appears that he likely will — whom will the GOP blame? Will they huddle together as they did after 2012 and produce a similar self-assessment, only to ignore it four years later? Who knows, but one thing we know for sure: The Republican Party is in chaos and has no one to blame but itself.
It's not the mainstream media's fault nor is it a conspiracy of the liberal left. It is the fault of the party. Sure, GOP voters choose Trump, but why? Many of them feel left out, forgotten and ignored, and place the blame on those in leadership. That gave rise to Donald Trump.
Typically, it would be in the interest of Republicans to see a Republican in the White House, but at what cost are Republicans willing to continue to lend their support despite the obvious? Are morals and ethics no longer important to the party of values? Whatever happened to respect, discipline, courtesy and intellectual curiosity? Themes that were once important to the Republican Party of the past appear to be foreign to the Republican Party of today.
How can any conscionable proponent of Republican ideals continue down a path of self-destruction, while being aware of the damage that it's causing to the party's image and brand? A quick glance across America reveals a country that is more diverse than it has ever been and for a party with a nominee who has managed to isolate nearly every single non-white male, one must beg the question: How can the party be relevant to voters that it will need in order to be successful in the future?
Of course, some will argue that Republicans are doing well on the state level, but as major cities become bastions for diverse groups and those major cities dictate the direction of those states, it is only a matter of time before those states become what we call "purple" or switch to the opposite party completely. Demographic growth and trends give credence to this hypothesis, which means the safety net that Republicans have relied on for so long will not be as reliable five-to-10 years from now, which should concern many in the GOP.
A political party that struggles to connect with a significant portion of Americans should be gravely concerned about its ability to compete electorally. When this election is over — and if it's not a Republican in the White House — the GOP will be forced to face the truth about what values it really espouses and the policies it puts forth, and there can be no solace in knowing that what it represents to so many in America has isolated and hurt the party.
When the dust settles and the storm of this election passes, the clean-up will begin and the rebuilding will start. However, the question for the Republican Party during its reconstruction is: What party does it want to be?