Could Donald Trump change the GOP as we know it?

Donald Trump is either a savior or ruination … depending on your point of view.  We may not know which is true, for another month – or, perhaps, even a decade.

Duke University political scientist, Mac McCorkle, thinks Trump will do more long-term damage than he will help the party, but the party isn’t helping itself, he says, with what it has done, lately.

“What's happened to the Republican Party is its base in North Carolina and a lot of other states has changed, says McCorkle.  “And it's not this ideologically consistent - maybe never was - but it's certainly not obedient to this ideologically consistent, free-market, business interest kind of party.”

There is short-term damage from the recent revelation of the tape showing Trump making lewd comments about what he has done to women and earlier comments about some immigrants.

“Those types of statements - and because the party apparatus is still endorsing him - it's going to be hard for them to wash that away when Trump goes away as a candidate,” says High Point University political scientist, Brandon Lenoir.

But, to Mac McCorkle’s point, Catawba College political scientist, Michael Bitzer there is still a chance that Republicans can recover, if they go back to nominating more centrist types, like George HW Bush and Mitt Romney.

“Those types of Republicans can do very well,” says Bitzer.  “The question is, does the base recognize how far they have gone and their outlook has been Trump right now, in my estimation.  If there is a significant blowout, this year, does that finally cause them to realize where they are and where they need to go, eventually.”

For those who see Trump as the man who will rescue their party … McCorkle has a warning.

“The full destruction (of the Republican Party) may be with his victory.”