Erik Erickson used to be an outsider. He may still be one, in terms of Republican Party establishment standards, or he may not. Maybe the Donald the Trump versus Erik the Red(head) brawl is a case of two hardheaded rams battering each other on the slippery slope of public opinion. Maybe Erik feels Trump went too far and struck him off the Red State gathering on principle. Maybe. Critics of Erickson – mostly on the right it seems – have rushed out of the woodwork to heap opprobrium on the commentator and radio personality. And Erickson has been known to make a sexist comment or two himself.

So where does that leave the GOP when Erickson’s kids and wife have to flee a hotel room in the face of a vocal if tiny protest group? If in fact it actually played out that way. It may not be the whirwind of hate, as he phrased it, but rather the season of witchcraft. As in the accusations of evil heresy being flung against just about every GOP candidate in one way or another. It feels like conflicting schisms in the Nicean council but the sparks and the accusations fly over what someone said as much as over who they are and what they stand for. And while the comparison may seem absurdly lofty given the sweaty jabs, it does make sense. What is being fought over is the soul of the Republican party, and a raging insurrection will not be appeased with moderate reforms. They want change from the ground up and if that means tearing down a few cherished institutions, and political careers, so be it. It is a tough audience and a vocal audience of disenchanted voters, and change is being forced on an unwilling GOP establishment. So Donald may not be the one to force that change – even though one cannot rule out that possibility – but it should be clear to strategists and big-money donors that the rules are changing and that their favored candidates may find themselves accused of heresy. And, rather than burned at the stake, they are forced to the edges, literally, of the debate.