In 1896 it was Dems consuming themselves, from which came a third party. NY Sun discusses the third-party possibility if Trump loses, with an eye on history, but with a caution:
We don’t mean to rule out the possibility that Mr. Trump could yet win. We’re too close to the experience of Brexit, which elite opinion predicted for months would be defeated. Or the 2015 election at Israel, where polls predicted a razor thin result or a win by Labor only to be met with a runaway victory by Mr. Netanyahu. For that matter, there’s the 2004 American election, when the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth defeated an overconfident John Kerry.
So buck up, Trumpsters. Think Brexit etc.
If, however, Trump lost and took his followers into a new party, says Sun . . .
If he does that — we’re not making a prediction here — it would be as American as apple pie. Our history is littered with parties created as vehicles to pursue all sorts of visions and represent all sorts of factions — the Prohibition Party, the Communist Party, the Black Panther Party, the Toleration Party, the Anti-Masonic Party, the Nullifier Party (which fought for the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions in which the two states vowed not to enforce the Alien and Sedition Acts).
We but touch the list. There was the Free Soil Party, the Greenback Party, the Silver Party, the Readjuster Party, the National Woman’s Party, the Vegetarian Party, the Boston Tea Party, Natural Law Party (which favored transcendental meditation), the Anti-Nebraska Party, and the National Democratic Party. The latter’s 15 minutes of fame was at 1896, when the regular Democrats nominated the populist William Jennings Bryan.