No, Republicans, you can’t blame Trump on the Clintons

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William J. Clinton Presidential Library

There’s an old saying that victory has 100 fathers and defeat is an orphan,” John F. Kennedy ruefully noted in the aftermath of the Bay of Pigs invasion, a disaster that he was forced to adopt as his administration’s own. The same is proving true of the looming Trump disaster, with Republican leaders and media figures already rushing to blame somebody else, anybody else, for the historic defeat that appears to be coming their way.

Those who have backed Trump insist that the blame must lie with those in the party who have refused to rally behind the nominee. They label the #NeverTrump crowd as traitors, as summer soldiers, as establishment elitists who lent aid and comfort to the enemy and who must be held responsible for installing Hillary Clinton in the White House, for ensuring a more liberal Supreme Court and perhaps a whole lot more.

Conversely, those conservatives and Republicans who have kept their distance from Trump look at what’s happening now across the country — Georgia in play, Arizona perhaps lost, Clinton within three in Texas of all places — and claim that this is exactly the scenario that they warned against. They argue that this outcome was inevitable the moment that Republicans made a man like Trump their nominee.

Personally, I think the second group has by far the better argument. The party tried to warn itself in its post-2012 autopsy that a new direction was needed, but instead it chose to double-down on an already doomed strategy, with predictable results. More importantly, though, no degree of Republican unanimity could have changed Trump’s essential character, and that character is what has doomed him and the party.

The other day, for example, Newt Gingrich tried to claim the existence of a big Trump and a little Trump, concluding that “frankly, the little Trump is pathetic,” but most Americans have now concluded that the little Trump is all there is, and yes, he is pathetic.

And then of course there’s always the GOP’s favorite whipping boy, the media. The #NeverTrumpers have  already begun to blame the media for creating Trump, turning him into such a ratings-driven phenomenon that the party could not properly defend itself against him.  There’s probably some truth to that, but as an excuse I don’t think it gets you far. Again, Trump’s essential nature has been clear from the beginning.  From birtherism to “Mexicans as rapists” to “Ted Cruz’s daddy helped kill JFK” to “bleeding from … wherever,” all of the essential Trump was already clear to see way back in the primaries. Everything that has happened since has been confirmation, not revelation.

Conversely, the Trump crowd blames the media for destroying his candidacy with coverage that is so unfair and biased that it basically amounts to rigging the campaign against him. I have no patience at all with that argument: If you knowingly choose to nominate an utterly amoral, intellectually lazy con man whose sole concern is his own ego and who plays to the worst instincts of his supporters, then it’s not unfair for the media to depict him as an utterly amoral, intellectually lazy con man whose sole concern is his own ego and who plays to the worst instincts of his supporters.

That is accurate reporting.

The real question that both factions of the Republican Party have to address but want to avoid is why. Why Trump? Why was it so easy for such a charlatan to seize the entire party infrastructure? What made their base such fertile soil for such a noxious crop? What rendered party leadership so helpless against a disaster that many were smart enough to foresee? Those questions — or rather their answers — cut to the core identity of the party, so few are willing to confront it.

The avoidance instinct is so strong that #NeverTrumper Erick Erickson, writing at Resurgent.com, even resurrrects the claim that the Trump disaster is the result of a secret plot to destroy the GOP, hatched between Trump and those devious Clintons.

“Trump decided to get into the Republican race, build up an online army of trolls to make it look like he had massive support, then intentionally sabotage the race to hand it to his friend Hillary Clinton,” Erickson theorizes, apparently sincerely. “… That also explains why Ivanka Trump and Chelsea Clinton remain very close friends. This was all part of the plan and Trump took advantage of angry voters looking for change.”

In one sense, that’s ludicrous. In another, it gets us closer to at least part of the answer. A party that turns so often and so readily to conspiracy theories to avoid hard truths simply had no natural defenses left when a charlatan like Trump came calling. And that’s on the party as a whole, not on any one faction of it.

Reader Comments 0

2141 comments
Bob Hunt
Bob Hunt

WHY TRUMP? because WE THE PEOPLE are tired of all the coruption in Washington....moron......And WE THE PEOPLE are tired of you and the liberal AJC ignoring all the Clinton crimes . You focus, paid for, on things Trump said and ignore all that Hillary has done.

juvenal
juvenal

Paul, 27 mil got $65 bil in '15 from the Earned Income Tax Credit-paid no tax and got money......

juvenal
juvenal

re: Trump not paying taxes........bet some of them were dems...so your criticism somewhat harsh....Gunners boring last weekend...

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@juvenal  Fair enough on the EITC.  They still had 15% put in to SS though.

Gunners may have been boring but they had a more productive weekend than my Blues.

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

There has never been a war between nuclear powers. Nor will there ever be.

I'm not that blasé about it.  There are 2 nuclear powers that are shelling each other right now.

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@PaulinNH Not so much an issue until Iran and North Korea  become capable of delivering an intercontinental warhead. The mutual assured destruction deterrent will not apply to countries that do not give a Sh^t about thier populations survival, and that are governed by fanatics.

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@Buschleaguer @PaulinNH  So, you think a war between Pakistan and India - the 2 nuclear powers that are currently in a conflict - is not going to affect everyone on the planet.  You don't think China would get involved?

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

@PaulinNH  I guess you wonder along with the rest of us, why in the world did we sell our uranium to the Russians?

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@PaulinNH @Buschleaguer You point was that two current nuclear powers are involved in a conventional war, not a nuclear one. I imagine the powers that be in India and Pakistan are deterred by the MAD doctrine, on using nuclear weapons on each other. There have been armed conflicts over the past 50 years that have had the US and Russia or China backing opposing sides. The most likely case of a nuclear attack will not be a war where nukes are used ,but a act of terror in which a small nuclear device is detonated in a soft target.

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@Buschleaguer @PaulinNH  We appear to have missed each other's point -  not a problem.  Headley's point was that nuclear powers don't go to war with each other - my point is that they do.

PaulinNH
PaulinNH

@DownInAlbany @PaulinNH  "Our uranium".  Don't you mean "sold a Canadian uranium producer"? 

I guess purchasing that uranium company was all that Russia was missing in order to make a nuclear weapon.  Heck - they'll be trying to produce tritium and lithium deuteride next.

1stTruthOMeter
1stTruthOMeter

So, if the goal of WikiLeaks leaked emails is to provide transparency, why are there no emails from Republicans?  I don't believe that  these emails have not been tampered with. Move along.....next. 




Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@OldEngineer @1stTruthOMeter Hold on Rocky ,while I pull another one outta my hat.At this point wake me up on November 9, the US is screwed no matter which of our marvelous presidential candidates survives. Can't believe these Two are the best that the country has to choose from. An old politically connected hack corrupted by decades of inside DC politics and an political novice with so much baggage that he should not be able to run for the Fulton County school board. Either outcome is another loss for the standing of the US around the world, which may be a good thing, let some other country have a try at policing the rest of the world. 

ByteMe
ByteMe

@Buschleaguer If you set your expectations low, you're never unpleasantly surprised.

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@ByteMe @Buschleaguer How low too go before we bottom out? I thought McCain and Palin were the bottoming out point for candidates but these two presidential campaigns are lowering the bar much more.

Here's_to_Blue
Here's_to_Blue

@1stTruthOMeter I agree.  Any group that has the capability of hacking those emails also has the capacity to manipulate them to say what they didn't say originally.

OldEngineer
OldEngineer

@Buschleaguer @ByteMe After cutting through all the fecal clouds, I'm actually quite satisfied with Hillary. Better than Dubyah, but short of Obama. 

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer


@OldEngineer

You must be on Medicare or have a government employee health insurance policy if you are satisfied with Hillary or our current office holder.Before our new price increase in 2017 $4500 deductible and $597 monthly premium. I would like to see if Ms. Pelosi still has not read the bill. obviously she and her fellow dems must not know the meaning the word affordable.

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer


@Nick_Danger @OldEngineer If you are self employed or run your own small business .you sponsor your own insurance plan.Individual Healthcare policies in this exchange will basically be run by a monopoly after this year when the majority of carriers pull out of ACA. 

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@1stTruthOMeter I don't think it was e-mails that were deleted by republicans or Trump that are the issue. Of course Trump's tax returns were stolen and leaked to the press. Just old fashioned political thievery ,not international hacking. 

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

Hedley Lamar

There has never been a war between nuclear powers. Nor will there ever be.

Its implied you will be destroyed right along with your opponent. That has a funny way of making people think twice.

-

Ah, unfounded optimism.

Again.

Donnie_Pinko
Donnie_Pinko

If that were the case, Hedley, there would never have been such a thing as a 'nuclear scare', which of course there was, and could well be again. In fact, some experts believe the dangers are far greater today than at the height of the Cold War, for various reasons..

You're intellectual naivete is stunning.

BuckeyeGa
BuckeyeGa

Attempting To Woo Latino Voters, Marco Rubio Gets Booed At Orlando Festival

juvenal
juvenal

@BuckeyeGa after all, the dems will fix immigration better than he could.....

OldEngineer
OldEngineer

@juvenal @BuckeyeGa I happen to know where there's a dusty bipartisan comprehensive immigration bill, just waiting for a vote......

TBS
TBS

Didn't he run from

His own plan?

After all....

Buschleaguer
Buschleaguer

@ByteMe @BuckeyeGa Free phones, free college education, free housing, free food, free healthcare, almost makes you want to renounce your citizenship and emigrate to the US.

gotalife
gotalife

They are still trying to get Obama.


Too funny.

juvenal
juvenal

so, Paul, did you figure out i was talking about EITC?