President Donald Trump arrives to speak at a campaign rally, Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019, in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)
The inability of some Republicans to learn even the simplest of lessons baffles me at times. It’s how you get guys like Bill Kristol and George Will thinking we are going to suddenly revert back to the party of Mitt Romney after 2020. Ridiculous hopes like that are based on multi-faceted misunderstandings of the GOP electorate and just how we got Donald Trump as president in the first place.
Take this hot take I’ve been seeing. Here’s an example of it, although Erick is far from the only person to share this sentiment lately.
And that’s how you got Trump.
Think about the misreading going on here by whatever Republicans are being cited, and you can rest assured there are plenty of them in the Senate.
What really happened in 2016? We saw a supposed “stacked” field of candidates for the nomination, yet a loud mouthed, brash anti-establishment figure took the gold. That wasn’t by accident. It wasn’t because Morning Joe gave him free air time. It wasn’t because Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio split the vote (polling consistently showed Trump beating either one head to head). Those are excuses you hear from people who want to continue not admitting the failures of the Republican party going back decades.
The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq took their toll and probably were one of the biggest factors in the anti-establishment backlash. But there were other things that stuck in voters’ minds. Bush refusing to defend himself from the onslaught of media destruction played a role. John McCain collapsing into apology over simply using Barack Obama’s middle name and then throwing Sarah Palin under the bus (even though she was obviously a positive for his failing campaign at the time). It continued in 2012 with things like Romney standing there stupefied after a debate moderator lied to embarrass him and his inability to fight back at all from the avalanche of gotchas following his call out of Russia to Obama. Even after 2012, there was a distinct impression that Republicans were only willing to put up a fight in the minority.
But look, it’s not just personality or strategic issues. It’s policy as well. The inability to do anything to secure the border was a major schism that still exists today, with the same conservative talking heads insisting that unfettered illegal immigration isn’t a big issue. We had two terms of George W. Bush and accomplished nearly nothing for conservatism.
Now, I’m sure some are reading the above points and they’ve got their list handy to rebut some of this but who cares? Perception among the voters is reality and the perception is that Republicans are weak.
So how does being “tired” of defending Trump do anything but reinforce that perception? And what kind of delusion must one suffer from to think it would all stop if Trump is gone?
"The Democrats will stop attacking if Pence is president."
Who believes that? https://t.co/9N6UYyQmNH
— Burn, Democrat-Run Cities, Burn! (@NolteNC) October 1, 2019
Currently, we are fighting an almost wholly ginned up scandal, where Trump did nothing illegal and arguably nothing improper. I’ve got no problem with a president speaking candidly with a foreign leader about looking into possible corruption. But in the era of Trump, everyone wants to change the rules. See the latest nonsensical freak out over Trump simply asking Australia to cooperate with Barr’s ongoing investigation.
If it wasn’t Trump, it’d be Pence or it’d be Cruz. It’d be whoever was the Republican President at the time. Bush had articles of impeachment pressed against him and was called Hilter non-stop, and that was while he was being completely submissive to the media and not pushing back at all. They aren’t going stop just because Trump is gone and if Republicans quit on him based on what we have so far in this “impeachment inquiry,” they will simply get more of Trump, whether it’s Trump himself or the next person to channel his energy.
I’d end with this message to those Republicans in Washington – Grow a spine. You have a kush job making good money and notoriety. All you have to do is be willing to not fold in the face of adversity and voters will reward you. You aren’t having to go out and dig ditches or work a cash register. You aren’t living paycheck to paycheck. Your life simply isn’t that hard. Enough of the complaining and whining about having to actually defend your ideology and party. It’s ridiculous, and if you aren’t up to the task, go find something else to do.
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