For all the bravado of Donald Trump’s online supporters, now that his sweep of the Northeast has put him in a potentially strong position to take the nomination, they are mostly spending the day…preparing to blame other people for Trump’s inevitable loss in November. You see, that’s going to be Trump’s coming general election message: it’s never his fault, or the fault of his supporters, that Trump is a terrible, doomed general election candidate – nothing is ever their fault, just the fault of shadowy conspiracies and “establishments”.
There’s been a lot of this sort of thing in my Twitter timeline, but the best example of preparing the Trump Dolchstoßlegende comes predictably from Breitbart’s John Nolte. Yes, that’s the same Breitbart where staffers have been complaining since August that they suspected the site was getting paid by Trump for favorable coverage, where site editor Joel Pollak tried to get a job as a Trump speechwriter, where national security editor Sebastian Gorka was paid by the Trump campaign as a consultant, and where the site ordered its own staff to stop defending now-ex-Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields after she was manhandled by then-Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. So, you’d be hard pressed to find many sources that speak more for the thinking of Team Trump than Nolte and his co-workers.
Here’s a section of Nolte’s rant this morning (it’s too long to capture the whole thing on one screen, but you get the idea):
You see, Nolte and other Trump supporters taking this tack must realize by now that Trump is a complete disaster of a general election candidate, for reasons we have all discussed exhaustively. But this causes not the slightest bit of self-reflection over why this is. It can’t be that Trump alienates moderate and independent voters by being boorish, crude, insulting to women, ignorant, and all too eager to throw around racial, religious and ethnic stereotypes. It can’t be that Trump attracts white supremacists like dung attracts flies (Nolte likes to deploy nonsensical uses of words like “supremacist” when used against him or his allies precisely to deprive them of meaning, it’s a regular m.o. of his and of the Trump supporters generally – here, he’s using it to mean people who think Trump voters are stupid and basing that primarily on the fact that voting for Trump is stupid). It can’t be that Trump activates otherwise-unenthused elements of the Democratic base and drives more Hispanic voters into the Democratic camp by loudly broadcasting the message that Hispanics are unwelcome in America. It can’t be that Trump additionally alienates conservatives by being a socially liberal fan of abortion and Planned Parenthood and a big-government fan of single-payer healthcare and confiscatory taxation, and Republicans by being a faithful donor to Democrats who supported John Kerry for President in 2004 and Hillary Clinton for President in 2008 as well as the Democratic takeover of Congress. It can’t be that Trump would be a terrible Commander-in-Chief, hypersensitive to his own ego, easily cowed (as even his own explanation of paying off Democrats suggests), and getting his ideas and information from the likes of Michael Moore and Code Pink. It can’t, in short, be that people don’t want to vote for Trump for President because they think Trump would be a terrible president who doesn’t agree with them on issues, doesn’t represent their values, and isn’t even minimally competent to the job.
No, that can’t possibly be the explanation for why Trump would be a disaster candidate in spite of the colossal press coverage he’s been gifted and his near-universal name recognition. It must be an elite conspiracy! A conspiracy that will extend to the 130 million or so people who may vote in November.
As Erick has noted, this is like the people who get cancer from smoking and then blame the people who warned them that cigarettes cause cancer.
This is, of course, why Republican voters should hold the line in Indiana and the following states, and why the party needs to suck it up and live with the Trump-fan uproar that would follow denying him the nomination at the convention. Because even if the party establishment gives Trump fans everything they want, they’ll still cast the same blame on the same sources for Trump’s – and their – own failures. It is who they are.