At one time, newspaper opinions counted. Back in the days when white collar guys got the morning paper and blue collar guys got the town’s afternoon paper, endorsements could actually make a political difference. That day is long gone; killed by television, the internet, and the relentless leftwing partisanship of the press.
Today the Washington Post is in full blown panic over the
possibility high probability that Donald Trump will be the GOP nominee.
THE UNTHINKABLE is starting to look like the inevitable: Absent an extraordinary effort from people who understand the menace he represents, Donald Trump is likely to be the presidential nominee of the Republican Party. At this stage, even an extraordinary effort might fall short. But history will not look kindly on GOP leaders who fail to do everything in their power to prevent a bullying demagogue from becoming their standard-bearer.
A few days ago we criticized Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus for his assertion that a Trump victory in November would silence the doubters. “Winning is the antidote to a lot of things,” Mr. Priebus had said. We argued that winning would not erase the bigotry and ugliness of Mr. Trump’s campaign, nor remove the dangers of a Trump presidency. On Wednesday, the GOP chairman, perhaps wanting to show that he can match Mr. Trump in eloquence, responded: “That is the stupidest editorial that I have ever seen.”
So it falls to other leaders to decide if their party will stand for anything other than winning. A political party, after all, isn’t meant to be merely a collection of consultants, lobbyists and functionaries angling for jobs. It is supposed to have principles: in the Republican case, at least as we have always understood it, to include a commitment to efficient government, free markets and open debate.
I’m struggling with the last paragraph. Unlike the Democrats, the GOP actually has a primary where the votes of common people count. We don’t overwhelm the people’s delegates with party apparatchiks. Oddly enough, the success of Donald Trump is a case study in the unintended consequences of “open debate.”
The calculations have proved wrong. If Mr. Trump is to be stopped, now is the time for leaders of conscience to say they will not and cannot support him and to do what they can to stop him. We understand that Mr. Trump would seek to use this to his benefit, and that he might succeed. But what is the choice? Is the Republican Party truly not going to resist its own debasement?
One would think that after 2010, after 2014, after watching what happened to Erik Cantor and John Boehner, that the Post of all people would know that “leaders of conscience”, or in the case of the GOP “leaders sans conscience”, don’t carry a particularly large stick with the GOP electorate.
Of course, the dog that really isn’t barking here is why the Washington Post wants the GOP to avoid disaster. The obvious answer is that they aren’t afraid for the GOP, they are afraid for themselves.
The Washington Post is apoplectic over the GOP nominating Trump because they really can’t criticize him on any subject that can’t be turned against Hillary… assuming that she avoids indictment. He has donated heavily to Democrat politicians, he is pro-choice in every meaningful way, he is pro-government, he is wealthy, he belongs to the right clubs, goes to the right parties, and vacations in the right places. He knows their secrets in a way a Republican politician never will. He may be crass and crude in public but it is hard to editorialize against gaucherie.
The second reason why they are soiling themselves is because they know that Trump will beat Hillary like a rented mule. If they believed those polls that showed Trump losing match ups with Hillary they would be gloating at our misfortune. For instance, via National Review Clinton Fans Now Fret They May Get What They Wished For: Trump:
Most Clinton Democrats at the rally agreed and are nervously eyeing Trump’s dominance over his Republican rivals. “A couple of months ago, I would’ve said, ‘Okay, that would be our best possible strategy, that Trump would win, Hillary would beat him,’” says Kathy Michaelman, of Fairfax, Va. “But the way I see people voting and the support that he’s getting — when he alienates a group, the next day his numbers go up, when you think it would make them go down — that’s what worries me.”
“You have to trust the electorate, and I don’t,” says Peter Michaelman. “There are a lot of people who are just angry at politics in general, and they say, ‘You know, let’s try something different.’”
Alexandria native Janet Brandenstein worries that Trump’s support could grow — or even increase — in a national race against Clinton. “Actually, I think people are crazy enough right now that [a Trump win] could go against us, too,” she says.
“I think it’s a very dangerous thing to wish for something that you think might be disastrous for the other party,” says A. K. Minnick, also from Alexandria. “I know a lot of Democrats are thinking [Trump] will be an easy target. I don’t necessarily think so.”