Funny, the chattering heads in the media. Trump gave a victory speech last night, which many called “presidential” simply because he didn’t call anybody a childish name, and didn’t mention his penis. Seriously, that’s how low the bar is now for this guy.
But I noticed something else.
Since Trump’s win (and Cruz’s exit) in Indiana last night, the media is talking less about the Trump candidacy and more about the Trump presidency… and what that would look like. Welcome to reality, folks. Yes, this hasn’t been a race; it’s been actually about something — the presidency. And yes, Trump is the GOP candidate.
Polls suggest a Clinton wipeout of Trump, but you’re not hearing any champagne corks popping on the left. I am among the many who has been saying, “Trump would be the best GOP nominee that the Democrats could ask for”, but now even I am a little nervous. I know there is a solid block of Republicans who say they will never vote for Trump, and these are conservative stalwarts like George Will, Eric Erickson, WIlliam Kristol [Update: maybe not so much], Glenn Beck, Jonah Goldberg and Most of the NRO people, and so on. But I don’t know how representative they are of the Republicans or conservatives. I just don’t know.
And then I see things like this, this morning:
That’s NRO’s Mark Krikorian. And I am left to wonder how much more we will see like that. The title of the article is #NeverHillary, and the gist of his opinion is that Trump, while awful, is still better than the alternative. Fortunately, if you look at the comments section, most of the NRO readers are still in the NO column for Trump.
I suppose the question is this: Do conservatives and libertarians really REALLY oppose Trump, or are they just disgruntled that someone better isn’t the nominee? At this point, it it hard to gauge. And it will be interesting to see whether they will try to make themselves like Trump, or become more cemented in their opposition. And maybe more importantly, maybe we can get a read on their numbers. I am encouraged, however, by numbers like this:
You can also count me among those who say that the chicken has come home to roost. Trump is the product of years of right wing radio, fomenting at “the establishment” and elitism, and politicians and expertise. Not to mention the xenophobia and misogyny. Now, having been weened on this stuff, the brain-dead on the right (they aren’t all brain-dead, of course) are rallying around Trump in greater numbers.
McCain’s campaign adviser, Steve Smith, knows this. Here’s what he said on MSNBC last night, talking about how Trump is the end result of conservative talk radio “cancer”:
STEVE SCHMIDT: A lot of commentators say — they scratch their chins — they say, my God, the tone of this election. Have they not listened to talk radio for five minutes in this country that reaches 50 million people a day for a moment in the last ten years? The tone is disgusting around our political discourse and Trump has been a reflection of that tone in this steel cage match Republican primary. You look at the intellectual collapse of the conservative movement, the fading of giants like William F. Buckley, the replacements of purveyors of blogs and polemics that — and it’s all collapsed.
CHRIS MATTHEWS (HOST): Who won when Trump won? Did Mark Levine win? Did Michael Savage? He’s still on the air. Who are these people?
SCHMIDT: Mark Levine is decrying this tonight. He’s series-A round investor in the demise of the conservative movement in the Republican Party. He, very famously, a woman calls up his show and has the gall to just disagree with Mark Levine, who calls himself the great one. Talk about narcissist, talk about self-aggrandizers. Mark Levine asked do you have a gun in the house, go find it and blow your brains out. This is the tone that has emanated from talk radio and this cancer has spread and that tone has infected the whole of the party. And so this moment that we’ve arrived at, where there’s been a severability now between issues and conservatism, and the test of who is the conservative in the race is who has the loudest voice of opposition.
Looking at my usual conservative blogs, I see despair. At Patterico, Mr. Patterico himself writes:
As of today, I no longer consider myself a Republican.
I’ve had these feelings before, but today it’s official. Republicans are now “them” and not “us” to me. I’ll stay registered as a Republican at least through the primary to vote for Ted Cruz in California, even though it’s now clear it will be a futile gesture.
I will still support and vote for Republicans, but only Republicans who demonstrate that they will adhere to limited government, constitutional principles. No longer will I vote a straight party-line ticket.
I am not a “NeverTrump” guy because that implies support for Hillary Clinton, and I cannot support Hillary Clinton. But I cannot support Donald Trump, a leftist con man with an “R” after his name. At this point, I am a disinterested observer. I believe Donald Trump would be better for the Supreme Court, because he doesn’t care about the Court and might pick someone good if his advisers tell him to. I believe Hillary Clinton would be better on almost everything else — because I believe the GOP would fight her more than they would fight Trump. I can’t choose between “the Court” and “everything else.” So I’m just someone who doesn’t care about the presidential race any more.
William Brennan was not a good Supreme Court justice because he was appointed by a Republican. Affirmative action is not a good policy because it has been pushed by many Republicans. And continuing entitlement programs, growing federal interference in health care, imposing disastrous tariffs, and other Trump-style policies are not good policies even if they are pushed by a “Republican.”
So do not expect me to “unify” or to jump on board because HILLARY MUST BE BEATEN!!!1! If you can’t deal with that, the time to stop reading is now.
If you believe in limited government, constitutional principles, and liberty, stick with me. There are others like us. We’ll figure out what to do next. It won’t be supporting Donald Trump, but it will be supporting our natural rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Later, through a surrogate, he adds:
So the classless boor probably loses to the sea hag. Not that it matters too much, since they’d both govern as authoritarian democrats, only one has more nationalist rah rah thrown in.
Spare me the nonsense about lesser evils and SCOTUS judges. He won’t make it that far. And by some miracle, like Hillary has a stroke, this rambling ignoramus wins, he would still screw that up somehow in his one term. Big question is does he suck enough to take the GOP with him?
And if you think he is going to actually build a wall, you are a sucker.
Did I love Cruz? No. Because I was hiring an employee, not a god. He was the least likely to rape the Constitution. Instead we get an authoritarian, who is either lying, or made it to 70 before understanding basic American principles about liberty.
You ignorant low information bastards. Motivated by fear and anger, you overlooked every gain made over the last few cycles, and traded it in to a lying huckster democrat for some magic beans. So you could stick it to the establishment, by electing the shit bird who funded them.
Well, at least he’s certain of a Hillary win.
Other conservatives are fleeing from the GOP too. A Republican foreign policy expert from the American Enterprise Institute tells Think Progress:
“If a conservative emerges that approaches foreign policy in a principled, coherent manner, and that understands and values the important role that America plays in world affairs, I will support them,” he wrote in a text. “Otherwise, I have faith that Clinton’s foreign policy would align with what I’m looking for, and she would have my vote.”
Philip Klein, the conservative Washington Examiner’s managing editor tweeted:
Perhaps the most dramatic response came in the form of a mea culpa posted to Red State Monday night, nearly 24 hours before Indiana polls closed. “Donald Trump is my fault as much as anyone else’s,” wrote Ben Howe. He explained that he had built alliances with people with whom he fundamentally disagreed out of expedience:
I justified it quietly to myself the way we had at the beginning of the tea party when such things would happen. People would say outlandish things and I would find myself nodding my head and awkwardly walking away, not calling them out for their silliness.
After all, there were more pressing matters.
And so, as I said, I kept quiet about these allies in new media and in Washington. People who I thought I agreed with only 70% of the time. Which normally is a great reason to consider someone an ally, but not when the other 30% is cringe-inducing paranoia and vapid stupidity.
I chose peace over principle. I chose to go along with those I disagreed with on core matters because I believed we were jointly fighting for other things that were more important. I ignored my gut and my moral compass.
The result is that, almost to a man, every single person I cringed at or thought twice about, is now a supporter and cheerleader of Donald Trump.
That’s Ben Shapiro, for crying out loud.
The next few primaries will mean little. I don’t expect surprises at either convention, although it will be interesting to see who shows up (and more importantly, who doesn’t show up) to the GOP convention. The Vice Presidential selections will be something to look forward to.
And everyone is wondering how Clinton will fight Trump. Will she stoop to his level? I tend to think she should not. She needs to be the adult and play to those strengths of experience, etc. Let Trump bite down hard on being crass and believing in conspiracy theories. He’ll get the low information voter votes. But they are not a majority.
UPDATE – The New York Daily News:
It’s a liberal paper though….