I was a bit surprised by Trump's first loss but there are many states left.
Those lying sacks-of-shit traitors in D.C. are the enemies of the United States.
On my street in Northwest Washington, D.C., there’s never been anyone as unpopular as Trump. The Democrats assume he’s a bigot, pandering to the morons out there in the great dark space between Georgetown and Brentwood. The Republicans (those relatively few who live here) fully agree with that assessment, and they hate him even more. They sense Trump is a threat to them personally, to their legitimacy and their livelihoods.
But just because Trump is an imperfect candidate doesn’t mean his candidacy can’t be instructive. Trump could teach Republicans in Washington a lot if only they stopped posturing long enough to watch carefully. Here’s some of what they might learn:
He Exists Because You Failed
American presidential elections usually amount to a series of overcorrections: Clinton begat Bush, who produced Obama, whose lax border policies fueled the rise of Trump. In the case of Trump, though, the GOP shares the blame, and not just because his fellow Republicans misdirected their ad buys or waited so long to criticize him. Trump is in part a reaction to the intellectual corruption of the Republican Party. That ought to be obvious to his critics, yet somehow it isn’t.
Consider the conservative nonprofit establishment, which seems to employ most right-of-center adults in Washington. Over the past 40 years, how much donated money have all those think tanks and foundations consumed? Billions, certainly. (Someone better at math and less prone to melancholy should probably figure out the precise number.) Has America become more conservative over that same period? Come on. Most of that cash went to self-perpetuation: Salaries, bonuses, retirement funds, medical, dental, lunches, car services, leases on high-end office space, retreats in Mexico, more fundraising. Unless you were the direct beneficiary of any of that, you’d have to consider it wasted.
Pretty embarrassing. And yet they’re not embarrassed. Many of those same overpaid, underperforming tax-exempt sinecure-holders are now demanding that Trump be stopped. Why? Because, as his critics have noted in a rising chorus of hysteria, Trump represents “an existential threat to conservatism.”
Let that sink in. Conservative voters are being scolded for supporting a candidate they consider conservative because it would be bad for conservatism? And by the way, the people doing the scolding? They’re the ones who’ve been advocating for open borders, and nation-building in countries whose populations hate us, and trade deals that eliminated jobs while enriching their donors, all while implicitly mocking the base for its worries about abortion and gay marriage and the pace of demographic change. Now they’re telling their voters to shut up and obey, and if they don’t, they’re liberal.
On immigration policy, party elders were caught completely by surprise. Even canny operators like Ted Cruz didn’t appreciate the depth of voter anger on the subject. And why would they? If you live in an affluent ZIP code, it’s hard to see a downside to mass low-wage immigration. Your kids don’t go to public school. You don’t take the bus or use the emergency room for health care. No immigrant is competing for your job. (The day Hondurans start getting hired as green energy lobbyists is the day my neighbors become nativists.) Plus, you get cheap servants, and get to feel welcoming and virtuous while paying them less per hour than your kids make at a summer job on Nantucket. It’s all good.
Apart from his line about Mexican rapists early in the campaign, Trump hasn’t said anything especially shocking about immigration. Control the border, deport lawbreakers, try not to admit violent criminals–these are the ravings of a Nazi? This is the “ghost of George Wallace” that a Politico piece described last August? A lot of Republican leaders think so. No wonder their voters are rebelling.
Truth Is Not Only A Defense, It’s Thrilling
When was the last time you stopped yourself from saying something you believed to be true for fear of being punished or criticized for saying it? If you live in America, it probably hasn’t been long. That’s not just a talking point about political correctness. It’s the central problem with our national conversation, the main reason our debates are so stilted and useless. You can’t fix a problem if you don’t have the words to describe it. You can’t even think about it clearly.
This depressing fact made Trump’s political career. In a country where almost everyone in public life lies reflexively, it’s thrilling to hear someone say what he really thinks, even if you believe he’s wrong. It’s especially exciting when you suspect he’s right.
A temporary ban on Muslim immigration? That sounds a little extreme (meaning nobody else has said it recently in public). But is it? Millions of Muslims have moved to Western Europe over the past 50 years, and a sizable number of them still haven’t assimilated. Instead, they remain hostile and sometimes dangerous to the cultures that welcomed them. By any measure, that experiment has failed. What’s our strategy for not repeating it here, especially after San Bernardino—attacks that seemed to come out of nowhere? Invoke American exceptionalism and hope for the best? Before Trump, that was the plan.
He Could Win
Of all the dumb things that have been said about Trump by people who were too slow to get finance jobs and therefore wound up in journalism, perhaps the stupidest of all is the one you hear most: He’ll get killed in the general! This is a godsend for Democrats! Forty-state wipeout! And so it goes mindlessly on.
Actually–and this is no endorsement of Trump, just an interjection of reality–that’s a crock. Of the Republicans now running, Trump likely has the best chance to beat Hillary Clinton, for two reasons:
First, he’s the only Republican who can meaningfully expand the pie. Polls show a surprisingly large number of Democrats open to Trump. In one January survey by the polling form Mercury Analytics , almost 20 percent said they’d consider crossing over to him from Hillary. Even if that’s double the actual number, it’s still stunning. Could Ted Cruz expect to draw that many Democrats? Could Jeb?
It’s an article of faith in Washington that Trump would tank the party’s prospects with minority voters. Sounds logical, especially if you’re a sensitive white liberal who considers the suggestion of a border wall a form of hate speech, but consider the baseline. In the last election, Romney got 6 percent of the black vote, and 27 percent of Hispanics. Trump, who’s energetic, witty and successful, will do worse? I wouldn’t bet on it.