If Democrats could have constructed a candidate designed to do two things this fall, those things would have been (1) lose dramatically to Hillary Clinton and (2) destroy the conservative brand in the process.
This begs the question: was Donald Trump constructed in a laboratory by Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Barack Obama?
Polls show Trump losing by double digits to Hillary Clinton. At this point in the 2012 presidential race, the last ten polls in the RealClearPolitics polling average showed Mitt Romney trailing Barack Obama by an average of 2.2 percentage points. Romney ended up losing by 3.9 percentage points. At this point in 2008, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) trailed Obama by an average of 2.4 percent in the prior ten polls. McCain ended up losing by 7.3 percent.
Today, Donald Trump trails Hillary Clinton by an average of 6.9 points. Such results are mirrored in state polling. Trump is far more unpopular than McCain or Romney ever were, and unlike McCain and Romney, has far less room for movement given his 100 percent name recognition. And the left has spent most of its media attention treating Trump with kid gloves for ratings purposes. They haven’t even opened up their guns yet.
But it’s not merely enough for Trump to lose – he must lose after consolidating the support of mainstream Republicans so that Democrats can claim that Republicanism is truly a reflection of Trumpism: a brand of big government politics with a nativist streak, a white power politics agenda, and an isolationist international approach. Fortunately for Democrats, Republican leaders are falling right into line in the name of stopping Hillary Clinton. Leaders ranging from Texas Governor Greg Abbott to South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley have already lined up to embrace the man who burned conservatism down inside the Republican Party.
And the left couldn’t be more gleeful. For decades, they have falsely accused Republicans of being just what Trump is. Now they can claim they were right all along – they can paint conservatism with the broad brush of Trump. Here’s Jonathan Chait at New York Magazine today:
Virtually the entire Republican apparatus will follow Trump sooner or later, because without the voters, they have no power. And those voters have revealed things about the nature of the party that many Republicans prefer to deny…on the ground, Republican politics boils down to ethno-nationalistic passions ungoverned by reason…The paranoid mendacity of Joe McCarthy, the racial pandering of Barry Goldwater, Richard Nixon, and George Bush, the jingoism and anti-intellectualism of Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, and Sarah Palin — all these forces have embodied the essence of American conservative politics as it is actually practiced (rather than as conservative intellectuals like to imagine it). Trump has finally turned that which was always there against itself.
This is a brutal libel on conservative politics, on Goldwater and Bush and Reagan. But it is true of Trump, and so now that truth will be read back into history to justify all the left’s favorite lies about the right.
Here’s Democratic National Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz playing the same card: “The decades-old Republican strategy of exploiting unfounded fear of immigrants, minorities, the poor, the LGBT community and more, all for political gain, have laid the groundwork for Donald Trump.” Here’s The New York Times editorial board: “It is the Republicans who are making a clear choice in 2016, one that seemed unimaginable a year ago: To stamp what they still like to call the party of Lincoln with the brand of Donald Trump.”
That brand of fool’s gold will mar the Republican Party for the next generation, thanks to both the minority of voters who handed Trump the nomination and the establishment that refused to consolidate to oppose him, and who now support him in the name of raising cash and stopping Hillary Clinton.
Donald Trump is a Democratic dream come true. He is conservatism’s nightmare.