I’ve been too busy finishing my novel to blog about my many insightful political observations. But anyway, I was reading many discussions in the media over the past few days about how the Republican elites failed to stop Trump. The canonical text is this article in the New York Times.
In public, there were calls for the party to unite behind a single candidate. In dozens of interviews, elected officials, political strategists and donors described a frantic, last-ditch campaign to block Mr. Trump — and the agonizing reasons that many of them have become convinced it will fail. Behind the scenes, a desperate mission to save the party sputtered and stalled at every turn.
This became obvious to me as I worked out in my local gym in the mornings leading up to the New Hampshire primary. The Boston TV stations reach into New Hampshire, so we see all the campaign ads aimed at NH voters. I would be on the treadmill looking at the news on three separate TVs, and each of them would be running the same set of ads. And none of them were negative ads aimed at Trump. I can see why the individual candidates wouldn’t run them–they were too busy trying to bolster their own campaigns. But why not an outside SuperPAC? Why wouldn’t Mitt Romney dump a few million dollars into this?
The Massachusetts primary is coming up this Tuesday, and the latest poll shows Trump getting 43% of the vote. And where is our popular, moderate Republican governor Charlie Baker? Sitting silently on the sidelines, now that the candidate he endorsed, Chris Christie, has dropped out. Why won’t he use any of his political capital to try to stop Trump?
If I were a rational Republican (and I don’t know how many of them there are), I would be gnashing my teeth. But of course, if they were really rational, they would long ago have abandoned the modern Republican party. Here is Josh Marshall in Talking Points Memo:
Trump is very little different from the average candidate Republicans elected in 2010 and 2014, in terms of radical views and extreme rhetoric. All he’s done is take the actual GOP issue package, turn it up to eleven and put it on a high speed collision course with RNC headquarters smack in the middle of presidential election year.