Chumps on the Right [Updated]

POSTED ON May 03rd 2016 BY LESLIE LOFTIS UNDER Motherhood, Politics, The Federalist Links

From yesterday’s Transom:


As with so many of the phenomena surrounding Donald Trump that demand further investigation, it is only as he is about to become the Republican nominee that the press is taking interest in his prior dealings, and developing new curiosity for the activity surrounding the candidate. The general rule that journalists only become interested in digging into things when they have a personal experience with the matter also holds true for the online Trump army, which went after journalist Julia Ioffe this past week. The amount of surprise expressed by journalists for an experience many writers on the right have had for months is one of the odder elements of this cycle, as was illustrated last week in the reaction to Ioffe facing a barrage of anti-Semitic attacks after profiling Melania Trump. “But why?”, the Washington Post asks.

I recommend reading the WaPo link, but two thoughts. First, the surprise has long since gotten old. This has been going on for months, and not just for anti-Trump commentary, but for pro-Cruz commentary. They threaten female journalists with adding them to the list of Cruz’s alleged mistresses. There isn’t even an attempt at plausibility as some of these women have never even met Cruz in person. Plus, Trump’s run isn’t the first time legacy journalists have been horrified by what is standard fare against their colleagues in right media.

Second, this is another instance of needing to analyze when to blame a group. How accountable are Trump’s supporters—or Trump—for the abhorrent behavior of a subset of supporters?

Here is the “When to blame a group” matrix I published in The Federalist:

  • When was the act done? Centuries ago or last week?**

  • Who is doing the act? A leader of the group or a follower?

  • How many are doing the act? A large group or a lone wolf?

  • What is the nature and magnitude of the act? Words or violence? A slap or a slit throat?

  • And how do other members of the larger group respond? With silence, condemnation, or celebration? Calls to imitate or to cease?

In this instance, we have words by a loud, perhaps small, group. The words are slander and anti-Semitism, not just insults. And the leader and the others respond with silence or excuse. That’s leaning pretty culpable for me.

I have been sympathetic to Trump’s supporters for most of this cycle. Early on I asked others to understand their anger and frustration. I liked my editor Joy Pullman’s description of forgotten Americans in Indiana. They do feel forgotten, forsaken.

But that sympathy dissolves for those who will not condemn the tactics of their allies and Trump’s complicity, especially since his candidacy has made sure that their concerns got air. His run has had some positive results. Among others, even David Brooks, the poster boy for GOP elites in a bubble, has admitted that if he missed Trump’s rise then he needs to completely reassess how he does his job.

Now, Trump’s supporters are sacrificing the sunlight his run brought. And Cruz is right, Trump is playing them for chumps. When he tries to win the election by betraying them in moving left and Hillary Clinton wins anyway, they will still be powerless. Worse, they will be powerless and completely discredited. Even Trump himself won’t respect them because they were just gullible folks that he used to make the deal. Big, swinging power doesn’t respect rubes. It uses them. (And Trump is a user.)

Hillary will occupy the top office and have all of the federal bureaucracy at her disposal. The recoil from Trump’s run will likely devastate the down ticket as well.

I will fight against his nomination until the bitter end.  Should Trump win the nomination, I will divert all of my election efforts to state and local races and the Convention of States. If the federal government can be headed by a criminal, then I certainly want it back on its leash. This holds true even if Trump could win and the federal government headed by a charlatan.

A final note about those who would hope to keep the GOP together. I have to laugh. Their deafness and power preserving nomination rules and their self-serving power plays best seen in Kasich and Rubio’s refusal to rally to the conservative candidate and Boehner and Christie currying favor with Trump brought us here.* What fool would trust them? Some pundits are also advocating for Clinton over Trump. When the choice is slippery un-convicted criminal or fickle robber baron, one works against the criminal. To do otherwise does not inspire leadership.

A Trump nomination will kill the party. Not conservatism. That will survive in a new coalition. Where and how remains to be seen. But the chumps, both high and low, cannot lead it. Their credibility is shot.

UPDATES: I came to fix a typo and decided to add a few links that came after I wrote this post on May 3.


1 Comment

  1. Megs said:

    I don’t know what the future will bring. But I do know that the ends does not justify the means and Trump and HRC are all about the ends.
    It makes me sad to see how low-minded so much of the country has become. HRC’s gods are money and power. Trump’s gods are money, power, and revenge. This is sickness.

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