Thursday, March 03, 2016
Lost amid the Republican party panic over Donald Trump's inexplicable appeal to the uneducated, bigoted, misogynistic base they've pandered to for many years is the fact that essentially, this a debate over which candidate gets to lose to Hillary Clinton.
After they lost to Barack Obama for the second time in 2012, the Republican party establishment, caught by surprise that Americans would vote for and re-elect a black man, took a long hard look in the mirror and decided they needed to change in order to win a national election. The demographics of the country were working against them. Unless they could appeal to African-Americans, Hispanics, single women and young people, and move closer to the center on several issues, their prospects for winning any national election in the future were nil. For the simple reason that those groups made up the fastest growing segment of the electorate. Math wasn't on their side.
Instead, the Republicans changed absolutely nothing. For the last 4 years, not only have they doubled-down on polices despised by the very groups they need to attract, but they've established themselves as the Do-Nothing party, determined to shut down government and refuse to do their jobs because... "it's really hard guys and Obama boo hoo!"
This was never the way to win. You can't just nominate a token Hispanic guy (or two). Not if everything you communicate and do makes it clear you just don't trust non-white people, women, pretty much anyone who isn't a 65-year old racist.
This election was always going to be a loser for the Republicans. And more than anything else, that explains Trump's rise to the top of the Republican polls. In prior years, electability would be vital-- the reason why Mitt Romney and John McCain were elevated as candidates. But Republican voters haven't forgotten the outcomes of those elections. It didn't matter that these two boring guys who measured their words and avoided scandal were electable... they lost.
Since Trump or Rubio or Cruz or Kasich will lose too, what's the point? Republican voters would rather go down swinging with an insult comic reality TV buffoon than choose someone who is just going to demonstrate the declining appeal of their policies. In fact, a Trump loss in the general election is the best possible outcome for the party, because it allows them to claim it's The Donald's fault, and not the fact that they've aligned themselves with a dying share of the electorate. They can go another 4 years continuing to do absolutely nothing and in 2020, nominate an establishment candidate who will go on to lose as well.
The silly idea that somehow Mitt Romney could come in and save the party--it's not going to happen. Republican voters have seen where that road leads. This party isn't dying because of a lack of qualified candidates, it's dying because its ideas are appealing to less and less people. Trump distracts from all that, so why not have him front and center in a race that's already lost?