Noted genius, Marc Thiessen of the Washington Post, thinks he has an explanation for why Donald Trump isn’t collapsing the way that the Republican Establishment assumed he would. It comes down to two things. First, the Republican electorate somewhat inexplicably believes (in overwhelming numbers) that Trump has the best prospects in a general election matchup against Hillary Clinton. Second, the GOP electorate also believes strongly that Trump is the most likely to shake up things in Washington DC.
This seems like a decent explanation until you examine it for two seconds.
On the first point, which of the other eleventy billion right-wing prospects is a good general election candidate? Is it Ben Carson? Really?
Surely people don’t think Ted Cruz or Chris Christie or Rand Paul are solid general election candidates. And who is the last person to acknowledge that the Bush Brand is deader than New Coke?
I know the press loves Marco Rubio but does anyone realize what his record down in Florida actually looks like when you scrutinize it? The man’s record makes Sarah Palin look clean. A Rubio candidacy will make the GOP wish they’d hired they guy who closed down the George Washington Bridge for days out of petty political spite. The Clintons would treat Rubio like a chew-toy and make him wish he’d kept the boring job that he hates.
I know no one really serious wants to put their eggs in Carly Fiorina’s basket, and the rest of the candidates are bordering on Alan Keyes-crazy and Gary Bauer-charismatic.
Except for Ohio Governor John Kasich, of course, who is the only guy in the field with the resume and the record and the willingness to pursue the middle to make an actual case for himself. Maybe the GOP base will figure this out in time, but it’s looking unlikely at the moment.
The bottom line is that when people say Trump is the most electable, that’s like saying the guy on the stool at the end of the bar is the most electable. Compared to Bush, Carson, et. al., that’s actually true.
So, it doesn’t explain anything to say that the base thinks Trump is the most electable. The question is why is he the most electable?
On the second point, it’s kind of a no-brainer that the guy famous for firing people is the best bet to shake up things in Washington DC. The question is why is shaking things up the most pressing desire of the Republican electorate?
I mean there’s obviously gridlock in Washington and Democrats are frustrated, too. But Hillary Clinton isn’t stuck at single digits in the polls, trailing a reality-television star. She has a contest on her hands, but she isn’t in free-fall like Jeb Bush.
No, the answer is the Republicans are like the boy who cried wolf. Their base doesn’t believe in them anymore. They were too full of shit for too long.
And it broke the party.
So, whether it’s Trump or a surging Carson, the base is clear that it wants nothing to do with the Republican Establishment or its shitty unelectable candidates.
I don’t know who can really blame them, and I certainly wouldn’t blame Trump.
If you don’t want to go too far back, I think you could start with George W. Bush and move on to Sarah Palin. Maybe the GOP should have shunned Trump when he started the Birther stuff instead of encouraging him and asking for his support.
In any case, Trump isn’t winning because he’s electable or willing to shake things up. He’s winning because none of them are electable and he’s willing to shake things up.