Now that Trump has secured the nomination–something we predicted months ago–the experts are once again making predictions based on…their experience? The Wall Street Journal today had a front page story on how Trump has a hill to climb in that he must tap the establishment to win. However, as Trump noted the election is not about the Republican Party and saving it from its self-inflicted wounds.
On With All Due Respect this evening, “experts” left and right said that Hillary would for sure defeat Trump in the election because Trump has problems with women and LGBT, and Hispanics. That’s an old game. Identity politics will not be as important this election because, Trump knows how to flip the frame and make it about central ideas of the Republic. As we have argued, Hillary cannot compete with that because she’s stuck in the 90s. This election is not an election of old. It is why the blog 538 has been so wrong for nearly a year: data cannot measure the political. It never has been able to, even though it can predict some things in some years. Remember when Nate Silver wrote that the campaign was in fantasy land for Manafort saying it would have the nomination by mid May?
Dan Señor stated on the increasingly irrelevant Bloomberg show With all Due Respect that Trump not only destroyed the Republican Party but that it is Trump’s responsibility to reach out to unify the party. No. That’s self interest talking, or worse, the inability to understand politics. Both could also be true. As JAG noted, Peggy Noonan wrote years ago that the Republican Party was broken, and broken by Bush. And yet Karl Rove is still a feature in editorials and on Fox news (where he has made one bad prediction after another). In his latest advice column, Rove states that Trump should be more like…Bush! The “architect” of the decline of the Republican Party now thinks Trump can do better if only he’d take advice from him and act like every other politician.
Paul Ryan is also falling into the trap and failing to understand the moment, and Trump’s response to Ryan is nothing short of a schooling. Trump says essentially, hey Paul (and Republican Party) it’s not about YOU. This is about correcting the failures that you and you alone own. Therefore, Trump says that he is willing to meet them, but they have to walk half-way too.
The counter by Heilmann and Halperin say that he may lose because “big donors” are not going to donate to his campaign. To win he needs “major donors.” Since when does money guarantee any election much less this election? Trump has hardly spent any, and that calculus is not going to change. Trump understands media better than the media.
All of this brings to mind, again, the political. Trump’s entire campaign has been about the regime, and the regime question. Who are we? Obama, Clinton, Romney, Bush, all tell us at any given time by sermonizing “who we are.” Trump raises the question not to dictate but to have a conversation. But first, we must protect the regime. Only then may we have a conversation, or deliberate, among ourselves about the idea of the Republic in the modern era. Trump is not sufficiently conservative to many party elites because he wants to have that conversation, and not protect varied political interests and be satisfied with the crumbs that fall from the table. The Weekly Standard should start taking note, but then again, they have a lot invested in the last 16 years. They are now considering passing the Hemlock around the office. We don’t object. Indeed, they have not the courage to do even that and are desperate for white knight. Now they are floating Sasse as a challenger. Good grief. That will fail. As we have noted elsewhere, Sasse is not a Declarationist.
In the end, even our elite publications of “conservatism” have no concern of the political, or the good. When that happens, prudence is also abandoned. The prudent play is to play in order to make the Republic better, not remaining beholden to ideas and issues that don’t play and will not get one closer to the policy goals they allege to support. They have already failed as staples of the party or ideology. At this rate, the anti-trumpers are being anti-political, abandoning persuasion, and leaving the Republic up to Clinton or some no name Republican to “save” it.
They can keep it up while Trump cruises to the Oval Office and they are left wondering just what the hell happened.