Heck of a news morning, summarized in today’s Morning Jolt. Stephen Bannon, the man who turned Breitbart.com from what it was under Andrew Breitbart to what it is today, is taking over the Trump campaign. Paul Manafort might have violated federal law on lobbying for foreign countries.
And the angry denunciation about reluctant conservatives continues, even though the Trump campaign has much, much, much bigger problems.
Look, if you’re pulling for Trump as the best option left to stop Hillary, Godspeed. There are no good options left for conservatives, only disputably less bad ones. If Trump wins, I’ll be thrilled that Hillary Clinton received a much-deserved loss and rebuke from the voting public. And yes, from the perspective of a conservative, a President Trump might get it right sometimes, while Hillary Clinton will consistently push in the opposite direction.
But at this moment, the argument about #NeverTrump feels pretty moot. With few if any Trump ads on the air, campaign offices few and far between, a campaign schedule that keeps sending the candidate to rallies in deep blue states, every indicator showing the GOP nominee getting obliterated among Latinos, African-Americans, young people and women, and the polls looking abysmal for both Trump and Congressional Republicans, reluctant conservatives are among the least of Trump’s problems. If all Trump-skeptical Republicans put aside all of their concerns and jumped on board, the outlook for his campaign wouldn’t be all that different.
It’s hard to get emotionally invested in the need for Trump to win when the candidate finds a new way to botch things every single day. If he’s not fighting with a slain soldier’s dad, he’s serving up a dozen tweets about how unfair the media is to him; if he’s not pre-emptively claiming the election will be rigged, he’s implying gun owners will assassinate Hillary Clinton; if he’s not calling President Obama the founder of ISIS and insisting it’s not a metaphor, he’s whining about the debate schedule. Trump’s longtime right-hand man Roger Stone just claimed, without any supporting evidence, that “Scott Walker and the Reince Priebus machine rigged as many as five elections including the defeat of a Walker recall election.” The entire Trump circus is a deep dive into paranoid conspiracy theories and seething resentment that does nothing to advance the cause of limited government or individual liberty. Trump gives his GOP skeptics nothing to latch onto as a sign of genuine hope.
I keep hearing from Trump fans that the future of the Republic is at stake. If that’s the case, why are there bigger expectations and demands of the reluctant conservatives than on the candidate himself?
If Trump’s Doing Fine, Why Is Priorities USA Suspending TV Ads in Key States?
One of the things that’s most relentlessly infuriating about Trump and his supporters is their adamant refusal to consider that anything he’s done or doing isn’t working. They think they’re winning and that all of the polls showing Hillary Clinton with a sizeable and growing lead are part of a vast conspiratorial misinformation campaign.
Even if you reject all polls besides the self-selecting online ones showing Trump ahead, consider this: “The pro-Hillary Clinton super-PAC Priorities USA is suspending TV advertising in Virginia, Colorado, and Pennsylvania until at least the end of September.” Now, maybe this is a giant head-fake on the part of the Democratic super-PAC, one of the all-time epic exercises in reverse psychology. But Occam’s Razor would suggest they’re seeing the same thing the public polls are showing – that Hillary’s lead in Virginia and Colorado and Pennsylvania is now comfortable and there’s not much need to spend money in those states anymore.
The belief that the Trump campaign is working fine, that television advertising isn’t needed, that campaign offices and full-time staffers in swing states aren’t needed… at some point, the Trump argument to #NeverTrump Republicans is to jump on board a bandwagon of delusional denial.