August 1, 2016

Have you noticed a number of media outlets calling the Republican campaign for President, "Trumpism"?

It isn't Trumpism. It's the Republican Party. And it has been for far longer than Donald Trump has been running for President.

The video above is from a year ago (July 2015). Alisyn Camerota asks a focus group of Trump and leaning toward Trump voters why they like him. Those of you who have watched any of these "average Trump voter" interviews know their trademarks:

"He speaks his mind, and says what I am already thinking."

"Illegal immigration is the number one issue on my mind."

"He'll make America great again."

The reason the news media interviewed these particular people is, they are registered Republican Primary voters.

They didn't just register to vote this year or fall off a truck into the Republican Party. They voted for Bush, twice. They voted for McCain/Palin. They voted for Romney. And they're tired of losing and being embarrassed by their votes, so embarrassed that they fell for a "Tea Party" rebranding just so they would not have to associate themselves with Bush.

And then the establishment had the nerve to suggest they vote for Bush's brother.

Donald Trump lies about a lot of things, but he is not lying when he says he received more Republican Primary votes than any other candidate in US history. That statistic is skewed by how many Republicans voted "Not Trump," but the fact that the race boiled down to Trump versus not-Trump is not helpful to the "Trumpism" argument. Republican voters selected Trump as their candidate, in state after state after state.

The beltway news media is terrified that the Republican Party will be forever tarnished by this Trump candidacy. Why? Because Trump-as-Republican busts open their "both sides" myth, that "both sides" of the political spectrum are equally bad, equally wrong and right, equally to be blamed for the "mess" in Washington.

Both-siderism protects the Beltway's need for an election horserace, as well as a "view from nowhere" in which the media is outside the race altogether and just an "observer" of "the process." But both-siderism picks a side: the side that is willing to lie repeatedly to win elections and policy points.

DEMOCRAT: Let's try to pass The Affordable Care Act and give seniors access to end of life counseling and hospice care if they want it.

REPUBLICAN: Obamacare is death panels and wants to kill Grandma. Oh, and Obama isn't a real American or a legitimate President.

BELTWAY MEDIA: Both sides!

Donald Trump is so much an outlier on the lying and pathological narcissism scale, that it's easy to think that well, maybe he's not a typical Republican as well. But Trump won Republican primary after primary by appealing to Republican Primary voters.

Trump is not an outlier on the insane rhetoric that has accompanied Republican talking points on immigration.

“Twelve million illegal immigrants later, we are now living in a nation that is beset by people who are suicidal maniacs and want to kill countless innocent men, women, and children around the world.” —former Republican Sen. Fred Thompson during the 2008 presidential race

For every child of illegal immigrants “who’s a valedictorian there’s another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.” -- Republican Rep. Steve King (IA)

The reality is that we track packages from UPS and FedEx every time we order from And, yet, we’ve got a government that says we don’t know what to do and how to keep up with people. If necessary, we ought to outsource this whole issue to FedEx and UPS. They seem to have a better way of keeping up with packages than our government does with people. -- Mike Huckabee, 2007 GOP Debate

And let's not forget that Donald Trump is not even the first Republican whose judgment was called into question by US Generals as using rhetoric that harms national security. In 2009 a group of retired Generals lambasted Liz Cheney and her father for creating hysteria concerning the closing of the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

A group of retired generals say that former Vice President Dick Cheney and his "acolytes," including daughter Liz Cheney (left), are trying to scare Americans over the prospect of closing the Guantanamo Bay prison facility through "nonsense" arguments, Politico reports.

"It's up to all of us to say these arguments advanced by Cheney and his acolytes are nonsense and that really what they're doing is undermining our national security by delaying the date at which Guantanamo is closed," retired Brig. Gen. James Cullen told Politico.

Added retired Gen. David Maddox: "Some of the fear issues that are being raised in this are really unfortunate. It gets people excited about things they shouldn't be excited about and impedes doing what is critical to this country…We take a setback every time somebody, whether it's the vice president or his daughter comes out and says the things that they say."

We see how that worked out. Guantanamo is still operating, largely thanks to the Cheneys.

The rise of Trump is completely due to Republican leadership and their insistence on "their way or the highway" on policy. Most appalling, the Republican establishment in the Congress (I'm looking at you, Mitch McConnell) built the expectations and attitudes of the Republican voter and then expected them to go along when those expectations couldn't possibly be met in real government action. As the most ignored yet most correct analysts of this problem, Ornstein and Mann, have noted for over two years:

[H]aving worked to demonize the president as illegitimate and not loyal to America or American values, every subsequent compromise made by GOP leaders to keep the government open or to pass policy was by definition working with the enemy.

All these forces created a massive backlash against the Republican Party leadership. ... In the end, the only two viable contenders were Ted Cruz, whose calling card was calling his own leader, Mitch McConnell, a liar on the Senate floor — and Donald Trump.

Pundits and scholars had seen the establishment play along with Glenn Beck–style radicalism and conspiracy-mongering before, only to engineer a nomination for a "regular" Republican leader. They assumed history would repeat itself, with a Bush, Rubio, Kasich, or Walker. We did not.

The Beltway media wants to call it "Trumpism" so that after the election, they can go back to having Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan and the other Beltway GOP on their Sunday Shows, at their book signings, and to their Georgetown cocktail parties. The Village, as Digby coins it, can go on pretending it's not about right and wrong, it's about keeping their prestige and power.

Morning Joe and Mika on the cover of Washington Life Magazine with Scott Brown, Tucker Carlson and wife host a book party for Jack Abramoff.

Watch particularly for the Beltway media to question Hillary Clinton's "mandate" after the election because Trump was such an "outlier." He wasn't. He was what the Republican voter chose to represent them, enthusiastically and overwhelmingly.

It's not "Trumpism." It's the Republican Party and the Republican establishment and the Republican voter. They built this. Don't let the beltway media enablers pretend otherwise.

UPDATE: This morning's New York Times calls them "The Stupid Party." Anything not to call them "Republicans." NO rebranding allowed, folks.

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