August 23, 2019

Kudos where they're due: CNN remembers the past, reminding their viewers that current Trump toadies Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham, and Rick Perry called out Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign.

And yes, the hypocrisy of those particular Republicans is based on political expediency.

Chris Cillizza even goes so far as to note that Trump is very popular among Republicans in Texas, and that Ted Cruz's flip toward Trump saved him a primary challenge.

But THEN Chris said this:

CHRIS CILLIZZA: I've told people this all the time that Donald Trump is not really a Republican. I know there's an "R" after his name, I know he ran as a Republican, but look at people who have been in the Republican party for a long time, Jeb Bush, George W. Bush, people who are pillars of -- John Kasich. People who are pillars of the party. They're not all actively speaking out against Donald Trump, but what he represents is not the conservatism of Paul Ryan, of John Boehner, of people who were longtime stalwarts of the party. It's just not close.

Oh no you don't Chris. I appreciate that you point out how 2016 exit polls prove many Trump voters didn't think he was either trustworthy or qualified. That proves my theory that with a reported 92% chance that Clinton would win, many (white) Americans threw away their vote due to misogyny or anti-establishment sentiment. Herd immunity didn't work in 2016.

But that doesn't explain how Trump got the Republican nomination for President. As I wrote in 2016, in an article called -- get this, Chris Cillizza -- "Don't You Dare Call It Trumpism." Trump voters, I wrote...

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.

I go on to prove that Trump's rhetoric on immigration isn't an outlier, it's boilerplate primary speechifying. Trump watches Fox, repeats Fox talking points, and Republican voters reply "he's saying what I'm thinking."

This is a problem for the Chris Cillizza's of cable news. Why?

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.

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.

Burn the lifeboats. No Republican rebranding after Trump.

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