Saturday, October 15, 2016

Fareed Zakaria predicts "the end of the Republican party." Who is to blame?

The name of the dementer sucking the soul out of the GOP is Trump. Zakaria explains why in this morning's editorial in the Daily Star.. Here is a sample of snippets.

Given Donald Trump's eff you performance in the presidential debate a week ago some pundits are speculating that Trump has given up on the election but plans an alt-right media empire.

It’s quite possible. But in any event, what it means for the Republican Party is simple — Donald Trump is not going away. Many Republicans have nurtured a fantasy that their party has been briefly taken over by a strange historical aberration who will lose the election and then somehow things will go back to normal. Trump has now made it clear that he will not go gently into the night.

In fact, he has declared war on the GOP establishment. His goal is surely to take over the Republican Party and remake it into a populist, protectionist, nationalist party, the kind that his Breitbart-oriented advisers have been dreaming about for years.

Traditional politicians like Paul Ryan will try to rescue the GOP. But when, not if, Trump bolts he will take his fascist supporters with him. Those traditional politicians are to blame.

The Republican establishment could have stopped Trump, but instead surrendered to him months, perhaps years, ago. Republicans often recall Neville Chamberlain and his policy of appeasing Adolf Hitler when they want to criticize opponents for being weak-kneed. And yet that is exactly the approach the party’s leaders took with Trump — appeasing him in the hope it would satisfy his appetites. They tolerated, excused and covered up for Trump as he began his political career with birther racism, launched his presidential campaign with anti-Mexican slurs, heightened it with anti-Muslim bigotry and thrilled crowds with policies that would be unconstitutional or amount to war crimes — all the while demeaning and objectifying women. Winston Churchill said of appeasers: “Each one hopes that if he feeds the crocodile enough, the crocodile will eat him last.”

Trump will lose the election. Forget his dismal polls last week. He has almost never been ahead of Hillary Clinton in the polls for a single week since they were both nominated. The major models predicting the election have only once or twice put his chances over 40 percent.

But Trump will not sit in loyal opposition to Clinton. He tells his legions that the election will be rigged. He claims that the media is lying and its reporting cannot be believed. He warns that the country will be utterly destroyed if Clinton were to win. He is fueling a toxic movement of protest and insurgency.

Trump will lose. And he will then destroy the Republican Party. The frightening question is what he will do to the country in the process.

Who is to blame for that dismal eventuality? Brian Beutler at the New Republic faults many for the failure to properly vet Trump, including the 16 GOP candidates who were too incompetent to do even the most minimal opposition research and Trump himself for not self-vetting.

It stands to reason that if Trump’s team had turned up the information that is now pouring forth from his accusers and others, he wouldn’t have been able to mount even the shell of the campaign he’s run so far. Surrogates wouldn’t have attached themselves to him; staffers wouldn’t have accepted jobs with him; the Trump campaign would’ve been over before it started. It’s likely, too, that if any of the 16 other Republicans who sought the presidency had done an even halfway competent job investigating Trump’s past, they would have turned up enough information to smother his campaign in its infancy—at the very least, the people now running it wouldn’t be beset by panic about what kinds of horrifying things Trump might have said and done on tape over the past 40 years.

So this failing falls on a lot of people. It’s on his Republican primary opponents and their staffers, who either failed to uncover or failed to deploy the information becoming public now; it’s on Republican voters, who saw traces of this kind of behavior in Trump’s documented record and either didn’t care or applauded it; it’s on Trump’s inner circle for ignoring what they knew and lacking the curiosity to search for more; and on Trump himself for preferring to surround himself with opportunists and yes-men rather than people of even minimal character.

But if you set aside the failures that got them here, and consider how Trump and the GOP are managing the situation, a picture emerges of a party and a candidate in the grip of the same delusion, projection, and pathological vindictiveness.

So it falls on the next administration to prevent even more horrific damage that the GOP has done to the nation. It falls on us to make sure that there is a next administration capable of doing so.

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