Some left-wing pundits, anticipating that Donald Trump will lose on November 8, are pre-emptively trying to make sure that conservatives take the blame for Trump’s nomination. Gary Legum of Salon thinks Republicans ought to acknowledge that they’ve “spent decades incubating the ethno-nationalism and white supremacy that Trump has exploited,” and therefore, after the election, should “conduct an appropriate housecleaning, expelling the poison of the alt-right and moderating [the party’s] conservatism to appeal to a wider range of the electorate.”
What’s likelier, Legum suggested, is what’s already started to happen: righty pundits will blame “Democrats and the mainstream media for somehow duping Republican voters into falling under the spell of [Trump]…I don’t want to assume that these commentators are suggesting GOP voters are gullible idiots who fell for the garbage that these pundits have been putting out in the world for years. But maybe I’m wrong!”
Legum argued that right-wing news outlets “have both spent the better part of the Obama administration pushing the exact silly demagoguery and conspiracy theories that riled up the conservative base and pushed it into nominating a demagogue of its own…It is not enough to say now that you are the principled conservatives who have always opposed Trump when you participated in feeding the rage that fueled his rise with bad-faith criticisms of liberalism.”
The Washington Monthly’s Martin Longman scoffed at the idea that the 2016 GOP field included an electorally plausible non-wacko who could have taken Trump down (bolding added):
Other than John Kasich, at times, and short-timers like George Pataki and maybe Jim Gilmore, the rest of the field represented (or, at least, pandered to) a far right-wing conservative worldview that has been steeping in weaponized stupidity for the entire Obama Era…
Long before Trump arrived as a “Republican” in any normal sense of that word, liberals had discovered that it is no longer possible to converse with “mainstream” Republican politicians. Rather than legislating with them and ironing out difficult compromises, all their time has been spent fending off insanity about Benghazi and Death Panels and asinine conspiracy theories. It’s been a challenge to just keep the governments’ lights on and not default on our debts.
So, the idea that there was some “sane” alternative to Trump was seen as an offensive proposition from the beginning of the primaries until the end.