Yesterday Hillary gave what was, in The Omnivore's opinion, a ground breaking speech on the Alt-Right. It was notable for a few reasons:
- It flat out called her opponent racist. That is a first in modern politics. There have been implications and stuff from surrogates--but this was blunt and impossible to misconstrue.
- It referenced a portion of Trump's support--what she described as a "fringe group" but tarred the candidate on the whole with them. Rather than being sleight of hand, though, it was done because of the way the candidate has refused to repudiate them.
- Hillary spoke up, again, accurately, for former GOP nominees and (later in another interview) GWB. The force with which she did this was jaw-dropping.
Quick Link: If you don't know what the Alt-Right is, it's the new way of being racist and cloaking it in the language of science (biology, sociology, psychology). It also has a serious element of Internet trolling behind it--but is perhaps more, rather than less vicious for that.
What Did We Learn?
To The Omnivore, the big takeaway here is that things have gotten so bad that (a) Hillary can make a speech like that and the GOP has to be roundly silent which means that (b) the GOP is still not willing to take the blame for him. In this case, silence really is consent.
The Omnivore saw this comment on a message board:
Thought experiment: If Trump hadn’t been nominated and one of the young rising stars of the very broad GOP bench had gotten it, how would we all feel right now? We’d be feeling like it was a new day. We’d be the party with the young talent, fresh ideas, etc. If, say, Marco Rubio were the nominee, instead of Trump (who is currently softening his thoughts on immigration) – yes, we’d be facing the same hostility from the MSM but we should be used to that by now.This is possibly true but it ignores the paradox that Trump got where he is, not because of the Democrats but because it isn't a new day for the GOP and Marco Rubio was, in fact, soundly rejected. Soundly. Rejected.
It's not a brand new day because in 2012 every humiliating candidate (including Bachmann and, for a time, Trump led in polling) got their time at the top of the race until none but Romney were left. That problem didn't get better: it got worse. It wasn't the Alt-Right that stood against Romney--it was just the GOP Base. The very significant part-of-the-party GOP Base.
The Omnivore thinks that the above thinking is, in fact, missing the point: Yes, another candidate might well be winning right now. Yes, some of the candidates running were of at least decent if not high ('high') quality--but it assumes that the goal of the nomination is to win the presidency whatever the platform.
If Trump were somehow winning right now would these posters be feeling like it was a brand new day?
The answer: is YES.
Everyone Loves a WinnerOn Earth 'N,' right now in another reality, Trump is running against Hillary but the polling is reversed. The Democrats are in despair, the party is in chaos: How could we have nominated this woman?? Wouldn't Sanders have been better? Anyone?? Lincoln Chaffee??
In that world, and make no mistake, #NeverTrump has largely come around to him. To be sure, some wouldn't--but in this world, if Trump were looking like a sure thing? He'd have endorsements from people who won't now. He'd have money flowing in. He'd (probably) have field offices (why? Because if he was winning he'd have a lot of easier to use money and the in-fighting at his campaign HQ would be less severe--he'd be getting consistent good advice).
The reason the GOP didn't get a happier, sunnier candidate is because they were in no way a happier, sunnier party. Trump is their candidate and for the past 8 years, the party as a whole has been an incubator for the Alt-Right with the full knowledge of what it stood for. If you don't think this is true, numerous examples are trivial to find. These people were valued for their vote--their contribution to victory--and the conservative media that spoke to them was seen as an ally, not an enemy.
A Final NoteJust today, Erick Erickson holds that the conservative media, while responsible for Trump, was created by the Mainstream Media because they didn't take conservatives position. While there are a lot of things wrong with this (one being that over time, at least, the conservative movement's "positions" became further and further out there) the part he won't look at is this: Even if we take his assertion at face value, that Conservative Media was necessary because the Mainstream wouldn't tell their story, does he not see that the story that Conservative Media decided to tell, once it had a platform, was a fantasy about Secret Muslim Tyrants, Courageous Tea Party Revolutionaries, and, of course, the rise of the brown/black horde?
Were they required to tell those stories? Or did it turn out that once they had an audience, that was the kind of stories the Right Wing media wanted to tell?