Perfect picture is perfect.
Paul Waldman on the Republican establishment's desperate attempt to pin the rise of Donald Trump on President Obama:
Republicans watching in dismay as Donald Trump continues to lead their presidential primary contest have almost given up trying to come up with a plan to stop him, with the spreading realization that he'll rise or fall and there's little they can do to affect that outcome. But if you can't change things, at least you can explain them, which leads to the pressing question: Whose fault is this?This sounds familiar! And let me note once again that, although Trump's candidacy may be a shitshow, the establishment Republicans pretending to have a case of the vapors over his popularity are putting on an even more detestable spectacle.
Liberals have their answer. Trump, they say, is the culmination of the last seven years of Republican politics, or maybe even the last 50 years. Faced with an angry Tea Party base, the party's leadership encouraged that anger, yet couldn't deliver on any of the substantive promises they made. They told their voters to hate Washington, despise Barack Obama, and fear immigrants — and this is what they got. Go even farther back and you can find Trump's roots in the "Southern Strategy" that worked so well for so long, where Republicans fed working-class whites a diet of racial resentment to get them to sign on with an agenda that served the interests of the wealthy.
As you might imagine, this story isn't particularly appealing to conservatives. So they have a different answer, one which is now gaining increasing currency on the right. Who's to blame for Donald Trump? Why the same man who's to blame for everything that goes wrong in America: Barack Obama.
...If Trump's success is a reaction to Barack Obama, it's only insofar as he's an exaggerated version of the way all Republicans have felt, spoken, and acted toward this president over his entire presidency. Trump's voters didn't wake up a month or two ago and decide that they're nativists attracted to someone offering easy answers to complex problems. They're exactly the voters that the Republican Party has been cultivating, full of fear and anger and contempt.
...[T]hey can't pin the blame on Barack Obama. They sowed this poisonous field, and the Trump candidacy is what grew out of it. If it means they lose the White House again because of it — whether Trump is the nominee or not — they'll have no one to blame but themselves.
They know who their base is. They have carefully cultivated that base over decades with fearmongering, scapegoating, and dogwhistling.
They aren't really angry or scared or whatever that Trump is ascendant. They're pissed because he's shameless about reaping the benefits of generationally sewn divisions, exploiting without restraint the seething underbelly of authoritarian conservatism. He's recklessly, even joyously, exposing the bigotry on which they've traded, and made it infinitely more difficult for them to deny.
Trump has staked out the prime real estate in the grotesque mosaic of avarice, antipathy, incompetence, and corruption that movement conservatism built. He's claimed the penthouse in his party's shimmering skyscraper of shit, and slapped a giant gilded TRUMP on the front of it.
Because that's what Trump does. He isn't interested in sedate strategizing in quiet church basements. He wants a carnival that starts with a parade of ostentatious fuckery down Main Street.
And all establishment Republicans have left is to act mystified by it all, and blame Obama. Because the Ownership Society won't own their shit.