RUSH: Victor Davis Hanson. He’s got a piece at National Review today called, “The ‘Never Trump’ Construct.” Now, this is a long piece, and I would actually would love to read it to you word-for-word, but I’m not going to because it’s too long. But it’s interesting with the point that I made in the previous hour. “For all the talk of a Civil War in the Republican Party over Donald Trump, 90% of Republicans ended up voting for him.”
So where is this civil war in the Republican Party? He’s not denying there’s a civil war. What he’s denying is that it’s over Trump, and he’s drawing a distinction between voters and people in Washington, voters and the establishment. And as far as concerned are concerned, there isn’t any civil war going on with Trump.
It’s not Trump that they’re angry at. ‘Cause Donald Trump got about the same percentage of the Republican vote as John McCain in 2008, slightly less than Romney in 2012. “So the present civil war did not translate into much in 2016. United or divided, the Republicans have lost the popular vote in four out of the last five national elections — 2000, 2008, 2012, and 2016 — not because large numbers of Republicans voted for the Democratic candidate, but because there are not enough Republicans to begin with.
“And their candidates were not able to capture enough independents and Democrats, or to motivate enough first-time or lapsed Republicans to register and turn out to vote, or to flip new demographic groups to conservatism. Trump won no more of the voters who turned out and who identified as ‘conservative’ than did Romney. But again,” the key difference, “Trump apparently did get Democrats, independents…” You know, this is a point that I make during the campaign when I was cataloging the supposed rage and anger of the Never Trumpers in the Washington establishment.
These Romneys, the McCains, what did they all say that they needed to do? When Rand Paul ran, he came by my office, and he made the point: “We can’t win with just Republican votes! We gotta go get Democrats. We gotta go get independents.” Well, Trump did! Trump should have been heralded by these people. He actually did what they claimed had to be done, which is why they claim they supported amnesty. The way they decided to do it, the Romneys and McCains — the way they decided to get Democrat votes — was to go Democrat light.
You know, be in favor of amnesty, be in favor of some national health care, but not like Obama’s. In other words, the McCain-Romney approach was, you know, tell enough to fool conservatives into thinking you were one while you were really going out and trying to appeal to Democrats and so forth. But they didn’t appeal to Democrats in the right way. They tried to peel off Democrats by being Democrat light, rather than what Trump did to get them. What did Trump do to get these disaffected Democrats, independents, Reagan Democrats?
What did he do? “Make. America. Great. Again.” Trump ran against the administrative state. Romney, McCain, George W. Bush were Obama, Hillary. They were the administrative state. Trump gave everybody the blueprint on how to win. The civil war — and this is not a surprise — remains the Never Trumpers on the Republican side, who join the Washington establishment in opposing Trump simply because he’s an outsider. Now, the nub of this…You should really read the whole thing, but the nub of this happens near the conclusion.
“Again, Trump is a symptom of widespread disgust, not the head of a carefully crafted ideological movement with a checklist of issues.” Now, some of you may disagree with that. Some of you may say, “No, no! Trump has an agenda, and he announced it every campaign appearance. There’s five or six items. Bam, bam, bam, bam, bam. Everybody knows what his issues were.” What Mr. Hanson is saying here is that he doesn’t have an ideological agenda based on ideological principles and so forth.
He’s got an agenda, but Trump is a symptom of much more.
He damned sure is. I’m coming to believe, though, that, far from failing to grasp why Trump won, the NeverTrump fools, knaves, and blackguards know full well how and why he trounced them…and it scares the establishment shitweasels to death.
In the end, it still comes back to just the one thing: draining the damned swamp. Nobody ought to be surprised at how the alligators—or swamp rats and mosquitos, more like—feel about that.