Trump should spare us all and retire. But his antagonists’ lack of self-awareness keeps giving him oxygen
Among the predictably enormous quantity of horrified responses to Donald Trump’s campaign announcement this week, the New York Times editorial board handed down a beauty: “America Deserves Better Than Donald Trump.”
Is that true? If the question is if Donald Trump should be president, even I’ve been clear from the start the answer is no. But deserve? When the Times reaches for a word like that, they complicate what should be a simple question. Does the Times editorial board deserve President Trump? As William Munny put it with a bullet in Unforgiven, deserve’s got nothing to do with it.
Trump was elected in 2016. That’s a fact. The American political establishment has since refused any honest reckoning about how or why it happened. The closest the Times came to an explanation in this week’s editorial:
Mr. Trump has many loyal supporters, who regard him as a flawed but effective champion. His rise to power was built on the idea that he is a winner and, for many Republicans, his victory in 2016 was sufficient justification for having supported him. It allowed the party to cut taxes and take firm control of the Supreme Court, opening an era of conservative jurisprudence, including the reversal of Roe v. Wade this year.
In this fantasy world, Republicans merely put up with Trump, as a means to securing traditional conservative ends like cutting taxes and reversing Roe, because of “the idea that he is a winner.”