Let’s be clear about our nation’s plight: At this moment, American voters face a choice between two historically corrupt, dishonest, and incompetent politicians. One of them helped create the most dangerous foreign-policy environment since the Cold War, a world in which our nation faces the largest and most savage jihadist fighting force in modern times, a re-arming and potentially nuclear Iran, and the re-emergence of threats from Russia and China. The other would respond to that crisis with a collection of announced policies that range from the insane (intentionally killing women and children to punish terrorists, sending Exxon to pacify the Middle East, blocking even our Kurdish allies from entering the United States) to the reckless (ending the NATO alliance that has been the foundation of Western security for nearly 70 years).
One of them promises an economic policy worse than the status quo: raising taxes, increasing government spending, and pushing the same tired progressive agenda that has helped stagnate middle-class wages and dramatically expand dependence on government. The other casually proposes economic changes that could plunge the nation into yet another deep recession, threatening destructive trade wars, questioning the full faith and credit of the United States, and outlining a tax plan that could add as much as $10 trillion to the national debt.
All of which is true, none of which would be remedied by another invertebrate, phoned-in run by Mitt Romney.
Let’s be really clear: there is no viable Trump candidacy without that egg that Romney laid in 2012.
The seeds of discontent that this hot mess of a year grew out of were expertly sown in 2012. Romney’s loss spread a thick layer of fertilizer over the seeds, then the GOP’s unfortunately named “Autopsy” (in which it ignored overwhelming public sentiment on illegal immigration) began watering them until a beanstalk grew to the top of Trump Tower.
Despite the fact that the Republican Party nominated the ONE candidate who couldn’t hammer Barack Obama over the head regarding Obamacare, it still had a chance to win. That’s how awful Obama’s first term was.
Republicans love to mention two things about Mitt Romney when wandering drunkenly down What Could Have Been Lane: that he’s a decent man and that he’s been proven right about pretty much everything since 2012. Both are true, and French brings them up in his post.
Thing Number Three that never gets mentioned, however, is that Romney is a horrible candidate. He’s the guy who couldn’t beat John McCain in 2008. After one strong debate against Barack Obama, he rolled over like a puppy having Beggin’ Strips thrown at him from all sides and essentially lost an election to Candy Crowley. He’s 1-3 in big contests, if you count the 2008 primary.
Nice guy, yes. Electoral savior…nope.
As someone who doesn’t want to vote for Trump, I’m not entirely unsympathetic to National Review’s anti-Trump stance. Where we differ is that I see Trump as merely a symptom of a malaise that the GOP has been suffering from for a very long time. Getting previous symptoms of the malaise to flare up again–even in a third party–isn’t going to make American politics return to health any time soon.