A raging, unhinged Donald Trump threatened Hillary Clinton with prison during a presidential debate unlike any other. But corporate media pundits said he won.
Now that Donald Trump has demonstrated himself to be one of the most repellent figures in U.S. political history, Republicans are terrified that Democrats will successfully wield him against them like a cudgel for the foreseeable future.
As GOP consultant Rick Wilson puts it: “For years now, Democrats will be able to roll out TV ads and say, ‘When John Smith says today he’s for a brighter future, remember who he stood by: Donald Trump. He stood by Donald Trump’s misogyny, racism, sexism, and stupidity.’”
Based on history, however, Republicans have nothing to worry about.
George W. Bush left office seen as one of the most unpopular and incompetent presidents of all time. Yet top Democrats have made no effort to use him to tarnish the Republican brand. Instead, they spend much of their time hugging him.
It’s a mystery why Democrats take this approach. Do they simply agree with much of Republican policy? Are they psychologically incapable of playing politics for keeps? Certainly it’s the case that both Clintons and Barack Obama seem to have a deep emotional need to have Republicans like them.
Whatever the answer, it’s likely that — assuming Hillary Clinton is elected next month — the Democrats will simply never mention Trump again, and let all the Republicans who made him possible off the hook.
In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Clintons make up with Trump in time to attend his fourth wedding.