October 9, 2016

As more and more Republicans express their outrage toward Donald Trump and seemingly concede the election to Clinton, it seems to me it is the Republican establishment that this anger ought to be directed toward.  I find it almost difficult to be angry with Trump, any more than I’d be mad at a dog for barking.  After all, how many people can honestly be surprised at the latest revelations?  Did anyone really expect anything different from someone who made a career appearing with the likes of Howard Stern?  These tapes show nothing more than Donald Trump acting like the person we’ve known him to be all along.  The real question is how Republicans allowed this to come out now.  The fact is that this should have come out months ago during the primary.

I understand that Reince Priebus was under a lot of pressure to ensure that the Republican primary process was fair, and at the time it looked like a Trump third party candidacy may have looked like a bigger threat than Trump actually winning the nomination, which nobody without the benefit of hindsight would have predicted.  I further understand that he is not Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and was not trying to use the party machinery to rig to process for, or in this case against, one candidate or another.  However, there is a difference between putting your thumb on the scale for or against a candidate and very basic vetting of your candidates.  If there was something like this out there, it was his job to know about it and deal with it so that it doesn’t come out a month before the election.  This error is more egregious given that it is not just one tape, but a series of interviews over a number of years.

In addition to the RNC, I recall there being sixteen other candidates in the race.  How is it that none of them brought out these tapes and these comments?  Whether or not Clinton opposition research has anything to do with these tapes surfacing now, how did nobody know about these tapes back in the primaries?  If they did know about them, how did nobody recognize the importance?  I understand that there may be some hesitancy to get dirty during the primaries, but by the end, Ted Cruz and Donald Trump weren’t holding anything back.  Even if they were, bringing these tapes up then would have been the common sense thing to do.  You either sink Trump before he can sink the whole GOP, or you inoculate him against these tapes, allowing the American people time to digest their content more than a month before the election.

Any way you cut it, the Republican Party has a royal mess on their hands, and they have nobody to blame but themselves.  Even if the worst of these tapes has been buried in some Hollywood archive, the Howard Stern interviews took place over a number of years.  The fact that nobody thought to bring them up before now is baffling.  They have thirty days, a candidate that can’t win, they can’t force out, and even if they could, they probably do not have enough time to replace him at the top of the ballot in any meaningful way.  The best they can hope for is to salvage as much as they can in way of House and Senate candidates.  I can’t say I’m surprised at this from Donald Trump, but there is one thing I’m struggling to comprehend.  While this Donald Trump time bomb was out there waiting to explode, where the hell was the GOP?


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