Trump backers already spining his defeat?

Ramesh Ponnuru:
First (and with apologies for examining a tweet quite this minutely), this description of the battle lines among Republicans is inaccurate in a way that carries a pro-Trump bias. If there’s a third party anti-Trump Republican candidate, his supporters will include a lot of people who can’t reasonably be included in any definition of the “establishment.” Trump has in many states lagged among Republicans who consider themselves “very conservative.” An anti-Trump candidate will draw from these voters. A lot of them will be people who voted for Romney and McCain only grudgingly. They won’t, that is, be the people who told other Republicans to vote for the nominee in the name of party unity. They’ll be the people who were on the receiving end of that message, but who this time can’t stomach following it. The Gingriches, Giulianis, Christies, and Doles of the world will, by contrast, be once again telling everyone to fall in line behind the Republican nominee.
Third, anti-Trump Republicans will be blamed for a Trump defeat even if they don’t back a third-party candidate. If conservatives stay home and Trump loses, his followers will say it’s the fault of anti-Trump conservatives for sitting it out. If Trump loses by plumbing new depths with Hispanics, Asians, blacks, and moderate white women, his followers will say it’s because the anti-Trump conservatives validated liberal attacks on him as a bigot. If Trump doesn’t put together a national organization capable of contesting a general election, his supporters will blame anti-Trump Republicans for not doing it for him. This morning John Nolte tweeted: “If Trump loses to Hillary. . . I will forever blame #NeverTrump.” I am sure that he is predicting his own future behavior with perfect accuracy.
My own feeling is that the irrational Trump supporters are responsible for choosing an unpopular candidate who has alienated huge groups of voters including many Republicans.   They followed the lead of their candidate by insulting those who opposed their point of view.  They bear much more responsibility for this fiasco than anyone who tried to warning them that they were pushing the party off a cliff.  When Trump loses it will be because he is a bad candidate with an incoherent message  who mistakes insults for logical arguments.


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