Trump-strapping: Liberal pundits use Trump to try to win old arguments

The “Trump retroactively proves we were right about all Republicans!” columns ignore the extraordinarily anomalous conditions that were necessary for Trump to win the nomination while 60 percent of the voters (in contested states) voted against him and the overwhelming majority of Republican officials opposed him, many of them openly and vigorously. Without rehashing the entire primary here, Trump benefited from three interlocking dynamics: divided opposition that prevented anti-Trump voters from coalescing behind a single alternative; a celebrity candidate with huge name recognition and $2 billion in free media advantages over his rivals; and Republican voters having lost faith in their leaders’ ability to accomplish the things they promise. There’s plenty of room to argue over what Trump means to his supporters, some of whom quite clearly are driven by racial resentments and animosities, but they remain a minority of the party, and a relatively powerless one when not wedded to the unique conditions of the 2016 presidential primary.

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