The high cost of America’s cheap populism

With defeat now the likely outcome for the Republican presidential nominee, the blame shifting has begun early and in earnest.

To some partisans, such as Sean Hannity, the responsibility for the expected loss — as well as for Hillary Clinton’s Supreme Court picks and “whatever illegal immigrants do” — lies with Never Trump conservatives. Whether Hannity is the sharpest knife in the drawer (a matter of recent controversy), he leaves Occam’s razor rusty from disuse.

Isn’t it more likely that Republicans are losing because their candidate has committed enough gaffes to torpedo 10 campaigns? Because he has premised his appeal on prejudice? Because he displays no appreciation of constitutional values and offers himself as a strongman? Because he has no knowledge of, or interest in, public policy? Because he is an erratic narcissist with a compulsive need to crush and humiliate his critics? Holding Never Trump forces responsible for all this is akin to blaming the spectators in Lakehurst, N.J., for the Hindenburg disaster. The pointing and gawking did not cause the flames.

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