The point is not that Democrats and the media are insincere in their attacks on Donald Trump, or even that their criticism is misplaced. But if the media are assigning responsibility for the havoc wreaked by his candidacy, we should start by looking in the mirror.

If Reagan and George W. Bush are routinely portrayed as warmongers, if both Bushes (and Reagan and Romney) are painted as bigots, if we write that John McCain has no core values, how do we expect rank-and-file conservatives or grassroots independents to respond when Trump is dubbed by the media as an existential threat to democracy? In other words, once you’ve compared the most popular Republican president in the 20th century to Adolf Hitler, what have you got left in your rhetorical arsenal that any open-minded person would possibly believe?

The result was predictable: The Trump voters tuned us out. We earned that disregard, and we should have seen it coming. To Russ Schriefer, a top Romney adviser in 2012, the Democrats and their media cheerleaders are a classic example of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.”

“Don’t be surprised,” Schriefer told the Associated Press, “when your accusations against Trump are falling upon deaf ears and aren’t working, when you’ve used them in the past against a person for whom the descriptions didn’t fit.”