I have contended that in the 2012 presidential election, Mitt Romney’s chances were severely limited to a significant extent by the Republican debates held before and during the primaries. Being repeatedly on stage with a variety of ideological extremists (which is putting it politely) not only made Governor Romney look like the presumptive leader of a party from an alternative universe, but also forced him to embrace positions which, along with his own penchant for gaffes, contributed to his eventual undoing.
Of the eight other candidates, five were certifiably unfit for the presidency — Michelle Bachmann, Herman Cain, Ron Paul, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum. The weight of ignorance and idiocy espoused by these candidates was more than any nominee should have had to carry. Thus, as with George W. Bush’s 2004 campaign, Barack Obama did not so much proactivly win re-election as much as the opposition’s ineptitude lost the clear opportunity to unseat a widely unpopular president.
One would have thought the GOP would have learned a lesson. But here they go again, only this time they have nearly doubled the number of candidates whose opinions on most matters of critical importance to our nation and the world range from astoundingly uninformed (again putting it mildly) to downright lunacy — Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, Rand Paul, Rick Perry and Rick Santorum (this duo still as ridiculous as they were in 2012), Donald Trump and Scott Walker, each once again certifiably unfit to be the “leader of the free world” much less commander-in-chief of enough military might to destroy the world many times over.
However, the even bigger difference is that this time, their leader, at least according to the current polls, is one of these misfits — a repulsive reprobate whose ignorance, arrogance, hatefulness, vile remarks and self-promoting lies (just to name a few of his most defining characteristics) make a mockery of their party.
Which is a great irony because Donald Trump is also a fake. He has no intention or desire to be the Republican nominee much less the president. His campaign is just another self-aggrandizing public relations stunt so he can continue to build and sell the one thing he does own of considerable commercial worth — his brand. (The values of his real estate holdings are likely somewhere between bankrupt and bullshit.)
The Republicans failure to repudiate Trump no doubt lies in their fear that he will run as an independent, which would indeed guarantee a Democrat as our next president. However, that is the last thing Trump would do for one simple reason — he would lose, ranking last, which is anathema to him and bad for his franchising operations. Which is also why he will quit long before the primaries are over (and perhaps even before they start, polls being so unreliable), but not before he has milked every moment he can out of the media. (When he does walk away, you can be sure he will spew some ego-addled soliloquy to the effect that his aggressive drive to win and unwillingness to compromise with stupid people are incompatible with the passivity and loser mentality of politics, diplomacy, and governance.)
He and their other certifiably unqualified candidates are living proof that the GOP has not only failed to learn anything from their ill-fated campaign of 2012, they have thus far more than doubled down on their self-defeating dysfunction.