NBC News has an incredibly stupid take on “How Republicans ended up with Trump” that’s worth a close look, since we’re likely to see more of its kind over the next few weeks. Coming from the crackerjack analysis team of Chuck Todd, Mark Murray, and Carrie Dann, it has five points:
- “Immigration trumped all”
- “GOP voters discarded the advice to focus on reaching out beyond the base to minorities”
- ”The conservative echo chamber drowned out doubts about Trump”
- ”GOP voters no longer trusted its party elites”
- ”Other GOP elites stood on the sidelines”
In the final point, there’s a moment of truth:
But not all Republicans spoke out against Trump. Some -- perhaps fearful of the GOP base they helped create and won midterm elections with -- stood on the sidelines, like House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Emphasis added—because, yeah, you think? We can never for a second lose track of the fact that Republican elites created this base. President Obama made exactly that point in Nevada on Sunday:
“They just stood by and said nothing, and their base actually began to believe this crazy stuff,” Mr. Obama said. “Donald Trump didn’t start this. He just did what he always does, which is slap his name on it, take credit for it and promote it.”
Damn straight. And it applies throughout the NBC analysis. That first item, that “immigration trumped all”? That didn’t come out of nowhere. That came out of Republicans using immigration as a wedge issue for years. “GOP voters discarded the advice to focus on reaching out beyond the base to minorities”? Gosh, which advice was that? Answer: “the advice from the RNC"s 2013 ‘autopsy’ that the party needed to reach out to minority voters.”
The RNC did that autopsy because they were already losing non-white voters so badly.
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It’s not like Trump is reversing some big trend of black and brown people voting Republican in increasing numbers. He’s just ignoring the advice they gave themselves after the last time people of color rejected them by huge margins. And that rejection came because of anti-immigrant rhetoric, birtherism, “law and order” rhetoric that translates to “put more black men in prison for longer,” sexism, and more. Again, Trump may have traded in the dog whistle for a bullhorn, but the basic message is the same.
“Now, when suddenly it’s not working,” [Obama] added, “suddenly that’s a deal breaker. Well, what took you so long? What the heck?”
The same goes for political reporters. They can’t pretend Trump came out of nowhere.