Republican Leadership Failures Caused Donald Trump’s Rise

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I’ll be filling in for Herman Cain from 9am to 12pm ET today talking about this. You can listen live at http://wsbradio.com.

The number one thing you hear when you ask any Republican about Donald Trump is this — he fights. You hear it from Rush Limbaugh. You hear it from other talk radio show hosts. You hear it from the base. You hear it even from some Democrats. And in all cases, you hear it somewhat admirably. They may not like or endorse Trump, but they respect that he just doesn’t give a crap and fights.

If you need any further proof that Republican leadership in Washington created the conditions through which Donald Trump has risen, the Pew Poll has more.

The current survey finds that positive views of the GOP among Republicans have declined 18 percentage points since January, from 86% to 68%. Independents also view the Republican Party less favorably; 29% today, compared with 37% six months ago.

Now, consider what the Republican Party has done in that time.

  • They’ve refused to pass a late-term abortion bill in the House because a handful of members objected.
  • They gave Barack Obama a blank check to raise the debt limit.
  • They punted on Obamacare fights.
  • They’ve refused to defund Planned Parenthood.
  • They’ve taken retaliatory actions against conservative members who’ve stood up for Republican Party principles.
  • They’ve worked to fund the Export-Import Bank.
  • They have refused to stop Barack Obama’s ongoing assault against the free market.
  • They have passed the buck to courts to stop Obama on immigration, etc.

In short, the GOP has not fought. They have not been aggressive. They have been so scared of being disliked that they have become disliked. That is the reality.

So here comes a guy who does not care, who says what he thinks at the moment, and who fights. He takes on not only Barack Obama, but Republican leaders.

And now roughly one-quarter of the Republican base supports the guy. The reaction of those who like the GOP in DC? They attack the quarter of the party that likes the guy because of his willingness to fight.

Insiders within the GOP say Trump has peaked. Here’s the problem — these are insiders who have played the game and lost a quarter of the party’s support. These are insiders who have not held the DC Republicans accountable. They are traditional political operatives getting their butts kicked by a nontraditional candidate running a nontraditional campaign.

I too think Donald Trump will fade. But it will be a while and the more they attack him, the longer he goes on. The media attention he is getting is greater than the attention of all the other candidates combined. He has filled a vacuum of leadership caused by a Republican Party in DC that long ago stopped listening to its voters and started listening to its check writers.

Most of those who like Donald Trump will not vote for him next year. But they sure do love the guy. He’s giving them what they want — a fight against Washington few of the other candidates are willing to wage.

If other candidates want Trump-like support all they need to do is start waging war against Washington, not Obama, but Washington.1 That includes Republicans. As I have written before, the problem is that Republican consultants are afraid of the retributive nature of Washington. If the consultants’ candidates wage war on DC, the DC political elite will seek retribution against them. So they can’t. Trump? He looks at the DC political elite and thinks “you’re fired.” That’s why the candidates’ various consultants are…well…another “F” word.


1. Looking at a host of polling out there, three of the candidates who have started making clear and loud attacks against Washington are Jeb Bush, Rick Perry, and Scott Walker. They’ve also seen their polling numbers go up. Meanwhile, polling suggests Trump’s loud message is overshadowing Cruz and Paul among others.

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Erick Erickson
By Erick Erickson

Erick Erickson

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