Among those who got this year’s election wrong was Ross Douthat. One can think of a few more, but since today is presumably a day of good cheer, we will refrain.
Today, Douthat does a mea culpa. Apparently, he mistook foggy bottom for a crystal ball. Among his sage remarks is the following, an explanation of what the Trump ascendance said about the Republican Party, its leadership, its principles and ultimately, its decadence:
In the case of the G.O.P., that decadence was the party’s “Reagan yesterday, Reagan today, Reagon forever” commitments, which seemed to me misguided but powerfully entrenched, so that an assault on party orthodoxy as frontal as the one that Trump mounted would eventually forge a defensive unity among the party’s politicians and ideological enforcers.
As indeed it did — in exactly one place, the Wisconsin primary. But everywhere else, from the talk radio dial to the halls of Congress to Fox News, Trump’s assault revealed that the party’s would-be statesmen were mostly hollow men and its enforcers were mostly ratings-hungry cynics. I had thought that the G.O.P. was run by true believers in a dated catechism. But really it was run by people for whom the Reaganite catechism only mattered because they controlled the inquisition, and once Trump’s army of heretics refused to disperse they had no stomach for a fight.
Food for thought….