Thanks, Obama! It's All Your Fault
"The Democrats made us do it" is the latest conservative explanation for the Republican Party's descent into authoritarianism
As you probably know by now, last month, former U.S. Senator and Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole passed away. While I disagreed with him politically, Dole was a legendary political figure and one of the last old-school Republicans alive. Overlooked in the effusive praise of Dole was this comment on Twitter:
For the unfamiliar, Matt K. Lewis is a conservative politics writer for The Daily Beast. He also has a podcast and an online show where he and his liberal co-host Bill Scher purportedly “discuss politics like civil human beings.” Of note — at least to me — is Lewis’s previous employment at The Daily Caller, an online news site founded by Tucker Carlson and Neil Patel. Knowing this factoid, my Spidey Sense flares up whenever I see him on television or his tweets invade my timeline.
That said, I still found this Twitter analysis stunning, even for Lewis. Here’s the rest of his theory (emphasis added):
Now, I’m not going to suggest there is a perfectly straight line from Clinton to Donald Trump. But perhaps when the public rejected good men like Dole and HW [George H.W. Bush](and later Romney and McCain), it sent a message to Republicans? It turns out, character doesn’t win elections.
Clinton mocked Bob Dole’s “bridge to the past,” and talked about building a “bridge to the future.” Well, that bridge helped lead us to where we are.
With an assessment more befitting of an abusive partner than a political commentator, Lewis’s “Look what Democrats made us do” political analysis implies that the reelection of Bill Clinton led, not just to the ascension of Trump but to the Republican Party’s current embrace of authoritarianism.