GUEST POST by G. Zepernick
Well, here we are. Not quite three months into the Presidency That Could Never Be and most of the country, liberal to conservative, is still dealing with emotions ranging from disbelief and denial to outright shock. The political landscape is looking like a small town that just got hit by an F4 tornado. Half of the populace has emerged, dazed and blinking, from basements and bathrooms to find their lives relatively intact but changed in ways they can’t yet fathom. The remaining souls, if they have been lucky enough to survive, have seen everything they hold dear wiped away. Safe to say, nobody is happy about the outcome, but some are much more upset than others.
Republicans, having committed one of the monumental miscalculations in the party’s history, were fully prepared to see their nominee suffer an equally monumental whupping on Election Day. Democrats were already sending Two Men and a Truck up to Chappaqua to bring all the Clintons’ furniture (and a few misplaced White House odds and ends) back down to Pennsylvania Avenue when the returns started to trickle in. The media coverage from that evening revealed the barely concealed amazement on almost every Republican face. Democrats were also amazed. None of them had imagined that their world could end, so suddenly and completely, at the somewhat undersized hands of Donald J. Trump.
Since November 8, the political Right has lifted its collective jaw off the floor and moved cautiously into the winner’s circle. The Left’s amazement meanwhile has morphed into a kind of madness. Wags have named it Trump Derangement Syndrome. It is marked by an irrational fear and vitriolic hatred of all things Trump, from his Cabinet picks to Melania’s dress choices. Democrats are by nature an emotional cohort, but the election of Donald Trump seems to have turned them into wounded animals, lashing out mindlessly at anyone who might try to mollify them and seizing upon every rumor and leak as grounds for impeachment. Time was that, for any Democrat, hoping to put Mike Pence in the Oval Office would be the very definition of derangement. But, as I said, here we are.
Not to say that all the Left’s worries are unfounded, or that only the Left is worried. Donald Trump is inarguably a classic Narcissist with poor impulse control and no apparent core principles who shoots from the lip and has raised unpredictability to an art form. But the recent battle over the appointment of Neil Gorsuch has shown the depth of derangement among Democrat Senators. Asked to accept a jurist of character and unparalleled qualification who was confirmed 99-0 to the second highest judgeship in the land, and whose approval would do no more than restore a balance to the Supreme Court that has existed since Bush One, Schumer and Co. chose to waste their only bullet. When the next appointee, who is likely to be much more odious to liberals and will likely replace one, comes before them, Senate Democrats will be all but powerless. Republicans may have killed the filibuster, but Democrats tied its hands, led it to the wall and put on the blindfold. Sound logical? Not unless Donald Trump is inside your head.
Now consider the Great Trump-Russia Election Conspiracy. One of the Left’s favorite talking points is to claim that Trump is somehow an illegitimate president because he, or someone he knows, or someone the person he knows knows, may be implicated in Russia’s clumsy attempt to influence our election. Missing from this narrative is any sort of mechanism by which Putin and his Cold Warriors could have pulled this off. Words like “collusion” are tossed around with no real context offered. The line is that Putin dislikes Hillary Clinton (as did a few too many American voters) and loves The Donald and so was moved to hack only the Democrats and leak their damaging emails. If Putin is half the schemer we all believe him to be, would he not make every effort to gather dirt on both parties and their candidates? Perhaps the Republicans used more secure passwords? This cannot be, screams the Left. Russia conspired with Republican “operatives” (a wonderfully pejorative term lifted right from the Watergate investigation) to defeat Hillary. The evidence is there, somewhere! Trump must be impeached before he can do further mayhem. Never mind that Russia needed no help from any Trump operatives to spread disinformation through social media or to plant fake news stories on shady websites, or that any supposed collusion a) would not involve Trump personally and b) would have occurred before he was elected. Not impeachable.
So the Left continues to cast about wide-eyed for an explanation of the why and how of President Donald Trump, looking everywhere, it seems, but in the mirror. Did the Republicans screw up by allowing Trump to hijack their party? Certainly. Was his election victory aided and abetted by the hacking of the Democrat National Committee? Highly likely. But when all the cards are down, nothing the Republicans or the Russians did or didn’t do equals the culpability the Democrat Party bears for not only the loss of the White House but the failure to gain a Senate majority. No Russian operatives placed an unsecured server in the Chappaqua basement. No Republican dictated the ridiculously damaging emails that were so easily snatched from John Podesta’s account. When Donald Trump secured the nomination, was there a single Democrat in the country, starting with HRC, who didn’t believe he or she had not been given a great gift?
This election shouldn’t have been close for the Democrats, let alone a loss. At its core, the Great Democrat Election Debacle of 2016 hinged not on what Trump, the disarrayed, gobsmacked Republicans, or even the Russians did. It hinged on what the Democrats didn’t do. They didn’t secure their internal communications. They didn’t deal fairly with their base (a mistake also made by the Republicans). They nominated, by a process that must have made the Russians proud, a deeply flawed candidate of their own, who took her firewall states for granted and campaigned poorly. They didn’t take their opponent seriously (a mistake, it must be noted, made by virtually everyone). But their most galling error was never considering for a second that they might not be right, and in the right, about everything. To fall from so high a perch and then realize that you sawed off your own branch might drive anyone around the bend.
So perhaps the Democrats’ derangement does not stem only from their loathing of Donald Trump. Perhaps they have been looking in the mirror.