A guy who called half the country losers and hoped voters would confuse his extreme wealth (he called it “success”) for presidential adeptness wants his party’s attention.
That man would be Mitt Romney. (What, you thought I was talking about Donald Trump?)
In treating Romney’s call on Thursday for Republicans to reverse course in their march to Trump’s presidential nomination as the sober old guard calling for civility and a return to a kinder, gentler era of conservative politics, we forget how big of a role Romney played in priming his party’s base for Trump. Remember that Romney’s 2012 candidacy, fairly or unfairly, is perhaps best known for the surreptitiously recorded images of him (wrongly) telling campaign donors that the 47% of the country freeloading off the federal government and paying no taxes were in President Obama’s pocket because, hey, they’re poor, and he can’t be expected to “convince them they should take personal responsibility and care for their lives.”
They’re losers. Sound familiar?
Now comes Trump, and the message is now spoken. And it’s not just poor versus rich, loser versus winner, maker versus taker. Recall Romney’s “self-deport” non-solution on illegal immigration, a poorly disguised way of affirming his base’s discomfort with the American electorate’s growing diversity. Trump, who as we all know wants seal off the United States’ southern border and make Mexico pay for it, has no such need to tread lightly.
So I’ll put my money where it’s safe and bet Romney’s attempt to stop the Trump juggernaut will only strengthen it. Trump’s persona may be crass, but his ideas are no less crass than those that came before him.
Follow me on Twitter: @PaulMThornton