Awards From the Year of Trump By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN
Each year, “The McLaughlin Group,” the longest-running panel show on national TV, which began in 1982, announces its awards for the winners and losers and the best and the worst of the year. Rereading my list of 39 awardees suggests something about how our world is changing.
As “Person of the Year” and “Biggest Winner,” the choice was easy, Donald Trump. American Pharoah, Triple Crown winner of the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont Stakes, was my runner-up.
But three selections tell another side of the story of Trump’s triumph. My “Biggest Loser” was the Republican establishment. As “Most Overrated,” I chose Republican governors as presidential candidates. As “Worst Politician,” I chose Jeb Bush, son and brother of presidents, who began as the GOP front-runner with $100 million in the bank and is now hovering around 3 percent.
What happened to the GOP establishment? What has happened to the Republican elite? Why are they being treated with contempt?
In the run up to 2015, the GOP field was dominated by governors and ex-governors: Scott Walker, Jeb Bush, Rick Perry, Chris Christie, John Kasich. It was called “the strongest field since 1980,” when Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, and Bob Dole competed. And governors, with executive rather than legislative experience, were said to be the ideal choice for chief executive.
Yet, before year’s end, Walker, Perry, and George Pataki were gone and support for Bush, Kasich, and Christie together did not come close to that of Trump. Trump’s main rival was Ted Cruz, the scourge of the Republican establishment in the Senate. Why have Republicans and conservatives rallied to candidates who relish bashing the elites of their own party?