The chaos surrounding Donald Trump and the Republican nominating process has been well documented. But in seeking to assess blame, an opinion writer for the New York Times has placed it at the feet of the Republican Party.
Steve Rattner, a Wall Street executive and a contributor to the Times editorial page, began his column today, “MEMO to Republican legislators biting your nails over the New York primary, wondering if you can finally derail Donald J. Trump’s candidacy with, gulp, Ted Cruz: You brought it on yourselves.”
He stated that his blaming Republicans for Trump had nothing to do with the party’s not taking Trump’s candidacy seriously enough early on, or Trump’s complaints about not getting the delegates he believes he should have won in states like Colorado and Louisiana.
Rather, Rattner took issue with the GOP for their alleged mishandling of economic issues, which he said “created the anger that lifted [Trump’s] candidacy by years of systematically and effectively preventing passage of legislation that might have ameliorated the tough economic state of Mr. Trump’s core voters.”
Rattner went on to explain, “Mr. Trump’s biggest supporters are disproportionately white, middle-aged, working-class men without college educations” who have suffered economically during the last few decades.
He said that Republican’s failures to “sufficiently help affected workers adjust to the new dynamics” of international trade deals and recent economic slowdowns, as well as their blockage of many of President Barack Obama’s proposals, including payroll tax cuts, larger tax credits for child care, and expanding the earned-income tax credit for low-wage families, are what brought about Trump’s insurgent candidacy.
Republican pundits responded by saying that Rattner’s complaints boil down to the GOP not acting more like Democrats.
Rattner made no mention of the #NeverTrump movement, a growing group of Republicans that say that will not vote for Trump if he is the eventual nominee. According to Rasmussen Reports, 25 percent of Republicans will not vote for Trump in November.
These numbers prompted the conservative Weekly Standard to declare, “Trump’s numbers aren’t just bad; they’re the stuff of nightmares.”
This is not the first time a New York Times columnist has blamed the Republican Party for Donald Trump. Nicholas Kristof did so as well in a February 11 column.
“Political nastiness and conspiracy theories were amplified by right-wing talk radio, television and websites — and, yes, there are left-wing versions as well, but they are much less influential,” Kristof said.
He also blamed an “echo chamber that hurt the Republican Party by tugging it to the right.”
Others, such as conservative commentator Ben Shapiro, have opined that Obama created Donald Trump, citing his “celebrity presidency” (i.e., appearances on The Daily Show, the Super Bowl, and the All-Star game) to his “divisive politicking” to his “dictatorial” executive orders.
Former Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal also blamed Obama for having “created Donald Trump” in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece.
According to Politico, Obama “fiercely” denied this claim in a March Rose Garden press conference with Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau.
What do you think? Is the Republican Party, or anyone else, responsible for Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy?
[Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images]