The Great Myth of "Any Other Republican"

 For all the yelling at the ref stuff that the Trump campaign has been doing at the media, the broad media consensus on Hillary Clinton is not exactly a flattering one. It seems to be taken for fact that with the Wikileaks revelations (like, you know, political people have political thoughts, among the many shockers), Hillary Clinton would likely lose the election were she running against a Republican not named Donald Trump.

Had any other Republican been the nominee and be losing to Hillary Clinton, I guarantee you, the press would develop the narrative that were it not for the personal failings of that Republican, Clinton would be toast. Ted Cruz would have government shutdowns haunt him, Chris Christie is under investigation for Bridgegazi, Marco Rubio would be caught in cottonmouth moments at debates, and Ben Carson might have fallen asleep on the stump.

This type of narrative relies on certain mythical concepts that simply do not exist in reality.

First, it assumes that it was possible for anyone without essentially the same bigoted views a Donald Trump to have become the Republican nominee. It wasn't.

John McCain had to abandon his own immigration reform proposal - one that was embraced by Democrats as well as the sitting Republican president at the time - in 2008 in order to satisfy the same dingbats that have brought Donald Trump upon the Republican party. On issues ranging from the economy to abortion, McCain and had to tack closely to the Trump wing of his party. And to flare the racist flames of the basket of deplorables that make up much of the Republican base (yeah, I'll say it), Trump had to pick Sarah Palin to be his running mate, who in turn went onto accuse the first serious black contender to the presidency of being a terrorist. Remind you of anyone?

When Barack Obama won the election anyway, the Republican establishment - the same one at whose current predicament the mainstream press is so distressed - consciously decided to obstruct anything and everything President Obama supported in order to gin up the xenophobic, racist, misogynist part of their base, who quickly set about to purge their party of any semblance of sense and governing. The Republican establishment could have chosen then to put down the rising rebellion of bigots, but they chose instead to ask them for their votes. The Republican establishment chose not to stop the arsonists because they weren't burning down the GOP house. Yet.

Four years later, Mitt Romney ran on much the same message and counted on the same coalition of the shrinking. He and Paul Ryan ran on an agenda of taxing the poor, benefiting the wealthy, opposing women's rights and self-deportation of immigrants. They banked on the support of those who cheered on George Zimmerman for playing wannabe cop and gunning down an unarmed black teenager.

And throughout it all, the Republican establishment at the national level has blocked all progress, including neglecting their Constitutional duty of giving the President's Supreme Court nominee a hearing, and the Republican establishment in state after state has focused on rolling back women's rights and workers' rights, restricting access to the ballot box, and preventing the poor from receiving health care.

For the umpteenth time, Donald Trump is not the product of a rebellion against the Republican establishment. He is the product of racist, xenophobic, homophobic, culture-war rebellion fueled by the Republican establishment.

And so the pretense that anyone who did not bear close resemblance to the views and temperament of Donald Trump can lead the present-day Republican party is just that, a pretense. Donald Trump is not a special case of modern Republicanism. He is modern Republicanism.

Second, the narrative takes for granted that Hillary Clinton is inherently a weak candidate who is simply the beneficiary of her lucky stars aligning in 2016. Nothing could be further from the truth.

If we are counting percentage of votes and close elections, in the entire Obama years only one person has come even close to the president's numbers, and her name is Hillary Clinton. Both John McCain and Mitt Romney, by all stretches of the imagination more conventional Republicans, lost to President Obama by much wider margins.

Certainly, one was a primary and the other two general elections, but Hillary Clinton has shown electoral resilience long before the 2016 presidential campaign was under way. She won her Senate seat in New York twice, and she won everywhere - including the "red" parts of the state.

Hillary Clinton is not boisterous, but she is kind, compassionate, and brilliant. Hillary Clinton is not the best stump speaker, but what she lacks in oratory she more than makes up for by preparing like it's no one's business. Hillary Clinton may not be known for knockouts, but there isn't a Republican on the planet who can come close to beating her on points when it comes to substance.

Yes, technically speaking, a Republican without any skeletons in their closet and with plans to improve (rather than tear down) health care reform, address student debt and infrastructure investment paid for fairly (i.e. by taxing the rich) may have made the race competitive with Hillary Clinton. But then, they wouldn't be a Republican.

So as the history of the 2016 campaign is written, let it note that it was won by a smart, tough woman who never takes a vote for granted, who prepares for every task ahead, who has withstood 30+ years of media and right wing lies and has only grown stronger, who shattered the glass ceiling not because she got lucky, but because she is ready.

But before that, we've got 12 days to follow her example and not take a single vote for granted.

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