Much is made of the Republican hopefuls whom Trump defeated, of which he’s forever boasting. But we seem to forget just how bad these vanquished candidates are. We can thank the London Review of Book‘s Eliot Weinberger for reminding us that the Republican Party is morally and intellectually bankrupt, producing a crop of unhinged radicals preternaturally prone to utter the craziest things. Any one of them would have spelled disaster for the Republic. Weinberger begins:
Last January, the unpronounceable Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, surveying his party’s throng of presidential aspirants, tweeted: ‘It’s clear we’ve got the most well-qualified and diverse field of candidates from any party in history.’ Why, the world wonders, did they end up with Donald Trump as their nominee?
Priebus was wrong, of course. Utterly wrong, as Weinberger proceeds to demonstrate, considering the views, statements, and behaviors of the GOP’s other would-be presidents.
I’ll quote Weinberger’s take on John Kasich, dubbed the least whackiest of the bunch. Even the New York Times editors endorsed him in the primaries. If Kasich passes for Republican moderation, all of us can appreciate just how freakishly conservative the rest of the field was, and I include Trump.
They could have picked John Kasich, a former Congressman and Fox News host, currently governor of Ohio. Known throughout his career as a phlegmatic and abusive man, widely disliked in Congress, he underwent an image makeover for the presidential campaign. He became, in his own words, a ‘prince of light and hope’ and the ‘only adult in the room’, who tried to keep things ‘on the sunny side of the street’. The New York Times even endorsed him as the Republican candidate, despite a long anti-union, anti-tax, pro-gun, pro-capital punishment, anti-mass transit, pro-impeachment of Bill Clinton, anti-voters’ rights, anti-abortion, anti-environmental regulations, pro-privatisation of prisons, pro-Creationism in science classes record. In a state where 20 per cent of the population belongs to minorities, the members of his cabinet were all white.