Dear Repentant NeverTrumpers: No One Else Could Have Won

This combo made from file photos shows the 2016 Republican presidential candidates who have officially declared their candidacy as of Sunday, July 12, 2015. Top row, from left, Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, South Carolina U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee. Bottom row, from left, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former New York Gov. George Pataki, Kentucky U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Florida U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, and real estate mogul Donald Trump. (AP Photo)

Conservatives are taking their lumps with more grace than I thought they would. Perhaps the pleasure of seeing Hillary and the entire Clintonone Family go down—one hopes never to rise again—provides significant, and unexpectedly powerful, consolation. I know it would have for me had I been anti-Trump.

However, a strain of residual bitterness remains that says: “Any Republican would have won.” This is the logical extension of the pre-November 8 argument, “Trump is the only Republican in that field who could have lost to Hillary.”

I’m not buying it. First, what makes anyone think that the man who won all those primaries, against the “best Republican field in history” (we were told endlessly), would have run worse in the general against all the others in that defeated field? True, Trump was not racking up huge majorities in most of those primaries.

But by definition, his opponents weren’t either: they were doing worse. How does that translate into a later big win? Trump, in Paul Ryan’s words, “heard a voice that no one else did.” He was able turn that into enthusiasm and votes. Why should we expect that the others would have, come November, accomplished with the whole electorate what they could not accomplish with their own party between February and June?

A main anti-Trump argument all along was that Trump would be a loser on the magnitude of Goldwater or McGovern. The point here is not to recriminate or name names. It’s to note that many of the people who made that argument have now shifted its terms. The new twist goes: Trump is so bad, it proves that any of the others, all of whom were better, would have won going away.

Really? The election turned on four states, one of which no Republican had won since 1984 (Wisconsin), two since 1988 (Michigan, Pennsylvania), and one since 2004 (Ohio)—the latter by a mere 2 percent, or 100,000 votes. If that one state had flipped, John Kerry would have been president. Trump by contrast won Ohio by almost eight points. And, with the exception of an Ohio-Pennsylvania combination, he would have had to lose three of those four states to lose the election.

Who else was in a position to keep every state Romney won, add Florida and Iowa, plus at least two of the Rust Belt Four? I won’t go through the entire, overstuffed field. I’ll just look at a few of the more prominent candidates, in order of their dropping out.

Scott Walker—At least he was from the upper Midwest, so he might seem the most likely. But he had two fatal flaws. First, his position on immigration began as terrible and evolved into merely incoherent. At best, he’s never thought about the issue. At worst, like his fellow Wisconsinite Paul Ryan, he’s an open-borders guy. Whatever the case, as the early campaign progressed, he realized that he had to move right on the issue and tried to do so, but never convinced anyone he was sincere. Trump by contrast, for all his inconsistencies, came off as sincerely committed to the issue. That surely helped him win those Big Four. Second, for all Walker’s apparent talents as a governor, he never showed the requisite charisma or stage presence to make it as a national candidate. Say what you will about Trump, he has those qualities in spades.

Jeb Bush—Really? Does a case need to be made here? More war, more immigration, more trade. Everything you didn’t like about Romney and McCain, only more. In what possible way did this fit the national mood, much less the mood of the Republican base or the Party’s working class converts?

Marco Rubio—The strongest case here is that he outpolled Clinton nationally the entire time he was in the race. Is that decisive? I think not. Do I need to remind anyone about the limits of polling exposed by this election? That aside, even if every Rubio-Clinton head-to-head poll had been accurate, they were taken eight months before the actual vote. Why should we believe those numbers would have held? Especially since Rubio, no less than Jeb, was for the same more-more-more program that the base hates. And, unlike Jeb, Rubio had not merely his fingerprints but his name on the Gang of Eight bill.

John Kasich—Perhaps he would have won Ohio (though friends who know the state very much dispute this). But otherwise has campaign had two defining characteristics. First, he was running the Huntsman 2012, McCain 2000 strategy: I hate and am embarrassed by my Party. No wonder he didn’t get the nomination! We’re supposed to believe he would have done better in the general? Held all of Romney’s states (North Carolina?) and picked up either Pennsylvania or Wisconsin and Michigan? Not likely, because the other characteristic of his campaign was to further the donor class agenda, just like Jeb and Marco, only with a greater left wing tilt.

That leaves Ted Cruz, the last man standing. Here I think there really was a chance at a Goldwater-level defeat. One may agree with all or most of Cruz’s positions, as I do, but understand those positions are no longer (if they ever were) capable of building a national majority. Cruz was the candidate of the pure. Purist Republicanism has been turning off blue collar voters for a generation. It’s impossible to imagine Ted Cruz winning even one of the Rust Belt states that Trump won, while it’s quite possible to imagine him losing Florida and even North Carolina.

Honorable Mention: Mitt Romney—Hahahahaha. No, seriously: Hahahahaha. I firmly believe that Romney is a good, even virtuous man. In 2012, I voted for him without the slightest reservation and even with some enthusiasm. But was Mr. Private-Equity-Layoff-King going to flip Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania or Wisconsin in 2016? Hahahahaha.

No, none of these guys would have beaten Hillary. Trump won for many reasons, not least that he saw the essential connectivity between trade, war, and immigration and how they are felt and interpreted by a hitherto ignored class of voters. None of the other candidates even came close, or attempted, anything like that. There are other reasons why Trump won and they could not have. But that’s the biggest.

This is a talking point that Conservatism, Inc. needs to drop. Rather than medicating themselves with this nonsense, they should continue to take consolation and even joy in the glorious fact of Clinton, Inc.’s demise. That and expand their imaginations to look for ways they might celebrate and contribute to at least some, if not all, of Trump’s coming victories.

About Publius Decius Mus

Publius Decius Mus, or “Decius,” is the pen name of Michael Anton. He was a senior contributing editor of American Greatness from July 2016 until January 2017. He currently serves as deputy assistant to the president for strategic communications on the National Security Council.

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222 responses to “Dear Repentant NeverTrumpers: No One Else Could Have Won”

  1. First, thanks for everything you did throughout the election, Decius. I suspect “The Flight 93 Election” was the most influential political essay of all time after it was reprinted here and then disseminated far and wide.

    As to your latest:

    1. You are right. Not only was Trump the only candidate who could have won, I suspect he was the only candidate who wouldn’t have lost in a double-digit blow-out. Despite the polls, Rubio was transparent, robotic and very weak. He wouldn’t have lost as badly as Cruz or Kasich but it would have just been a matter of degree.

    2. It is long-past time to ignore Conservatism, Inc/#NeverTrump. Buckley conservatism is irrelevant to today’s political scene, and those who were #NeverTrumpers are pariahs and only merit attention in as far as they need to be destroyed and mercilessly hounded from the stage forever.

    3. I no longer agree that Romney is “good, even virtuous.” He is a self-serving, moral narcissist who richly deserves to be shunned the rest of his days.

  2. Agree completely with that analysis and the only addition would be an understanding of why so many black voters stayed home. The Nevertrumpers would undoubtedly argue that it was because Hillary was a terrible candidate and that any republican nominee would have benefitted from this and possibly won a few rust belt states. I choose to believe that Trumps push into the black community had an effect and no other GOP candidate would have done it or been as successful if he/she had even tried.

    If Trump makes safety in the black community a priority and if he would make a significant attempt at making schools there the best in the country, conservatives could win their support for years to come.

    • At least he tried talking to black voters. It’s worthwhile to note that for all the cacophonous caterwauling from #NeverTrump about how Trump was an irredeemable racist, all they could do was mock him for his efforts.

  3. A main anti-Trump argument all along was that Trump would be a loser on the magnitude of Goldwater or McGovern.

    In this one respect the anti-trumpers (inadvertently perhaps) came close to making a worthwhile point. This was a 1964 or a 1980 style election. It was a “change the direction of the party” election. Just as in 1964 and 1980 the reformer was hated by the establishment, which was “conservative” only in its desire to preserve the status quo. There are some uncanny similarities between the things said about Trump this year and those said about Goldwater and Reagan in the past.

    Sometime in the 1990’s the direction of the Republican party was changed onto a course which the majority of Republican party members disagreed with. We were told we had to keep voting for the GOP lest the Democrats win, but there was very clear hostility between the party “leaders” and “followers”. Electing Trump is a course correction for the GOP and for the country.

    For a long time now various opinion polls have found that a hefty majority of Americans felt the country was on the wrong track. But come election time they were stuck with a choice between two candidates who largely agreed with one another. This was our “A Choice Not An Echo” election.

    • The problem with the Establishment, the haute intelligentsia, and Conservative Inc. is that there are far too many chiefs and not enough indians. They imagined themselves leading a movement, when they were basically running a curio shop filled with musty ideas.

    • Totally agree. If Trump had lost, largely because of the Paul Ryan types, I was going to change my voter registration from REPUB to IND. Sick to death of the RINO’s, kinder and gentler Bushes, milquetoast Mitt and choir boy Ryan.

  4. NeverTrumpers are those sorts of people who are motivated not by a desire to win but a desire to say “I told you so.”

    Their ideas are rarely tested because they take such uncompromising positions that they rarely, if ever, win.

  5. Another big factor is the way he handled the media. Republicans always get hammered by the liberal msm no matter who they are or how low they stoop, they never ‘counter punch’ as Trump puts it. All these other candidates would just try to keep their heads down and “stay on message” while the media builds their image for them, and they die death by a thousand cuts. They look like losers, and they lend credence to the media narratives by not fighting back. Trump on the other hand fought back from the start, he refused to apologize, he actively trolled them, he threw them out of his conferences and he banned them from his rallies when they over step the mark, and that created a totally different dynamic.

    I can’t imagine any other candidate taking on the media like that, and all of them would have been confronted by the same hostile media with their baseless accusations and shameless bias for Clinton.

    • The dynamics of this race disagree. For all the talk about how polling misfired this cycle, nationally it wasn’t that far off. Hillary will wind up winning the popular vote by a point or so, which is within the margin or error for the RCP final national poll, in which she was leading by 3.5.

      Whenever national and media attention was focused on Trump, Hillary gained in the polls. And whenever national and media attention was focused on Hillary, Trump gained in the polls. A more disciplined candidate with Trump’s same stance on trade, immigration, and war would have won by a bigger margin. He didn’t win this race by being combative, he won it by having the right message.

      • Rubbish the media weren’t focused on Trump because he was fighting with them, they were focused on him because they were trying to destroy him for having that message, while Hillary was getting overwhelmingly positive coverage her scandals were swept under a rug. You really think that if Trump had been sucking up to the media and trying to stay in their good books they would have covered the race impartially?

        Trump survived scandals that would have sunk lesser candidates because he undermined the influence of the media.

      • You constructed an effective argument against a position I never took. Bravo. Arguing that a candidate would be more effective if he stopped shooting himself in the dick is hardly controversial.

        Was his acrimony for the Media the cause of him saying Judge Curiel would be unfair because he was a Mexican? Or to get into a pissing contest with the Khans? Trump came from the world of show-business which teaches that any publicity is good publicity and the world of cut-throat business which teaches that, when you get hit, hit back twice as hard. But that’s not the world of politics. Politics is about bridge building. You may cheer when Trump takes the piss out of the Media or some beauty queen who offended him, but soccer moms in Pennsylvania aren’t looking for that.

        It was the Message that won, not the Messenger. After all, Hillary got more votes nationally than he did. He’s President because of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. And what are the issues that drive those rust-belt states? Trade and immigration. Take Trump the Messenger and pair him with Jeb Bush’s Message and he loses, Bigly.

      • Hillary got more votes nationally than he did.

        She did not. And the fact remains that it required somebody as politically incorrect as Trump to articulate that politically incorrect message on trade, war, and immigration.

      • Did you count the illegal’s votes? A common Libtard mistake.

      • Hillary will wind up winning the popular vote by a point or so,

        She will not. She’s currently trailing Trump in the popular vote.

        A more disciplined candidate with Trump’s same stance on trade, immigration, and war would have won by a bigger margin.

        A more disciplined candidate would not have had Trump’s stances on trade, immigration, and war. The professional politicians all sing from the same hymm sheet.

      • Where are you getting that pop vote information? According to this she’s ahead by almost a million votes:

        I guess we disagree that those issues are inherently undisciplined. They may be unorthodox, politically incorrect, and outre on the cocktail circuit, but Tom Tancredo is a soft-spoken, measured man and he is an immigration hardliner. Ditto Dick Gephardt on trade.

        There’s nothing contradictory about presenting those core issues without all the superfluous bullsht that came out of Trump’s mouth. What did Trump’s pissing contest with the Khans, Judge Curiel, and Megyn Kelly have to do with those issues or winning the White House? Are you seriously going to argue that without those contretemps he would’ve lost to Hillary?

      • you’re the one attacking strawmen here. Nobody ever tried to say his scandals helped him win, all we’re trying to say is his ability to stand up to the media allowed him to escape where most would have been sunk.

        Of course his message was central, of course the scandals didn’t help… I’m not even arguing that. but imagine the same campaign, the same scandals, and now put a conciliatory Trump apologizing for all his mistakes. “sorry for calling mexicans rapists – i didn’t mean that” “sorry mr khan you’re a wonderful american” “sorry for saying grab her by the …. every week something new was coming out, if he keeps apologizing what does he look like? He wouldn’t have even gotten past the first week man. Everyone expected him to apologize and withdraw after the mexican rapist comment (including me), and that was before the primaries at a time when he had virtually no support. He was being mocked and pilloried not just in the American media – but all over the world. He didn’t apologize though he just doubled down, called the reporters hacks and that’s when people first started paying attention. Not because he said mexicans are rapists, but because he refused to back down and apologize for it.

      • We seem to be talking at cross purposes. Yes, he handled those dustups the optimal way, but they wouldn’t have even happened if he were a more disciplined candidate and exhibited more self-control. He got himself out of a jam that he created.

      • You seem to have forgotten Mitt and his binders of women.

        Simple fact is the extended Clinton crime family, including the MSM, was going to create scandals around anyone the Republicans put up. That’s simply the way they operate and none of the others would have had the style to fight back in a way that got past the media gatekeepers, and most of them would have spent all their time apologizing.

      • Bazz and Jay: Right, one republican even self suspended his campaign. Democrats love Republicans who curtsy in the midst of battle. Only Trump could have pulled this off… Masterfully done!

      • She was ahead before they counted those last 3 states. Get with the program! She LOST in a LANDSLIDE TO DJT.

      • Tens of thousands (millions?) of votes aren’t counted if they will have no effect on the outcome for a state. Maybe they should pass a law requiring One Man One Counted Vote.

      • As to the “Counted” vote.
        If you remove the cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York from the National Vote, Trump wins by 3.5 Million Votes.
        Point 1) Popular Vote is B.S. because No One Campaigned for Popular Votes, they campaigned for States – because those were the rules.
        Point 2) There are outstanding votes that traditionally lean republican (including 2 million Military Absentee ballots) but are not being counted because if they are 100% one or the other they will not alter the outcome.
        Point 3) When you play this Popular Vote nonsense it’s like saying that the Cubs did not win the world series, because though they won 7 games, both teams scored 27 runs so the end result should be a tie.

      • While I agree with everything Jaydee007 says below (except for the part about the Cubs winning 7 games, they won 4), what you are saying is not correct. Trump is not leading the popular vote count. Ignore the meme you keep seeing on Facebook. It’s a lie. Would Trump be ahead if the absentee ballots are counted? Probably, but we’ll never know. Does it matter? Not in the least. Trump will be the next president, but he will not win the “counted” popular vote.

      • She did not win a majority. Our side was split, other than Jill Stein at 1% – the left voted together. If there were a run off – Trump would beat her handily.

      • Maybe, but I think a lot of the Johnson vote would vote her or stay home. The ersatz Libertarian ticket this year was really a Liberaltarian ticket.

      • You can’t second guess it Trump used his instincts to: pound the media non stop, refuted the Bush wars early(this was so key to getting that burden off our backs for the general election), bashed both parties at the precise time without having a bunch of advisers having to plan it months in advance and used to his benefit wiki leaks, FBI and weiner to his advantage. Brilliant instincts! He won the race and Hillery lost…

      • Perhaps a more disciplined candidate with the same message would have done better. Where was he?

      • I think we can all agree on this. Any and all conventional wisdom. as it pertains to American politics was buried by DT.

      • Dude, the national polls and most of the state polls were, in the end, exposed as inaccurate, as Trump outperformed them all. When not even one result falls in the realm of xbar+standard error, that’s when you know that you done messed up.

      • Take out the illegal alien voters (a 2012 study estimated that 1.2 million of them vote in every presidential election), and suddenly Clinton did not win the popular vote.

      • This article was about reality, a place in which you may have noticed, a more disciplined candidate with the same stance did not exist.
        At least Decius’ s speculations are regarding people who actually exist.

      • Polls about Trump suggest the last line is possibly true–even many of his supporters concede his personality and qualifications are a problem–but we will won’t know unless someone with the similar positions but less controversial personality runs again, which does not look so likely.

        All the more reason to not undermine this opportunity since the chance may not come again, due to the elites’ broad hostility to anyone arguing for less globalism on those 3 issues.

    • We finally found someone who was not scared to death to take on the MSM. Newt might have done it, but not to the degree Trump did. Now he has to finish them off. All of those who prostituted themselves such as Dana Milbank, who was shown to be conniving with the Hillary campaign by Wike; and all the media which took their daily talking points from the DNC are vulnerable.

      • We need to take names. Everyone who immediately described Trump’s speech as ‘dark’ was acting upon instruction from Team Clinton.

    • Any other nominee including the REAL Repub primary winner, Ted Cruz, would have won the popular vote as well.

      Trump is a loser and so is your new RINO rag.

      • Please “splain it to me Go Navy how Cruz won the Republican Primary.

      • I’ll try but it is my wife who teaches, ‘Special Ed’ and Trumpkins aren’t too pert.

        Clever DemonRats used states allowing crossover voters to steal the nomination and give it to the lifelong liberal and business failure, Trumpy the Perverted Clown.

      • No, Cruzbots are the ones that aren’t too bright. Ted Cruz (aka Grandpa Munster) was a loser and lost the primary. Ted Cruz would have been slaughtered and could never have flipped ANY of the rust belt states. Nothing was “stolen”. Those crossover voters wanted Trump in the primary and and stayed with him in the general election…flipping the blue wall to Trump…something none of the other candidates could dream of doing.

      • I preferred Cruz over Trump initially (Trump was my #4 choice) but I think Trump was the nuclear bomb we needed to blow up the MSM/GOPe/Democrats

        I was also tired of losing

    • His anti-media, anti-elite stance was the most attractive thing of all to his core group.

      • Very important stances, I agree. But those stances are wrapped up inside one simple one: Put America First.
        Trump has been saying this since his 30s; media has covered him for decades( albeit mostly from an ‘entertainment/celebrity’ and ‘business’ angle), and especially NY media. He has always spoken out for putting America/Americans first, and that our politicians have failed to do so.

        There’s also no doubt that after America(ns) First, comes ‘then we’ll talk about the rest”.
        He always held the opinion that government should be able and willing to help the poor and needy (citizens) but the politicians have had more interest in the ‘World’ than the Nation. I know this makes many uncomfortable (he’s a Liberal!, they say) but it is a thought that many citizens hold too.

  6. No, there is another Republican who could have won this election by an even greater electoral vote margin than Trump and even notched a big popular vote win as well. That Republican is…one willing to embrace Trump’s three core issues without embracing Trump’s volatile mouth. It was the Message that won this election, not the Messenger. The primal scream bubbling up from the electorate was plain for those with ears to hear it. “No more war! No more illegal immigration! No more disastrous trade policies!” Trump was just the guy with his ear on the railroad track hearing the freight train coming.

    • David Frum endorsed Hillary Clinton for President. Tell me again about how he recognizes the primacy of immigration?

      • Frum has been talking about the dangers of unfettered immigration for years. Frum is one of only two people Decius follows on Twitter and he has said numerous times that Frum is great on the issue. Whatever reasons Frum had for endorsing Hillary, immigration wasn’t one of them.

      • Frum feels like he has to forever self flagellate for writing the
        “Axis of Evil” speech. He’ll crawl over broken glass until NYT says that he’s forgiven.

      • On most issues yes. But he’s been steadfast on immigration for years.

    • Trump was just the guy with his ear on the railroad track hearing the freight train coming.

      Mostly disagreed, there. I believe that pretty much that entire GOP field understood that Americans at large have had enough of immigration and pointless war, but looked upon them as bigots and fools for it; or were ashamed at Georgetown cocktail parties; or for whatever reason thought the opposite view was superior. Trump was the guy with the stones to give voice to this sentiment, and more than once. That being the case, there’s something for crediting the messenger as well as the message.

      • Yes, I was imprecise with my analogy. Most likely every Republican pol knew the American people did not amnesty yet they kept pushing it. A better analogy would be that Trump heard the train coming and actually boarded it while everyone else refused.

    • That Republican would have never made it! Trump’s mouth is an asset as well as liability.

    • Scott, what other gutter fighter can you name? No composites, please. Consider this:

      1 – Running on a Trump-like agenda would have been deemed “controversial” by several orders of magnitude, compared to anyone else’s (and it was deemed precisely that and precisely to that degree).

      2 – In order to defend said agenda and stick to it unapologetically, you would have needed a gutter fighter, i.e., someone who didn’t consider it beneath him to get his hands dirty and who actually had some “joy of battle,” as Homer would have said.

      3 – Trump turned the tables on the press masterfully. Recall the “press conferences” that turned out to be prepared statements before a captive audience of stunned reporters. Some of those conferences even went into the tawdry (e.g., the one with Clinton’s rape accusers). Again, can you think of a single primary candidate who would have done that?

      No, every other candidate would have ended up being the same old simpering loser we had in the past 30 years. It takes a Trump, a Farage, a Le Pen and a Salvini to win in today’s climate. Think of it as a matter of (almost) biological evolution. If you lack the teeth and the killer instinct, you lack the bite and you’re going to get eaten.

      • As I stated in response to someone else, there was no such character among the other Republican candidates. I think Newt came the closest to embodying the Trumpian Verve in 2012, but he had none of Trump’s potent stance on the issues.

        I also stated elsewhere that while there was no such species in this primary contest, the Trump Template will be one worth copying going forward.

    • Scott, the guy you describe doesn’t make it past Iowa.
      You’re against Trade, Open Borders & endless war.
      Where does the money come from to put that message out?
      Answer: there is no money for that.

      So you need to do it with free media. How do you get free media – through controversy.

      • That’s actually a good point I hadn’t thought of. Well done.

    • there is another Republican who could have won this election by an even greater electoral vote margin

      I notice you don’t give that person a name, but it’s blindingly obvious that none of the other actual candidates could have won this election.

      • Not with the positions they held, no. And I didn’t name one because there isn’t one at present. But nothing breeds like success. The Trump Message is one that will be replicated for years to come.

  7. All the predictions by the NeverTrump group of a horrible defeat was nothing but wishful thinking.

  8. Decius the only thing i would like to flavor your article with is the fact that Trump won in spite of not because of party. I am 48 and have a reasonable voting history going back to 1988 and i have never seen anything close to the disrespect and contempt shown this man by ”his” party. Disgraceful and reprehensible do no justice to spoken , written , and whispered campaigns to derail him. While some may say this added to his attractiveness in the anti establishment movement , i am one of them , how many non deplorables were scared away from Trump or the election entirely. Voter turnout bears this out to a degree. If there had been a modicum of civility or at least common courtesy maybe Trump gets another 4 to 6 million votes and this manufactured hysterical outcry would have somewhat less energy and volume , but still the entertainment value. If nothing else the corporate media and establishment politicians have both been shown to be the ones with no clothes while the Devil wearing Prada exits stage left to a career of vapid speaking engagements making more money but doing less damage then the last eight years have seen.

    • Reports are that Priebus actually ran a brilliant, under the radar campaign for Trump through the RNC. In Florida, where Hillary’s 56 offices were supposed to turn out the Democratic vote and overwhelm the Republicans, Priebus has 62 offices open and competing door to door with the Democracts. I do agree that party elders were nervous and hesitant. They probably recognize themselves as being part of the elite. But Priebus, as RNC chair, used the Republican assets to Trump’s benefit.

  9. Once again, Decius is entirely correct.

    What a help it is to have his lucid accurate analyses – and so articulately argued.


  10. Except for building the wall and making Mexico pay for it, Trump’s immigration solution during the general election campaign was almost word-for-word Rubio’s during the Republican primary. Forcibly deport the criminals and secure the border first. End sanctuary cities. Implement better visa controls. Then figure out what to do with the good illegals after the border is secured.

    In FL, Rubio received more votes for Senator than Trump received for President in the general election. His PAC ran strong pro-2nd Amendment and anti-Benghazi ads that indirectly helped Trump by leveling strong criticisms at Clinton. I think that Rubio could have won the general election; but he was never going to win the primary because of his co-sponsorship of the Gang of Eight bill in 2013.

    If he demonstrates a clear commitment to Trump’s border security plans, then Rubio could be worth re-considering in 8 or more years. But only if he proves more maturity in his political decision-making and becomes more flexible on trade policy. Just like I decided not to become a #NeverTrump person, I am not now #NeverRubio.

    Having written the forgoing, the Flight 93 article by Decius became the major rationale for my decision to vote for Trump. It organized into a coherent thesis most of my major objections to #NeverTrump. The fact that the leading #neverTrump writers always ignored trying to rebut its substance told me that it must have struck a raw nerve in them. Thus, my immediate reaction to Trump’s victory is that now we have a chance to preserve the republic. But we have a lot of work to do to keep these politicians’ feet to fire.

    • Rubio did not stand a snowballs chance in hell of winning Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. He’s have lost to Clinton.

      In FL, Rubio received more votes for Senator than Trump received for President in the general election.

      An absurd comparison, since there was no contingent within the GOP and “conservative movement” dedicated to bringing about Rubio’s defeat.

      • Rubio would have won on a different electoral college path and by a more narrow margin than Trump. And I think he still would have won Ohio. But, reality is that Trump won. I’m happy that he won.

        My main point remains that Trump’s position on immigration has turned out to be almost word for word the same as Rubio’s primary position on the issue. For that reason, I am willing to reconsider Rubio in 8 years.

    • As we learned from 1986, any legalization of unauthorized will just increase illegal immigration. It’s long been pointed out there is no need to legalize any unauthorized. If the laws against illegal hiring are enforced, the unauthorized population will be reduced to manageable levels through attrition. (Of course it will never disappear: but if illegal hiring and welfare dependence is significantly reduced it doesn’t matter).

      More important for the country’s future: given our economy it’s high time to fix legal immigration. 1965 criteria are woefully outdated. Immigration should be skills-based not family-based, and take in younger rather than older. (More like Canada’s ). The lottery should be scrapped entirely, “family reunification” needs to be limited to spouses and MINOR children only:no parents or other older relatives, no laterals.

      Refugee policy really needs to go back to the original purpose prioritizeing only the direst cases of those demonstrating an imminent “well-founded fear of persecution” because of political opinion, religion etc. where there are no regional safe havens, not a generalized flight from war, natural disasters or even mere “gang violence.” UN special interests should not dictate US refugee policy.

      • Disagree. You are inviting people to become Americans and you want them to feel at home and become Americans through assimilation. If your entire extended family is overseas, how can you feel completely American? Not to mention that if you throw people out to the wolves without a family support group, there is nobody to help them get through the tough times. Meaning, public assistance.

        We shouldn’t worry about bringing families over. What we should be concerned with is maintaining the traditional demographics of this country. (Majority white, Christian.)

      • The days of immigrants relying mainly on extended relatives is long over because we have a huge welfare-state. Legal immigrant-headed households use significantly MORE welfare not only than native-headed households but also households headed by unauthorized immigrants. The reason they use more than native households is lower skills levels; the reason they use more than unauthorized immigrant households is that tgreater eligibility for programs. Bringing in extended relatives exacerbates household welfare use.

        Bringing in parents and any relative older than the immigrant will crash entitlements. Although in theory older immigrant who have not worked 40 quarters cannot qualify for SS and Medicare, in practice there is fraud, and if elderly mom cannot get Medicare she will use the ER. As we know, those over 45 or so are far more costly medically than the younger. It’s far cheaper both US and the immigrant o send money back to mom in home country and purchase care there.

        From a cultural point of view, it also makes no sense to bring in MORE of the person’s non-American and as yet unassimilated relatives, and particularly older ones who are least likely to assimilate certainly with respect to language. This enlarges the bubble of less assimilable non-Americans around the immigrant.

  11. Decius, I was a fan of yours before being a fan of yours was cool. Among the punditry (I don’t mean that as a slur!) you were the only one who got it–and I’m not sure the use of the past tense is even justified as of today. The West-wide rebellion against establishmentarians, remote technocrats, detached insiders and donor-owned poodleticians is something so obvious that, paradoxically, only an acute observer could have noticed.

    It’s almost as if Jonah (heh) couldn’t pick out the whale because he was inside of it.

  12. Why are we still talking about Never-Trumpers? They may not be protesting or rioting, but they’re still pouting. I’m fine with it too.

    • Hi, Bill, they are down but not out. Back on NRO, Williamson is still calling Trump (and, by extension, his supporters) sexist and racist and comble du comble, even George “Ain’t My Reflection In This Pond The Most Relevant Thing You’ve Seen” Will even made an appearance there over the weekend. Don’t forget that donors own them, and donors are not going away. Not yet, at least.

      • Yeah I hope he wasn’t just talking about Democrats when he said he wanted to drain the swamp. I don’t want rats in my own house either.

      • Significantly the New York Times has had to offer an apology for its abysmal coverage of the election; COUPLED WITH an appeal for subscribers!

        This may be the first of screams for help from several Mainstream Media entities.

        Hope so!

        Let them all drown and be replaced by TV stations and newspapers staffed by far better human beings who actually care for professionalism, journalism ethics, and who therefore report things as impartially as they can and talk truth to power.

    • Because we’re really, really important people Goddddammmittttt.

  13. I believe Trump not only won the election but permanently changed the political landscape! And some credit goes to The Flight 93 Election essay, which did a marvelous job of describing the conservative panic at a continued Democratic/progressive agenda. If I may comment, just because I can, on the other Republican candidates: Kasich referred constantly to his Congressional experience back in the 90s – not persuasive; Bush is a Bush and this nascent aristocracy has got to stop – Barbara Bush was right; Ted Cruz struck me as deceptive (the whole wife thing seemed staged) and I would never, ever vote for him – he is too extreme & do not like him. Rubio, I liked. But he is too young. Walker, I respected – but no leadership charisma. Romney – I voted for him but am now very disappointed in him. I remain committed to Trump and feel very hopeful for our country in the next four years.

  14. I’m having a very hard time understanding why people don’t take me seriously anymore.

    Did I put on a few too many pounds lately or something?

  15. The Clinton’s aren’t done. They’re grooming Chelsea to run for Congress. The cancer refuses to die.

    • It would die if, as part of Mr Trump’s ‘Drain the swamp’ initiative, there were (a) a full investigation into fraudulent voting in this General Election and (b) the FBI, with a new director, proceeded to charge the Clintons on account of their money-laundering self-serving Foundation.

      • I think President Trump will appoint a special processcutor and be done with all things “Clinton”. It will look into the emails, the foundation, everything. That is if Obama does not Pardon her, which I believe he has a good chance of doing.

    • That Senate seat will almost assuredly go to a Democrat; but a DEM named Clinton?… the name is tainted now and the DEM party will most likely fear losing it to the GOP if Chelsea Clinton were to run so I’m not so sure it will really happen.
      Wishful thinking? Maybe, as a Red New Jerseyan who doesn’t want to be subjected to the (Blue)Tri-State media coverage of THAT campaign.

      • They’re too well connected for Chelsea to lose. Besides, if there’s one thing we’ve learned from this election, no amount of corruption will prevent Dems from supporting a Clinton.

      • They’re cowed in my county in NJ (the HRC supporters AKA losers)… they’re now trying to engage in ‘conversation’, meaning: the other tactics didn’t work so they’re moving to ‘Reeducation’. Feign interest in your reasons for rejecting the DEMs and then tell you why you’re wrong. I’ll just say that they were supremely secure in their support for HRC but post election they are not.

  16. There was a wild card Decius overlooked, in which one of the stronger candidates (Rubio?) _may_ have also been able to take down Clinton: The depth of the e-mail and (especially) foundation money laundering crimes, and the reportage thus.
    In any case, as I told the #NeverTrump’ers last spring, they owed Trump an eternal debt of gratitude for stuffing the rancid Bush Dynasty down the garbage disposer of history; and now we can rejoice that he batted 1.000 by shoving the even-worse Clinton Dynasty down into the grinding chamber and on into the sewer as well!

    • I don’t think Rubio would have won; as Decius wrote, “the same more-more-more program that the base hates”. AND that Gang of 8.

    • Problem is that the MAINSTREAM MEDIA reported the depth of the e-mail and foundation money crimes very little. 27 minutes of TV newscast on a false allegation of groping by D Trump; 50 seconds on the Clinton Syndicate’s crimes. This was deliberate, of course, on the part of a Mainstream Media owned, via patronage, by the Political Class, and a Political Class owned by the globalizing plutocracy, Wall St, big business generally….

    • The Bush-Walker clan has been in politics since 1832. Don’t be too surprised if you see one again.

  17. Further thoughts on Decius’s excellent essay.

    [1] The real reason why the other Republican candidates kept failing in the primaries and would have failed in the General Election is that their heart was not sufficiently ALL-IN with Trump’s main themes. They have gone into politics – yes, with some conservative beliefs and concerns that are very sincere so far as they go; but (bottom line) in order to attain self-belief (primarily), also in one degree or another money and privilege.

    Trump has all those things in spades – not the self-belief which causes a man to be less thin-skinned than he is, but the kind of self-confidence which does not in the least require endorsement, a friendly wave, a smile, from the liberal media, acceptance by the right people at cocktail parties.

    That is why he hits back and hard, whereas the others need liberals’ approval – an absolutely fatal weakness. Did Obama ever want conservative approval? Did Hillary? I don’t mean, did they feel they needed those things electorally? I mean, did they need those things in order to feel personally comfortable inside their own skin? (On this issue as on all, Ann Coulter is absolutely spot-on in her latest book “In Trump We Trust”. I beg to recommend it very warmly.)

    [2] They are part of the general failure of nearly all conservatives to fight the cultural war these past 60 years.

    [3] The great positive value of the ‘conservative’ NeverTrumpers’ performance these past 16 months is that it has identified and highlighted all the people who would be enemies within a Trump administration; and will attempt so to be within the Congress. Mr Trump and his supporters need to keep a beady eye on them and frustrate the attempts they will – very subtly, slyly and skilfully – employ to subvert his policies.

  18. The question I have who is kidding themselves more, the never Trumpers who believe anyone could have beaten Hillary worse, or their counterparts on the left who believe Bernie would have crushed Trump.

    • Yes the claimants re Sanders conveniently forget the massive loss among the womyns’ vote if another Dem, other than perhaps Warren, had taken the mantle from Clinton. Also seems unlikely Sanders would have got even the same turnout as Clinton from blacks.

      • Yes, but I was thinking that the rural uneducated support for Trump would have every even stronger against an avowed socialist. There’s a certain rich irony; true Berners would never believe it but the biggest favor Clinton did for her party was preventing them from having to defend Marxism.

  19. I am of almost exactly the same opinion with the essay. Only Trump could have won Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Iowa. Ohio might have been winnable for Kasich and Rubio, but the other four states just lean too far blue for any candidate other than Trump to have won.

    Trump probably could have won Virginia if he had tried to, and he could have made states like Delaware and New Jersey competitive if he had unlimited resources and time. This highlights the significant point about Trump- he was the one Republican candidate that expanded the playing field. Romney’s run in 2012 firmly identifies the maximum reach the Republican Party elite had electorally- a field that had been shrinking since 2000.

    • He was within four points in New Jersey in September … he could have won it, but you’re never likely to need New Jersey to win. Save it for the 45 state sweep in 2020.

  20. Yes, a better Trump would have won by more. But, the real Trump is all that Repubs had, and none of the other candidates in the Repub primary field were as popular as Trump. Case closed. The Repubs were lucky to win and would have not won without Trump. Period. Not even a discussion.

  21. Trump, even though a billionaire, was someone blue collar workers could relate to.

  22. The author is dead on with this…..not one of the other candidates would have been able to beat Hillary… is why.

    1. In order to break into the blue wall Trump had to bring out the blue color (Reagan democrats) working class voters and he did it with his trade and immigration plans….no other candidate could have done that.

    • Santorum held many of the same views on trade, but he was like the Catholic Ted Cruz. Too pious for the General Public.

  23. Does it ever occur to any pundit that I have sound, reasoned, logical and proven reasons for voting for Trump? Kasich voted for Mickey Mouse, Spiteful Creep, Cruz is States Rights and Open Border with an unhealthy dose of fanaticism, Jeb Bush and the Bush Machine, Carson, a shade of violence beneath that benevolence. All flawed candidates.
    The Democrats are toast. Have been and will be. Today Democrat Donors, Soros, Pelosi, Warren and Ellison met to discuss the direction of the Democrat Party. That Party is going to be out of power for a very long time unless those Democrats start Primarying their silly corrupt behinds out of office.
    If that is what the Republican Party leader were doing, Us’N ignorant racist, bigot, sexist deplorable would be taking names and getting ready to Kick A**.

    • Democrats don’t have the intelligence or independence to primary their leadership – they are “unaware and compliant” as the leadership pointed out in the Wikileaks emails.

  24. It’s the corruption. The manikins lost, the human won, warts and all. For me, jubilation. The years of telling people who to be, what to be, how to think, what to say and not to say have reaped this harvest and deservedly so. I’m tempted to think the schoolboy bullying of the anti-bulliers, the overcompensating racism of the anti-racists, the Bedlam-visiting freaks of the internet, the false accusations and scandals pitted one against another until the tension of ordinary interactions fell to silent suspicions. Ka-BOOM. Goodbye to all that. And good riddance!

  25. Trump was the only Republican willing to fight I’ve seen in a long time. That is why he won the primary,and that is why he won the presidency.
    Lesson for the Republican rank and file, we need to continue to elect more fighters and move as many of the cowards out of the arena as possible.

  26. Ave, Publius. I think I like Cruz to take Scalia’s place.

  27. I disagree. They may have had to take a different route than the rust belt (Nevada, New Hampshire, Maine 2nd district, etc.) But I believe Walker could have done well in the Rust belt, I believe Rubio could have won, maybe Fiorina if she could have gotten out of the primary. I think many of the others would have a coin flip chance, since Hillary was so hated. Ok, Bush, Kasich, Cruz, would have been hold your nose candidates, and Paul would have been interesting, as he would have pulled from the Democrat anti-war wing. But a majority of people voting Trump were voting because Hillary could not be allowed to become president…That’s how I, and many people I talked to felt.

    • Walker was too anti-union. That won’t fly in a presidential election in the Great Lakes and won’t get you the crossover vote. Not that people here love their unions, but they realize that without them they would probably get screwed.

  28. Not buying it.
    The argument that Hillary Clinton, in the torrent of Wikileaks and the shadows of Comey’s investigations, would win against all comers, except Trump, reeks of a desperate search for a special legitimacy for Trump.

    This argument is the act of a subconscious screaming out in denial. Does it matter if any republican would have won? Only, and acutely, to Trumpers.

    • If Trumpers want respect…
      Deliver and earn it. So many balls in front of the pockets-sink them.

  29. Ted Cruz crashed and burned his whole campaign the Night of the Chicago Violence.
    (The violence we now know was Bought and Paid for by Hillary)
    When he followed along with the Mainstream Media blaming Trump and his Rhetoric for the Violence, he Betrayed the Base, and the Base has been looking for someone who would be Loyal to them.
    For too long the Base has been electing people who did not subscribe to the old adage, “You Dance with Who Brung Ya.” and would get to Washington and suddenly start Dancing with the Mainstream Media. (See Marco Rubio above for a description of just that)
    While those who would one day become the #NeverTrumpers referred to that quest for Loyalty as a “Purity Test.”
    As for Romney:
    Well, I knew Mitt had lost to Obama in that one moment with Candy Crowley in the second debate.
    Mitt didn’t know what Obama actually said in the speech, he was going on what his handlers said Obama said. His expression was one of, But they told me… So when Candy Crowley played crooked referee all he could do is stand there like a deer in the headlights. He didn’t have the courage, nor the necessary knowledge, to fire back and call them both out on the lie.
    I could easily see Ronald Reagan in the very same situation saying immediately after Crowly’s breach of Moderation, “Candy, I’m glad you took the time to coordinate with my opponent and bring the documentation that he requested of you. Since you have those transcripts, would you be so kind as to read to us the section of his speech where he blamed the attack on Terrorism, not just a passing mention of it in the overall speech.”
    My contention If Reagan was Patton, Romney is Montgomery.
    (Romney plays not to lose – he doesn’t play to win)
    In the end, Trump ALSO Plays to Win!

  30. No other Republican would have had the cojones to call Hillary a liar to her face, and to call her a nasty woman, or any of the other things that made the media howl and the people vote red.

    • By the by. Who decided the Republican states be colored red and the Dem states blue? Seems to me that it should be the other way around.

      • Correct. USA Today did it first, and the rest of the media picked up on it.

    • EVERY Republican called Hillary a “liar” to her face.

      Only the lifelong DemonRat Trump supported her for her entire career.

  31. No one else could have won? Hardly. Rubio might not have won Wisconsin, Michigan, or Pennsylvania but he would have won states Trump lost like Virginia, Colorado and New Hampshire.

    • Nonsense. You imagine that Rubio would not have been tarred and feathered by the Clinton crime machine including the MSM. ANY Republican candidate would experience the same style and weight of attacks as Trump, differing only in the detail not the manufactured and incessant negativity.

      Except for Trump, and just possibly Cruz, they are all apologists who beg to be excused once under attack, no matter how fatuous the attack. If, as an aspiring leader, you will not fight back when attacked, your supporters disappear.

      Trump was the only one who would not back down no matter how concerted and vociferous the attacks. He is the only leader among them and that, together with his policies, is why he is the only one who could succeed.

      • Trump did not win because he fought back. He won because millions of Democrats stayed home and didn’t support the unpopular Hillary Clinton. Any normal Democratic turnout would have handed Trump a landslide defeat. Obama got 69.5 million votes in ’08 and 66 million in ’12. Hillary only got 62.5 million. Trump’s paltry 61.3 million votes (less than Bush got in ’04!) was only a fluke win in the Electoral College. Trump shrunk the Republican party by alienating its Conservative base. When the rust belt voters find out that Trump can’t restore their high paying factory jobs, they will bail on him too in ’20 and his total will shrink even further. In the end Trump will only strengthen the Democrats. He is the perfect guy for Democrats to rally against.
        We would have had a future with Rubio. He actually had appeal outside of white rural areas. So enjoy Trump for the next 4 years. The Democrats will own us after that as racial demographics change.

    • People vote on surface impressions much of the time.
      Marco looks too young, and often comes across like a boy.

      • Ted Cruz was and Rubio are both 45 years old. I never understood why it was never an issue for Cruz. I guess good health and vitality count against you in America.

  32. The only way Trump was going to win was for the American People to hoist him on their shoulders and carry him across the Finish Line. They did! In that act, they saved their Country and their Constitution! It was miraculous. They did it in spite of everything against them.

  33. 1) They are an economic necessity – Not true. The idea that a bunch of desperately poor, uneducated, unskilled, non-English speaking foreigners are an economic necessity is ludicrous. In fact, when you compare cost vs. benefit, it is obvious that they are not only NOT a necessity, they are not even an asset. Rather, they are a liability and a huge one at that.

    2) They do work Americans won’t do – Not true. They do work Americans won’t do for $7 an hour (especially if Americans can collect welfare and unemployment instead). Of course, if you got rid of the illegals, the jobs wouldn’t pay $7 an hour. The people who wanted the work done would have to pay a wage that was attractive enough to get Americans to do the work. And it might even be enough to get Americans off the unemployment and welfare dole and back into the taxpaying workforce!

    3) We benefit from all that “cheap” labor – This is nonsense. The only people who benefit from the cheap labor are the unscrupulous people who hire illegal immigrants. Taxpayers are left holding the bag. Ultimately, it is they who must pay to support all the Americans who have been put out of work by illegals and must also provide billions of dollars in services and benefits to the illegals themselves.

    4) They are just trying to make better lives – Aren’t we all? The difference is that most of us understand that we DO NOT have a right to acquire by illegal means those things that we find difficult to acquire by legal means. And we certainly don’t have the right to do it in a foreign country.

    5) It is impossible to round up and deport the illegals – We don’t have to. All we have to do is remove the incentives that brought them here in the first place. No jobs. No housing. No taxpayer financed services or benefits (including education). Once we remove the incentives that brought them here, they will leave on their own.

    6) Immigration control is racist / xenophobic – This is just another play of the race card by people who have no other cards to play. Immigration control is the world-wide status quo. There is nothing racist about it. Furthermore, the USA welcomes LEGAL immigrants of all races and ethnicities from all over the world who have gone through the legal immigration process. This is not just a bad argument, it is an attempt to create racial hatred and division.

    7) We are a nation of immigrants – This is the “BIG LIE”. The vast majority of Americans are native-born. I am not an immigrant. Nor were my parents. Nor were my grandparents. We are a nation that has, historically, allowed and even encouraged LEGAL immigration. And we continue to do so. The issue at hand is illegal immigration, which has nothing to do with legal immigration.

    8) They are people. We must treat them humanely – Yes & yes. But lets not pretend like they are victims who were dragged here kicking and screaming against their will. Nothing could be further from the truth. They came of their own free will and for their own benefit and they broke the law to do it. PEOPLE SHOULD NOT BE REWARDED FOR BREAKING LAWS AND COMMITTING CRIMES. SENDING THEM HOME IS THE RIGHT THING TO DO. There is nothing “draconian” or “mean-spirited” about it.

    9) It is wrong to break up families- Yes. Unfortunately, families are often broken up by criminal activity. If you don’t believe it, just drop by any prison or jail on visiting day. We can’t keep families together if some family members choose to participate in criminal activity.

    10) They work & contribute to our society – So do I. And if I break the law and commit crimes, I can expect to pay a penalty of some kind. Anything from a small fine to the death penalty. I do not receive a reward. WHY SHOULD WE TREAT FOREIGN CRIMINALS BETTER THAN OUR OWN CITIZENS?

  34. What I said every step of the way. Romney and McCain are upstanding men; DNC and Democrats tore them apart and ate them for breakfast. The DNC WORKED to get Trump nominated because they thought he was easy-peasy. But, really, no one else would have come back with exactly what was needed like Trump did.
    The wild card element was how openly and completely the MSM supported Hillary. And there was only one way to support: tear down Trump completely. Even they were surprised at how low they had to go. In the end, they created an absolutely hysterical left who believed every word they said about Trump and ignored everything bad about Hillary. Poor left. They are holding their own bag of doggy doo-doo.

  35. Big Don Trump will be an exceptional and excellent President of USA.

  36. Awesome site. I think Trump was necessary for several reasons: 1-nobody else had the courage to punch PC in the face, largely out of fear of the consequences and possibly because of actual agreement/submission with it, 2- the PC attacks completely exposed the media as liberal/progressive in spite their earnest claims to the contrary, 3- the establishment republicans lacked the skill, desire, and or courage to attack, especially the true Clinton culture of corruption. On this last point, the establishment could write articles about how Clinton was breaking the law, but were unable to muster any outrage over it, to the point that they would even countenance her presence in the White House because they were too virtuous, and more likely just too afraid, to support Trump. I agree with Gingrinch in considering them #cowards. We may still lose in supporting Trump, but at least we changed the game they were only too happy to see continue. Thanks Decius. Looking forward to much more in this new corner.

  37. Trump was the right man for the Republicans – because he is the only one who was ready and willing to fight back hard against the media’s pro-Democrat bias. If you remember 4 and 8 years ago – the media even tried to paint Romney and McCain as racists. They will always favor the Democratic candidate once the General Election starts. Trump was the first to fight back hard. A great lesson going forward for future Republican Presidential candidates.

  38. Early on I supported the first three names mentioned, Walker, briefly JEB!, and Rubio in that order but saw that only Donald Trump had the ability to counter-punch against Hillary. Only Trump would have saved the Supreme Court and defeated the Democrats.

  39. Trump won the popular vote too. 2-3 million illegals cast ballots illegally. Obama encouraged it, democrats enabled it, Trump defeated it. This flawed man was heaven sent, there’s no doubt of that. God will guide his hand as he did the founders.

  40. Americans have been stuck in political miasma for twenty years……..clueless, helpless, trapped. Nothing good can ever come for America until this huge swath of people break out of the stupefaction. Trump is a rare force who could (and did) help them break out. That’s his biggest upside. It took a Trump to really dispel the miasma. Now that it’s gone, we can get back to “regular politics” with great conservatives pushing good ideas, and winning elections. But first, we needed a Trump.

  41. Trump was the only one who could have won, because the rest were politicians. No one else would have been able to withstand the corrupt media, DNC, Clinton Campaign, Globalist onslaught that would have come their way. (Romney didn’t in 2012. Which one of the other 16 GOP candidates was better than Romney?). Does anyone truly believe that another Republican candidate would have been spared a 24/7 corrupt media feeding frenzy scandal in a deliberate October surprise? Because the Clinton Campaign in collusion with the corrupt media would have created one for any of our candidates.
    Consider the onslaught that Trump withstood. The incoming fire from all directions was withering. A normal politician (i.e. anyone from the rest of the GOP field) would have collapsed if from nothing else the fact that their money would have dried up from their “horrified” supporters. Trump’s win is the political equivalent of The Miracle on Ice.
    Now, we will have to circle the wagons for the next onslaught. The corrupt media along with the Neo Com progressive movement will work over time to undermine his presidency. The only question will be whether or not conservatives will either willingly participate, be useful tools for the Neo Com cabal or continue to fight for our flawed guy in the White House.

    • Trumpy the Perverted Clown has never been successful in anything in his pathetic life except passing his myriad of business losses onto the US taxpayer.

      Any other candidate would have mopped the floor with the wounded duck, HRC.

      Not the loser Trump or his merry band of trailer park fans.

  42. The REAL GOP nominee, Ted Cruz, would have beaten the despot HRC, like a drum.

    Only the lifelong loser and liberal Donald Trump could have lost the popular vote to the wounded duck, HRC.

    • Ted Cruz would have been the new Goldwater. Looking back is for the losers on the left. Look forward and find a way to make peace with Trump for four years. It beats a Hillary white house by a very long shot. Many said the same about Reagan.

  43. Hope the publishers of this new rag enjoy their 15 minutes of fame.

  44. Trump got enough Democrat voters to abandon Hillary, which helped him to victory. Would those voters would have abandoned Hillary for Jeb!? Another Bush? Really??? Rubio, Walker, Kasich, Romney? Uh, no. And Cruz (my favorite, the one I voted for in the California primary, even though he was already toast)? Oh Hell NO!!!

    Absolutely correct: Hillary was a shoe-in. Except for Trump. Long may he govern (in one or two four-year increments)!

  45. Sorry, PDM, but your crazy bias is exposed by calling Paul Ryan “open borders”. Silly! What you completely fail to mention is Trump’s historically high disapproval ratings, with over 2/3 of all voters have a negative opinion of him. Yes, he still won with those terrible personal ratings, but how? Because his opponent was equally disapproved of, and she was trusted by even fewer voters than he was. Trump only won because of his terrible opponent. Had any other Democrat (Biden, Kaine, even Sanders) run against him, Trump would’ve lost in a huge landslide. So yes, any of Rubio, Kasich, Bush, Walker, or even Cruz would have beaten Hillary, and probably by a bigger margin — because none of these guys have the negative ratings that either Trump or Hillary have.

    Consider this: If the 2-7 Chicago Bears play and beat the 0-10 Cleveland Browns, does that make the Bears a good team? No, they would only win because the Browns are worse. This is how Trump won.

  46. Fine article with little to criticize. Trump was the proverbial weakest of the Republican field and also the only one who could disruptively pull it off. The NeverTrumpers have only injured everyone including themselves, but I suspect they also played a role in motivating Trump’s base. Trump antagonized all the elites and subsequently evidenced that he was his own man, warts and all. I can’t help but feel that I know him well, and that’s the way to win elections. Trump can be great, but it will be a battle for him.

    • Weakest, Trump is a genius on five different levels. One of which is being under estimated. He is already hallowing out the GOP party and they don’t even know it.

      • Indeed. He evidences why he’s a billionaire, and anyone who underestimates him does so at their own peril. The world hasn’t made the arrogant mistakes of the American left. I would characterize what he’s doing to the GOP is reforming and expanding it, which it desperately needed. The old guard repubs were the Never Trumpers, and they will collect dust in the bins of history. They were on my bad side anyway, and millions of others felt the same way. Watching them squirm is entertaining.

  47. EXACTLY, The trait Reagon and Trump share in spades is that their ENEMIES underestimate them. The second trait that will become apparent as Trump takes off is that they’re loved by the people. Nobody but Trump could’ve done this and he had one hand tied behind his back with FEW MAJOR DONORS.

  48. I preferred pretty much any of the other candidates, but I just realized the other day that all of them would have run EXACTLY the same, cookie-cutter, consultant-industrial-complex campaign as McCain and Romney, and with the same result: they all would have lost. No way any of them would have ever taken Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan, which no Republican has achieved since Reagan. Even more stunning is that Trump lost by only **1.5%** in MINNESOTA, the only state not to go to Reagan in ’84. A few more rallies in Minnesota and he probably could have even bagged that state too.

    • A big part of the shift in Minnesota was revulsion over skyrocketing Obamacare premiums — an advantage that Romney didn’t have. And on personality, Romney would have run better in the suburban Twin Cities counties.

  49. Excellent article. I kept telling all my friends from the get go that Trump was the only own who could beat the witch. I was called crazy but was proven correct on November 9th.

  50. Great points made in this article but it doesn’t fit the #nevertrump narrative. Wishing that they, the media and the lunatic left would crawl back under the rock from which they came.

  51. Only one possible dissent from this view: The deficiencies of the losers were magnified by the presence of Donald Trump in the primaries. The eventual winner would have stood taller in the absence of Trump than they do in his shadow. Your conclusion is, still, probably inescapable.

  52. This was a “We’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore” election. Only Trump would be able to exploit this.

    • and the problem with that is? It’s time many people stop calling this election about the angry white deplorable who can no longer compete, is uneducated, and a loser. This demeans so many people regardless of their education, current circumstances or their wealth (or lack thereof). This was an election about the Progressives and their radical left nut jobs who have gone way too far with the race baiting, the smears, and the hate. Trump, as the hateful left’s new target, should be admired for remaining who he is despite the onslaught of insults and vitriol. He has proven to have big shoulders and is not afraid of baseless smears. It’s time we all shook off the daily media hate fest and the name calling by Democrats and take back our dignity and make this country great again.

  53. The problem with this analysis is that it assumes that Hillary is a typical Democratic candidate. There were many Democrats who hated Hillary, but hated Trump more. I can’t tell you how many people I heard who said they wanted to vote against Hillary but felt that they couldn’t because of Trump. Hillary would have never led the polls at all against Walker or Rubio. Either one of them would have won a wave election, with a 2 digit margin. Trump won in spite of being Trump, not because of it.

    • Silly. It was obvious the DNC had rigged their primary for Hillary. No one else was going to win the nomination, so we have to only consider Hillary in the mix.

      • Your comment makes no sense. Of course Hillary won the rigged nomination, but that has nothing to do with what I said.

    • I can’t tell you how many people I heard who said they wanted to vote
      against Hillary but felt that they couldn’t because of Trump.

      I hear that from Democrats in every election. If some other Republican had been running they’d have said “I hate Clinton, but I hate Cruz (or whoever) more!’ They think whatever they are told to think by their ThoughtLeaders in the media.

      • It’s mostly independents that I was referring to. Yes, most of the partisan Democrats would end up holding their noses and voting party line, but there were a lot of independents, especially independent women, who would have voted Republican if it had been Kasich or Rubio, but voted Hillary because the other choice was Trump.

  54. You left out the path of Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, Colorado, Ohio= 275 EV.

    Kasich may have been running as a Huntsman, but all evidence is that he is a nasty guy, and probably would have beaten Hillary.

    Cruz at least had the right map idea, and his data operation is solid. However, saying they don’t care about black votes doesn’t look good.

    Rubio’s campaign would have been all about abortion banned for rape, and his credit cards and luxury yachts and other junk. Eventually we would see Little Marco, unwilling to talk about Crooked Hillary.

    • I agree Kasich is a nasty guy. But he bows down to the media and is singularly uninspiring. He managed to win one state in the primaries. Even republicans dislike hungry hungry Kasich. And his betrayal of his pledge to support the winner shows his lack of character.

      • Of course, but after the primary he would have gotten Republican votes, and I think won electoral map or Romney + Colorado + Virginia + Iowa + Florida + New Hampshire +Ohio, aka Bush map if Curt Schilling doesn’t cancel his campaign appearance.

  55. Along with Wikileaks, Trump also exposed the media. Long known to be biased, the media was exposed as full on cheating partisans for Clinton. Leaking debate questions to her, submitting news articles for Podesta approval and revision, bouncing ideas and strategies off the Clinton campaign, relentlessly spreading false information about Trump, rigging polls with D+12 samples, arguing as Clinton surrogates in debates while supposedly
    moderating. The list goes on and on.

    When Trump won, their final lie was exposed – that all the experts were certain of Clinton victory. The public now knows they are lying or lack the expertise and infallibility that they have always claimed.

  56. My thoughts exactly throughout the whole process — as much as I liked the GOP field, I don’t think any of them would have pulled off what Donald did. I just don’t see it, nor did I trust them either. It would have been same ol’, same ol’.

  57. I keep saying Trump’s greatest achievement is being overlooked. His “northern strategy” of peeling off increasingly whiter states in the mid west negates the Democrat strategy of stuffing NY, Illinois and California full of illegal voters. That only runs up the score on the popular vote, it does not help in the electoral college.

    Like Nixon’s southern strategy, Trump’s northern strategy is a blueprint that makes Republicans competitive in spite of the demographic shifts underway.

  58. This is completely ridiculous. Trump was, and it wasn’t even close, the weakest candidate with the general electorate (read independents). EVERY other Republican would have defeated Hillary by 5+ points. She was that weak. EVERY other Republican would have mopped the floor with her at the debates. Only the mad grabber himself was able to make this a close election.

  59. Romney, that really does make me laugh. The nevertrumpers are as clueless today as they were a year ago. They are beneath consideration when talking politics.

    All I know is Cruz thought he was real clever, I expect his arse got an earful.

  60. I wanted Trump to have someone with the stones to bring up all of the reasons that the Clintons should be jailed under RICO statutes. No one else would be that different than McCain “play nice, be polite, be civil, forfeit”….

    • McCain lost Indiana. ‘Nuff said. Worst. Candidate. Ever.

  61. No other candidate would have taken the gloves off like Trump did, and as all GOP candidates have to do, to take on Dems. No other candidate would have turned to her in front of 100,000,000 people watching on TV, pointed a finger at her, and said “If I win you’re going to prison.”

  62. 1. While Trump did shoot himself in the foot in some instances and provided some material facilitating vilifying him (vilification being the main Democrat tool to destroy Republicans) it is also true that with the intensity of the media assault launched against him ANYBODY would have had incidents brought up to vilify them. Even Boy Scout Romney ended up being highly vilified. The difference between Trump and ALL the other Republicans is that he was quick witted enough and aggressive enough to smash back the shots lobbed at him immediately and for the most part delimited the vilification that destroyed the hapless and unresponding Romney and McCain. Trump is not a nice guy, not a guy to take an attack lying down, and it served him well.
    2. While Trump was not an expert in the cognitive minutae of government Trump is a bright guy with great instincts and judgement. On issue after issue after issue Trump snap judgements turned up to be correct. Whether it was immediately labeling Islamofascist attacks as what they were based on the data available (always assailed by the Press for doing so but RIGHT in every case), or understanding the fact that the Democrat strategy of neutralizing those pesky Americans by importing tens of millions of third-world people destroying the life-prospects of underclass and working class Americans or understanding that pithy accurate vilification of Hillary for her legitimate moral failings would stick or understanding how to completely neutralize Hillary’s greatest asset (Bill Clinton) by launching a pre-emptive attack using the Democrats own language of vilification or understanding that the Obama/Hillary strategy of driving Putin into the arms of China is even more stupid than the Obama/Hillary strategies that led to Libya being turned over to AQ, eastern Iraq being turned over to ISIS, and Egypt being turned over to the Muslim Brotherhood. A lot of personal flaws in a President or a general can be forgiven if they are able to consistently guess right about what is coming.
    3. While personally I liked Cruz’s principled positions and thought him intellectually the smartest person of any of the candidates of either party, at a personal level there was just something about him that did not engage emotionally with most people. Even though I liked his ideas and content and listened to his speeches carefully and agreed consistently, I never found him to be inspiring or evoking a sense of confidence that he could actually get it done. In this sense he was reminiscent of Ron Paul, a thinker with decent and defensible ideas but not an alpha male who would get things done. Both were candidates who would whine and protest but not lead. For better or worse, while Trump’s ideas differ from mine in important ways, having worked in executive situations at high levels for many years and having seen and worked with outstanding and successful executives, I have little doubt that Trump can get his programs done in large part with a far higher probability of success than Cruz or pretty much any of the other Republican candidates (ironically with the possible exception of Rick Perry, another guy who was an imperfect candidate but showed all the markers of a great executive).

  63. If eating at Crazy Bob’s Emporium, and only things on menu were warmed-over Clintonese neoc gruel and Republicanese neoc gruel, maybe would ask what’s the difference, only to be told “Nothing really, both come out of the same pot, but we like to offer folks a choice,” but main thing would ask would be got anything else, like dirty dish water, and would jump at the chance to get some.

  64. How come that was obvious to me, a lifelong political junky but not a “pro” and so opaque to those who claim to know something? Speaking of neverTrumpers, I honestly hope they all rot in hell. Or better yet .. let them all, for once, try earning an honest day’s living.

  65. I think Rubio would probably have won, but there is no way of knowing. What Trump did – and the NeverTrumpers should acknowledge this – is change the electoral map at a time when Democrats were basically starting with 240 EVs. Trump not only slew the Great White Whale of PA, he added Michigan and Wisconsin. He also performed better with Hispanics than predicted and improved in terms of the black vote.

    The GOP how has an opening that none of the other candidates could have provided. I’m less hopeful than the author on the intentions of the GOP pooh-bahs. But we’ll know soon enough.

    • In a country supposedly created of, by, and for the people, how much of a mystery can it be when a populist wins? The fact that it is such a puzzler to the chattering class reveals a lot about them.

  66. Trump did way better than a lot of people thought he would. But absent Comey, he still would have lost. Plus, let’s not forget that he went into the election with a 37.5 percent approval rating. Let’s see how formidable he appears, if he settles back to those numbers once he starts governing. Yes, rhetorically, Trump demonstrated that all this supply side economic stuff does not win votes, now that the top income tax rate is not 70 percent or something. Talking directly to workers without a college degree (and creating a lot of scapegoats in the process) is an effective strategy. But what will any of Trump’s policies really do for these people? Will he try to implement socialized medicine? I don’t think so. What if the deficit starts to balloon again? How will that fly among lots of traditional Republicans? Plus he has the unpleasant task of continuing the war in Afghanistan or deciding to lose. Trump ran a very good campaign against a very bad opponent. Going forward, he will not be able to run against her anymore, and instead will have to run against a generic Democrat. And all his flaws will still be his flaws, he is a pathological liar, a sexual predator, a deadbeat, poorly educated about anything not related to his business, extremely inarticulate although funny, and he also is going to get roughed up by the Trump University case, reminding people, once again, that he is a con artist.

  67. Rubio, Bush, etc. didn’t have to win the Rust Belt to beat Hillary. They had lots of other paths. Like winning Virginia, NH, Nevada, or Colorado for starters, all of which Trump lost. And would not have had to waste precious resources defending Arizona, Georgia, and Utah. No one thought Rubio was a strong candidate because he was going to win Michigan. He may have, but it would have been electoral vote 350.

    • Well, it’s a good thing Trump/GOP did win the Rust Belt; we can begin to give long overdue attention to jobs there. I have my doubts that any of the others, had they won, would have. As Decius said (RE Rubio) “same old same old”.

  68. Boy, that’s for sure.

    Even I wouldn’t have voted for Bush or Kasich. Now with them, I’d have stayed home.

  69. None of them could even beat Trump in the primaries?!! With voters who all agreed with them! How do these (presciently challenged) imbeciles think the other candidates would be able to win with voters who are complete skeptics? Only Trump (from this bunch) could have pulled this off, the others would have folded like a bad poker hand and slunk whimpering off as soon they were labeled as Racist etc by the Progs, like usual. We already know their crystal ball was cracked prior to the election, and now they can divine a past that never occurred? These guys must really be Progs, they don’t have the brains to be otherwise…..

  70. looks, I’m so nervous, each time I watch HRC on TV I start thinking that she won…I see her smiling face and moving her head up and down with that freaking smile…….it is the worse nightmare ever…..even when I’m walking or driving I suddenly I see that smile face….it is really scare….just to think that she could have won…..and then I can see Mr Trump saying Crocked HRC lost…..and that’s is heaven…at this point I would like Mr Trump and the country have a great 4 years….but if something go wrong….HRC is over and that is still heaven.

  71. Decius forgot to mention that Trump got fewer votes than Romney. Thus the Trump victory is entirely attributable to the decline in the Democrat vote from 2008 and 2012. The deciding factor was the electorate’s understandable distaste for Hillary Clinton, not their love of Trump. Trump’s negatives were the highest of anyone who has ever been elected President; it’s just that in the face of Wikileaks and the public’s growing understanding of the catastrophe embodied in Clinton’s private server, destruction of evidence and obstruction of justice, the revulsion at the prospect of Hillary as President was even greater. For that reason, I also maintain that Rubio or even Scott Walker would have won the general election. Even Cruz would have won had he been able to keep his preacher side under control. I agree that Trump’s stance on immigration and the distance between him
    and the establishment helped him, but his vulgar mouth, checkered
    business history and especially the sex tape hurt him. If we had had a candidate with the positions and grace of Ronald Reagan, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Nevada, Colorado, Virginia and New Mexico would have all flipped Republican and the election we are celebrating would have truly been a landslide.

    • And any other republican would have declared Hillary’s crimes and scandals off limits and instead made the election a referendum on a 3% reduction in the top tax rate while agreeing with Clinton on everything else. And any other republican would have apologized every time he was called racist and misogynist by Hillary’s campaign. And even if he still managed to win, we’d still get open borders, TPP, and war in Syria.

    • Decius forgot to mention that Trump got fewer votes than Romney.

      1) Trump received more votes than Romney..

      2) Trump won more votes than Romney i spite of the fact that various factions in the Republican party did everything they could to help Clinton in the general election.

      3) Trump received more votes than Romney in spite of an unprecedented campaign by the nations media (including much of its ‘conservative’ media) on Clinton’s behalf and against Trump.

      4) Trump carried both Romney’s and Ryan’s home states – something the Romney/Ryan ticket failed to do in 2012.

      • I stand corrected. I had read that somewhere — about Trump getting fewer votes than Romney — but evidently it’s not correct. Nevertheless, the million votes that Trump received over Romney’s total was much smaller than the 2.3 million drop in the total number of votes for Clinton vs. Obama’s total in 2012. Were not for that collapse in Democrat turnout, Trump would have lost all of the close contests.

  72. Santorum did great in those areas in 2012.Hillary would have gotten Rickrolled.

  73. Rubio would have easily won. He proved it by doing a lot better in Florida than Trump. In fact likely that Rubio effect helped Trump win FL. He was the better GE candidate.

    Rubio’s sure route to victory was VA and PA. People had to hold their nose to vote Trump or Clinton but not with an inspirational persuader like Rubio. He would have made inroads with millennials and minorities like he did in FL putting us in better position for the future. No rioting for either side and straight up conservatism versus who knows what with Trump.

    • Sorry, but open borders, TPP, and a no-fly zone in Syria to protect ISIS from Russia isn’t an inspirational message. We wouldn’t have had to hold our noses to vote for Rubio, because there would have been no point in voting at all. Only Trump offered us a real alternative to Clinton’s platform. Rubio and his ilk only offer the entire leftist globalist agenda except with a 3% lower top tax rate than what Clinton would want.

      • By your definition Reagan was a leftie globalist. You sound like a Bernie supporter. Free trade is not globalism. Gang of 8 was not open borders. Putin is not a benevolent friend. Trump offers liberal big government solutions and is out to line his own pockets. You’ve sent a nasty alligator to drain the swamp.

      • Rubio and the globalist neocons care more about the Chinese economy and the interests of foreign muslims than American workers. You scream “REAGAN!!!” but what you really want is a return to the failed policies of George W. Bush. We’re never going back to that.

      • Reagan was for free trade and immigration. 30% of our jobs are tied to free trade. Our farmers depend on immigrant labor and would be in a terrible situation if all their workers got deported. Wages will go up when we make them legal workers and maybe at some point americans will be interested in that work if it pays enough. The cost of our food will go up but it is a price I’m willing to pay to control our borders.

        A well done TPP would get rid of unfair trade practices by the Chinese today and add jobs. Trump can’t bring back jobs that are no longer needed. He’s going to lie and take credit for saving jobs like he is about the Ford KY plant right now that was never closing and you all will probsbly believe him. He is a master at manipulating the uninformed masses.

      • TPP would’ve subordinated the US Constitution to an EU-like international bureaucracy with full control over all our economic and immigration policies. We don’t need war with Russia to save ISIS. We don’t need to flood the country with Syrian rape gangs to live off our welfare system. And we don’t need half of Mexico voting in our elections. Your globalist ideology is a sham that allows an international financial elite to import cheap labor, export our capital, and command our young men to die in distant wars that endanger our national security. Enough is enough.

      • Reagan was for free trade

        No, he was not.

        “(Reagan) has been the most protectionist president since Herbert Hoover.

        Our farmers depend on immigrant labor and would be in a terrible situation if all their workers got deported

        Just like our farmers ‘depended’ on slave labor and would have been in a terrible situation of slavery was ended? Somebody needs to introduce you to concept of industrialization.

      • Where did you go to school? Trump University? Reagan was for free trade and I don’t need to go to an obscure Austrian source- here it is from his own lips He was also was for fair trade and took action if the other country wasn’t opening their markets to us.

        Tying immigration (really worker permits) to needed jobs as Rubio proposes is not amnesty and is what makes economic sense. You all who think Trump is going to bring manufacturing jobs for unskilled workers at higher than market wages where it then makes more sense to use robotics are the ones who are economically illiterate.

      • No, you neocons who gutted the middle class are the economic illiterates.

      • I was the lower middle class and I worked my ass off to study while my friends partied. I moved to where the jobs were and made sure to keep my skills marketable. You blame republicans and neocons, I blame the libs for creating subprime bubble and regulations and taxes that drove companies away.

      • And if neocons like Rubio had their way you’d be laid off and replaced with an H1B worker from Asia who works for a third of your salary.

      • You’ve been conned. The whole point of the program is to slash wages. Tech companies have repeatedly used the program to lay off American workers.

      • Urban myth. Where are the laid off tech workers that can’t find jobs? We have jobs that stay open for months because iit is so competitive.

  74. Publius is right, with any other candidate, Hillary Clinton and the Democrats would be crowing and strutting around and Conservative, Inc. would be puffing out their chests. Trump really was the only man who could have defeated the evil queen. As for Ted Cruz, the man has yet to even reveal his citizenship papers. Had he been the nominee, there’d have been a huge Supreme Court battle and the Constitution may very well be out the window. Republicans did not elect Donald Trump, the American people did. He got the votes of independent voters and they put him over in the states that counted. Not to mention that the media had no clue what was unfolding before them until it hit them in the face on election night.

  75. No, none of them would have beaten Clinton. But the more important point is that it would not have mattered had any of them beaten Clinton. We still would have had open borders, TPP, and war in Syria with any of them except Rand Paul, who still would have given us open borders and TPP but not war in Syria. Any of these polished professional politicians could have beaten Trump just by adopting his policies, but their donors would not let them.

  76. We can also rejoice in the destruction of Bush Republicanism. And we can thank Trump for that, too.