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The Myth That Pro-Trump Pundits Care About the Supreme Court
Over the past couple of weeks, as national and state polling has continued to paint a grim picture of Donald Trump's chances of winning the presidency, Fox News host (and passionate Trump advocate) Sean Hannity has been on an absolute tear.
On his television program and on Twitter, he has repeatedly lashed out at Republican politicians and prominent conservative voices who have either refused to support, or have actively spoken out against, Trump's candidacy.
Last night, Hannity brought his frustrations to climax, beginning his show with a rant where he accused such people of sabotaging Trump's campaign.
Yes, he actually used the word "sabotaging," and he did so more than once.
Hannity then posed a question to his audience: "If they [anti-Trump Republicans] continue to do what they're doing, and Hillary Clinton wins, will they be responsible for supporting Hillary Clinton's radical, left-wing agenda?"
After rattling through a list of who has rankled him the most (which included Bill Kristol, Mitt Romney, Susan Collins, Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Ben Sasse, Lindsey Graham, and Meg Whitman), Hannity declared that if they "keep up their stubborn — their stupid — game, and continue to lick their wounds," they will be responsible for a third term of Obama's failed policies.
Hannity placed particular emphasis on the certainty that Clinton would nominate liberal Supreme Court justices, which, if approved by congress, would tilt the court decidedly to the left for many years.
"By refusing to support Trump," Hannity said, "it seems they're effectively supporting a woman who has proven time and time again that she is a liar and a corrupt politician." He later added, "Is that the person these Republican crybabies want to be the next Commander in Chief? They want to help her? It's very disturbing, and it's disgusting, and it's fairly dangerous."
Hannity then brought on fellow Trump enthusiast, Laura Ingraham, who said that the aforementioned Republicans are "clearly cheer-leading Hillary Clinton," and that, "if you call yourself a conservative and a Republican, it's actually immoral not to vote for Donald Trump, if only for the reason of the Supreme Court."
Yes, she actually used the word "immoral"...in defense of a guy who mocks people's disabilities and trashes Gold Star families.
Now, I must admit that for the sake of my own sanity, I stopped watching Hannity's show years ago — long before he made a conscious decision to abruptly toss aside his exhaustively-established brand of conservative purity, and turn into a shameless shill for his friend, Donald Trump. Most of my exposure to him now comes in the form of Internet videos, often linked to from people on Twitter, with an accompanying caption like "WTF?" or "What planet does this guy live on?"
But it is important to note that Sean Hannity is still an influential voice in conservative circles, as are other former media-preachers of conservative absolutism (including Laura Ingraham) who turned into early Trump advocates. Throughout primary season, these people tirelessly shoveled coal into the engine of the Trump Train, fueling the effort to normalize and vouch for the conservative credentials of a reflexively liberal, big-government autocrat.
Those efforts certainly paid off. Trump was deemed an acceptable candidate by enough people on the right to win him the Republican nomination, despite poll after poll showing that his temperament, divisive rhetoric, and willful unpreparedness would almost certainly hand Hillary Clinton an easy victory in November.
Now, unbelievably, those same voices are calling Republican holdouts (whose consciences won't allow them to support Trump) immoral. They're calling them saboteurs, and claiming that it will be their fault if the Supreme Court turns into a liberal majority.
I'm sorry folks, but such logic is beyond idiotic.
If people like Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, Eric Bolling, and the rest of the Trump faithful in the conservative media truly believed that the fate of the Supreme Court were a marquee issue of dire importance (as they exhaustively insist they do), they would have never — and I mean never — advocated for a Trump nomination in the first place. In fact, they would have adamantly opposed it.
The truth is that the Republican Party couldn't have possibly chosen a worse candidate than Donald Trump to entrust with the future of the Supreme Court. The reasoning comes back to three factors:
1. Trump is not a conservative by any stretch of the imagination. He's not guided by conservative principles. Time after time, he has revealed an inherent disinterest in the U.S. Constitution. All one has to listen to is Trump's stated affection for single-payer healthcare and eminent domain, and his repeated questioning of the authority of those who criticize him, to understand how he feels about the rights and freedoms of individuals.
The same media-conservatives who are now arguing that Trump is America's last best hope would have been calling him a "liberal RINO" for the past year, had he been anyone but Donald Trump.
Sure, Trump released an impressive list of conservative individuals that he says he'll consider from, if elected. And it was certainly a smart political move to have an actual conservative put together some acceptable names (likely none of whom Trump had previously heard of) to present to the Republican base. The clear purpose of the list was to pacify skeptics on the right, and on some, it seems to have worked.
Of course, putting faith in Trump's mere word has proven, time after time, to be utterly foolish. Trump's propensity to lie, change positions, and break promises is what — after all — makes him Trump.
Let's be honest with ourselves: Republicans are Charlie Brown. Donald Trump is Lucy. That list of prospective justices is the football. Need I say more?
2. The confirmation of conservative justices requires a GOP majority in Washington. Yet, Trump has stated that he doesn't have a strong preference whether the Republicans maintain control of the U.S. Senate. In an interview last month, when asked about the GOP keeping its majority, he answered, "Well, I’d like them to do that. But I don’t mind being a free agent, either."
And it looks like, with Trump's drag on down-ballot Republicans, the loss of at least the U.S. Senate is a very real possibility. Again, this doesn't seem to phase Trump, who hasn't been interested in raising money for those candidates' races. More notably, he has at times actively campaigned against incumbent Republicans who he believes have, in one way or another, slighted him.
Do these sound like the acts of someone who truly cares about conservative justices? Or do they sound like the actions of someone who doesn't really care about the makeup of the Supreme Court, and will simply "make the deal" with whoever he needs to?
Has Hannity called Trump a saboteur? Has Ingraham called Trump immoral? Of course not.
3. Trump's nomination was Clinton's easiest path to victory. Throughout the primary, poll after poll showed that Trump was among the GOP candidates least likely to beat Hillary Clinton in the general election. His vile conduct and radical ideas made him unacceptable to voters, and the vitriol only got worse as time went on.
The pro-Trump pundits knew this, and they doubled-down on their gamble at every opportunity. They worked diligently to ensure that the Republican candidate most likely to result in a liberal Supreme Court won the nomination. And they got their wish.
Now, they have the gall to say that those who opposed their reckless efforts, stood on principle, and warned of what would inevitably happen, are to blame for the situation conservatives are in? Give me a break.
I do have empathy for people on the right who opposed Trump's candidacy in the primary, but now support him as the lesser of two evils in the general election. When they say that they believe Trump's Supreme Court picks would be better than Hillary's, and they'll be voting for Trump because of that, I believe them. I also respect their reasoning.
Who I can't respect are the holier-than-thou Trump sycophants who set fire to our hopes of a conservative Supreme Court, and are now censuring the dissenters for playing with matches. I find that to be "very disturbing", "disgusting", and "fairly dangerous."
If the pro-Trump media is looking for someone to blame for a Hillary victory in November, I suggest they seek out the closest mirror, and take a long hard look.