1. Douthat, Again
I know. He should probably take out a restraining order on me. But I just can’t quit Ross Douthat.
When last we talked about Douthat, he was explaining that Kevin McCarthy’s election to the speakership meant that the pre-Trump Republican party was back.1
Today he’s warning that Donald Trump could win the Republican nomination and that if he does, it’s kind of the The Media’s fault.
I mean, not totally. He’s sort of kidding. But also not kidding?
The media still wants Trump. This is not offered as an excuse for G.O.P. primary voters choosing him; if the former president is renominated in spite of all his sins, it’s ultimately on them and them alone.
But I still feel a certain vibe, in the eager coverage of DeSantis’s sag, suggesting that at some half-conscious level the mainstream press really wants the Trump return. They want to enjoy the Trump Show’s ratings, they want the G.O.P. defined by Trumpism while they define themselves as democracy’s defenders.
And so Trump’s rivals will have to struggle, not only against the wattage of the man himself, but also against an impulse already apparent—to call the race for Trump before a single vote is cast.
The italics are in the original, but the bold was added by me to highlight the trick Douthat is pulling. Oh, yes, sure, if Trump is the nominee that’s on R voters. BUT probably it’ll only be because the media was so mean to DeSantis and the poor fellow just couldn’t fight both Trump and the woke, socialist MSM at the same time.
Before we get to how stupid this analysis is, let’s take a little journey through Douthat’s . . . evolving analysis of the 2024 race over the last year.2