Paul Krugman Decimates Trump's Supposedly Respectable Enablers

While Paul Krugman has largely laid the blame for Donald Trump's getting ever closer to the presidency at the feet of the media, there is more than enough blame to go around. In Monday's column, the columnist lays bare the other enablers and abettors in the crime that is this campaign.  


First there is the Republican political establishment, he writes, "which is supporting Mr. Trump just as if he were a normal presidential nominee."

Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan, leaders of the Senate and House respectively, top the list of culprits. "They know what kind of man they’re dealing with—but they are spending this election pretending that we’re having a serious discussion about policy, that a vote for Mr. Trump is simply a vote for lower marginal tax rates," Krugman argues. "And they should not be allowed to flush the fact of their Trump support down the memory hole when the election is behind us."

This annoying observation gives Krugman the chance to rail about the treatment the press has given Ryan over the years. His "flimflam" policies have been treated as serious policy proposals, never mind that the numbers never seem to add up. Supporting Trump can be put right at the top of his list of crimes, one that can never be expunged no matter what happens.

More on Trump's backers (and non-backers):

While almost all Republican officeholders have endorsed Mr. Trump, the same isn’t true of what we might call the G.O.P. intelligentsia—actual or at least self-proclaimed policy experts, opinion writers, and so on. For the most part, the members of this group haven’t spoken up in support of this year’s Republican nominee. For example, not a single former member of the Council of Economic Advisers has endorsed Mr. Trump. If you look at who has endorsed Mr. Trump—say, at the signatories of the statement of support from “Scholars and Writers for America”—it’s actually a fairly pathetic group.

But if you think that electing Mr. Trump would be a disaster, shouldn’t you be urging your fellow Americans to vote for his opponent, even if you don’t like her? After all, not voting for Mrs. Clinton—whether you don’t vote at all, or make a purely symbolic vote for a third-party candidate—is, in effect, giving half a vote to Mr. Trump.

To be fair, quite a few conservative intellectuals have accepted that logic, especially among foreign-policy types; you have to give people like, say, Paul Wolfowitz some credit for political courage. But there have also been many who balked at doing the right thing; when Henry Kissinger and George Schultz piously declared that they were not going to endorse anyone, it was a profile in cowardice.

And the response from sane Republican economists has been especially disappointing. Only charlatans and cranks have endorsed Mr. Trump, but only a handful have risen to the occasion and been willing to say that if keeping him out of the White House is important, you need to vote for Mrs. Clinton.

Krugman does reserve some harsh words for those on the left who are throwing their support to third-party candidates, votes which Krugman thinks are being dangerously tossed away. If as one poll suggested, a third of young voters either stay home or vote for third-party candidates, it might help elect Trump.

In sum, Clinton's good week and Trump's terrible one is no cause for complacency at all.

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