The Road to Trump Is Paved With Smears of Decent Republicans

Photo Illustration by Kristen Hazzard/The Daily Beast/Photos Getty

When I look at the smears already being aimed at potential Supreme Court Justice nominee Amy Coney Barrett, I’m left with one conclusion: This is how we got Donald Trump.

Long before Trump took that now-famous escalator ride, conservatives were regularly attacked in pretty unfair ways. The closer to an election or confirmation vote, the more vicious the attacks.

In recent years, decent, mainstream conservatives have been accused of owning a racist rock (Rick Perry), giving forced, homophobic haircuts, declaring a “war on women” and not paying taxes (Mitt Romney), and not knowing how many houses they own (John McCain). In 2012, Paul Ryan was accused of wanting to throw granny off a cliff, and that same year, then-Vice President Joe Biden told African-Amerians that a Romney presidency would “put you all back in chains.” From Robert Bork to Brett Kavanaugh (who, among other things, was accused of “gang rape” by Michael Avenatti) the same pattern has played out in Supreme Court nominations. It doesn’t matter how mainstream, decent, or earnest a conservative is. Once you become a threat, you’re a target.

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