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When Donald Trump announced his presidential candidacy in June of 2015, no one (including yours truly) gave him anything resembling even an outside shot. Trump and his candidacy were a laugh line. The previous assertion is not a political statement as much as it’s fact.
Whatever readers think or thought about Trump’s policies (this column was and is very critical of his views on trade, immigration and the dollar, among others), the expectation was that the New Yorker’s unlikely bid was a near-term brand-building stunt, and that his even harder-to-imagine nomination for president would lead to major losses for the Republican Party well down the ticket. Notable here is that Republican pessimism and Democratic elation about Trump’s near-certain November drubbing was the broad expectation before the Washington Post’s October 7 release of Trump’s conversation with Billy Bush about his groping ways. Pessimism about Trump’s electoral chances after the tape’s release morphed into sheer dread among Republicans. Trump would not only lose to Hillary Clinton, but would do so in historic fashion to the Party’s long-term detriment.