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Let there be no mistake about where the blame lies for the GOP disaster of 2016

Recent polls show Sen. Marco Rubio tied in his re-election race in Florida and Sen. Kelly Ayotte- one of the brightest of the bright new GOP stars- eight points behind in her re-election bid in New Hampshire

Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight gives the Democrats a 72.2% chance of re-taking the Senate, pointing out that the GOP's Senate chances are following the prospects of doomed presidential nominee Donald Trump.

Since Trump himself repudiated his pledge to support the eventual Republican nominee before he was awarded that title himself, all of his competitors for the Republican nomination were surely absolved from their pledge to support him- a pledge which, when they took it, assumed a degree of common sense among the Republican electorate it turned out not to have. It's interesting to speculate what would have happened in Florida especially if Rubio had done the reasonable and consistent thing and refused to support a nominee he had rightly portrayed throughout the primary campaign as dangerously unfit to hold the presidency.

But depending on how one sees Rubio's decision to honor that pledge- as an honorable keeping of his word or as a cynical insurance policy for 2020- Trump has Rubio fighting for his political life. Ayotte, who has had the courage and the common sense to disavow Trump, seems to be in the process of being dragged down by him anyway.

This was a year when no reasonable Republican presidential nominee could have lost. The GOP's control of the Senate should have at least remained stable and probably grown slightly stronger. Instead the party's heritage has been denied and its brand possibly damaged forever, a third consecutive Democratic term in the White House has been assured, and both control of the Senate and the careers of some of the party's brightest young stars placed in danger of oblivion all because a large group of unsophisticated and uninformed voters decided that they wanted to express their rage by nominating an ignorant, psychologically unstable, emotionally immature, and unelectable demagogue rather than electing a president.  Their historic hissy fit has denied America the opportunity to save the Supreme Court and the Constitution and to roll back some of the Court's worst mistakes.  Not only that but they have blown the opportunity to repair  the damage done by a diplomatically feckless and stat clueless administration to our national security and to world peace and to let  common-sense, proven conservative economic solutions get the economy back on track.

All along we've heard absurd attempts by Trump partisans to blame the Never Trump crowd for the impending disaster. That, of course, is absurd; if every Never Trump Republican had instantly fallen into line, his fate and that of the party would have remained unchanged- except that the GOP would have lost its soul instead of merely an election. But if the Trump crowd weren't given to the absurd it never would have supported a buffoon like Trump in the first place.

It's Donald Trump and his equally clueless supporters who are to blame for the impending disaster at the polls and for all those lost opportunities to set so many historic wrongs right, Typically, they seek to blame others for their own foolishness.

But history isn't going to buy it. The impending disaster of 2016 and all its tragic consequences are the faults  of Donald Trump and his supporters, and theirs alone.

They have lived the past year in denial, and it has cost the party and the country dearly. But they will not be able to escape their responsibility before the tribunal of the ages.

To have blundered badly enough to have gotten Hillary Clinton elected president- as she surely will be in a couple of weeks- is an achievement that will live in the annals of political self-destruction, and it will not do to blame as "traitors" those who tried to warn about what was coming and who have put country ahead of party by refusing to be complicit in it. The real traitors are those who  betrayed everything the Republican party has ever stood for by getting Donald Trump nominated in the fist place and those who have enabled and validated him thereafter despite the efforts of those of us who tried to save us all from their foolishness.

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