Bob Ehrlich: 'It’s Always Something' with the Campaign To Delegitimize Donald Trump


“It’s always something.”

Those of us of a certain age recall Gilda Radner’s beloved SNL character Roseanne Roseannadanna. She was the chatty, dim-witted reporter who always got pronunciations wrong — always to hilarious effect — before being educated by the straight man/anchor. Invariably, once corrected, Miss Roseannadanna would minimize her mistaken verbiage with a dismissive, “It’s always something.” In other words, we’ll just go on to the next story.

I think back to that famous punchline every time a frustrated media seeks to delegitimize the outcome of election 2016. The continued viability of the underlying storyline speaks to the establishment’s (read: “swamp’s”) inability to wrap its head around what went down over two years ago. For those of us keeping score at home, “It’s always something” looks and sounds more like this:

“But Hillary won the popular vote.”

A crowd favorite, and oft-repeated on the lefty networks, as though the national popular vote counts, which of course it does not. This “break glass and use in case of emergency” line was heard anew in the aftermath of the 2018 midterms wherein Senate Democrats protested they had won the national popular vote but were still in the minority. Imagine…

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“But the electoral college is antiquated.”

An increasingly popular narrative now that heavily voting New York and California have emerged as two of our most reliably progressive states. This one is, of course, related to number one above, and focuses on how unfair it is that those short-sighted framers of ours saw fit to give smaller, rural states equal say in how our democracy operates. Look for the uber-left to continue its attacks on our Constitutional framework every time an election cycle does not go their way.

“But the Russians did it.”

This one sure looked promising in those early, heady days of 2017. But of course, it was that KGB-trained Putin and his army of social bots and media influencers that swung American social media over to “The Donald.” And why not? Vlad and DJT are two peas in a pod – both autocrats bent on consolidating their power and making a private fortune in the process. Seems no amount of FISA Court abuses or FBI missteps can dissuade purveyors of this conspiracy theory. Note that the expiration date on this one will be reached once Robert Mueller completes his investigation – and the President remains unindicted.

“But voter suppression is widespread.”

I get the staying power of this one. Anyone who has studied slavery, Reconstruction, Jim Crow, and the long violent road to civil rights has to get the context. But advocates of this theory lose me in the here-and-now. Particularly galling is the persistent use of the race card to attack commonsensical security measures such as mandatory photo ID (or its equivalent) or the purging of voter rolls after prolonged periods of (voting) inactivity. How did our country get so far off base that minimal requirements imposed to protect the integrity of our sacred franchise now give rise to allegations of racism?

“But dark money was the culprit.”

This one sounds so good when you say it real fast. After all, who is willing to defend dirty contributions? Aggrieved Clinton supporters know: it was those evil corporate polluters who pumped tens of millions of dollars into Trump’s coffers – that’s who! That Democratic candidates also benefit from progressive super PACS and tech America’s nouveau wealth never quite bubbles up in the popular narrative.  It’s always easier to indict corporate America and its GOP allies on K-Street, facts on the ground notwithstanding.

“But Citizens United did the trick.”

Herein is a first cousin to the dark money narrative. Recall Hillary Clinton’s repeated stump demonizations of this Supreme Court decision. Recall also her promise to appoint Supreme Court justices who would overturn the case. No surprise here. It was an anti-Hillary film, (Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party) that brought the issue of corporate First Amendment protections to the head of the class. Call me cynical, but I would bet my house that a clear majority of those Hillary-Elizabeth-Bernie fans screaming bloody murder at the mere mention of Citizens United during campus campaign rallies couldn’t tell you the first thing about campaign finance.

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Do you think Trump will be re-elected in 2020?

For the last two years, the progressive-leaning cable networks have devoted a majority of their programming to one or more of the foregoing narratives. You can check it out any night – and twice on weekends. But the prudent reader might be on the lookout for new and novel narratives leading up to 2020 – including the extraordinary remedies of impeachment and the 25th Amendment. Here, “It’s always something” means a constant stream of rationalization – innuendo – denials about the rise (and sustained appeal) of Trump.

The bottom line: the campaign to delegitimize everything and anything Donald J. Trump will continue apace… right up until 8 p.m. on Nov. 3, 2020.

The views expressed in this opinion article are those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website. If you are interested in contributing an Op-Ed to The Western Journal, you can learn about our submission guidelines and process here.

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Robert Ehrlich is a former governor of Maryland as well as a former U.S. congressman and state legislator. He is the author of “Bet You Didn’t See That One Coming: Obama, Trump, and the End of Washington’s Regular Order,” in addition to “Turn This Car Around,” “America: Hope for Change" and “Turning Point.” Ehrlich is currently a counsel at the firm of King & Spalding in Washington, D.C.