Because the nature of the corrupt bargain the right made with Donald Trump is so clear, an entire generation of Republicans and conservatives will spend their whole lives trying to outrun the taint of their own immorality, if and when Trump’s administration collapses.
Looking ahead a few months or years, we can already see how many of these political actors will plead their innocence when their reckoning arrives. Here, for instance, is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell justifying something relatively trivial: the GOP’s failed efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare. “Even on the night when we came up one vote short of our dream to repeal and replace Obamacare, here’s the first thing I thought about: ‘Feel better, Hillary Clinton could be president,’” he told the crowd at Fancy Farm in Kentucky.
Trump himself is playing whataboutism with his own legal liability, telling his most devoted supporters at a rally just last week that Clinton’s deleted emails constitute wrongdoing worthier of criminal investigation than his own crimes. “What the prosecutors should be looking at are Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 deleted emails,” he said.
During the election, many people were led to believe that Clinton was a far more corrupt and dishonest person than Trump, but almost everyone seeking to redeem themselves today was in on the truth behind the propaganda. Smearing Clinton was their ticket to power, and smearing her will be their ticket to absolution.