Donald Trump entered the presidential campaign ready to say or do anything to win. He’s been vilified for it — for using what many see as race-baiting, xenophobia, and sexism to make plain that he was a new breed of straight-shooter. Trump’s rhetoric even alienated his fellow Republicans, many of whom were quick to disown him. Now that the GOP nomination is Trump’s, it’s rumored that even longtime GOP loyalists like Arizona Sen. John McCain won’t support him. Credible speculation has it that McCain, a frequent target of Trump’s disrespect, may even support his Democratic opponent.
But McCain has already helped Donald Trump immensely. It was from McCain that Trump learned the strategy to do anything to win. It was from McCain that Trump learned the GOP establishment wasn’t really established at all — that it was desperate for stars. It was John McCain who put his party at risk and started the GOP’s major reputation reversal when he nominated Sarah Palin as his running mate in 2008. The Palin selection forever destroyed the GOP’s already tenuous reputation as the adults in the room. Palin proved the Grand Old Party was vulnerable to irresponsible choices that put star power and superficiality ahead of substance. Donald Trump is running today on the same empty star glitz platform that McCain created eight years ago. And he just executed an easy mutiny on the ship McCain punched so many holes in. Palin, it should be noted, is in Trump’s corner.