Robert Kagan in a harrowing article:
Yes, I know that most people don’t think an asteroid is heading toward us and that’s part of the problem. But just as big a problem has been those who do see the risk but for a variety of reasons have not thought it necessary to make any sacrifices to prevent it. At each point along the way, our political leaders, and we as voters, have let opportunities to stop Trump pass on the assumption that he would eventually meet some obstacle he could not overcome. Republicans could have stopped Trump from winning the nomination in 2016, but they didn’t. The voters could have elected Hillary Clinton, but they didn’t. Republican senators could have voted to convict Trump in either of his impeachment trials, which might have made his run for president much more difficult, but they didn’t.
Throughout these years, an understandable if fatal psychology has been at work. At each stage, stopping Trump would have required extraordinary action by certain people, whether politicians or voters or donors, actions that did not align with their immediate interests or even merely their preferences. It would have been extraordinary for all the Republicans running against Trump in 2016 to decide to give up their hopes for the presidency and unite around one of them. Instead, they behaved normally, spending their time and money attacking each other, assuming that Trump was not their most serious challenge, or that someone else would bring him down, and thereby opened a clear path for Trump’s nomination. And they have, with just a few exceptions, done the same this election cycle. It would have been extraordinary had Mitch McConnell and many other Republican senators voted to convict a president of their own party. Instead, they assumed that after Jan. 6, 2021, Trump was finished and it was therefore safe not to convict him and thus avoid becoming pariahs among the vast throng of Trump supporters. In each instance, people believed they could go on pursuing their personal interests and ambitions as usual in the confidence that somewhere down the line, someone or something else, or simply fate, would stop him. Why should they be the ones to sacrifice their careers? Given the choice between a high-risk gamble and hoping for the best, people generally hope for the best. Given the choice between doing the dirty work yourself and letting others do it, people generally prefer the latter.
This essay is really scary. It might be spot on, though. It’s worth reading through it all and keeping a copy for future reference. What are we going to do in Europe with our own wannabe Trumps?