In his Monday New York Times column, Paul Krugman gave a brief history of the Republican Party's commitment to political style over policy substance, concluding that the ascendancy of Donald Trump is merely establishment Republicans being forced to occupy the bed they made.
"George W. Bush was supposed to get your vote because he was someone you’d enjoy having a beer with, unlike that stiff, boring guy Al Gore with all his facts and figures," Krugman argued. When Gore attempted to discuss policy differences, Republicans complained about the candidate's "fuzzy math" and the media went right along with them, deeming the vice president to have lost the debates.
This trend continued "when John McCain, who once upon a time had a reputation for policy independence, chose the eminently unqualified Sarah Palin as his running mate." In this respect, Krugman concluded,
Donald Trump as a political phenomenon is very much in a line of succession that runs from W. through Mrs. Palin, and in many ways he’s entirely representative of the Republican mainstream. For example, were you shocked when Mr. Trump revealed his admiration for Vladimir Putin? He was only articulating a feeling that was already widespread in his party...