“Nothing succeeds like success.” “Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.” And “nobody knows you when you’re down and out” (according to Eric Clapton, at least). And yet, the GOP appears to be immune to these sort of commonsensical clichés. Donald Trump is now the definition of a loser: a one-term president who lost both the House and the Senate. But instead of being chastened by him, Republicans are chasing him.
Nobody was clamoring for more Jimmy Carter in 1981 or more George H. W. Bush in 1993. Instead, the goal is usually to read the room and get on with it, already. Not even Al Gore or Hillary Clinton—presidential losers who actually won the popular vote—inspired any serious efforts to draft them into another race.
In the wake of Mitt Romney’s 2012 loss, GQ asked me for a song that summed up my feelings about the end of the campaign. My response? “Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away),” by Mötley Crüe. It was pure snark, but most Republicans I knew—even the ones who had championed Romney—understood (and shared) the sentiment.