(Credit: Newscom)

Do Republicans deserve to lose? Consider the state of play as we write this in late January, just days from the first GOP nominating contests.
The Republican frontrunner is a longtime liberal whose worldview might best be described as an amalgam of pop-culture progressivism and vulgar nationalism. His campaign rallies are orgies of self-absorption, dominated by juvenile insults of those who criticize him and endless boasting about his poll numbers. He’s a narcissist and a huckster, an opportunist who not only failed to join conserv­atives in the big fights about the size and scope of government over the past several decades but, to the extent he was even aware of such battles, was often funding the other side, with a long list of contributions to the liberals most responsible for the dire state of affairs in the country, including likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
In short, he’s an opposition researcher’s dream. But Republicans have spent tens of millions of dollars on political advertising this cycle and virtually none of it has targeted Donald Trump. He is poised to glide into the early-state contests having largely avoided the kind of sustained paid-media attacks that bring down candidates with far fewer vulnerabilities.