Whose Fault Is Donald Trump?

Pointing the (short) finger of blame.

Donald Trump is moving to within one step of the presidency, with only Hillary Clinton standing in the way. How the hell did that happen? A year ago, he was a laughable (though rich) Manhattan real estate mogul and reality TV reptile. Now he's Roaring Orange Godzilla, towering over and bestriding America.

Who DID this to us? If this were a movie, the culprit would be a mad scientist who spilled a beaker of growth elixir on a lab frog. But it's not a movie. (Right? Guys?) The Republican Party -- that of Lincoln, Teddy, Ike and Reagan -- is about to give us a man who looks and sounds like a combination of George Wallace, P.T. Barnum, Father Coughlin and the guy from "Glengarry Glen Ross" who shouts "Coffee is for closers only!"

To be clear, we're not blaming the voters in this year's GOP primaries and caucuses, even though Trump would be nowhere without them. In a democracy, we don't fault the people for their sincere choices. However, democracy does allow -- some might say it requires -- that blame be assigned to the conditions that limited the people's choices in the first place.

So as a public service, First to Last offers a rogues' gallery of the individuals, institutions and forces that have brought us to the edge of Trumpocalypse. If The Donald wins in November, we'll publish another list for Inauguration Day. It will be written from our new FTL headquarters in Bora Bora. 

Photos: Getty, Associated Press

Editor's note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophoberacistmisogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims -- 1.6 billion members of an entire religion -- from entering the U.S.