The great joke on Trump — the braggart buffoon who scorns rivals as “losers” — is the high certainty he will lose the Republican primary farce. Probably badly, without one primary win, a towering, monumental Trump bust. The other joke is, with the Donald mugging and slashing, anyone is astonished how faux was the faux FOX “debate.” We’re talking low-brow game show, akin to Trump’s beauty pageants, absent the superior vetting that TV entertainment demands (banishing by fiat any fat, loud, unattractive contestants). Are these puzzled pundits, dismayed by FOX flummery, missing exactly how the “straight-talking” Trump serves the RNC scenario of chicanery and showboating?
Reality check on the electoral elephant in the room: this “debate” kicks off the year-long puppet show, a garish, rerun that opens by headlining outlandish long-shots playing the Tea Party base. The GOP primary farce is half shiny, TV-survivor show (for entertainment) and half political diversion: hoodwink the base by giving them a boorish voice to imply their racist, anti-immigration, anti-government, anti-gay fodder counts. Problem is, the rightwing formula is getting old, bereft of real suspense. It’s amazing how pundits find insights while Tea Party primitives egg on stock figures: the crude outsider who depicts Washington as some other nation’s capital, the minority who never raises his voice, the career non-politician (often ex-CEOs), plus the usual elected suspects (from righteous zealots to boring no-risk establishment types).
Public Office, A Bare Minimum
While no one knows which establishment right-winger will be nominated, trust me, one will be. Why? It’s almost never been otherwise, especially since Reagan. American history establishes that, except for Republican Wendell Wilkie in 1940 (a corporate lawyer sans government experience), no nominee did not have public service on his resume. That deletes non-politicians, especially low-class, foul-mouthed billionaires bragging how rich they are (or how wealth alone promises presidential greatness). Ditto, all those unelected, amateur and/or politically unqualified: Dr. Carson and Carly Fiorina this time, but recall Herman Cain, Alan Keyes, Pat Buchanan, Steve Forbes and Ross Perot (the latter two proving wealth alone doesn’t wash). Once a century, triumphant generals like Grant and Eisenhower get the GOP nod, proving how extraordinarily rare to start your political career in the WH.
Likewise, Democrats (sans generals) look askance at Al Sharptons or Jesse Jacksons, let alone periodic actor-activist options; Ralph Nader or Dr. Spock never had a chance for Democratic glory. I couldn’t find an non-office exception here. A few “unaffiliated” celebrities at times win high office, but never the presidency. Even the singular Jesse Ventura (on the Reform Party ticket) was a city mayor before shocking American politics, a fiery independent taking Minnesota’s governorship. Populist rhetoric, crude or otherwise, washes over primaries, but mainly to pacify alienated minorities. That’s Bernie Sanders’ great and singular promise, as not just an impeccable progressive on economic justice, but an independent populist who refuses corporate payola.
Trump: Same Spiel, Same Fail
This isn’t the first Presidential Follies that Trump is destined to lose. Why, with the same crude spiel will he succeed against this stronger, more diverse field? Party power brokers can’t stop the ambitious, the lunatic or the outlier (especially tycoons) from signing up, but they keep messy situations from unravelling into chaotic divisiveness. Big wigs let bizarre long-shots cancel each other out, then corral the most electable as frontrunners as voting kicks off. It’s no mystery but a routine. Curiously, the more open-ended Democratic primaries have fewer nut cases plus more surprises: Obama was anything but establishment favorite before he parlayed neophyte minority mystique and superior campaigning to crush Clinton the bumbling campaigner.
For me, Trump remains the big joke this season, reviving the Sarah Palin gong show: another mouthy, camera-ready demagogue who revs up the most angry, least educated, aging white, feminist-quaking men. How a hustling, super-rich TV celebrity (lying about his $10 billion worth) advances the illusion the GOP has a large tent is another joke on Palin’s suckered “true Americans.” Other than two Hispanics, is there any more GOP frontrunner diversity this year than before?
Trump’s Triple Toxicities
Trump hasn’t a prayer, with high poll numbers crumbling before the first votes are counted. Slick GOP operatives will not only eviscerate his flip-flopping on abortion and health care, donations to Democrats (and coziness with Clintons), but revile the Trump’s poisonous triad: 1) his full-throated trade protectionism, plus opposition to the TPP; 2) needlessly belligerent alienation of targeted minorities, Hispanics and women; and 3) zero party loyalty, refusing to support the GOP nominee and, the kiss of death, still talking up a subversive third party run.
No GOP nominee survives such crimes, worsened by detachment from religiosity and God (excluding the money god), plus multi-scandals, multi-marriages and multiple bankruptcies. What politicos hate above all is a loose cannon, that’s Donald to a tee, as loose lips sinking ships are his most predictable quality. His goal as always: be the center of attention, but that’s a world apart from the center of power. Think: fraternity prank. Forget VP options, refusing to play second fiddle to some inferior loser.
Trump’s knee-jerk anti-terrorism and rabid Yankee exceptionalism won’t disqualify him, unlike attacks on critical trading allies (especially China, Japan and Mexico) and refusal to cheerlead every hare-brained, climate-worsening scheme. Political buffoonery fits the GOP primary circus, but fades next to what truly matters to the political class: growing the American brand, expanding international crony capitalism, moving into highly-populous markets previously off-limits, exhuming resources, and the glories of global “manifest destiny” that sustain imperial super-power status. Trump is out.
P.S. Though P.T. Barnum was as “self-absorbed and self-aggrandizing as Donald Trump,” as Gill Troy writes, the circus owner-turned-real politician was far less racist (indeed, a strong abolitionist supporting education and training for freed Negroes), plus a leading 19th C. progressive, working “to close saloons, ban prostitution, give prisoners meaningful work, and modernize utilities, especially the water system.” Overall, Barnum mortifies Trump as statesman, championing equality and mutual respect. “Politeness and civility are the best capital ever invested in business,” Barnum preached, “the more kind and liberal a man is, the more generous will be the patronage bestowed upon him.” Trump wouldn’t be caught dead mouthing such nonsense.