I come here today not to praise Trump but not to bury him either: the longer his vicious vanity campaign lasts, the more calamity Trump brings to the insular, reactionary Republican brand. Trump = GOP mayhem. His meteoric rise, though apparent only in the poll-iverse, has gone where no celebrated, agent provocateur wing nut has gone before: not Palin, nor Cain, Carson, Gingrich, Sanctorum nor Huckabee, more impactful than talk radio sh*t-disturbers like Coulter or Limbaugh.
Honor is due when Trump’s calculated, swelling divisiveness ends up corralling backward, undying racists while unifying a badly-splintered country against an undeniable danger: the unstoppable rhetoric of fascist demagoguery. Plus, well underway is the party-unifying crusade against a Trump nomination, a very likely national fiasco.
Last week, Bill Moyers’ wishful, premature thinking reappeared, routine during media earthquakes: Trump the thuggish candidate from hell dramatizes “The GOP on the Eve of Destruction.” Not quite yet, however appealing. Lest we forget, allegedly imploding Republicans control Congress, most state houses, the courts, critical bureaucracies and staunch, Pentagon war-addicted allies. Republicans rule, and a savvy friend, keen tracker of actual voting patterns, doubts even loudmouth radical Ted Cruz would lose any states Romney won. That means another election hinged on a fistful of close battleground states.
I share Moyers’ unstated, if fanciful assumption: the left readily divides the world between those who judge nasty GOP hustlers the first, second, or third greatest obstacle to human progress — vs. those who don’t. Or slip them in as #4. No defense of Democratic hustlers, just distinguishing snarling pit bulls from yapping, miniature poodles.
And behold, the Trump Over the Top Syndrome (TROTS), so offensive, here finally (dreams the left) is the bludgeon that rends the Reagan coalition. Thus splits the suckered evangelicals, fundamentalists, and Tea Party/Birchers from the belligerent billionaires who despise regulation, taxation, global alliances against global menaces, and all trappings of welfare state. How many bother about faith, social wedges or other necessary evils. What separates Trump from lesser rogues is staying power, even though it’s all of one-quarter of less than half the electorate.
Silver Linings, Still Dark Clouds
Trump leverages horror at immigration and minority (women’s, gay, black, Muslim) rights against the regressive party that feasts on such unholy divisions. Plus, he throws back, even mockingly decimates the heinous Dubya campaign nonsense about being the great “uniter, not divider” — before Bush coughed up a divisive presidency for the ages. This September, DJ Trump outdid Dubya in mendacity, pushing HIS bullying, strongman personality to unify impossible divisions he was in fact amplifying: “I have a temperament where I bring people together.” Never has “temperament” appeared so ghoulishly inverted by such a multi-edged sword of discord.
Not before also, in modern times has a never elected TV celebrity held sway over early presidential polling. Trumpster knows how to play the media, but reality will out: his touted frontrunner status dissolves as soon as ten losers exit, turning him into this season’s weirdo extremist. Panicky GOP power brokers can trump Trump by forcing out all but five candidates. Look at NH (and forget weird Iowa, then assume amateurs Carson and Fiorina soon wither): when total losers leave, two, maybe three pros will divvy up over 50%, plus their current totals. Yes, I assume Trump 28% (even one-third) represents his ceiling support. That leaves 72% of primary voters for the reduced short list of real candidates. All else is noise.
After all the riff-raff, long shots and losers exit, behold: Cruz and/or Rubio take command, with Trump likely in third place. Trump’s outraged brigands can still throw their infantile (racist, proto-fascist) tantrums, fully dosed by willing blindness: for abortion remains legal, gay rights are permanent, Obamacare and the federal government lives on, terrorism hasn’t gone away, no theocratic autocracy surfaces, travelers aren’t stereotyped by religion — and taxes will be assessed and paid.
Trump Feasts on Stuffed Turkeys
A scenario cleansed of losers will roughly recapitulate McCain and Romney patterns. But good news: Trump will have badly stained the GOP brand, rippling out into the general election. Why else would Donald kick off things with an out of nowhere smack down of a war hero (McCain), then attack minorities the GOP is dying to win over, then eviscerate fellow partisans as inept, low-energy, low-testosterone, sold out bozos? Thus does Trump, intended or not, serve the progressive national interest, a one-man wrecking ball who can only help democratic Senate candidates, even arguably rattle House control.
No prophesy, but Trump’s overblown theatrics fit to a tee being a spoiler, disrupter, revealer of weak candidates and weaker policies, mocker of all elites who disagree — and logically a Democratic plant. Otherwise, Trump wouldn’t focus harsh nastiness on personalities but use the bully pulpit to raise genuine issues vs. being a doomsday joke on the Reaganite mantra that winners must put on a happy face.
As Glenn Greenwald writes,”Whatever else you want to say about him, Trump is a skillful entertainer, and good entertainers — like good fascist demagogues — know their audience.” Yes, but that doesn’t remove a disturbing question: is he growing bigotry or just riding entrenched FOX waves? And if he is such a good demagogue, why skate beyond creditability, why go out of your way to offend party brokers and donors, even iconic, extremist criminals like Dick Cheney?
Uniting by Dividing: What’s Not to Like?
Thus, Trump like none before unites by being ferociously, obnoxiously divisive. 70% of Republicans are already offended, some outraged. 100% of Sanders or Hillary Democrats agree, certifying him deranged and dangerous, a gross thug who imperils both liberty and our fabled melting pot. Intended or not, this narcissistic bully is doing his damnedest to overcome entrenched, party divisions we thought fixed in stone. If Trump sought to unify 90% of the nation, especially those awake, could he have done any better?
Finally, if his core mission was to mortify the Republican Party, which can’t reject him without inviting the worst dread of all — Trump as third party malcontent — could he have done that any more effectively? Is Trump the plant not making Democrats look appealing, if not sane, better than they deserve? If the Republican right is thoroughly wrong for America, let us praise this noisy TV conman as vehicle of their disempowerment, simply by spotlighting their dark side, which is to say, who they really are. Reworking lines from Macbeth:
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Let the hell-broth boil and bubble.
Double, double, toil and trouble,
Trump’s at large, GOP’s in rubble.
And here’s an ultimate, Moyers-like final vision, from a brilliant Salon blogger, Sieggy:
“Trump could strangle kittens live on stage at this point, and his base would cheer him on. He’s become the Ozzy Osbourne of politics, biting the heads off of bats and flinging the pieces to an adoring audience . . . [if] he told them that those were immigrant bats & kittens. He’s an entertainer, and as long as he entertains the mob, the mob will cheer him on.
He’s what his supporters fantasize about being — too rich to care a whit about what anyone thinks, yet so nastily thin-skinned that he’ll get into a Twitter war with anyone over a perceived slight. Vulgar, proudly ignorant, arrogant, brutal, domineering, a ‘winner’ who’s free to despise all you ‘losers’, this is what the GOP base now idolizes. They dream of being just like him. They want to burn down the house, and he’s offering to bring the kerosene and the marshmallows.
I really, truly hope he gets the GOP nomination. That would tear the republican party into shreds as the last few remaining sane Republicans finally wash their hands of the party and walk away in disgust, leaving only the hate-filled ignorati and vulgarians.”