Winning is Everything, Principles Swept Away, Hypocrisy Reigns
Who doesn’t love a good farce, especially starring the Republican Party shipwrecked by its own abusive, reign of terror? When a transparently phony savior, more full of himself than the most insular whacko senators, ambushes America’s party of pomposity, comedy’s afoot. That’s amplified when this never elected amateur invites ridicule by compensating for ignorance with recycling word tics like an old, scratched LP.
And more. Then, despite interminable whining about “unfair” party tactics, he wins enough delegates to run the deck. Is that not sufficient goofiness to inspire satirists everywhere? Who else but Trump, without any more insider party footing than Bernie Sanders, preemptively indicts the very legitimacy he dreams of leading? Talk about (contradictory) delusions of grandeur!
Forget being presidential: Trump’s hit and miss demeanor is barely “nominational,” thus the shocking, unheard of party antagonism. Thus erupts the party’s revealing, yet flat-footed overreaction: establishment shock, clamor, and outrage send forth the preposterous NeverTrump fantasy, followed by chatter about third party sabotage by a “real conservative.” Only McCain, of the last three GOP nominees, reluctantly accepts Trump: the Bushes en masse go AWOL and Romney mercilessly huffs and puffs at the house of the Donald’s sham.
Whenever world-class pomposity is so deflated, with more to come as Republicans brace for the inevitable exposes of Faulty Trump Towers, farce is inevitable. Talk about airing your dirty laundry: could Repugs finally match Dems as the worst political party of all time? Less farcical, and more predictable, is the tepid rush by conflicted GOP endorsers. Trump’s media momentum drives party unity more than any loyalty, consensus or conviction he can win. Countless pros still anticipate either short-term disaster (November landslide) or longer-term woes (a Trump victory, then party-wide humiliation greater than Dubya’s). Do Democrats deserve such gifts?
Romney’s Con Man, Today’s Champion
Winning a minority total in our most bizarre primary offsets a battalion of Trump blunders. His vulnerability is amplified by the forced party assumption every enemy of your enemy (Hillary) will pay off. Trump proves not just how the crudest of celebrity hustlers, with insults, badgering and threats of retribution, can dupe 40% of a gullible base. DT achieved what no fat cat donor, party hack or candidate ever pulled off: forcing the GOP to look itself in the mirror, now horror-struck at today’s disfigured, decrepit Dorian Gray grinning back at them. Is Cruz the only “Lucifer in the flesh”?
Yet, how many operatives, even those fiercely bemoaning the collapse of ideological purism, will not bow and scrape, twist their ex-sacrosanct “values,” and eventually back Trump as their only lottery ticket? What a marvel of flexibility are party zealots — defying all “compromise” as criminal (with a rational president), only to rush headlong to embrace a loose cannon defying compromise at every turn (and those are infinite). Truly, there’s no hypocrisy like hack party hypocrisy.
Realists anticipate that win or lose, Trump likely leaves the party in shambles: either he blasts much of the favored, knee-jerk belief system to smithereens or incites by November public repulsion against his substance-free theater of duplicity. That returns to a Never Trump electoral finale. Just what this billionaire-happy party needs, having for decades abused its base: a tsunami of undeliverable, “populist” Trump IOUs — what better to ice their infamy for a generation?
Win, Lose, All of the Above?
Who can’t wait to see Trump rebranding the Republican banner, say, the Make Trump Great Again Party, The All-All-American Trump Party, or maybe just Republicans Retrumped? The $64K question: will Trumpery solidly disrupt — or simply continue to foster a new variation in GOP Derangement Syndrome? Or will Trump in the end join other disgraced, faux populist jolts, kin to Wallace, Perot, Buchanan or Palin?
But let’s not jump ahead. This week, the first big myth is already crumbling: that the party of holier-than-thou ideology, forever touting its moral purity, won’t embrace hulking Trumpenstein. Oligarchy brings together what social wedges rent asunder. Seeming winners attract wannabe incumbents. Party uber alles, and no extra cost Trump throws in racism, reality denial, birtherism, and wars against women, minorities, and foreigners.
Second unraveling myth: Trump can’t possibly win the presidency. Trump faces an unfriendly Electoral College, but does that immunize America from electing a president more frightful than Dubya? This week, second-level pollsters (Quinnipiac) put Trump ahead or even in the only three states he needs: PA, FL, and OH. National polls parrot Trump’s popularity, cutting HC’s lead in half. Do such early polls invalidate what savvy conservatives dread: only a second Trump miracle (after nomination) elects this master of unforced errors, daily wielding his ruthlessly offensive sword.
Disqualified Nominee, Discredited Party
Whatever else happens, the full exposure of GOP hypocrisy is in earnest. Banished are illusory party principles, consistent policy, even moral hills to die on. The last weeks are less about Trump for me than how disposable are sacred GOP cows. No question Trump’s primary barnstorming will fade as his new hustle surfaces: to appear minimally presidential (but, alas, that means reversing what’s worked). Will attacking Bill Clinton’s sexual disgraces elevate the equally immoral Trump? Shifting gears doesn’t miraculously bridge how an increasingly unprincipled party can credibly convert the unprincipled Trump into plausible commander-in-chief.
What if being “presidential” is just not Trump, even kryptonite for a nasty disrupter as much anti-Republican as anti-Hillary? Why would Trump suddenly forego his working schtick, especially unending reductionism that scorns expertise or scientific knowledge, compassion or justice? Trump boasts all of Palin’s prideful, fact-hating ignorance, though with a more polished, media-insulated brand of Know-Nothingism.
Just as the Donald will say anything to win votes, the party of hypocrisy now broadcasts it will support anyone who says anything to win power. Is that how to to make Republicans, let alone America, great again? Trump is the perfect, modern phony candidate, talking in such empty constructs angry campers can project whatever they want. And just as “modern conservative philosophy” implodes from its own betrayal, so Trump oddly suits the GOP he indicts. That explains why rightwingers will flock to the Donald circus, the whole gang locked in talk-radio hallucinations — pushing angry grievances, not real-world proposals, thus nothing that lifts any Joe the plumber.
Behold: as the GOP isn’t really about anything but its own existence, Trump is not about anything but Trump’s ego and insatiable status needs. Policy incoherence now fits the bill just like a decade of empty, undelivered promises — today’s vaporous blather marks a replay of heavy-duty social wedge seasoning to cover the stench of decaying “red meat.”
No wonder the primitive Sheldon Adelson loves Trump enough to invest $100 million dollars: who protects billionaire treasures like a permanent member of the club, a guy whose self-esteem comes down to simply being rich? Trump the faux populist disrupter turns rather Republican after all: the unprincipled hustler where winning is all that counts.
Of course, hypocritical rightwingers are bitching and moaning — look how badly their cover is blown! But soon enough nearly all doubters will join the campaign cult of Trump. He serves the oligarchy, even weakly stitching together the joke of party unity — and, in the Trumpster’s favor, will run a stronger campaign against Hillary than equally appalling, out-hustled primary losers. What a lesson for a party without a learning curve! Are you Democrats listening?