Tuesday, March 22, 2016

March 22, 2016--Yes, Yes Trump

A heretical thought--

Shouldn't progressive Democrats hope that Donald Trump wins the Republican nomination? Even, where they can, cross over and vote for him in their state's primaries?

Before you pull the plug on this, hear me out. And, as a hint, remember what happened to the GOP in 1964 and thereafter.

First, Trump's winning the nomination would assure Hillary Clinton's election.

Head-to-head she would trounce him. Forget current polls showing him doing decently in the general election. Imagine Clinton and Trump on stage debating. What do you think would happen? That's easy--he'd make a fool of himself, reveal that he is not temperamentally fit to be the Commander in Chief, and remind people the presidency is serious business and that political playtime is over.

As a consequence, Hillary would win at least three-quarters of the Electoral vote.

Then, as we've already seen, Trump is currently leading the pack of three after demolishing 14 other aspirants by self-funding his campaign. This is rendering high-roller donors such as the Koch Brothers and Sheldon Adelson irrelevant.

Remember Scott Walker, Jeb Bush, and Marco Rubio? All were odds-on favorites, supported by big-buck PAC groups, and all are out of the race. The Kochs and Adelson types may be crazy, but they're not stupid--they know that the party for them is over if Trump continues to do well without their help. Actually, shows disdain for it.

He is a one-man wrecking crew when it comes to Citizens United. This could be the beginning of the end for dark-money interests who for decades have owned conservatives in Congress as well as the White House. This goes back to Dwight Eisenhower's and Ronald Reagan's time, both of whom were propelled forward and unduly influenced during their presidencies by corporate plutocrats.

Then there is the matter of Fox News.

Since it's launch in 1996, funded by Australian media-mogul Rupert Murdock, current fiancé of Mick Jagger's ex, Jerry Hall, and overseen by GOP spinmeister Roger Ailes. It has been the most powerful and influential of conservative institutions. Perhaps even more so than Rush Limbaugh or the Republican National Committee. What GOP politicians, including presidential aspirants, have not pandered to Fox's so-called reporters and talk-show hosts? No one but Donald Trump who uses them or ignores them on his own terms.

While Trump was getting his political career launched he was as ubiquitous on Fox air as John McCain and Sarah Palin. But as he was propelled into the lead, he began to treat Fox with dismissive contempt. After being effectively taken down by Megyn  Kelly during the first debate, he began a sustained campaign to assassinate her character and professionalism. It's hard to forget his "bleeding from wherever" slander and then how he petulantly decided not to participate, before the Iowa caucuses, in the Fox-hosted debate. And just this week, about another Fox-organized debate, he said "enough." And, knowing that without his showing up the ratings would plummet, Fox canceled it.

Not satisfied, Trump then launched another campaign of criticism directed at Kelly. Some said he was losing control, that he is "obsessed" with her, even that he is "stalking" her.

Who knows. But his not genuflecting at Fox's altar is beginning to affect their numbers. Without Trump-breaking-news-all-the-time, for the first time CNN and MSNBC, both of which are devoting almost full time to covering Trump, are seeing their comparative ratings creep up.

If Fox News is diminished because of Trump, rather than see in his attempts to control the press (which politician or president hasn't attempted to do that?) signs of fascism, maybe we should acknowledge, hate him-love him, that in this case Trump may be contributing to the diminishment of the heretofore all-powerful Murdock-Ailes media axis.

And then there is the 1964 effect. Another reason progressives should consider "using" Trump.

Recall, that was the year Barry Goldwater and his acolytes soundly defeated moderate Republicans Bill Scranton and Nelson Rockefeller for the GOP nomination. This was when Goldwater famously declared, "Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice . . . and moderation in pursuit of justice is no virtue."

Goldwater went on to be overwhelmed by Lyndon Johnson, winning only six states while securing less than 40 percent of the popular vote. It took until 1980, 16 years, before the Republicans were reconstituted. A lifetime in political history.

Establishment Republicans are so fearful (I almost said freaked-out) about the prospect of a Trump nomination that they are talking about changing the party's nomination rules when they convene this summer in Cleveland or, if that fails, putting forth a third-party candidate such as Rick Perry. Yes, the hapless former governor of Texas. Or if he's not available, maybe they'd run Herman Cain. But not to worry--about him, I'm making that up.

Thus, a Trump nomination would not only assure a Clinton victory and likely enable Democrats to regain control of the Senate (and with that the ability to confirm progressive Supreme Court nominees) but would also dismember the Republican Party such as it is for at least a political generation.

So, my friends . . .

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