Tuesday, May 03, 2016

May 3, 2016--Presumptive Nominee

Yesterday, the day before Donald Trump will defeat Ted Cruz (and poor John Kasich) in Indiana and thereby become the presumptive nominee, I rummaged around among my dozens of postings about the GOP race and, in particular, Donald Trump.

The first of these posting was on July 16, 2015, exactly a month after he and Melania descended the escalator in Trump Tower to announce to the waiting press that he was officially running.

Rather than the event being reported as a political story, it was treated as entertainment news.

In fact, for some months thereafter the Huffington Post officially classified it as such.

They and hardly anyone else are laughing any more. Not only does Trump have the nomination virtually locked up (he likely won't even need any California delegates), but some polls are beginning to show him defeating Hillary Clinton in November.

So, I thought to reprint my July 16, 2015 posting. Taking a bit of a self-congratulatory lap. Not because I support his candidacy (I will either vote for Hillary in November or not at all) but because while almost everyone else thought he was doing this for free publicity--to enhance his brand--I sensed that something bigger, much more profound was at work--

Is Donald (all caps) TRUMP just a joke? In the front seat in the Republican clown car?

Pretty much all Democrats agree that he is someone to make fun of (even David Letterman came out of retirement to do so) and most of the other Republican pretenders to the 2016 nomination hope he is just an egotistic entertainer who can't live without the spotlight and will soon move on.

He may be cartoon like, but in other important ways he is resoundingly not. If he stays in the race for the GOP nomination after the current blast of publicity fades (as it most likely will) and spends a few hundred million of his own money (not likely--he is a tightwad and exaggerates his wealth) not only will he help define the future Republican Party but also give the other front runners fits since he actually has a chance to become the nominee.

He has a chance because his brand of anger and racial hatred appeals to at least a third of the GOP primary-voter base. This is different than the general-election Republicans who are a bit more nuanced and tolerant. But it may be enough to get him very close to or all the way to the nomination since his people tend to come from the activist wing of the party.

People are frustrated and angry about their own prospects and what they rightly see to be the decline of America's standing in the world. This began during the inconclusive Korean War and was brought home to American's consciousness when we lost in Vietnam, the first war in our history in which we were defeated. And more recently we are perceived to be ineffectual in the Middle East and, as many feel, are losing to ISIS.

But TRUMP's appeal, though based on this feeling of national decline, is more the result of stagnant income for most Americans and the haunting belief that the American Dream is over for the middle class, whose children, for the first time in history, are not doing as well as their parents.

Rather than blaming structural causes for these frustrating circumstances (an unfair tax system, a weak regulatory environment, the decline of unions, and the resulting rising rate of inequality), TRUMP's people blame government (especially Obama and liberal Democrats), social welfare programs that they feel encourage and underwrite dependency on the government, and above all else, for these angry folks, the millions of illegal immigrants already in the country and the alleged continuing flow of Latin Americans--Mexicans--across our porous borders.

And then how lucky can The Donald get--escaped Mexican drug lord, El Chapo's son two days ago threatened TRUMP's life, tweeting--

"Keep fucking around, and I'll make you eat all of your goddamn words."

This gave TRUMP the opportunity to act the selfless tough guy--

He tweeted, "I'm fighting for much more than myself. I'm fighting for the future of our country which is being overrun by criminals. You can't be intimidated. It's too important."

In addition, most Americans are frustrated that we as a people, our governments, cannot accomplish big things.

The country that built the interstate highway system in the 1950s and 60s can't fix our rusting bridges and crumbling roads. Many may ask, Who do you think is more likely to fix our roads--Scott Walker or Donald TRUMP? Who more likely to rebuild our bridges--Jeb Bush or Donald TRUMP? And what about Hillary Clinton? Do you think she could do a better job than TRUMP in making sure our weapon systems work?

So TRUMP may be a joke, but a potent one at that. And, ultimately, perhaps not a joke at all.

Labels: , , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home