Saturday, January 02, 2016

Will 2016 Be The Year A Bombastic TV Clown Breaks The Republican Party?


Red State diarist Dan McLaughlin poo-poos what he calls the "dark mood afoot among the party’s activists and online conservative commentators: a mood bordering on despair. And by despair I don’t mean hopelessness so much as surrender: a sense that even bothering to continue voting for Republicans, associating with the conservative movement, and arguing for conservative causes is a pointless waste of time. 'I’m done with this,' 'I’m staying home,' 'I’ve had it with these people,' 'This party deserves to lose,' 'I’m never voting Republican again,' 'If this is the conservative movement, I want out'-- we’ve all seen comments like this in the past, but they seem especially common this year. Well, I’m here to tell you all: don’t despair. Don’t walk away."

He analyzes the despair that permeates the movement he's dedicated to in the only terms that animate the right: what they're against. His world consists of the anti-Trumpf crowd (conservative weenies who instinctually fear and hate all insurgents as well as ideological purists and true-believers who see Herr as a theoretical-- at least-- Manchurian Candidate designed "to destroy and discredit conservatism for good and ensure a permanent progressive hegemony," the anti-establishment crowd and the anti-Cruz crowd; the anti-establishment/"burn-it-all-down" kids who live in a fantasy world run by progressive oppressors enabled by GOP leaders; and the anti-Cruz contingent who either see Cruz as "an opportunistic and unprincipled charlatan" or-- like McLaughlin "see him as the next Barry Goldwater, a guy who is selling an undistilled product to an unready public that hasn’t acquired a taste for it-- and thus fear that Cruz is likely to set back the movement for years by losing a winnable election in the name of conservative purity." The anti-Cruzers, he worries, include "people openly contemplating staying home next November if that guy they dislike so much gets the nomination."

It isn't hard to see why so many Republicans just detest Cruz, not just for his slicker version of fascism but for his ugly tactics as well. I mean how can anyone actually be so outrageous as to almost make people sympathize with as low and slimy a creature as Chuck Schumer? Leave it to Cruz! This video is well worth watching, whether you're a Republican or a normal person:

OK, back to poor McLaughlin and his woes. Poor guy says he's "sick of reading polls and commentary with 'Republican frontrunner Donald Trump,' and being mocked by liberals for having such a clown supported by our party. This is not what I signed up for when I first started voting Republican and writing conservative columns for my campus newspaper back in the late 1980s. It’s not what conservatives loyal to America’s founding principles-- and Republicans loyal to the party’s founding principles-- are about." Get out the hankies. He's sick of Ryan's and McConnell's ineffective Congress too, which he compares to "an untrained puppy that will poop on the rug every time you stop looking at it" and he even hates the right-wing Supreme Court for not being right-wing enough. But you know what he's not sick of? Rubio, who he thinks can stop Cruz, whose nomination runs "a serious risk of throwing away a golden opportunity, leading not only to four to eight more years of permanent liberal-progressive policy victories, but also to a long-term weakening of the position of principled conservatives within the GOP." Then he goes into a long treatise about how Republicans will never nominate Herr Trumpf, mostly rehashed stuff we've all been reading for months, although I enjoyed this part, especially the typical Republican Party racism about how Herr Trumpf is the GOP's Jesse Jackson:
“Party establishment” can be a dirty word around these parts-- and for valid reasons-- and the institutional GOP has gone out of its way this time to provide an open process, and the establishment of donors and elected officials has been unusually divided on who to back in 2016, with the pace of endorsements far slower than usual and the money picture fractured after the initial rush to bankroll Jeb.

But no backroom conspiracy will be needed to form a stop-Trump coalition, if it comes to that. If he actually does better in the early going than expected, one will form in a hurry, organically. Candidates will drop out sooner. Voters will get more alarmed at the prospect. And ultimately, even if the nominee is Cruz (and thus disliked by the consultant class and the incumbents), there will be a movement more or less en masse to pick a horse. The fact that this has not happened yet is simply a reminder that we sometimes must go to the brink to focus people on priorities and get decisions made. But it will happen if it needs to, just as the Democrats rallied around Dukakis to keep Jesse Jackson from exploiting the Dukakis/Gore split to make a serious run for the nomination in 1988. (Jackson was the last Democrat who was really like Trump-- guys like Bernie Sanders and Howard Dean are nutty extremists, but they cater to the party’s more educated and ideological base, while Jackson was more like Trump, running on the racial resentments and fears of the least educated and affluent segment of his party).

Trump will not want to go away quietly. He will bluff at a third party run. He may even start down the road to one. But he will not go through with it all the way to Election Day. There are a variety of reasons why it would be difficult: “sore loser” laws, early filing deadlines, the amount of money he would have to lay out from his own pocket. All these are reasons why Trump would not lightly go through with a run, but they are not reasons in and of themselves why he won’t do it.

The real reason is much simpler: Trump does not like to be a loser. And in our political system, third party candidates are losers. Oh, they may lead briefly in the polls when they announce, but the institutional gravity of the two parties and their coalitions inevitably drag them down to third place, and in third place they stay. And if there’s one thing Donald Trump-- obsessed as he is with his poll standing-- does not want to do, it’s spend months in last place in a three-way race, unable to project himself as a winner rather than just a spiteful spoiler.

Will Trump’s devotees stay home if he is not on the ballot? Some will, but they may not be people we can appeal to with a candidate capable of winning a general election majority. Some of his online supporters, the white supremacists and the Putinbots, are in any event far less numerous than the noise they generate. Others who respond to Trump are not such unreasonable people, they are simply ordinary Americans at the end of their tether who have been given few good options the last few elections and need persuading to follow someone more serious about leadership. Some are indeed voters the GOP needs to win a general election-- but just as Obama did with the Jesse Jackson voters, the GOP can win back some of these votes in ways that don’t require alienating the rest of the electorate.
There is a logical solution for all Americans. I can understand why Republicans are mortified that their Deep Bench" turned out to by an open pit sewer and I can understand why they're not enthusiastic about the Democrats' establishment candidate. So... have you Republicans ever played with ActBlue? It is so much fun. Give it a spin. Let's all come together as good Americans and forget partisan differences for once.

Quick, someone call Dr. Ben!

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At 11:33 AM, Anonymous Bil said...

The Republican party was wounded after Nixon, and Raygunz Iran contra. BushJr's botched warz and Bush recession finished them off. And if there was ever any doubt remember the McCain/Palin ticket?

Similar to the post Pedophile investigations in the Catholic church, the Head is Dead, but it takes the body awhile to realize it.

Trump is a good rep for that 25% completely braindead, old & racist wing of the dead GOP. He picks up some old & racist indies and Democraps. Still not over 40%. That's a LANDSLIDE.

Trump's populist thang DOES remind me of the John Edwards Dayze of Wine & Roses. I recall many of us HERE were deep in the tank for Johnny. "Oh Johnny, JOHNNY! You said I was the ONLY one...snif"


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