My “pen” is largely silent during the 2016 presidential campaign and I would prefer it remain so; few things distract more from, while doing less to meet, this nation’s challenges than the two-year kabuki dance of those seeking the presidency. However, something so brazenly foul now occurs that it compels me to comment.
Donald Trump’s tour de force, seeking a major presidential party nomination, is shocking…to everyone except Trump. When he opted out of the 2012 campaign, Trump declared:
- This decision does not come easily or without regret; especially when my potential candidacy continues to be validated by ranking at the top of the Republican contenders in polls across the country.
I maintain the strong conviction that if I were to run, I would be able to win the primary and, ultimately, the general election. I have spent the past several months unofficially campaigning and recognize that running for public office cannot be done half-heartedly. Ultimately, however, business is my greatest passion and I am not ready to leave the private sector.
Five years later, Trump looks prophetic, as he closes on the Republican Party Presidential Nomination. He also looks every bit the target, as the number, and intensity, of his critics mount, even as he succeeds.
This is no reference to Trump’s critics within the electorate; every presidential candidate has “enemy” voters. But Trump’s most ardent enemies are neither Republican voters nor Democrat…anyone. Rather, they are Republican elected officials and operatives who attack him publicly, personally, relentlessly, and almost as a matter of party honor. Some declare that a Trump presidency would destroy the party, and one of Trump’s rivals (at least temporarily) abandoned his effort either to win the nomination or to have a national political future by transforming his campaign into a kamikaze mission against the Donald.
However, even as some GOP’ers call for “All Hands on Deck” against Trump”, he is likely not their target at all…
For this differs from earlier “stop the outsider” efforts. Democrats acquiesced and welcomed “outsider” Jimmy Carter into their national fold – after determining no one could beat him – in 1976; Republicans similarly warmed to Ronald Reagan’s “inevitability”, four years later. However, resistance to Trump increases the closer he comes to the nomination, with major players openly declaring non-support of the party should Trump prevail.
The GOP has used their vaunted “deep bench” of “establishment-friendly” candidates, not as attackers of the opposition party, but as damsels tied to the tracks, hoping to derail the Trump Train. One should wonder why the GOP spends more time trying to change the mind of its base, than it spends countering the Democrat message.
And wonder also whose drug-induced state concocted this…
Romney’s curious “address” – neither to announce his own candidacy nor supporting another’s – is part of an anti-Trump effort that includes plans to block any Trump nomination at the party’s convention. Interestingly, John McCain is in on the plot, declaring Trump unfit for the presidency… And those who doubt the GOP establishment’s hand in this likely still believe they can keep their preferred health plan and doctor. Again, one should wonder why.
Those willing to consider more than the current election cycle may recognize that these recent antics are part of Republican Party behavior that, for (at least) the last 7 years, demonstrates, strikingly, the party’s disdainful view of, and resultant estrangement from, those who support its stated principles. Consider the following:
- • Why are the men who lost the last two general elections now experts on picking the party nominee; can anyone identify the national constituencies of either Romney or McCain? Romney lost a winnable election in 2012, and McCain was so battered in 2008 that Obama took care to rub McCain’s face in the dung of that defeat two years later:
Romney’s Trump attack echoes Democrat Party attacks on Romney from four years ago, and Romney’s 2016 Trump condemnation is a 180° departure from his praise of the Donald in 2012:
Though the nation rejected these men, who kept the GOP from occupying the White House, the GOP welcomes, even encourages, their denigration of their current front-runner. Curious indeed.
• Marco Rubio’s only primary win occurred in liberal Minnesota; he appears unlikely to win the March 15 primary in his home state of Florida. Yet, the party supports him, though voters snubbed him in 24 of 25 contests. Again, curious indeed.
• And when Super Tuesday exit polling showed Trump the victor but not the desired nominee, the party did not challenge that cognitive dissonance by reminding the press, and others, that 9 of the 11 Super Tuesday states held open primaries in which non-Republicans could vote, that Democrats encouraged their members to take part in Republican primaries?
The party did not challenge characterizations of those exit polls as voter discontent, even as Republican voter turnout hit record levels, with high enthusiasm, as even more disrespectful of their voters than of their candidate field…because they are not willing to defend their voters…
Because the party is unhappy with them.
They are unhappy that voters, beginning with the 2010 election and in response to the Obama agenda, sent conservatives to Congress; that these conservatives are not “go along to get along” people and proved so unwilling to put party before principle that it drove John Boehner into retirement. They are unhappy that Virginia voters made Eric Cantor the first sitting House Majority Leader to ever lose a primary election. Unhappy that Kevin McCarthy’s tacit admission that establishment Republicans valued the Benghazi hearings more as a way to damage Hillary Clinton’s poll numbers than to show the truth about why four Americans died, ostensibly cost him the Speakership.
Washington, D.C. establishment Republicans are losing control of their voters, and they are unhappy about that. Unhappy about a trend, since the 2010 midterm elections, that sees voters increasingly imposing their will upon the politicians’ best-laid plans. Against this backdrop, Trump is not a problem for the GOP as much as he is symptomatic of the voter problem they already have.
Consequently, stopping Trump is not about Trump at all; it is about regaining control of their constituency – YOU. A constituency at odds with them over Obamacare, joblessness, illegal immigration, the homosexual agenda, taxes, and deficits/debt; a constituency that is close to recalling that D.C. has no power save that which they authorize. A constituency that has already felled trees within the establishment, and which must be corralled before they clear more dead wood from the nation’s capitol.
D.C. Republicans cannot regain voter control without a presidential candidate that the party establishment can control (this is why they find Rubio appealing). Trump owes them nothing and needs nothing from them; he is, inarguably, not a man given to another’s control. Should he partner with an increasingly uncontrolled voter base, then everything establishment Republicans have built for themselves, via the federal government, is at risk.
By the way, Democrats do not rest easy about the GOP turmoil. Non D.C. Republicans currently occupy 31 of the nation’s 50 governor’s mansions, and control 67 of its 99 state legislative bodies, both significant increases since Obama’s 2009 inauguration. If the D.C. Republicans cannot get their constituents back in line, and Democrat voters tire of seeing neither their party nor their views represented, then the elephants trumpeting against left-leaning D.C. Republicans will seem mild, compared to the mule kick the left could receive from disgruntled Democrats.