I am not a person prone to fits of real rage or anger. But a while back both my kids kept moving a chair in our kitchen and I kept tripping over it. They were not meaning to make me trip. They were just forgetting to put the chair back. I kept reminding them. They kept forgetting. At one point I came through the kitchen carrying a heavy box, moving fast, and tripped over that damn chair. I was so livid I just picked the damn thing up and hurled it. It shattered and took a chunk out of the dry wall.
To be honest, I felt good for about five seconds, then was really pissed at myself for the damage I’d done. The whole thing was enraging, but at that moment I had to realize my own culpability and my pretty stupid response. I could have taken the chair away, given the kids’ propensity to leave it in the middle of the floor. But I did not.
I relate all of that because of what I am seeing out in the yonder of conservative politics. The Dallas Morning News is endorsing Hillary Clinton. Trump continues to struggle with Republicans. His voters see all this — they see traditionally Republican states suddenly competitive — and they are convinced there is some elaborate Establishment conspiracy against them. The GOP elite just have to be collaborating with the Democrats. Those of us who oppose Trump must secretly really like Hillary even though we will not admit it.
They have rationalized and justified and explained away everything. Any poll that shows Trump ahead is credible and any poll that shows him behind must be unskewed. Everyone they know is voting for Trump and everyone they know hates Hillary, so she cannot possibly be in the lead.
A sizable minority of Republican voters helped by non-traditional Republican voters threw a temper tantrum. They put a hole in the wall of American politics. And it has felt really good to them. But all of us will now live with the consequences and I suspect at some point after the election they’ll be pissed with themselves like Ross Perot voters who now say we all have to vote for Trump because they realized what happened when the voted Perot.
There are legitimate grievances among Trump voters and I fear a lot of Republicans will refuse to consider those grievances after the election is over. There are legitimate concerns on immigration, job creation, national security, the U.S. role in the world, etc. But Trump is the bastard love child of a voter temper tantrum and open primaries. That’s it. He is the hole in the wall over which the nation will have to spackle, sand, and paint.
It is also worth noting that the temper tantrum is, in part, the result of not getting the chair out of the way earlier. The chair being the Republicans these voters do not like anymore. When Trump loses, Mitch McConnell will still be in charge of the GOP in the Senate. Reince Preibus will still be in charge of the RNC. Kevin McCarthy will still be the GOP leader in the House. Paul Ryan will still be Speaker, though in fairness to him, he is the result of ousting Boehner. Boehner, of course, is the only Republican leader to lose his job for repeatedly making and breaking promises and cutting really bad insider deals. Ryan has had to clean up the messes of others. Those chairs could have been moved, but it did not happen.
All these people are going to still be there. The voters could not pick them up and throw them at a metaphorical wall, so they picked up Trump and threw him at them.
It is going to end badly. It is going to be costly — more costly than spackle, sand paper, and paint.
But make no mistake about, like the hole in my wall, the Trump candidacy is the result of emotion and anger and not critical thinking by Republican voters. These voters are at some point going to stop seeing red and when they do they’ll have to look at themselves in the mirror and wonder what they did.
Blaming others is our natural inclination to avoid taking responsibility for our own actions. It was a lot easier for me to blame my kids for not putting the chair back. But they did not throw the chair and put the hole in the wall. I did. These voters nominated the one guy who was never going to beat Hillary. They can blame everyone else all they want, but at the end of the day they put the hole in the wall.