There has been a lot of conversation and narrative setting around the 2016 GOP primary. The question that just about every conversation ends up asking is: who is responsible for Donald Trump?
A ruling class that has distanced itself from the American taxpayer is the simple answer. The more complex one lies in policies implemented by the ruling class, market forces impacted by these policies and the basic human desire for a utopia that just doesn’t exist on this side of glory.
I think the question that is just as important will be, in hindsight: who owns Donald Trump?
Not own as in controls, own as in explicitly complicit in helping him.
Or, as I have pointed out to some even today, those who are implicitly complicit.
Let’s start with the former. It’s those who are running around with the Supreme Court as their centerpiece argument: “We have to elect Donald so he’ll give us good judges!!” Wanting to toss bread to the masses, Donald rolled out a list that many cheered as THE list of conservative judges we have all been waiting for. The leaders of the mob now have a piece of paper they can shake in front of peoples’ faces-“See, we told you he was a conservative!”
How far we have fallen if we actually think this.
This is a man who has already walked back from committing to this list with all kinds of qualifiers. It is a strange salve indeed if conservatives are using a paper list of names to ease their consciences. Donald Trump is a moderately good developer who has declared bankruptcy multiple times, bragged about his swinger days and ways, is on his third wife and guess what?
His inner circle has the likes of Paul Manafort, the man who has created a niche market of rehabbing the images of third world dictators (“Look what I can do with a first world one!”), Roger Stone. . . never mind, I’ll just write “Roger Stone.” One doesn’t even know where to start when it comes to guys like him. Tack on Rick Wiley (recently fired), he of the Walker campaign debacle and Corey Lewandoski and the picture rounds itself out. Donald Trump is surrounded by men who are a reflection of him.
When viewing the dissonance between a Donald Trump and say, Ted Cruz, the difference is astounding. It’s not that Trump is simply ignorant on a host of issues-he is willfully ignorant. It’s not that he’s not a conservative-he has no idea what that word even means. My hunch is that any enterprising reporter could ask him about the Republican Party platform and he would shrug his shoulders and say it doesn’t matter. However, it is a platform that is the essence of a party. It is the reason a party exists, to fulfill the principles laid out in the party platform that proclaim, “This is why we exist as a party and these are the agendas that this party will advance!” As a side note, an enterprising reporter could also ask this question of many Republican Members and they’d likely have the same response as Trump (see “Who is responsible for Trump?” above. . .).
But guess what Donald Trump is not? He is not Ted Cruz. That is, to some extent, the crux of the matter. I believe Mitch McConnell, Haley Barbour and other transactional Republicans and allied entities are okay with Trump for two reasons. If he wins, they have a liberal deal maker and their fiefdoms continue uninterrupted (and likely even strengthened). If he loses, that’s fine too because they will still maintain control over their fiefdoms and appear to be more conservative than they actually are because they can “fight” Hillary Clinton, something that will be akin to the Washington Generals playing the Harlem Globetrotters.
In the end, I believe these transactional Republicans are perfectly fine to reign in hell than serve in heaven. Not only have they set the stage for the rise of Trump, they are complicit now in his candidacy.
What was the end of the world for them was a Ted Cruz nomination and potential Presidency. By their tacit approval of Trump and their endorsements the day after Indiana, one could almost sense the sigh of relief internally. Their fiefdoms were going to remain intact.
Sadly, though, there are those who are implicitly complicit in the Trump phenomenon right now. These are the individuals and organizations that are 1) arguing that “He’s the nominee, there is nothing else we can do, time to circle the wagons!” or 2) are trying to create a dialogue with Trump in “Hopes of influencing the crap sandwich we have been given.” or 3), which is far worse, trying to put lipstick on the pig (see my paper waving comment above regarding judicial nominees).
Let’s break down each of these.
Yes, Donald Trump is the nominee, but is he a conservative? Does he embody the principles of the Republican Party platform? No, no he does not. I cannot think of one issue where he remotely represents anything to do with the party platform. For those quick to raise a finger and say, “Wait a second-THE WALL!!” I also have ocean front property to sell to you in my old home state of Kansas. But take a few minutes and attempt to write down every issue Trump supposedly stands for that he has not change his mind or equivocated on.
You will end up with a blank sheet of paper likely scrawled with, “Make American Great Again!” Over and over again.
Now, for those prostrating themselves to Trump in hopes of influencing the crap sandwich. They are little better than photo ops for Trump, acting like smaller, weaker nations eager to curry favor with Zod. Memo to these types: you are not going to influence him in practical ways. Sure, you may get pieces of paper and statements from time to time, but as we all know, the actions are what count. So instead of prostrating yourselves, have some dignity. If he really wants your advice, he will come to you.
Then there are the lipstick on the pig folks. . . .After sitting here for what seems like eternity, I realize that I have no words for you other than you’re going to need a much larger make-up kit. And a conscience.
Win, lose or draw, it is time for conservatives and those who genuinely care about the Republican Party to allow Donald Trump to fail. If that means losing to Hillary, so be it.
There must be a line in the sand, one reinforced by principle, ideology and, most of all, courage.