“The Quest stands upon the edge of a knife. Stray but a little, and it will fail, to the ruin of all. Yet hope remains…” ~ Galadriel, “The Lord Of The Rings”
OK. That quote may be a tad melodramatic. It presupposes Trump is The Dark Lord Sauron. Well the egos are of a similar size. However Sauron had a clear vision of what he wanted to accomplish. That was the complete subjugation of Middle Earth to his overarching evil. Trump however has a vision that’s all over the map. On the edge of that map we should see the warning, “Here be dragons.”
The nascent stop Trump movement lies shattered on the Indiana plains. Kasich, Cruz and the party elders attempt was a prime example of too little, too late. To say they underestimated Donald is an example of classic British understatement. And as I like to do, I blame everything on Nixon.
The GOP movers and shakers never saw that Trump, Kasich, Cruz and the hundred other primary candidates, along with the Tea Party, were the rancid fruit of Nixon’s Southern Strategy. Nixon, that alcohol-fueled rat bastard invited the Wallace voters, the Southern Dixiecrats and extremist Evangelical Christians into the party of Lincoln. Over the years these voters became enraged at being used as footsoldiers pounding on doors, working phone banks and as an ATM. The Tea Party was spawned from these social conservatives, burn D.C. down and purge the party of sanity reactionaries in the fury of their betrayal.
Trump was positioned as a political sage by millions of appearances on Fox News. He was the face of the birther movement as he brought it out of the wilderness of the fringe. Trump was an unrelenting attack dog on President Obama. He led the charge to delegitimize POTUS. All the while he was in primetime with “The Apprentice” which solidified his facade as a shrewd, brilliant businessman. He helped drive Obama Derangement Syndrome for those in the Fox News Pocket Universe.
On the day he announced The Donald descended down an elevator into the waiting arms of a fawning press corps. Trump is a creation of the media. First “The Apprentice” and Fox appearances. Then unrelenting coverage in every National News Outlet. Trump received millions of dollars in free airtime. He had the name, the brand and the ego which he converted into points in the polls. Donald immediately jumped into second place right behind Jeb! Bush. Huffington Post, in another one of their brilliant editorial decisions, decided to only cover Trump’s campaign in Entertainment. That was the beginning of the end of any semblance of sanity in the 2016 Republican Primary cycle.
During his announcement of candidacy Trump called undocumented immigrants from Mexico criminals, rapists and killers. He then said there may be a few good people tossed into the mix. Trump then accused the Mexican government of sending us the dregs of society. Then came the big beautiful wall. The wall that Mexico will pay for in his bombastic delusions. He vowed to deport 11 million people. Not mentioning that it can only be done by making us a police state. People both in and out of the GOP snickered.
Trump campaigned on not being “PC.” He simply used that as cover for any vile, insane and despicable thought that spewed forth from his mouth. He railed against allowing Muslims into the country. He wanted the U.S. military to commit war crimes by targeting terrorists’ families. This went farther than Ted Cruz suggesting we should relax our rules of engagement in Syria to allow collateral damage. Cruz wondered if sand would glow in the dark. Donald in turn wondered why we had these expensive nukes if we we weren’t going to use them. He also didn’t rule out the use of nukes in Europe. Trump showed he had zero understanding of what our Nuclear Triad was. We survived the Cold War without turning this planet into a charred, burned out cinder. Trump speaks offhandedly of using nukes without understanding inevitable result. He would restart the Cold War and not be apprehensive about heating it up.
Trump said he’d bring back waterboarding and expand the use of torture. At the end of WWII we tried Japanese POW guards for war crimes. The crime? Waterboarding. That statement led to the unusual response by military leaders into the political arena by stating members of the United States Armed Forces would be obligated to disobey those unlawful orders. Trump’s response? He was so popular they’d obey his orders.
The Republican strategy of ignoring Donnie’s tirades backfired like a Chevy Vega and exploded in their collective faces like a Pinto. He struck at his opponents with a combination of policies that prior to him were never spoken of, personal attacks and his ability to remake the world through the art of the deal.
He attacked the press as despicable liars all the while using them to expand his support. Donald relentlessly attacked President Obama as an awful POTUS. He assailed the Iran agreement as a terrible deal which he promised to radically change through tough negotiation. As usual the Trumpster ignored that agreement was the result of years of work by the US, Russia, China, Britain and France. His tag line of, “Make America Great Again,” was framed in lies, distorted half truths and a total lack of understanding of how things work.
He proposed scrapping trade agreements as he also threatened trade wars. He said women who got abortions should be punished. Trump seemed unfazed by outright endorsement by White Supremacist groups. Finally after outcry he made a tepid disavowal of their support.
Time after time, Donald Trump would made statements that would have destroyed a campaign in a normal campaign year. There was pundit after pundit saying after whatever statement caused outrage that this was it. He was done. It only expanded and solidified his support. Hell, Trump tried to connect Ted Cruz’s father to the assassination of John Kennedy and won the Indiana primary the same night, ending Cruz.
Trump took the George Wallace 1968 campaign, pumped it up with meth and steroids, then swept through the primaries like the Black Death. He attacked everyone who disagreed with a sordid glee: Women. The press. Academics. NATO. Japan. China. The list is prohibitively long. His so-called solutions are called out by responsible people of all stripe as catastrophic to both the nation and the world.
The Trump supporters are a frightening manifestation of an ugly current that has bubbled under the surface of American politics for decades. It was always expressed in code or with dog whistles. These people long for the strongman to bring those they don’t approve of to their knees. The near orgasmic ecstasy of the crowds as they cheer Trump’s xenophobic, racist, isolationist diatribes is frightening. For the first time in my memory some in the political pundit sphere broke out the taboo F word: Fascist.
These crowds, in their fervor, with intolerance openly worn as a badge of honor, have used violence on any who dare to disagree. POC and other demonstrators are routinely violently and exuberantly ejected. The masses cheer when vicious statements are expressed as divine truth.
Trump swept state after state, riding his cult of personality. Trump cast aside his primary opponents with a flaming sword of righteous anger. One by one they fell as they struggled to get out of single digits in the face of the Trump juggernaut. The last major threat to Trump, Ted Cruz fell after having his ass handed to him again. Kasich, in a rare display of being in this reality, also pulled out after months of irrelevancy.
So, Donald Trump stands triumphant on the ruins of the traditional Republican Party. As it stands polling shows the possibility of destruction not seen since Goldwater or McGovern. The general election with a loose cannon will be a bloodbath. Trump has no sense of any kind when it comes to boundaries or civility.
If or when he loses there is one stark reality. What happens to the Trump voter? That is a question that has the potential of seeding the destruction of our Republic.
Their fear is the shifting American demographic, loss of white privilege and dealing with women people of color and the LBGT community as equals. They see this as the end of America. These beliefs and attitudes won’t go away. Should Trump lose these views will only solidify and harden. Expect more Bundys. More McVeighs. More attacks on Planned Parenthood. African American church arson. These people aren’t going away.
What happens when a Trump with the political skills of a Richard Nixon comes along. A leader charismatic and foul once again giving voice to the worst of our character. That is what should give us nightmares within the American dream.