Sunday, January 17, 2016

Why We Should Celebrate The Trump-Cruz Ascendancy

Following up on the last post is excerpts from a Washington Monthly piece that argues that sane Americans should welcome, if not, celebrate a Trump Cruz contest and what it may do to the Republican Party.  Additionally, the piece makes the totally accurate case that a Trump or Cruz nomination would drive a wooden stake through the false media driven myth that both the Republican Party and the Democrat Party are equally extreme.  The fact is that the GOP is now fully immersed in lunacy that is irreversible unless and until the Christofascists and white supremacists are driven from the party. The problem is that to rid the party of this cancer, one would likely have to kill the patient.  Sort of a case of having to use Agent Orange to kill weeds in your yard and then finding everything in it is now dead. Here are article highlights:

As we enter the third week of January—just two short weeks away from the Iowa caucuses—it is beginning to dawn even on the most stolid political media figures that Donald Trump is the likeliest bet to win the Republican presidential nomination. It is also becoming apparent even to those most in denial that in the event of Trump’s failure Ted Cruz, the most hated man in Washington and 2nd most unelectable of the GOP candidates in November, will almost certainly become the nominee.

Most of the political and journalistic class see the prospect of a Trump/Cruz nomination as so unthinkable that they have spent months denying its very possibility in the face of overwhelming evidence. That’s understandable for two reasons. First, the history of recent Republican elections strongly suggests that Republican voters flirt with anti-establishment candidates before choosing the traditionally sober candidate. Those who believe that this election represents a realigning paradigm shift—even if, as with the those who predicted the housing bubble calamity, they are ultimately right—are presumed wrong and unserious by default. Second, the mere notion that a majority of the GOP electorate would walk into a voting booth in cold blood and choose Trump or Cruz as their nominee would upend the accepted journalistic narrative in which both parties are presumed equally extreme, and destructive partisan rancor is blamed not on the will of the voters but on the political culture of Washington.

The prospect of either Ted Cruz or Donald Trump actually taking the oath of office is understandably terrifying to many people on both sides of the aisle. Their exclusionary, divisive and even totalitarian-inspired politics show an extreme lack of judgment and poor temperament for the office that should give any reasonable voter pause regardless of their views on the issues of the day. And even though both Trump and Cruz are the least electable of the leading GOP candidates in a general election, the vagaries of campaign gaffes, scandals, and unforeseen events could easily throw the race to a Republican underdog. The danger is therefore quite clear.

Even so, the Trump/Cruz ascendancy on the right is nonetheless a good thing for American politics. There are two principal reasons why:

1) It disempowers the conservative economic and media tycoons who created the malaise that fuels the anger of the GOP base. The American middle class has suffered greatly at the hands of the same corporate leaders who have propped up establishment conservative politics for the last several decades.
[A] rogue’s gallery of conservative tycoons from Koch to Walton to Adelson has been buttressed by the likes of ruthless media figures like Roger Ailes and conscience-free consultants like Karl Rove, and feeds an increasingly dangerous and poisonous electoral monster that cripples the possibility of progressive change, particularly via low-turnout midterm elections. Now that monster has turned on its creators. 

No longer can the Republican party of the Bushes and Romneys count on an attack dog to do their dirty work for them on election day so they can implement policy that benefits only economic elites while keeping a sunny, smiling Reaganesque face. The monster has broken free of its chains and it is demanding at long last to be fed. 

No matter how dangerous the outside possibility of Trump or Cruz winning a general election may be, we should all celebrate the panic and desperation of clueless economic elites . . . . 

If you’re a Republican, the disempowerment of the generation of leaders who left the Republican Party a legacy of failure in economics and foreign policy should be welcome even at the expense of temporary embarrassment. If you’re a Democrat you should fear the dangerous beast that is the Trump-Cruz ascendancy, but watching it gorge on the flesh of the malevolent wizards who created it is not only a source of pleasant schadenfreude, but ultimately good for the country.

2) The Trump-Cruz electorate is shrinking, but the power of concentrated wealth is growing. It’s no secret that even as Republican electoral fortunes depend increasingly on aged whites who constitute a smaller percentage of the total population every year, so too do Cruz and Trump rely particularly heavily on these voters within the GOP coalition. Barring the nightmare scenario of a Trump victory followed by a totalitarian consolidation of authority, the likelihood of a Trump-Cruz power coalition surviving more than a four-year cycle is quite low.
If you believe, as most progressives and even many conservative activists do, that the combination of big business interests and crony-capitalist Washington Consensus lobbyists are the biggest challenges facing the country, then a future led by Rubio/Bush is far more to be feared than one led by Trump/Cruz. A similar dynamic exists on the left in the Democratic nomination fight between Clinton and Sanders. A very large number of Americans feel that the system is so broken that it needs an outsider’s wake-up call from any direction—and there is copious evidence to suggest that they are right.

Is the Trump-Cruz ascendancy in the GOP scary? Of course it is. But we should celebrate and encourage it nonetheless. The country is likely to be better for it in the end.

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