Saturday, February 20, 2016

Donald Trump - The GOP's Destroyer

Over at Politico Rich Lowry has another lament about Donald Trump's destruction of the Republican Party.  Like so many of such pieces, Lowry ignores the fact that Trump is the natural outgrowth of policies and wrong decisions embraced by the so-called GOP establishment over the last 20 years that have encouraged extremism and obstruction while at the same time driving sane and rational people from the GOP.  The GOP establishment made its own bed and it is difficult to feel any sympathy for those now wringing their hands and whining.  Here are column highlights:

Donald Trump is running riot in the GOP china shop and gleefully tearing the place up.

Consider the strength of Trump’s position: If he wins South Carolina by a big margin, he goes into Nevada with momentum, and the latest poll there has him leading by 26 points and pushing 50 percent. If he enters Super Tuesday a week later having won three out of the past three states — and with Cruz diminished by a South Carolina loss and Rubio having won nowhere — he could easily win, say, 10 contests that day.

Even now, it's hard to imagine a happy outcome for the party from the three likeliest scenarios:

If Trump wins the nomination outright, many Republican voters may stay home, and senators and members of the House up for reelection will probably scurry their own way, seeking cover from the loose cannon of a nominee.  . . . . it is also likely that the general public will be less enamored or forgiving of those qualities in Trump that have charmed or at least not bothered a plurality of the Republican electorate — the lack of political experience, the foul mouth, the constant psychodrama, the spotty business record. Surely, the first Democratic ads against him will portray him as a “vulture capitalist” like Mitt Romney, except without the manners.

If Trump is dragged to an open convention and leads in delegates, but falls short of a majority, and is denied the nomination, there will be a bloodbath. Trump will make Andrew Jackson’s angry cry of a “corrupt bargain” after Old Hickory lost the presidency in the House of Representatives in 1824 — despite leading in popular and electoral votes — look like a measured, cool-headed response. Trump will stomp off, and no doubt take a lot of his supporters with him.

If Trump is beaten prior to a convention, it will presumably require an all-out war against the mogul. Well-heeled Republican donors will have to pour money into an thermonuclear advertising campaign to destroy his image. The party will have to rally around a Trump alternative, doing everything in its power to bolster him and tear down Trump. Such an effort will no doubt strike Trump as “unfair,” and he will do all he can to delegitimize it and find targets to sue over it. Needless to say, none of this would be conducive to keeping Trump voters inside the Republican tent.

The key to Trump’s strength, which buttresses all his outrageousness, is that his supporters want someone to blow up the system. So there's almost nothing he can say or do that will discredit him in their eyes, and the least destructive scenario for his defeat — Trump blows himself up — will take some doing on his part.

It’s all very entertaining — but so are demolition derbies.

No comments: