Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Donald Trump has to destroy the Republican Party in order to save it

In 2012 I campaigned for Ron Paul. Cold calling hundreds of people, donating, volunteering/running to be the GOP precinct committee officer for my area, going to the county convention etc.

Although the Ron Paul campaign strategy left much to be desired, what people like me experienced at Republican Party meetings was much worse. The GOP insiders did everything they could to prevent Paul from getting the nomination: locking Paul delegates out, throwing Paul votes out, every technicality Robert's Rules of Order could muster (as well as downright cheating) ... it was ridiculous. We were the enemy as far as they were concerned. He was the only one with a plan to balance the budget without raising taxes. It sounds innocuous, but when it involves closing US bases in foreign countries, cutting budgets across the spectra of government programs, and limiting the power of the government to spy on us keep us safe, he was actually worse than most Democrats in the GOP's eyes.

Donald Trump isn't going to do any of these things. It's likely he will do just the opposite.* But he does have the resources to take on the GOP establishment and hold it hostage via a threat to run as an independent. Whether a greedy businessman can't be bought is questionable, but his claim that SuperPACs and donors won't influence him because he won't take their money is plausible. This refusal to accept money from Wall Street and lobbyists is also what makes Bernie Sanders a much more authentic and principled candidate than Hillary Clinton. Although Sanders would do greater damage to the United States than Hillary from a theoretical standpoint, between a principled "villain" and a political opportunist, it's hard not to root for the former.

Who knows where Trump lies. On one hand, he's a caricature of the successful American businessman: a loudmouth New Yorker, decadent and bigoted, flying around in a gold plated jet. It's hard to ignore that background and assume he's running out of a sense of civic duty rather than making the ultimate status play.

Even then, he's not really any worse than other candidates despite a remarkably consistent hysterical media narrative all the way from Fox News through the Huffington Post suggesting otherwise. They, along with pundits like Nate "Trump's got a 2% chance" Silver and party elites refuse to accept the reality of his popular support. Even though Trump is the frontrunner with the support of over a third of Republican voters, he had no Congressional endorsements until today. Now he has one or two compared to around fifty for Marco Rubio. The situation is even worse on the Democrat side with Hillary garnering around 99% Congressional support - a number that would make even North Korean election officials wince - despite being about even with Sanders in national polling.

"Disconnect" "Out of sync" "lost touch with reality" "in a completely different world"

I'm not sure of the best way to describe the disparity between the establishment and the rest of us, so that should cover it.  Savvy politicians might bend with the wind, but the establishment is too entrenched, too invested in the narrative they created to do that.  The GOP is crumbling, with the Democratic Party soon to follow, and all Goldman Sach's money and all the media men can't put the party together again. And good riddance.

* In that respect, he's like every other candidate running - though Rand Paul did have a balanced budget plan. Unlike his father, it is questionable whether Rand would have been uncompromising in his follow-through.

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