Thursday, August 4, 2016

Intervention Talk

     So you thought it would be over with the nomination, eh?

     There’s a lot of talk about a movement within the ranks of GOP heavyweights to install a governor on Donald Trump’s mouth. Yes, The Donald does say a lot of “you can’t say that” stuff. Yes, the Old Media are agog over it. Yes, the Democrats have issued marching orders to all their minions to accuse him of everything from treason to mopery-and-dopery. Yes, his temperament is far from that we’ve come to expect from American presidents. Yes, yes, yes.

     But Trump is merely doing what won him the nomination: speaking his mind without regard for anyone’s opinions or sensitivities. It’s proved highly appealing to a nation sick to death of elites who make rules for others, including what others can say. So a successful attempt to tame him would likely cost him the presidency.

     The Republican Party’s kingmakers might prefer that outcome. Those who’ve thrilled to an uncensored presidential candidate uninterested in the mock-courteous insincerities of contemporary national politics would not.

     Mind you, I have my own reservations about Donald Trump. He doesn’t strike me as knowledgeable or thoughtful enough for the powers of the presidency. But that’s what advisors are for: to shore up the weaknesses in a president’s knowledge and to constrain his impulses when he starts muttering about scrambling the bombers and leering at the “football.” Besides, the alternative is the installation in the Oval Office of one of the most blatantly corrupt and dishonest persons ever to gain a national profile. Anyway, we do have a two-man rule about using nukes.

     But there’s more going on here, as usual.

     Donald Trump wrested the leadership of the GOP from those who’ve steered it for the past thirty years. That older leadership has proved either unwilling or unable to constrain the Democrats, even at those times when the Republicans controlled both Congress and the presidency. To be blunt, after Reagan the elephants renounced conservatism and Constitutionalism. On the majority of domestic policy subjects, they retreated to the party’s posture of the FDR years: “We can do it cheaper.” That was quite all right with their major supporters, as long as the spending continued and the graft continued to flow.

     The party’s elders want “their” party back. They’re purple with rage over Trump’s successful insurrection. The embedded lesson is of no importance to them.

     Beneath all this lies an important truth about political parties: they exist solely to win elections. Party platforms are merely vehicles for doing so. But a party that alienates so great a percentage of its allegiants is headed for the ash heap. You can’t win elections without votes...and an increasing number of those who’ve been told that the GOP is their appropriate party – i.e., conservatives – are unwilling to support the party and its candidates any longer, even to the extent of showing up at the polls on Election Day.

     Viewed thus, Trump’s rise offers the possibility of a Republican revitalization. It might not be in the direction many conservatives would prefer. Indeed, Trump has espoused some policy positions most conservatives would automatically reject. But a shake-up of this sort turns a static situation – the “same old, same old” of Republican failure even when nominally in control of Washington – into a dynamic one in which change becomes possible and new blood can displace the old keep-the-big-donors-happy style of GOP politics.

     Elections aren’t decided by the media but by the voters. Today, with so many alternatives to the Old Media available to Americans, voter independence is more likely than voter conformity to a media-preferred “narrative.” The questions remaining to the voters are few and simple:

  • Can Trump’s strategy for gaining the GOP nomination gain him the presidency?
  • Would Trump as president be preferable to the alternatives?
  • Will minor parties play an important role?

     The great danger is that Republican elders will contrive a way to deny Trump the presidency. The key phrase is opposition research. The key possibility is a joining of forces between the Democrats’ dirt-miners and those GOP power-brokers who detest and resent Trump so greatly that they’d actually prefer a Clinton presidency to the diminution of their stature within “their” party.

     We shall see.


Anonymous said...

No comments?! What's wrong with you people?!

Jack Imel said...

I was going to say the same thing, anon... but I think it's not what's wrong with the people you refer to. There is a frustration that takes place when we get to the end of a long line of truth and reality; then discern that so few of our fellow humans see any value in a life that could be. I know that's somewhat nebulous, but I got nothing else. I just got one Rock to lean on.