The coup is nearly complete


| It's time to talk about The Donald. Tomorrow the Republican National Convention will formally get underway, and by the time it adjourns on Thursday, the Grand Old Party, the party of Lincoln, will have become the Party of Trump. He has pulled off a coup politique that everyone said he could never do. Famous last words: "Donald Trump will never be the nominee...."

There may be some bumps along the way. The Never Trump folks are conspiring to disrupt and delay proceedings from the floor of the convention, although they failed spectacularly when the Rules Committee met last week. Outside the convention hall, there are almost certain to be demonstrations, and the potential for violence is, I think, high. While guns are prohibited inside the arena, Ohio does have an open-carry law and among the crowds are likely to be many "good guys with guns" (as they would style themselves). On the other hand the "event zone" is off limits for swords, water guns, tennis balls, canned goods, and many other items, some of which make sense, most of which do not.

(My suggestion to improve the convention is to allow people to bring their guns into the arena. Republicans and their Doppleganger the NRA are always going on about how everybody should have a gun to feel safe, so I think they should put up or shut up on this matter.)

Gallons of ink have been spilled on hand-wringing about how the GOP got to this place, how Trump is an aberration who does not  reflect "the principles or inclusive legacy of the Republican Party" and "he doesn’t represent its future." (Jeb! Bush writes a good op-ed but he and the millions in his campaign chest lost dismally in the primaries.)

First off, let's "dispense with" this idea that the Republican party isn't like Trump. People in the Republican party voted for him! Going way, way back the Republican party has always had people who are isolationists and xenophobes; people who, if not themselves racists, certainly sympathize with racist sentiments; people who think they have a direct line to God; people who consider the federal government an oppressor and an enemy. The cadre of Republicans, mostly in the House, who want to blow the place up and cripple the government is just the latest crop of weeds; the difference is that they have much louder voices in their own echo chambers than before. Consider how quickly everyone fell in line behind Trump. Even Paul Ryan who ostensibly believes the opposite of Donald Trump has endorsed Trump. Faced with a moral dilemma, he has caved.

Trump at full rant
Trump unhinged

Now let's consider the man the Republicans are about to nominate as their candidate for President of the United States.

His campaign has been policy-free. In the few cases when he has tried to express policy it has been vague and often contradictory to other things he has said. Instead what he tells discontented and frustrated people is that everything is awful and unfair, the country has gone to hell in a handbasket, and he, Donald Trump, will personally fix it. Never mind how he will fix things, just that he will exert his personal force to make it all beautiful, nice, fair, etc. As Robert Samuelson aptly put it in the Washington Post, "The pledge to 'make America great again' is not an economic project. It’s an exercise in mass psychology. The idea is to get people to displace their anger and frustration onto groups that (in Trump’s view) have eroded America’s 'greatness' — Mexicans, Muslims, the Chinese, political and financial elites, and 'the media.' The Trump treatment is to peddle hatred and resentment for his political gain."

His claim to fame is that he is a successful businessman who is rich, "really, really rich." But he leaves behind him a trail of failed businesses and bankruptcies. He says he builds things (like "the wall") but what he really does nowadays is license the use of his name on things. He won't release his tax returns after saying he would; probably some tax lawyer has pointed out that there are some very incriminating things in those returns as well as embarassments, possibly paltry charitable contributions that do not match his claims. For sure he has something to hide.

He has no understanding of how our government works nor of the principles enshrined in our founding documents and laws. If he were allowed free rein he would violate the Constitution, civil rights, and international treaties.

Most dangerous of all, he has no impulse control. He lashes out in anger at the merest slight and simply cannot control himself. Consider all the attempts to act "presidential": sure, he can read a teleprompter, sort of, but the next day he is ranting and raving about everything. If he could control himself he could have put the election away by now, but every time he is offered a gift by current events, he fails to focus and allows himself to be side-tracked by something else. Sometimes the best thing for a president to do is keep his mouth shut, his powder dry, and do nothing. Trump has shown absolutely no ability to do that. As Commander in Chief that should scare the bejesus out of everybody.

Trump speaking at a rally

Trump's actual managerial skills were revealed in the vice-presidential selection process. He completely lost control of the process amongst a swirl of leaks and rumors while he, candidates, and family members flew hither and yon. Hillary, naturally, seized on this for a devastating ad.

And his final choice, Mike Pence of Indiana, is no prince either. Pence is about as far-right as you can get. Women, gays, African-Americans, Latinos — that is everybody who is not a straight WASP — will not be cheered. Pence is basically Ted Cruz without the sneer.

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Last updated on Apr 13, 2018



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