Before the primary season started, I wrote that I thought either Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio would be the nominee for the Republican side. With Bush, I vastly overestimated the help he would get from his fundraising machine and party support. With Rubio I underestimated the GOP primary voters’ dissatisfaction with the party and willingness to nuke the party’s only hope at winning the general election. Most importantly, I thought that the other candidates or the Republican establishment would make a greater effort to stop Trump’s candidacy early on. They failed to do so, and now it is nearly mathematically impossible for Trump not to be the nominee.
What the GOP is looking at right now is civil war. At this point, to deny Trump the nomination at a brokered convention would probably cause him to run a third party candidacy and destroy the party, which at this point is still worse than just letting him have the nomination.
The reason I was so skeptical of Trump is that a Trump matchup against Clinton (still likely democratic nominee) would be an absolute disaster for the entire Republican Party up and down the ballot. The only reason Trump is successful so far is because he’s being approved by 30-40% of the Republican party. He isn’t even popular within a majority of the Republican Party. In the general public, he is extremely unpopular. And while its still only April, coming back from an unfavorable polling of 65% is unlikely even for a skilled political candidate.
Trump is the figure that the Republican base has chosen to upset the establishment. The problem is that Trump is not in any way a revolutionary figure who can lead that movement against the odds. He is bafflingly ignorant on matters of policy. Take your pick of his demonstrable lack of knowledge of how the world works. His claim that the unemployment rate is more like 42%; his call for a moratorium on Muslims entering the country; his claim that he saw Muslims celebrating in New Jersey on 9/11. His temperament and maturity are unquestionably lacking. And how about encouraging his supporters to assault protestors? The list of demagoguery is endless.
His outsider status gives the mirage to gullible voters that he is the counter to Washington bullshit. But in reality, Trump embodies the very essence of that dogma. Rather than put forth concrete ideas, his campaign repetition of”I’m gonna be great” assumes that all matters of policy are just business deals that everyone but him is too weak to get done. His campaign to be the perfect president is the most hollow of all platforms. Trump’s candidacy is a one man ego trip to prove that he is the brilliant and successful man that the yes-men he surrounds himself with tell him everyday.
Clinton has the advantage of being every Republican’s least favorite Democrat. She has put up with the relentless storm of ginned up controversies over her emails, nonsensical Benghazi conspiracy theories, and every other conjured slight imaginable. Clinton is arguably the most scrutinized and well known political figure to currently exist in politics. With Trump, however, the surface of his business dealings and public comments has only been scratched. As any casual observer of politics knows, once he is the nominee, the heated scrutiny of his entire life will be turned up to the 9th degree. Much stronger candidates have cracked and faltered under that pressure. And Trump loses composures when people call his hands small.
Clinton is not an invincible candidate. But I fail to see a scenario in which the general electorate, already demographically favorable to the Democrats, will not energetically turn out for Clinton, if only to rebut the terrifying prospect of Trump becoming the face of the free world.
Critics compare Trump to Hitler or Mussolini. The pandering to populist fears of minorities and economic uncertainty are present, but other character flattering parallels are lacking. His callous disregard for facts and decency demonstrate a fatal overplaying of his appeal and a misunderstanding of American Politics. Instead, he will forever be the reality TV business goon who inherited his start in life, everything he does reeking of desperation to be taken seriously. Trump is akin to a fascist in rhetoric only because he will fade into insignificance as a joke with a long overdue punchline. He is the Barry Goldwater or Ross Perot of today’s disgruntled conservative electorate. Both men are only remembered for delivering humiliating defeats for the Republican Party which ushered in new eras of liberalism. Donald J. Trump will go down in history the same, whining all the way like the overgrown child he is.