Out of everything that has made the Republican primary race of 2016 worth remembering, perhaps the biggest, yet least-discussed subject is hypocrisy on the part of the leaders of the GOP and their supporters in the media.
In the not-too-distant past, Republican politicians, journalists and party strategists kept reminding conservative voters that they must vote Republican, even if a Republican candidate has more in common with liberal Democrats, such as Illinois Senator Mark Kirk.
In a bizarre twist of logic that only a Republican political strategist could comprehend, somehow having a Democrat who calls himself or herself a Republican for the sake of winning elections is preferable to a conservative who is running as a third-party candidate, but has more in common with Republican voters than the party’s protected candidate.
However, the candidacy of Donald Trump finds those same Republican leaders who refused to criticize their own who voted against the GOP in the past, now telling voters not to support someone who has more in common with Democrats than Republicans.
For the record, I do not support Mr. Trump as a candidate, since I cannot figure out how a crony capitalist will end crony capitalism; this is similar to people who in 2008 and 2012 voted for a Chicago politician for president with the hope that he would end corruption in Washington D.C.
What I find ironic though, is that the Party of former Illinois George Ryan, a self-proclaimed “deal maker,” will not support someone who not only labeled himself a deal-maker, but fits the stereotype of a modern Republican politician, with a few exceptions .
According to one of the GOP’s excuses for their dislike of Mr. Trump, his childish, ego-driven antics make the Republican Party “look bad in the eyes of liberal voters.” For the last forty years, Democrat politicians have done a remarkable job of convincing their most devout followers that Republicans want to starve schoolchildren and the elderly, as well as crush the middle class to the poverty level. If Democrat voters are convinced that Republicans are evil, how could they be perceived to be even more so by the antics of one candidate?
Donald Trump is a good showman; probably the best student of the best self-promoter in the last forty years: World Wrestling Entertainment founder, Vince McMahon.
Mr. Trump is treating this campaign as if it were a professional wrestling match, with a lot of trash-talking before the main attraction. From the outside, politics has looked a lot like professional wrestling for a while: both sides criticize each other in public in order to generate support for “their side.” But, when the cameras are gone, those two supposedly-opposing sides must work together to put on a good show.
This begs the question: are the leaders of the GOP confident enough to engage in a song-and-dance of the magnitude of bashing their preferred candidate, in the name of helping him win an election?
Donald Trump is difficult to figure out. But, he does pride himself on being a deal-maker. In his business life, he works with politicians — regardless of party affiliation — in order to make what he calls “the best deal.”
However, he could also be like candidates who run only for the chance to gain delegates, so that he could bargain for another office, or something else. With the number of delegates that he has, he could jump beyond being a deal-maker, and into the realm of being a king-maker.
Regardless of the intentions of Mr. Trump’s candidacy, it is worth noting that there are Republicans who do not criticize him directly. Instead, they taunt and question the intelligence of his supporters. If those Republicans are not against Mr. Trump, are they using his campaign as an excuse to show voters their true contempt for those voters?
This campaign has raised a lot of questions, such as why didn’t Donald Trump run for president in 2012, when the pool of qualified and self-confident candidates in both parties was shallow? Why did he decide to run this time around, when there were several conservatives who were more qualified than in previous primary seasons?
Unfortunately, if the Donald Trump scenario were allowed to play out, we won’t know his true intentions until after what he wants has played out. Donald Trump is the GOP’s Frankenstein monster: a product of its contempt for voters, and a product of crony capitalism. And perhaps, he is also a weapon against those voters who turned to him in order to try and turn against a system that betrayed them with hypocrisy.
Image: Trump in Ames via photopin (license)