The “how’d we get here” postmortems have already begun.
How did we go from 17 contenders for the Republican leadership and wind up with … of all people … Donald Trump?
There is one trait in particular that people either love or loathe about him: he is like a wrecking ball. Anything in his path usually gets knocked down. For good or for ill, one of those things knocked down will be “politics as usual.”
Naturally, as a result, people like Ilya Shapiro are sharing their views on how it came to this. What unleashed Trump — this dangerous and unpredictable element — into the political process?
Shapiro cites June 28, 2012, at the turning point. That’s the date Judge Roberts upheld Obamacare which, in his analysis, led to the public giving up on Rule of Law to achieve their political aims. As a result, they began looking for someone willing to play the same authoritarian hardball politics, but with Republican goals in view.
While some of Shapiro’s observation are duly noted, there’s a simpler explanation. We needn’t blame a Democrat for a problem the Republicans themselves created. It’s the party insiders that have been rejected. (Just ask the original presumptive winner: “Jeb!”)
The rise of Trump wasn’t just about activist judges and an authoritarian POTUS.
The Establishment was given a chance, and they blew it. The Tea Party sent a clear message that the party needed fixing, and just as importantly, what values needed to guide that change.
Old Guard Republicans were — in many races — turfed in favor of those who claimed they would hold the Democrats to account. A few stood tall, and took a stand against the Establishment on both sides of the aisle. (This was one reason Ted Cruz was called “Lucifer” by his peers, but rewarded by the public with the second-most delegates.) But many Tea Party candidates folded like lawn chairs in a hurricane. They were too easily lulled into toeing the line with party leaders whose main tactic was preemptive surrender.
How long were Democrats permitted to operate without a budget? How many times did they blow through debt limits? What stand did they take against every dishonest tactic, every scandal, every breach of public trust? What did they do to oppose every violation of the rule of law?
They “went along to get along”. What did that get us? Exactly the same result we’d have had if we’d handed the Democrats held a majority over both the House and Senate. Democrat policies passed almost unopposed. Ted Cruz defined the problem perfectly when he laid out the reasons Boehner resigned.
It’s the gutless, spineless, fight-less capitulation of our OWN party that has the Republicans upset. We’ve always expected the Democrats to act like Democrats. They are aligned against most of the things we hold dear. There is nothing new in that.
It outrages us when Republicans align with Democrats against these very same things. They’re always saving their fight for the “next battle”. The “next battle” is firmly rooted in “tomorrow”, as elusive as the end of a rainbow.
What outrages us is when even “our” side kowtows to Islamofascists by always referring to Islam as the “Religion of Peace”. When “our” side continually yields ground to professional grievance classes, and eco-fascists who demand we support their pet projects… data be damned. What bloody good are “our” Representatives if they only ever represent their OWN interests?
This is what is being rejected. Rejected loudly, and with finality.
Lay out whatever criticism of Trump you wish (however valid): His personal failings, his boorish behaviour, his spotty record, and his weakness on policy. With all those things considered together (for his supporters) nothing changes.
Trump supporters (many of them) are not blind to these failings. Instead, they are rolling the dice on a bet that his wrecking-ball will shatter the GOP establishment, and make them more accountable to “we the people”. Like any gamble, it might work, or it might not. But if nothing else, it serves as a wake-up call for the guys who thought they could just pour enough money into a campaign fund and pull the strings for their vassal-candidates.
We’ve had more than our share of lapdog representatives. Trump supporters believe and hope they are releasing a lion among the asses. They know it’s a gamble. They don’t know whether this tactic will fix the problem or not. What they DO know, is that nothing they’ve tried so far has worked. Like so many other wildcards, we won’t know what happens until we turn him loose.
Whether you see Trump as saviour or scoundrel, he is a Phenomenon. The root cause of this phenomenon is not a Democrat or an activist judge. It is the Washington Inner Circle too long ignoring the will of the people who put them there.