Once there was a man, admired around the world for his intellect, accomplishments in the field of medicine, deep religious conviction, and willingness to speak truth to power.
Today there is just Trump-shill Ben Carson.
Perhaps blinded by the bling of Mar-a-Lago or the promise of becoming a Secretary of Education or Vice-President, Ben Carson threw his support to a man who had compared him to a pedophile, questioned the validity of both his religious conviction and his entire denomination, accused him of wanting to murder his mother, ridiculed him in front of a crowd of thousands by doing a physical imitation of him as a child, and called him “pathological.”
If anything is “pathological,” it is the rush of those once thought to be principled conservatives to swear their allegiance to Trump.
And by “swear their allegiance,” I don’t mean the way his crazed stadium crowds do. (Godwin be damned, Hitler didn’t even do this until he’d been the Fuhrer for more than a year!) I mean betraying people who spent years defending them—Sarah Palin chief among them—from unfair attacks on their intellect and motivation from the rabid media and the liberal blogosphere. The people who foolishly placed their faith in Sarah Palin in 2008, who defended Herman Cain against scurrilous, (excuse the expression) trumped-up sexual harassment charges (which mysteriously disappeared once he left the field), who stood with Ann Coulter in her worst moments (attacked for ridiculing 9/11 widows)—all have been gut-punched by their new obeisance to Donald Trump, who has spent his life funding the destruction of everything they said they believed in.
And now Ben Carson.
The new lieutenants of the Trump brigade have something in common with their new Generalissimo: they have been left at the altar by people they expected would love them.
Sarah Palin was the darling of the 2008 election for conservatives. She was the only reason many of them held their nose and pulled the lever for McCain. Then she left her office behind and became a reality star, and her political star began to fall. By the time she blamed Obama for her son’s domestic violence while endorsing Donald Trump, only the most fanatic followers remained.
Ann Coulter was once revered in the movement, largely for her penchant for meticulous research, her wit, and her willingness to enter the media lion’s den and dine on the lions. Now, however, her tune is TrumpAndTrumpAlone, and has said she doesn’t care if he does abortions in the White House, as long as… (it doesn’t matter—there’s no good way to finish that sentence).
But all the love-seeking failures and near-miss wannabes fit right in with the campaign of Donald Trump.
Let’s face it. Donald Trump may be a big-shot in Manhattan now, but he comes from the wrong side of the Five Boroughs. To Manhattanites, he may have billions, but he will never be “one of them.” He may have money—and power and celebrity and more money—but he’ll never have “class.” Trump has spent his life trying to prove he deserves the money he has, that he is a really, really rich guy, that he belongs at the top.
Everything about Donald Trump is (he claims) the best, the biggest, the smartest, the classiest.
But—just as people who understand conservatism know he is not a conservative–people who actually have class know that none of those things are true.
Vast numbers of people think Donald Trump is a wanna-be everything. Yes, he is very good at paying off politicians to pretend to be his friends. He is a master at persuading people with less money to give him money, then taking their money and leaving them little or nothing (as in Trump University and the Trump Network—the latter of which was a scammy supplement company that promised both health and wealth.)
All signs indicate that Trump is running for president to prove people love him, and to take control of what he thinks is the ultimate power over them—the presidency. Nothing could have made that clearer than his weird QVC-style “press conference” following the elections last Tuesday. To the delight of the press, he trotted out a series of Trump-branded “products,” many of which turned out to be fakes of products that no longer legitimately exist. “Love me! I’m so great!’ it screamed subliminally.
As we barrel toward the end of primary season, he is gathering to himself a cadre of what he might, in more honest moments, call “losers.” With the exception of Senator Jeff Sessions (who has his own problems being accepted in his chosen social group), his political endorsements come from those who have either gained no national traction (Chris Christie) or lost what they once had (Palin.)
Ben Carson, no matter what the opinion polls showed before primary season, and no matter what the ballot boxes produced during it, continued to believe that “We the People” would get behind his campaign and prove he was right in thinking God called him to this moment (as they all do—except Trump, who no-doubt thinks he called God to do his bidding). But “We the People” told him to get off the stage.
He has now climbed off that stage, and into the rich man’s pocket. We’ll see how that turns out.