Turn on Sean Hannity’s radio show at any given moment and you will probably hear the host reciting once again the trite observation that the Republican establishment brought Trump upon itself, as if the Party of Reagan were a woman who deserved to be defiled because she was asking for it. But as Whoopi Goldberg would say, maybe it wasn’t “rape rape.”
The success of Donald Trump’s candidacy is so surreal, you could almost suspect some sort of conspiracy is afoot. Daren Jonescu asks three interesting questions:
1. Don’t you get the strange feeling that this has all been suspiciously easy?
2. Don’t you find it odd that Trump, who habitually says the harshest, crudest, vilest things he can think of about anyone he perceives as an opponent or threat, never substantively criticizes the key players in the establishment at all?
3. If you were Rove, McConnell, and the rest of the GOP elite, and you wanted to end the growing grassroots threat to your power and influence once and for all, how would you go about it?
By way of an answer to Question #3:
Accepting that the grassroots will no longer succumb to my superior funding, and that they have rejected the “safety” of the status quo, I would try to gerrymander the grassroots movement itself. The key to my strategy would be to find and exploit a viable stalking horse who might demolish the grassroots conservative movement from within more effectively than any external assault. …
He should be someone with a reliable history as a moderate or progressive, which will allow him to enlarge his support base beyond principled conservatives, even while trumping the real grassroots candidates with calculated populist rhetoric. Preferably, he would be someone without serious principles or well-defined views – someone who has as little use for the Constitution and limited government as I do — so that I could make deals with him, and staff his inner circle with my cronies, if by chance he actually won. (Richard Hohlt, Republican lobbyist: “Do they [GOP insiders] all love Trump? No. But there’s a feeling that he is not going to layer over the party or install his own person. Whereas Cruz will have his own people there.” [Emphasis added.])
As for political philosophy, I need him to be consistent and trustworthy on only one point: he must have a clear history of never having supported the Tea Party, and hopefully of directly opposing it in word and deed.
But at the same time this man should be so charismatic and unscrupulous that he will happily pitch his campaign at the very people he has long ridiculed and set out to thwart, or at least at those among them who are so blinded by anger that they are prepared to jump on any bandwagon whose leader seems to share that anger, regardless of whether he consistently stands for anything they actually believed back when they were thinking rationally about saving their country.
Just crippling Cruz and marginalizing the limited-government philosophy he champions would make it all worthwhile…
The ideal outcome, however, the one I would be praying for if I were the establishment, would be that the stalking horse wins the nomination after decimating the constitutionalist movement. Then he takes his kook fringe-friendly candidacy to the general election. He uses crude personal attacks and encourages thuggish mob intimidation against journalists, hecklers, or ordinary private citizens who question him. Many of his supporters are exposed as white nationalists, 9/11 truthers, rage-filled men and idol-worshipping women, thus “confirming” everything the political and media mainstream has said about the Tea Party for years. He is ambushed with a dozen nasty scandals about his business practices, his cronyism, his infidelities; and he is mocked for his incoherence, childish vocabulary, and sub-Palin ignorance on issues. He loses the general election to an Alinskyite neo-Marxist whom he used to support, whom he invited to his wedding, and about whom he once said she would make a great president.
Here’s why the GOPe would rather elect Shrillary than see Cruz win the nomination:
As a result of all this, the next time around, when I say, “We have to rally behind the safe, electable candidate,” who will have the gall to stand up and say, “No, we need an outsider to fight the Washington establishment”? Outsiders will be dead in the water for twenty years. The fractured constitutionalist movement will be back in its pen, timidly voting Republican because there is no plausible alternative. Rising anti-establishment threat effectively neutered; progressive ratchet to hell proceeding on schedule.
Any decent chess player thinks a few moves ahead. If Trump gets the nomination in 2016, the guy who gets it in 2020 will make Jeb look like Reagan.
The GOPe has made no secret of its hatred for Ted Cruz, but wouldn’t it prefer Rubio to Trump? Maybe. But maybe not. Remember Rubio took office as a Tea Party insurgent, taking out the establishment’s odious Charlie Crist (who Trump backed). Rubio is more conservative than Trump in every respect (unless you take Trump’s recent immigration rhetoric seriously). Unlike Trump, Rubio cannot be counted on not to put constitutional principles ahead of growing the government.
The experts know that Trump is unelectable in a general election. But maybe taking a dive in 2016 by not doing everything possible to stop Trump makes sense in the long run. If I knew Karl Rove, I would ask him.
On a tip from Salvatore.