With the Iowa Caucuses now upon us, the phenomenon that has been the candidacy of Donald Trump is about to be put to its first real test. When he announced his intention to run for the GOP nomination last June, no one took him seriously, and rightly so. He’s made a career out of hyping his real estate ventures and mostly himself as a celebrity business guru for well over 30 years. In between all of that, he’s floated the idea of running for president, as well as governor of New York several times over that same span of time, and was allegedly considered as a running mate for George H.W. Bush back in 1988 (just who exactly did the considering is, as you might expect, debatable).
But a witch’s brew of circumstances – the disaster that has been the Obama presidency, distrust of the media, loathing of the Republican establishment’s backstabbing of the voters and its collusion with the Democratic Left, abject fear about the direction of the nation – collided into a perfect storm of opportunity that, to the shock and awe of everyone has put him on top of the polls and kept him there for over seven months. Let’s face it, when he said he’d build a wall and would make Mexico pay for it and told the truth about the dangers of an open, unchecked border, he touched a raw nerve. Ever since, he’s uttered a number of faux pas and gaffes that would have destroyed other candidacies. Not Trump. His fans and supporters would have none of it. Even I, as a Ted Cruz supporter, was loving Trump’s presence in the race. Instead of resigning myself to Jeb Bush or Chris Christie being rammed down our throats and then slouching their way to a thumping by Clinton or Sanders, the Establishment was having their collective clock cleaned. For a while, I thought, well this is a good run but the fun can’t last. He’ll say or do something that even he won’t be able to extricate himself from and clear the way for Cruz or perhaps Ben Carson.
Then the egomania kicked in and for me, I started becoming less and less enchanted with the man. Since meeting with Cruz last July at his New York offices, both had yet to lay a finger on one another (perhaps an indication Trump was considering Cruz for the veep slot). But by late summer, when Cruz emerged from the pack and steadily climbed to the number two position, Trump went off the rails. Instead of attacking Cruz on the substantive issues of his record, he went full Alinsky and smeared him with birtherism and being in the pocket of Goldman Sachs because of his campaign loans. All through Trump’s meteoric ascendancy, when issues of his past support and contributions to people like the Clinton’s and Mitch McConnell, as well as his past views on abortion, the second amendment and immigration were brought to the fore, many of his supporters that I encountered on other blogs turned into the same sort of mind-numbed drones that showered Obama with blind adoration back in 2008. Instead of reacting or responding with cogent explanations and rebuttals, I was either met with attacks on Cruz or even questioning of my own sanity by not backing the man who would make America great again.
Last week during an interview on MSNBC, Trump was crowing about how he was good friends with Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer and that he could make deals with them – unlike Ted Cruz who no one gets along with and everyone hates. Reaction from Trump supporters? Crickets. Then, at about the same time as that interview, Trump claimed that he’s so loved and admired that he could literally shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and it wouldn’t change people’s support for him. That is alarming, to say the least.
So, if Donald Trump wins tomorrow and then again in New Hampshire, the conventional wisdom is that he is on an unstoppable path directly to the White House. I would caution his supporters that the election is not the end. It’s the beginning. If he is a deal maker with the likes of Pelosi, Reid and Schumer, as well as McConnell, Hatch and Ryan, then he will only be negotiating the speed at which the nation is destroyed, not its trajectory. Or, if he decides to use a hammer and chisel on granite to overrule Obama’s pen and phone, then whither the Constitution and the rule of law? Here is a man of supreme ego who does not take failure and humiliation well (sound familiar?). Do we really want to go through this again, despite the fact that he’s allegedly running on our side?
No one can predict the future, But a Trump presidency will either be the tonic this nation needs or a deep and abiding disappointment, if not worse. It may poison electoral politics irreparably. There really is no middle ground considering the personality involved and the state of the nation he will lead should he win. It’s why I am hoping against hope that Cruz wins. G-d help us all, no matter what.
Point of Personal Privilege:
This is my first blog post in quite a while. An increased workload and, truth be told, being burned out by the daily flood of depressing news has kept me from these pages. A word of thanks to those who’ve noticed my absence and contacted me and a promise to try and post more frequently. Especially now that we’re a big hit!