“Now the poor guy, you gotta see this guy,” Donald Trump said before proceeding to risibly mock a disabled reporter.
When the New York Times called him on his latest micro-abomination, Trump insisted that he didn’t remember the reporter he’d so vividly lampooned and demanded an apology.
And, as the cliche now goes, this will only help him in the polls.
Trump supporters seem to want someone who is brave enough to mock someone’s handicap yet savvy and cowardly enough to lie about it. But think about it, what choice do they have?
Conservatives have succeeded in their greatest ambition: Making their party a unitary front against progress.
They all have the same plans. Dice taxes (mostly for the rich), slice regulations (mostly for polluters), eliminate reproductive rights (almost entirely for women) and be really, really strong (mostly by spending trillions building bombs we’d be better off never using). To top it all off, we have a Bush brother standing on stage reminding us what actually happens when the GOP wins.
We were told we had the “strongest” field of Republican candidates in decades, instead we have a dozen or so men all parroting each other and all pretending they aren’t part of the the GOP establishment.
(You can’t be part of the “establishment,” which believes all the things the GOP base does except that the establishment understands that you have to win national elections to be able to make them happen.)
In this incestual hodgepodge, we get hip young Marco Rubio — who believes all the same things all the other GOP candidates do. He just believes them handsomely.
Hip, young Marco Rubio is so hip he even seems to support Christian Sharia Law as long as it does something important. Like tormenting gay people.
This is a field intent on insisting on they’ve learned nothing from the past and out imitating Reagan. In contrast, Trump has become the imaginary Reagan of the right’s wettest dreams.
He actually slams the GOP establishment but not in any coded, sly way. He gives out their phone numbers and shit. And his visceral, shouted racism, Islamophobia, and disgust for any and all opponents stinks of fascism — but it also feels like the God’s honest truth who’ve had to suffer decades to sly allusions to such contempt.
And the “establishment” would be fine with all of this if Trump had the one trait that conservative donors, and the even the base when it comes down to it, want more than anything else — predictability.
How would a President Trump govern? No one has any fucking idea.
He’s proposing tax breaks that would decimate the government. But he also is promising to preserve Social Security and Medicare while dramatically increasing our already dramatically increased military budget.
The Establishment would probably suffer the preservation of our senior safety net to gain the other aspects of Trump’s agenda — as that would just necessitate future cuts down the line. But the reason they’re freaked out is he threatens the ultimate goal of the conservative movement.
The next election is the end-times reckoning the right has been seeking for half a century since at least Brown v. Board of Education. We already have the most conservative court since that decision but the next election — the most important election of our lifetime — will decide if we get the most conservative Court in a hundred years, which would last at least a generation.
Who would Donald Trump nominate to the Supreme Court?
Like we have any fucking idea. Like he even does.
We know exactly who the other dopes running for the nomination would nominate — a partisan Republican jurist that represents some key electoral minority, like Samuel Alito or Clarence Thomas. And that justice would end Roe and continue the gutting of labor rights, voting rights, the rights of the accused and the rights of anyone who wasn’t born a corporation.
In contrast, the Democratic primary is a real battle of ideas.
After the Democratic first debate, I wrote an op-ed in The New York Daily News about how disappointed I was with the candidates answers about legal marijuana. It’s a small issue but it signals the party’s willingness to reach out to young voters and take on the massive issue of mass incarceration, which has largely been driven by drug crimes.
Since then, both Democratic frontrunners have adjusted their position, with Bernie Sanders taking the correct stand that we need to decriminalize the drug nationally and let states decide how to regulate it.
On this issue and a dozen others, Democrats are battling between pragmatic, establishment approaches and wholehearted Progressivism. Liberal activists don’t have the power their conservative counterparts do, with the Democratic Party still being mostly made up of moderates. But activists do have the benefit of the success of liberal ideas abroad and the Democratic establishment’s outright failure in getting poor people to the polls.
It’s fascinating to watch and be a part of.
On the other side, Republicans are stuck trying to out-hate Muslims. It’s as fascinating and terrifying as reading the comments online.
There’s nothing the GOP establishment deserves more for its corruption of politics into entertainment and sly dog-whistles than Donald Trump — except if he wins.
He has exposed the base’s dark heart with all its racist and fascistic tendencies. And no responsible American, not even the Republican establishment wants to see what would happen if he wins.
But at least it would be interesting.
[Image via @JuddLegum]