Donald Trump is supposedly upending everything we know about politics!
Democrats have gone from a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate to losing both houses of congress and about two-thirds of all state legislatures in six years. And while some of this is a normal reaction to a president holding two terms, it’s also evidence that the “Long Con” of the GOP is working in all 50 states and we could be entering an era of unfettered inequality and Republican rule.
All the right needs to complete the task is a Republican president who will both enact a conservative legislative agenda and keep the Supreme Court on its current trajectory, which is the most corporate friendly in history.
But then comes Donald Trump to destroy history! He’s blowing up the whole enchilada stand up and reshuffling the deck! By making an outright bigoted appeals to workers he’s crossing lines, disrupting a forty-year long plot to eliminate everything the government does to build the middle class.
And this is breaking Paul Ryan’s heart, as Speaker confided to John Harwood:
I really believe what we need is a clarifying election in this country, to ask the men and women who are citizens of this nation, to break this impasse.
But the idea that Trump is some huge break from Republican orthodoxy is mostly bullshit, as Greg Sargent explains:
Trump’s actual agenda, of course, scams GOP voters: his tax plan does in fact shower a huge windfall on top earners and his plan to replace Obamacare could result in as many as 21 million new uninsured people.
Paul Ryan and Donald Trump only differ in actual policy by degrees, if they differ at all.
This is why Republicans aren’t going to risk destroying a party that’s on the verge of complete political domination because a billionaire is exposing the white identity politics that have been so successful in subtler forms for the right.
Do they hate that his appeal to white working men is so much powerful than theirs? Yes.
Do they know he turns off exactly the voters he needs to win over? Yes.
Does he really threaten any ideological core belief they have — I mean, is he really against free trade or just trade agreements that aren’t Trump branded? Who knows!
The Stop Trump movement is as dangerous to Trump as the 14 or so other Republicans he’s already demolished.
Trump has passed the litmus test most big right wing donors have. He’s named the Justices he’d appoint to the Supreme Court and they ring the regressive bell plenty loud enough to make the far right salivate.
He, of course, does threaten to turn Latino voters away from the party the way that the Southern Strategy turned away black voters. But even without expanding its base, Republicans have too much to lose by splintering at this point.
Trump is an extraordinarily unpopular man who is just about as popular with Republicans as Mitt Romney was at this point in 2012. The right learned to love Mitt because they hated Obama. And their Hillary hate burns just as bright, if not hotter.
Cruz has a few devotees but there’s little evidence that he’s any more popular with Republicans than Rick Santorum was at this point in the last cycle. He just has more money behind him and less respect for the rules.
Democrats should assume Trump will be the nominee. They should assume Republicans will behind him. And they should begin their assault on him in his record now.
Mitt Romney made a splash by bringing up Trump’s tax returns and then let the furor die. Start a campaign to get him to release his tax returns today and don’t ever let up. Ignore his excuses and keep blasting with attack after attack revealing how Trump’s lies, Trump’s bankruptcies, Trump’s disrespect cost us all.
Republicans assumed that some deus ex machina would eventually undo Trump. They waited for the media or someone to reveal the fraud and watched him run off with their party.
If Democrats do the same, we deserve to lose.
[CC image credit: Gage Skidmore | Flickr]