Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Trump Legacy

by JASmius

What is it?  Aside from "unfairly" taking 93.7% of New York's delegates based on only 59.8% of the New York primary vote, an indefinitely riven GOP, Hillary Clinton in the White House, and the long-promised, never-before-now delivered permanent Democrat majority, not much.

That Whiggification is the bridge to the latter two, and that's no exaggeration:

It’s possible that we are seeing a temporary estrangement but not a complete divorce. Trump’s success so far would have to be a blip - a temporary surge by a talented [demagogue] whose lack of a core ideology leaves no lasting impression. For this to be the case, Trump would have to lose the nomination and whoever else get the nod - be it Cruz, Kasich or someone else - would have to have some kind of rapprochement with [true conservatives]. In this case, we would see a return to the old paradigm with little change to the existing set of intellectual ideas.

But the rapprochement scenario is unlikely, especially since [true conservatives] are disconnected not only from Trump, but also from a significant portion of the "GOP" voter base. Some think-tankers have spoken “reform conservatism” - a new mix of issues designed to appeal to today’s struggling lower middle-class voters - but this effort itself is controversial among [ex-]conservatives, and looks to be going nowhere. The reform camp has failed to [restore] the fusionist consensus that Buckley and Meyer forged decades ago, which brought together the three main strands of conservative thought - economic, social and foreign policy - under one anti-communist umbrella.

What Tevi Troy leaves out is that ex-conservatives have traded in that national movement and governing coalition for anger, tribalism, and delusion, the three magic beans of Trumpist "populism".  Much like the leftwing Nutroots, they want what they want and they want it NOW, regardless of how difficult or impossible each Agenda item may be to achieve, and they will destroy anybody, any institution (including the Republican Party AND the U.S. Constitution), and anything that stands in their way ("Trump has the biggest hammer") the definition of which includes those of us who keep pointing out to them that they and their "anger" are, in reality, their own worst enemies more than the "GOP establishment" of their fevered imaginations could ever be.

Thor, in the end, trusted Loki's "rage"; look where it got him - and Loki, and Asgard....

It is established fact that Trump can't win in November with his historic polling negatives and deficits across just about every voter demographic and his going suicidally out of his way to alienate the 60+% of the GOP whose support he would desperately need to even lose by McCain-esque proportions.  But the canyonesque rupture Trumpmania has, well, hammered through the party is the one thing that will long outlive his rise and crash & burn fall.  The anger, the bitterness, the rage, the tribalistic contempt....all of it was percolating, and not inchoately or much "under the surface", either, manifested through the post-2012 Tea Party.  That was the GOP achilles heel in the 2016 cycle that the New York liberal conman deftly exploited, wittingly or unwittingly, to Mrs. Clinton's ultimate benefit, as I have been pointing out for over nine months.

It is also all that there is to whatever "movement" Trumplicans believe The Donald represents.  Which brings us to another reality check of all the things that they think their hero stands for that he in fact, based on his forty years as a public figure, does not, and how, even if he did believe in any of the snake oil he's parceling out, there are very good reasons why none of it has ever caught on or gained traction before Trumpmania came along:

A lot of Trump’s offerings - vehement opposition to illegal immigration and free trade, a[n] isolationist foreign policy, more than a little “blood and soil” nationalism - w[ere] offered by Pat Buchanan in past decades; you notice there was no clear Buchanan heir in Republican politics until now. Among GOP lawmakers, there’s pretty broad support for border security and some deportations....[emphasis added]

Yes, that's right, Trumplicans, even your candidate's signature charge against the "establishment" is a fraud - arguably the biggest one of all, AAMOF.

....but there were only a handful of trade skeptics and another handful of isolationists -- certainly few Republican lawmakers are dismissing NATO as obsolete or calling for arming South Korea and Japan with nuclear weapons as Trump has done.

There’s not much sign of a Trump-ist caucus in the House and Senate, and it’s unlikely there will be one for a while, if ever. [emphasis added]

Which matters little, actually, since such a caucus would be a tiny sub-minority of a bicameral minority anyway.

The Trump movement has its base - the 37% of GOP primary voters who cast a ballot for him - and it has Trump at its top. What it lacks so far is much of a middle. So far only one senator, three governors, and seven House members have endorsed him. Most of his biggest-name endorsees are those who departed elected office....aren’t likely to return[, or are fellow "outsiders": Sarah Palin, Scott Brown, Ben Carson. Or you could argue the Trump movement’s middle isn’t policymakers, it’s pundits: Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham, Sean Hannity, Andrea Tantaros, Eric Bolling, and arguably Rush Limbaugh. [emphasis added]

Which matters little beyond post-Trump Trumplican emotional validation, since that handful of "doggy-treat salespeople" constitute a tiny sub-minority of a media minority.

The central point at which I'm driving should have passed threshold of pedantic obvious by now: “blood and soil nationalism," or what used to be known as "paleo-conservatism," has no mass appeal or audience.  Even with a big-splash, loud-mouthed celebrity as it figurehead, it has drawn barely more than a third of the vote in one major party, and multiple orders of magnitude larger and equally passionate opposition in the general electorate outside the Trump cult.

There is a reason, after all, why William F. Buckley left the Birchers on the shore of irrelevance six decades ago and helped pave the way for the mainstreaming of constitutional conservatism.  One could, I suppose, dub Trumpmania "the Birchers' revenge," if more than a smattering of Trumplicans would even recognize the historical reference.

Put another way, Trump, for all his grandstanding giga-hype, is not mainstreaming paleo-conservatism in constitutional conservatism's place, but rather dragging the latter back to political irrelevance to keep the former company in service to his own personal, corrupt, ego-wanking ends.

And, just to toss in another historical parallel for your reading pleasure, Trump-ism has that lack of staying power beyond its namesake - i.e. legacy - in common with other authoritarian "national socialist" would-be movements like Nazism and Fascism, neither of which batoned a coherent entity to any viable successor.  They ended when their founders did.  Just as "Trump-ism" functionally will six months and eighteen days from now.

Not that there won't be pretender successors and emulators.  But without the pervasive personality cultish aura, they'll all sound, and wind up like, well, Pat Buchanan, Christine O'Donnell, Todd Aiken, and the Birchers, keeping the legitimate Right unwanted company in indefinite political exile.

UPDATE: It's been a month since Trump had a big primary win, so we've gotten unbearably accustomed to one of the only two Trump reactions to election results: "I WUZ ROBBED!", which is the only way he can ever fail to win in his mind since, of course, the Trump "brand" is that he always wins.  In other words, hardcore sore loser-dom.  Today we got a nasty snootful of the OTHER reaction when he really does win: "I'm gonna run the table and exceed 1,400 delegates by the middle of next month!  It's all over!  Cruz should drop out and endorse me now!  HAHA!"  Or, in other words, he's an even more insufferable, ungracious winner.

But we already knew that.  Just as we know that none of the dynamics of this race have changed in the slightest.  Trump still has no organization, no ground game, and little chance of reaching 1,237 delegates by the end of the primary season.  Dominating the New York primary did nothing to alter that.  That was Trump holding serve on his "home court".  He should have blown Cruz out there, and if he hadn't, if he'd barely eked out a close win or even lost, that would have constituted a full-blown collapse of his campaign, a humiliation that probably would have sent him over the edge into a stroke or a coronary, and his followers into...well, I'll forego speculating, because I don't want to overuse the exploding building pic.

Every forecast of the pre-convention delegate scores, including from many non-#NeverTrump prognosticators, shows Trump falling 5%-10% short of a majority and that figures in a big win in New York and more successes in next week's Northeast contests (except, perhaps, for Pennsylvania).  After that, the campaign moves to other States where Cruz will return to the advantage, and it will wind up in California, where the matter will be decided.  Just as was the case twenty-four hours ago.

But I suppose if lucidity that doesn't ape Trump's tiresome egomaniacal end zone celebrations is "delusion," as one Trumplican sneered today, and mockingly feeding his and their whining back at them would go straight over their heads, it's best to just stick to the truth and concentrate on never letting a Trumper take your rectal temperature.  Every mass psychosis has to burn itself out sooner or later, right?


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