Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Donald Trump has the GOP boxed in

This item first appeared in Asia Times.

According to Greek mythology, Narcissus was so much in love with his own reflection in the water that he fell in and drowned. In the case of Trump, America is in danger of drowning because of his grandiose sense of self-importance. Elders of the Grand Old Party are wondering whether they should organize the salvage operations before the shipwreck or after.
Even at the risk of incurring a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct, it’s hard to resist piling on Donald the Trump. This past week, everybody it seems has been dumping on Donald.
Donald Trump
If Donald Trump loses the election, GOP elders will find it hard to explain why he hijacked the nomination and how such hijacking will never happen again
This war hero for president has been quick to remind us that by getting a deferment in the nick of time, he narrowly escaped capture by the Viet Congs. His tour of duty lives in his vivid imagination, as he has been quick to remind us.
His record of war service and sacrifice entitled him to deride Khizr Khan’s speech at the Democratic National Convention. Khan only wanted to compare the loss of his son, Captain Humayun Khan, who was killed in action in Iraq in 2004, with Trump’s alleged sacrifices.
Consistent with Trump’s rash and brash style, one of his handlers on national TV promptly blamed the death of the brave American, Captain Khan, on Obama and Hillary Clinton four years before President Obama was elected into the White House.
Trump himself could have said, “See, if I had been President then, I would have banned the entry of all Muslims and Captain Khan would still be alive today —probably somewhere in Pakistan.”
Trump’s religious and evangelical supporters have gone so far as to suggest that Khan is a secret member of the Muslim Brotherhood sent to the U.S. to infiltrate into the Democratic Party and undermine America.
The religious right of Trump’s camp seemed to have forgotten that Jesus said to love thy neighbors; he did not say to love only thy neighbors who are Christians.
At the garden of Gethsemane, the Roman soldiers asked Peter three times if he was a follower of Jesus. According to Joe Scarborough of MSNBC, Trump asked a foreign policy adviser three times that if we have nuclear weapons, then why can’t we use them? The religious right might appreciate the parallel and irony.
Drawing from the “me, me, & me” personality described by the ghostwriter of his best selling book, it is not far-fetched to imagine a Trump at the White House press conference before a worldwide audience. “Look at me folks, please look at me,” he says with commensurate pomp, “I’ve got my finger on the button, oops…”
It’s not fair to his candidacy to only treat it as a mere laughing matter. Trump for president has potential deadly consequences. Therefore the leadership of GOP (Grand Old Party) has a challenge before them.
Do they somehow repudiate him now or could they keep their collective heads buried in the sand and hope for the best? Perhaps if Trump somehow does win the November election, the GOP can pick up the pooper-scoopers and go to work then.
Since it won’t be in Trump’s personality to deal with the minutia of running a country nor the patience to dig into and understand the nuances of domestic and international issues, we can hope and pray that the vice president and White House staff would go about running the country behind the scenes.
They can easily keep Trump distracted by letting him soak up all the attention that only a POTUS can attract. The staff can even organize a daily parade down Pennsylvania Avenue featuring President Trump for national TV.
If, on the other hand, Trump were to go down in a massive defeat as many are now predicting, on post election, the GOP will have a huge challenge on their hands on how to regain the trust and confidence of the American voters.
It will be difficult at that point for the elders of the party to explain with any credibility as to how they let someone like Trump hijack the nomination. And how, as a new GOP rises from the ashes, hijacking the top of the ticket will never happen again.
By declining to endorse Trump in his speech at the GOP national convention — he got the limelight and his announcement for 2020 too —, Senator Ted Cruz has already decided to jump ship and push off from the impending shipwreck.
Cruz has been disliked almost as much as Trump by the party rank and file. The party elders probably would also want to fix the future format and process for nominations that would give candidates of substance the opportunity to strut their stuff and stand a fair chance of gaining the nomination without having to sing his/her own praise of me, me & me.
Speaking of jumping ship, some Republican luminaries have already announced that they won’t be voting for Trump. Some have even said that they would vote for his opponent, Hillary Clinton.
The list of defectors include Mitt Romney, former candidate for president; Meg Whitman, former candidate for governor of California; Barbara Bush, former first lady and wife of George W; Hank Paulson, former Secretary of Treasury; Richard Armitage, former deputy secretary of state; Michael Bloomberg, former mayor of NYC; and a list of Senators and House of Representatives too numerous to mention.
And oh yes, the men of the Bush family, George H.W., George W. and Jeb have all also publicly indicated that they would not be voting for Trump.
The extent of disaffection is unprecedented and mutual. Donald Trump declined to endorse the re-election of House Speaker Paul Ryan and Arizona Senator John McCain, himself former candidate for the presidency, for a long time before grudgingly doing so. Both prominent Republicans are undoubtedly having mixed feelings over his tepid endorsement.
According to Greek mythology, Narcissus was so in love with his reflection in the water that he fell in and drowned. In the case of Trump, America is in danger of drowning because of his grandiose sense of self-importance.
The party elders of the Grand Old Party are in a collective quandary. Do they organize the salvage operations before the shipwreck or after? Can they save the country and their party? Can they save the country if they sacrifice their party? Or, are we doomed?

No comments: