Saturday, February 20, 2016

Will Apostate Donald Trump Capture the "Mad as Hell" Vote?

Donald Trump called out Republicans -- mostly George W. Bush -- for political crimes that have hurt Republicans. Will the truth set him free or wreck his chances?

Trump "went there" on the Iraq War. Game changer or big mistake?

Donald Trump has so far profited by the sustained rage of his supporters. Trump, then, needs to help sustain that rage, which is why he has a propensity for the outlandish claim. The Donald can "go there" precisely because much of the GOP base is angry at the GOP itself, for letting them down repeatedly. So, properly harnessed rage at George W. Bush's failures lets the genie out of the bottle: "I voted for George W. Bush twice and all I got was this $9.50 an hour job at a Walmart distribution center!" End of abortion? No. Traditional marriage? Nah. A single victory in our wars? Not so much.

We'll know whether Trump has successfully continued to channel his followers' anger and resentment when the polls close in South Carolina tonight. The Week's Damon Linker believes a Trump victory has a good chance of blowing the Republican Party apart:
Within the party's establishment, the unwillingness ever to concede an error, rethink a policy commitment, or adjust an item on the agenda feels like a show of strength, tenacity, and resolution that will always be rewarded by voters who supposedly crave flamboyant displays of toughness. But from the outside, it can look like blind obstinance, rank stupidity, a cowardly denial of reality, and an unwillingness to shoulder a rightful share of the blame.
Which brings us back to Trump.
What voters hear when he rails against the stupidity of the country's political leadership, the incompetence of George W. Bush, and what he likes to call the complete disaster of American policy in Iraq and the broader Middle East is a man willing both to face the ugly truth that they themselves perceive and to call out those who refuse to acknowledge it. If he gets a little carried away in countenancing some unsavory conspiracy theories, that's a forgivable offense. Certainly more forgivable than Republicans failing to take even the least bit of responsibility for what they've done, and failed to do, while holding positions of power.
Linker's hypothesis is that if Trump wins it signals the GOP elite that the game's up, so they join the game or hunker down behind Bush or Kasich -- or worse, keep pretending that Rubio is mainstream -- while hoping its own base will realize that, with Trump or Cruz, this way goes madness.

But the "mad as hell" base listens to the madness droning in their heads and hears the Pied Piper of their dreams, someone willing to stand up and say enough is enough.

"Wow, just wow," says the establishment, just before saying, "Trump's not so bad." Yikes.

We're still standing around saying, "How is this guy even in it?" Thank Trump.

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