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The Establishment Strikes Back, Again

Donald J. Trump’s winning of the Republican presidential nomination was supposed to have signaled the end of that Republican “establishment” supposedly hated by all the “real” Republicans, but the ancien regime seems to be faring well enough in the subsequent party primaries. Tuesday night saw a couple of targets of Trump’s “tweeting” wrath winning comfortably against self-described “anti-estalishment” challengers, with Senator Marco Rubio easily winning re-nomination in Florida and Senator John McCain prevailing just as easily in his home state of Arizona.
Trump had scoffed at Rubio as “Little Marco” during their presidential primary rivalry, and the combined power of that schoolyard taunt and the otherwise impeccably conservative’s support for a bipartisan “Gang of Eight” deal in the Senate that swapped vague promises of stricter border enforcement for a vague semi-legalization of those illegal immigrants already here pretty much doomed Rubio’s candidacy, and he even lost his home state’s presidential primary to Trump to by an embarrassing margin. That Trump had four years earlier decried the Republican nominee’s “self-deportation” policy as “maniacal,” and contributed generously to the campaign funds of five of the “Gang of Eight” members, seemed to matter little when Trump was promising all the “real” Republicans that he was going to build a wall and make Mexico pay for it and set up a ruthless “deportation force” that would kick out every last illegal immigrant.
By Tuesday night Trump was recently scoffing at the idea of “deportation forces” rounding up more than 11 million people, and no one could really say for certain where he stood on immigration, except that he was still talking about the wall Mexico will pay for and making other huge but vague promises about border enforcement, and that it should be clearer after a long-delayed speech on immigration that will occur after his meeting today with the President of Mexico. We’d wager a few pesos that the Mexican president won’t agree to pay for the wall Trump intends to build, but other than that we have no idea what position Trump might momentarily settle on in the long-delayed speech, and in any case it won’t keep Rubio from a good shot at reelection. Rubio had said he would return to private life after his public humiliation, but what was left of the GOP “establishment” begged him and his formidable fund-raising machine to help keep alive the hopes of a Republican Senate, and by sticking to his for-the-most-part impeccably conservative easily rebuffed a challenged by an “anti-establishment” and very wealthy real estate mogul.
Longtime Arizona Senator and former Republican presidential nominee John McCain’s heroic sacrifices as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam conflict was scoffed at by the draft-dodging Trump’s sneer that he “was only a hero because he got captured,” but he wound up more or less endorsing Trump’s nomination nonetheless, and Trump wound up giving him a similarly ambivalent on endorsement, and then on Tuesday he ended up with a similarly more-or-less endorsement from the party’s nominee, and the oh-so-establishment and “Gang of Eight” octogenarian wound up winning by a more or less comfortable margin against an “anti-establishment” challenger. It’s a messy race, but another win for the establishment by our scoring.
Both Rubio and McCain still have to square off against Democratic challengers, and there’s no telling how that might turn out in this crazy election year, but the the aggregate of the latest polling suggests they’re both doing at least as well in their respective states as the Republican presidential nominee. In several other states those boring old “establishment” Republicans are polling better than Trump, and in the crucial swing state of Ohio where Trump is currently down by 3.8 percentage eight points in the Real Clear Politics average the soporifically Republican “establishment” Sen. Rob Portman is so far ahead of a generic Democrat that the Democratic donors are abandoning the race. In this crazy election year Trump might yet wind up winning the presidency, but it seems increasingly likely that there will still be both a Democratic and Republican party that he’ll have to deal with.

— Bud Norman

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One response

  1. It’s an old rhetorical trick to make someone you don’t like live up to a standard that you don’t hold. Bud’s a great example. In his daily missives he refers to friends “in the ghetto” and his acquaintance with “numerous Obama supporters” with whom we assume he has remained friends. We find it entirely possible to believe that these supporters of Obama are – we assume – committed to the election of Hillary, nor find any reason to disdain the actions and the positions of Bill, Hillary or Obama. If cavorting with ideological sinners is beyond the pale, we have to question Bud’s sincerity.

    Back in 2012 during the process which gave us the second edition of the Obama presidency Bud even gave this bit of advice:

    “So far the best advice the consultants can offer is that conservatives start schmoozing on the talk shows more often, and being as hip as possible when doing so, and that’s probably a good start so long as they don’t embarrass themselves in the process. A more effective solution will require changing the culture, though, and that’s going to be a lot more difficult than just enduring the company of the late night comedians who provide the low information to all those voters.”

    Which leads us to his problem with Trump. He accuses him of being trice married as if that were a disqualification in an era where children are commonly conceived and raised without even the benefit of married parents. Marriage is becoming optional in Bud’s culture so we have to give Trump a lot of credit for marrying the women with which he has children. And since roughly 70% of black children fit into the “not married with children” category we could, if we wanted to, accuse Bud of dog-whistle racism. And need we mention that the sainted Ronald Reagan had several wives.

    Bud refers to Trump’s reputation for “bagging” the wives of other men – women to whom he is not married – as a disqualification. In an era when our most adored stars of stage and screen daily provide fodder of the most titillating kind to readers of the National Inquirer, we need to ask if this is a disqualification. We are unaware, nor do we wish to know, of the interaction that Bud has or has had with members of the opposite (and, to be modern and hip, of same, none, other, etc.) sex. We don’t even know if Bud has taken a vow of celibacy in his youth or if he has some kind of medical issue which makes him incapable of carnal knowledge of other people. However we are not prudes and while we take our marriage vows seriously we understand that others are not as strict about this as we are. Even the sainted Ronald Reagan, the husband of two wives, is rumored to have had relations with women who were not his wife at the time.

    Bud refers to Trump’s reality show as if that were a disqualification. In an era when successful Presidential candidates go on late night talk shows as a campaign strategy it would seem to us that having a TV show is even better than being a mere guest. And keep in mind that Bud believed that this was a good election strategy. We are reminded that the sainted Ronald Reagan had not just a movie career but hosted a TV show of his own.

    Bud claims that Trump owns strip clubs, a claim that appears to be untrue. This may be a reference to the Trump Taj Mahal, a property he no longer owns, which opened a strip club in 2013. Which brings us to the question of the sinfulness of strip clubs. Now, I am not a habitué of strip clubs but in a culture that streams porn into the living rooms and computer terminals of every American home, is Trump’s association with gaming and the raw culture associated with it a disqualifier? In 2012 Bud expressed the belief that appearing on the “Pimp With a Limp” radio show appeared to “demean the dignity of the president and his office, but are now forced to concede that it is apparently shrewd politics” when Obama did it. I suggest that if Trump does not own a strip club he buys one because what could be cooler and hipper than that? We conclude that Bud disdains politics that works in favor the kind that doesn’t.

    We are left with the realization that Bud doesn’t disdain Trump for reasons of policy but issues of style. We can sympathize with him on that. It’s hard to get over being the object of snarky comments and casual put-downs. This is a characteristic that Trump shares with Obama. Obama is more sly – he knifes you in the back – Trump if much more blunt, he spears you in the front.

    We put these concerns where they belong: on the periphery. We are much more concerned with broad political themes: borders, immigration, assimilation, Western culture, patriotism, crime, the economy and wages. We are concerned that the Ruling Class has become totally disassociated from the Country Class, an issue that encompasses all the major political parties. We see the country headed in the wrong direction and the leaders unwilling to change direction because they are protected from the results of their own policies. And we see Donald Trump, with all his personal flaws, the only person in this election who is willing to actually stand up against the culture and the political leadership and offer a change in direction. He represents change. That’s the reason he won the nomination and why he’ll win the election.

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