Saturday, October 22, 2016

The Death March of Donald J Trump

It has been one of the few graces common to American politics that presidential candidates, Democratic and Republican, have been graceful in defeat. John Kerry, John McCain, Mitt Romney, Al Gore are all deservedly known for their concession speeches.

Then there's Donald Trump.

The communications director for Jeb Bush, Tim Miller, writes that the signs that the Trump camp is ending the campaign in Death March mode are everywhere.

Donald Trump is going to lose this election. His campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, is going to lose this election. Even if they would never admit it, they know Donald Trump will never be president. Trump and Conway are on the political death march. (This, to be clear for the Trump fans, is a political metaphor, not an actual death wish.)

This is the part of a losing campaign that exposes the true character of all those involved. So it should come as no shock that Donald Trump and his staff are failing this test in the most shameful and divisive manner imaginable.

...The death march is why Conway has begun to resurrect a time-honored practice: duplicitous political operatives throwing their boss under the bus to try to save face. In an attempt to preserve a lucrative fee on the public speaking circuit after the campaign, Conway has sent a series of tweets over the past week trying to position herself as both in on the joke with Saturday Night Live and the conscience on Trump’s shoulder trying to get him to behave. As a fellow anti-Trump conservative pointed out, Conway is officially playing the role of “punch clock villain.”

To a casual observer, this behavior might seem counterproductive to the goal Trump and Conway share: winning the election. But the reality is the only goal either has in mind now is self-preservation.

Miller has no doubt that Trump won't be a graceful loser. He breaks down Trump's Death March into three sections labelled, Shameful, Despicable, and Pathetic.

In today's Sidney Morning Herald, Nick O'Malley explores the ashes and embers of the final days of Donald Trump, would-be president of the USA.

Speaking with Fairfax Media [former Romney advisor, Avik] Roy notes that Trump is not in any real sense a Republican. He conducted a hostile takeover of the party by identifying and catering to an under-served section of the GOP vote – resentful older whites. It was marketing genius.

As an outsider he had no Republican staff to help build his campaign, and instead hired a crew of mercenaries. They have little loyalty to Trump, and none to the party. So as the death march begins they have little capacity or inclination to curb Trump's excesses, to force him to observe the basic traditions of American presidential politics, such as the gracious acceptance of defeat rather than the dangerous indulgence of claiming a rigged election while exciting racial animosities.

...As the death march goes on the Republican establishment has already started letting blood.

A sign of it was a spat on the MSNBC program Morning Joe on Thursday morning. The guest was Bill Kristol, the leading neoconservative editor of The Weekly Standard, the host was the former Republican Congressman, Joe Scarborough.

Kristol, one of the earliest and staunchest of the Republican's "Never Trump" faction, asserted that Trump was a "fluke candidate" who should be ignored come election night.

Scarborough and his co-host Mika Brzezinski scoffed at the suggestion that Trump was a fluke and declared the Republican Party needed to "come clean" about his candidacy. Kristol, angry, accused Scarborough and Brzezinski of going soft on Trump and giving him free uncritical and very high-rating airtime during the primaries, in effect helping him win. The segment deteriorated into an angry, ugly slanging match, each blaming the other for the rise of Donald Trump.

Back in North Carolina, the young Republicans were divided on who to blame for a candidacy one group's office-holder called "a joke". Some pointed the finger at Paul Ryan, the House Speaker who the establishment hopes will lead them out of the wilderness, some at Ted Cruz, the Tea Party-er who railed for years against the party hierarchy. None had any real idea at what would come next.

...The most optimistic Republicans view the death march as a necessary ordeal.

When other Republicans were calling for Trump to somehow be forced from the Republican ticket earlier this month, the Pulitzer Prize-winning conservative columnist George Will wrote that he must remain in place.

He argued the nation needed the pleasure of seeing Trump being made the thing he most disdains, "a loser," and that his presence would serve as a reminder to the party that "perhaps it is imprudent to nominate a venomous charlatan".

Trump was the GOP's chemotherapy, he said.

If so, Roy is not sure that the death march will be curative.

Still a staunch Republican, he believes that over a period of years his party has lost its way, turning from the tenets of classical liberalism towards a dark nationalism.

Weighed down by the angry old white men that dominate its constituency, he says, the party has no interest in governing a large diverse nation, and therefore has no moral right to.

According to Roy, the Republican Party must first tackle its moral problem before it does its political one.


Anonymous said...

The Republican demise probably started when Reagan married church and State.
This was followed by the Tea Baggers who cannot; will not accept defeat.
America is a divided country ; too big and diverse to succeed.
The Confederate flag still fly's proud in many States.
Trump is just cashing in on what the main stream Teabaggers will not say out in Public.
Sadly ; it's all too popular.


Kirbycairo said...

The strange thing is that, if one looks at if from a conservative point of view, it all seems so unnecessary. The republican party could pursue a very mildly conservative agenda because the base will always vote for it because they hate the Democrats so much. One interesting thing that the Harper years demonstated was that the leader of the Cons could go way off track on a number of traditionally conservative areas and the base still voted for him. He never went after gay marriage, he never reopened the abortion issue, he completely abandoned traditional conservative notions of libertarianism, he ran deficit after deficit, but still held the entire conservative base of vote in the election. The Con loss was a result of the fact that Harper was an egoist like Trump and forgot that the elections are usually won with the swing voters. In the present context, if you alienate that group you simply can't win. The Harperites forgot this simple lesson and Trump seems to have simply never realized it. The dilemma for the Republican Party is simply that it relies on the whacky base in the nomination process so they are stuck between a rock and a hard place. The real fear for me is the realization that there are enough xenophobes and closet fascists in the US that if the Republicans nominate someone with all of Trump's beliefs but with a better public persona, they could easily win.

Dana said...

Off topic again. FYI:

The Mound of Sound said...

I'm not convinced that today's divided society wasn't a cultivated result. Look at the rifts - ethnic, sectarian, economic, social, political - if there's any fissure into which a wedge can be driven it has been. Is that really a coincidence? Is it possible that today's advantaged interests saw gain to be had from social incoherence and turmoil? A coherent society can overcome minor differences but one split so deeply from so many directions is far more susceptible to manipulation by those who prey on their basest instincts.

The Mound of Sound said...

@ Kirby - the fellow you fearfully contemplate is said to exist in Arkansas senator Tom Cotton

The Mound of Sound said...

@ Dana - many thanks indeed for the link. Having read a few, I think they would make a lovely collection, exquisitely bound in an elegant naugahyde folio.

Anonymous said...

Not surprising neocon Jeb Bush is in Hillary's corner. Hillary is as big a neocons' wet dream as his brother. They love that Hillary is reviving the Cold War with Russia as a campaign strategy. A stroke of genius! A new arms race will be real tasty for the military industrial complex.

Hillary's idea of unity: unify neocons and neoliberals, and bribe-taking Democrats with bribe-taking Republicans under a big tent that cuts out the American people. Something every cowering liberal should be proud of supporting!

The Mound of Sound said...

Anon, do express your brilliant insights in complete posts on your very own blog. Send me a link once it's up and running and I'll be sure to check it out. It's such a shame to see all that trollism spent on pointless brain farts.

Dana said...

Here's your media bias for you.

Anonymous said...

" Is it possible that today's advantaged interests saw gain to be had from social incoherence and turmoil?"
That is a rhetorical question, Mound.
Neocons figured out it long time ago and had been busy for last few decades to apply the concept of dīvide et īmpera. Very successfully...

The Mound of Sound said...

Dana, "70,000 square feet of topless entertainment and serving the finest variety of cocktails" in Las Vegas, who could say no?

Explain yourself. How in hell did you stumble across this "Page Six" web site complete with its account of how Madonna has promised a blow job to anyone voting for Hillary?

I will try to remember to visit it again.


Dana said...

Page Six was linked to (although not by name) in an Occupy Democrats post that popped up on my FB page.