Op-ed: The dump Trump movement

  • By Bob Franken
  • Tuesday, March 1, 2016 4:09pm
  • Opinion

Sure, he may be a racist, a misogynist, a dangerous demagogue who unleashes the worst instincts of scared, ignorant bigots, but there is one fact about him that suggests Donald Trump is not all bad: He has terrified his party’s establishment.

That is a good thing. These are the Republican muckety-mucks who for generations have been the paid protectors of their super-wealthy patrons, oftentimes resorting to a camouflaged version of the same ugliness. The difference is they’ve relied on polite code to exploit the intolerance. President Barack Obama calls it the “dog whistles,” screeching appeals to prejudice that we hear but don’t realize it: Obama is not one of “us”; he’s really Muslim; he wasn’t even born here; he wants to destroy the orderly America we all know and love. They’ve encouraged a longing for the good old days of male white supremacy, where old-fashioned values were enforced by rigid religion and where departures from sexual norms were punished. Again, what much of this is really about is maintaining a Hood Robin economic order where the rich routinely steal from the not-rich.

The GOP bigwigs are not so concerned about the catastrophic damage a Donald Trump presidency would do to the United States — and it would probably destroy our country. These power brokers don’t really care about that; they’re scared to death Trump would take their power away from them, and with it their cushy lifestyles.

So now they’re openly plotting how to stop him. Never mind that the Trumpster’s garbage is just the more noxious form of the garbage they’ve been strewing in our society for a long time; they are desperate to maintain their privilege, and if they coincidentally save the nation while they’re at it, sure: why not?

However, they may be grasping at straws in the fiery windstorm created by Trump. How do they harness it? Do they rally their forces around a favored candidate like, say, Marco Rubio? That hasn’t worked yet. Rubio shows flashes of suitability, but is he an empty suitability? As Ted Cruz likes to point out, Rubio hasn’t won any primaries yet. Cruz is a further complication, since the elite think he’s almost as despicable as Trump. So they’re decreeing that one of the others, deemed acceptable to them, must take one for the team and graciously pull out. That would be John Kasich, who isn’t playing ball. Of course, he’s way down in the polls, but who knows what tomorrow brings?

For the establishment types, each tomorrow has thus far brought a nightmare. Just when they think Donald Trump’s momentum is slowing, like after that slapstick display of buffoonery at the last debate, a Chris Christie oozes out of oblivion to rescue Trump. And Christie is not the only party stalwart who has seen the Trump handwriting on the wall and wants a piece of that wall. It’s not just Klansmen like David Duke who are speaking out for him.

So now there’s open talk about a brokered convention. If Trump fails to secure enough delegates or if some devious way can be found to take some away, the machine deal-makers could go behind closed doors and pick a candidate. However, that may be fantasy. Trump may be unstoppable.

On the other side, Hillary Clinton is far less spectacularly starting to do away with Bernie Sanders. Sanders is hitting himself in the face with his pie-in-the-sky promises, which are not enough to appeal partywide.

That conjures up another scenario. Maybe, faced with Trump as the nominee, the Republican elite try and make a bargain with the Democratic devil. That would be Hillary. They support her in exchange for some spots in her administration. Unfortunately for the GOPs, she may not be any more interested in bipartisanship than they have been. She won’t need the Republicans to beat Donald Trump; better to let the enemy forces drown in the cesspool they created.

Bob Franken is a longtime broadcast reporter, including 20 years at CNN.

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