The idea of Donald Trump winning his party’s nomination for the presidency is not something many people on the left thought would come to pass. But when he announced his bid for our nation’s top office, many liberals salivated over the news because they thought that his nomination would lead to an easy November victory for a certain Democratic candidate.
Who knows, though? Maybe those brave souls are correct in their assumption that overall democratic favorability in the nation will trump Trump.
But then Bernie Sanders became more and more of a viable candidate – more than I think many old hat Democrats thought he would – and then one day Trump’s rise stopped being funny (and probably too late) because he was holding double-digit leads before people really started to notice he might actually win the Republican primary.
I take no pleasure in watching the GOP being shaken to its core by a man who is as trustworthy as a pit viper hiding under one’s bed. I’m disappointed in all of the conservatives who have contorted themselves into impossible positions to blame his rise on Democrats. If we were all being honest about where this man came from, we’d acknowledge that he’s been building his brand for more than 20 years and is cashing in on it to run for the chance to be our next commander-in-chief by appealing to the fascination that our society has with celebrity and wealth.
His base is unlike anything we have seen before in recent American political history. They follow him lock-step and without question – even when his lies are paraded out in an appeal to common and ethical sense. Who he is today is never parsed with who he was yesterday or will be tomorrow. His brand is all about living in the now, full steam ahead, all hurdles be damned. It’s like watching a group of people trample their own homes in a quest to storm the Bastille with a singular focus on defeating a monster – except in this case, the real trouble lies with their Pied Piper.
So many of us are guilty of doing the same, by the way. Political “purity” takes many forms – all of which are dangerous. For instance, how long have we been subjected to elected officials who are so adamantly opposed to certain policies that they would rather watch the world burn than work toward compromise? That’s one form. Another form would be training ourselves to think we’ve done enough when we’ve ferreted out the lesser of two evils in a race. When we do this, we increase marginalized populations, but turn a blind eye to having done so because hey, at least we won, right?
Could it be that the people who now support Trump at one point felt politically marginalized?
If you are among the many who have categorized them as “uneducated, racist, and angry,” then I implore you to dig deeper. There is a legitimate population of people who are showing up to support the GOP’s show horse and many of them are people who have rarely bothered to vote in the past or who are voting for the first time. Then there are the regular voters, the independents, and the crossovers … but really, do not let the reality of a new emerging demographic escape you. At the end of the day, these people have been activated and are seeking refuge from politics as they know under the cape of a most elusive and deceptive man.
As much as the GOP is reeling over his presence in the race, one thing is for certain: they will receive a tremendous parting gift if he wins the nomination. It’s a brand new base of people who are completely disinterested in “establishment” politics and who will be forever committed to playing all-or-nothing politics with the future of this country.
Finally, a group of people will have emerged to reinforce the immovableness of the GOP and the party will have to own it forever – even as the country continues to move past them in the name of progress (or common sense.)