The question this summer has been not if Donald Trump will implode but when. It didn’t happen when he insulted John McCain’s prisoner-of-war history; it didn’t happen when he went off like a six-year-old on Fox News’ Megyn Kelly. If anything, it boosted his status with the base of the GOP. But at some point this rubber-necking the wreck will come to an end and the Republicans — even the most hard-core — will see that if this tinpot dictator masquerading as a late-night boner-pill huckster gets nominated, their party will be over. Why? Because if it doesn’t, we will be seriously and truly fucked.
If Donald Trump wins the Republican nomination and especially if he become the next president, it really means that we’re a much worse lot of people that even the most cynical bastards have ever accused of us being. It’s not so much about what we think we know about politics as it is about what we’d like to believe about ourselves.
After all, for tens years of blogging, I’ve been pegging the conservative movement as having exactly the kind of appeal that Trump is exploiting now. I wasn’t surprised that he caught on. I wasn’t under the misimpression that his so-called screw-ups on John McCain and Megyn Kelly would hurt him and actually predicted that they would help him. But even though I may understand our political opponents better than the both-sides-do-it beltway commentators, that doesn’t mean that I think the country as a whole would opt for Trump’s act. I have too high of an opinion of the American people to believe that they’ve sunk that low.
But I could be wrong.
I hope he’s not. For one thing, dictators like Trump — and he shows all the signs of being one with his blaming abstract “others” for all of our problems and he telling us he is the savior riding in on his 757 to rescue us — usually rise when nations are in extremis either financially or politically. Neither is the case; the Great Recession is behind us and unless you’re still worried about Jade Helm 15, we’re relatively safe. The only threat to America is what Donald Trump and the right-wing noise machine can generate by scaring us with stories about Mexican immigrants pouring over the border to pick tomatoes and county clerks stomping on the First Amendment for Jesus. For all of our problems — and we do have them — this isn’t the setting for a take-over by a Mussolini in Dolce Gabana. That, as Booman notes, was in 2009.
There really ought to have been a reckoning in 2009 after everything went to hell and turned to ashes in the mouths of Bush and Cheney, McCain opted for Queen Dumbass of the Northwoods, and we’d seen the Republican Congress evolve from its initial burst of energy in the first days of the Gingrich Revolution into the sordid and sad and appalling spectacle of Jack Abramoff and Mark Foley and Tom DeLay.
But, instead, they doubled and tripled down on the bullshit and idiocy.