One senses an increasing level of panic in the Republican party as the durability of Donald Trump’s popularity confounds expectations that he was some kind of summer flower whose bloom would fade as winter approached and people started thinking seriously about the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary. If he wins both on February 1 and February 9 respectively, and current polls indicate that he well might, party insiders fear that he will be unstoppable.
But the alternative scenarios being floated are looking exceedingly like wishful thinking. This article suggests, not very convincingly, that party establishment favorite Jeb Bush might still be able to somehow lift his campaign out of the dumpster and become the nominee, while New York Times columnist Ross Douthat looks longingly backward for the party to throw up someone like Richard Nixon who can “channel an angry, “who’s looking out for me?” populism without letting himself be imprisoned by its excesses”. Ah yes, for the good old days when just code words were enough to appeal to people’s prejudices and hatred and politicians were not as uncouth as Trump to actually say loudly and clearly what was formerly masked.
Given that Trump, rather than moderating his rhetoric as his lead remains solid, has become even more inflammatory, it should be no surprise that there is yet another attempt to derail him.
Republican groups are reportedly preparing attack ads against him including a political committee associated with conservative economic group Club for Growth.
Republican political operative Liz Mair has formed a new group, Trump Card LLC, that will fuel an anti-Trump ad blitz.
It aims to solicit funds from anonymous donors to help “defeat and destroy” Trump, according to a recent Wall Street Journal report.
The warnings in Republican circles are becoming ever more ominous.
Republican experts are warning that Trump could do lasting damage to the GOP, and that his nomination in the party primaries would essentially hand the presidency to Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton.
Several campaign teams in the primary race now appear to be coalescing around the need to oppose the celebrity billionaire’s candidacy.
This passage from the article caught my attention.
Establishment conservatives even took the unfathomable step of using the F-word against a member of their own party.
“Trump is a fascist. And that’s not a term I use loosely or often. But he’s earned it,” Max Boot, a military historian and foreign policy advisor to Republican presidential hopeful Marco Rubio, posted on Twitter.
For those not familiar with Boot, he is a former member of the Wall Street Journal editorial board, a prominent neoconservative, an active member of the Israel lobby, a warmonger, and a massive booster of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and invading Muslim countries generally. He is one of the many keyboard warriors anxious to send others to die for his beliefs, who famously complained in 2001 that the US had not suffered enough casualties in its war on Afghanistan, because he seems to think that it is the amount of blood that your own side sheds (as long as it is not your own of course) that is a measure of your commitment to the cause.
As Justin Raimondo wrote then of Boot and his ilk:
If the sheer enjoyment of death has now become a public habit – one indulged not only by madmen, but also by the mighty editors of a great metropolitan newspaper – then I have to wonder about the degraded state of our culture. America is often compared to ancient Rome by conservatives, who point to the general decline in morality and especially sexual mores among the Romans as the reason for the decline and fall of their empire. But the true decadence of Imperial Rome was the spectacle of what they enjoyed: not mere sensuality, but sheer cruelty, on display in the arena. This is what we are seeing in the neo-imperialists, or the worst of them: like the decadent Romans, they revel in bloodlust for its own sake. This is arrogance mixed with hubris and the worship of power, a sadistic perversion alien to all that is normal and, well, American; certainly it is a perversion of conservatism.
Will the latest attempts to dump Trump work? In this election, betting against Trump is not a sure thing because Trump is the creation of people like Boot and the rest of the Republican establishment. It is their endless scorched Earth rhetoric that made extremism mainstream and made the political climate so welcoming for him. They are like parents who indulge their child’s every whim and then complain that he is spoiled rotten. Having Boot complain that Trump is a fascist is a sweet irony whose enjoyment unfortunately cannot be savored because of its serious consequences.
Republicans are clearly afraid that if Trump wins the nomination, he will lose the general election in a landslide. Besides, if not Trump, who? Sam Harris’s crush Ben Carson is an incoherent mess. And now we see the recent rise in the polls of not the backup establishment candidate Marco Rubio, but yet another person the party establishment dislikes and that is Ted Cruz.
It should be no surprise that some party donors and insiders have given up trying to control events the way they did before and are cautiously waiting on the sidelines to see what develops before committing to anything.