Thursday, March 03, 2016

If Republicans REALLY Want to Stop Trump

The avalanche has already started, it is too late for the pebbles to vote - Kosh, Babylon 5

Update: Thanks for the link, Infidel753!

Today in half-assed attempts by the Republican Establishment to stop Donald Trump from driving their clown car over the cliff, former Presidential candidate Mitt Romney came out and lambasted Trump using the most direct words yet aimed at the primary front-runner. Openly pointing out Trump's many bankruptcies and personal failures, as the report notes:

Romney then went on an epic take down of the Republican frontrunner, point-by-point, issue-by-issue, critiquing his business acumen, the amount he's worth, his ability to understand foreign policy and his temperament and his honesty...
"Dishonesty is Trump's hallmark: He claimed that he had spoken clearly and boldly against going into Iraq. Wrong, he spoke in favor of invading Iraq. He said he saw thousands of Muslims in New Jersey celebrating 9/11. Wrong, he saw no such thing. He imagined it. His is not the temperament of a stable, thoughtful leader..."
"Mr. Trump is directing our anger for less than noble purposes. He creates scapegoats of Muslims and Mexican immigrants, he calls for the use of torture and for killing the innocent children and family members of terrorists. He cheers assaults on protesters. He applauds the prospect of twisting the Constitution to limit first amendment freedom of the press. This is the very brand of anger that has led other nations into the abyss..."

With honest regard, everything Romney points out is true and troubling. Problems with this, and I'm not the only one who noticed, are many:

  • Mitt Romney, being a rich kid who inherited into wealth and built on that into a clueless oligarch himself, isn't the best candidate to trash Trump on those same grounds.
  • Romney lost in 2008 for the nomination because the primary voters didn't view him as Conservative enough, so why would they listen to him now?
  • Romney won the nomination in 2012 but wasn't the real choice the Far Right primary voters preferred: they kept voting for any Not-Mitt candidate they could until it was inevitable that Romney would win that nomination.
  • As such, the Republican base were NEVER convinced - and there were elements of the Far Right media who pushed the Narrative on it - that Romney was ideologically pure enough to "win" against a "weak" Obama. So when Mitt did lose, it was easy for the GOP to say with sour grapes "well, if we had a pure candidate we'd have won for sure."

So if the Republican Establishment is thinking that Romney's speech is going to shame the Trump voter bloc into stepping back and switching their support to the likes of Rubio, forget it. Romney's not the guy qualified to do it.

It doesn't help that the tone and attitude behind Romney's speech is akin to a stern parent trying to lecture wayward children about that friend of theirs, the one with the bad attitude and smoking habit who hangs out in the woods all afternoon dealing in an illegal Pokemon card trade. The voters backing Trump had already gone to him because of the disdainful, patronizing way the Establishment had been treating the Far Right base - the low-income, low-education people who make up an unhappy plurality of the Republican faithful - and this kind of lecturing is just going to drive them to back Trump even more.

If the Republicans really want to stop Trump, the party leadership and their billionaire backers are going to have to do something they've never done in the last 40 years: they are going to have to end, right here and now, the Far Right Noise Machine they've been using to stir up that voting base into a frenzy of irrational fear and hate.

That is, of course, impossible. That Noise Machine - led by the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Roger Ailes and the inheritors of Breitbart's legacy - is still making too much money and generating high ratings pushing Trump every minute of the day on the electorate. And the message - that damned Narrative - of "Obama is evil and must be stopped" can't be pulled back, can't be toned down. You kept telling the Far Right Tea Party base for seven years they needed a strong, bullying SOB to lead the Republicans to glory, and now that they think they have one in Trump you can't take that away from them.

A possible alternative - although it may be too late for that as well - is for the Establishment to actually listen to those angry voters and find out exactly what it is - outside of the crazy racist sh-t - that would placate the mob.

While the Trump coalition of voters are mostly stirred up by the race hatred towards illegals and Muslims as well as railing against the "political correctness" regarding Blacks and women, a good number of those voters are driven by other fears. Linking to this Atlantic article, there's a set of results showing the core identifiers of the Trump Voter:

The single best predictor of Trump support in the GOP primary is the absence of a college degree. In an analysis of Trump's blowout win in New Hampshire, Evan Soltas determined that the factor explaining most of the variance in Trump's support in New Hampshire was education...
...Although white men without a college education haven’t suffered the same historical discrimination as blacks or women, their suffering is not imagined. The Hamilton Project has found that the full-time, full-year employment rate of men without a bachelor's degree feel from 76 percent in 1990 to 68 percent in 2013. While real wages have grown for men and women with a four-year degree or better in the last 25 years, they've fallen meaningfully for non-college men...

If I had to word it, I'd say the average Trump voter is a white male whose employment options shrank during the Great Recession - when Manufacturing and Construction jobs took a major nosedive - and didn't see any employment help forthcoming from either a government in Republican-driven gridlock or a private sector of major corporations shipping jobs overseas.

Told to blame Obama for all that, they did so dutifully. But they're also aware of - and angered by - how the corporations and banks are screwing the poor over regardless of the Democrat in the White House, and they're not about to buy into a Republican leadership being bought up in a Citizens United era by billionaires (despite the irony of Trump himself being a corrupt billionaire) who are eager to keep trading jobs to China in exchange for global market access. There's a reason why Trump's call for a trade war against China is as big a hit with his voters as his call to build a wall along the Mexican border.

And there's another reason: the more the Party Leadership rails against Trump, the more he gains and retains his followers. Because those followers - the hard-core voting base of the GOP - view any attack on Trump as an attack on themselves and what they hope to gain through a Trump ascendancy.

The base of the Republican Party doesn't really care about massive tax cuts for the rich - there's enough of that base that hates those plans as much as Democrats do - and they don't care about deregulation for banks and investment firms and they don't care all that much about gay marriage or abortion restrictions or half of the social conservative agenda (they kinda do but they don't prioritize it the way the Bible Thumper crowds do, which is why Trump's blase attitude towards abortion hasn't hurt him). The base - well the ones backing Trump - are afraid they've lost their political power and their ability to live within their means, and so their backing of Trump in open defiance of the party leadership is an attempt to show "they" still have power to control their fates.

This is the faction that the Republican leadership needs to placate, the ones they need to swing back to their side of the fight. If it means outright buying their support - like the way that same leadership keeps accusing Democrats of "buying" the support of minorities - then that leadership needs to do it.

If the Republicans want to neuter Trump's support with something they can control - they can't stop the racist stuff for now: that particular avalanche overwhelming the Republican campaign has to end when that Far Right Noise Machine turns itself off - they should head into Congress with their House and Senate majorities and do something to bring manufacturing and construction jobs back to the United States. That means the Congressional Republicans are going to have to drum up a Jobs Bill covering such projects as Bridge and Highway Restorations and Upgrades, and coming up with tax credits to corporations that keep jobs stateside and/or boost their workers' wages back to where the Middle Class can thrive again (or levy massive tax penalties on those companies who won't).

Despite the horror that they'll be handing Obama a Jobs Bill they've spent years denying him, the Republicans have to realize that their partisan obstruction on this aspect of domestic policy has killed them more than it's hurt Obama. Because denying those jobs in the Blue Collar arena has hurt the non-college white male working class more than any other ethnic and economic group, and this is the big sin that has come back to bite the Republican Party's leadership on their collective oligarchical ass.

It may be yet another "win" to Obama, one that may anger the racist element backing Trump, but it should alleviate the worries of the more open-minded Trump supporters, and lessen the odds of Trump winning over enough states to secure the delegate counts for the nomination.

There's no other honest way to stop Trump. You have to take away his voters and do so in an open, legitimate way. All other solutions - Staging a "brokered" convention to deny his delegates? Forcing a Third-Party run? - are suicidal and likely to kill the Republican Party for real.

Suck it up, Ryan and McConnell. Give the nation a Jobs Bill that brings hope to the poor working class. You might be able to hold onto your jobs - and your Republican Party - if you do.

1 comment:

Pinku-Sensei said...

Compared to you, Marco Rubio is a Johnny Come Lately to saying that Trump is a con artist. You've been doing that since Trump declared and he just started last week. It wouldn't be the first time the opposition caught on to something long before the Republicans did.