Skewed News — It’s time to face the truth: Donald Trump could be our next president.
It’s also time to recognize that he is dangerous.
First, the likelihood of him being elected.
For many months the professional pundit class (the same guys who told us U.S. troops would be greeted as liberators) has assured us that the Trump surge couldn’t and wouldn’t last. That this was the silly season — remember Herman Cain? That after the kids had their fun, the adults would prevail. Jeb, anointed years ago by the Republican establishment. Perhaps Marco Rubio, to appeal to Latinos. Maybe John Kasich, the Ohio governor beloved of political reporters but sadly, not by Republican voters.
They were wrong. Aside from a short-lived challenge by Ben Carson (he turned out to be this year’s Herman Cain), now sinking and almost certainly permanently done in by his on-the-fly approach to foreign policy, The Donald has consistently been #1 in the polls since the beginning of the campaign. Yes, there are flaws in polling, especially for the Iowa caucuses. But only an idiot dismisses the political prospects of the guy who looked most likely to win all along and still does.
Republican Party leaders are finally catching on. “Irritation is giving way to panic as it becomes increasingly plausible that Mr. Trump could be the party’s standard-bearer and imperil the careers of other Republicans,” The New York Times reports. “Many leading Republican officials, strategists and donors now say they fear that Mr. Trump’s nomination would lead to an electoral wipeout, a sweeping defeat that could undo some of the gains Republicans have made in recent congressional, state and local elections.”
Or maybe he’ll win the White House.
The road to the nomination isn’t that hard to imagine. The latest poll has him at 27%. If Marco Rubio Ted Cruz Ben Carson were one candidate, they’d have 49% — but they aren’t, so they don’t. They’re evenly splitting the anti-Trump vote 17% to 16% to 16%. Since all three get more famous with every passing day, none has an incentive to quit. Iowa is a wild card, but Trump will probably win New Hampshire. But here’s what really matters: South Carolina. In recent races, South Carolina has been super — as in Super Tuesday — important to Republicans. Carson has faded there. Trump is favored to win South Carolina.
What about the much-vaunted Republican party leadership? Their man (Jeb!) is polling at 5% and, I expect, will be out of the race within a month or so in order to avoid further embarrassment. With no alternative, the insiders will recognize reality and rally around Trump. They have a history of resisting insurgents, like Arnold Schwarzenegger when he ran for California governor, and embracing them later.
Republican nominee Trump’s prospects depend upon which Democrat he’s facing.
If Trump faces current Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, polls show that he defeats her and moves into the White House. This election cycle, voters are looking for authenticity. That isn’t Hillary. Also, a Trump vs. Clinton race leaves the liberal and progressive base of the Democratic Party without a candidate. Sure, many would punch a chad for Hillary out of fear. But many others would stay home — and that would hand it to Trump.
In the Democratic race, Hillary supporters constantly say she’s the most electable. But that’s not true if, as is becoming increasingly likely, Donald Trump is the Republican nominee.
“In a new McClatchy-Marist poll, Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) leads Republican candidate Donald Trump by a landslide margin of 12 percentage points, 53 to 41. In the McClatchy poll, Sanders also leads former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) by a landslide margin of 10 points, 51 to 41,” reports The Hill. “The huge Sanders advantage over Trump is not new. In the last four match-up polls between them reported by Real Clear Politics, Sanders defeated Trump by margins of 12, 9, 9 and 2 percentage points.”
Sanders beats all the top-tier GOP candidates in head-to-head matchups. “Mr. Sanders led Donald Trump 49 to 41 percent, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas 49 to 39 percent, Dr. Ben Carson 47 to 41 percent and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida 44 to 43 percent, according to the [latest Quinnipiac] poll.
Democrats voting based on electability should vote for Sanders.
Unless the Democratic contest shifts, however, they won’t. The same Quinnipiac poll shows Hillary strengthening and widening her lead over Sanders.
Which is how Trump wins.
Trump — who is a dangerous man.
Even Republicans like Times columnist Ross Douthat are beginning to see the light. In a column titled “Is Trump Fascist?” Douthat concludes: only a little. Trump, he writes, is “closer to the ‘proto-fascist’ zone on the political spectrum than either the average American conservative or his recent predecessors in right-wing populism.”
“Trump may indeed be a little fascistic, but that sinister resemblance is just one part of his reality-television meets WWE-heel-turn campaign style,” Douthat slightly reassures us.
History shows us that, more often than not, we are wise to take politicians at their word. Liberals who projected fantasies upon Bill Clinton and Barack Obama that both men were secret progressives who pretended to be corporate centrists to get elected were disappointed. Germans who thought there was no way Hitler could possibly mean that Final Solution stuff allowed it to come to pass.
We don’t have that clairvoyant character from Stephen King’s “The Dead Zone” to read Donald Trump’s mind. All we know is what he says.
What he says is terrifying.
Trump’s policies (which, truth be told, are Carsonishly invented on the fly) are frightening enough: the mass deportation of all 11 million people in the United States illegally, closing mosques, assassinating exiled NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and forcing Muslims to register with the police — the same as the Nazis did to Jews in 1936. (To be fair, he kind of backed off from the registry. But what kind of person comes up with such an idea in the first place?)
Even more worrisome is Trump’s temperament.
Is he completely unhinged? Or merely psychologically undisciplined? Either way, voters across the political spectrum ought to ensure that someone with such outlandish ideas, expressed wildly and glibly, never become commander-in-chief of the most powerful armed forces in the world.
Just a couple days ago, for example, Trump said he wants to murder not just members of ISIS, but their families too. “When you get these terrorists, you have to take out their families,” he said on FoxNews. “They care about their lives, don’t kid yourselves. But they say they don’t care about their lives. But you have to take out their families.”
This is crazy. It’s also fascist. The Nazis murdered the families of resistance fighters. And it’s expressed with so much idiotic certainty.
If Trump gets elected, we’ll be lucky if he doesn’t start World War III his first week in office.
Yes, it could happen here.