Been sick as a dog these past few days since coming back from Massachusetts – one reason why I hate to travel on planes during the winter, BTW – so I haven’t had a clear enough head to post following Donald Trump’s runaway win in Nevada and the latest in a series on contentious Republican debates which have been nothing but political theater and zero on substance. I’ve been wanting to post a couple of thoughts about the conventional wisdom which has been wrong from the outset and will continue to be wrong throughout this campaign season.
1. The entire mainstream media and GOP establishment have completely lost their collective heads over Donald Trump’s candidacy. They don’t like it, they don’t understand, they can’t even begin to imagine how someone in his position is still standing. You see it every night on FOX (especially Megyn Kelly), CNN, and, to a lesser extent, MSNBC. You see it in conservative blogs I used to admire and frequent such as National Review Online (which has completely lost its collective heads and sense of restraint when it comes to Trump) and Hot Air, whose ownership (Salem Communications) is completely in bed with the GOP establishment in pushing a Marco Rubio candidacy from the start.
2. The problem is that what these folks don’t see is that the people Trump is bringing into the ratings numbers, stadiums, and voting booths are folks who have been left out of the political process, left to feel completely unwanted and unrespected by politicians in both parties equally. Sundance at Conservative Treehouse calls it the UniParty syndrome, where Republicans and Democrats, and to a lesser extent, liberals and conservatives alike are more than willing to let bygones be bygones and play the political game for what it’s worth and for their own livelihoods, self-worth, and well-being. I get it, and were I in their position I probably would too.
3. The conventional wisdom that could never have imagined a Donald Trump candidacy, that predicted on any number of occasions a Trump peak, flameout, ceiling, or whatever it is you want to call it, will gaggle together after tonight’s debate and proclaim Marco Rubio the winner for the way he went after Trump. And expect the same from the mainstream media over the next couple of days. It will all be about how Marco is surging. Don’t buy it.
4. Like he has in every other previous one, Donald Trump won this debate. Which means, in his position, everyone else loses. Actually, I though John Kasich was at least somewhat tolerable, although I’ll slice my throat if he mentions being the son of a mailman one more time. You’re a Republican establishment shill, John – just admit it!
5. Conventional wisdom has been wrong from the outset and will continue to be wrong. What did you learn about Marco Rubio tonight in the way he went after Trump? What did you learn about Ted Cruz tonight in the way he went after Trump? To the political and mainstream media establishment – the same establishment that is still trying to figure out where they went so wrong with Jeb! Bush, and are pushing comments by Mitt Romney (of all people!) about Donald Trump’s taxes! – it will be through the lens of how politics is typically played: this political charge, that political charge, who drew blood and how much – the usual stuff.
6. In this unconventional political year my guess is that most folks outside of the die-hard Rubio and Cruz supporters (which, no doubt, there are sizeable numbers within the Republican party) will see the attacks by Cruz and Rubio unfavorably, leading to declines in poll numbers for both. I tried to keep an open mind for a while but then it got so tiresome hearing the desperate attacks by two shrill Chihuahuas nipping at Trump’s pant leg at every moment. In my mind it would have been far better had one or both of them mixed in a few complements about the folks Trump is bringing into the political process; instead, my feeling is that their performances simply reinforced what people hate about politicians to begin with.
7. Bottom line is I think in the days ahead you will see Trump extend his leads in the Super Tuesday states. I might be wrong, but unlike the mainstream political punditry since the very outset of this process I haven’t been wrong yet. The Trump phenomena – and there is no way to call it anything but – is the result of a powerful and yet not fully understood or respected combination of folks who despise Washington and the political UniParty that rules over the political and media establishment, and the common disaffected folks who Trump speaks to on a personal level that neither Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz could ever aspire to. These folks see things through an entirely different series of lenses to the point where everyone is talking past each other.
8. How it will all turn out remains to be seen, but the next three weeks are going to be bloody for the Republican establishment. You’ve seen it increasingly in the past two debates and it’s only going to get worse. The GOP establishment (of which Cruz and Rubio firmly cast their lots in with tonight) are afraid – deathly afraid – of what Donald Trump’s candidacy stands for, and they know time is running out very quickly for them. Me, I love to see these cockroaches squirm; while I’d love (and fully expect to see) Trump elected President this November, if the GOP establishment is ripped to shreds over it and then burned to the ground and its fields salted like the Romans used to do that would be good enough for me.