Donald Trump needs to be defeated. He is awful, yet I maintain that his entry into the race is a long-term good thing for three reasons. First, he exposes the media as serially unserious and demonstrates that the press can no longer be trusted. Trump has many documented cases of shady mob associates and an incredible string of failed business ventures. He once even financially threatened a woman in a private deposition over his Trump University scam. Trump's daily reality show distracts journalists from these past offenses. Second, Trump may have been boorish in doing so, but he forced topics onto the agenda that would have otherwise remained hidden (illegal immigration is the most notable). Most importantly, Trump was a test for the Republican establishment... and oh how miserably have they failed.
Trump's rise should have challenged the establishment to come to grips with how much they are disliked by Middle America. Expert commentators seem not to have noticed, but the Tea Party protests were mostly about tactics, not policy. Republicans are fed up with their leaders' inability and unwillingness to fight for policies the voters want. In general, Republican voters want less spending and less government, but most of all they want someone with the intestinal fortitude to fight. People are tired of the establishment picks like George W. Bush, John McCain and Mitt Romney. They want someone who will end business as usual. But the Republican establishment refuses to learn.
There is one candidate in the race that indisputably fits the bill for what rank-and-file Republicans seem to want: Senator Ted Cruz. He doesn't just stand for conservatism; he has fought the establishment and was hated by them in return.
They are slow learners. Trump is such a buffoon surely establishment Republicans would realize that the support for him was a protest vote and a warning signal to set a course correction?
Nope. First, you had Arizona's perma-Senator John McCain echo Trump's birtherism, then former Senator Bob Dole shamefully endorsed Trump over Cruz.
The most recent failing grade comes from the establishment's wagon circling around Marco Rubio. The establishment seems to think support from Dr. Carson and Cruz would bleed over to Rubio because it consolidates the non-Trump vote. However, a large portion of that support would go to Trump, not Rubio.
The establishment thinks that Rubio would work because they see him as a young, "Hispanic JFK." They are wrong.
First, normal Republicans don't care about identity politics nonsense. Democrats do.
Second, Rubio embodies the poor political judgement that has fueled Trump's rise in the first place. That his political instincts have been to hew to Beltway approval in a year when anti-establishment fervor is clearly boiling both parties should be suspect. Rubio gets dinged for his Gang of Eight Amnesty bill, and rightly so, but his campaign strategy is what really prevents him from gathering the support to top Trump. The theory behind Rubio's campaign has been to gather the support of the establishment and then overwhelm the other contenders. However, Trump correctly calculated that people voting with their middle finger far outnumber the establishment this year. It is why Trump is beating Rubio by 20 points in Rubio's own home state. There is no path to victory for Rubio against The Donald when Trump's raison d'etre in the race is the judgement of those whose approval Rubio craves.
One establishment tactic used to smear Cruz and bolster Rubio is that the former is disliked by his Senate colleagues while Rubio is well-liked. The latest Economist/YouGov survey showed approval rating for Congress at nine percent. Nine percent!. Please explain to me why being loved by such company is a virtue and not a vice? Rubio is loved by officials that 91 percent of Americans think are terrible at their job. Thus, we have Trump. Unless the establishment wisens up, we could be headed for a general election that is guaranteed to produce a corrupt president. Rubio would be better than Trump, of course, in the sense that any person chosen at random from the phone book would be. Current polling shows that both Cruz and Rubio would beat Hillary, but there is a problem for Rubio. He cannot beat Trump -- he simply cannot assemble a broad, energized coalition like Cruz could. A vote for Rubio is a vote for Trump, pure and simple. In turn, that puts an otherwise unelectable and shockingly corrupt Secretary Clinton in play. Surely the establishment recognizes this. Rather than support someone like Cruz who would have a chance against Trump, they instead are backing someone cast from the same establishment losing mold.
In that sense Rubio is window dressing so the establishment can claim that it put up the good fight. One way or another the D.C. establishment is getting burned to the ground. You would think they would prefer it be done in an orderly manner, according to their basic principles and with the intention of improving the country. Instead, they are gambling between Clinton and the hope that they will be able to cut deals with a Mussolini-quoting, KKK-endorsed candidate with known Russian mob ties. And the establishment wonders why it has a Trump problem?
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