Wednesday, February 24, 2016


Trump Time?

The joke is over.

It appears that at the very least, Donald Trump has a good and realistic chance to win the Republican nomination.  The Washington Post sees his route to the nomination as relatively clear.  Especially if both Rubio and Cruz stay in the race (and as long as they are locked in a battle for second, they will), Trump will likely continue to win the most delegates as the primaries continue.

If he does, and Hillary Clinton wins the Democratic nomination, Donald Trump very well could be president.  This is an outsider's year, and Hillary Clinton will never ever ever be an outsider.

Establishment Republicans are frustrated of course, and unsure what to do beyond funding Rubio.

Of course, it is that same establishment that created the atmosphere Trump has flourished in. They have promoted a pervasively negative ethic: That government is bad, and the people in it are bad.  It worked; millions of Trump voters are convinced of exactly that.

A Trump nomination certainly is not a foregone conclusion, of course, and a Trump presidency might not be as terrible as some fear. Minnesotans I have talked to recognize that the state did not fall apart when Jesse Ventura was governor-- in fact, his independence from either party created some good opportunities.

There is still, of course, a lot of this election cycle still ahead of us.

1. Denial
2. Anger
3. Bargaining
4. Depression
5. Acceptance

Lots of good folks talking about the Kubler-Ross model. I swing back and forth mostly between denial and depression. If we get there, and I concede we may well get there, I think acceptance will come fairly easy. Days are long but time is short. Princes are mortal; God is Eternal. We will endeavor to persevere. We Shall Overcome.

As for the millions of Americans (Bernie people and Donald people) who say something has gone terribly wrong, I agree. I reject the notion that I have just been duped by cable news and the vast anti-government conspiracy. All of us who are frustrated with a bigger and more powerful and less responsive government are right. We Are 100-Percent Right! The crazy part is that so many millions see Donald Trump as the solution. That is the element that does not compute.

The Bright Side? If the Donald is actually elected the 45th President of the United States, it will mean that we have opted for four presidents in a row who offered scant qualifications and played to our nagging sense that something was terribly wrong and offered up totally unrealistic solutions to real problems. Perhaps the failure of Trump might serve as a horrific culmination to our prayers for a "deus ex machina" answer to all our problems. Perhaps the abject failure of the Trump presidency will force us to revive the ancient American notions of civic virtue and self government in the USA. Perhaps we need to hit bottom before we can face reality and move forward.
And Another Perhaps Even Scarier Thought:

Let's for one moment assume that we dodge the bullet on Trump. We slip the noose on Bernie. We end up with Hillary (HALLELUJAH!?!).

But my bigger worry is that 2016 is the new normal. What if we face the same cultural longing in 2020 and beyond. My worry is that we are at a point in which the perfect storm of popular disengagement and distraction, education designed to disfranchise Americans (relieve them of their republican responsibilities), and a government that suffers from the many ill effects "gigantism" creates an endless loop of democracy turning to empty oratory and strong men.

The Most Worrisome Worry: the Year of Donald Trump is not merely an aberration but rather the beginning a New Age of American history in which the founder's fear of tyranny of the majority and rule by demagogues finally comes to pass in our modern age.

I'd be less worried if I had any faith in Congress. But with supremely gerrymandered Congressional Districts that only have elections in hotly contested primaries where the most extreme candidates win, we can't count on Congress to manage the country either.

As a kid in the 70's I was very pessimistic about the future, what with Vietnam, Watergate, runaway inflation, oil shortages/energy crises, Soviet expansionism and general malaise.

But somehow we shook that off. I hope the same will happen again soon. Perhaps it will take a "black swan" event like the Civil War or WWII, but that seems like a high price to pay.
I’m with Waco Farmer on the Kubler-Ross model, only I’ve come closer to Acceptance. I’d take The Donald anytime over Cruz, whose contempt for the inherent messiness of our political process (i.e. the process of compromise that enables a democratic political system to function) makes him a far scarier man than Trump, whose pursuit of personal glory makes him prone to negotiate as long as he gets the spotlight applause and acknowledgement…uh, and gets his way with gilding the façade of the White House in his signature Trump Gold!?!
I certainly think Trump is superior to Cruz. He's not an idealogical zealot. But his nastiness and his demand for personal glory put General Douglas MacArthur to shame.
Bernie is looking better and better every day.
Huh... It looks like Robert Kagan agrees with me:
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