Wednesday, March 16, 2016
Bruce Biolosky recently said the following of Donald Trump:
... Donald Trump is neither a Republican nor a Conservative. He is running in the Republican primaries because he saw an opening he would never get in the Democratic Party...This is true, but it is worth considering why Trump sees an opening to run as a Republican. Another pundit, commenting on the other candidates, helps us see the answer:
[Trump's] closing statement, delivered in the same half-asleep voice, was probably his most electrifying moment of the evening: "So I just say embrace these millions of people that now for the first time ever love the Republican Party. And unify. Be smart and unify." Essentially: I broke your party. Now surrender.Judging by their actions, Trump's opponents are more afraid of losing an election than of the damage Donald Trump would do as President. That speaks volumes.
The other candidates hardly needed to be told. Oh, sure, there were a few moments when the other candidates pushed back. Rubio, having perhaps his best debate this cycle, absolutely crushed him on a question about Cuba. But there was no sustained attack on the front runner. They declined to attack him even on questions that should have been obvious gimmes, like, "Should Donald Trump be calling for people to attack protesters at his rallies?"
The look on their faces said it all -- the frozen stare of a deer that has just realized those are not, after all, the Northern Lights come to earth. Rather than bravely saying that you shouldn't punch people, or call for others to do same, they cravenly dodged the question. Ted Cruz waxed lyrical about a politician's duty to serve the people. John Kasich mumbled something about trade deals.
Megan McArdle rightly called this moment a "metaphor for this whole, incredible campaign." I agree, except for the assumption that Trump "broke" the Republican Party, or could have. The GOP was already broken and has been for some time, its politicians rarely offering principled opposition to the Democrats or, as a result, a positive alternative to an ever-expanding and intrusive government at home and weakness abroad. Republicans have been appeasing Democrats for decades: It was only a matter of time before someone came in to "take over." Trump is an opportunist who would not be possible in a party whose field included someone who, having convictions grounded in reality, has confidence in those convictions.