The Republican Party faces an epic meltdown: either they yield to the redneck zombie apocalypse brought on by Donald Trump, or they face a brokered convention. With Trump’s loss in Ohio, the latter is now more likely.
Here are a few thoughts on the upcoming election:
- For a Democrat, watching the Republican Party now is like watching your chief rival eaten alive by a grizzly. It’s a horrifying fate you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemy. Yes, it’s good for the Democrats to have the GOP disemboweled, but then there’s that grizzly in the room. And that grizzly is racism.
- Trump’s calls to eliminate “political correctness” and make America “great again” are nothing more than thinly veiled code for a return to white hegemony. His primary policies are simplistic calls to deport brown people, prevent them from coming in, or kill them.
- His rallies are little more than a cathartic experience for racist rednecks—a pseudo-religious revival meeting calling for a return to an oppressive and racist white America. That he is a billionaire from New York City who has been a Democrat most of his life just adds to the snake-oil-salesman flavor of his campaign.
- He feeds off the individual protesters inside his venues, making public spectacles of each one. He exhorts the crowd to “knock the crap out of them” while explaining that “these people are bringing us down. These people are so bad for our country folks, you have no idea. You have no idea. They contribute NOTHING! NOTHING!” In this, he dehumanizes them very much like Hitler did the Jews in the 1930s.
- From the Puritan restrictions of intermarriage with Native Americans, to the Declaration of Independence description of Native Americans as “merciless Indian savages” and the Constitution’s quantification of African Americans as 3/5ths of a person, to the broad scale ethnic cleansing under the Indian Removal Act, to the genocides and calls for “Indian extermination” under the name of “manifest destiny”, to the immigration policies that gave citizenship to Europeans but not to Asians, to housing and education policies that kept whites segregated and protected, to the internment of the Japanese, (I’m leaving a lot out here) Trump’s proposals are another dot on the timeline of race manipulation in the United States.
- Trump has exposed the racist underbelly of America. That a remarkable 40% of Republicans would support him suggests that race is an enormous issue, perhaps the dominant issue, in the United States. By making a racist platform part on the mainstream political dialogue, Trump’s impact on American society may greatly exceed his impact on this one election.
- It’s not just Trump or the candidates that cannot talk about race, it’s a large part of the Republican electorate. A conservative friend of a conservative friend made this comment on Facebook: “I don’t think Trump is a racist, although some of the things he says are racist.” This statement, absurd to liberals, highlights the gulf in just talking about this issue.
- No candidates, even on the Democratic side, are talking about issues unique to people of color (aside from immigration reform). Some examples regarding African American (whose votes are taken for granted) and Native Americans (who are too few to matter): There is no discussion of the massive disparities in primary and secondary education between black and white communities, no one demanding federal oversight of all cases involving police violence, no calls for federal intervention (or criminal charges) regarding the water crises in Flint, no investigation into the astounding percentage of urban blacks whose wages are garnished, no discussion regarding returning the Black Hills, no mention of Leonard Peltier or the life expectancy at Pine Ridge Indian Reservation (less than Haiti) (although credit to Bernie Sanders for a willingness to learn about Native American issues).
- Trump does not represent some outside force taking over the GOP. He is the result of decades of the GOP playing the race card and the racists fears of poor whites.
- Trump has had some luck. His opposition remains remarkably splintered even now. This has allowed Trump to be the front-runner even though he rarely tops 40% of the GOP vote. And the order of the primaries and caucuses has mattered. Had Rubio’s Florida or Cruz’s Texas or Kasich’s Ohio been earlier in the line-up, the story would have been different.
- After Obama was reelected in 2012 with an unprecedented coalition of women and people of color (he lost the white male vote), Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly bemoaned that “the demographics are changing; it’s not a traditional America anymore. The white establishment is now the minority.” Others suggested the GOP would have to make strong overtures on immigration reform to win back the Hispanic vote. But they didn’t. And now history may show they have instead doubled-down in the other direction.
- Trump may be the only candidate that Hillary can easily beat. Both have very high negatives for national candidates. Hillary has been vilified for decades, mostly for attributes not acceptable in women (assertiveness, leadership, etc.).
- California’s Democrats may ultimately decide the GOP nominee. With an open primary and the Democratic race possibly over by then, they could be in a position to put Trump over the top. However, every Democrat I talk to said they wouldn’t do it, “It’s too risky.”
- One of the greatest impacts of Trump on the election is to make Ted Cruz seem moderate. He is not.
- Donald Trump is not a viable candidate. For that matter, neither is Ted Cruz or Bernie Sanders. The mainstream political parties will only nominate a candidate that is moderate enough to win a general election. That leaves us with Clinton and Kasich, but the GOP will have to go thru lots of gyrations at the convention in Cleveland to get Kasich on the final ticket. That said, Kasich may win in Ohio in March and July and November. In the last three very tight elections, Ohio has held the keys to the kingdom.
- Latinos may ultimately swing the general election in November in favor of the Democrats regardless of whether or not Trump is the nominee; he has already done his damage to the GOP. Like California after Prop 87, the GOP has alienated one of the fastest-growing political demographics and screwed themselves for decades to come.
- Ironically, for Latinos, this makes immigration reform less likely. With Latinos firmly in the Democratic camp and immigration fully politicized, the Republicans have no incentive to compromise and the Democrats can assume their support without really having to do anything (as they do with African Americans).