Base Instincts

We’re so mad about the person with no political experience in the White House that we’re going to put another person with no political experience in the White House.

Because of Obama’s “victory,” Iran is on track to get a nuclear bomb, and gets a special bonus infusion of over $100 billion cash to sponsor terrorism. There’s a biblical sea of humanity flowing from Obama’s don’t-redline-me-bro Syria. The Democratic frontrunner is under FBI investigation for violating the Espionage Act.

So the national conversation should of course be about one thing: Donald Trump.

Not that the Trumpmania phenomenon isn’t noteworthy. It certainly is. The real estate magnate is also an attention magnet, and polling first at 30%, almost doubling Ben Carson’s 16%. Add in Fiorina’s 5%, and that’s over half the GOP voting for ABP (anyone but a politician).

A few points:

1. The base is really ticked off.

The success of the non-politicians in the polls is driven by fiery anger at the Republican party, and its failure to use its power.

  • In 2009, the GOP said “we’ll take charge once we win the House.”
  • In 2013, the GOP said, “we’ll take charge once we win the Senate.”
  • Now, in 2015, the GOP says, “we’ll take charge once we win the White House.”

Then, in 2017, the GOP will say, “we can’t take charge or we might lose our majorities!”

Boehner didn’t win Republicans the House; Obama’s arrogance did.

But nothing has been done with these majorities, and the same base anger that gave Congress to the GOP  is ready to push someone that shares its frustration into the White House.

Republicans are sick of it, and furious at the feckless ineptitude of a party that dominates Congress, but can’t or won’t send anything to Obama’s desk for veto, stands pat on Obamacare, ignores immigration, and just let the president finalize an Iranian nuke treaty without a 2/3 majority of the Senate, the way, you know, the constitution says you have to make a treaty.

Against this backdrop comes Trump.

2. The fired-up base thinks Donald Trump can fix things

Donald Trump speaks plainly, doesn’t mince words. He’s the ultimate New Yorker: brash, direct, and in your face. And that means he’s definitely not one thing: a part of the Washington establishment.

Starting with his controversial comments about immigration, he’s made headlines by being unscripted on a topic the base cares about, then “clarifying” to soften his stance, and taking credit for shining a spotlight on something conservatives care about.

Nothing he says (so far) costs him at the polls. His supporters are loyal, and are extremely committed to the man in a way we haven’t seen on the right since Palinmania. Thus, whether the topic is a big wall with a beautiful, luxurious door in it, P.O.W.s, or Megyn Kelly, his backers are sticking with him. In fact, the more you attack him, the more they dig in to support their man and will attack the attacker. This stems from a love for the United States clinging desperately to a man who they believe will “Make America Great Again.” It’s do-or-die time, and anyone in the way of Trump must hate America. This is sincere, and well-intentioned. And fiercely devoted support that doesn’t seem to be abandoning their man.

As someone pointed out, Trump’s backer’s aren’t supporting a policy, they’re supporting an attitude.

3. Trump isn’t the man to shrink government and restore conservatism to DC

Trump could, if elected, shake up Washington. But would it be in a conservative manner, or with some other, different, north star? The thinking here is, while conservatives need someone to fix things, it’s not The Donald. Nominating Trump would send a message to the RNC, and that’s good as far as it goes. But as of now, the negative ads haven’t started yet, and by the time the Jeb! and the Democrats get done spending money defining Trump, it’ll make Mitt Bain McSeamus look like an honest and upstanding family man. Which come to think of it, Romney is. Just wait til the knives come out for the thrice-married brash-talking Trump.

But even if Trump were to redefine the electoral map and win in a manner no other conventional Republican could by appealing to Democrats and independents and win… how would he govern? One of the few clues we have is his pre-Kelo use of the power of government’s eminent domain to try to kick a widow out of her house to put up a parking lot. And love it or hate it, Trump’s stated goal of deporting millions of people would require a new bureaucratic apparatus sure to grow government some more. Say what you will, but these are not “conservative,” at least not in the way most people use the word.

Also, some are troubled by Trump’s support of Hillary Clinton, Democrats, and even Pelosi, which can be explained away by doing what’s best for his business. Even more disconcerting are the positions he’s held about abortion, government-run healthcare, and so on. Yes, Ronald Reagan was once a Democrat, but his evolution came over decades as he grew in his understanding of conservative principles. Donald Trump hasn’t walked the walk for very long as a conservative, and that’s got some folks worried. The one thing Trump — the brilliant marketer and media manipulator — has supported consistently over time is Trump.

Internationally, by the way, a President Trump would likely be a tough negotiator. He’d step on toes, ruffle feathers, and generally annoy others on the foreign policy stage. But he knows about leverage, using carrots and sticks, and would not be afraid to negotiate with our adversaries for outcomes that are good for the United States. Unlike, say, letting nukes go to a nation that has proclaimed “Death to America.”

Trump supporters have noble goals. They’re pro-America, not pro-GOP. Trump has smartly seized upon this to be the outsider to lead the way. He caught fire suddenly in the polls, and the Teflon Don seems immune to the pull of gravity in the polls after indelicate statements. His base is loyal and won’t wither away, but it won’t be long until the rest of the GOP support solidifies around his main Republican challenger. It wasn’t long ago that, say, Rubio and Cruz were outsiders being sent to Washington to change the system. (Texas’ Rick Perry is as far from establishment D.C. as they come, yet he left the race in low single-digits). Carly is a tough business exec who has discipline, a sharp mind, and is Trump without the brash bullhorn-y bombast.

The GOP race will probably come down to Trump and someone who can consolidate the rest of the party with a conservative record, a softer demeanor, or both. Regardless which prevails, there are lots of ways to send the GOP a message, give DC some conservative backbone, and institute real change that helps America. Even the worst GOP nominee is 100 times better than the best Democrat, and deserves support and a vote. Staying home doesn’t help anyone, and only hurts America (thanks, Obamacare!). We need leadership with skill that will take a weak hand and turn it into a winner. Trump? Sure, fine. But there are others, too. Because if Trump stumbles, the current food fight needs to be forgotten, everyone will need to get behind the new leader, or you can get used to four years of President Bernie Sanders.

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