The little conspiracy theorist that lives in my brain is usually easily dismissed, but sometimes she makes more sense than the accepted narrative and I’m finding her recent assertions falling into the latter camp.
Lately, because the discussion of establishment vs. “the will of the people”, sometimes framed as federalism vs. populism, has been dissected down to its core thanks to the rise (and possible downward slide if Wisconsin proves the polls right tonight) of Donald Trump, I’ve been hearing my little conspiracy theorist screaming, trying to make sense of how the establishment Republicans can support Trump, supposedly in defiance of the very establishment they inhabit and on behalf of the people they have almost literally no understanding of. It’s all very weird.
And what she says is that these “establishment” types (and I still don’t really know what that means and I’m not sure anyone does, and it’s a little too simplistic anyway) took one look at Trump early and knew he was a Democrat troll (which is to say he is a Democrat running as a Republican on a platform designed to appeal to the minority “poorly educated” base (to use Trump’s own descriptor), pissed off at being disenfranchised in, well, basically life. And, just to make his presence and “message” that much more of a factor, this happened during a year when there were so many GOP candidates that the issue of plurality vs. majority would actually matter. And these old-school GOPers supported him because they thought it was the one way to defeat the troll: embrace him and help him win, because that is the one thing he didn’t actually want. He, by many accounts, has never really wanted the job, and he’s never seemed particularly eager to learn what it takes to do it. So by embracing him and helping him succeed, the wise establishment gurus could beat the troll at his own game. And I must admit, lately the New York billionaire (establishment candidate if there ever was one) has been looking a little scared and confused on the stump.
Simultaneously, these same old guard GOP types (and I should clarify: I don’t mean the media because their motivation is much more bottom-line financial) have been talking up the need to support whatever candidate rises to the top at the convention. WHATEVER candidate. Even a Ted Cruz, who no one seems to like very much because he has an annoying habit of letting you know when he thinks you’re wrong (which seems very outsider to me, but try telling Trump supporters that). Could they have been planning on having unpopular Cruz as candidate trying to beat Hillary all along once they figured out what to do with the orange-haired troll doll so they hammered home the message that the candidate MUST have the unified support of the party?
I think these things. Then I snap out of it and get comfortable in the knowledge that conspiracies are fun but most of the time people are winging it and reacting rather than planning. No one could see Trump coming, and Trump himself doesn’t seem to know what he thinks from one day to the next. And no one really knows what will happen when the returns are counted tonight in Wisconsin.
There was no grand plan here to fracture the GOP and win the White House, so you can stop your hollerin’ conspiracy theorist in my head.