Back in the 1980s, I had this working theory that Ronald Reaagan should not be President, that the day-to-day details were not in keeping with his personality. But I DID think there was a job for him: King.
Reagan could travel around like the actor he was, telling us it’s “morning in America,” while someone like Walter Mondale, who Reagan defeated in the 1984 election, would do the hands-on stuff.
I was reminded of this when I read this story about Donald Trump, originally in the New York Times:
One day this past May, Donald Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., reached out to a senior adviser to Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, who left the presidential race just a few weeks before. As a candidate, Kasich declared in March that Trump was “really not prepared to be president of the United States,” and the following month he took the highly unusual step of coordinating with his rival Senator Ted Cruz in an effort to deny Trump the nomination. But according to the Kasich adviser (who spoke only under the condition that he not be named), Donald Jr. wanted to make him an offer nonetheless: Did he have any interest in being the most powerful vice president in history?
When Kasich’s adviser asked how this would be the case, Donald Jr. explained that his father’s vice president would be in charge of domestic and foreign policy.
Then what, the adviser asked, would Trump be in charge of?
“Making America great again” was the casual reply.
I started thinking that maybe there WAS a place for King Donald in the process. I had been hearing for nearly a year that he was genuinely surprised by how well he was doing politically. All that detailed stuff such as coming up with coherent policy positions, or even sharing his tax returns are beneath him. He’s a Big Picture kind of guy.
But he doesn’t really fit into a Reaganesque mold as monarch. He enjoys the humiliation too much: Little Mario, Crooked Hillary, Lyin’ Ted, and other names more suited for a playground bully.
From RedState, July 20:
The stupid pledge that Trump fans are on about… was meaningless. Why? Because Donald Trump voided it. Donald Trump refused it. Then Donald Trump spit on it by spitting on Ted Cruz’s family. On his wife. On his father. Pledge? Really?
How could you respect him if he endorsed because of some pledge that Trump himself in no way took seriously? After all that transpired in the primary? Even Trump didn’t care about the dumb pledge.
There are bridges too far. It’s not a difficult concept…
Well, buddy, Donald Trump crossed this pledge’s boundary…to become null and void. It was null and void when Trump wouldn’t agree to it. Without everyone then it doesn’t apply to anyone. It was null and void when he mocked Ted’s wife. It was null and void when he claimed repeatedly that Cruz was a false Christian. It was null and void when Trump accused his dad of conspiring to kill President Kennedy.
Trump is very good at trying to cast doubts on other candidates’ religion, though he was outraged when the pontiff questioned his.
And he played the Ted Cruz speech Wednesday night perfectly, making Cruz the villain and himself the victim.
From RedState, July 21:
Let’s be clear about something…: Cruz’s speech – including the absence of an explicit endorsement of Trump – was pre-cleared by both the RNC and Trump. His speech, including the non-endorsement of Trump, was not a surprise to the RNC or Trump in any way. Even Donald Trump himself admitted this on Twitter, and for once Trump’s Twitter is not full of crap… He said he would congratulate Donald Trump, would avoid saying anything negative about Trump, and talk about the principles he stood for. The RNC and Trump both agreed to let him proceed with the speech as is. So the idea that Cruz sprung this on them as some sort of surprise is absolute BS.
Another piece of BS that has been circulated by the RNC to throw dirt on Ted Cruz is that he gave different remarks on stage than the prepared ones he submitted to the RNC for review. Unfortunately, the RNC screwed themselves on this score by sending to media organization prepared copies of Ted Cruz remarks which show that Cruz said exactly what his prepared remarks indicated.
In fact, in response to the news that Cruz was going to make a speech that did not explicitly endorse him, Trump intentionally chose to escalate the situation by leaking the news to friendly delegations and instructing them to boo Cruz to make this a bigger deal than it otherwise would have been. If Trump’s delegates had not booed and caused a ruckus, but instead had remained silent or applauded at Cruz’s exhortation to vote for down-ticket races, everyone today would be talking about Pence and his speech, and the discussion would be about positive things associated with Trump and Pence and how they are going to move forward after the convention to at least possible victory.
But that is not what Trump’s supporters are interested in. They are interested in having a constant object of hatred and scorn… This is the driving force behind their support for Trump, principles be damned. Trump knows it too, which is why he was perfectly happy to let Ted Cruz go on stage, as long as the signal was clearly sent to his supporters that Ted Cruz is supposed to be the new object of hate.
Trump’s supporters really and truly don’t understand how well he constantly plays them. He treats them exactly like he treats his reality TV audience, and he knows that the successful ingredient to any “reality” TV show is the character who everyone loves to hate… “Reality” TV understands that nothing keeps viewers coming back like someone they want to see get “kicked off,” preferably in some humiliating fashion.
And now Trump is reportedly launching super-PACs to attack Cruz and Kasich for failing to support him at the convention. This is petty, vindictive, and a waste of money.
I actually watched the first night of the Republican National Convention – I asked for prayers on Facebook – but just couldn’t get through anything but the summaries of the last three evenings. Still, I continue to believe that
Donald Trump will win in November against Hillary Clinton, despite, or maybe because of, his bigotry.
And speaking of misogyny, some of the digs at Melania Trump over her Monday night RNC speech, such as this one from Stephen Colbert’s Late Show, was OK. But a lot of the comments directed towards her were distressing and embarrassingly wrong.
At least, on Thursday night, Donald Trump succeeded in delivering a speech NO ONE will want to plagiarize, it was so dark and dreary. The same is true of many of his surrogates, notably Rudy Giuliani and Chris Christie.
The slogan “make America great again” is pure Reagan, even if it’s code for going back to more exclusionary times. But how can he do the King Donald thing, being such a malevolent downer?
Yet, if history is useful, mere calls for unity are not enough. The Washington Post noted: “He, until now a Republican problem, this week became a challenge the nation must confront and overcome. The real estate tycoon is uniquely unqualified to serve as president, in experience and temperament. He is mounting a campaign of snarl and sneer, not substance. To the extent he has views, they are wrong in their diagnosis of America’s problems and dangerous in their proposed solutions. Mr. Trump’s politics of denigration and division could strain the bonds that have held a diverse nation together. His contempt for constitutional norms might reveal the nation’s two-century-old experiment in checks and balances to be more fragile than we knew…”
As Sojourner notes, God Has Not Given Us a Spirit of Fear. “How DO We Lift Up Love Over Hate in This Angry Election Season?”