A couple of weeks ago I argued that there was a real possibility that Donald Trump would become the Republican nominee and eventually make it to the White House. For that I borrowed Lawrence O’Donnell’s notion that Trump would not participate in any debates anymore, which would make him stronger. O’Donnell was totally wrong, as obviously was I. Trump’s refusal to participate in late January’s Fox News debate cost him some, but not a lot, and in South Carolina he was back in full debating force, reminding everybody that George W. Bush didn’t keep us safe on 9/11 and lied to get the support he needed to start the war in Iraq, going directly against the official GOP narrative. Following the debate the Donald also acknowledged that Planned Parenthood is doing a lot of good things and declared that he wanted to preserve the individual mandate that is at the core of Obamacare. He convincingly won South Carolina, and since Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz seem more interested in taking each other down than in attacking Trump, there is a good chance that he will be the inevitable GOP nominee by March 15th.
Like many Democrats I have been hoping that this scenario would unfold on the Republican side, because I believed that any Democratic nominee could easily beat Trump, if only because over 70% of the population cannot stand him. I still believe that to be a correct assessment, but of course it involves the calculated risk that Trump wins the general election and makes it to the White House. With Marco Rubio emerging as the only candidate who could still stop Trump that risk has become even more acceptable than before, because Rubio is a war mongering neo-con with a tax plan that is even less responsible than Trump’s, so the latter’s presidency might actually be preferable. But the thought of Donald Trump in the White House for me involves visualization, so I’m trying to imagine him in the Oval Office, wearing a red, blue or purple tie that is too long as usual, checking his Twitter feed and responding aggressively to every critical comment, with pictures of Melania and Ivanka on his desk. Or I see him in the situation room, telling the generals to take the oil from ISIS while he negotiates a deal with Putin to assist them.
My favorite images are President Trump talking with Energy Secretary Palin about her idea to make the Koch brothers senior advisors at her department, and his meeting with the Mexican president about Mexico’s paying for The Wall, where he hears for the first time that more Mexican immigrants are moving back to their country than are moving into the US. His first meeting with Putin is already a visual classic, with Putin talking martial arts and Trump golf.
I’m currently reading Philip Roth’s novel ‘The Plot Against America,’ in which Charles Lindbergh beats Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the 1940 general election and becomes president, to subsequently strike a deal with Hitler and keep the US out of WWII. The consequences for American Jews are painful, and it’s not hard to imagine Mexicans in their place under Trump.
Fortunately there is some clarity developing on the Democratic side that will hopefully stop Trump if the GOP doesn’t. Hillary Clinton has high unfavorables, but nobody is hated as much as Donald Trump, so his nomination would be the best thing that could happen to her.