The Trump Stakes

I’d like to think and write about something else than Donald Trump’s chances of becoming the GOP nominee and possibly even US President, but the topic is the talk of the town and it’s all over the media, so there is no escaping.  Since Trump’s victories in three of the five primaries last Tuesday, and an almost certain victory in the fourth, there can be little doubt that he’ll enter his party’s convention with the most delegates.  The question is if he’ll have enough of them for the outright nomination.  If he does, he’ll obviously be the nominee, but then what happens?  For weeks now there has been ample talk of the Republican establishment fielding a third party bid against the Donald, but so far the party’s elite is all hat, no cattle.  More likely is that Republican moderates stay home or vote for the Democratic candidate, as long as that candidate is Hillary Clinton.  More interesting is what happens if Trump has by far the most delegates but not enough for the nomination.  The resulting contested convention can of course still nominate him in a second ballot, and then nothing changes, but what if the convention picks a different nominee?

Trump has already announced that there will be riots, even if he doesn’t instigate them, and he’s probably right.  But riots won’t reverse the convention’s decision, so the big question is what happens with Trump’s base come election day in November.  You can often hear commentaries that Trump has brought a lot of new voters into the GOP, but that is profoundly inaccurate.  Although the Republican Party has laid the groundwork for Trump’s campaign, with thirty plus years of promoting trickle-down economics that screwed low income workers and destroyed middle class jobs, spiced with the GOP’s own brand of racism and xenophobia, Trump has assembled his own army of poorly educated, national-chauvinistic, racist, un- or underemployed Evangelical trailer trash, as I wrote earlier.  They may follow their leader to the gates of hell, which is where he’ll ultimately end up, but not the Republican Party if he’s not its nominee.  So where do they go?  Not to Hillary, I would assume, and not to Ted Cruz or John Kasich or whatever monkey the GOP establishments pulls out of the hat.  They’ll either stay home, go to the shooting range, or beat up some random voters.

The Republican Party has maneuvered itself into an impossible position and the chickens are coming home to roost.  There are only two possible ways out: One is that Trump overcomes his formidable unpopularity and wins the general election, which is highly unlikely, and the second that a different GOP nominee convinces Trump’s trash that he’s worthy of their vote, which is equally unlikely.   No wonder that Reince Priebus is sweating like Rubio and Paul Ryan has become Switzerland.

The Democrats are sitting pretty and they can only mess it up for themselves.  There are too many voices that Bernie Sanders should suspend his campaign and yield to Hillary, but that would be counterproductive.  Campaigning makes Hillary Clinton, the most likely Democratic nominee, stronger, and anything that comes out in the open now cannot hurt her as much later.

Some pundits have been inspired by Trump to ask the ‘baby Hitler’ question: If you could travel back in time would you travel to 1889 and smother little Adolf in his crib?  No need to travel back to 1946 for baby Trump.  He’ll go down at the convention or at the ballot, and then we can all exhale.

Hugo Kijne

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