Friday, March 4, 2016

David Brooks Explains Why Trump Is A Bad Person But He Can't Expain Why He Is Winning

Donald Trump's success in the primary campaign has finally alarmed the Republican establishment.  The first salvo came from Mitt Romney who told his fellow Republicans that they were being suckered into voting for a candidate who would be a terrible President.  David Brooks came out of the closet and offered his views on Donald Trump.  They are both right.  Donald Trump is not presidential material but more Republicans voted for Trump in the primaries than for any of the other candidates.  Brooks touted Marco Rubio in some of his earlier opinion pieces but Rubio has not impressed voters in the debates, and he has done little in career to establish the kind of credentials that we would expect in a President.  The Republican establishment settled on Rubio when Jeb Bush failed to impress voters and their only other choice would have been Ted Cruz.  The Republican establishment has watched Cruz establish his own wing within the Party by hooking up with Tea Party members of the House of Representatives to thwart the elected leaders in the House and the Senate.  They know what Cruz is all about.  He, like Donald Trump is all about himself.  His strategy has been to establish himself as the leader of the emerging Tea Party wing of the Party.  He has moved too fast for freshman Senator.

The GOP debates served an important purpose.  They attracted more attention because Donald Trump was one of the candidates, and the public has had an opportunity to audition the candidates.  Trump demonstrated his ability to sell himself to an important and growing segment of the GOP base.  He also gave many voters a good opportunity to determine why they would not vote for him.  The other candidates were not able to sell themselves to the GOP base and they gave us a chance to see that they are empty suits.  None of them are electable on their own merits.  Their only chance in the general election will be to convince voters not to vote for the Democratic candidate.

The other lesson from the debates is that they failed to address the issues that we face as a nation.  The public learned little about the important issues that a President must deal with and how the candidates propose to deal with those issues.  The last debate looked more like a junior high school debate in which the candidates spent most of their time insulting each other.  Marco Rubio and Donald Trump hit the bottom when Rubio insinuated that Trump's small hands indicated that another part of his anatomy was also small.  Trump felt obliged to defend his manhood by offering a personal guarantee.  After all, we could not elect a President with a physical disability.

The bottom line is that the GOP has created its Frankenstein Monster.  They have cultivated the base of their Party that prefers Donald Trump to the empty suits that preach conservative values but offer nothing in substance to deal with the malaise that they are experiencing.  They can't win elections without their votes, but they can't put an empty suit in the White House as long as demagogues like Donald Trump threaten to turn that base against them. They demand a Frankenstein Monster and the GOP has nobody else on offer.  Donald Trump's success has exposed the lack of unity in the Republican Party.  Marco Rubio's claim that he represents the Party of Ronald Reagan is falling on deaf ears.  Rubio is too young to remember Ronald Reagan, and he may have made a mistake when he called the Republican Party the Party of Lincoln.  There aren't many men named Abraham in the parts of the South that remember Lincoln's legacy.  Rubio's understanding of US history is not any better than his record as a state legislator, or as a US Senator.  Even David Brooks may not be able to save his candidacy or even the Party that spawned the candidates and the GOP base.

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