Today’s Trump wobble brought us “I said it jokingly” regarding appointing his pro-abortion sister to the Supreme Court, and threats to exit the GOP.
In Trump land, populated by (Trumpkins, Trumpeteers, take your pick) Trumpzombies who shamelessly suspend their own most cherished beliefs to defend their leader, Donald Trump alone determines who’s lying, who’s telling the truth, and when to take him seriously. Maryanne Trump Barry would make a “phenomenal” Supreme Court Justice, said Trump in August.
Who wouldn’t take him seriously?
Trump Barry’s a federal judge. She’s ruled in a well-known pro-abortion decision in New Jersey, defending partial-birth abortion. Donald Trump said he supported partial-birth abortion. Ted Cruz used Trump’s own words in an ad.
Trump said “I am very capable of changing to anything I want to change to.” The ad also showed Trump’s views supporting partial-birth abortion. Who would think he was joking? But now he’s joking, and it’s Cruz’s fault, and the Republican National Committee’s fault he’s being hoisted on his own petard.
Now Cruz is lying, and the RNC is being terribly unfair to the runaway poll leader.
While he was at it, Trump renewed his threat to run as an independent. He claimed the Republican National Committee is defaulting on its pledge to treat him with respect because of crowds that have booed him during recent debates. “The room has been stacked with special interests and donors,” he told reporters. Once the RNC has defaulted on its agreement to treat him fairly, Trump said, he is no longer bound by his pledge to support the eventual Republican nominee.
Trump knows he has to veer left to become president.
Not being the real thing as a conservative, the only truthful thing Trump has said was that he can change into whatever he wants. The more Trump can make his campaign about campaigning, not about actual issues, the better he can deflect the most damaging attacks against him–because they use his own words.
Either Trump will be stopped in South Carolina, or at least slowed down by underperforming his polling, setting him up to lose key states in the March 1 “SEC primary,” or he could run the table to the nomination. If Trump underperforms and can’t recover, he’s setting up his early exit from the GOP race.
When and if Trump drops out to make a third party run, it won’t be in defeat, but in glory. And he will ensure he’s running against Cruz or Rubio. In a three-way general election he’ll stay far to the left of either of them, but to the right of Clinton or Sanders. He’ll play to the conspiracy lovers, the paranoid left and the paranoid right. Issues won’t be important to them, only taking power back from “them.”
In 2012, Trump tested his “them” strategy when he made the idiotic birther play against Obama. We all thought he was a nutcase, but he was testing a hypothesis. And now he’s using that exact strategy in 2016.
Erick noted that another leader built his support on that same kind of paranoid fantasy, in another country, about 81 years ago. The only difference is who “they” were. With Trump, it doesn’t matter who is “them.” George W. Bush is “them” to the 9/11 truthers. And Ted Cruz is “them” to the anti-Wall Street crowd due to his wife’s employment with Goldman Sachs (and due to his Canadian nativity). Rubio is “them” to the immigration blood-and-race nativists. If any of them were Masons or Mormons, we’d be seeing the secret temple rituals and holy underwear crowd out for Trump.
It doesn’t matter who is “them” as long as Trump can make it work for him, either in the GOP or as a third party candidate.
No third party candidate has ever won the White House. If Trump can’t win in the GOP (and it’s not clear he can, regardless of his commanding lead in the polls and his win in NH), then he’ll try to win without the GOP. The consequences of that action are likely to be very, very negative for conservatives.
But Trump won’t care, because he isn’t one of us to begin with. As Egon Spengler said about another New York changeling, Gozer the Gozerian: it’s whatever it wants to be.