We are headed, and quite likely inexorably, towards what may prove to be one of the worst periods in our country’s history. It has been at least 20 years in the making, ramped up exponentially by the election of Barack Obama and conservatives’ avowed intention to destroy him and his presidency with birtherism, claims of Islamic sympathies, and unrelenting obstruction, even to the extent of openly abandoning their constitutional responsibilities (1).
It is the foregoing history that has us now on the threshold of a successful Primadonald run at the GOP presidential nomination. Can this endlessly self-gratifying narcissist be stopped? There are certainly forces on the right who are plotting just that.
How would that work? It would require that by the time the Republican convention rolls around, the boastful billionaire be found to lack the requisite number of minimum votes needed to secure the nomination, though he will surely have won a plurality of delegates. Slowing his march to the minimum number will likely involve a concerted pr campaign that derides Primadonald while extolling the virtues of one or another of the remaining three candidates; Cruz, Rubio or Kasich. In the remaining primaries, every delegate denied Primadonald becomes a “plus”. This would set the stage for a brokered convention wherein, the three aforementioned could pool their delegates to get to the minimum needed for the nomination, and then deliver them to a hand-picked candidate chosen by the anti-Trump plotters.
This is profoundly dangerous business inasmuch as it would deny the nomination to the man who won the majority of delegates while ceding it to someone who might not have run in a single primary. Simply put, this would be an utter rejection of the will of the people. And who are those “people”? In large numbers, Primadonald’s people (his supporters) are just like him; i.e. racist, xenophobic, misogynist, angry and given to mocking the disabled. They also include multiple White Supremacist groups who are armed to the teeth. They will not hesitate to act out if their man is denied what they believe is rightfully his. We have already witnessed a harbinger of this at his rallies where protesters are vilified and roughed up.
We have not reached this frightening prospect by accident; the sudden convergence of ugly strains deep in the recesses of the American character. No, what lies ahead is the product of at least two decades of all manner of hate-speech directed at different targets – gays, the working poor, immigrants and Progressives to name just a few. The sources of this inflammatory rhetoric have reliably been Republican politicians and their enablers in the right-wing media, especially talk-radio (2). Indeed, in many instances, the roles have been reversed with the bomb-throwers in the media egging on the politicians.
It is hard to imagine all this ending well: If the most radical on the right let their anger drive them to engage in violence, they will have to be stopped. This will put to test, our tolerance for free speech and the right to bear arms and assemble. The pitting of Americans against Americans in combat is not out of the question. Let us hope it does not come to that. But the signs are ominous and they are all around us.
- Reference is made here to Senate Republicans’ refusal to so much as even consider President Obama’s nominee for the Supreme Court to fill the seat vacated by the death of Justice Scalia.
- Think Rush Limbaugh and Mark Levin.