In 2014, GOP officials in New York State put forth a full-court press to convince Donald Trump to run for governor. That seems like an eternity ago now, because today the same GOP loathes Mr. Trump so much as a presidential candidate he might as well change his name to “Ted Cruz.”
On the surface it doesn’t seem to make sense, for Mr. Trump is everything the GOP establishment has claimed for years it wanted in a candidate. He’s a self-funder, he’s not a culture warrior, he’s not from a Bible Belt state, and he’s got proven cross-over appeal in pop culture circles. Think Mitt Romney, whom Mr. Trump endorsed in the 2012 Republican primary, but with even more money and a lot more cool. Yet instead of being the fulfillment of their stated ideal, Mr. Trump has already attained red-headed stepchild status with the Republican Party’s lords of the realm.
Dr. Frankenstein always ends up hating the monster he has created.
Mr. Trump has made a lifetime out of calling the bluffs of the limp-wristed and the know-it-alls. He is America’s ultimate alpha male, with all the accompanying success and scandal to prove it. Mr. Trump has survived bankruptcies and messy divorces that would’ve sunk most of these thumb-sucking Republicans best known for pleating their own khakis, or breaking out in hives when Starbucks runs out of “sugar in the raw.”
That is exactly why the GOP establishment hates him with the heat of a thousand suns. See, Mr. Trump has effectively de-panted them in broad daylight and exposed the fact there’s actually no “there” there when you look between the legs of most of these Republicans. And in true passive-aggressive fashion, these Republican girly men are running to the liberal media for help — which only confirms everything Mr. Trump has been saying about them.
Last summer I wrote a column here at The Washington Times titled “the GOP establishment endorses Ted Cruz.” The column explained why the GOP base finally hates the GOP establishment as much it has always hated them. After seeing how clearly Cruz has become the proverbial turd in their punch bowl, the GOP establishment thus unwittingly branded Cruz to the base as “their guy” for 2016. Not coincidentally, Cruz 2016 has already stunningly raised over $50 million for his upstart presidential run. An unprecedented princely sum for a grassroots candidate.
Now this summer, the GOP establishment is working its mojo on behalf of Trump. People best known for screwing up one-car funerals have managed to take what most thought was a novelty candidacy and turned him into a force of nature, and in the process we are witnessing one of the country’s ultimate one-percenters evolve into a man of the people. Remember how Mr. Romney was pilloried for his wealth? Mr. Trump makes Mr. Romney look like a ham-and-egger but is now suddenly a populist.
Only the GOP establishment is capable of elevating its adversaries in such fashion.
This is all happening for the same reasons Mr. Trump has always been successful in his life. He’s correctly surmised the collective lack of resolve, testicular fortitude and vision of his detractors. Mr. Trump always goes “all in.” Sometimes it fails spectacularly, but then when it works it succeeds even more so.
The surrender caucus currently running the GOP is filled with the same schmucks Mr. Trump has been running circles around since the 1970s. Buildings bear Mr. Trump’s name because he’s beaten posers like this at life’s poker table time and time again. Mr. Trump is confirming the people running this sorry excuse for a political party are every bit the weak sauce we’ve always thought. These are not men but boys who can shave. They do not have the ruthlessness required to defeat the cultural Marxists.
They can’t even take on a man like Mr. Trump, who has given more money to Democrats and Democrat causes than most conservatives will ever lay eyes on. Their whiny laments about Mr. Trump are why the GOP should change its symbol from an elephant to a French war rifle — “seldom used and never fired.”
Now a GOP base starved for someone with the brass ones to say what most Republicans outside the 666 area code actually think are rallying to Mr. Trump. It’s the same way a woman tired of being used by a steady who never asks to marry her will jump on the back of the first motorcycle driven by a bad boy who actually pursues her. Sometimes those relationships last and sometimes they do not. But they are always fun while they last nonetheless.
This one will be no different.
The intrigue of Mr. Trump is he could flame out at any minute. But right now he’s not just hitting a nerve he’s connecting to a zeitgeist.
Most Republicans are tired of being Mexico’s dumping ground, and don’t understand why we haven’t had a president in decades who is more afraid of offending the American people than that country’s notoriously corrupt government. We’re also tired of the liberal media’s lies and distortions, and Mr. Trump has no reservations about calling them out. And after the many years of betrayals and wimp-outs by a political party that treats Democrats like the loyal opposition, but conservatives like the enemy, we are more than sympathizing with Mr. Trump. We’re actively cheering him on.
Sunday before church, I sat in a room packed with Iowa caucus voters and activists. As soon as Mr. Trump’s name came up there were smiles and enthusiasm everywhere. He’s winning over the Iowans who put the fun back in “fundamentalism” while still polling well in New Hampshire. No small task, but nothing unifies disparate factions like the realization they’re all being deceived by the same source.
The GOP establishment is not embarrassed by Mr. Trump’s peccadilloes or ideological imperfections. It’s embarrassed by Mr. Trump because it sees the reflection of its own base in his blunt rhetoric, and the only political party that hates conservatives more than Democrats are the Republicans.
Barring a self-destruction, the only way to diffuse Mr. Trump is with a more ideologically solid candidate. Except the same GOP establishment that hates and shuns Mr. Trump hates and shuns those candidates, too. I mean, if you had a choice between putting your future in the hands of the GOP establishment or Mr. Trump, which would you choose? Yeah, me too. One of these options creates wealth, jobs, and grins his enemies into earwax. The other is called the GOP establishment.
Mr. Trump therefore has the GOP establishment right where he wants them. The Republican Party is locked in a battle of personalities with a savvy operator who basically prints his own currency, and has all the incentive in the world to keep pushing this race as far as it can go. The more the GOP establishment disses Mr. Trump, the more they endear him to a jilted base just looking for a reason to revolt.
So, no, Mr. Trump is not hurting the GOP brand. The GOP is doing that all by itself. How can you hurt a brand defined by constantly betraying your base, breaking every promise made to general election voters, and capitulating to Barack Obama on every front?
That brand isn’t just damaged — it’s in need of an exorcism. Or at the very least a hostile takeover. Something else Mr. Trump knows a little bit about.
(Steve Deace is a nationally syndicated talk show host and also the author of the new book “Rules for Patriots: How Conservatives Can Win Again.” You can “like” him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter @SteveDeaceShow.)
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