Now along comes Donald Trump, leading the field in the Republican primaries from the start. I do not have to attach all the adjectives to Trump’s performance. They are well known. And from the beginning many election observers have been predicting that the next bomb he drops (or gas-break he emits) will bring his campaign to a sudden end. But that, as we know, hasn’t happened. So why has he been so successful? On the one hand, on the centrality of racism to any successful Repub. campaign, he has dropped the pretense. He has abandoned that particular dog-whistle, beginning with his very public leadership of the “birther” campaign against Barack Obama before the 2012 election.
He has combined his racism with a clearly expressed doctrine of authoritarianism: from the serious “I will introduce the death penalty for the killing of any cop” to the frivolous “department stores shall put up signs saying ‘Merry Christmas’ instead of ‘Happy Holidays’.” And for the right-wing “evangelicals” (in reality Dominionists) to whom he appeals, racism and authoritarianism (think “following the word of God” to the letter, as it is expressed in the multi-authored King James version of the Bible, of course) are at the center of their thinking. Indeed, Trump represents the current end-stage, the “opening up,” if you will, of what for some years I have described as the Repubs.’ Rightward Imperative. (Of course, at the rate the Repub. Party is going, by 2020 someone might come along who makes Trump look mild by comparison. Do remember that the “establishment” John McCain picked Sarah Palin as his running mate in 2008. ‘Nuff said.)Trump very cleverly uses combatting the national de-industrialization that has been part of Repub. policy since Nixon (aided and abetted by W.J. Clinton and the DLC Democrats) as a campaign wedge, because most of his supporters don’t know who they primarily have to thank for it. He then expands his racism to Latinos, especially Mexicans, and expresses his elemental religious bigotry against Muslims and Islam. He proposes decreasing foreign military aid at the same time he calls upon the U.S. allies to increase the “fight against ISIS.” While Ted Cruz proposes using “carpet bombing” (which he obviously doesn’t understand) to deal with ISIS, Trump proposes to use nuclear weapons (which he obviously doesn’t understand). And so on and so forth.
So then, why doesn’t the Republican establishment(s) like him? And there are several of those, actually. For example, see: those for which the central issues are those of religious determinism on such issues as abortion and gay marriage rights; those, like the Club for Growth, for which the central issues are further shrinking both government regulation of private industry (while of course vigorously blaming the E.P.A. when things go wrong in a given locality), and taxes on the rich; those for which the artificially maintained Federal deficit and debt are the major concerns [see the “Tea Party”], who would like to shrink both by shrinking further the tiny social safety net that exists in this country.
But first and foremost, most of the Repub. establishment doesn’t like Trump because he has ripped the hood off Republican racism. On the matter of discrimination against African-Americans, he has clearly not totally rejected a KKK endorsement. However, it should be noted that the KKK and Repub. Presidential platforms have been pretty much in sync. since Reagan began his 1980 Presidential campaign at Philadelphia, MS, the site of the murder of the three civil rights workers during the “Freedom Summer” of 1964. Reagan formally rejected the Klan endorsement, but that was really immaterial. What was material was the similarity of the Klan Platform to his. And they have been similar ever since (although attention to that fact has never been drawn). But now, Trump is on the border of accepting it. One dog whistle down. On the Latino immigration issue, the Repubs. would never want to have a legislative solution, for they would then lose the issue for electoral purposes. But Trump, with the “murderers and rapists” claim, has taken the hood off that one too.
Religious discrimination, in terms of establishing a legal system to maintain the supremacy of one religious doctrine, that, for example, homosexuality is a “sin,” against all others, with the force of the State behind it, has always been covered up too, now in the doctrine of “religious freedom.” (In reality this is a policy that uses State power to promote one religious belief at the expense of all others. E.g., many women seeking abortions are quite religious as are many gay couple wanting to get married.) So then Trump proposes discriminating against Muslims, in the name of “national security.” That doesn’t sit well with many Repub. establishment types, especially those who do business with the Muslim world (like guess who?)
But then there are those major elements of Repub. doctrine that Trump doesn’t talk about, like abortion rights and gay marriage suppression. Furthermore, they are saying to themselves, suppose he really means it when it comes to trying to reverse de-industrialization? The issue of course, and Trump may well not understand this, is not “free trade” per se, but national policy, put together by the Repubs., that encouraged de-industrialization. It is quite possible to have relatively free trade without de-industrialization: see Germany and Japan.
This list could be quite a bit longer, but it won’t be here. Because the primary reason why the Repub. establishments are against Trump is that he obviously would be uncontrollable and unpredictable. They don’t care so much about the wild statements as they do about the fact that so far he has run on his own money and his phenomenal ability to get free air time. So, although this would change in the general election campaign, at least for now he doesn’t owe them anything. But supposing once in office he did try to close down the export of capital, did want to maintain Social Security which the Tea Party is so determined to slash, really did try to mount a major military intervention in the Middle East (which could lead only to disaster). It’s one thing to talk about these things, and another to actually try to do them. And Trump just might. Recall that until June 30, 1934 when it was literally eliminated in “The Night of the Long Knives,” there was a left wing in the Nazi Party, which is why “socialist” was part of its name.
Another problem with Trump for the GOP establishment is that he clearly doesn’t know what he doesn’t know (the same goes for Cruz, by the way). Thus, some of them are clearly concerned about the quality of the people around him, who otherwise might fill him in on such things as what the map of the Middle East really looks like, that the Turks have a real problem with the Kurds and so you can’t just go arming the latter to the teeth without really pissing the former off, that certain elements of the Saudi ruling class are entirely in synch with ISIS, theologically and monetarily, and at the center of everything that is going on there is the Saudi/Iranian contest for power in the region. Thus they are very concerned about who from the U.S. Reactionary Elite might NOT have places at the table. In terms of his uncontrollability, a few may be aware that the German ruling class thought that they could control Hitler, once he became Chancellor. And we know where that went. So there are many reasons for the enmity
Finally, they also of course don’t think that he can win. But I do. Combine these facts. In the end, most of the Repub. establishment would rally behind him like many of them are now rallying behind the equally odious Dominionist Ted Cruz. The likely Democratic candidate will be Hillary, against whom the Repubs. will run using three words: “Email (regardless of the facts, as established by that time — of course if she is indicted for violation of national security statutes she will have to drop out, which would be most inconvenient if that happens after the Democratic Convention); “Benghazi,” and “Clinton” (both she and Bill, of course).
Once he gets the nomination, the money will begin to flow into the campaign because the Repubs. are desperate to get control of the Executive Branch, regardless of who is running it. That is because they want to lay waste, to the extent possible, to Federal regulatory power, in manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, the environment, unions, workplace safety, gender discrimination, and so on and so forth, and they want to lay waste too to the falsely-named “entitlement programs.” Further, they want to firmly put the Supreme Court into reactionary hands for the foreseeable future. So not only will the money flow in, but the now well-established voter-suppression campaign will be put into high gear. Remember “better dead than Red?” For the Repub. establishment it will be “better Trumped than dumped” at the polls once again. They just don’t know it yet. And oh yes, should either Trump or Cruz get the nomination, you can bet your bottom dollar that there will be an “ISIS-inspired terrorist attack,” in this country, about two weeks before the election.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Senior Editor, Politics, Steven Jonas, MD, MPH is a Professor Emeritus of Preventive Medicine at Stony Brook University (NY) and author/co-author/editor/co-editor of over 30 books. In addition to being Senior Editor, Politics, for The Greanville Post, he is: a Contributor for American Politics to The Planetary Movement; a “Trusted Author” for Op-Ed News.com; a contributor to the “Writing for Godot” section of Reader Supported News; and a contributor to From The G-Man. He is the Editorial Director and a Contributing Author for TPJmagazine.us. Further, he is an occasional Contributor to TheHarderStuff newsletter, BuzzFlash Commentary, and Dandelion Salad.
Dr. Jonas’ latest book is The 15% Solution: How the Republican Religious Right Took Control of the U.S., 1981-2022: A Futuristic Novel, Brewster, NY, Trepper & Katz Impact Books, Punto Press Publishing, 2013, and available on Amazon.