After the Super Tuesday elections, in which both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump emerged as big winners, political pundits and social scientists, among others, are scrambling around, trying to make sense of these election results.
They’re not having much luck.
Hillary vs. Bernie
First of all, Hillary’s victories were no great surprise. As I’ve been arguing for a while, Bernie is a septuagenarian Socialist Jew. Reality was bound to hit home at some point, and it’s slowly starting to hit home today. He didn’t do badly yesterday, but Hillary is staring to pull away from him, as she inevitably would. Bernie has enough money to stay in the race, maybe all the way to California, and I hope he does. Primarily because Hillary needs him as her social conscience, and so she doesn’t just get a free ride from here to the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia. But Bernie supporters – and I’m one of them – better get used to the idea that Hillary will be our candidate, and that we will need to coalesce around her in big numbers.
The Donald vs. Everyone Else
What can be said about the Donald at this point? He has a staying power that absolutely no one would have predicted, and in fact, no one did predict. When he came riding down that escalator – with supporters that he had hired as extras – and began his campaign by basically calling all Mexicans rapists (while conceding that some of them must be “nice people”) everyone, myself included, thought this guy isn’t staying around long.
And yet, here he is. The presumptive nominee of the Grand Old Party.
So, the pundits and social scientists have been doing cartwheels over themselves trying to play catch up and explain this phenomenon. And some intriguing theories have emerged. For example:
- The VOX website published a long and very interesting piece about the rise of American “authoritarianism” in voters, and how much this group is feeding the Donald Trump phenomenon.
- The Boston Globe ran an article right after Super Tuesday remarking on the correlation between Trump voters in Massachusetts and having a union card.
- The Rolling Stone has a long piece about how Trump’s skills in showmanship are leading him to this election, and how people are buying his pitch that he’s so rich that he won’t owe anyone anything on either side of the aisle.
- Mother Jones has a long piece about how the Republican elite created “Frankentrump” with their demagoguery, beginning in 2008 with the introduction of Sarah Palin into the Presidential race.
And, of course, there are elements of truth in all of this. All of these things go some way to explaining the Trump phenomenon.
But I’m unconvinced that anyone has really understood it yet. I mean:
I get that voters are mad. (I’m mad as well.)
I get that a substantial portion of the electorate is tired of political correctness. (And in all fairness, some political correctness, such as “trigger warnings” in academia, really have gone too far.)
I get that people don’t think that the partisan politicians in Washington have done anything for them, or that there is some appeal to someone who can get things done.
But Donald Trump?
The Captain of the Clown Car?
That’s where all of the analysis loses me. Completely. This guy, obnoxious to the core, is the guy who is going to lead the revolution? He can barely lead his businesses out of bankruptcy!
This guy, who anyone with eyes can see is an old-fashioned school year bully, is going to negotiate with Congress and with other governments?
This guy, who was silver-spoon fed with a $200 million loan from his father, is going to save the middle class?
The idea is so preposterous that if it were part of a movie, you’d have to deride the movie for not having any credibility.
This guy is like chalk on a blackboard. The worst thing for me in his Super Tuesday is that now I have to listen to this blowhard huff and puff for months more, hearing about things like how he has the “best words” in the world.
I still don’t think that Donald Trump has any interest in actually doing the hard work of being President. I think he’s only in it for the ego trip.
Here’s something you can take to the bank: if the Donald were actually to become President, there’s an even chance that he would be impeached before his first term is up.
The only good news in all of this is that the Donald may actually blow up the Republican Party, a party that has strayed so far from being the “party of Lincoln” that it richly deserves to be blown up.
In any case, go back to the whiteboard, political pundits and social scientists, because you clearly have not yet figured out how this guy became the leader of a political movement.