Well, October is upon us, and with it, the homestretch of the 2016 presidential election, otherwise known as the End of Days for the GOP and potentially for our republic as we have known it. After a crushing defeat in the first general election presidential debate, Donald Trump, who appeared unprepared and ill-informed (in other words, genuine) is in yet another self-induced tailspin, and Hillary Clinton, who should be losing this election, and losing it badly, has not only recovered from her recent swoon (both physically and in the polls), but has in fact jumped ahead entering the final month of the campaign.
To be clear: despite an electoral map that greatly favors Democrat candidates, this did not have to be an uphill battle for Republicans. Hillary Clinton is a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad candidate. First of all, she has no true accomplishments, either in the private sector (unless you count cattle futures), as first lady, or in her sham of a senatorial career. Her tenure as Secretary of State is more memorable for scandal and ineptitude, lost emails and murdered diplomats, failed interventions, and lack of foresight, than for true accomplishments, notwithstanding her flimsy claims of negotiating hostage releases and human rights agreements. She lacks charisma and is possibly the worst public speaker ever to get paid to do so more than once. In short, she is nothing and has nothing save the tattered coattails of a disgraced and impeached husband.
Yet, she is leading and likely to win. How? Because, against all odds, the Republican electorate, with some help from disaffected industrial workers, is on the verge of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory because it nominated someone equally flawed to oppose Clinton.
Donald Trump claims to be some kind of business miracle worker. He is rich and savvy, at least he would have you believe he is, though he refuses to release tax returns that might shed light on just how rich he really is, while his history of bankruptcies, reneging on contracts, and shady partnerships (not to mention, the probably fraudulent Trump University) do seem to cast some doubt on the savvy part. We are supposed to believe he is really, really great because, well, he tells us he is—a lot. We are supposed to believe everything he would do as president would be “so good” because, well, he tells us it will be—constantly, with little or no specifics. Remember, though, during the GOP campaign he said he would beat Hillary and it wouldn’t even be that hard. Well, okay.
In the past several weeks, as the prospect of a Hillary Clinton presidency has loomed ever larger, hesitant GOP leaders, including Ted Cruz, have climbed reluctantly aboard the trump train. This late change of heart is apparently a last-ditch effort to save the Supreme Court, which will surely be lost for a generation if Hillary is elected, because, technically, Trump is ever so slightly less certain to do permanent damage to the constitution, grasping at straws being, after all, a warped version of optimism.
Trumpeteers, predictably are already preparing for defeat by peddling yet again their ridiculous claims that the so called “establishment” of the party has undermined the people’s choice. This is of course ludicrous, being that whatever “establishment” mechanism actually exists within the party has allowed and even aided the bombastic populist in his efforts. It is interesting that anyone who opposes Trump is quickly labeled “establishment” even the face of contravening logic. If there truly was an establishment, why didn’t they choose a candidate (Jeb Bush was the supposed favorite of this group) and then twist the arms of the other “establishment” candidates (pretty much all the rest of them to hear Trump supporters talk) and get them out of the race so to clear the path for their candidate. At that early juncture of the primaries, it wouldn’t have taken more than 35 or 40 percent to oust Trump. The truth is, it was all of the so-called anti establishment candidates clogging the field that divided the sensible conservative vote.
Walker, a fiscal conservative who cut taxes, lowered unemployment, erased a budget deficit, and took on labor unions, all while successfully warding off multiple efforts by democrats to unseat him in a state that has been consistently democratic blue for some time, never gained any traction. Perry, another former tea party favorite, who was among the first to drop out, never really had a chance. Ditto for Rand Paul, whose foreign policy agenda could be summed up with the question “Can’t we all just get along?”
Rubio of course, lost his bona fides due to his flirtation with immigration reform (the failure of which resulted in the open borders policy better known as Obama’s Executive Amnesty). That bill may look pretty good in retrospect and surely will once Hillary Clinton opens the borders. Interestingly enough, Trump’s immigration policy, depending on the day and to the extent anyone can actually figure it out, may end up softer than that of Rubio and the Gang of Eight. Go figure. Cruz apparently was unacceptable because he was not a very nice guy. Really.
If there truly is a Republican establishment , it is certainly one of the most inept bodies ever to try to control an election. If this “establishment” had any real power, they would have cleared the field for a chosen candidate. Wrong. Instead they engaged in a circular firing squad where everyone was a target except Trump. When the smoke cleared, they had damaged each other just enough to allow Trump to win in South Carolina. These actions hardly support the conspiracy theories of a coordinated effort to push an establishment candidate. What they suggest instead is a collection of egos that all expected Trump would eventually flame out (what rational person didn’t?) and their self serving hopes to be waiting in the wings to pick up the pieces. Now what?
Well, now, as it becomes more and more evident that Hillary will prevail, regret is beginning to sink in. Too bad. Seldom have the stars aligned so perfectly for a Republican victory, with a deep bench of young and successful senators and state governors pitted against the poster child for the left’s tired old progressive agenda with emphasis on the old and the tired. Hillary Clinton, literally wobbling under the weight of her scandal-ridden past and present, was a GOP landslide waiting to happen. The architect of many of the worst liberal policies over the past eight years – from the Arab spring to the Russian reset, she barely fought off an 80-year-old avowed socialist. The momentum of a strong GOP candidate might have propelled the senate to a filibuster-proof majority instead of crossing our fingers and hoping that the democrats do not regain control. Oh what might have been.
So why won’t that landslide and GOP wave happen? Because conservatives in their zeal to clean house in their own party, destroyed their best candidates and left standing the only one who could actually lose to Hillary. And he will.