The Heelers Diaries

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Location: Kilcullen (Phone 087 7790766), County Kildare, Ireland

Saturday, July 23, 2016

the death ride of donald trump

How did we get here?
As Donald Trump stampedes the Republican Party towards what I'm predicting will be its greatest ever electoral defeat, I gots to know how this all came about.
Let's reflect.
When the Republican Party began their selection process for a Presidential nominee a year ago, there were 17 candidates for the American Presidential nomination.

1. The large field of candidates kept the more discerning majority vote divided. Trump's vote quickly rose to a constant twenty to thirty five percent, and remained united and very loyal, based in part on the fact that people had waited a long time for someone strong enough to stand up to media manipulations. With a continuing large field of candidates Trump was able to engage in a classic Divide And Conquer strategy.

2. Liberal Left wing media groups and commentators initially tried to marginalise Trump by labelling him racist over his promise to reestablish the border and shut down illegal immigration. These groups persistently misreported Trump's comments about criminals and gangs coming into the United States from Mexico. Partisan media reporters falsely claimed that Trump was slandering all Mexicans. Trumps initial robustness in seeing off liberal media attempts to derail his campaign was very appealing to many of us. It appealed to me.

3. Trump's initial put downs of Governor Jeb Bush were witty and not cruel. "Jeb's holding a meeting tonight up the street right this moment," he said, "and everybody there is asleep."

4. Trump's spur of the moment remark to a journalist about John McCain not being a war hero was fair enough and again quite refreshing in a way, The fact that the media tried to manipulate reportage of the remark to discredit Trump, was a further reason for many of us to stand by him. An interviewer had put it to Trump: "John McCain says your supporters are crazies." Then in an attempt to prevent Trump answering the interviewer had continued: "And John McCain is a war hero." It was at this point that Trump said: "He's not a war hero. What's he's a war hero because he got captured? I prefer my heroes not to get captured." All fair enough since the citation of McCain as a war hero was being used explicitly and dishonorably to make McCain's criticisms of Trump unanswerable. Follow up reportage of the incident was often unfair to Trump, failing to mention the initial quotation from John McCain which had led Trump to dismiss the epithet war hero when the epithet itself was being used to prevent him answering McCain's slander of his supporters.

5. Trump's response to debate moderator Megyn Kelly's legitamate questions about his attitude to women, were also witty and robust. His later persistent internet criticisms of Megyn Kelly were unfair but one had the feeling that Megyn Kelly was revelling in the elevation his enmity had provided to her career. So most of us did not take offence at this stage.

6. Trump's low brow remarks about rival candidate Carly Fiorina's appearance were the first wake up call for many that even if Trump got the nomination, he might not be worthy of support. But the remarks in themselves did not stop his momentum. Similar low brow remarks about Rand Paul and other candidates would over time accrue into a significant disaffection for Trump among many loyal Republican Party voters. This disaffection is not going to go away or be stifled by rhetorical incitement to hate Hillary. The beating heart of the Republican Party does not now and never will hate Hillary. We oppose her honorably in the political sphere. That is all.

7. The field of candidates remained large. Jeb Bush couldn't walk away from the fight which he had spent a hundred million dollars on and which he had been expected to win. I also think he stayed in for so long on a point of principle, ie to answer Trump's insults to his family, and out of regard for his supporters. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz stayed in nearly all the way because both had a reasonable chance of beating Trump if everybody else dropped out. I believe there is some evidence that Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey stayed in the race after a certain period only to run pass defence for Trump. I think Governor John Kasich of Ohio was doing similar. But with Kasich the jury's still out. I am suggesting that Kasich did not attend this week's selection convention because he knows full well some of us, including at one stage the commentator Charles Krauthammer, think he has "an arrangement" with Trump. If I'm right Mr Kasich may be trying to foster a plausible deniability as to the motivations for his long running campaign which continued long after he had any chance of securing the nomination. Mr Kasich only dropped out of the race after Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz had done so.

8. Doctor Ben Carson stayed in the race close to the finish because he always had a reasonable chance of winning. He seems to have forgiven Trump's suggestion that his references in his autobiography to a youthful penchant for violence were akin to "a pathology like child abuse." It is likely that Trump made peace with him simply by offering him a direct role in the Administration should Trump win the Presidency. This peace is not to Doctor Carson's credit in my view. Governor Mike Huckabee has also reached an accomodation with Trump, possibly rendered easier by Trump never having found it necessary to demean Mr Huckabee as vituperatively as he did some others. Huckabee was never a serious threat to him in the polls. A daughter of Huckabee's at some stage in the campaign became a Trump staffer. I wonder.

9. Over the course of the year, the large field of candidates slowly thinned. Too slowly to allow any united opposition to Trump. The seventy percent of registered party members who didn't want him most of the time, was always divided between at least four main alternatives and at least another five who had no chance but were still in the race. Some of the also rans were probably there because this was their time to shine. I mean they knew they were part of a huge story. They knew that Trump's participation was making the process a world wide media event. This was their chance to be seen and heard by the largest audience most of them would ever encounter. The likes of Senator Rand Paul and Lyndsey Graham, probably realised this whole event was bringing them personal publicity that they would never see again. They actually weren't able to walk away.

10. Most of the candidates refrained for most of the campaign from confronting Trump with the sort of put downs he was dishing out to them whenever it suited him. This holding of fire, while they hoped Trump's fire might clear the decks of some of their other opponents, made Trump look invulnerable, larger than life, supreme among lesser men. It was not good strategy.

11. Finally Marco Rubio landed some master punches on Trump with the classic line: "You're not a self made man. If you hadn't inherited 200 million dollars, you'd be selling two dollar watches on the Brooklyn bridge." This at least made Trump look mortal. But it was too little too late. And some of the other candidates and not a few commentators, sought short term advantage over Rubio by pretending to think he had let himself down by speaking so directly about Trump. They still didn't understand the situation. Trump was walking away with the ball game precisely because no one else had offered him any serious opposition.

12. Also late in the campaign, Chris Christie aided Trump with a particularly vituperative attack on Marco Rubio. It was classic showboating but it flustered the younger man. Chris Christie's attack was in my view carried out solely to help Trump and not with any reaslistic prospect of helping Christie's own campaign.

13. The media having taken a drubbing from Trump early on, particularly in regard to his exploitation of public concerns about the historic liberal bias of that same media, remained reluctant to vent more serious critiques of the Trump candidacy. There was little discussion of Trump's property deals involving known members of New York's five mafia families. There was little examination of Trump's four separate business bankruptcies and the circumstances under which banks continued lending him billions of dollars following each bankruptcy. There was no public exposition of the fact that Trump's entire fortune is based on borrowings. I am suggesting that Donald Trump is not a successful businessman in any positive wealth creating sense of that word. He is a successful borrower of billions from New York based banks who keep lending to companies controlled by him in spite of the fact that he keeps refusing to repay the billions they had previously lent him.

14. Using a mix of internet trolling techniques, genuine wit, courage, sheer gall, occasional insight, and a fine instinct for the popular mood, Trump has defied the expectations of media pundits and political power brokers to gain the Republican Party nomination for the Presidency of the United States. My prediction is he will not win. But he may just finish off the political grouping that has allowed him to hijack it. For ever. In that sense I am referring to his candidacy as a death ride. I am concerned that the Republican Party itself may not come back from this one.


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