The 2016 Republican presidential nomination process is reminiscent of Hollywood blockbuster movies that increase tension while moving toward a dramatic conclusion. Donald Trump, the unlikely and unbelievable top contender, is positioned in the role of anti-hero rather than the knight in shining armor.
He has tapped into a well of anger and resentment and fear in the electorate which has placed him like a barbarian pounding at the door of the castle of conservatism. He is demanding to be placed on the throne despite no legitimate claim through experience or ability to sit upon it.
His rally in Illinois was recently broken up by organized provocateurs. This understandably captured world attention since it made the U.S. look like one of the dysfunctional nations that we are usually trying to stabilize. The CNN-produced spectacle was appalling not in its violence or its significance but in its childish venality.
A bunch of agitators bent on seizing 15 seconds of fame plotted and executed a plan to agitate, provoke and prance around like five-year-olds seeking attention. It didn’t matter what attention they received so long as attention was paid.
If the “protesters” truly wanted to make a statement against Mr. Trump’s odious bigotry and divisiveness, then an organized and peaceable protest would have been effective. The people who showed up in Illinois appeared to be rejects from the “occupy” movement. It appeared they would have been as happy to “occupy” Starbucks or Chipotle so long as it meant TV coverage and free lattes or burritos.
Unfortunately, the mess the people watched merely diverted attention from the fact that the GOP has two freshman senators and a political neophyte as viable candidates with little life or political experience to prepare them for the hardest job in the world.
“The Donald” was dubbed a “short-fingered” vulgarian by Spy magazine in the 1980s and a vulgarian is a vulgar person, especially one who delights in the conspicuous display of wealth. Mr. Trump was a regular target of the magazine and it bestowed other funny but frightening nicknames on the “bombastic” and “cartoonish” Donald Trump: “hustler,” “shuttle-owning dilettante megalomaniac,” and “symbol of greed, vulgarity, and bluster,” and remember they called him a “charlatan, a liar, a cheat.”
Mr. Trump has run such a negative campaign that any outrage or insult is almost unnoticeable and every misanthropic comment made helps increase his popularity as a candidate in the primary. However, this popularity is more like a resentment-fueled protest which will not carry over into the general election.
The American people do not need Donald Trump in order to deal with the issues he has touched upon. Candidates of his kind have appeared before and when candidates must appeal to the worst part of a citizen’s character — fear, jealousy or hopelessness — that in and of itself is a message that they have no answer or solution for the situations causing the negative emotion.
The American people are upset with the political process, the empty promises of politicians and the shameless influence peddling in Washington, D.C. but they are not conned by the sugared words of the Donald.
The Republicans helped create a conservative Supreme Court that, in the Citizen’s United decision, adopted the lies of lobbyists to overturn bipartisan campaign finance laws by equating unrestrained campaign spending with free speech. Despite the promises of current candidates, a president cannot “overturn” the decision. A president who is a true leader can work with Congress to pass constitutionally correct laws that limit the role of money in a political campaign and in Washington, D.C.
President Obama must select and the Senate should approve the next Supreme Court Justice who must understand that the executive and the legislative branches must make a law that the people want so real campaign finance reform may be ushered in by our next president working with a progressive and sensible Congress. The task calls for a leader and not a Trump.