Trump’s Deserved Moment of Triumph
By ROD DREHER
Trump didn’t steal the Republican Party. It was his for the taking, because the people who run it and the institutions surrounding it failed.
I get this. I really do. It’s mostly how I feel, though the one consolation I take from this debacle is that genuine creativity may emerge out of Trump’s destruction of the old GOP. It’s a small bit of comfort, but I’ll take what I can. If Marco Rubio or any other of the GOP bunch were being nominated now, I would not be excited at all, or even interested. I prefer that to being freaked out by the prospect of a Trump presidency, but I would prefer to have someone to vote for, instead of against.
But then, I’ve wanted that for years.
Because I’m feeling contrarian, I want to give Donald Trump his due in this, his hour of triumph. He pulled off something that nobody imagined he would do. I remember watching him give a political speech for the first time — my first time watching him, I mean. He was addressing a big crowd in Mobile. I watched the thing nearly gape-mouthed. I could not believe the crudeness, the chaos, and the idiocy of the speech.This won’t go anywhere, I thought, but it’s going to be fun watching him implode.
I laughed a lot at Donald Trump back then. Who’s laughing now?
Here’s Tim Stanley, writing from Cleveland for The Telegraph. Excerpt:
A year ago, Trump was a joke. A media circus. A novelty. We assumed – I assumed – he was in it for the giggles. I thought he’d drop out like he’d down twice before. I thought his total lack of experience, his profanity and his recklessness would count against him in a primary among conservatives. But the very nature of conservatism has changed.
It was likely the rise of Sarah Palin in 2008 that made this possible – a candidate who suggested there was a choice to be made between intellectualism and common sense, and who inspired deep devotion among those who identified with her. Folks don’t identify with Trump in the same, personal way as they did with the hockey mom from Alaska. How can they? He flies everywhere in a private jet and has a model as a wife. But his issues did strike a chord. The Wall cut through.
Trump didn’t just defy the establishment. He defied what we thought for years were the outsiders: the ideological conservatives who hitherto cast themselves as the rebels. By beating Ted Cruz, Trump actually ran an insurgency against the insurgent. He demonstrated that what people wanted wasn’t something more ideologically pure – as Cruz assumed – but something that was totally different.
That is one big positive we can take from this campaign. If Trump can win when challenging the Republican position on trade and war, maybe someone in the future can win while challenging their positions on other things.
Donald Trump did, in fact, beat the hell out of the GOP Establishment. But let’s also note here that the GOP Establishment beat itself. If you haven’t yet, check out conservative writer Matthew Sheffield’s evisceration of the Republican Industrial Complex. It was e-mailed to me by a Republican friend who until fairly recently was part of that world, and knows about it intimately.
This is also a good time to return to Tucker Carlson’s great Politico piece from January, talking about how the failure of the Republican Industrial Complex created the opening for Trump.