Friday, October 14, 2016

This whole election thing.

Listen. We've gotta have a talk about Donald.

The Republican party, for all its faults, has been good the past few decades for rallying around whoever's leading it. There may have been ideological chasms within the party, but gosh-darn-it, they kept them pretty quiet.

I think this is fairly common within most right-wing parties lately, frankly. Ol' Stevie Harper kept his ducks in a row in Canada for over a decade, but of course this was also due in part to his personal OCD tendencies. He forbade people to talk to the media: his cabinet, public servants of all stripes, his dog (probably).

Fast-forward to the past few months and the Republicans. A lot of the party's stalwarts are in open revolt against their candidate -- and, rightly so, because Trump is a total dick. But, you know, the primary process produced this result, and that's what those parties go with these days, and a lot of people voted for him, as opposed to Marco "The Golden Boy" Rubio, Ted "The Canadian" Cruz, and Ben "Living Proof Brain Surgeons Aren't Necessarily Smart" Carson.

So, people in the primaries voted for him. And a lot of people have bought into his message -- and, incredibly (to me), stuck by him despite all of the crazy things he's said (and all of the insane tapes that have come to light recently).

Two things jump out at me about this.

One, the True Trump Believers (TTBs) will stick with him, no matter what he says. And, because his schtick is "anti-establishment" and always has been, any ridiculous, offensive or incredible thing he says will only cement the TTBs' belief that their man is who he says he is: an outsider who says exactly what's on his mind (even if that includes, say, explaining to a reporter privately about his propensity for grabbing women by the pussy).

It's not unlike people who believe in a divine power, and are faced with a shitty situation. You go to church every week, read your bible, say your prayers, and your young daughter still dies from leukemia? Well, "the Lord works in mysterious ways." And "it's all in God's plan." He's "testing our faith." From my perspective, though: mysterious = dickish, this "plan" seems to cause one of the humans he "loves" an extreme amount of personal anguish, and if your God is omnipotent why would He want to "test" your faith in Him? To a sceptic, this makes no sense.

Two, this is indeed going to split the Republicans in two, at least for now. You'll have a small stump of Trump devotees, and you'll have a group which will follow the more-mainstream branch of the party (your Paul Ryans, your Mitch McConnells; questionable people, but hey, that's where a lot of 'em are at). It's hard to say which camp the Evangelicals will end up in; my money's on the conventional-Republican side of things.

I think that by the 2018 midterms, the Trumpites will have shriveled up into a small branch of the party; maybe they'll even take up the banner of a currently-much-smaller party (like the Libertarians, the Constitutionalists, the New Black Panthers (heh)). Then the mainstreamers will regain the Republican name, and things might go back to what passes for normal in that wacked-out country down there. Memories are short.

After the Democrats thrashed them in the 2012 election, there was legitimate soul-searching amongst the leadership of the Republican party. They produced a report which said, quite rightly, they need to learn how to appeal to non-white voters, women, and younger voters.

But this was the party's leadership talking, not the rank-and-file. So what did said rank-and-file do in 2016? They nominated Donald Fucking Trump as their guy to run for president. Thus, there's a huge disconnect between the average Republican voter -- the kind that would vote in a primary, anyway -- and the leadership of the party. Hell, this leadership wanted Jeb Bush as their dude, and we all know how that turned out.

Now, yes, of course, there was a massive split on the left as well: Clinton vs. Sanders. But let's not forget how Bernie, even after the dirty tricks pulled on him by the party's elite, both before and during the convention, still comes out stumping for Hillary. For once, the left-wing party (heh) is the united one! Their hands certainly aren't squeaky-clean, and yes, I'd have loved to have seen Sanders get the nomination, but that wasn't going to happen, let's face it.

All of this to say, I'm schadenfreude-ing pretty hard right now.