I have to address the rise of Donald Trump in the presidential campaign. Some may wonder how we arrived at this point. How come there is plenty of anger at the establishment of both political parties? To explain this, we have to look at recent history.
In 1988, George H.W. Bush was re-elected over Michael Dukakis. Dukakis was torpedoed by one ad and one video. The ad concerned Willie Horton, a prisoner on weekend furlough who raped one woman and assaulted her fiancee. As a result, Horton received two life sentences. That was strike one. The video of Dukakis driving a tank may have worked in a different situation but it was that image that doomed a presidential campaign. (See the blues bar scene in Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear. Dukakis is in one of the portraits.)
George H.W. Bush was voted out of office in 1992 over the “Read My Lips” pledge. Bill Clinton was a young governor and voted into office. Within two years, the Republicans took over the House of Representatives and brought in the Contract with America.
The Republican base, feeling great after getting in Newt Gingrich and the Contract, set their sights on making Bill Clinton a one-term president. The Republican Party nominated Bob Dole, an establishment senator. It was “his” turn. Dole didn’t have many appealing qualities in the eyes of the base, so Bill Clinton was re-elected. (It was Bill’s second term that led us to Monica and the famous “is is” statement.) The anger may have started here, but appeared underground during most of the George W. Bush presidency. We now know that issues came to a head in 2006 during the mid-terms resulting in the Democrats taking over the House.
In 2008, Barack Obama faced another Republican establishment candidate, John McCain. Again, it was “his turn” (sound familiar). At this time, the housing bubble popped and caused McCain to suspend his campaign to participate in votes related to TARP. Now, the base was upset at McCain for his votes and was then barely defeated by Barack Obama.
After Barack Obama was inaugurated, the Tea Party was formed by the conservative base to protest policies by both parties. The Tea Party was co-opted by the Republican establishment but by this time, the fire was underway. The fire was fully involved in 2012 when the Republicans nominated another establishment figure, Mitt Romney. By this time, the conservative base realized that their issues would not get an audience. Instead, it was more of the same. Barack Obama was re-elected by a slimmer margin than 2008 for a simple reason – 4 million voters stayed home instead of voting for Mitt Romney. Many reasons have been offered for the number of voters staying home, including Mitt’s Mormon religion. Another reason could be the abandonment of conservative values by the Republican Party.
After the 2012 election and not seeing an economic recovery from the 2008 housing crisis, the anger just exploded and looking for an outlet. The outlet came from an unexpected place – Donald J. Trump. Donald Trump already had media recognition and his speeches struck a nerve with many people. The first one was illegal immigration, and it just snowballed from there. His broad appeal to many people including minority groups initiated a groundswell of support.
Because of the groundswell of support and the change from the status quo from the Establishment point of view, Trump is now seen as a threat to the Establishment of both parties. He’s going after the political class in a way that no one has ever done before. We know what Trump is going to do in office, and it has the professional politicians and the other members of the “political class” shaking. Why are they coming after Trump so hard?
Simple. Donald Trump will end the free ride for many individuals in the political class if he gets into office. One of the most dangerous things in the world is a man whose meal ticket isn’t getting punched.
The Republican Establishment is trying everything it can to deny the nomination to Trump. It’s a rhyme to Barry Goldwater and 1964. Ted Cruz might be akin to Ronald Reagan in this rhyme to 1964. But, 2016 could become 1968 for the Republicans. If Trump can’t win enough delegates to win on the first ballot, then a brokered convention becomes a possibility. If that happens, many of the base will simply walk away from the Republican party unless a serious economic event or a terrorist attack takes place. If one of these scenarios become reality, Donald Trump will win.
If the brokered convention becomes a reality, Hillary Clinton will win the election. The Republican establishment would rather hand the election to Clinton than put Trump into office. It all comes down to money and power. If Trump gets in office, it will be the equivalent of a political earthquake.
The people are restless, angry, and looking for a change. But woe unto the person who becomes President in 2017. The big recession is coming and all that matters is the timing.