Is God lending a hand to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign?
I know that’s a borderline blasphemous question to ask. Presumably, our Creator has better things to do than monitor America’s electoral politics. But I can’t come up with any other reason to explain Trumpmania.
First things first: There is no doubt the Republican electorate loves the Manhattan mogul. His poll numbers explain that well enough.
But popular uprisings have historically been suppressed by the party honchos and connected elites. Clamping down on insurgent candidates is well-honed practice that goes back to Teddy Roosevelt and Andrew Jackson. Yet Trump seems to be leading a Jacksonian march straight into the White House. He’s treating basic political orthodoxy like his own personal punching bag – Trump branded and everything.
By far, the Republican Party has been the biggest casualty in Trump’s jihad against Washington torpor. The billionaire is winning over GOP voters by insulting every accepted party soundbite to date.
Just take a look at his recent win in South Carolina. The Palmetto State isn’t exactly known for strict family values. But it does have a sizable military presence, and tends to be more war hawkish than the rest of the Union.
Normally, retail politics forces candidates to appeal to voters who value someone that identifies with their needs. Somehow, that memo never reached Trump’s untidy desk.
In the debate leading up to the primary, Trump violated the Grand Old Party’s 12 Commandment: Never, ever, ever, ever criticize the Iraq War or George W. Bush’s handling of the War on Terror. The Donald not only tore into the efficacy of the Iraq invasion, he criticized the dubious rationale for overthrowing Saddam Hussein in the first place.
“We should have never been in Iraq. We have destabilized the Middle East,” Trump told moderator John Dickerson. “They lied. They said there were weapons of mass destruction, there were none. And they knew there were none. There were no weapons of mass destruction.”
Trump then accused President Bush of not keeping the country safe, citing the 9/11 terror attacks. And to top it off, he refused to take back his support for impeaching the Fortunate Son.
In Republican circles, that’s the equivalent of performing an abortion live on stage.
The guttural scream by the professional GOP class over the Bush derision was palpable. Charlie Cooke of National Review derided Trump as an “unexpected ally of Code Pink.” Glenn Beck, a man who once called for Barack Obama’s impeachment, described Trump’s comments as “shameful.” “Trump Collapsing in South Carolina,” declared the Republican shill site RedState.
Chickenhawk ink slingers like Bill Kristol and Jonah Goldberg were deeply offended that their party’s frontrunner questioning their wisdom on Iraq. But how did the people of South Carolina, the people who are well-acquainted with soldiers who did the fighting, react to Trump’s near-dismissal of their sacrifice?
By awarding him a victory in all but two of the state’s counties. Trashing the war effort had no negative impact in a state that depends heavily on military spending. Disparaging a highly popular president did nothing to cut short his lead. Heck, even getting into a verbal spat with Pope Francis and praising the baby-killing outfit Planned Parenthood just days before the primary didn’t stop Trump’s decisive victory.
That right there, dear reader, is incredible. It’s no New Testament miracle. But it sure makes the former reality TV star look like he’s immortal.
Donald Trump just swept the Nevada caucuses, and has the wind at his back heading into Super Tuesday. His number one foil, former Florida governor and establishment darling Jeb Bush, recently dropped out of the race. It was the latest in a long list of heads taken by King Donald. Should Trump defy all expert prognostications and win the nomination, it will be the biggest shellacking the institutionalized Republican Party has seen since Barry Goldwater.
So again, I ask: What explains the success of Trumpism outside of divine intervention?
I don’t have the answer. But I do know that Washington playmakers on both sides of the aisle made a pact that talk of untrammeled immigration, stifling political correctness, and the harmful effects of free trade on low-skill workers was out of bounds. Trump defenestrated that entire notion when he announced his White House run from the floor of Trump Tower on June 16, 2015. Had he done it from the roof of his luxurious abode, the Republican-Democrat consensus will still be lying flat and broken on 5th Avenue.
That’s how powerful the Trump movement has been. To the traditional American style of statecraft, a loose cannon like Donald J. Trump is worrisome. But sometimes, as Rod Dreher quipped, “when a sniper doesn’t get the job done, you need the guy with a bazooka.” Trump makes for a helluva a weapon. Some might even say he has God’s wrath on his side.
Win or lose this election, Trump still wins. And he wouldn’t have it any other way.