It’s time to embrace it: This Donald Trump Thing is happening.
Not the President Trump thing. That’s crazy talk. I mean the GOP Nominee Thing. Barring some epic Trump meltdown on Super Tuesday or a major misstep down the road, it’s as good as done.
No more pretzeling our brains into knots trying to avoid it. Inhale. Exhale. Accept it. If you look hard enough, there’s even a bright side. Now I’m talking crazy, you say? Well, hear me out.
Fact: Trump continues to enjoy substantial leads in the polls. He’s even beating Marco Rubio, the GOP establishment’s Last Great Hope, in Rubio’s home state of Florida. This despite the fact Rubio and Ted Cruz took turns in the last debate figuratively punching Trump in the face on policy issues.
Fact: Trump has shown little or no ability to give White House-worthy explication for his positions on major issues. He barks stubby, declarative responses that fall short of the mark on nuance but go extra long on Alpha Male Gusto.
Healthcare policy? Lots of plans! Competition! It’ll be great! The Israeli-Palestinian conflict? It’s a deal! I do deals! It’ll be great!
Fact: Trump voters don’t care about this. The GOP’s runaway base is so sick of Washington’s phony election-year promises that it is intent on flipping over all the furniture and burning the freaking house down.
Thankfully, the rest of us haven’t lost our minds.
When Trump stands as one of the two final choices before voters, his quirks and flaws will be probed and dissected in a much harsher light. That’s not the media tricking the GOP base into nominating Trump. That’s what happens every presidential election cycle.
Which brings us to that bright side I mentioned. The GOP nomination is as far as Circus Trumpsimus goes. He’ll be toppled by someone, be it Hillary Clinton or, should she implode in email-gate, Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden or a late-arriving Michael Bloomberg.
This election cycle has been crazy, but I have too much faith in the common sense of the average American to think they’ll turn over the White House keys to a guy who, for all we know, might actually be a few races short of a full ballot. (Come on, you’ve thought it too!)
When he goes down in November, taking the GOP’s Senate majority with him, party elders will glare at the base and scream, “SEE! WE TOLD YOU SO!!!”
Then they’ll do what they said they wanted to do after Barack Obama’s 2012 victory. They’ll stop being the Party of No.
They’ll point the GOP toward where the broader electorate has been headed for a generation now – a place that’s more socially tolerant, less reactionary about change. They’ll still be conservatives, but compromise will no longer be a dirty word.
The Trumpites and the Tea Party set will form their own ideologically pure rump party.
The Age of Gridlock will end, finally. Is that worth eight more months of Trump?
I’m swallowing hard when I say this, but I vote yes.
Eric: 704-358-5145; firstname.lastname@example.org