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Mar 1, 2016

Rundle: Trump, beloved of racists, destroyer of worlds (and parties)

Donald Trump will sweep most of the Super Tuesday primaries -- and blow the Republican Party to smithereens.

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With Super Tuesday almost upon us, and the prospect of decisive and sweeping victories for both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, it might be a good moment to stop the Vegas malarkey and not mention that I’m writing this in a strip club that serves 25 flavours of daiquiri slushie, and turn our attention to what the hell is actually going on. This may not be as composed as such things should be, because reality currently is not.

To the raw politics first: in the 11 states in play for the Republicans on Super Tuesday — Texas, Oklahoma, Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Virginia, Tennessee, Minnesota, Vermont, Massachusetts and Alaska, Donald Trump is on track to win all but Texas, and possibly Arkansas. In Texas, Ted Cruz is leading by about 10 points, which may be enough to keep him safe. And he may challenge Trump in Arkansas. But that’s it. Barring upsets, Trump will sweep the rest of the board. The contests are still proportional (though it’s complicated in Texas), so others will amass delegates, but the psychological effect will be phenomenal.

Trump leads by sheer force of personality now; after tomorrow he will lead by the sort of margin that, in other times and with other candidates, he would simply be the candidate, and the only people still in the race would be the nuisances, like wacky Ben Carson. But this isn’t a normal year. Donald Trump may lose votes due to his ham-fisted attempt not to publicly denounce David Duke, the former KKK leader. Trump’s furious backpedal this morning was that he hadn’t heard the question when he was questioned about Duke, even though he replied, “Look I don’t know David Duke …”

Not denouncing a KKK leader is usually a big no-no for a candidate, but Trump has proved the reverse principle on everything else, and he may be able to portray this as yet another gotcha by the liberal media. His rallies are getting uglier — today, for the first time, his media baiting turn to violence, when a Secret Service agent put a Time magazine photographer in a choke-hold and slammed him to the floor, to the cheers of the audience (the photographer had moved outside of the media pen designated for the hated press).

Whatever the effect of this latest stuff on his voting turnout, it puts the Republican Party deeper into a crisis, which began at the end of last week following a Republican debate that descended into personal insult as a mode of debate. After it, Marco Rubio decided to go for broke and commit utterly to the struggle on those terms. Thus in the space of a day did the Tea Party-supported Cuban-American senator, custodian of the American Dream, turn into a nightclub comic, working blue. He has now questioned Trump’s honesty, business smarts, his looks, his fake skin tan, his urinary continence, and, with a riff on small hands, the size of his penis. You can’t help but admire Rubio’s commitment to this, or his willingness to cut a losing streak and change tactics.

The problem, of course, is that for genuine independents and for moderate Republicans, the spectacle is one disqualifying the party from serious consideration in any respect — and indeed immolating the whole Republican project. The party founded as an anti-slavery party (or opposed to slavery, in new territories) out of the Whigs in the late 1850s is now in a situation where it could come apart. Could? Has begun to. The real crisis of the Republican Party began last week, when Rubio signed on to #neverTrump (and Cruz did not). It occurred as numerous right-wing pundits said they would never vote for Trump. On Monday they were joined by Ben Sasse, a senator from Nebraska, spoken of as a potential presidential candidate down the road, who said he would never vote for Trump.

That’s the beginning of the crack-up right there. It will widen. It will create the conditions for a brokered convention, should Trump fail to gain a majority of delegates before the process ends in June. The Republican Party now faces the fact that a Trump candidacy would be disaster for them, whether he win  or lose. There is ever indication that he would lose, and lose big, when he is not competing in the 25% of the population who call themselves Republican. But even if he won, his erraticism and ego would make any form of governance impossible, even venal right-wing governance. Right up to a week ago, the Republican establishment thought they might be able to deal with a Donald Trump. Then he announced that he would strengthen the libel laws so that newspapers couldn’t tell lies about him (he couldn’t, for about 16 different constitutional reasons), and the white supremacist stuff came up. The libel thing was interesting: there’s no voter upside to it, what do they care? It was Trump’s irritation with news reports about him that did it, and a measure of how he would conduct himself in power — sheer ignorance, whim and fancy. The Republicans, priding themselves on being heirs to, well, the Republic, are about to have as their leader a Third World-style strongman.

That this is happening is extraordinary. The immediate cause is the structure of the parties themselves — the primary system adopted in the 1910, which allows anyone to present themselves as “a Republican” and campaign for the candidacy (but not the leadership) of the party. Yet a look at the other side shows how little the structure is to blame. Bernie Sanders is an interloper too, but he cuts with the grain of the party he is working in. And anyone who didn’t wouldn’t get anywhere in the Democrats.

Progressivism still has a political identity. “Conservatism”/the right doesn’t.

It is collapsing across the world into atomised sub-movements of despite and fantasy. The right is simply an accumulated set of resentments at a changing world, and its “thought” leaders are simply a collection of ageing white hysterics, mostly but not wholly men, projecting their anxieties and hatreds outwards, as a way of stopping their minds from coming apart. The primary system (what a name!) has made it possible for a personification of that to emerge, in the form of Trump. Our system makes it more difficult, so they lurk in News Corp and the think tanks, protected from market forces, which would let them know that there is no real market for fantasies. Over here, Trump’s victory will bring the contradictions of this decades-long fantasy to a point where it can no longer be ignored. What this means for society as a whole can wait for a bit. Normal service will be resumed.

On another matter entirely, it’s Sadie Hawkins Day over here, the 29th of February, when marriage proposals from women are entertained. I will be shortlisting any with a 90K+ plus baseline salary, shared interests, such as me not working, and a flat screen and sofa (send picture of flat screen and sofa). Previous contestants need not apply. As in South Australia, a cash deposit is available for the return of the empty container. More daiquiri! Cookie dough flavour! Bad To the Bone has begun! Onwards!

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24 comments

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24 thoughts on “Rundle: Trump, beloved of racists, destroyer of worlds (and parties)

  1. Saugoof

    I am 100% convinced that Trump doesn’t actually want to be president. At least he has no interest in doing the work of being president. All he wants is the ego-boost that comes from the confirmation that he’s the most important person in the world. So he doesn’t care what he says to get votes and certainly doesn’t care about not being able to follow up if he won the job. The only goal is getting there, screw whatever happens later.

    Pity about the rest of us.

  2. andrew strobel

    So, in Oz, we worry that some senate hopefuls are “gaming’ the voting system, whereas, in the USA, millions of frenzied racists are promoting a charlatan for POTUS – i like our problems

  3. paddy

    Magnificent work Guy.
    Now then…It’s probably a good time to fire up the batmobile and get out of Vegas, before some Nigerian Princess offers you her bank balance and hand in marriage.

  4. AR

    This is no longer weird, it’s gone beyond that – it’s like the vibration & cacophony of breaking the sound barrier, thereafter is soundless and smooth as clotted cream.
    Given the comparison which AndyS makes, I wouldn’t be averse to a similarly tectonic shake-up here.
    Small point grundle -not sure what is meant by “..sub-movements of despite and fantasy” – was it simple typo/auto correct for ‘spite and..’ or “desperate fantasy”?

  5. john jeffery

    The choice is racism similar to Australia with Trump or World War 3 with Hillary. The War parties are itching to go against Russia in Syria and the Ukraine. What has Russia done wrong??

  6. Eric Vigo

    @Paddy

    “before some Nigerian Princess offers you her bank balance and hand in marriage”

    at least he can get divorced 30 minutes later. Bliss!

  7. archibald

    @AR
    despite = contempt or disdain

  8. AR

    Vigo – I don’t quite see our very own E.J. Thribbs as Adrian Mole in his Cappuccino Daze.
    Our Man in Grundle is into sterner stuff.

  9. Jaybuoy

    The Kardashian candidate..it was inevitable..Trumps rise is the purest demonstration of the influence of social media and notoriety on what passes for a political process..It’s a form of mass hysteria..

  10. AR

    Archie – a “sub movement of … fantasy”, clear as a bell but “contempt/disdain”?
    Of… whom/what, “an accumulated set of resentments at a changing world,“?

  11. zut alors

    ‘…shared interests, such as me not working,…’

    For Crikey readers’ sake & purely selfish reasons may Sadie Hawkins elude you for at least another 4 years.

  12. rhwombat

    Crickey! Grundle’s in danger of crossing the event horizon of Donald Drumpf’s pulchritude. Time to get out of Vegas, Guy (but thanks for the deathless prose).

  13. Dog's Breakfast

    On the day I was born

    The nurses gathered round …………….

    “The right is simply an accumulated set of resentments at a changing world, and its “thought” leaders are simply a collection of ageing white hysterics, mostly but not wholly men, projecting their anxieties and hatreds outwards, as a way of stopping their minds from coming apart. ”

    I have given the right much time, and a lot of searching, to see if I could understand their mindset, their underlying philosophy, and I have failed.

    It always came back to this, GR. Sums it up in such a way that I no longer need to look. I was looking for sanity, in an insane world.

    Bad to the bone…………..

  14. Norman Hanscombe

    Among the asinine junk peddled by Crikey Commissariat’s cheer squad I may have missed the point I’m about to make of course; but what has someone been ingesting when he writes an article about someone “not denouncing a KKK leader is usually a big no-no for a candidate”, then omits to tell subscribers that the KKK ‘leader’ mentioned by Guy played a major role reforming the KKK and removing many of its more abhorrent features before standing down, and nowadays he leads a life that’s less dubious than that of many of the ‘progressive’ U.S. Democrats beloved of Guy et al?
    I’m sure Guy will check and let us know if there’s a factual error in my Post. Well perhaps it’s more accurate to say I HOPE he will.

  15. James O'Neill

    Does it really matter whether Trump or Clinton win? It might be a bit different if Sanders does, but both of the other two are completely captive to the 1% who actually make the decisions. Clinton is the more dangerous of the two because she doesn’t have to be persuaded to maintain the US tradition of endless war for endless profit. Her record speaks volumes.
    Here in Australia we should be thinking about our survival strategies.

  16. Justin Harding

    I’m not sure there’s anything left to say or write. It’s rather like the dying days of Tone the Toole’s prime ministership. It had become such a grotesquerie that even the most revolting and ill-considered policy failed to raise barely an eyebrow by way of surprise.

  17. Shakira Hussein

    No 90k baseline salary, no working tv, and no interest in your not working – not when you’re writing is as entertaining as this and there’s no tv as an alternative source of entertainment. I do however have a rather nice IKEA sofabed.

  18. Shakira Hussein

    *your writing.

  19. Jack Robertson

    I am sure I’m not the only one here growing increasingly heartbroken for Americans over this. I find it impossible to despise the kinds of people who are supporting Trump. They are largely kind, decent and humble people. They salvaged the world from two brands of European totalitarianism and remain for all the world’s cynicism deep idealists. I would probably rather be lost, scared, broke or sick among a group of this kind of American than any other nationality.

    These are the people who have been screwed from pretty much every domestic political direction since about Kennedy, if not Rooseveldt.

    And they’ve just had enough, is what. It’s horrible and it’s heartbreaking.

  20. Gavin Moodie

    I’m not so sure that Australia’s ‘system makes it more difficult’ for a Trump like leader to emerge.

    ‘ . . . his erraticism and ego would make any form of governance impossible, even venal right-wing governance.

    ‘ . . . a measure of how he would conduct himself in power —  sheer ignorance, whim and fancy.’

    These read to me like pretty good descriptions of Tony Abbott.

  21. archibald

    @AR

    You left out the “and” – so it would be:
    “It is collapsing across the world into atomised sub-movements of despite (= disdain) and fantasy.”

    This is not a common use of the word these days – some dictionaries will flag is as archaic. GR is waxing poetic.

  22. drsmithy

    I am 100% convinced that Trump doesn’t actually want to be president. At least he has no interest in doing the work of being president. All he wants is the ego-boost that comes from the confirmation that he’s the most important person in the world. So he doesn’t care what he says to get votes and certainly doesn’t care about not being able to follow up if he won the job. The only goal is getting there, screw whatever happens later.

    Agreed. If he wins he’ll be like a dog that’s caught its tail. Fortunately, there’s more than enough bureaucracy to run the joint with him being little more than a figurehead.

    That said, even if he makes nomination it’s a struggle to see him winning. Outside of the old angry white guy demographic, he has near zero approval.

    I do think he’s the least worst option, however. Bernie, of course, being the only good one.

  23. browser

    Yeah. Ok Norm in your extremist right wing views it’s okay to be endorsed by a former KKK leader. Normie, you are deluded. Sorry just a post from an illiterate but hopefully sane contributor who can see through right wing nut job crap.

  24. Paul H

    I communicate with a guy in Sthn. Illinois, and ordinary skilled working guy, as we discuss tech stuff on a forum he runs, and which I Admin here. He’s rational, smart, though not a political sophisticate, as such. Here’s his summing up after I touched on the Primaries with him. For what it’s worth, from someone in the middle of it.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    The one thing I don’t understand about the Trump hysteria is why there isn’t even more over Cruz. That guy is a complete psychopath and far more dangerous than Trump. Come next January one of those two or Hillary Clinton is going to be President of the United States. I’m not sure who is going to win but I damn sure know who is going to lose. And that is the American people.

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