If Donald Trump is in fact the (GOP) people’s choice, as his “winning, winning, winning” so far seems to indicate, then why are Republican establishment operatives scheming to wrestle from him the party nomination?
I ask this question not because their scheming isn’t entirely understandable. Trump’s refusal to disavow authentically the KKK and David Duke, his rabid xenophobia, his willingness to boast (in a presidential debate no less) of his penis size: these are clearly good enough reasons – in a growing and apparently infinite list of reasons – why Trump is and should be unacceptable to party operatives, both as the GOP nominee and as the potential Leader of the Free World.
But I ask the question, nevertheless, because the ease with which we get lost in Trump’s and his supporters’ authoritarian, crypto-fascist acts and utterances seems to be blinding many of us to the fact that the Stop Trump At All Costs effort is itself an expression of the establishment’s own authoritarian tendencies. Talk of brokered conventions or of a fantasy Cruz-Rubio détente executed with the hope of thwarting Trump’s ambitions is, at base, talk about thwarting the will of the voters, the everyday GOP people for whom Trump speaks. In other words, this talk, this scheming is fundamentally anti-democratic (even if executed in the midst of a process that is itself anti-democratic). As such, we need to call it out for what it is – and that includes calling it out for being part and parcel of, say, the shenanigans that lead to Bush v. Gore; the gutting of the Voting Rights Act; the kind of redistricting that has sealed communities into partisan enclaves; Citizens United; and, a plethora of other GOP anti-democratic politics and policies that have led inexorably to – you betcha! – a Trump candidacy. The party has a Democracy Problem, plain and simple, of which the establishment’s anti-Trump crusade is yet another dangerous expression. To ignore this because the target is Trump is to do so at our peril.