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What’s Next? (Hint – I nearly always get it wrong)

March 16, 2016


So, Rubio loses his home state, and he’s out of it.  As predicted.  Dark murmurings now about a “brokered convention”.   This sounds like a euphemism for a rigged convention, but it’s made for some delightfully Machiavellian speculation.

If Trump comes to the convention in the lead with Cruz the only mathematically possible challenger, then presumably the GOP grandees will reason as follows.

“The People have chosen.  And the People are clearly idiots.”

Of course, Cruz and Trump are merely the logical extension of forms of sub-grammatical hatred and stupidity that supposedly “mainstream” political interests have been nurturing for decades.

Here’s an analysis of how a brokered convention could, somehow, conceivably, freeze out the maniacs…

In order for any brokered convention to somehow nominate a Kasich, then you’d have to very publicly reject the entire basis of the primary system.  You’d have to basically destroy the Republican Party and rebuild it again from scratch.

There’s a school of thought which says that Hillary Clinton wants an obvious clown like Trump – that Trump is the opponent she’s desperate for.  I’m not sure.  I think she could absolutely crush Trump, or she might not.  I don’t think she could absolutely crush Cruz – but I think she’d definitely beat him by some sort of margin.

I suppose in the final analysis, the difference between Trump and Cruz is that Cruz is the predictable maniac.  In some ways Cruz is more consistently vicious than Trump.  Cruz’ policies are cruel and horrible, and he is supported by people at the cruel and horrible end of a spectrum.  But it is a spectrum.  Cruz can be plotted on a continuum of political attitudes.  He is at one end of it.  A very very very right wing politician – but still recognizably a politician, someone voted into office who serves in a deliberative chamber.  Cruz leads Trump in the small but significant percentage of the population who call themselves “very” conservative – who enjoy being “more conservative than thou” as it were.  But this very self definition presupposes a spectrum.  In a battle between a sort of centrist (Clinton) and a proud extremist (Cruz), I’d always bet on Clinton.

Trump’s policies are cruel and horrible, but they are also self-contradictory and change from day to day.  Demagogues can do that.  People vote for Trump because they are too lazy to exercise any sort of critical faculty.  They are too cowardly to be adults.  They want to be less than they really are  They have given up on the grammatical pre-requisites for self respect.  For a Trump supporter things that Trump says are no longer true or false according to any external standard.  It does not matter if the things he says have been factually and evidentially discredited, if they make no logical sense, or if they contradict other stuff that he’s said.  Things Trumps says are true because Trump says them – because Trump has become his own norm of value.  Truth, for many, has become Trump shaped and Truth needs permission from Trump to even get out of bed in the morning.

The political scientists have given up on explaining Trump.  The psychologists had had their turn.  I think it’s time the Philosophers and Theologians had a turn.  There’s a very old fashioned word that describes his success – and that word is “idolatry”.  Although Trump’s supporters tend to self identify as “Christian” (as a sort of crude badge of cultural privilege), it’s clear that the low energy Nazarene cannot compete with the Don when push comes to shove (and there’s a great deal of pushing and shoving right now).  People like Trump because he’s seemingly a strongman, a monosyllable that will absolve you of the burdensome responsibility of being a fully realised human being with critical obligations.

If Clinton goes head to head in debates with Cruz, people will see two politicians on stage and judge their performance according to certain criteria.  If Clinton appears on stage with Trump there will be no debate, no agreed criteria, just a bunch of high energy slogans that will be repeated over and over again out of any conceivable context.  There will be no way of telling whether or not Clinton could “win” debates with Trump because a Trump victory will be based on a kind of intellectual suicide, a rejection of the basic structures of consecutive thought that define any definition of game theory.  Logic and Evidence will be irrelevant concepts.

Michael Bloomberg would only be tempted as a third party centrist candidate if the choice turns out to be Sanders v. Trump or Sanders v. Cruz.  If the race looks like Trump or Cruz versus Clinton, then Bloomberg would back Clinton as would a number of traditional “moderate” conservatives.

You’ll see “moderate” (by new insane standards) republicans given awkward and qualified support to Clinton rather than Trump – Clinton who isn’t going to seize anybody’s money bags and who is a known quantity.  Trump will become the enemy not only of the Republican Establishment, but of the Entire Political Establishment.  The more endorsements Clinton gets, the stronger Trump’s anti-establishment credentials get.

Whatever else Trump will have done, he will have sapped all the “wow” factor out of the election of the first woman president.  The inauguration next January of Hillary Clinton will have nothing of the “wow” and everything of the “phew”.




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