GOP base: Tail is wagging the dog - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

GOP base: Tail is wagging the dog

As a follow up to Tuesday’s post:

Donald Trump did indeed win the Nevada Caucuses. And he did it by a much bigger margin that first predicted: 46 percent. Precinct watchers, captains or whatever they are called in Nevada, were at times overwhelmed in the most populated county of Nevada, Clark County, which is where Las Vegas is located.

The Republican Party had been deep in denial about the popularity of Trump for as long as the real estate tycoon has been in the race. Reince Priebus, a name that has rarely been mentioned since Trump has proven he is going to lead in the polls until the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, hasn’t uttered a peep to the press in months. That explains why his name hasn’t been mentioned much in recent TV pundit chatter.

Chris Matthews (YouTube)

Chris Matthews (YouTube)

On MSNBC Tuesday evening, after Trump was declared the winner, pundit Chris Matthews asked, “Where’s Reince Priebus?” he and the other GOP establishment leaders are hiding, trying to figure out a strategy for derailing the Trump train.

As of Tuesday morning, CNBC analysts were  clinging to the notion that the turnout would be low and benefit Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio. Really? In the days before the caucuses GOP leaders in Nevada were on cable news talk shows predicting unprecedented turnout due to the record number of voter registrations leading up to the Tuesday’s caucuse.

As it turned out, over 73,000 votes were cast in the caucuses, a record in Nevada primaries and caucuses.

CNBC is still convinced Trump is vulnerable on his previous views regarding abortion, immigration and the Clintons, suggesting the other candidates in the race start attacking Trump on these issues. Apparently they don’t know all of that has been exposed to the GOP hoi polloi and they have sent a resounding reply: “WE DON’T CARE. TRUMP’S OUR GUY!”

Trump has taken the flip-flop to the same levels as Mitt Romney did in 2012, so there’s precedent for it. But unlike Romney, who was given a pass as the lesser of two (or three) evils, Trump voters love their guy. He is the medicine for all that ails America.

But enough about CNBC’s flight from reality.

Trump won every demographic pollsters and pundits could think up: he won — by big margins — evangelists, hyper-conservatives, moderates, older voters, younger voters, Hispanics — Trump made a big deal about that in his victory speech … leaving out this fact: less than one percent of the 80,000-plus Hispanic voters in Nevada participated in the GOP caucuses.

The only category Trump didn’t win: voters who didn’t make up their minds until the final hours before the voting began. Marco Rubio won that group, which is too bad because now he’s going to use that as a rationale for continuing to try and convince everyone he can unite the party and beat Donald Trump.

Marco Rubio — Drink up Senator. (YouTube)

Marco Rubio — Drink up Senator.
(YouTube)

Here’s a guy, who has yet to win a primary, grandstanding with victory speeches for coming in second, or third or fifth. He did say he is disappointed with his New Hampshire results, but he still labors under the fantasy he can win the nomination.

I’m diligently waiting for the results of tonight’s Powerball Lottery.

There is this, for young Marco Rubio: he is getting endorsements from around the GOP establishment. Governors, senators, pundits; they want to coalesce around an establishment candidate and Rubio, one of the Tea Party candidates that stormed Congress in 2010, is that guy.

As I mentioned Tuesday, this election cycle has stood conventional wisdom on its head.

As for Cruz, his candidacy, like those of Dr. Ben Carson and Gov. John Kasich, is over. He just doesn’t want to admit it yet. He has a chance, a slowly diminishing chance, of winning his home state of Texas, but Trump has vowed to win not only Texas, but Florida as well, the home state of Marco Rubio.

Thar’s delegate gold in them thar states — 155 in Texas and 99 in Florida.

Here’s the funny part — and this might be why Reince Priebus has been silent for so long about the Trump ascendancy: as long as Carson, Kasich, Cruz and Rubio stay in the race, none of them have a chance of beating Trump. The tycoon will run the table if all of them stay in the race. And Rubio, Cruz and Kasich all want to stay in the race long enough to win their home states … which appear to be fantasies for Kasich and Rubio. Cruz still leads in Texas, a Super Tuesday state. If he drops out before Super Tuesday he assures Texas will go to Trump.

This is my not quite so bold prediction about the Republican primaries: Donald Trump is going to win it, by a big margin and he’s going to storm into the Republican National Convention with momentum and base support the likes of which the party hasn’t experienced in decades. The party elites, the establishment, will have to figure out a way to deal with it or just accept the reality that they no longer are the elites of the party. That went out the window six years ago when they tapped into that Tea Party Fever and invited the insurgency into their tent.

Remember how gleeful former party elite Dick Armey was when the Tea Party took the House of Representatives back for the GOP? Of course not. He’s long forgotten, pushed out of his own SuperPAC, FreedomWorks, which itself has been relegated to the dustbin of history. In fact you won’t find the big SuperPACS that brought the Tea Party to power mentioned anywhere in this election cycle. Americans for Prosperity, Club For Growth, Tea Party Express. All of them, for the most part, are absent.

Lawrence O’Donnell (Wikipedia)

Lawrence O’Donnell (Wikipedia)

While they might still exist, they were essentially operating arms of the GOP establishment looking to exploit the insurgency for its own plans. It sort of backfired on them. The tail is vigorously wagging the dog at this point and the GOP Establishment doesn’t know how to make it stop without losing control of government, not just in Washington, but in a lot of the state houses and legislatures where the GOP is now firmly in control.

Lawrence O’Donnell of MSNBC made an interesting point after his network declared Trump the winner in the Silver State: the GOP has spent more than two decades bowing to Rush Limbaugh’s vision of conservatism; O’Donnell cited instances of when Republican lawmakers changed their positions on legislation or even their own views on the state of affairs, if Rush Limbaugh objected. And now the GOP has a Limbaugh look-a-like leading the party’s primaries: Donald Trump.

Both of them are bullies, both have been extremely misogynistic, both have been extremely xenophobic, both have ridiculed people with physical handicaps and both have taken racial insensitivity into overt racism. And Trump did Limbaugh one better: he ridiculed Senator John McCain of Arizona, a man most, if not all, Republicans consider a war hero after spending five years in captivity during the Vietnam War. When the GOP elite denounced him for it, Trump just gained more support from the base.

The Republican Party’s chickens have come home to roost and as far as the chickens are concerned, the establishment is no longer elite.

Last summer people said Trump wouldn’t break the 30 percent threshold, but his support has been steadily increasing since then to where he is now at 38 percent nationally. Trump mocks those pundits that suggest if all but one of his rivals drops out the supporters will naturally gravitate to the anti-Trump candidate. The truth is, as candidates drop out Trump gains support as well.

The Republican Party may still exist in name, but the people who once thought they were in control have lost their grip on it. The insurgents now have control of the national party and many of the state organizations as well.

Rush Limbaugh and Donald Trump speak for them, mainly older white men who want to say and do the things that Trump does on the campaign trail every day. So what if he drops a few F bombs and says he wants to punch protestors in the face. Everyone wants to punch somebody in the face and many of us drop the F-bombs all day long anyway … just sayin’ …

All of his supporters are OK with that and polls show a majority of GOP voters agree with Trump’s views on immigration, Muslims and President Obama — he’s secretly a foreign-born Muslim. They believe the country is overrun by brown-skinned illegal immigrants who are sucking the nation’s wealth through social welfare programs. They believe the Democratic candidates want to give away free stuff — OK, Bernie Sanders does — and these very same people supporting Trump — many of them are on Social Security, Medicare and receiving veteran benefits.

Despite the vast evidence that says otherwise, they believe global warming is a hoax, that the Democrats, led by the president, are coming to take their guns away. They believe Muslims are trying to take over governments across the country — in short they believe every nut bar conspiracy theory people like Alex Jones can spew out the radio hole of the Internet.

This is who populates the new GOP base. And Donald Trump speaks for them. They may be out of touch with reality, but the so-called GOP elite is out of touch with their own base and they are paying the price.

Here’s the end of my not so bold prediction: not only will Trump be the GOP nominee, but also he is their best shot at the White House. If the party doesn’t accept Trump as the candidate, a big chunk of the base will sit out the November elections, or they will vote for a third-party alternative to their liking.

Reince Priebus (YouTube)

Reince Priebus (YouTube)

Of course he won’t win the general election. Fifty-eight percent of Americans consider Donald Trump to be repulsive. The vast majority of Hispanics, African-Americans, young people, old people, and even independent whites will vote for whomever the Democrats put at the top of their ticket, if Trump is the GOP nominee.

Reince Priebus did surface on CNN this morning to make the case for the GOP and defend his inaction in this campaign season. He told Alisyn Camerota it isn’t his job to condemn the outrageous things Trump says and fellow establishment Republicans agree. Nicolle Wallace, who is famous for being the handler that walked out on Sarah Palin during the 2008 presidential campaign (who wouldn’t? ) said Trump is winning a democratic process and there’s nothing about it to criticize.

Wallace is right of course. The GOP base has spoken and so far they want Donald Trump. And there’s really no indications that is going to change any time soon. Trump will easily, by big margins, win Super Tuesday.

Before the primaries reach California in June, he will have earned enough delegates to become the GOP nominee for president. Move over LeBron, Donald Trump is heading to Cleveland.

•••• •••• ••••• •••• ••••

LATE BREAKING NEWS: Sort of. Nevada Senator Harry Reid, minority leader in the U.S. Senate, announced he was officially backing Hillary Clinton. There have been rumors that Clinton would be indicted, but that is not likely. Reid is a cautious man, much to the displeasure of the Democratic Party base at times, and wouldn’t endorse Clinton if he knew, or even thought there was a chance, Hillary Clinton would be indicted.

Clinton’s aids are being deposed for a civil suit, and a federal judge has ordered Huma Abedin, Clinton’s top advisor, to sit for a deposition. Judicial Watch, a right-wing group looking to derail the Clinton campaign, has sued the former Secretary of State and the State Department over Clinton’s emails.


About the author

Tim Forkes

Tim Forkes started as a writer on a small alternative college newspaper in Milwaukee called the Crazy Shepherd. Writing about entertainment issues, he had the opportunity to speak with many people in show business, from the very famous to the people struggling to find an audience. In 1992 Tim moved to San Diego, CA and pursued other interests, but remained a freelance writer. Upon arrival in Southern California he was struck by how the business of government and business was so intertwined, far more so than he had witnessed in Wisconsin. His interest in entertainment began to wane and the business of politics took its place. He had always been interested in politics, his mother had been a Democratic Party official in Milwaukee, WI, so he sat down to dinner with many of Wisconsin’s greatest political names of the 20th Century: William Proxmire and Clem Zablocki chief among them. As a Marine Corps veteran, Tim has a great interest in veteran affairs, primarily as they relate to the men and women serving and their families. As far as Tim is concerned, the military-industrial complex has enough support. How the men and women who serve are treated is reprehensible, while in the military and especially once they become veterans. Tim would like to help change that reality. Contact the author.
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