It is popular for Republican “populists” (read: followers of the Trump cult of personality) to deride the Republican establishment, though the actual differences between them is only one of degrees of extremism.
Sean Illing explained at Salon in October that the Republican establishment is “cooked” and “powerless.” South-of-the-border-phobia was replaced by the debate process which has now been replaced by Muslim immigration.
And it is not like the establishment has many – if any – viable choices. Cruz, it has been argued by Matthew Yglesias at Vox, is actually more extreme in his positions than Trump, and except for billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Singer, the establishment isn’t hurrying to line up behind former golden boy Marco Rubio either.
When Robert Costa and Tom Hamburger wrote at The Washington Post about a power brokers dinner on Monday, a firestorm erupted – yes, another one. The root cause, which is really just a symptom, is that the dinner was hosted by Reince Priebus, and the topic was to no one’s surprise, Donald Trump. Thus revealing, says Costa, that the establishment is preparing for a contested convention.
This probably isn’t a surprise to anybody. Trump has already said that if he is not treated with respect he will run as an Independent, regardless of his loyalty pledge. In the words of The Young Turks, the Republican establishment is planning a “coup” if the voters pick Trump.
The Republican establishment, then, is facing a revolt of its base and the only solution seems to be a top-down coup against the beast it created.
As Costa then tweeted, this didn’t make Ben Carson very happy:
— Robert Costa (@costareports) December 11, 2015
So Carson has just figured out that the Republican Party is not about “We the People.” Took him long enough. Welcome aboard, Ben.
If the idea of the establishment launching a coup against its own base after riling up the base with visions of an anti-Obama coup is deliciously rich stuff to Democrats, conservative pundits are outraged. It is possible by the end of the Republican convention we’ll all be wondering how the RNC managed to stab itself in the back and throw itself off Trump Tower three times.
Laura Ingraham joined the circus on the December 11 edition of Courtside Enertainment Group’s The Laura Ingraham Show
See, all the brainiacs over at the RNC, all the brainiacs like Reince Priebus, God bless them but they’ve, they all thought they were going to be so clever and tamping down a populist surge. They spent so much time trying to figure out a strategy for, in my mind, stopping the people from having much say over the process. They wanted a strategy to limit debates. Oh, we can’t have all this infighting. Did you ever come to think that maybe, maybe the establishment, as long as it doesn’t listen to the people, is just itching for a fight from the people? Why not actually work with the people? This is what I do not understand. They sit behind closed doors, at these fancy restaurants on Capitol Hill, and then they leak the details to Bob Costa. Because they are trying to scare off the candidates, trying to get people to drop out to pave the way for Marco, or for Jeb’s people.
INGRAHAM: They don’t listen on trade, on immigration, and even on this issue of limiting people coming into the country. They decide, OK let’s just demonize Trump, let’s demonize Trump and then we’ll demonize the whole populist movement, as a bunch of racists, xenophobics, (inaudible), low information people. They’re all dumb, they’re all stupid, and we’re going to figure it all out at the convention. And this piece merely reconfirms what I’ve been thinking for a long time, that the establishment refuses to listen to the people.
She’s far from alone, as Pat Buchanan’s syndicated column Friday was titled “An Establishment Unhinged” where he argues in defense of Donald Trump (and here he is talking about more than the Republican establishment) “that our political-media establishment is dumb as a box of rocks and leading us down a path to national suicide.”
Calling for a moratorium on Muslim immigration “until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on,” Donald Trump this week ignited a firestorm of historic proportions.
As all the old hate words — xenophobe, racist, bigot — have lost their electric charge from overuse, and Trump was being called a fascist demagogue and compared to Hitler and Mussolini.
The establishment seemed to have become unhinged.
So calling a xenophobe a xenophobe, and a racist a racist (Pat should know) and a bigot a bigot, is hate speech, apparently, but calling Mexicans a bunch of rapists and murderers, and Muslims a bunch of terrorists, is not hate speech.
In fact, Buchanan goes where Trump went, ignoring all the evidence of domestic terrorism (largely by white, at least nominally Christian men with assault weapons), saying:
Muslims are clearly more susceptible to the siren call of terrorism, and more likely to be radicalized on the Internet and in mosques than are Christians at church or Jews at synagogue.
This is not true. As I argued the other day, Christians are very susceptible to radicalization, and Fox News is leading the charge, not that Buchanan hasn’t played his own part over the years. After all, he was the racist’s candidate of choice for the presidency back in the day.
Yet though many more Americans have been killed by church-goers than by mosque-goers, he claims that this lie he just told “is why we monitor mosques more closely than cathedrals.”
Clearly, the establishment is not the people who are unhinged, or, in speaking of the Republican establishment specifically, at least not as unhinged as the Republican base, it’s demagogic leader, and cheering section.
If the plan all along was to utterly destroy itself, the Republican establishment could not have done any better than it has, and without any help from Democrats (such help seems completely superfluous at this point).
This is not to say we should let up (we shouldn’t) only that it is a time-honored precept that one should not interrupt one’s enemy while he is making a mistake. Or, as is the case here, publicly sodomizing himself.
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.