Linda S Heard
DONALD Trump has transitioned from being a joke to a nightmare. His popularity isn’t in doubt. His growing following is enslaved by his winning “I’ll make America great again” personality. For them his racist insults are like honey. They’ve no problem at all with his ridiculing of the disabled, his failure to disavow the backing of the Ku Klux Klan, his pledge to close the door to Muslims and to reintroduce torture. And when he orders hecklers at his rallies to get out with the words “I’d like to punch him in the face,” they are often roughed-up by the glassy-eyed faithful.
The more he tramples over America’s traditional values and uses vulgarity to attack his rivals the more they love him. I’ve always been mystified how a monstrous individual like Hitler could attract such adoration. Now I know! Like Trump, he appealed to people’s base instincts with promises of wealth, power and superiority over the feared and detested other. The fact that he makes up his policies as he goes along and has held no public office is an irrelevance.
Moreover, as he said himself he could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot someone without losing voters. One of his most sinister behaviors occurred on Saturday when he called upon thousands attending his rally in Florida to swear they would vote for him “no matter what,” echoing the rhetoric of cult leaders.
He even had the audacity to order those in the crowd to raise their right hands and say “I do solemnly swear that I, no matter how I feel, no matter what the conditions, if there are hurricanes of whatever, I will vote on or before the 12th for Donald J. Trump for president.” He asked them to raise their right hands. The majority obediently did as he asked. It’s enough to make one’s flesh crawl.
Trump is the hate candidate out to bully the rest of the world into subservience. Should this egocentric, dictatorial loose cannon actually get to the White House, which can no longer be discounted, the US can kiss goodbye to its global leadership role along with many of its traditional allies.
He’s the Republican front-runner and as far as he’s concerned his nomination is a done deal. However, in the eyes of his party’s leaders, he represents a boil they would love to lance. They’re in panic mode fearing he will stain the GOP’s reputation for decades to come. The evangelicals’ darling Ted Cruz is biting at his heels but still struggles to overtake him despite his breaking even with Trump on so-called Super Saturday caucuses. Trump wisely rebuffed the Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland where he knew he would face attack for a rally in Kansas.
But toppling Trump may require the party hobbling its own chances by fielding more candidates to split the vote. Alternatively the hierarchy could officially dump Trump, which would enrage his Republican base bolstering the Democrats’ chances.
One of his most venomous detractors, former presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who has labeled Trump “a fraud” and “a phony,” has hinted that he would prefer a Democrat to a President Trump. “He’s playing the American public for suckers,” he said. He wants the Republicans to hold “a brokered convention” that would see Trump disadvantaged but that’s only feasible when no single candidate has won the majority of delegates. For that to occur, all the candidates, even the no-hopers, would need to remain in the race purely to keep their delegates from switching to Trump.
A brokered convention could go in Cruz’s favor but he’s against the idea. “Any time you hear someone talking about a brokered convention, it is the Washington establishment in a fevered frenzy,” he said. “They are really frustrated because all their chosen candidates, their golden children, the voters keep rejecting.” He says, perhaps rightly, “there could be hell to pay with the grass roots if they believe their will is being disregarded.”
Another former presidential runner John McCain, whose Vietnam War hero status was mocked by Trump angering veterans, said he echoes “the many concerns about Mr. Trump’s uninformed and indeed dangerous statements on national security issues that have been raised by 65 Republican defense and foreign policy leaders.”
McCain’s pal Sen. Lindsey Graham was more straightforward. He’s urged the party to tell Trump to “go to hell” and now supports Cruz even though not long ago he likened having to choose between Trump and Cruz to being shot or poisoned which perfectly illustrates his “anyone but Trump” desperation.
It will be interesting to see if the party is willing to forego its prospects on this occasion not only for its own sake but also to prevent a Trumpistan smashing all that America has historically held dear. Everyone who believed Trump wouldn’t last the course has been proved wrong. Will those who believe Hillary will wipe the floor with him be proved wrong too? The pundits haven’t a clue. This is unchartered territory. Only time will tell.—Arab News