In my experience Presidential candidates are expected, early on, to be more extreme. Republicans are expected to tantalize the right and Democrats to tantalize the left, both are to prance around promising things they have no intention of delivering. Then – nearer the election – they are supposed to “Move to the Center,” soft-peddling their “promises.”
Sometimes this happens in the campaign of an individual candidate. Sometimes it happens among competing candidates; Dennis Kucinich for the left; Ron Paul for the right. The “extreme” candidates are allowed to stir up the more activist bases, but then they are pushed out, leaving the “centrist” candidate to be nominated.
Recently Chris Matthews, when told that Bernie Sanders would not “Move to the Center,” but would continue saying what he had been saying, was taken aback, startled. He offered that Sanders would be hurt by that. Poor Chris; he spilled the beans: politicians are supposed to lie; they are supposed to con the most gullible, needy, hopeful, angry, and all those most easily led; they are supposed to work up the “Little People’s” support; and then “Move to the Center,” where their “promises” can be ignored.
Donald Trump is causing the Republican Establishment a major headache, and much of it results from his refusal to “Move to the Center.” Normally, when candidates won’t move, they are pushed out of contention by being cut off from-and-by Big Money. But Trump is Big Money and is not susceptible to that approach. Money can’t stop Trump from making whatever weird promises he wants to make; money can’t stop him from pandering to and stirring up the most gullible, needy, hopeful, angry, and most easily led.
He can appeal to his supporters’ basest nature, demonizing Mexicans and Muslims, playing on their fear of terrorists and Russians and Syrian refugees, claiming to be a tough guy who will protect them. He can take advantage of the racism that has arisen since a Black, Kenyan-born, Muslim, socialist was elected President; and since it has become common knowledge that before long whites will not be the majority American group. For some time now a third of Republican voters have lapped up every outrageous thing Trump has said; he’ll build an impenetrable, 1,500 mile wall for free; he understands the military because he was sent to a military school as a teenager; he can handle Putin (he says) because he is (he says) a good bargainer; he won’t raise the minimum wage because “we need to compete”; but he’ll bring Chinese, slave-labor jobs back to America so we can have more jobs (at competitive [slave] wages, I suppose).
Not only is the Donald not moving to the center as he is supposed to, but if he does become President, he will destroy the Republican Party. The party has been conning its constituency for decades promising the things Trump has been promising and then Moving to the Center. The Establishment has no desire to fulfill the promises they so proudly make. It’s bait and switch.
For example, all the official outrage over “Illegal Aliens” “takin’ are jobs” is nonsense. Business interests want as many undocumented workers as possible. They work for less, can be stiffed and otherwise abused. More importantly, they keep labor numbers pumped up and wages pushed down. The Establishment doesn’t want a Wall, and if somehow they got one, they’d provide sturdy ladders to all comers.
Donald’s fans love him because he seems to be the one Republican who is not conning them, the one who will finally fulfill their dreams; in a way, he is their Great White Hope, their Wizard at the end of the Yellow Brick Road. Unfortunately, If he gets elected, he will not deliver; he will break their hearts; and that will be the end of the Republican Party. The Great and Glorious Wizard of Trump will have irretrievably drawn back the curtain.
This article originally appeared on The Pickaway News Journal