Donald Trump becomes the choice of the Republican establishment

January 27, 2016
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump addresses the crowd at a campaign rally in Farmington, New Hampshire January 25, 2016.      REUTERS/Gretchen Ertl      TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Donald Trump addresses a campaign rally in Farmington, New Hampshire, January 25, 2016. REUTERS/Gretchen Ertl

The 2016 presidential campaign is being driven by two politicians whose names are not on any ballot: Barack Obama and Bill Clinton. The Republican race is being shaped by conservative rage at Obama. The Democratic race by liberal wariness of Clintonism.

Seven years of President Obama has driven Republicans over the edge. They despise this president and everything he stands for. Obama is the ultimate conservative nightmare — a big-government liberal who’s weak on foreign policy. And black.

U.S. President Barack Obama delivers remarks at the University of Nebraska Omaha arena in Omaha, Nebraska, January 13, 2016. President Obama visited with a young family in the living room of their suburban house in Nebraska on Wednesday, the first stop on what the White House said would be a year-long tour to talk with Americans about fixing the nation's polarized politics. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

President Barack Obama speaks at the University of Nebraska Omaha arena in Omaha, Nebraska, January 13, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

What’s shaping the Republican race is the fury of rank-and-file Republican voters at their own party. Republicans have taken control of Congress — and for what? They still can’t stop Obama. He vetoes what the Republican Congress can pass, like repeal of Obamacare. And he ignores Congress and acts on his own authority to implement what they won’t pass.

Based on two decades of polling by the Pew Research Center, the New York Times reports, “Republican unhappiness with their own party during the Obama presidency has exceeded any previous level of self-party dissatisfaction among either Democrats or Republicans.” Rage at the Republican leadership has produced two brutally antiestablishment contenders, Donald Trump and Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), both current front-runners for the GOP nomination.

What we are seeing now is a split. The Republican Party establishment is anxiously embracing Trump. The conservative ideological establishment is angrily rejecting Trump and promoting Cruz. What’s the difference?

Republican Party leaders see Trump as more flexible and pragmatic. “We’ve got to make deals,” Trump said at a campaign rally last week. “We don’t want to sign executive orders. We want to make good deals.” Deal making is something professional politicians understand.

U.S. Republican presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Ted Cruz speaks to reporters before a campaign rally in Hollis, New Hampshire January 20, 2016.   REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Ted Cruz speaks to reporters before a campaign rally in Hollis, New Hampshire January 20, 2016. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Cruz, on the other hand, is totally inflexible. To him, deals are sell-outs. Cruz believes that shutting down the federal government and putting the full faith and credit of the United States at risk are good negotiating tactics. His willingness to go to the brink horrifies professional politicians.

But it thrills conservative intellectuals. They want a leader who is completely committed to principle. That’s not Trump. The Weekly Standard called Trump “a confidence man.” The National Review published an entire issue “Against Trump.” He’s ideologically incoherent. He has no problem with big government – a wall on the border, mass deportations — as long as he’s in charge. The only thing Trump truly believes in is himself.

Conservatives admire Cruz’s “no compromise” approach. Republican politicos hate it. They think it will doom them at the polls. “With Cruz, you’re looking at a Republican Party that wouldn’t win the vote of a young person, a young woman or minority for a generation,” one Republican consultant warned.

On the Democratic side, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton promotes what she calls a “sensible, achievable agenda.” That doesn’t exactly get liberals’ juices flowing. Neither did her husband’s record as president. He got elected at a time when Reaganism was still in the ascendancy, and he moderated the Democratic Party’s “big government” image in order to make Democrats more competitive. It worked.

But this is a different time. Liberals today do not feel they have to reach an accommodation with free-market capitalism. Not after the financial crash, the Great Recession and years of wage stagnation and rising inequality.

President Clinton appears pleased as he faces reporters after the Senate ratified the chemical weapons ban treaty April 24. The passage of the treaty was Clinton's first big foreign policy victory of his second term. ARMS CHEMICAL CLINTON

President Bill Clinton faces reporters after the Senate ratified the chemical weapons ban treaty, April 25, 1997. REUTERS/Archive.

Bill Clinton’s signature policy achievements never had much appeal to liberals. Free trade, welfare reform, a balanced budget and Wall Street deregulation were all passed with more support from Republicans than from Democrats. Many liberals look at Hillary Clinton and see Wall Street and “triangulation.”

Older Democrats revere Bill Clinton and see him as a president who delivered “good times.” Many younger Democrats don’t share those recollections. After all, Clinton has been out of the White House for more than 15 years. For younger voters, Clinton’s “good times” means something different.

Senator Bernie Sanders (D-Vt.) electrifies liberals. He’s conviction. Hillary Clinton is calculation. Especially when she shifts to the left on issues like trade. For younger liberals, socialism is not a scare word. They didn’t live through the Cold War. Even the fact that Sanders is not a registered Democrat doesn’t bother them. Many young liberals identify as independents, too.

If Sanders wins Iowa and New Hampshire, he will be an instant media sensation: the Clinton crusher. He’s hoping the momentum of the two victories would carry him to the Democratic nomination, especially as he becomes better known to minority Democratic voters.

Commentators are constantly drawing attention to parallels between the 2016 Democratic race and the 2008 race between Obama and Hillary Clinton. In some ways, however, the stronger parallel is the primary showdown between Vice President Walter Mondale and Senator Gary Hart of Colorado in 1984. Mondale was the standard-bearer of the Democratic Party establishment. Hart was the advocate of a “new politics” for a new generation.

But there’s one big difference. Hart was thwarted by a single question, borrowed from a television commercial: “Where’s the beef?” Sanders is less vulnerable to that kind of criticism. When it comes to policy ideas, Sanders is pretty beefy.

17 comments

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Well written. Scary thought that Trump is the Establishment pick, but compared to Cruz, the end writes itself.

Posted by Adam_S | Report as abusive

The almighty trump refuses to go to the last debate because Megyn Kelly is mean to him?, poor baby. This guy is not world leader material.
Megyn Kelly – 2 Donny – 0

Posted by Whipsplash | Report as abusive

Trump is afraid of a girl hurt his little feelings.

Haha. World leader material there.

Posted by Solidar | Report as abusive

We’ll see how much of an Establishment pick he is when they scramble like crazy at the Convention to work a deal for anyone but him.

This is a truly moronic article.

Posted by EndlessIke | Report as abusive

The rage is little to do with Obama but more to do with – doing the right thing in the interest of locals/next-generation/nation and having the guts to point-out the root-causes to be acted on, that others are scared to address.

This is what appeals to most millennials that’ll make all the difference for their choice of Trump on one side and Sanders on the other, in the up-coming elections.

Posted by Mottjr | Report as abusive

Bernie, Bernie, Bernie.

How can a man that applied for conscientious objector status seriously think that he is qualified to be Commander-in-Chief of the US military?

Posted by WayneVan | Report as abusive

Brags that he can defeat ISIS, Al Qaeda, Iran and China….

Surrenders to Megyn Kelly.

Posted by Solidar | Report as abusive

Not giving up on one’s principles is not the same as not being flexible.

And, adding the “Not black” in there like no one would notice is pretty low down considering that more people voted FOR Obama because he is black (well, half anyway) than those who voted against because he is “black”.

Posted by FoundingFather | Report as abusive

Trumps a crybaby, his supporters must be so proud that Ms. Kelly is twice the man he is.

Posted by Whipsplash | Report as abusive

If Sanders C.O. Status during Vietman disqualifies him as a previous commenter suggests, how about a draft dodger rich boy that did everything he could to avoid service. Didn’t have the guts to stand up to his convictions or maybe he was just a coward. The guy’s name was Donald Trump.

Posted by jimon | Report as abusive

“Seven years of President Obama has driven Republicans over the edge. They despise this president and everything he stands for. Obama is the ultimate conservative nightmare — a big-government liberal who’s weak on foreign policy. And black.”

By adding ‘black’ the writer exposed his lack of journalist objectivity and integrity. Another example of a news hack using his position to further his own political bias instead of enriching society’s need for communication about reality. Propaganda at its worst.

Posted by introspecter | Report as abusive

Waynevan ponders Bernie Sanders: “How can a man that applied for conscientious objector status seriously think that he is qualified to be Commander-in-Chief of the US military?”

I don’t know, how can a man who got 5 draft deferments during Vietnam…. and dodged military service, pretend to be the toughest guy on earth? A guy who wants everyone else’s kids to fight in foreign wars. That’s your boy Trump.

At least Sanders thinks war is a waste of time and money and lives…. for everyone.

Posted by Solidar | Report as abusive

First Megyn Kelly B-slaps him, twice. Now a Saudi Prince who bailed trump out twice is slapping him around. The right has screwed up the republican party, now they want to screw up America by hiring this loser. Do us all a favor GOP and stay away from the voting booth this year.

Posted by Whipsplash | Report as abusive

trump·er·y
ˈtrəmp(ə)rē/
archaic
noun
1.
attractive articles of little value or use.
adjective
1.
showy but worthless.
“trumpery jewelry”

Posted by Whipsplash | Report as abusive

Self-proclaimed toughest man in world surrenders to blonde news anchor.

“No you guys don’t understand! She’s really really mean to me!”

Haha.

Posted by Solidar | Report as abusive

Donny Trump is a loser in Iowa, that’s loser.

Posted by Whipsplash | Report as abusive

Trump, your fired!

Posted by Whipsplash | Report as abusive