Like a corporate raider, Trump is in it to see how many Republicans (shares) he can win over, then cash in on them with a victory for the party of Trump
The Reform Party is alive and well…within the Republican Party! An act of piracy is in progress as populists are being raided by the Trump Jolly Rogers. Scoping out the possibilities of a presidential run as far back as 2010, Donald Trump began to marshall his forces for a run in the 2016 campaign.
Like a corporate raider, Trump is in it to see how many Republicans (shares) he can win over, then cash in on them with a victory for the party of Trump, with no care for the state of disarray in which he leaves the Republican Party. The price to the Republican Party for “buying back” those “shares” could leave the Party in a shambles. The resulting disunity would then be likely to put another Democrat in the White House, give the Democrats a majority in the Senate and diminish the Republican majority in the House.
A Reuters/Ipsos poll that came out April 9 showed there would be a considerable amount of Trump supporters who would have a problem with voting for the eventual nominee if it weren’t Trump:
“One-third of Republicans Trump supporters said they would not support the party in the general election if the businessman is blocked from the nomination. They said they would instead vote Democrat, vote third-party or sit out the election.”
“Fifty-eight percent of Trump supporters said they would stay with the party, while 16 percent would leave and 26 percent said they didn’t know.”
So how did Donald Trump, someone who had been publicly apolitical yet tending liberal for years, become the leading Republican candidate in the 2016 election campaign?
Essentially it is a product of the Tea Party movement, whose origins go back to a rant by CNBC reporter Rick Santelli on February 19, 2009. Ian Hanchett wrote about it on the sixth anniversary of Santelli’s remarks:
“CNBC Contributor Rick Santelli recalled his famous rant that helped spark the Tea Party movement on its six-year anniversary on Thursday’s ‘Squawk Alley.’
“Six years ago, he railed against bailouts and said ‘we’re thinking of having a Chicago Tea Party in July. All you capitalists that want to show up to Lake Michigan, I’m going to start organizing,’ a monologue that drew cheers from the crowd at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.’
The article continued, quoting Santelli’s 6th anniversary comments: “...of course, we all remember the credit crisis, it really started in the ’90s, that strange blend of institutions banks, government, promoting home ownership, a moral goal. But in the end, when government gets involved in finance and you have derivatives that over the counter and unregulated, well, we all know what happens.
Crisis always breeds a big government move. It always does. So think back, the rant as it was, as it’s been referred to, was Thursday the 19th, exactly six years, but on Tuesday the 17th we had the big stimulus, 7/8ths of a trillion dollars, that was followed the next day, Wednesday by the Home Affordability and Stability Plan, and even though it morphed into something potentially useful at that point in history it was about forgiveness and modifications. Then [on the] 19th, you know what happened then. Keep in mind, that in this country, it’s the pursuit of happiness, there’s no guarantees.”
“Santelli concluded by reading a quotation from Thomas Jefferson, ‘I have no fear that the result of our experiment will be that men may be trusted to govern themselves without a master. I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country. I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.’ “
Santelli’s outrage represented the anger that many people had, and still have, for the federal government and those lawmakers who have been continually passing legislation and funding independent agencies that exist to impose more government on our lives.
But the Tea Party movement, as it came to be known as, was something that never solidified into a clearly defined national movement with a common set of goals.
One part of it, the fiscal conservatives, had a clear goal to reduce the size and scope of government, balancing the budget and removing burdensome regulations. Then the social conservatives saw the Tea Party movement as an opportunity to go after the liberal agenda that is destroying traditional values and abandoning the moorings of our Constitutional government.
But those weren’t the Republicans or Tea Party members where Donald Trump found the most support for his message. Trump’s message was basically the same message that another billionaire, Ross Perot, had when he ran for President in 1992, particularly opposing illegal immigration and “free trade” agreements. This Perot platform coalesced into the Reform Party in the 1996 election campaign.
Trump really had no concerns for conservatism, particularly social conservatism. Instead he went after the remains of the Reform Party movement among Tea Party Republicans. For Trump, the focus would be on blaming the rest of the world for America’s problems and making himself the solution as somebody who could break through the political impasse among American politicians as well as putting other nations in their place.
For Trump to succeed in his efforts it meant getting ahold of a large segment of the Tea Party movement. And succeed he did. But in the process of doing that, he made the same mistake as the leftist liberals - rejecting our Constitutional system for one based on a central authority figure, in this case himself. As with the Obama base, Trump supporters were looking for a leader to put in power who could make everything all right.
So there went one of the fundamental aspects of our Constitution, limited government. And never mind restoring the checks and balances of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches, if Donald Trump were President, his negotiating skills would get everybody to work together for his agenda and follow whatever he says.
But along the road to the White House, Donald Trump realized he would somehow have to appeal to the Conservative Christians, the Pro-Life Movement, the supporters of the nation of Israel, and the various other interest groups within the Party.
Somehow he blew past social conservative issues like opposition to gay marriage, gambling, drinking and won over many evangelicals. He found out for many Christians all he really needed was his mother’s Bible and a few Scriptural references…and to become pro-life.
Then he found that once he won them over, it didn’t matter what he said. Read a verse from “Two Corinthians” and sound like you’ve never read a verse of Scripture? No problem. Say that women should be prosecuted for abortions and then correct yourself five times over the next three days til you get it right? No problem there either.
At the same time that Trump was essentially rebuilding the Reform Party movement (the Perot coalition), Constitutional conservatives were bringing together their part of the Tea Party movement. Raising up conservative candidates to oust liberal Republican incumbents had been the major tactic used, with the primary objective to change things by increasing their power and influence in the House and Senate.
And while numerous Republicans were elected with the endorsement of Tea Party organizations, many who were elected failed to live up to their Tea-Party-themed promises and went along with moderates in leadership. However, several held firm, some to the point of being removed from prestigious committee leadership positions by House Speaker Boehner.
A few examples of the several Tea Party Republicans who have refused to compromise with the Republican establishment have been Tim Huelskamp from Kansas and Jim Bridenstine from Oklahoma in the House and Ted Cruz from Texas and Mike Lee from Utah in the Senate.
While the Tea Party agenda could make very little headway in the Senate under the Democrat Majority Leader Harry Reid and even under Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, it was a different story in the House. Many bills passed the House due to Tea Party influence there, but with the understanding that Harry Reid would refuse to bring them up in the Senate. That made it easy for those who were Tea Party in name only to sign on to them.
But when it came to issues like temporary spending bills or voting to increase the debt ceiling - legislation that had to be passed or “government shut down” would occur - Speaker Boehner would always have enough Republican votes to cave in to Obama and the Democrats.
So as the 2016 election campaign heated up, the Republic Party split, with the nativists and the Reform Party Republicans going to Trump, and the rest of the Party divided between supporters of the liberal Republican establishment and Constitutional conservatives. The Establishment, who wanted nothing to do with either the Trump supporters or the Constitutional conservatives, chose Jeb Bush as their candidate.
And the conservatives were divided between the numerous other candidates, eventually narrowing it down to one - Ted Cruz. John Kasich, who was only effective in getting his political machine in Ohio to give him a statewide victory, was delusional enough to stay in the race, so he became the spoiler candidate for the Establishment.
Turns out, Donald Trump doesn’t have much appeal outside of his base, with a 70% dislike in the polls, and he seems to be doing everything he can to make sure those who don’t support him in the Primary process hate him and are hated worse than Democrats by his supporters. Time to get serious about uniting Republicans so we can keep the socialist Democrats out of office.
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