The Metamorphosis of the Year
I’ve been derelict in my duty as a pundit not writing every day about the awesome disaster known as the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. For the last four score and 19 news cycles, it has been dominated by the thrilling battle between Donald the Fakir (aka Trump), whose achievements as a smart real estate mogul include three bankruptcies, nine failing businesses with the leased name “Trump;” The Canadian (aka Cruz), he of the smiling rictus smile, who may actually have a forked tongue, and a Ohio governor who is more and more looking like Alexander Throttlebottom, the vice presidential candidate on the Wintergreen for President ticket in George S. Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind’s great American political satire, “Of Thee I Sing.”
The race has been electrified in recent days by the transformation of the man who has considered himself the presumptive president-elect since the polls began declaring him the winner with roughly 39% of voters who have booked flights on the Trumpian magic carpet, impelling him to boldly go where no businessman has gone before in a presidential election.
In front of our eyes, we are seeing the mesmerizing transformation of a candidate from a creepy icky slithering caterpillar to a carefree butterfly that flies to wherever its brain or feathers take it. Others prefer the metaphor of the transformation in Franz Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis,” the story of Gregor, the unsuccessful travelling salesman, who wakes up one morning to discover he has turned into a giant cockroach, or some other “monstrous vermin.”
Either way, there is growing panic in the MENSA branch of the Republican Party, the upper levels of the establishment that allowed this political freak show to happen.
The evolution of one of the thousands of clowns who began the race last June into a serious candidate moved to a more alarming stage this past week as Trump showed his presidential face. By presidential, I mean, calling his worthy opponent “Mr. Cruz,” instead of “Lying Ted.”
And he began telling us his thoughts on foreign policy. They seemed to be based on the TV game shows, “I’ve Got a Secret” and “Let’s Make a Deal,” with Trump playing Monty Hall, giving foreign powers the chance to pick a policy behind doors # 1, 2, or 3. He ruins the suspense for those who believed his earlier policy statements, which included the idea that voters want to be surprised, only to be zonked.
It would be the height of banality to continue the pundit’s role of commenting on the absurdist political satire the GOP has staged for the fun and enlightenment of the electorate. Nevertheless, I have a few words to add to the millions before I take down my shingle as a pontificator to answer the question I am most often asked.
How is this all going to end? In other words, will the Republican Party escape the hangman’s noose waiting for it in Cleveland this summer?
First of all, it is a given the establishment does not want an open convention.
Traditionally, party leaders want one candidate for the charade of an open convention. As much as they believe in democracy, their ideal is a fascist state where elections are defined as a process whereby voters are given the choice of one candidate on the ballot, and the favored candidate gets 98% of the vote. And if you didn’t exercise the franchise, you’re shot.
The quaint American custom of voting for a plethora of choices is fraught with dangers, like a Donald Trump emerging victorious. All the losers then unite behind the winner, and make the nomination unanimous.
But this time it will be different. We will have some serious sore losers in Cleveland.
Secondly, it’s another given the establishment brains cannot accept a Trump candidacy, now matter how many primaries and delegates he wins. Not only will they lose the White House, but state houses, seats in the Senate and the House, except for the gerrymandered districts which will elect a tea bag.
As Trump has correctly pointed out, the convention is rigged. The process has been rigged ever since the Broadway idol Hamilton’s fear of the common people electing one of their own. The establishment additionally has rules designed to prevent self- immolation, and loss of meal tickets.
It’s time the Trumpistas woke up, and smelled the politics.
Thirdly, it’s a given that Trump supporters are not big on listening to discussions of rival political theories. At Town Hall meetings they have been known to spit on dissenters and pull hair. But those are the nice forms of expression.
I still remember the Trump Las Vegas rally in December. “Take them out,” an elderly man repeatedly yelled at protestors. “Kick his ass,” yelled another. “Shoot him,” some one yelled as the protestor was escorted to the Westgate. “ He’s a Muslim,” another man screamed as a protester was removed. “Light the mother----er on fire,” another man can be heard shouting at a black demonstrator, who sat in protest on the ground. A large middle- aged man, shouted “seig heil.”
Above the bedlam at rallies, sometimes Trump can be heard appealing for reason. “It’s okay to rough them up. But just a little. Be nice. We have stretchers to carry them out.”
Busloads of Trumpophiles will be arriving from Hauppauge in Suffolk County and Secaucus in New Jersey to make sure their candidate is treated fairly. The Cleveland police will do their best to keep things calm with tear gas and water cannons.
The ruckus in the streets will spread to the convention floor as it did in Chicago in 1968 and the Cow Palace in 1964, when the Goldwater thugs were carrying Dan Rather of CBS and John Chancellor of NBC off the floor.
All of this is not going to look pretty on TV. You can’t count on cable networks to do the socially responsible thing to calm tempers. In the name of journalistic integrity, they prefer to throw oil on the fire. The media are like vultures. They like nothing better than a dead or dying body to feed on. Especially since they created the Trump Frankenstein by covering him on the news like the weather or sports.
Given all of these givens, the establishment machers will be up to their chins in potential sewage this summer. So what can they possibly do, Mister Smart Guy?
I will tell you over the weekend in part II of what I hope to be my “Farewell to Punditry.”
April 29, 2016