by Paul Moomjean
Almost a year ago the political landscape was flipped on its head when Donald Trump anointed himself the solution to immigration, trade and “winning again,” and since then the GOP has been in constant turmoil. Insider bickering, infighting, and insults were flown wildly, and many saw a brokered convention with a rebellious group of Trump supporters rioting in the streets of Ohio while Marco Rubio, John Kasich or Ted Cruz celebrated with a now-fractured party. But alas, the actual brokered convention in Cleveland will not be happening; instead it appears the more “civil” Democratic Party will be watching their rebel, Sen. Bernie Sanders, fight for every vote and every super delegate he can, hoping that an untrustworthy Hillary Clinton will be knee-high in bad poll numbers and FBI investigation questions. How this happened and how this will shape the next five months is all us political junkies can talk about.
What makes the Sanders revolt so interesting is that he appeared to be just an old-timer trying to put his ideas on the DNC platform, but he has turned into a truer idealist than we all thought. Sander’s campaign manager Jeff Weaver sees his man as the only option against populist/fascist Trump: “The Democratic Party must decide if they want the candidate with the momentum who is best-positioned to beat (Donald) Trump or if they are willing to roll the dice and court disaster simply to protect the status quo for the political and financial establishment of this country,” Weaver wrote in an email to supporters.
Sanders and Weaver see this summer’s convention as the ultimate fighting championship where David will battle Goliath for the heart of the Valley of Elah, with the spunky Jewish socialist with nothing but a few stones against the well-armored, well-funded gentile Philistine who believed the victory was hers before the fight ever began. In that story God’s chosen won. We won’t know this result until late July.
Meanwhile Trump has cleared the way to walk into his convention with 1,237 delegates but little establishment support. Past presidents and past nominees have already vocalized their disdain toward Trump’s rhetoric and plan to skip the convention altogether. George W. Bush and John McCain missing might not hurt the Donald’s feelings, but their absence will hurt Trump’s pull with the pro-Iraq War and immigration crowd. I can only assume Ted Cruz will not be saying nice things about the nominee onstage, nor will George Will or Charles Krauthammer be writing kind words in their Op-Eds. Trump will have to take his loyalists and just pray the DNC implodes worse than the GOP currently has.
In the middle of all of this stands Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, who must decide how to move forward despite being enthusiastically unenthused by Trump’s nomination. Ryan will be in charge of running the convention, creating the rules as he sees fit, and ushering the GOP nominee into the fall. After their meeting on May 12, Trump and Ryan seemed to believe they’ll figure out how to gel together.
“While we were honest about our few differences, we recognize that there are also many important areas of common ground,” Trump and Ryan said in a joint statement. “We will be having additional discussions, but remain confident there’s a great opportunity to unify our party and win this fall, and we are totally committed to working together to achieve that goal.”
But can they? Currently, conservatives are spouting a #NeverTrump viral social media campaign, and Trump seems uninterested in winning over the intellectuals of the conservative movement. Can he tone down his racist rhetoric in time to win Reagan Democrats and still appeal to his base of anti-immigration, anti-Muslim and anti-everything-not-American?
The end is near. In a few weeks Sanders and Clinton will join forces in one way, no matter how bitter they might be today, but I’m thinking the GOP is farther away. Trump has banned himself from Fox News numerous times after making peace; why would this be any different?
In the end, he’s just a showman. And even if nothing gets resolved, the show must go on.