Sunday, March 20, 2016

And The Big Bad Trump Blew The House Down

"And the Big Bad Wolf huffed and he puffed and he blew the house down."

Donald Trump has indeed done a lot of huffing and puffing. The result is he may not only defeat the GOP for the presidency by becoming their presidential nominee, but he may also blow the House of  Representatives right out of GOP hands and into the hands of the Democrats.

Already his emergence as a likely top of the GOP ticket in November has caused the much-respected Cook Political Report to change its assessment of ten GOP House seats to being more favorable in November for Democrats.  House Republicans Staring Into the Abyss: 10 Ratings Changes Favor Democrats

The Democrats have to win back 30 House seats now held by the GOP in order to regain majority control. That's a rather big order, but Big Bad Wolf is helping already and may do even more to alienate voters in squishy districts. ("Squishy" is a highly technical term for a district that isn't soft yet but maybe could be. I invented this use of the term.)

Alternatively, if Trump is denied the nomination, it's quite likely rafts of Trump-leaning Republicans  might say to hell with the election and stay home in November. That could allow Democrats to win even more GOP seats than the Cook Report is already giving them. With Trump as a possible nominee, the GOP is doomed if it does and doomed if it doesn't.

With this reality looming like a dark cloud on the GOP November horizon, it's surprising that the real head of the GOP and the second most powerful man in Washington, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, has done next to nothing to denounce or stop Trump.

I'm not alone in being puzzled by this. Here's a well-written, well-analyzed piece by New York Times columnist Ross Douthat, a GOP supporter: Douthat: Profiles in Paralysis

When a rightist like Douthat and an old lefty/independent like me agree on something, maybe it has some merit, right?

What is so sad about the GOP's non-response in stopping Trump is that it means the so-called GOP leadership and officeholders have accepted that he will be the nominee. It reminds me of the Democratic office-holders' non-rush to help Al Gore get a fair count in Florida in 2000. The GOP stampeded into Florida to support George W's fight, but ol' Al was left hanging out to dry virtually all alone. By staying out, the Democrats gave the presidency to Bush and thereby gave us the Iraq war and a Great Recession, plus two really lousy Supreme Court appointments.

Now the GOP's been silent or just fumbling around and thus is prematurely yielding the field to Trump. Not only may this cost the party dearly, but it could cost all of us our country.  If Trump becomes president, there wouldn't be an America any more. It would be a facist country.

And that brings to mind the rise of the Nazis in Germany and what helped bring them to power. That such emergence of evil could happen was foreseen in the 1700s by the Irish politician Edmund Burke: "All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing."

Confronting the threat of a Nazi Germany created in part by "the good Germans" who sat silent, Winston Churchill said, "One ought never to turn one's back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half. Never run away from anything. Never!"

I'd like to send that message to Paul Ryan. Instead maybe I should send him this bumper sticker. And, yes, it actually is for sale on line for $5:  All that is necessary for the triumph of evil car bumper sticker.

Or there's a coffee mug for $18 with the same Burke saying. But I doubt Paul Ryan drinks coffee. If he did he might be alert to the danger of a Trump instead of dozing.

Meantime here's a real American from 1924, Senator Underwood from Alabama (yes! Alabama!) who sought the  Democratic nomination but dared defy the KuKlux Klan in its strongest period:

“When an issue arises involving the religious liberty of our people and proscribes American citizens because of the accident of race or birth, then that issue becomes the outstanding issue before the country, and it will remain the issue until settled.” He added, “The Klan got my scalp in several states which, but for the activities of this well organized and highly financed society of masked men, I would have carried. But that’s history now, and the big thing now is to meet the issue in a way worthy of the party.” A Tale of Two Underwoods

And in another 30 years the Democrats did. But the Republicans went backwards!

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