Sunday, March 13, 2016

Danger Ahead: Trump Isn't the Only One Pivoting

The great pivot has begun.

Confident he has the Republican Party presidential nomination sewn up, Donald Trump has begun to moderate his positions to make his candidacy more attractive to establishment Republicans plus independent and Democratic voters who are a) ignorant, b) forgetful, c) forgiving, or d) just plain anti-Hillary.

That racist-, misogynist-, nativist-, fascist-sounding candidate of the last eight months? Oh, Trump would have you believe that character was just the opening gambit in a negotiation to become the next person to lay his hand on a bible and recite the oath of office administered by chief justice of the Supreme Court John Roberts, the same chief justice Trump has vilified as a “nightmare” and “disaster” for conservative values.

Trump says he is the best negotiator and this deal, to be successful, will truly require an artful play. But as much as The Donald may pivot to the center to modify his positions on building a wall and having Mexico pay for it, restricting entry into the country by all Muslims, rounding up and kicking out of the country 11 million illegal immigrants, and other extreme ideas including ordering the military to commit war crimes, Trump has miscalculated one vital aspect of his Mephistophelean plan.

Having unleashed the devil inside his followers, Trump is powerless to restrain the evil that resides in the hearts of the beastly mob. They’ve been riled up by cursing and gutter talk of mugging protesters, of bombing Muslims back to the Stone Age, of ridiculing political opponents not for objections to their ideas but rather because of their physical attributes. Trump has galvanized his acolytes to the point where they endanger the physical lives of protesters as well as our nation’s treasured right to peacefully protest.

So the grand pivot to the center has little chance of succeeding in this Internet age when everyone’s cell phone makes them, as Mitt Romney found out four years ago with his infamous 47% speech to what he thought was a sympathetic audience, an instant muckraker.

But there’s another pivot underway that is equally discomforting. It is the pivot of thoughtful Trump detractors who reason that Trump is not as bad as Ted Cruz and given the choice of the devil from New York or the devil from Texas, the former is more tolerable than the latter because of his unorthodoxy, because of his “New York values,” because he is known to compromise or, in his jargon, negotiate, and not be rigidly doctrinaire like Cruz.

Probe deeply into all the Republican candidates—those still running and those who have fallen away—and you will find, even inside teddy bear, hug-worthy John Kasich, extreme conservatives who believe in trickle down economics, who reject climate change reality, who care not for women’s health or their equal status, who would undermine the civil rights of minorities, and who believe the best foreign diplomacy is combat-based.

On the other hand, they believe inside Trump resides a man that can be controlled or at least reasoned with. He’s a businessman, as he often relates. He’s only after the best deal.

So they pivot their contempt for all things Trump. They don’t see, or don’t want to see, the parallel to what the intelligentsia and commerce-crowd believed in Germany in the early 1930s in their desire to see the Fatherland become great again.