Trump Can’t Be Stopped by Shaming His Voters

Photo by Evan Guest (CC BY 2.0)
The editorial board of the Washington Post wants to stop Trump from getting the Republican nomination, citing Trump’s lies, threats, lack of an actual agenda, lack of experience, admiration for Putin, and the fact that “he wants the United States to commit war crimes.” Where do they turn?

Certainly there are Republican leaders who understand all this: people such as House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (Wis.); former president George W. Bush and former presidential nominees Bob Dole, John McCain and Mitt Romney; and governors, senators and community leaders across the country. … If Mr. Trump is to be stopped, now is the time for leaders of conscience to say they will not and cannot support him and to do what they can to stop him. We understand that Mr. Trump would seek to use this to his benefit, and that he might succeed. But what is the choice? Is the Republican Party truly not going to resist its own debasement?

It would be hard to find a clearer example of how this primary race has been so utterly misunderstood by the political and journalistic class. In the past, these so-called “leaders of conscience” (please) have thrived off of what I described in my previous post as the decades-long project of cultivating a Republican electorate of fanatical ignoramuses. The very men the Post wants taking action to stop Trump are the same who benefited (to greater and lesser degrees) from the fomenting of rage and fear and the celebration of idiocy, the radiation of which Trump is now photosynthesizing. These men and their operations created the Trump candidacy. Trump is their baby.

And the idea that these old-timers could now step in and somehow shame and tut-tut the mob into making a more noble or self-sacrificing choice of candidate is laughable. These men represent much of what the Trump electorate is gleefully rejecting. These voters don’t want another Dole-Romney figure. They want a Mussolini-Barnum figure.

A poll out today for Florida shows Trump about to clobber Rubio, ostensibly the candidate to whom “leaders of conscience” should be directing support. Trump is not going to be stopped at the polls. Electorally, this is over.

Which points to the sole way these party patriarchs could stop Trump from getting the nomination, and it won’t happen. The Republican Party is not a part of the government (nor it the Democratic). It is a private organization that fosters and supports candidates for political office. The party could, if it so chose, simply change its rules, or suspend them entirely, and decide by fiat that, nope, we’re not nominating Trump. Somewhere in a smoke-filled room (or whatever sketchy place powerful people meet these days) these besuited, old white dudes could gather and decide to pull the plug on the primaries, and enact some alternative means of choosing someone else. It will never happen, and it would be a disaster of a wholly different sort. But that’s all they’ve got.

So Trump it is, and may whatever god you believe in have mercy on your soul.