Postmodern Conservative

How to Survive a President Trump?

Well, first off, Pete below is perfectly right to wonder whether John Boehner has lost his mind. Ted Cruz ain’t “Lucifer in the flesh.” If he were the Dark Lord, he’d be winning or at least a man of wealth and taste. When I finally start my heavy-metal band, though, it will be Lucifer in the Flesh. Imagine the T-shirt, not to mention the tattoos.  

But to be fair to Boehner, who just isn’t a bad or crazy guy: It appears that most members of the Republican elected class (present and former) view both Trump and Cruz as demonic interlopers. That view, as Pete says, reflects a rich and unearned sense of entitlement.

So there’s an article in the Wall Street Journal today that says blame George McGovern for Trump. That means, of course, he’s responsible for the current nomination process that gives very little place to those who care, most of all, about the Republican party as such. The party has been captured by whimsical voters, many of whom, such as Bobby Knight, don’t give a fig for the party. They want to “blow the place up.”

We have to remember, however, that McGovern was caused by the chaotic Democratic convention of 1968. The party had to be deeply wounded not to fend George’s McGovern-Fraser Commission and later his presidential candidacy off. And there has to be a reason why the Republicans caved so readily and too went along with McGovern’s “preferential proportional representation.”

Republicans still have to reflect a lot more than they have about their current huge vulnerability to a hostile takeover by alien invaders. It’s not just the nominating system that’s to blame.

Meanwhile, our Jim Ceaser, along with Oliver Ward, are “thinking the unthinkable” in The Weekly Standard. Just as Herman Kahn took a kind of demonic responsibility for our future by thinking about how to actually win a nuclear war, Jim and Oliver want Republicans now to consider how to contain the destructive power and radioactive effects of a Trump administration.  

The obvious objection to thinking the unthinkable is that it makes the unthinkable more likely. If you think it’s possible to live through a Trump administration, then you won’t deploy every conceivable means to keep that bomb from dropping. 

I’ll let you consider Jim and Oliver’s reasonable advice.

But let me go even further, for the fun of it: There are two parallel universes progressing along in the current nominating process. Trump is winning with the voters, and Cruz is doing the same with delegate selection. It may well be the case that Trump will be nominated by delegates bound to vote for him but who pretty much think he’s the devil. They will write the platform, pick the vice-presidential nominee, and sit on their hands during his big speech. Maybe they can go even further and plot the impeachment of Trump, convincing millions of Republicans that they’re really voting for the vice-presidential nominee for president. That wouldn’t necessarily be an affront against “democratic legitimacy,” as polls might show on Election Day that both Trump and Hillary Clinton are both hugely unpopular and perceived as unfit to serve.

The devoted Trump followers, maybe a quarter of the November electorate, would still be with their guy, believing that impeachment and removal is mission impossible. They’d get the last laugh.

It appears that most Republican members of Congress would go along with impeachment, and the Democrats, in the spirit of good government and the future of civilization, wouldn’t want Trump to have his hand on the button and all that either. The vice president has to be appropriately un-Satanic in the eyes of most Americans. Here’s where General Mattis comes in.

One problem is, of course, that the electors may not be thrilled with all this, and lots of them might go rogue in various directions. That, of course, just makes this reality show more interesting.

Peter Augustine LawlerPeter Augustine Lawler is Dana Professor of Government at Berry College. He is executive editor of the acclaimed scholarly quarterly Perspectives on Political Science and served on President George ...


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