A PLAUSIBLE DOOMSDAY FORECAST I HOPE DOES NOT COME TRUE
So I’m afraid I have to change my mind about the absurdity of a Trump presidential candidacy. I have to admit, when I first heard that The Donald was planning a bid for the presidency, indeed, even when I saw his announcement speech, I scoffed. I felt there was no way enough people would take this man seriously enough to give him the nomination. Even if he did develop a following, which I thought plausible, there was no way he would ever get the delegate count necessary to win the nomination.
But I have sinced changed my mind. Don’t get me wrong, I still think Trump’s candidacy is absurd, but nowadays, absurdity is not a disqualifying characteristic. Indeed, we may be facing a Renaissance of Absurdity. Trumpmentum isn’t just a fad or a scary, short term phenomenon. His nomination may still be a longshot, à la Nate Silver’s calculations (I have a healthy respect for Silver’s analysis), however, I’m no longer convinced that the loudmouth mogul has no chance. Brushing a Trump nomination off as absurd simply doesn’t work any more.
I have to acknowledge Paul Krugman’s and Alan Abromowitz’ disturbing observations. Trump has an outrageous lead in national and state level polls at a time when Republican voters are exceptionally engaged. Any and all mis-steps and mad libs on the part of this unlikely candidate has served only strengthen his position. What, at this point, might he say or do that would make him unappealing to his base? It’s unlikely his fan-base is going anywhere. Their’s is a religious devotion.
A Trump nomination, as absurd as it is, is not impossible. He can easily win primary states, many of which are winner-take-all delegations. Those states voting between March 1st and March 15th must parse their delegates according to proportional representation. This offers the possiblity of large numbers of delegates for Trump in primary states. The only hope resides in caucus states, but even here, Trumps appeal cannot be ignored by even the most contrarian caucus. At least some delegates will have to be awarded if only to keep Dr. Moreau’s monsters reasonably pacified. So with enough support in the primaries, Trump can become the nominee. Not a likely nominee, but “likely” does not carry the same weight it used to.
Now here’s where the horror story speculation begins. Can a Trump ticket win the White House? I’m afraid the answer is–yes.
Look, once Trump wins the nomination, Republicans are going to vote for him. As it stands, the level of group closure and in-group mentality in the Republican Party, in concert with the party’s visceral animosity for evereything Obama or Clinton, means that even those in the party who dislike Trump will almost certainly vote for him anyway. He is, afterall, the “Nothillary.”
So then the question comes, will Democrats be able to pull enough independents and less stalwart Republicans to win? Under normal circumstances, probably. But a lot can happen in the next eleven months.
Take, for instance, the aweful possibility of a major terrorist attack in the United States–the external kind, not the normal run-of-the-mill terrorist attacks that happen all the time in this country. Do you suppose, in the event of an attack, that the Republican Party will rally around the President for the sake of unity and the good of the country in the face of adversity like the Democrats rallied behind Bush after 9/11? If you believe that, you are simply out of your mind.
Any attack on the United States will be directly attributed to President Obama, either his lack of leadership, his inherent weakness or his incompetence. There will even be those who will claim that he was secretly behind the attacks. This will be the foundation of all so-called analysis on FoxNoise, and the mainstream media, rather than contradict the absurdity of such claims, will lend them credence for fear that they might look too “liberal” if they don’t give such rumors equal time with real news. I mean, isn’t this a large part of the Renaissance of the Absurd mentioned earlier.
The nation would be fed a steady diet of “Obama isn’t keeping the country safe!” rhetoric. This would, of course, be linked to Hillary with never ending floating images of President Obama with Secretary Clinton, Oh Fortuna playing in the background and a deep voiced commentator saying, “If you vote for Clinton we will all DIE!” followed by, “I’m Donald Trump and I approve this message.”
The bottom line is that there is really no way to protect a nation this large and this free from a terrorist attack, regardless of who is president. Hopefully this will not happen, but it is certainly not outside the realm of possibility.
A more likely scenario, however, is another recession. In my lifetime, the United States has experienced recessions about every five or six years or so. This has been a pretty consistent trend since the advent of the Federal Reserve System. Recessions happen regardless of leadership, yet it is the president who bears the responsibility should the economy fail. We are currently experiencing one of the longest periods of economic expansion in American history. I’m not qualified to make claims as an economist, but statistically, we are about due for a recession. Most likely a relatively small one (I hope), but a recession nonetheless.
This will become known as the Obama Recession through the same mechanisms elaborated above. Though this economic downturn will likely be caused by bankers and financiers, the right wing machine will, of course, blame Obamacare and black people in general.
These responses to crisis are politically effective. When we consider that Donald Trump’s success is already predicated on exploiting the fear and uncertainty of American life, especially that which exists for working class white males, the scenario suggested above plays to Trump’s advantage. Either scenario, or some godaweful combination of both, can result in a Trump presidency.
Then the lunatics really will be running the asylum, or to put it in terms previously offered, Dr. Moreau’s monsters will be out of their cages.
Again, I believe a Trump presidency is implausible, but I don’t believe it is impossible. All I know for sure is that for the next eleven months I’m going to be a wreck!