By Manifesto Joe
The mogul of Atlantic City is doing some high-stakes gambling these days. And if he wins, the country is likely to lose -- BIG.
I didn't consider Donald (T)rump to be all that dangerous, even amid the comparisons to Hitler and such -- until last Thursday night. I thought of him in terms of a corrupt buffoon, akin to Silvio Berlusconi, the former Italian prime minister and media mogul. But after his dark acceptance of the Republican Party nomination for the presidency, I had second thoughts.
Trump has supporters who resemble Nazis in their pugnaciousness and not-so-subtle white supremacy, and he does nothing to discourage them. He actually said he doesn't know enough about the KKK to refute David Duke's endorsement of him. Describing himself as the "law-and-order" candidate, he's taking many pages out of the campaign playbook of the late Alabama Gov. George Wallace, and he's proving much more successful than Wallace was. He's put together a coalition of bigots, rednecks, gun nuts and other assorted psychos, and if he can get them to the polling places (some perhaps for the first time) in November, he could very well be elected president. After his convention speech, he was leading in the polls.
The Republican Party, the establishment of which seems a bit stunned by Trump's success, brought this on themselves. As far back as the Goldwater bid for the presidency in 1964, the GOP has catered to Southern bigots. Nixon extended the party's "Southern strategy" in 1968 and 1972, and by the time Reagan was the nominee in 1980, the South was solidly in the hands of the GOP. The Republicans have done all they could to court this type of voter -- working-class right-wingers who embrace a single issue, whether it be abortion, gun rights, or something else.
Now they've taken control of the party, like a Frankenstein monster, and the Republican Old Guard -- the economic royalists who used to call all the shots -- had no one on hand to back Donald Trump down.
If he ends up losing and destroying the Republican Party "coalition" of rednecks, the party moguls have no one to blame but themselves.
But what if he wins? Polls indicate that it's possible. And this fellow isn't merely stupid, like Il Doofus (Bush 43) appeared to be. This is a cunning megalomaniac with no apparent regard for the facts. Media observers pointed out that his bloviation on crime was false, with statistics showing that violent crime has declined since Obama became president. Yet he stands by everything, as usual.
One saving grace for the country may be his inexperience. As a political amateur, his mishandling of the GOP convention and of his own campaign may indicate that a Trump administration wouldn't go the distance. Politics is a contact sport not played well by amateurs, especially at the national and international levels.
But how much damage could he do in the meantime? As distasteful as I sometimes find Hillary Clinton, she's probably got my vote, because I don't care to find out how much damage Trump can do.
Manifesto Joe Is An Underground Writer Living In Texas.