The Donald's Enemies List

Donald Trump wins support by making people hate him.

In a popular democracy, standard practice for would-be officeholders involves garnering support and endorsement from as many people as possible - newspapers, TV anchors, sitting politicians, retired statesmen, basically anyone who any voter might possibly heed.  During any primary season, one of the key metrics of the various candidates is how many endorsements they've collected.

What, then, are we to make of Donald Trump's strategy?  Since declaring his official candidacy a scant few weeks ago, he seems to have made a specialty of making enemies.  There's hardly a big name anywhere in the country that hasn't condemned, repudiated, or insulted Mr. Trump.  Even his business associates, whose fidicuary responsibility to their stockholders calls for them to care only about making money, are abandoning him at vast cost to themselves and vast gain to their lawyers.

And yet, despite his many famous and influential critics, Donald Trump is in the lead among likely Republican primary voters,.  In fact, he has twice or more of the support of any other candidate save Jeb Bush.

No Pale Pastels, but Bold Colors

From where we sit, it looks like Donald Trump is the only Republican candidate who has learned the lesson taught by Newt Gingrich in the primary debates last time around: The Establishment, regardless of party, is the enemy, and voters will reward whomever attacks the establishment with both fists.

This is all the more striking because it is so wildly at variance with St. Ronald Reagan's Eleventh Commandment:

Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.

By and large, conservatives have followed this rule for the last thirty years, holding their noses to vote for timeserving RINOs like John McCain and Bob Dole.  By and large, those on the left - particularly the leftish establishment in the Republican Party - have declined to offer the same courtesy.  The result is what you'd expect: conservatives losing even in their own party, to say nothing of losing in the wider world.

Ronald Reagan said many wise things which are still relevant today.  He also said and did a few nutty things that were stupid at the time, agreeing to amnesty for illegals being chief among them.  It's easy to see that this was wrong then and that it's even wronger now.

It's harder to discard Mr. Reagan's wisdm which was demonstably correct at the time, but isn't anymore.  Back in the 1980s, most Republicans agreed on most things, at least in public.

Today, that's simply no longer true.  If politics is the mostly-peaceful expression of differing points of view, then it makes sense to attack people who hold views that are wrong, even if they nominally share your party affiliation.

One of the chief criticisms of Donald Trump is that he is no faithful Republican.  That's a fair charge: over the years he has regularly supported Democrats both with his rhetoric and his dollars.  Perhaps, though, the only way we can make any headway against the corrupt Republican establishment is via a standard-bearer who has no ingrained loyalty to them, and no financial need to kowtow.

Reports have it that Republican Party Chairman Reince Priebus telephoned Mr. Trump to try to get him to toe the establishment-party line and stop knocking illegals.  Not only did Mr. Trump double down on his assaults against criminal illegals the very next day, he flatly denied that Priebus had even tried to shut him up.  How's that for an ever-so-polite, urbane thumb in the eye!

In this present crisis, there is one single trait that matters more than anything else when it comes to choosing a standard-bearer and, hopefully, a President: is that person willing to fight by whatever means are necessary and effective?  Of the available candidates, only two have even a pretence of a claim to this characteristic.

The first is Wisconisn Gov. Scott Walker, who effectively destroyed public-sector unionism and the vast corrupt funding mechanism of his state's Democrat party.  We cannot readily recall another conservative politician with anything close to this record.  All by itself, this makes Gov. Walker worthy of serious consideration for the highest office.

Donald Trump, having never held elective office before, cannot be readily judged by the same measure.  However, his decades of public visibility give certain clues: in the darkest of circumstances, he never gives up, and one way or another, he always comes out on top.  It matters not whether he's truly smart or really lucky, he's a winner either way.

Like any successful businessman, Mr. Trump is a master of thinking outside the box, seeing what others cannot see, and doing what others refuse to do.  Conservatives have pretty much stayed in the box for lo these many years, and now the box is so tiny we can't even turn around in it.

Might Mr. Trump abandon his conservative positions once in office, as so many other Great White Hopes have done?  Yes.  So might Mr. Walker, or Mr. Huckabee, or Mr. Cruz, or anyone else.  We can't know the future.

But every day in which Mr. Trump continues his assault against those who are invading our country, and those at home who defend them, increases the probability that he'll actually stick with that position if he finds himself in a position of power.

The Donald's enemies list is growing by leaps and bounds.  Every day in every way, we like the look of who's on that list better.

Franklin Roosevelt once said, "I ask you to judge me by the enemies I have made."  By that standard, Mr. Trump measures up pretty darn well.  We will continue watching him with the greatest of interest.

Petrarch is a contributing editor for Scragged.  Read other articles by Petrarch or other articles on Partisanship.
Reader Comments

"now the box is so tiny we can't even turn around in it"

One of the best metaphors I've heard in a long time! How true and how sad. Constrained in power and direction both, and each limiting the other.

I agree on The Donald. He may totally reverse all his views once in office BUT at least we know he eagerly takes on fights. With a border that sends in millions of illegals per year - to the extent that that ethnicity has overtaken all over minorities - and with a debt that is approaching 20 trillion, a fighter MUST be elected. The long slow death-drip has to be fought.

July 22, 2015 10:17 AM
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