A similar thing nearly happened in 2003, when the left tried its damnedest to convince California voters that Arnold Schwarzenegger was Hitler incarnate. The mainstream press portrayed Ah-nuld as a Nazi-loving rapist whose election would lead to Mexicans being sent to death camps as Einsatzgruppen squads turned Home Depot parking lots into killing fields of machine-gunned drywallers. But the right didn”t bite, and neither did Schwarzenegger, who watched his words, made few if any campaign missteps, and generally ran a clean, G-rated, inoffensive campaign, in which he pledged to be one of those jolly, likable, fiscally frugal Eisenhower Republicans that everyone can feel comfortable with.
And California ended up with one of its worst governors ever”a weak, deceitful, corrupt man of no principles who buckled at the first sign of defeat, freed Latino murderers in exchange for political favors, and left the state in economic shambles. A big-borrowing big spender who, after leaving office, straight-out admitted that his candidacy was a “joke” intended to “freak people out,” and that he ran for office with no idea what he would do if he actually won.
Make no mistake, that would most likely be Trump’s trajectory, too. Like the Austrian bodybuilder, Trump is a wealthy, high-profile loudmouth with no plan to govern and no principles to guide him. The major difference between the campaigns of the two egotistical publicity whores is that in 2003, leftist cries of “he’s a racist Nazi fascist” were met with a resounding “no he isn”t” from Schwarzenegger supporters. Today, those same charges are met by Trump fans with “so what if he is?” I”m not defending that response, but I”ll freely admit I find it fascinating. I chalk it up to fatigue. Too many people on the right are sick and tired of being policed on the issue of race, by the mainstream media, by SJWs in every corner of society, and by the brand protectors in their own party.
Even if Trump doesn”t win the nomination, the horses have already bolted the barn. Three years ago, when Victoria Jackson decided to go clogging in a minefield, the “let’s take the gloves off on race” wing of the GOP base could easily be cowed and quieted. That couldn”t happen today. For better or worse, the unapologetic racial boundary-testers are a vocal faction now, and the party will have to begin regularly throwing them a bone or two. By and large, that’s not a bad thing. No electoral or legislative successes have come from playing Caspar Milquetoast on issues involving race. If Trump (or, at the very least, the Trump avatar) has encouraged Republicans to fight back against the party’s propriety police, then the farce will end up having value beyond mere entertainment. Republicans may just be able to go back to the days of Lee Atwater, Willie Horton, and Helms vs. Gantt. In other words, matching the left blow for blow on the court of racial hardball.
Maybe I”m just looking for a silver lining in the Trump cumulonimbus, but I think I”ve finally found a reason to feel okay about the great Trumprising of 2016.
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