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How The Republican Establishment Went Insane

The Huffington Post logo The Huffington Post 22/02/2016 Richard Brodsky

Trump is going to self-destruct! Wrong.
Bush is our best chance of winning! Wrong.
We can do the same thing over and over again, and win! Wrong, and crazy!!
The Republican Establishment has gone from Wrong, which can happen to anyone, to Insane. American democracy inevitably forces elites to re-learn what Lincoln tried to teach. "You can't fool all the people all of the time."
For decades the Republican Establishment (Wall Street, big corporations, Congressional leaders, right-wing think tanks) cultivated a two-tier politics. Their primary purpose was to establish supply-side economics, with their attendant tax cuts for the wealthy. Their primary strategy was to activate social reactionaries. On immigration, or abortion, or guns, or gay marriage, folks were told that the world as they knew it was ending and only Republicans could protect them. They were told that Washington and the federal government were corrupt and could only be stopped by outsiders. It was us against them, Kenya, "you lie", impeach everyone, body parts for sale, term limits, shut down the government, "legitimate rape" and Cliven Bundy.
People listened, and voted. They were promised across-the-board social and economic reform. Instead they got tax cuts for the wealthy and attacks on Social Security and Medicare. Gay marriage is the law, most Americans want some kind of gun control, government shut-downs don't work, Obamacare is here to stay. And the same faces went out and asked to be selected to do the same thing.
The American people aren't stupid, even when they're wrong. Republican voters knew that they had been head-faked and used by forces that didn't really care about them. So they turned to candidates who speak their minds, and are firmly outside Establishment politics. Better someone I can trust to tell me the truth than more of the same. Trump and Cruz are two versions of outsider, in-your-face politicians who will do as they say.
It's not surprising, and it was inevitable. This electorate is the political monster that the Establishment created from spare parts of the body politic. It's escaped and no one knows how to restrain it.
Marco Rubio? Really? Trump and Cruz can stomp on him for days. Just imagine the Schumer/immigration and Christie/Robot commercials if the Donald decides to spend a little cash on ads.
Super Delegates? Really? Trump comes to the Convention with 45% of the delegates he needs and the unelected Establishment delegates unite behind Paul Ryan or some other supply-sider with a smile? Trumpites and Cruzians will stay home in droves in November.
It turns out that the Republican voter thinks that George Bush might have lied to them, that Jeb Bush is low-energy, and that Republican economics is really about protecting the rich. The Republican Establishment is right about Trump on that score. He's not a fanatic reactionary on economic issues. Tax the hedge funds, protect Social Security and Medicare, stop trade deals. In tone and in substance he's a Left/Right Populist. Republican voters don't mind.
Until and unless the Republican Party abandons Establishment economics they won't be able to change much electorally. The electorate has abandoned the fakery of decades. You want to recapture them, start talking about minimum wage, and family leave, and income inequality. You don't have to sound like a Democrat, there are Republican ideas for all this. But better ideas, not political maneuvering, are the only solution to the Establishment's current dilemma.
And, by the way, there are signs that Trump can aggravate the Democratic Establishment as well. He's attracted some Dems and Independents in open primary states. Listen to him on Planned Parenthood and women's health, or Social Security, or involvement in the Middle East. You've been warned.
There are two paths for the Republican Establishment. Destroy Trump, or embrace him. Best guess? Attempts at destruction that fail and continuing chaos. These guys are used to having their way, and they will going down swinging. It's good entertainment but bad politics.

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