(UPDATE: Instalanches are like manna from heaven. Thank you, Professor.)
Assumption: Donald Trump is motivated not by superego, but by ego.
Ah, hell. It’s probably the id and we all know it.
If you agree, read on. If not, run along to Obama’s re-election campaign where you belong.
Right now Donald Trump is like a pig in slop. He was just another rich celebrity blowhard “punching upward” for attention. But then Obama swung back, because the Leader of the Free World is such a genius.
When Michael Barone advances a theory, such as that Obama is no Machiavelli, what can we do but agree? But we all have the nightmare scenario searing our minds’ eyes: Obama has elevated Trump into a “serious” Republican contender. Ego aflame, he runs in the primary and does well but doesn’t win. Then he goes Ross Perot and hands the Oval Office back to (in Trump’s words) “the worst President ever”. Obama sure looks like a genius then.
Let’s not take that chance, m’kay?
The proper counter is so simple and obvious that Republican leadership will never think of it. Let’s remind them:
United We Stand, Divided We Fall.
Make that An Official Plank before the primaries. “We hang together or hang separately.” Yes, it’s a real Paine going to this trouble. But if the good ship G.O.P. doesn’t secure its weapons, it will learn the origin of the phrase “loose cannon”.
So reject in advance any candidate who won’t vow to accept the will of Republican voters. Do it now, Elephants.
Non-Trump candidates, craft MOMS’DC–The Mickle Oath of Mutual Support or Dire Consequence–and swear it with great fanfare. (Christians who don’t swear can solemnly affirm, just as in court.) Then hand it to The Donald and see what happens.
It’s perfectly rational for the Republican Party to give Trump a forum. He’ll generate a lot of excitement and attention, maybe even cash. He’s willing to be a “bad cop” and hammer the opposition. Suppose he entered. Won millions of votes but lost the primary. Then selflessly supported the nominee while continuing to blast Obama.
We could call the election right now.
But you noticed that word in there, didn’t you? The one that really clashes with The Donald as we know him.
Republicans would be perfectly insane to give him access if there’s a chance he’ll bolt after a loss. They can’t physically prevent it. But if from the beginning “United We Stand, Divided We Fall” is a key theme, it minimizes Trump playing spoiler with Republican resources.
And if he goes back on his word? Tea Partiers and Republicans don’t tolerate liars the way progressives do. (In fact, progressives require their leaders to be liars. It’s the only way to advance their agenda.)
The problem is, Trump is strong at the negotiating table whereas Republicans are…you know. Republicans. Trump could easily break their will by threatening a third party. Then he loses in the primary, which is guaranteed. (Those “F Bombs” won’t play in my neck of the woods.) So he splits off with more support than ever.
And we all hang separately.
For once in their quivering lives, Republican leadership needs to show, yes, leadership. Maniacs like Trump couldn’t yank the wheel if it was already firmly grasped. Get Allen West to fire a gun near The Donald’s ear and say: “running in a primary but refusing to abide by it is a betrayal of voters. I don’t like traitors.”
(A man can dream, can’t he?)
Yes, it’s theoretically possible to harness The Donald’s newfound influence for good. But the stuff is like nuclear power: it provides reliable and tremendous energy when elaborately safeguarded, but a guaranteed disaster if set free.
Unfortunately, our only hope appears to be TEPCO: The Elephant Party Can’t Organize.