As liberal Democrats, it’s hard to know how to react to the Donald Trump freak show. Should we be giddy at conservatism’s spectacular self-immolation? Or should Trump’s dumbfounding success make us re-evaluate our faith in humanity?
For the moment, we’re going with giddy. And a good part of our glee comes from knowing that whatever happens with Trump, he will most likely be doing damage to Republicans straight through November. Trump’s monumental egotism makes that a virtual certainty. Obviously if Trump wins the nomination or leaves the party in a fit of pique to run as an independent, he will be catastrophic for Republicans.
But the deliciousness of Trump is that even if he loses the nomination, he will remain an anchor around the neck of conservatives. Whether he loses in a close fight or he’s gone after South Carolina, it doesn’t really matter. Who in their right mind thinks Trump is just going to fade away?
- He’s wealthy enough to stay in the race until he gets tired of spending money.
- He crave’s the spotlight. His ego won’t let him go away.
- Like Sarah Palin, he makes such good television that the media won’t want him to go away. Every TV network will be clamoring, as they are now, for the next crazy-Donald quote, long after he’s out of the race. They will seek him out as a commentator and pundit.
All of which means Democrats will have Trump to kick around till the last ballot is counted. And Democrats will have to take advantage—mercilessly. Whoever the eventual Republican nominee is, he will own Trump’s legacy. Democrats should not let anyone forget. The Republican Party is now indelibly tainted this election season.
What’s more, Democrats must tie Trump not just to Republicans but to conservatism. In our last post, we showed you how. Thanks to Trump, conservatism is on the defensive at the moment, and Democrats must press the attack.
The message from now till November should be: “The GOP is dysfunctional. Conservatism has devolved into a sad, mean-spirited shell of what it once was. This is not a party or a political ideology that should be leading a 21st-century superpower.”
For Democrats, smug triumphalism may be premature, unfortunately. And no doubt this election season will be full of surprises. But if Democrats can manage to retain the presidency and take back the Senate (dare we hope for more?), liberals should give Donald Trump a big, wet kiss.