Saturday, April 02, 2016

The Party's Over, Part 2: Chaos and Discord

As violent incidents have increased at the Drumpf putsches, I have several times invoked the memory of Altamont, the infamous rock festival where security was provided by the Hell's Angels, with predictably disastrous results. So of course Drumpf now has a cadre of bikers promising to shut down protesters. What could possibly go wrong?

Between that development and what's already taken place, as well as the brewing confrontation at the party convention in July, the likelihood of the chaos that Loki-Littlefinger (heh) has sown thus far to bear fruit is increasing. It's looking more and more like Cruz will pull enough delegates to keep Drumpf from getting too close to the magic number of 1,237 delegates, and may even end up with a spread of 100-200 delegates, meaning a brokered convention.  You've seen the rallies -- do the Drumpfster divers seem like they're going to take that well?

But that is the ultimate intent of the trickster god:  to weasel his way into the process with empty promises and laughable rhetoric; to expose his opponents as frauds; to solidify his support into a hive-mind impermeable to reason; to throw the process into a state of unpredictability; to capitalize on the hostility.
Drumpf can talk about "winning" all he wants, but his idea of "winning" has an eerie resonance with a noted wild card from a couple years ago -- Charlie Sheen, who parlayed his off-the-rails persona into a bold gambit to extricate himself from a show he no longer wanted to be part of and had no say in, into a show that guaranteed him 100 episodes and full syndication up front, and complete control.

In Drumpf's case, "winning" simply means something other than what we commonly think it means. While it is certain that Drumpf would enjoy the ego-gratification part of holding the highest office in the land, it is almost as certain that even he knows that he is temperamentally unsuitable for the job, not just because of all the obnoxious nonsense he's spewed, but because the office of president is specifically designed to force you to work with other people, to take their advice and counsel, to play nicely with others in order to get things done.

Drumpf only knows carrots and sticks, bribery or bullying, to work with others. Some of that is useful, to be sure, but eventually, the holder of the office has to actually know something, or at least believe something, or surround themselves with people who do. But the thing is, "winning" for Drumpf might not necessarily have to mean getting the office. He has said before that he mostly views money as a way of keeping score. For him, playing the game, getting his ego stroked en masse, feeling like he could have won the presidency if the party hadn't muscled him out of it, that's winning. He's made the party bend to his will, and has very likely caused it to implode. Real machers don't worry about the job title so much as making everyone do what you want them to do. Drumpf could drop out of the race tomorrow knowing that he's done that.

Already the exposure of the GOP's institutional weaknesses have resulted in a variety of post-mortem analyses, most generally agreeing that, in sports terms, it is going to be a rebuilding season for them, the main question being for how many election cycles. That will depend mostly on just how far down-ticket the problems spread.

The more interesting questions revolve around the extent and the ways in which the party might reconstruct itself. Until now, the populists and the fat-cats have co-existed because the latter always knew they could buy the loyalty of the former. For now, that is no longer the case; it may instantly revert back to the norm the after Loki packs his shit and goes back to the tower, or it may split into two separate rump factions. Either way, the stage has been set -- one of these factions will, in 2020, put up a similar charismatic tool, this time slicker, smoother, less obnoxious but just as awful.

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