I am gradually, grudgingly, and unenthusiastically, coming to the conclusion that the only way to change our Republic is the candidacy of Donald Trump. He is not my ideal Republican or Democratic choice. I would have loved to see Rand Paul vs. Elizabeth Warren. He is not the candidate that I would most want to have as a friend. His flaws and limitations have been well documented. His vanity is so extreme that I cringe at the thought of four years of President Trump telling us how great he is. That isn’t how decent folks act.
But we are not in a time when decent folks can get anything done being decent. We are in a time when the forces of globalization acting through international banks and corporations are calling the shots as they undermine the sovereignty of our national government. Our middle class is going extinct. The power of the parties, the power of incumbency, the wealth of the globalists, the domination of corporate media, are all working against the common good.
We are in a time when being a billionaire may be the only way to be truly independent. We are in a time when speaking bluntly, inarticulately, but often truthfully is being rewarded. More importantly, we are in a time when speaking stupidly is not being punished. The people perceive the stakes to be so high, that a candidate they believe is independent, honest, and looking out for their interests, will be given the latitude to make mistakes. Calculating politicians that triangulate their messages will be rejected. Authenticity will be rewarded.
Finally, we are in a time when the political structure has become an almost immovable object. The only solution is an almost irresistible force. Donald Trump represents the possibility of dislodging all the powerful institutions at least long enough to attempt to reform the system. His Presidency might clear away the institutional logjam to allow the river of democracy to flow unimpeded.
None of the other candidates have anything like this ability to overwhelm the system. Bush and Rubio represent the worn out brand of entrenched politicians. Cruz is interesting as a change agent, but his wife’s employment at the investment bank Goldman Sachs, the epitome of economic evil in our society, is problematic. His generally rational and disciplined approaches to policies are offset by the almost messianic way he wears his religion on his shirtsleeve. He may be more conservative than the country can handle and something just doesn’t feel right about him.
John Kasich is an utterly decent, balanced, and sound fellow. He is experienced as a legislator, 18 years in Congress, and as an Executive, two terms as Governor of Ohio. He seems to have the ability to bring people together. But the country is mad as hell and would rather hear Ted Cruz scream about carpet bombing ISIS, or Bernie scream about the 1%, or Marco Rubio reminding us how Barack Obama is changing our country for all the wrong reasons. John Kasich seems to be offering a sensible chicken dinner with steamed vegetables when all the electorate wants is red meat. I doubt he can withstand these forces of anger.
Hillary Clinton is the single most corrupt politician in the race. She sold out long ago to Wall Street and the countries that funded the Clinton Foundation. She sold her soul for power when she abandoned women by covering her husband’s mistreatment of his innumerable female victims. Whether indicted or not for her email scandal, she most assuredly has committed criminal acts that should disqualify her from seeking the Presidency.
Bernie Sanders has a good bit of the narrative right, the inequalities of our system and a big distrust of the banks. His criticism of America’s various foreign entanglements is long overdue. But I can’t see him appealing to the more conservative portions of the country in a general election. I don’t believe he is really any more of a Socialist than most of the Democratic Senators he serves with. So why call yourself a socialist? Doesn’t seem like a smart move. Or maybe he really is a socialist who has been tempered by Democratic politics. Either way, he seems to be an authentic choice for the politics he espouses.
But do any of these candidates have the force to stand up to the system? The system will only be changed in dramatic and fundamental ways, by a force large enough to dislodge the establishment’s monopoly of power. Trump may be the only candidate that possesses the unique ability to be all things to all people. Businessmen are not necessarily unprincipled, but they are pragmatic.
If you think that our country’s problems can be solved incrementally, then in football language, we need someone who can grind out a long drive running the ball. But if you believe the game is almost over; we are on the fifty-yard line; and we are behind a touchdown; Trump may be the only quarterback that can throw a sixty-yard Hail Mary pass for the win.
I am not confidant he can do it. Probably only a real collapse of the system will ever allow for fundamental changes that permit the people to take control of their government. A firecracker won’t do it, we need an atomic bomb. Trump is the only candidate with that power.
The really interesting possibility of change would be if Trump won the most Republican primary delegates, but not enough to win the nomination. A back room deal that denied him the nomination could destroy the Republican Party and make the 2016 Election resemble the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860.
The changes we often need, may not be the ones we want. But they can’t be avoided. Trump may very well be a transitional President consumed in the raging forest fire that clears out the underbrush and allows the forest to regain its health. Or he may be a hand grenade that blows up in our hands for no good purpose. Will he make America Great again? As always, it depends on what you define as great. But the direct answer is no, only the American people can achieve that goal. He is a risky choice, but we are in perilous times.