by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Thomas Donlan‘s latest editorial commentary for Barron’s focuses on the New York billionaire’s apparent win in the Republican presidential contest.
The most adept of self-promoters has won the 2016 nomination of what’s left of the Republican Party. The people who thought they ran the party have lost control of it, and they don’t know what to do next. The party’s voters have decided the man is greater than the party, and maybe greater than the law, as well.
Traditional Republican leaders—moderate, business-oriented, free-trading believers in limited government—find themselves in the same position that former House Speaker John Boehner recently occupied so uncomfortably. A significant minority of his caucus refused his leadership, so he could do nothing with them and nothing against them.
Now the party leaders can do nothing with or against Donald Trump. And soon it will be Trump in the same straits. He has the votes to lead his faction down the road to national defeat, but not the power to lead his party to victory.
When Trump announced his candidacy last June, professional politicians and the reporters who cover them dismissed him as a self-aggrandizing blowhard, more interested in promoting his trademark name than in being president or advancing any particular issue or cause.
We judged that Trump was offering a self-defeating candidacy for the nomination. But the ghost of H.L. Mencken is chuckling. He told us that nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people. Trump broke through with loose, deplorable talk about Mexican immigrants, and went on to run against the global economy that actually brings more good things to Americans than ever before.
Contempt for Trump in the political establishment and the mainstream media helped make him the quasi-legitimate voice of millions of unheard Americans.