Some have speculated that Bernie Sanders’s supporters will play hooky on election day, rather than vote for Hillary Clinton. Perhaps. Another perhaps is many Republican voters also boycotting the election should Donald Trump capture the nomination, as he is now expected to do. Moreover, assuming a Clinton-vs.-Trump choice, I find it more likely that some Republicans would cross the aisle than Democrats. After all, it’s a far greater stretch for socialists to embrace The Donald than for moderate Republicans, though now few in number, to check the ballot in Clinton’s favor.
Meanwhile, the Republican establishment, a very loose descriptor of party operatives and sympathizers, is in a panic. How can they stop the Tump juggernaut?
Much to widespread chagrin, there has been no successful point of attack. Exposing Trump’s lies emboldens him. Mocking him merely draws him more attention.
But I wonder if we’re missing something here. It’s not so much the person of Trump, however outlandish. Rather, his growing popularity suggests that he’s discovered and exploited a growing resentment among mostly white voters, those who believe with very good reason that “the system” has screwed them.
When Trump talks about making America “great again,” he’s suggesting that white, less-educated men fared better some time ago. (I need only think of my father who, after WWII, found a job for life at Standard Oil. He lacked a college degree, yet earned enough money to solely support a family of seven, though hardly in the style of Trump.) Of course, Trump is also fanning the flames of nativism, xenophobia, racism, sexism, and other vile attitudes that define America’s dark underbelly.
Understandable comparisons with Hitler abound. The Germans of polite society said repeatedly that he could not happen to their country, until he did, as Hitler gradually amassed enough electoral support to dominate the Reichstag. Then…well, you know the rest.
We can only hope that Trump’s popularity is limited, that it’s not enough to propel him into the White House. In the event, that inconvenient system of checks and balances will come in handy.