Trump won the nomination because he grasped the reality of these troubled timesby Sam Tanenhaus / July 14, 2016 / Leave a comment
Published in August 2016 issue of Prospect Magazine
Can Donald Trump be stopped—not in November, but sooner, by being denied the nomination by opponents within his own party? The idea seemed delusional in early June, after Trump won 75 per cent of the vote in the California primary. But his detractors haven’t disappeared. His vanquished rivals Ted Cruz, John Kasich and Jeb Bush have yet to endorse him, and Beltway chieftains, including Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, continue to imply, or let others think, Trump lacks the fitness to serve.
“What is this?” Trump snarled in his best imitation of another Queens (New York) native John McEnroe, after House Speaker Paul Ryan, the top-ranking national Republican, indicated Trump needed to brush up on “Republican principles and ideas.” The “presumptive nominee” had a point. Ryan, a flop as Mitt Romney’s running mate in 2012, was now lording it over an everyman hero who had excited the grassroots base in every region of the country, capturing 37 of 50 states.
But that was before Trump lurched off on a two-month binge of say-whatever-I-please Trumpism. First came his speculation that the distinguished federal judge now hearing a suit brought against Trump University was biased because of his Mexican ancestry. The accusation was “the most un-American thing from a politician since Joe McCarthy,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, who went on to unendorse Trump and said others should too. Next came Trump’s beyond tasteless reaction to the horrific mass murder at a gay nightclub in Orlando. Even as the nation grieved—49 dead and 53 injured, the worst mass shooting in US history—Trump applauded himself on Twitter. “Appreciate the congrats for being right on radical Islamic terrorism.” And then, on the morning after the Brexit vote, with much of the west still reeling, Trump cheerfully allowed that the weakened pound would be good for business on his new Trump Turnberry golf resort—the observation made while he was inspecting the renovated fairways and greens, his “Make America Great Again” baseball cap pulled low over his eyes.