FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Win or Lose, Donald Trump Just Did the GOP a Yuuuuuuge Favor

by

shutterstock_283689917 (1)

Fresh off his plurality win in the South Carolina primary, Donald Trump looks stronger than ever in his bid for the Republican Party’s 2016 presidential nomination. Whether or not he goes the distance to the nomination and then to the White House, he’s done the Republican Party a major service by helping it put the Bush dynasty in its rearview mirror.

Nobody doubts Trump’s willingness to say unpopular things in politically dangerous venues. But some observers felt that it might have been a bridge to far even for Trump to bust Jeb Bush’s “my brother kept us safe” balloon in South Carolina (uber-hawk Lindsey Graham’s stomping ground) the week before the south’s first major primary. Would this be the mistake that brought his campaign to grief?

Nope. Trump won the primary handily, Jeb ended his campaign … and from this point on Republican candidates for the presidency and other offices will finally feel free to openly disown — or at least quit feigning nostalgia for — the eight nightmare years of George W. Bush’s administration.

Dubya’s legacy — 9/11, two failed wars in the Middle East and Central Asia, and the  worst economic collapse since the Great Depression — may not have been entirely his fault. In fact, I think most reasonable people can agree that bad luck and bad advice were major contributing factors.

But what happened happened. It destroyed any chance of victory John McCain might otherwise have enjoyed in 2008, then dogged Mitt Romney’s heels in 2012 as well. Sure, Romney was the weakest Republican nominee since Wendell Willkie anyway, but the Bush legacy certainly didn’t do him any favors.

The GOP’s rut really goes back to 1990, the end of the Cold War, and yet another Bush White House. Ever since, the party’s establishment has had to work overtime, with the aid of convenient menaces (Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait, 9/11, etc.) to keep its post-WWII raison d’etre — maintenance of an expensive gravy train for its military-industrial complex backers — on the rails. This meant marginalizing, at every opportunity, the party’s non-interventionist wing, most famously in the persons of Ron and Rand Paul over the last three election cycles.

Those non-interventionists could be marginalized, dismissed and put to pasture because they owed a modicum of loyalty to their party. But the Donald knows no loyalties except to himself, and perhaps to his own view of the truth. By stating that view and not paying for it with the loss of a major presidential primary, or with a hit to his overall nomination prospects, he has set the Republican Party free … if free is what it wants to be. Which remains to be seen, and is a question almost certainly weighing heavily on the minds of Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

April 24, 2017
Mike Whitney
Is Mad Dog Planning to Invade East Syria?    
John Steppling
Puritan Jackals
Robert Hunziker
America’s Tale of Two Cities, Redux
David Jaffe
The Republican Party and the ‘Lunatic Right’
John Davis
No Tomorrow or Fashion-Forward
Patrick Cockburn
Treating Mental Health Patients as Criminals
Jack Dresser
An Accelerating Palestine Rights Movement Faces Uncertain Direction
George Wuerthner
Diet for a Warming Planet
Lawrence Wittner
Why Is There So Little Popular Protest Against Today’s Threats of Nuclear War?
Colin Todhunter
From Earth Day to the Monsanto Tribunal, Capitalism on Trial
Paul Bentley
Teacher’s Out in Front
Franklin Lamb
A Post-Christian Middle East With or Without ISIS?
Kevin Martin
We Just Paid our Taxes — are They Making the U.S. and the World Safer?
Erik Mears
Education Reformers Lowered Teachers’ Salaries, While Promising to Raise Them
Binoy Kampmark
Fleeing the Ratpac: James Packer, Gambling and Hollywood
Weekend Edition
April 21, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Diana Johnstone
The Main Issue in the French Presidential Election: National Sovereignty
Paul Street
Donald Trump: Ruling Class President
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Dude, Where’s My War?
Andrew Levine
If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em
Paul Atwood
Why Does North Korea Want Nukes?
Robert Hunziker
Trump and Global Warming Destroy Rivers
Vijay Prashad
Turkey, After the Referendum
Binoy Kampmark
Trump, the DOJ and Julian Assange
CJ Hopkins
The President Formerly Known as Hitler
Steve Reyna
Replacing Lady Liberty: Trump and the American Way
Lucy Steigerwald
Stop Suggesting Mandatory National Service as a Fix for America’s Problems
Robert Fisk
It is Not Just Assad Who is “Responsible” for the Rise of ISIS
John Laforge
“Strike Two” Against Canadian Radioactive Waste Dumpsite Proposal
Norman Solomon
The Democratic Party’s Anti-Bernie Elites Have a Huge Stake in Blaming Russia
Andrew Stewart
Can We Finally Get Over Bernie Sanders?
Susan Babbitt
Don’t Raise Liberalism From the Dead (If It is Dead, Which It’s Not)
Uri Avnery
Palestine’s Nelson Mandela
Fred Nagel
It’s “Deep State” Time Again
John Feffer
The Hunger President
Stephen Cooper
Nothing is Fair About Alabama’s “Fair Justice Act”
Jack Swallow
Why Science Should Be Political
Chuck Collins
Congrats, Graduates! Here’s Your Diploma and Debt
Aidan O'Brien
While God Blesses America, Prometheus Protects Syria, Russia and North Korea 
Patrick Hiller
Get Real About Preventing War
David Rosen
Fiction, Fake News and Trump’s Sexual Politics
Evan Jones
Macron of France: Chauncey Gardiner for President!
David Macaray
Adventures in Labor Contract Language
Ron Jacobs
The Music Never Stopped
Kim Scipes
Black Subjugation in America
Sean Stinson
MOAB: More Obama and Bush
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail