Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Calling out a Hit on The Donald

It must be my week for posts about Trump….

Ross Douthat has written a piece for the New York Times: “The Party Still Decides” (HT LRC).

Calling on Lenin

From Ross:

POLITICAL parties are mentioned nowhere in the Constitution….

You would think this would end the conversation – well, in some countries maybe.  Not in banana republics.

What did some of the founding fathers (for lack of a better term) think about political parties?

There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties, each arranged under its leader, and concerting measures in opposition to each other. This, in my humble apprehension, is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.


However [political parties] may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion.


Well, there is the “con” side of the argument.  Will anyone speak for the “pro”?

A party is the vanguard of a class, and its duty is to lead the masses and not merely to reflect the average political level of the masses.


OK then.

Back to Ross:

…there will be a lot of talk about how all these rules and quirks and complexities are just a way for insiders to steal the nomination away from him…

Well, they have already said they are planning to do this, so…yeah…I guess we can talk about it.

We can expect to hear this case from Trump’s growing host of thralls and acolytes. (Ben Carson, come on down!)

Are Rubio’s supporters described as “thralls and acolytes”? 

But we will also hear it from the officially neutral press, where there will be much brow-furrowed concern over the perils of party resistance to Trump’s progress….

Finally, an open admission from a writer at the Times – as we will NOT hear this from the Times, there is no reason to continue pretending that this fish-wrap is “officially neutral.”

Murder, He Wrote

Ross goes on to predict (or suggest?) Trump’s fate:

Shakespeare’s Coriolanus, for one:

Coriolanus is the name given to a Roman general after his more than adequate military success against various uprisings challenging the government of Rome. Following this success, Coriolanus becomes active in politics and seeks political leadership. His temperament is unsuited for popular leadership and he is quickly deposed, whereupon he aligns himself to set matters straight according to his own will. The alliances he forges to accomplish his own will result in his ultimate downfall and death.

He is murdered for his supposed betrayal of Rome.

George Wallace for another:

He was a U.S. Presidential candidate for four consecutive elections, in which he sought the Democratic Party nomination in 1964, 1972, and 1976, and was the American Independent Party candidate in the 1968 presidential election. He remains the last third party candidate to receive a state's electoral college votes.

A 1972 assassination attempt left Wallace paralyzed, and he used a wheelchair for the remainder of his life.

Huey Long for a third:

Huey Pierce Long, Jr. (August 30, 1893 – September 10, 1935), nicknamed The Kingfish, was an American politician who served as the 40th Governor of Louisiana from 1928 to 1932 and as a member of the United States Senate from 1932 until his assassination in 1935.

One fictional character, two flesh-and-blood humans; this pretty much covers everything that is Trump – and about in the right ratio.

An Adolf by Any Other Name…

To add insult to assassination, Ross throws in a Hitler comparison – not directly, because that would not be “neutral.”  Instead, he offers Sinclair Lewis’s Buzz Windrip:

…the novel describes the rise of Berzelius "Buzz" Windrip, a populist United States Senator who is elected to the presidency after promising drastic economic and social reforms while promoting a return to patriotism and traditional values. After his election, Windrip takes complete control of the government and imposes a plutocratic/totalitarian rule with the help of a ruthless paramilitary force, in the manner of Adolf Hitler and the SS.


You have to be a pretty good writer to draw on the politics of Lenin, call three times for an assassination attempt, and make a Hitler comparison – all without saying so directly even once.


  1. it is fun to see the worms squirm and about time they be made to do so.

  2. Have you read Indispensable Enemies by Walter Karp? It is a very good book on party politics and how they collude to maintain power.

  3. Thank you for teasing out the subtext here.

  4. "You have to be a pretty good writer . . . "

    With all due respect, 'despicable' is more what comes to mind.