The Flames

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So some things have been bothering me lately and I’m going to abuse my privilege as a poster here to get them off my chest.

First things first. I’m am not now, nor have I ever been, nor will I ever be #NeverTrump. Don’t get me wrong, there’s absolutely zero chance that I will ever vote for that buffoonish charlatan. But here’s a few things about me: 1) I’m considered “oppositionally defiant”; 2) so I don’t play well with others; and 3) I abhor anything that even approaches “groupthink”. This is not to cast aspersions on folks who identify as #NeverTrump, this is just to explain why I don’t identify as among that group.

Now, on to Trump and those supporting him. I have been told over and over and over again that the support for Trump essentially boils down to a big F U to the Establishment/Professional Class of the GOP. On the surface, that makes sense.

But all along, something has bugged me. Something has nagged at me about that. I couldn’t put my finger on what. It’s like that tiny sliver of a splinter in your finger. You can’t see it. Every time you try to find it, it disappears. But every now and then, it just stabs you and hurts like hell.

What is it about Trump being a revolt against the GOPe that rubbed me the wrong way?

I finally figured it out. I heard something the other day that made it click.

Let’s back up a second before I just come out with it. Let’s set the stage a little.

What is the GOPe? Well, the Republican Party hasn’t held the White House in over 7 years, so it’s not that. Not really. (Yes, I understand that there are parts of W’s presidency that we don’t like.) And when we look at state level GOP, I hear good things. We’ve seen huge gains. We’ve seen pushbacks against unions. We’ve seen repeals or limits placed on Civil Asset Forfeiture. In fact, I’ve quite often heard people wish that the national GOP was more like the state level GOP.

That leaves us with Congress. And that’s really where the anger comes in. Those guys on Capitol Hill. We rail against their weakness facing Obama. Where is the push against Obamacare? Where is the fight over an actual budget instead of these garbage Continuing Resolutions? Why does it always seem like the Democrats come away with the best of the deal? Where is the fight over amnesty? THEY’RE NOT LISTENING TO US!!!!

Secret: I agree with all of that.

So if Trump is part of a giant F U to the Establishment, if that’s what this “populist movement” is about, then I’m down. I celebrated the Wave of 2010. I cheered the defeat of Cantor in 2014. Throw the bums out. Rock on.

But. BUT. Here’s the thing. There’s no wave against the Establishment. Not so far. None whatsoever. Not one single incumbent Republican in Congress has lost a primary race. Not. One. That’s right. Every single incumbent Republican who is running for reelection has won their primary. In fact, the only incumbent from either party who has lost was a Democratic Rep in Pennsylvania.

Yes, I know we still have a long way to go. Primaries for Senate/House are still in the single digits. But if there was this much anger towards the Establishment, if we were looking at a wave, if we were looking at a movement of “F those guys, throw the bums out!” shouldn’t we have seen at least some movement in these races?

So what explains the Trump phenomenon?

I’m sad to say, it’s a temper tantrum. I wish it was something else. But it’s not. It’s the equivalent of a teenage girl saying “I’m mad at daddy, daddy hates that biker guy, I’m dating that biker guy.”

If voters were serious about their anger, then they would be not only attacking the Presidency, they would be attacking Congress. Again, Throw the Bums Out.

But it’s not happening.

So I have to ask: what do folks hope to accomplish with Trump? What do they think is going to happen if he’s elected?

If we send the same Congressmen back with the same staffs and the same connections to the same lobbyists and special interests, what really has changed?

Unless……unless what the voters really want is a strongman. Unless Trump is their Obama. A President who will ignore all the niceties and rules and simply dictate what must be done. Who will either nuance his way around Constitutional requirements or simply ignore them.

If this is true, then I’m done. I have no interest in politics such as that. Politics such as that are the antithesis of what this country was founded upon and what I believe in.

Where does this leave me? I hope, I despair, I pray.

I hope that voters will come to their senses before it’s too late. It’s already too late for this election, but I hope that we can correct things in the next.

I despair that we’ve crossed the event horizon. That we’ve gone too far. That there’s no coming back.

I pray that I’m wrong about all of this.

In the meantime….my, my, aren’t the flames so pretty?

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