Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Trump's Appetite for Destruction: How Disastrous Convention Doomed GOP

Matt Taibbi writes in Rolling Stone about the RNC, Trump's Appetite for Destruction: How Disastrous Convention Doomed GOP. It's standard Taibbi fun. First he imagines an RNC that would have been ridiculously entertaining:

It wasn't what we expected. We thought Donald Trump's version of the Republican National Convention would be a brilliantly bawdy exercise in Nazistic excess. We expected thousand-foot light columns, a 400-piece horn section where the delegates usually sit (they would be in cages out back with guns to their heads). Onstage, a chorus line of pageant girls in gold bikinis would be twerking furiously to a techno version of "New York, New York" while an army of Broadway dancers spent all four days building a Big Beautiful Wall that read winning, the ceremonial last brick timed to the start of Donald's acceptance speech...

Then he explains how the media will now cover Trump:

Thanks to Trump, we in the media can no longer cast politics as a sports story, because the illusion that both sides have a compelling chance at victory is now a tougher sell. Instead, we will sell it as a freak show, a tent full of bearded ladies and pinheads at which to gape. Next to sports, freak shows are what the media do best, so it'll be an easy switch. Shows like Anderson Cooper 360° will become high-tech versions of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo or The Biggest Loser, destinations for Americans to tune in for a bit to feel superior to the mutants debasing themselves onscreen.

Finally he outlines what Trump should have done:

Of course, the Republicans blew the one chance they had to save themselves. They could have turned the internal discord to their advantage and held an open convention of ideas, dispensing with the pretense of unity and presenting themselves instead as a big enough tent to embrace and accept many different viewpoints.

Trump should have invited his fiercest critics, the Mike Lees and George Wills of the world, to come onstage and explain why they so fervently disagreed with his tactics and rhetoric. He even should have stopped short of demanding endorsements from all of them. A smart Donald Trump – such a thing is difficult to imagine, but let's say – would have given his opponents a forum to just whale away at him, even removing time constraints. It would have helped make Trump look more like presidential material.

And this would have accomplished two other things.

First, and most important, it would have rescued the immediate future of the party in the highly likely event that Trump goes on to lose in November.

The Republican leadership from Ryan on down could have walked away from this convention with their pseudo-dignity intact, having spoken out against Trump's more naked and vulgar form of racism, standing instead on the principle of a more covert, more subterranean, more dog-whistle-y form of race politics – you know, like Mitt Romney lecturing the NAACP about black people wanting "free stuff."

Second, it would have made for a fascinating run-up to Trump's final address. Here was a man famous for being so thin-skinned that he stays up at night tweeting insults at judges and editors of New Hampshire newspapers, giving the world's biggest stage to his critics.

Then he could have ascended the podium on the concluding night and delivered his apocalyptic argument, which he'd describe as believing in so strongly he stacked it up against his fiercest critics. And he'd have plenty of fodder to swing back at, with decades of Republican inaction, corruption and failure to save American jobs to use in service of his case for a radical change of leadership.

The RNC should just hire him for next time. They'll have a lot of openings.

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