Donald Trump’s first speech to Congress last night was full of “good optics.” Trump’s effort to make Americans forget that he had, only hours earlier, blamed the military commanders for the death of Navy Seal William “Ryan” Owens was hailed by Liberal commentator Van Jones as the moment when Trump “became President of the United States.” WOW! I say, the moment Van Jones declared Trump has become the P.O.T.U.S. is the moment when optics finally and totally eclipsed substance in American politics.
Whether you are a benign revolutionary whose heart is in the right place (Sanders), or an ignorant blowhard on a vanity joy ride (Trump), there is no route to success in the Democratic nomination process for those without command of the details because the party faithful know what they want from government and how to get it.
Donald Trump is the most unqualified person ever to run for president. He is also the most transparently flawed candidate ever to run for president. His lack of intelligence and integrity are on full display every day. Over the next six months, the most unqualified, morally and intellectually bankrupt candidate in history will be spewing ignorant and hateful attacks at the most qualified candidate for president in modern times.
Stay tuned for six months of “swift boating” Trump-style.
Obviously, Donald Trump winning the GOP nomination would be a terrible turn of events for the Republican Party and the modern conservative movement. The Republicans are serious under dogs in the presidential election this year regardless of who they nominate. The electoral math, turnout in presidential years, the state of the economy and foreign affairs, all favor the Democratic nominee, though these advantages only tell part of the 2016 story and can be over-valued. The real ace-in-the-hole for the Democratic nominee is the clarity of the institutional partisan stakes in 2016, and the persistent power of “party identity,” which remains the principle driver of voters’ political and electoral calculations.