It is Time for Trump to Unify the Party

by C. Edmund Wright5/31/16

Donald Trump might have written The Art of the Deal, but the title he should peruse today is Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. His more vocal supporters, and by that I mean those who act out on the internet precisely as Donald does on the stump, should pick up a copy as well. Both the candidate and his hard-core supporters have missed the idea that it is the job of the winner to unite a party.

Oddly the Trumpists defend their offensive and insulting demeanor by saying that neither John McCain nor Mitt Romney reached out to voters like them.  Uh, well maybe…and how did that work out again?  And Trump has not learned this lesson to date.

Consider: while many in the Republican Party rally to his side -– albeit with varying degrees of enthusiasm — Trump continues to make it almost impossible for large swaths of the party’s voters to join the Trump train. He is maybe the sorest winner in American political history. Sore losers are one thing, but sore winners are an entirely different sub-species.

The Donald sees an open microphone and he just can’t help himself — insulting people he desperately needs to defeat Hillary Clinton (or whomever.)  At a California rally, where the leftists against Trump where showing their true hate filled colors by rioting and shouting F-bombs outside, Trump was showing his legitimately unsavory colors inside by once again going to the “lyin Ted” and “Mitt’s a loser” memes.

“Poor Mitt Romney” he said of his predecessor as presidential nominee, “He begged for my endorsement! And now all he does is badmouth me … You know, once a choker, always a choker … And now he walks like a penguin onto the stage — like a penguin!”

Really Donald? There was a tremendous unifying opportunity going on outside the doors, but you had to go there? That is, shall we say, sub strategic. And penguin?

But he was not done.

“Lyin’ Ted…holds that Bible high, puts it down and then he lies” cackled Trump. “Lyin’ Ted. Well, I’m going to retire that from Ted — I’m not going to call Ted that anymore.”

And yet, he just did. Not only that, he made sure he revved up the venom meter with the totally gratuitous Bible held up high reference.  He never got around to saying exactly what Lyin’ Ted lied about either, but the salient point is that he is a sore, sore winner; and moreover, he has inspired millions in this regard.

Now, chances are that the most visible Trump supporters, defined above simply as one who behaves on social media as Donald himself behaves on the stump and on Twitter, will probably arrogantly and ignorantly insist that their hero does not need Lyin’ Ted or choker Mitt to beat the Democrats. Such unawareness is unseemly and demonstrates stupefying shallowness.

Trump may not need the literal single votes of Ted Cruz or Mitt Romney in November, but he damned sure needs the votes of many who voted for each man. For all of Trump’s success so far, Mitt (whom I did not support in the 2012 primary) has received some 61 million votes for President. Trump to date has tallied 11.5 million. Before you get all indignant, the narrow context here is not an apples to apples comparison, it’s merely a way to hammer the point that Trump absolutely needs those 50 million people to have a chance to win.

Yes I realize that many assume Donald will swamp Mitt’s total in November, and he might, but as of this moment that is merely a theory. The fact that those who voted for Trump were far more enthusiastic matters only so much.

And then there are the Cruz supporters, who make up a good part of the limited government heart of the GOP base. For all of Trump’s successes, Cruz still got more than twice the votes in Texas than Trump got in all of massively populated New York State. Cruz’s home is absolutely necessary for Republicans  — while New York will not matter a bit and will go Democrat, period.

For the record, I was one of those Cruz supporters, and had made the Hobson’s choice that since I vote in purple North Carolina, I will likely take an airsick bag into the booth and pull the lever for the liberal New York son over the liberal New York witch. So call me #NauseousTrump.  And pardon my language, but thanks to Trump, that’s all part of the acceptable political lexicon today. At least I didn’t use an f-bomb.

My decision to pull the Trump lever is ironic given that Trump clearly doesn’t want my vote. After all, I was one of those stupid rubes who supported Lyin Ted and cheered him for “holding the Bible up high” and then lying. That would make me Lyin Edmund, I suppose, one among millions of lyin’ voters.  In so many words, Trump is the one telling the nearly 8 million of us to go pound sand. (You can insert f-bomb here).

And in the spirit of unity, I won’t even mention that many of those 8 million were fighting Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton and the Gang of Eight while Trump was funding them. I’m going to retire that. I’m not going to mention that Trump was kissing up to them while we were fighting them. Nope. It’s time to stop saying that. It’s retired. I won’t mention it ever again, except of course to say that I’m not going to say it.

Moreover, Trump clearly doesn’t want the voters for choker Mitt either. He paints Mitt as a loser who came on bended knee to Trump Tower to beg for his endorsement. That’s not how it happened, nor would it be relevant if it had.  The fact is, even though Mitt was way too harsh on illegal Mexican invaders for Trump’s tastes, Trump endorsed Mitt after it became a fait accompli that Mitt was going to win.

I well remember the awkward press conference in Las Vegas where that took place.  It meant absolutely nothing in the scope of the primary season then, and certainly means nothing now. Yet Trump can’t let it go. If I were disposed to being catty, I would mention that Mitt gave away his entire inheritance while Trump used his as a running head start. But I won’t. Neither will I bring up the fact that the bankruptcy protection scoreboard reads Trump 4 Mitt 0. That would be untoward. I’m retiring that too.

No, if I were to Drudge all that up -– I mean dredge all that up -– it would make me look like I’m #NeverTrump. And I’m not.  However, it’s clear Trump and many of his supporters want voters like me to be just that. He insults many of the people he needs behind every microphone, and his followers take to the socials to do the same. If the #NeverTrump camp hangs around long enough to impact the election, Trump and his supporters — those who act out just like their hero does — will have no one to blame but themselves. And the consequences, at least with regard to the Supreme Court, will be devastating and perhaps history altering.

So a word to Donald and his followers: right now there are more of us than there are of you. We don’t want our rear ends smooched, but we are justified in conditioning our support on your stopping the vile and childish insults.

CEdmundWrightC. Edmund Wright is contributor to StubbornThings, American Thinker, Breitbart, Newsmax TV, Talk Radio Network and author of WTF? How Karl Rove and the Establishment Lost…Again. • (595 views)

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12 Responses to It is Time for Trump to Unify the Party

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    A lovely combination of a parody of Trumpish rhetoric and an excellent summary of the case against the temporary leader of the Republican Party (as liberal Democrats and Republicans called Barry Goldwater in 1964). Like you, I’ll probably hold my nose and vote for Trump, as I did for Bush in 1992 and Dole in 1996. (Thanks to Sarah Palin, my vote for McCain in 2008 was less grudging. So was my vote for Romney, whom I had in fact voted for in the primary — though admittedly without a lot of alternatives by then.) Perhaps, if the Libertarians had nominated a different candidate . . .

    David Frum has a piece in The Atlantic which summarizes the 7 guardrails of American politics that he thinks broke this year, allowing Trump to win. It’s very nice in a limited way, as I pointed out in my response (they’re one of the sites that still uses Disqus), in particular failing to point out (except perhaps for a hint about diversity) how the Left has sought to break down several of those guardrails. The link is:

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Frum makes some good points and has some really astute analysis, including:

      To those of us who still cannot imagine Trump as either a nominee or a president, this movement toward him among our friends, relatives, and colleagues is in varying degrees baffling and sinister. Yet it is happening: an inescapable and accelerating fact.

      Whatever happens in November, conservatives and Republicans will have brought a catastrophe upon themselves, in violation of their own stated principles and best judgment. It’s often said that a good con is based upon the victim’s weaknesses. Why were conservatives and Republicans so vulnerable?

      This is good as well, and something I’ve been saying, if in other words:

      The ideology guardrail snapped because so much of the ideology itself had long since ceased to be relevant to the lives of so many Republican primary voters. Instead of a political program, conservatism had become an individual identity. What this meant, for politicians, was that the measure of your “conservatism” stopped being the measures you passed in office—and became much more a matter of style, affect, and manner.


      “We love him most for the enemies he made,” said supporters of the anti-Tammany Democrat Grover Cleveland. The sentiment applies pretty generally in politics. As conservatism’s positive program has fallen ever more badly out of date, as it has delivered ever fewer benefits to its supporters and constituents, those supporters have increasingly defined their conservatism not by their beliefs, but by their adversaries. And those adversaries Donald Trump has made abundantly his own.

      I think we’d have to spend a lot of time picking through that. He throws out a whole bunch of assumptions that come squarely from an Establishment Republican perspective. (Who new that Mitch McConnell was so in our corner?)

      I think his most interesting point is regarding race, even though he flubbed this as well. But I think there is a part of this that can be interpreted that his lies don’t matter, he’s “one of us.”

      And like you said, Timothy, he fails to mention the driver of much of this. It’s like a man standing in front of burnt-out Hiroshima and pointing out (correctly) the seven major scientific technical breakthroughs this entails — without mention the context of it all…we are at war.

      Still, I give him some credit for very likely articulating the source of Trump’s support better than anyone else, and certainly we can get no clue from the Trumpbots who can figurative only stomp their foot like a horse when it comes to articulating their passion.

      Also, I think a huge failure of this article is his #7 supposedly most important point: increased partisanship. I think Frum is blinkered. He ought to read about the differences between the Federalists and the Democratic-Republicans. And I’m often regaled by stories of my grandfather who was a Republican and hated Roosevelt.

      This is why I have often referred to The Two Davids (Frum and Brooks) as a pair of ninnies, although Brooks is far worse. But, goodness, to the best of my knowledge, politics has always been pretty hard-edged…even delving into organize thuggery.

      And we don’t know if this breaking of the 7 guardrails is a one-time thing or the formal coronation of anarchy and the plebs finally having taken politics down to the level of their TV shows and tattoo parlors. Could be. But, geez, reading that it makes me even more afraid of a Trump presidency and gives at least some credence (I know Mr. Kung will go ape-shit over this) of P.J. O’Rouke’s words about Hillarly being “wrong within normal parameters.” Taking stock, as Frum did, of just how bizarre Trump is, especially on foreign policy, there is something to be said for “wrong within normal parameters.” I’d never vote for the witch, but she might be less of a threat to U.S. security than Trump.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        In my comments on the 2008 election, I took the longer version of Edward S. Bragg’s convention boast about Cleveland as an article epigraph. I saw it as being applicable especially to Sarah Palin. (Bragg had commended one of the Wisconsin regiments in the Iron Brigade. Another commander in the brigade was Rufus Dawes of the 24th Michigan, famous for its duel to the death with the 26th North Carolina at Gettysburg, whose family line ran from Paul Revere’s ride to Calvin Coolidge’s VP.)

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          We’ll see in this election if just outright hatred for Hillary is enough. (Maybe we really are “the party of hate.” We don’t seem oriented at the moment for any positive program.)

          But that’s a narrow reading of things. It’s certainly possible that Trump’s game-show-style liberalism will achieve what Jeb Bush could not: win without the Republican base. And he can do that by not “running to the center” but giving, as he has been giving, various winks and nods to liberal issues. Other than mentioning immigration and bashing a few people in the media, I’m trying to remember the avalanche of winks and nods to the right that caused so many people to flock to his cause. If there were some, it seems he winked most of them away already.

  2. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    I was thinking some more about David Frum’s article that Timothy linked to. I’ve got to give the guy some credit. It’s a yuge subject, so I shouldn’t expect anyone, including the Braintrust here, to get it all in a paragraph or two. And Frum doesn’t. But he does get a lot right.

    And there is reason for pessimism. First, let me state first principles and grant the legitimacy of both sides of this equation.

    1) Ideas matter.
    2) Identity and culture is where we live much of our lives and gain meaning.

    Frum’s best point may be that “conservatism” has become less a platform for change and more an identity. I couldn’t agree more. If this is so, and I believe it to be so, it’s why so many people found it easy to identify with Trump even those his ideas are contrary to everything conservative and republican.

    And, again, I’m not vilifying Trump for this. He’s merely a cause, not an effect. Hitler would have just been some failed painter babbling to few listeners in the Hofbrauhaus if not for the aftereffects of The Great War.

    America is no longer able to hold the cup of ideas that made it great in the first place. Whatever noble ideeas America has are mostly lost. If they hang around at all it is because of the inertia of habit.

    That leaves us to identity. And you have to ask yourself, would you really want to identify with a vulgar, loud-mouthed, petulant, and juvenile Trump? I can understand people (unwittingly, if you ask me) identifying with FDR. Times were bad. There was a war looming. Roosevelt was a calming, strong, fraternal figure of charm and an aristocratic kind of warmth. He was talking to you, through that relatively new medium for politics called the radio, and he was someone you didn’t mind letting in your front room. His economic policies were ruinous, but people didn’t know or care.

    Having heard Trump’s constant put-downs of his fellow Republicans and would-be supporters, is this the kind of guy you’d want to identify with? Neither Hillary’s screech nor Trump’s juvenile bombast are appealing to me. Neither their ideas or identity is attractive.

    And yet here we are. For many people those ideas (such as they are…they’re like trying to pin Jello to the wall) and identity are very appealing.

    And that’s the sad fact of where we find ourselves right now.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I think you mean that Trump is an effect, not a cause. Your comments certainly make far more sense that way.

      Incidentally, Erick Erickson has an interesting discussion of Kristol’s proposed independent candidate, David French of NRO. Erickson points out that French is not only a genuine scholar (a lawyer with a record of defending the Constitution), but also volunteered for the military after the 9/11/01 attacks. Erickson thinks French would be the first presidential candidate in years he could actually support, rather than simply holding his nose to vote for him (as he did for McCain and Romney, and refuses to do for Trump).

      He does think, however, that it might be better not to have such a candidate, so that if/when Trump loses, he can’t scapegoat conservatives as easily. (Given some of the sorts Trump is compared to, he and his acolytes would be inclined to create a new Dolchstoss legend.) The link is:

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Yes, effect, not a cause.

        And what I was also trying to get across, and didn’t do effectively, was the idea that we have jumped the shark. No, this isn’t a better-than-thou post. I don’t say this as “I’m better than you because I don’t tattoo my body like a character that has escaped out of a bad Cartoon Network show.”

        Well, I guess I do mean that. But as Mr. Kung says, culture matters. And it matters if we venerate the profane or the non-profane. (I would have said “holy” but that’s a scary thought for most.)

        Liberalism is ultimately about breaking all restraints, the underlying philosophy being that such restraints exist in the first place because of repressed personalities, paternalism, religious fundamentalism, and exploitive capitalism. And surely as large as life is, and diverse as a large nation as ours is, you will have no problem finding those elements and confirming your bias (or kool-aid, really).

        And certainly we can have a reasonable conversation about which restrictions can be liberalized and which ones we dare not pull down lest the tent collapse on our heads. Well, in my opinion, Trump is representative of the tent collapsing on our heads, or at least the roof bulging heavily.

        They say you are what you eat. And that’s true to a large extent. They also say that a thought proceeds an action, also true outside of pure reflex. So it matters what we put into our minds. It matters who and what we look up to as role models, as pillars for our identity. In essence, culture matters. And when culture has been degraded to the extent that the populace is without good judgment, we get Trump and Hillary (or Bernie).

        This is serious stuff. And I’m not talking about “my side vs. your side.” I’ve recognized for a while now that “my side” hasn’t really been on my side in large measure. This is why it is personally nice for me to hear my bias (or is it just the truth?) confirmed by Frum that much of conservatism now is an identity, not a platform of ideas to be implemented and fought for.

        So at some point I may scrub this site of politics altogether because I don’t like taking part in a lie. We have a wise, pugnacious, and talented group of contributors here. Let’s take online life where we want instead of participating in this absurd Kabuki theatre.

        There is no conservative movement to speak of outside of identity. You’ve got to hand it to the Left. They have a vision. They have a platform. They have a movement. What do we have? We have a lot of people jabbering away on talk radio (I can barely listen to Rush anymore be an apologist for Trump) and selling books. There is no effective positive conservative movement. At best, we sometimes get a holding action slowing down the Left. But that’s not the same thing as forwarding your own cause.

        Good god, after all these yeas and presidencies, why is there still a Dept. of Education?

        • Steve Lancaster says:

          I think you are missing something. Most leftists/progressives have one thing in common; they are failed intellectuals, artists, scholars or authors i.e. men and women of words. Obama, for example, is a failed professor of law.

          Americans have little to do with the haughty wordsmith, who deems themselves the only authority. Nixon called the average American, the silent majority and that is generally true. Like you and others here you have a life to live and a business to run. Both of which are made much more difficult because of government interference, federal, state and local.

          On a very simple level, we ask that political leaders generally tell the truth, manage government in as simple a manner as possible and that the laws they enact be understandable and the courts are fair and just.

          I don’t know that Trump can accomplish all of that but I know he is not in any way a failed intellectual like, well most of the democrat party.

          • Timothy Lane says:

            There was an NRO article (probably by an intern) linked to earlier on Hot Air that argued that conservatives tend to speak in terms that most people don’t understand. He notes that Ronald Reagan, discussing the various religious liberty issues, would discuss the actual cases (such as the Little Sisters of the Poor), but his followers today go to abstractions. Liberals combine the two; Trump’s rhetoric probably is more Reagan-like, at least in terms of using examples rather than abstractions.

            • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

              but his followers today go to abstractions.

              Wonderful, wonderful point, Timothy. As Chief Bottle Washer, I’m always cajoling people (including myself) to talk about real-world examples instead of just theory. An anecdote has more teaching power than just theory alone. But theory must follow or be threaded into the anecdotes to point out the lesson learned in more universal terms.

              People, when you are out there in life, write about your experiences. I’m not particularly interested in how many conservative camels can fit through a right-wing needle. But as I said, don’t exclude theory. Weave it in with the real-world anecdotes (which can include credible accounts from other people you may read about).

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            they are failed intellectuals, artists, scholars or authors i.e. men and women of words. Obama, for example, is a failed professor of law.

            Yes, I think that is so often the case. Politics is very often populated by those who wish to compensate for their own shortcomings by manipulating the rest of us. We have to suffer too. I’m convinced the reason so many want to nanny us is that there are so many no-child or 0ne-child (shuffled off to daycare) men and women out there who turn their maternal or fraternal instincts onto society. I just want to say, “Go home and take care of your own damn children, if you have any, who are probably running wild.”

            Marx was typical of this type. Personally he was a wreck but somehow he was going to “fix” society at large.

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