Visit us on Facebook icon-twitter.png icon-linkedin.png icon-google.png  icon-youtube.png icon-flickr.png     About Us     Contact Us      

LeRoy Goldman

Flat Rock, NC

After huge bombshell, what now?
I
n case you haven’t noticed, Donald Trump just pulled off a bloodless revolution. He took on an increasingly irrelevant and angry Republican Party and transformed it into a party that has a chance to govern successfully. It’s nothing short of remarkable.

No one contests that Trump came out of nowhere, or that his candidacy was regarded as an irrelevant joke even as he won primary after primary, or that the GOP believed with certainty that his quest was doomed and would implode. That they were all wrong and couldn’t see it illuminates their blindness and bullheadedness.

Trump’s genius was that he harvested the seeds of revolt that have been laying fallow ever since the stunning 1994 election when Newt Gringrich and his Contract With America enabled the GOP to capture the House for the first time in 40 years. But Gingrich and his insurgents were unable implement that contract. By the end of the Bill Clinton presidency, they were consumed by an impeachment proceeding that would flame out in the Senate.

A decade later, a new and even more radical collection of Republican House members, the tea party and then the freedom caucus, attempted to destroy Barack Obama. They failed spectacularly. At every important turn, the stimulus, Obamacare or shutting down the government, they came up short. Instead, they did manage to decapitate House Speaker John Boehner. They are a circular firing squad.

Throughout this turmoil, the leadership of the Republican Party has been exposed as utterly incapable of understanding or coping with a party coming apart at the seams. Makes no difference where you look — Boehner, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, Reince Priebus, Mitt Romney, the Bush family or the GOP intelligentsia including Bill Kristol, George Will, Charles Krauthammer or Michael Gerson — they all assumed that Trump was toast, that their unholy alliance with the left would destroy him, and that business as usual would follow.

They are the ones who have put the previously dying Republican Party out of its misery. They are the ones who, in their self-satisfied smugness, are blind to the fury in the heartland that is now focused as much on them as it is on the insiders in the Democratic establishment.

There’s no way back to business as usual because Trump’s rise makes it evident that leaders can’t lead when the followers won’t follow. Trump’s candidacy succeeded because it tapped that fury. It’s that simple.

Trump was, of course, right in pounding away at the notion that the political system is rigged in such a way that the insiders benefit lavishly while the outsiders are left holding the bag. Exploiting that latent anger enabled Trump to expand the narrow base of the Republican Party into territory normally safe for Democrats. That’s what enabled him to win traditionally Democratic states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and probably Michigan. Absent that, he would have lost the election and become a ridiculed footnote in American political history.

Throughout the campaign, Trump showed no reluctance to confront directly the high priests of the Republican Party. That confrontation was perilous, brilliant and necessary if he was to have any chance of winning.

The best way to understand Trump’s willingness to confront the GOP’s leadership is to recall how much angst there has been throughout the campaign between him and House Speaker Ryan.

In mid-October, Stephen Collinson, Eugene Scott and Eric Bradner, writing in CNN Politics, said, “Donald Trump is launching a kamikaze mission — fracturing his own party four weeks before Election Day.” Trump lashed out at Ryan, accusing the GOP leadership of dooming his campaign. CNN called it an unprecedented meltdown by a presidential nominee.

But Trump was undeterred. He tweeted, “It’s so nice that the shackles have been taken off me and I can now fight for America the way I want to” and “Disloyal R’s are far more difficult than Crooked Hillary. They come at you from all sides. They don’t know how to win — I will teach them.” And that is precisely what Trump did on Election Day.

In January, President Trump, Speaker Ryan and Senate Leader McConnell will need each other in order to govern effectively. If they pull it off, a transformed Republican Party will have been created, one that can govern, not just gripe.

Governing effectively has all but disappeared given the extreme polarization of the American people.

For Trump and the Republicans on the Hill, an acid test will come early: Obamacare. They can take the easy but wrong road and simply trash it. Or they can keep its worthy aspects, repeal its government-heavy approach, and not victimize the millions who now depend upon it.

How Trump deals with Obamacare will tell us whether or not a new and better day is dawning. LeRoy Goldman is a Flat Rock resident. Reach him at .