After Donald Trump’s and Hillary Clinton’s victories in their respective party primaries last night, they appear the likely nominees of their parties. Clinton certainly is, Trump uncertainly. It’s not exactly an inspiring prospect.
The Clintons will never go away. With their gargantuan corruption, habitual lying, and leftist proclivities, they mark their territory with an indelible stain. While Bill Clinton entered the White House a lowlife rogue, Hillary will enter as Nurse Ratched. Krupskaya, American style.
Trump’s candidacy is a byproduct of the Obama era every bit as much as Jimmy Carter’s was of the end of the Nixon and Ford administrations. He draws on the anger at Obama and the ineffectual Republican resistance to him. He expressly responds to the yearning among us to restore American greatness. Although I don’t know anyone who anticipated the strength of Trump’s candidacy or the weakness of the many other GOP candidates, it’s not hard to understand in retrospect.
Yet Trump is an embarrassment to the issues he purports to advance. He subtracts from the sum total of human knowledge. He is not a conservative. He is a devout vulgarian. To the extent it can be measured by polls, his negative image exceeds the wildly high negative image achieved by Hillary Clinton.
Trump may get to the White House, but only as a guest of the Clintons, his old friends. Putting to one side the merits of what will be an utterly dispiriting contest, does anyone in his right mind seriously think that Donald Trump stands a reasonable chance of beating the Democratic nominee in a general election? At NR, Michael Tanner sketches “Trump’s prospects.” Plot spoiler: They aren’t good.
As I have mentioned a time or two previously, in Nixon Agonistes, Garry Wills summarizes H.L. Mencken’s assessment of Calvin Coolidge’s career. In Wills’s summary of Mencken, Coolidge’s career represents “the juggernaut of snooze.” Wills quotes Mencken’s observation that Coolidge “went through life clothed in immunities that defied and made a mock of all the accepted laws of nature.” That rings a bell, but it seems to me that Trump’s campaign represents the juggernaut of lose.