The GOP establishment is running scared. The talk of a brokered convention is everywhere. The threats of "new" potential nominees being trotted out in case of Trump winning the nomination fill the news feeds. Other threats of a 3rd party run also are being screamed by the shrill talking heads. They do not understand why Trump is winning everywhere, and why their establishment favorites are doing so poorly in the voting booth. Here is the problem: The establishment is only running for itself, not its base. It is sort of like the typical complaints about Hollywood movies, they are making movies the Hollywood types want to see, not what everyone else wants to see. Politics is power, power is money, and if you control the power, you control the money. The elites in power do not, or maybe they do, understand the anger and passion that is driving so many people away from the traditional parties.
Here is my ideas why.
My first presidential election that I was able to vote in was in 1992. I was attending a small, conservative, liberal arts college. Several of the students in fact were from Arkansas and were very vocal about how America did not really want Clinton as the President. I did my own research and realized that when I watched him on the television, my skin crawled. There was something that was not quite right with the man, that he could not be trusted. My gut instincts were proved right later. I remember how down I felt following the election and during the first few months of the Clinton presidency. Eventually I believed that the Republican Party could reverse course and win the 1996 election.
Fast forward to the 1996 election season. The establishment went with Bob Dole. Being a former Kansas boy, I was familiar with and respected Bob Dole. However, a thought was bothering me, "Why him and why now." Ultimately I came to the conclusion that he was just a placeholder, that the GOP did not believe that it could win against the Clinton machine and the whole thing was an exercise in futility. This is were the anger started for me. Just a little spark, a little flame, with a little fuel. Yes, there was the Republican Revolution with the Congress, but, most people take the lead from the White House, the bully pulpit as Teddy Roosevelt used to call it (and boy has the current President used it). I was deep in grad studies during the '96 election cycle, and I was worried what another four years of a Clinton administration would look like. Then with the Whitewater Scandal and then with the Monica Affair, unlike many others, I was not concerned that United States could not recover from a President being impeached and ultimately removed from office. In fact, I welcomed it. Time to air the dirty laundry, cut out the cancer, set us back on the proper road. I believed that private character did matter, and that it would affect public persona as well. More than anything in the last two decades, I think that the American public turned the wrong corner with the reaction to the President's behavior during these scandals. Not that he had the affair, but that he lied under oath. Publicly the American people witnessed the definitive split into the new norm, the ones who control the power, and the ones, us, who do not. We continue to see this old behavior with Hillary when she has been called to testify about Benghazi, the email servers, and so forth.
The little flame grew a lot during the Clinton years.
I followed the 2000 election cycle and stayed up late election night to view the drama that would unfold with the challenging of the election results. I was convinced that the Democratic Party would try to steal the election. I finally felt like I belonged in a country again when Bush was declared the winner. I was not naive, but I realized the alternative with the other guy. The ashes banked around my internal fire, saving the fuel for another day.
The 2004 election cycle I was deployed in Iraq. The TVs in the dining facility had story after story about Kerry and his war record. I remember feeling that if Kerry won, it was going to be 1992 all over again. The fire was still banked in myself, but the coals grew hotter still.
The 2007-2008 election cycle was eye opening for me. I had a supervisor that was a bona fide kool aid drinker, 100% in the tank for the wunderkind from Illinois. He even carried around the guy's book everywhere he went. My supervisor and I would have long talks on some of the drives that we would have related to the duties that I had at the time. Ultimately, seeing I could not persuade him, I finally told him that "I hope that He is everything you wish Him to be." I believe that the 2008 election will go down as the beginning of the end of the Republican Party. McCain and Palin. They should have won, but the campaign was run as a losing ticket from the get go. Again, establishment favorite with a nod to the conservative base. Notice, I have not really talked about the media in all this either. They are certainly culpable in their role in all of this well. The fire was no longer banked. It was well stoked and flaming very well. It was about this time that I had trouble identifying myself as a Republican.
Jump ahead to 2012. This country was turned on its head. Romney should have won the election. A soccer ball with a face painted on it could have won the election against the sitting president with his record. I am still not convinced that the election was not rigged somehow. My fire was now a roaring furnace. I officially broke away from the Republican Party and declared myself as an Independent Conservative.
Now we reach today. The Republican Party, and by extension, the political body of the United States, is dealing with the pent up anger of over 20 years and they act like they do not know why. I have often wrote and spoke that revolutions and civil wars do not happen overnight. They are built upon insult and injury that start small, and grow and grow, like a cancer, hidden among the symptoms of a population in decline. Then, when the body least expects it, the danger is revealed, often too late to prevent the ultimate collapse of the current way of life.
The Macro in the micro. The smallest thing, added up in the millions, will affect the big things. Anger and frustration, built up over 20 years, will have an enormous impact this year.