BUCKING THE ESTABLISHMENT CAN BE HAZARDOUS TO YOUR HEALTH …
|| By FITSNEWS || Earlier this week, our founding editor received a call from a veteran establishment “Republican” operative who was profoundly disappointed in our “fawning coverage” of Donald Trump‘s 2016 presidential campaign.
“How much is he paying you?” the operative inquired angrily of Will Folks.
Um …. really?
Trump isn’t paying us. He isn’t even running ads on our website (not that ad buys would influence our coverage).
Don’t get us wrong: We love that Trump has the utterly worthless “Republican” party and its army of establishment hacks on its heels. We love that he has tossed the GOP’s boring script for the 2016 primary out the window. We love that he is rolling out substantive proposals on hot button issues. And we love that he has millions of Americans – at long last – finally paying attention to the worsening plight of this country (and the dearth of leadership in response to that plight).
All of those are good things … and a similar dynamic is at play on the Democratic side as it relates to the insurgent candidacy of independent socialist U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders.
What do we love more than any of this, though? The forces Trump is tapping into …
A “DISENFRANCHISED PISSED OFF REPUBLICAN”
One of our longtime friends – a Republican activist in the South Carolina Upstate (and former supporter of Wisconsin governor Scott Walker) – texted us recently after attending a Trump rally.
“I was surprised how much energy the room had,” she told us. “He radiates positive energy.”
“He was loud, brash, and saying things we all thought but no one who represented us would ever say,” she said.
And what of the conventional candidates (all of whom are polling in single digits in early-voting South Carolina)?
“I’m tired of being a lemming in their power play,” she added, noting that former Florida governor Jeb Bush “is weak, too compromising, and too much establishment – which is why we are where we are.”
We asked her point blank: Weren’t (you) a Walker gal?
“A long time ago,” she said. “Now I’m a disenfranchised pissed off republican who plans to vote against the (Republican National Committee), (Reince) Priebus, (Jeb) Bush, and especially (Nikki) HALEY. F*ck them. I’m done and consider myself an independent.”
This isn’t some Tea Party wing nut, either … this is an establishment GOP operative who has simply had enough of, well, the establishment. Oh – and Trump’s not paying her, either.
“When you lose people like me then (you’ve) got big, big problems,” she added, referring to the party.
TRUMP’S ROAD AHEAD …
Obviously Trump isn’t perfect. Far from it. He’s got a litany of inconsistencies which must be answered for at some point or another during this campaign – and we suspect future efforts to derail his candidacy won’t be as transparent and clumsy as the first attempt.
Can he survive the coming onslaught?
Also, unlike a lot of journalists our founding editor Will Folks isn’t easily smitten (or intimidated) by star power – even when joining a gaggle of reporters on Trump’s Boeing 757.
While all of the mainstream media reporters on the plane (literally every one of them) posed for pictures with Trump, Folks demurred when offered the opportunity.
“I’m working,” he politely told The Donald, remembering the example set by the late Jim Davenport of the Associated Press.
Trump’s plane was nice, sure, but we’re going to judge the man by the substance of his proposals … and so far we like what we’ve seen. Obviously his tax and spending plans will weigh heavily in our considerations, as will his foreign policy views. We’re also eager to see the extent to which he embraces market-based education reforms – one of the rare areas where Bush, the establishment candidate, actually has a leg to stand on.
But beyond the issues: Can Trump and Sanders maintain? After all, anti-establishment movements have a way of unspooling. Losing steam. Getting co-opted.
Remember the “Tea Party?”
Here’s what one of its members is doing now …
Trump and Sanders have galvanized opposite ends of the political spectrum by hammering away unapologetically at a simple truth: That everyday Americans are getting screwed over – and establishment politicians are doing nothing to stop it.
To the extent they continue hammering away at that truth, their respective movements will continue to grow …
“THE WALLACE ROUTE”
The angry “Republican” operative who demanded to know how much Trump was paying us is not only a student of history – he’s been a participant in it. He was in the arena during the turbulent 1960s – and actually worked some high-profile races as a young volunteer.
In his conversation with us, he made an eery remark …
“If all else fails, there’s still the Wallace route,” he said.
The Wallace route?
For those of you who don’t remember, George Wallace was a multi-term segregationist governor of Alabama – the guy who “stood in the schoolhouse door” to prevent blacks from integrating the University of Alabama in the early 1960s. Wallace’s publicity stunt – undertaken nine months after he proclaimed his support for “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever” – thrust him onto the national stage as the patron saint of angry white men.
In 1968, Wallace mounted a third party bid for president – and was, in fact, the last third party candidate to win votes in the electoral college (he carried five southern states, earning 10 million popular votes and 46 electoral votes).
Four years later, in 1972, Wallace ran for president as a Democrat – winning primaries in Florida, North Carolina and Tennessee and scoring second-place finishes in Indiana, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Public opinion polls at the time showed him gaining momentum and moving into position to capture the nomination of the badly-splintered party – but all that came to a halt on May 15, 1972 in Laurel, Maryland.
There, at a local shopping center, Wallace was shot five times by would-be assassin Arthur Bremer.
The next day Wallace won the Maryland primary from his hospital bed – but having been paralyzed from the waist down in the shooting (one of the bullets pierced his spinal column), his campaign was effectively over.
Is this the “Wallace route” the operative was referring to? Either Trump gets in line … or gets a bullet?
Indeed. In fact, the operative joked that Trump’s assassination could be pinned on “the Mexicans,” referencing a high-profile spat between The Donald and leaders of the Sinaloa Cartel.
“El Chapo did it,” he said, referring to Mexican drug lord Joaquín Guzmán Loera, who recently escaped from a maximum security Mexican prison.
Mainstream media outlets are already comparing Trump to Wallace … does this mean establishment “Republicans” have a similar fate in mind for him? Along with an at-the-ready scapegoat?
And what of Sanders?
If the Clintonistas don’t get him, will the “Maryland Mob” call in a hit?
If you’d asked us a year ago, we’d have told you America’s two mainstream political parties would nominate Bush and Clinton for their respective nominations. Now that apple cart has been upended by Trump and Sanders.
Other candidates have to beg supporters to attend their events. Trump and Sanders are drawing crowds numbering in the thousands.
Can they maintain their populist insurgencies by staying true to the people they’ve inspired?
And if so … can they stay alive?