Trump's lesson for the GOP

Finally, some Trump opponents are starting to get a clue.

Ace of Spades HQ has an excellent analysis of Trump’s rise in support, and why it will continue unless others in the GOP take a clue from him.  Ace is no supporter of Trump, but he understands the essential role Trump is playing in countering the default of the GOP establishment in challenging the leftist hegemony over the boundaries of political discussion.

He cites David French’s analysis of Trump’s smashing of the “Overton Window.”  French explains, at the rabidly anti-Trump Natioanl Review Online:

Developed by the late Joseph Overton, a former vice president of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, the “window” refers to the range of acceptable political discourse on any given topic. As the Mackinac Center explains, “the ‘window’ of politically acceptable options is primarily defined not by what politicians prefer, but rather by what they believe they can support and still win re-election.” The key to shifting policy lies not so much in changing politicians but in changing the terms of the debate. In other words, “The window shifts to include different policy options not when ideas change among politicians, but when ideas change in the society that elects them.”

By controlling the media and academy, the left has controlled the terms of acceptable discourse.  It is no longer permitted to question same-sex marriage, for instance, whereas 20 years ago there was a bipartisan consensus behind the Defense of Marriage Act.  Trump’s great and essential contribution to this leftist hegemony:

Then along came Donald Trump. On key issues, he didn’t just move the Overton Window, he smashed it, scattered the shards, and rolled over them with a steamroller. On issues like immigration, national security, and even the manner of political debate itself, there’s no window left. Registration of Muslims? On the table. Bans on Muslims entering the country? On the table. Mass deportation? On the table. Walling off our southern border at Mexico’s expense? On the table. The current GOP front-runner is advocating policies that represent the mirror-image extremism to the Left’s race and identity-soaked politics.

Ace colorfully expresses the importance of his guts, even as he deplores Trump’s downsides that so worry the establishment:

I can't express how unsuited Trump is for the presidency -- are we going to have a president so impulsive as to change his mind from "Let Putin handle ISIS, what has it got to do with us?" to "Let's bomb the shit out of ISIS" and "I'll handle terrorism so hard it'll make your head spin" based on a single thing he saw on TV (San Bernardino) which completely changed all of his thoughts?

But he is useful for plowing through the colossal, coralled-over shipwrecks and dead hulks of leftist thought that clog the trade-routes of political expression and debate. (snip)

Trump is setting loose passions -- some useful, some vital, and some demonic and destructive -- and people find it liberating to think freely for once in forever.

You can't beat that by offering rhetorical pablum like "I'm willing to say 'Radical Islamic Jihad.'" Well bully for you, and who the hell cares? The fetish with this phrase is a rhetorical stunt designed to convince the listener that the speaker has a Bold Apologetic Plan for Destroying Terrorism, while masking the fact that the ideas being proposed are basically Obama's, plus more bombing.

Trump is not going to "lose" -- passive voice. Someone will have to actually beat Trump, and no one's going to beat him by simply regurgitating the leftist-enforced Polite Company Conservative line.

Most of the candidates have been trying that; like Obama's "strategy" to "contain" ISIS, it's failing, and for the same reason: Because it fails, conceptually, to understand the problem and the nature of the enemy.

In my view, Trump has opened a door by smashing the hegemony of the Democrat-GOP establishment media over discussion of issues that critically affect most Americans.  If I had to guess, it will be Ted Cruz who walks through that door.  Yes, while many in the GOP establishment hated him the most until Trump came along, Cruz may be the one compromise candidate who could unite the deeply split GOP.

Yes, it is weird.  But so is this election cycle.  

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