The question in yesterday’s post was:
Why has Donald Trump survived our discovery of his flaws and deficiencies?
Normally, a new candidate has his or her moment in the sun, until we discover who they really are. Then they’re done.
But this doesn’t ever happen in Trump’s case, however damning the revelations.
The answer, I think, is that his supporters don’t want a president. They want a fireship.
Fireships were instruments of destruction when the world was ruled by wooden ships. The idea was to pack a ship with flammables, set it ablaze, and send it in the direction of enemy ships in the hope that it would set these enemy ships ablaze. Fireships helped defeat the Spanish armada gathered in the English Channel.
Donald Trump promises to make a very good fireship. He lacks the subtlety, intelligence, breadth, and leadership we look for in a candidate. And that’s precisely what makes him such an effective instrument of political disruption.
Reckless, boorish, self centered? Perfect. Trump’s flaws make him a unassimilable. Washington is its own empire with formidable powers of hegemony. Many reformers go to Washington. Virtually all are claimed, colonized, incorporated. The Trumpians believes they have found a candidate so full of himself not even the Borg can absorb him. (If you can’t have incorruptible, unassimilable will have to do.)
But that’s just Step 1 of the Trump disruption, the passive play. Step 2, the active play, is a candidate who thinks he’s smarter than the system. Most Trumpians know that Trump isn’t smarter than the system. They just want him to act as if he is. That guarantees the destructive chaos they’re hoping for. I don’t think anyone doubts that Trump is a bully and a blow hard. They just want him to knock lots of things down when he throws his weight around. (If you can’t have cunning, clumsy will have to do.)
Trumpians don’t want a candidate. They want an agent of chaos. They don’t want to reform Washington. They want to burn it down.