WASHINGTON, May 9, 2016 — It’s no surprise that the Republican Party leadership refuses to support their presumptive presidential nominee, Donald Trump. Unlike them, Trump’s a fighter. They’re a bloodless bunch, and he’s not afraid to play politics as a blood sport.
This goes against the clubby collegiality Republicans try to maintain with Democrats. Republicans are like Christians who believe in God as a matter of principle, but try not to offend anyone by acting on their beliefs. It isn’t clear what all of Trump’s beliefs are, but once he has them, he’ll beat you over the head with them.
Trump’s former presidential rival, Sen. Ted Cruz, described Trump as a “bully” and a “narcissist.” Those tend to be the traits of political winners.
“A moderate amount of the right kind of narcissism can actually be beneficial to well-being,” writes Dr. Susan Krauss Whitbourne, professor of psychology at the University of Massachusetts, in Psychology Today. “People with a good dose of adaptive narcissism can be self-sufficient, able to assume positions of leadership, and [are] self-confident.”
Many of Trump’s Republican detractors suffer from low self-esteem. They panic “when they do something that confirms their own feelings of inadequacy, incompetence, being undeserving or unlovable … Self-Esteem Attacks often lead to depression and feelings of devastation … they tend to become passive until their anger builds at which point they can become aggressive-defensive, sarcastic, brusque, or rude,” according to a post on the Self-Esteem Institute website.
Former GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney, a man sorely lacking in confidence and self-esteem, told ABC News after his crushing 2012 defeat to Barack Obama, “As a guy who lost the election, I’m not in a position to tell everyone else how to win. I don’t have the credibility to do that anyway.”
But the loser of 2012 recently told a gathering at Hebrew University, “I don’t intend on supporting either of the major party candidates at this point … I wish we had better choices.”
The GOP conservative base felt likewise when they held their noses, out of loyalty to their party, and voted for Romney, the man whose health care reforms in Massachusetts provided the template for Obamacare.
Recently, Trump said he would like for the Republican Party to be unified heading into November, but believes he can win without it. He may be right. A Newsmax/Fabrizio, Lee & Associates poll found that Trump leads Hillary Clinton among independent voters “by 16 points.”
Tony Fabrizio, who co-founded Fabrizio, Lee & Associates, says “Trump’s large lead among independents indicates the voter anger fueling Trump’s populist rise in the GOP primaries is spilling over into the electorate at large. If so, that would turn the 2016 election on its head and give the outsider Trump a built-in advantage,” NewsMax reported.
House Speaker Paul Ryan’s refusal to announce his support just yet for Trump against likely Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton exposed strong divisions within the GOP: not between Trump and Republican leaders, but between the Republican electorate and GOP leaders.
The Republican leadership’s lack of credibility is what gave rise to the Tea Party movement. Tea partiers elected representatives to the House who actively opposed Speaker John Boehner, who resigned last October when Freedom Caucus Republicans chose to follow the wishes of their constituents over Boehner’s leadership.
What new House Speaker Paul Ryan and others in the GOP hierarchy don’t understand is that the Trump movement is an expression of tea party dissatisfaction as expressed in the 2010 and 2014 midterm elections. The latter ended the career of GOP House majority leader Eric Cantor.
Trump supporter and former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin announced she will support the insurgent candidacy of Republican businessman Paul Nehlen for Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District, the seat now occupied by Ryan.
“His [Ryan’s] political career is over but for a miracle because he has so disrespected the will of the people,” Palin told CNN. Ryan’s decision not to support his party’s likely nominee “is not a wise decision of his,” she said.
The tea party hasn’t gone away. It’s grown, and its muscle is behind Trump.