News & Politics

The GOP Primary Is Officially a Horror Film: Welcome to a World Where Trump & Cruz Are the Last Men Standing

Trump won in dominant fashion and Cruz met expectations as Rubio fell completely apart. This is scary stuff.

Photo Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images

I’ve been writing about the Donald Trump phenomenon several times a week for seven months now. As his candidacy evolved from a bizarre spectacle to a serious campaign, it’s become clear that this is a pivotal moment in American politics. It’s not just that we have a shocking demagogue or a profane performer topping the polls in the Republican presidential race. It’s the alarming notion that a crude authoritarian white nationalist is appealing to a very large section of the American people. Even worse is the realization that there is a path for him to actually win the presidency.

Last night he won the New Hampshire primary and he won decisively. His effect on the GOP electorate is already  profound:
 
 

Only 40 percent of New Hampshire Republicans support deporting millions of Latinos, so that’s what passes for good news in all this. They didn’t ask about summary execution or torture or killing terrorist suspects’ families, but it stands to reason that at least the 35 percent who voted for Trump are for it. Those aren’t the kind of issues people easily overlook when they vote for someone.

Most surprisingly, he won substantial support across all classes, educational status, gender and ideology. He is a true frontrunner now and is highly likely to gain support as people see him as actually able to pull it off. After all, he may be crude, but when you strip away the bluster, many of his proposals and promises — particularly when it comes to law and order, immigration and national security — are supported by a whole lot of Republicans.

Last night in his victory speech, Trump proclaimed,

“We’re going to make America great again but we’re going to do it the old fashioned way. We’re going to beat China, Japan, beat Mexico at trade. We’re going to beat all of these countries that are taking so much of our money away from us on a daily basis. It’s not going to happen anymore.”

Essentially, he has promised to kick out foreigners who are here, ban foreigners from coming here and beat foreigners that are “taking so much of our money.” But then, if he and his followers believe real unemployment is possibly above 40 percent as he claimed last night, drastic action would understandably be in order. The number is completely daft, of course. He undoubtedly got it from sources like World Net Daily which commonly flog ridiculous statistics such as that.

Now that it’s been determined that he is not going to implode any time soon, the question of whether anyone can stop him is more urgent than ever. His closest competition in New Hampshire was Ohio Gov. John Kasich with 16 percent of the vote, followed by Ted Cruz and Jeb Bush. At this writing Rubio was in 5th place after having admitted that he blew it over the weekend and promising never to do it again. He may not have the chance.

 

Heather Digby Parton, also known as "Digby," is a contributing writer to Salon. She was the winner of the 2014 Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism.

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