Why Donald J. Trump Decided To Make A Run At The Presidency As A Republican Rather Than As A Democrat

Trump famously has no political ideology. His ideology is purely a personal matter. Like Muhammad Ali used to say, I am the greatest. Driven by an obsessive eccentricity, Trump simply wanted to prove that he was the greatest, most wonderful and powerful person on the face of the earth. Thus becoming president of the United States of America seemed the perfect means for establishing such a massive persona.

In looking over the best party vehicle that would allow him to reach his objective, it must have been pretty clear to Trump that his one slim chance for his gaining the White House was via the Republican Party. On the Democratic side, if Hillary Clinton were to run (and that was a near certainty), she would have a lock on both the party machinery and a large chunk of party’s grassroots base, not to mention the major donors.

On the Republican side, however, Trump saw a large crack to be forced open. Ever since the Regan revolution the Republican Wall Street establishment had come to understand that its natural upscale voters were not nearly numerous enough to win elections. Therefore the Southern strategy of pandering too, dog whistling White working class bigots and xenophobes was a necessary evil in order to make up for the voter shortfall.

The trouble was that this populace base — egged on by rightwing talk radio and Fox News — hating the conservative establishment and not giving a hoot about it standard conservative economic and political orthodoxy, was vulnerable to an outside takeover, and Trump new it. So with nothing to lose and believing all publicity, even horrible publicity, was of value, he threw his hat into the political ring on the Republican side.

When he sized up his field of opponents, his strategy became instantly clear. Instead of dog whistling the Party’s huge populace base he would come out with all guns blazing, firing off wholly unabridged bigoted, xenophobic rhetoric that his establishment opponents could not possibly match and still seem authentic — Mexican rapists and other such attention grabbling noise.

He would become one with the Republican base. Of course his taking points were heavily laced with miraculous economic claims for creating jobs and unleashing a enormous economic boom. In other words, “He would make America great again.” His tsunami tactic left his gaggle of establishment brand opponents stunned and paralyzed as to how to respond. And as we know nothing worked. His political blitzkrieg though the populace base quickly became unstoppable.

But there was another significant advantage in running as a Republican vs. as a Democrat. The one area he knew he might have a chance to make a big economic splash with his supporters, if by some miracle he became president, was in pushing a mammoth job creating infrastructure program like the one President Obama dearly wanted to initiate but the Republicans successfully managed to block for partisan reasons.

If he ran as a Democrat the Republican deficit hawks who would likely be controlling both the House and the Senate could stop such a plan dead in its tracks, but as a Republican president the money spigot would be turned wide open for such a bold venture.

Yet once having gained the Republican nomination Trump knew his chances for beating Hillary remained slim to none. So he went into stage two of his strange political stratagem. This amounted to setting up a whole other option. If he could not win the presidency as a Republican, why not win it in the next political cycle via a third party. In order to do that it would be necessary to destroy the Republican Party establishment and run off with its base as the nucleolus of his very own party.

The math for winning as a populace Third party candidate was on his side. Starting with the once Republican base bolstered by disgruntled Democrats would roughly work out in a general election to 25% Republican, 35% Democrat and 40% Trump Party — a victorious outcome would be assured.

And thus on behalf of this second political end you had a most bizarre political campaign emerge in which Trump, inexplicably to many, spent as much time attacking his own party leaders as he did taking on Hillary. But then the impossible happened. The madcap Electoral College handed Trump the presidency and all the Republican establishment types, you know Speaker Paul Ryan and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who hated and feared Trump suddenly fell in love with the media darling, and the rest should make for some very scary but interesting history.

Jim Ridgway, Jr. military writer — author of the American Civil War classic, “Apprentice Killers: The War of Lincoln and Davis.” Christmas gift, yes!

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