The Trump Primary

Today, the classiest candidate in the Republican field declared that if when if he’s elected president, he won’t even take a salary. What a guy!

Will work for free. Probably still won't get the job.
Will work for free. Probably still won’t get the job.

If the latest CNN poll is to be believed, the Republican primary is a four person race at the moment (Trump, Fiorina, Carson, and Rubio, with JEB just hanging around), though with the Iowa primary still an estimated 6394 months away it’s awfully premature to be talking like this. It’s still awfully hard to see how Trump can sustain his lead even among the certifiably bonkers wing of the Republican electorate, but you won’t catch me making any firm predictions on that front. What is clear is that, no matter who wins or where Trump finishes, this is his primary. He’s owned it since the minute he entered the race, and he’s got every other candidate dancing to his beat.

Take Rick Santorum, who’s spent millions of dollars and worked tirelessly to accumulate the support of exactly 1% more Republican voters than I have (as far as I know, I mean, nobody’s ever bothered to poll my standing in the GOP primary). Rick is so desperate to poke his head above the fog of Trump craziness and break some new ground in batshit insanity that he’s now proposing to eliminate the State Department. Yeah, that’s right. Sure, your average RINO might want to get rid of the Department of Education, or the Department of Commerce, or the…uh, there were three, but I can’t remember the last one…

“Don’t fight it, just let it come out”

Thanks Governor.

Anyway, RINOs might want to pick off the lesser cabinet agencies, but not Rick! Let’s get rid of the agency that handles all our relationships with the rest of the world, because fuck the rest of the world! Who needs it? I mean, all this diplomacy, it’s just sooooo boring, am I right? Tell ’em, Rick!

Pressed by Beck about the practicalities of firing the entire State Department, Santorum responded with a critique of the department’s single-minded focus on international diplomacy.

“It’s like, if all the tool you have is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail,” Santorum said. “Every problem that the State Department has, the answer is diplomacy. Why? Because if it’s not diplomacy, they don’t have a job.”

Rick’s plan would leave the Defense Department as really the only cabinet agency that regularly has contact with the outside world, and you certainly can’t say that every problem looks like a nail to them. In fairness, Rick would look to build a new State Department from the ground up, one that’s not filled with dreaded “relativists” and treasonous “internationalists,” whatever Rick thinks those words mean. Basically we’re looking for diplomats who understand that diplomacy is bullshit and is simply what you do to pass the (hopefully very brief) time between wars.

“Seriously, I’m thinking like a week between wars, maybe two weeks tops

Then there’s “Doctor” (are we really sure about that?) Ben Carson, who shouldn’t be desperate to rise above the Trump fog but nevertheless is doing his best to craft his own batshit appeal to Republican voters. “Doctor” (serious, has anybody actually checked his credentials?) Carson made it clear yesterday that no frigging Muslims should try running for president, on account of how it’s in the Constitution somewhere that Islam is Bad or whatever:

On Sunday’s Meet the Press, Chuck Todd asked Ben Carson, “Should a President’s faith matter?”

Carson’s answer was comfortingly banal. “Well, I guess it depends on what that faith is,” he replied. “If it’s inconsistent with the values and principles of America, then of course it should matter. But if it fits within the realm of America and consistent with the Constitution, no problem.”

But Todd had a follow-up. “So do you believe that Islam is consistent with the Constitution?”

And then Carson went off the rails. “No, I don’t, I do not,” he said. “I would not advocate that we put a Muslim in charge of this nation. I absolutely would not agree with that.”

Uh, what? For somebody who is enough of a Constitutional scholar to have developed a right to practice bigotry from its text, it sure doesn’t seem like “Doctor” Carson has read the actual Constitution. This was so off the wall that it even drew rebukes from Ted Cruz (!), Lindsey Graham (!!), and Bobby Jindal, who knows a little something about peddling Islamophobic gibberish himself, though naturally the gang over at Pravda Fox News is backing Carson up. Carson’s campaign later tried to clean up after him by saying that, look, he wasn’t saying it should be illegal for a Muslim to run for president, which is awfully generous of him, but if his goal was to show the nuts that he can be just as intolerant of Muslims as Trump, then Mission Accomplished, I suspect.

“All I’m saying is that practicing Muslims can’t possibly be real Americans. You act like I said something offensive!”

Whatever the outcome once the voting starts, this primary is Trump’s world, and the other 82 candidates are just renting space in it.

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