Like all of the rest of us, including Trump and his voters, Cruz and his team may have underestimated how long it would take for the tectonic shift in the sub-structure of the race to occur. They likely hoped to depend on nominally “evangelical” voters to carry them through the first part of the primary, and did not fully recognize how much they needed the terror of Trump to drive the rest of the party into Cruz’s arms. Still, their theory of the race seems to be holding.
It is perfectly normal, and beyond that it is natural and altogether archetypical, for human communities in times of crisis to look for and seek to rally behind a commanding figure. The American electoral process is in many ways already the institutionalization of crisis even in the normal course of events, and this year, with one of the two major parties struggling to fight off a hostile takeover by a crypto-fascist and his movement, has had more of that character than usual.
“Donald Trump has provided ample justification for any of us to extricate ourselves from that commitment, which was entered upon as a matter of honor between individuals devoted not just to the name of the Republican Party, but to its principles. At this point, however, the question is no longer relevant. After all I have said, and have still to say, about Mr.Trump, what meaning could my ‘support’ for him as eventual nominee possibly have?”
The political problem for American conservatives in this era seems to me more complex, but at the same time less intractable, than a simple juxtaposition of the visible (or “envisionable”) vs. the unseen.
Diehl assesses the Obama Doctrine, or Jeffrey Goldberg’s Obama’s Obama Doctrine, as, in a word, neurotic – as much a psychological construct or defense mechanism as a policy – enabling the President minimize the importance of any setbacks, the alternative being emotionally intolerable.
…mounting the barricades in his mind and shouting down all within hearing – moving, in undeniable if also undeniably trivial form, by sheer necessity, from the denunciation of competing perspectives to the proscription of those about whom, as he avers with conspicuous pride, but disproves in acting to prove, he could not possibly care less.
If the systematic application of the desired policy leaves even its proponents bitterly unsatisfied with and haunted by the tragedies and catastrophes it either produces or does nothing to avert, then its prospects may be dim. The main question may be which will prove intolerable first, the growing dissatisfaction, or the next catastrophe.