I did so well ignoring Donald Trump toward the tail-end of the GOP primary, and now I feel like he’s dominating my reading list and links again. Maybe some of this is just me processing stages of grief publicly, and when I hit acceptance around August it will tail off again. Earlier this week, Slate published an excerpt from a book about the 1964 GOP convention and the Goldwater nomination:
How “Never Goldwater” failed
The parallels in what the article describes are stunning. Between the resistance of party elites, the thuggish tactics of Goldwater supporters, and the pugnacious style of the candidate himself, it sonds like an article that could be written about this year. What gives me hope is not only Goldwater’s crushing defeat, but the impact it had: in vanquishing an entire style and brand of conservatism, it made way for Nixon, Reagan and a new wave of leaders that were not as liberal as the old establishment, but centrist enough to govern effectively. Hopefully a Trump landslide defeat in November is the first stage of Ryan 2020.
The media failed us
This election was the cycle where the media abrogated any notion they were dedicated to informing the American people. There’s been debate about whether the media created Trump or vice-versa; WGBH argues there’s plenty of blame to go around.
A lack of courage
What obligation does any celebrity have to use their platform for social good? Are they more beholden to their sponsors, their institutions (teams/labels), or themselves? LeBron James, like many athletes before him, has shied away from using his pulpit as a means of advancing important social causes. The story of his brief outreach after a child’s murder, and quick retreat into isolation, has parallels to the silence of others in power. Why are we so afraid to tell others what we think?
Crossing the moral Rubicon
That same cowardice describes the great number of conservative leaders who have fallen in line behind Donald Trump. There can be no argument that Donald Trump represents a good path forward for America (and I will not disagree that the EXACT same thing is true of Clinton). Selling out your ideals in favor of supporting something that doesn’t make sense is an absence of leadership. Kudos to Romney, the Bushes, Paul Ryan and others who place their integrity above the allure of power. I hope that this abortion of an election presages the revival that occurred post-Goldwater, instead of the alternative, which is a shattering of the party.