A Trump-Clinton Conspiracy? Or A Wake-Up Call For The GOP?
Is there really a Trump-Clinton conspiracy, as these losing GOP presidential candidates claim? Or is Trump’s ascent the ultimate endgame of a party that has employed a “Southern Strategy” to exploit economic and racist resentments and corner the “angry white people vote” for the past four decades? After all, a “small government” agenda is one thing: A vision of “a government so small it fits in a woman’s womb” leaves little room for the bold dreams and lavish campaign promises that presidential campaigns are made of.
These Trump-Clinton conspiracy theories have been floating around since Donald Trump first threw his red baseball cap in the ring, and small wonder: If the Democrats pick Hillary Clinton, she has the most to gain. if Trump wins the GOP primary, he’ll expose the party’s base for what it really is: Old, hateful white people who want the spoils of “big government” for themselves, and police, prisons, and poverty-wage slave labor for everyone else. If he runs as a third-party candidate and splits the vote, then Hillary Clinton (or Bernie Sanders) will be a shoo-in.
And that’s the real appeal of Bubba Trump’s campaign. He says aloud what the base wants to hear, while the GOP’s establishment candidates can only imply through broad hints, racially-charged imagery, and coded “dog-whistles” that only angry racists and the people who keep a beady eye on them can hear. Yet the idea of a Trump-Clinton conspiracy seems oddly satisfying, not to mention entertaining.
Just When The Trump-Clinton Conspiracy Rumors Started To Die Down…
Just when those pesky rumors of a Trump-Clinton conspiracy were starting to die down, Jeb Bush and Carly Fiorina took to Twitter on Wednesday to voice their displeasure over The Donald just refusing to go away. It’s looking more and more like the GOP’s going to get Nadered in 2016 like the Democrats did back in 2000.
First, a rather entitled-sounding ¡el Jebe! took to Twitter and urged Donald Trump to stop so a real GOP candidate (like him!) can have a chance.
Maybe Donald negotiated a deal with his buddy @HillaryClinton. Continuing this path will put her in the White House. https://t.co/AlvByiSrMn
— Jeb Bush (@JebBush) December 8, 2015
Then Carly Fiorina chimed in with this rather Grinchy-sounding tweet.
Donald Trump is Hillary Clinton’s Christmas gift wrapped up under a tree. I am the lump of coal in her stocking. https://t.co/nT2HfkkiG5
— Carly Fiorina (@CarlyFiorina) December 8, 2015
Of course Donald Trump denies that any Trump-Clinton conspiracy exists, and claims he’ll “end up beating her in every state.”
The last person corrupt Hillary Clinton wants to run against is Donald J. Trump. I’ll end up beating her in every state. New Fox Poll-Trump!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 9, 2015
And now, even CNN‘s gotten in on the action. Yes. CNN. Here’s the video:
Who Started This Trump-Clinton Conspiracy Theory, Anyway?
Some of these theories are hard to trace, but not this time. The Trump-Clinton conspiracy theories started gathering a head of steam on July 13, when the “paleo-Libertarian” blogger Justin Raimondo voiced his suspicions on Anti-War.Com (full-disclosure: Justin’s a friend and former neighbor of mine):
[Trump’s] ties to the Clintons, his past pronouncements which are in such blatant contradiction to his current fulminations, and the cries of joy from the Clintonian gallery and the media (or do I repeat myself) all point to a single conclusion: the Trump campaign is a Democratic wrecking operation aimed straight at the GOP’s base.
Justin Raimondo adds that even without the possibility of a Trump-Clinton conspiracy, Trump’s campaign makes the GOP look so bad, it’s like a Democrat’s dream come true:
Donald Trump is a false-flag candidate. It’s all an act, one that benefits his good friend Hillary Clinton and the Democratic party that, until recently, counted the reality show star among its adherents. Indeed, Trump’s pronouncements—the open racism, the demagogic appeals, the faux-populist rhetoric—sound like something out of a Democratic political consultant’s imagination, a caricature of conservatism as performed by a master actor.
And sure, this sounds crazy, but J.K. Trotter from Gawker picked up on Raimondo’s article in August and thinks it sounds quite plausible. After all, everyone knows the Trump and Clinton families are fast friends, and that Bill Clinton even encouraged The Donald to run.
The idea that Trump is running an elaborate interference campaign on behalf of Hillary Clinton may sound absurd. But there is enough truth to Raimondo’s theory—it makes just enough sense—that it’s already begun to infiltrate, and inform the mainstream voices of, the mainstream Republican Party. On July 23, for example, the popular conservative writer Allen Ginzburg distilled Raimondo’s argument into a vexing thought experiment:
If Trump had an agreement with Hillary to ensure her win by embarrassing R’s & then running as an indie, what would he be doing differently?
— AG (@AG_Conservative) July 23, 2015
But really, Donald Trump’s probably running for president for the same reason he does anything else in the public sphere: For money and for attention. As writer John Scalzi wryly observes, it’s all about him:
Trump is running his campaign like he’s on a reality show, which has no other context than itself, and of which the goal is to win the presidency, not actually to be president. He’s not wrong about the reality show aspect of the campaign, and that’s on all of us. He’s wrong about everything else, and that’s on him.
As Warden Norton angrily fumes in “The Shawshank Redemption“:
“This is a conspiracy, that’s what it is. One… big… damn conspiracy! And everyone’s in on it, including HER!”