It's Not the Bull, It's the China Shop
A suicide has the same practical effect as an assassination. The political troubles of Donald Trump, whether self-inflicted or caused by the nonstop focus on his verbal gaffes (to the maddening exclusion of substantive administration scandals such as the bribery of Iran and the administration's shameful alliance with Putin in the Middle East) may succeed in destroying his candidacy.
The disqualification of Trump is well under way, whether it be at his own hands, or those of the Republican establishment whose hopes have been revived by his mistakes, or by the Deep State, who are hinting at the possibility of charging Trump with a violation of the Logan Act.
Whether it succeeds or not remains to be seen. The question is what happens afterward, after Donald has performed his historic task of destruction. Trump may, by some miracle, win the presidency. Yet, that would not bring the play to the end; it would only drag it out as an extension of the campaign, completely stymied at every turn by the media, blocked by both political parties and reviled by the academy. It would be four years of deadlock.
It will bring no resolution and the next act which must hold us in suspense. The curtain will likely rise on a scene of establishment revenge. If the failed coup in Turkey taught one lesson it is that anyone who strikes at the sultan must kill him. The Turkish rebels failed to topple Erdogan and must now endure his wrath. The unavoidable aftermath of a busted challenge is purge.
In America a Hillary victory will take the form of unabashed consolidation. It may even take the case of punitive prosecution and social media bans on the most annoying critics of the establishment. There will be USSC appointments and changes to the 2nd and 1st Amendments. They will, in a word, be characterized by intense reaction from those with the most to lose. It will be full of "safe spaces" for new and invasive ideologies. What space is left for beaten traditional America will be decidedly more perilous and under siege.
But it will be the savagery of a wounded beast. The Republican Party will take decades to recover, if it ever will. The Democratic Party will have become permanent hostage to its most authoritarian elements. Collectively, the establishment party in Washington will have ceased to command the respect of half, or more than half of the population. It will emerge seemingly triumphant after Trump, yet without a future; dominated only by mediocrities, sellouts and rogues.
One of the more interesting news stories of recent weeks was that the Koch Brothers were not supporting a presidential candidate this election. They were carefully promoting key Senate candidates a sign that they are looking beyond a first round KO to winning by points in the middle rounds.
History will remember Trump for having derailed the train and hurtled politics into an uncharted path. Now it needs a second phase to get anywhere. The key to solving the destination problem is to understand what the 2016 election is about. Is it an election between two flawed candidates or is it a referendum in disguise?