A ‘Caddyshack’ candidate
Posted on April 25, 2016
(Originally published in The Hill)
Al Czervik is poised to take over the Republican Party, and the Judge Smails faction of the GOP just can’t accept that truth.
Czervik, of course, was the uncouth, politically incorrect, nouveau riche boor played by Rodney Dangerfield in the iconic 1980 movie “Caddyshack.” Smails was the WASP, played by Ted Knight, who was horrified by Czervik’s antics but had his own hidden character flaws.
Donald Trump is Al Czervik.
The GOP front-runner has broken every rule of campaign politics. He has challenged Republican orthodoxy on every issue, from Planned Parenthood to immigration, from taxing the rich to free trade. He gets away with saying things that would have killed any other candidate. He is undisciplined and obnoxious. He is self-centered and egotistical and does nothing to hide it. He doesn’t even have a campaign pollster!
In the movie, Czervik is seen as a breath of fresh air. But in this campaign season, Trump is seen by the media and by many Republicans as a threat to our way of life, a modern version of Mussolini, a racist and a xenophobe.
A whole movement has risen up, complete with a hashtag (#NeverTrump), to stop the bellowing billionaire from getting the Republican nomination. It has started an online petition of concerned citizens who have pledged to never vote for Trump. So far, only 26,000 have signed up.
In the meantime, the real estate mogul has swept most of the Southern states, many of the Midwestern states and is now poised to sweep the Northeast. It’s a rare contested candidate who can win in both the old Confederacy and the heart of Yankee America, but Trump has pulled off that feat.
The #NeverTrumpers won’t give up. They tweet their anger at the candidate, they continue to run ads, they urge the voters to vote strategically, they harrumph when candidates other than Trump don’t behave the way the way they want them too.
It’s unclear if this movement is acting this way because its members hate Trump so much or because they are getting paid well to hate Trump that much. It’s probably a combination of both. But like most super-PACs, the #NeverTrump forces are resourced by billionaires who most likely see their fellow billionaire as a traitor to their class, somebody who might raise their taxes and might make their idyllic lives a bit more expensive to live.
Scratch a super-PAC and you see an angry rich person just yearning to buy the nearest election.
I don’t like Donald Trump. Never have and never will. But in many ways, I admire how he has shaken up the system by cleverly telling a class of voters what they want to hear. Those voters seemingly represent a huge percentage of the Republican base.
Trump doesn’t really pretend to be perfect, and that too is a breath of fresh air. In a world of self-reverential hypocrites, his flaws are obvious for the world to see. Kind of like Al Czervik.
In any event, barring some kind of miracle, Trump is going to be the GOP nominee. That means that the #NeverTrump forces have to either leave the party or bite the bullet and support him as their candidate.
I didn’t particularly love John McCain when he was our nominee in 2008, and I certainly didn’t think that Sarah Palin was ready to be vice president. I didn’t love 2012 nominee Mitt Romney either, although he was better than Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum.
But I strongly supported them in the general election because I believed they were better than the Democratic alternative, in this case Barack Obama.
And I believe that Donald Trump, properly contained, would be a better alternative than Hillary Clinton.
I’m a Republican and I will support our party’s nominee. That’s just how I roll.