Where’s James Garfield when you need him?

Strange things have happened at American political party conventions.  A revolt against Trump in Cleveland would hearken back to history.  It’s unlikely, but virtually everything associated with Trump has been unlikely til now, so who the hell knows?  If he continues stepping in it, and sinks further in the polls, anything is possible.  Putting thousands of political activists together at a convention, from every corner of the country, and strangers to one another, creates a combustible condition.

The  Cleveland Rebellion lacks one critical element, a white knight.  But in our history such knights have emerged from the chaos of a convention itself. In 1880 James Garfield of Ohio gave the nominating speech for John Sherman.  Garfield had absolutely no interest in the job himself.  James Blaine, Roscoe Conkling and even former President Grant were all serious contenders.  But Garfield was the best man among them, and everyone in the hall knew it.  So in spite of his sincere resistance, he got a few votes in the opening ballots.  As the balloting continued, and gridlock reigned, on the 35th ballot he picked up 50 votes, and won a majority on the 36th.  Garfield was a great man, and would have been a great President, but died from medical malpractice after being shot.  The man who killed him was his physician,  Dr. Bliss, an ignorant man who ignored Lister and the threat of infection.

Trump lacks discipline.  It’s his nature.  He has tremendous will power, and high intelligence, but no discipline.  He’s achieved as much as he dreamed he would, and more.  And he’s done it all without discipline.  It’s not a quality that a 70 year old man acquires easily.  In some ways, he disdains discipline, as a quality that truly strong men can do without.  And in some ways discipline is subjection to authority.  Authoritarian men, like Trump, respect no authority  but their own.  Paul Manafort has as much chance of instilling discipline in Donald Trump as Tinker Bell does.

Trump’s authoritarianism could be his undoing.  It goes against the grain in this country, at least the part where I live, the Far West.  There’s the story of the British visitor to a western ranch, who asked a cowboy where he might find his master.  To which the cowboy replied, “That sumbitch hasn’t been born.”  There’s a lot of anti-authority in the Far West.  In fact, the more you think about it, Trump is the opposite of the archetype of the Far West, the cowboy.  You can’t see Trump on a horse, with a cowboy hat, being a bad ass cowboy.  That’s not him.

There used to be a theory that most Americans don’t really pay too much attention to politics until the Conventions.  So polls right now are not predictive.  I go to 538.com to see what they’ve got to say on the polls, which is nothing.  It’s really too early.  What counts between now and the election is execution, on a daily basis.  It’s Presidential Politics 101.  Trump doesn’t really believe in much of it, and it’s going to cost him.  The press has formed a united front against him, with the WaPo taking the lead.  Old Bernstein has got some young reporters there thinking they can win a Pulitzer by taking down Trump.  And they’re going to try, with the blessing of their employer, Jeff Bezos.

Babbie and I are taking our granddaughter to an A’s game tomorrow.  I think they’re the worst team in the league.  But, what the hell, it’s baseball.

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