Friday links! Dream of history edition

Ronald Reagan gets the last word at the brokered GOP convention of 1976.

Ronald Reagan gets the last word at the brokered GOP convention of 1976.

Remember adolescence, when you read 1984, studied the Great Depression and rise of Hitler, and lamented, in your childish way, that history basically stopped after your parents were adolescents? Remember wishing history would happen right now? Here you go, asshole. The middle class is evacuating, an ineffective political class serves the rich at the expense of its own popularity, and a charismatic maniac is rising to power on a platform of militant ethnic nationalism. Today is Friday, and events are starting to eerily resemble those dark days before the Republican National Convention of 1976. Won’t you thank goodness there’s no other parallel with me?

First, the good news: The Republican Party is going to split in two—one party for people who read books about sales, and one for people who don’t read any books at all. At this moment, we may be hurtling toward the first brokered GOP convention since 1976. Over at the National Review, the pleasingly-named Joel Gehrke argues that unregulated money and the absence of a clear front-runner who doesn’t eat shit for breakfast and comb his hair with the fork might keep this thing going until summer:

There hasn’t been a brokered convention since 1976, but the strength of the GOP field, when coupled with the proliferation of super PACs, increases the chances that several candidates could show up in Cleveland next July with an army of delegates at their backs.

“The strength of the GOP field” is a nice way to say there’s a lot of them, and they’re all the same. As a serious Republican, should I vote for the doctor who wants a flat tax and guns, the debate captain who wants a flat tax and guns, or the senator who wants a flat tax and guns? I guess I’ll throw my support behind the brother of the worst president of all time.

Or I could go with the guy whom I always considered a punchline, but who turns out to be well-respected among people who think Marmaduke is funny instead. At the risk of trafficking in gossip, you should read this short reminiscence by Mark Bowden, about the time Donald Trump tried to hire him as his biographer to keep him from writing about Trump’s idiocy. Here’s the idiocy:

I watched as Trump strutted around the beautifully groomed clay tennis courts on his estate, managed by noted tennis pro Anthony Boulle. The courts had been prepped meticulously for a full day of scheduled matches. Trump took exception to the design of the spaces between courts. In particular, he didn’t like a small metal box—a pump and cooler for the water fountain alongside—which he thought looked ugly. He first questioned its placement, then crudely disparaged it, then kicked the box, which didn’t budge, and then stooped—red-faced and fuming—to tear it loose from its moorings, rupturing a water line and sending a geyser to soak the courts. Boulle looked horrified, a weekend of tennis abruptly drowned. Catching a glimpse of me watching, Trump grimaced.

Trump sees box whose important function he does not understand. Trump wrecks box, causing disaster. Trump looks up: money will solve this! You tell me day one of his presidency doesn’t go that way.

Fortunately, Trump will not become president. Marco Rubio will win the nomination at a brokered 2016 convention, and Trump will run as an independent, taking the funniest parts of the Republican Party with him. Hopefully, that will include the House Freedom Caucus. The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza has a hot interview with Rep. Tom McClintock (R-Calif.), who resigned the Freedom Caucus shortly after it forced John Boehner into retirement. Thesis: The Freedom Caucus’s brinksmanship forced moderate Republicans into alliances with Democrats to do things like fund the federal government, thereby achieving the exact opposite of their goals. It’s going to be so cool when these people form a third, openly fascist political party. Hillary Clinton will be president, and America’s evolution into a corporatocracy with a permanent service class will continue. Bet against me in the comments section, if you want.

It’s going to suck if they win somehow, though, because then I will be arrested and sentenced to fight in Syria for making fun of Donald Trump. In Thailand, where the king is a god, 27 year-old Thanakorn Siripaiboon is looking at 32 years in prison for “liking” material critical of the king on Facebook. Thailand is a military dictatorship now, and Siripaiboon has also shared information about bribery scandals related to a military construction project. If only Thai society had not fragmented into an ultra-rich urban class and a poor rural class, all of this could have been avoided. Oh well. Good thing that can’t happen here.

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