Donald Trump’s terrifying triumph

Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton...California decides to faces off in the Presidential election.
Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton…California decides who faces off in the Presidential election.

BY KAREN OCAMB  |  And then there was one. A huge one. After slaying 17 candidates contending for the Republican presidential nomination, real estate mogul and reality TV personality Donald Trump won so handily in the Indiana primary on Tuesday, May 3, that his closet rival, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, and long shot Ohio Gov. John Kasich quickly dropped out.

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Republican National Committee Chair Reince Priebus to announce in a tweet: /@realDonaldTrump will be presumptive @GOP nominee, we all need to unite and focus on defeating @Hillary Clinton #NeverClinton.”

The GOP is now Donald Trump’s Republican Party and former rivals and naysayers, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, are falling in line, in the name of “party unity.” They fear giving Hillary Clinton the ability to re-shape the Supreme Court.

Other establishment Republicans, such as former Presidents George H.W. Bush and his son, George W. Bush, as well as 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney, are so flummoxed, they are refusing to talk about Trump or go to the GOP convention in Cleveland this July. Republican 2008 presidential nominee Sen. John McCain says that Trump at the top of the ticket hurts his own chances for re-election in Arizona. Many now think the Senate—and perhaps even the House—are in play for a Democratic take over this November.

Mainstream GOP conservatives are freaking out over Trump’s lack of substance and qualifications to hold the office, tweeting back to Priebus #NeverTrump. Some are calling for a new independent third party rooted in traditional Republican conservative principles to contest Trump’s pure Charlie Sheen-like philosophy of “winning” at any costs.   

Spies are worried. “My concern with Trump will be that he inadvertently leaks, because as he speaks extemporaneously, he’ll pull something out of his hat that he heard in a briefing and say it,” a former senior U.S. intelligence official who has participated in the process of briefing presidential candidates told the Daily BeastWednesday. 

And not every business person thinks Trump is the “greatest” businessman on the planet. Media mogul Barry Diller told CNBC on Thursday. “There’s nobody that I’ve ever known, ever, that’s risen to the presidency that was actually of evil character,” Diller said on “Squawk on the Street.” “Anybody who attacks people in the manner that he attacks people … that’s evil.” Diller is voting for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

Trump’s triumph has some on GOP deathwatch while snarky anti-Trump watchers are chuckling over what kind of convention Trump will run, imagining a gaudy, over-the-top Vegas party with World Wide Wrestling Federation half-naked pretty girls prancing across the stage holding up placards to announce the next political speaker.  This not your daddy’s Republican Party.

But smirkers should remember that California elected a popular masculinity-obsessed action movie star to be governor, based on his promise to run the state like he would his business and “fix” the economy. Many Republicans felt Arnold Schwarzenegger did OK for California—not so much for the LGBT community, vetoing two marriage bills. But by the time Gov. Jerry Brown was elected, the California Republican Party had shrunk considerably, being pushed out of state offices, though gerrymandering left a number of GOP congressional seats relatively safe.

The California Republican Party—which took cues from the RNC’s 2013 Election Autopsy Report and welcomed the gay Log Cabin Republicans into the fold—woke upWednesday to find themselves deprived of a meaningful primary.  But then, Trump didn’t seem to care about the state GOP anyway, according to the San Francisco Chronicle’s report on Trump’s recent performance at the California Republican convention in Burlingame.

Trump was “autopiloting” through his “We’re going to win, and we’re going to win in a way nobody has seen before” riffs when he tossed an off-the-cuff insult.  “Ideally, we’re going to be together,” Trump said, then adding “I think I will win if we’re not together.”

“In other words, Trump’s campaign remains only about Trump. And the rest of California Republicans be damned,” the Chronicle reported.

That knocked the wind out of some GOP politicos who had hoped that they could rebuild the state Republican Party by reaching out to women, Latinos and Millennials, assumed to be the future of the party. Now, with Trump at the top of the ticket, the party looks to settle deeper into its permanent minority status.

“It frustrates and saddens me,” Los Angeles-based consultant Luis Alvarado told the Chronicle. He’s been trying to elect grassroots Latino Republicans. “How do you tell people that you are different when he represents the party?”

Even though the GOP primary is settled, it will nonetheless be interesting to see who turns out to vote for whom onJune 7. Though California is a closed primary, it may be interesting to see if and how many angry, resentment-based independents re-registered to vote for either Trump or Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders. That democratic socialist running a powerful insurgent campaign is convinced he can not only defeat Hillary Clinton in California, but get enough delegates from that win to convince Democratic Super delegates to swing over to him at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia July 25-28. Right now, Sanders has his own version of a #NeverClinton campaign.

“Just pack up your revolution and go home? Really? That’s not going to happen,” Tara Margolin, a 50-year-old L.A.-based Sanders supporter and self-described Democrat told The Atlantic Thursday. “She would cement in place everything we are fighting against. I could never in good conscience vote for Hillary Clinton.”

Sanders has not yet announced his plans to campaign in California but the Clinton team will be all over Los Angeles this week and next week. Hillary Clinton will be at a downtown fundraiser with L.A. City Councilmember Jose Huizar Thursday, where hosts who raise $27,000 can attend a reception with the candidate and become members of the campaign’s Finance Committee, according to the L.A. Times.

Clinton’s top aide Huma Abedin will be at yet another downtown fundraiser hosted by Dr. Asif Mahmood, and Bill Clinton will be at a private fundraiser on Friday night.

Lest WeHo and the LGBT community feels left out—onMay 12,  openly gay campaign manager Robby Mook and chief digital and technology strategist Teddy Goff are staging a lunchtime “conversation” at Craig’s in West Hollywood, with contributions ranging from $250 to $2,500, the latter getting you co-host status where you can attend a reception with the two.

And to get explicitly LGBT (more lesbian, really), out Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin, Lilly Tomlin, Meredith Baxter, Suzanne Westenhoefer and Stephanie Miller will hold a reception at the home of Baxter and Nancy Locke in Santa Monica.

The chairs for the event include longtime politico Roberta Conroy, Ashley Kennedy, Rosezetta Cummings, Claire Lucas, Judy Dlugacz, Andrea Meyerson and Valerie Ploumpis, according to The Times. Contributions range from $500 to $10,000, the latter getting co-chair status with the promise of an invitation to “a future event with Hillary or President Bill Clinton.”

Finally, on May 23, Hillary Clinton will star at an early evening fundraiser at the home of out entertainment agent Bryan Lourd and Bruce Bozzi, with Anna Wintour listed as a host. Contributions for that one range from $2,700 to co-host status at $10,000, which includes a photo with Hillary. No mention whether an #ImWithHer will be inscribed at the bottom.

The O’Jay’s “For The Love of Money” (“money, money, money…”) is now playing non-stop as the background music of America. On Thursday, Donald Trump, who’s appeal to many is that he is a self-declared self-funded candidate, announced that he intends to raise $1 billion to fight Hillary Clinton in the general election. He thinks Hillary will raise $2 billion, though the Clinton campaign has not said that. Electing someone this November who promises to overturn Citizens United just became even more important.

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