Recently, your dear columnist felt the need to revisit one of the more famous moments in the history of the United States Senate.
On June 9, 1954, while the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations and the infamous Sen. Joe McCarthy were engaged in what were coined the Army-McCarthy Hearings, McCarthy’s career ended in one exchange.
McCarthy, up until this date, was one of the most popular members of the Senate, well- known for his vicious anti- communism. He was feared so much by other politicians that even Dwight Eisenhower refused to contradict him when McCarthy called the war hero’s old commander, George C. Marshall, a communist sympathizer. It was, of course, not true.
However, that year, McCarthy was brought completely undone during a hearing on communism in the Army while cross-examining the Army’s lead counsel, Joseph Welch. McCarthy viciously and cruelly announced on national television that one of Welch’s junior associates had been a member of a group with communist ties while in law school.
During the Red Scare, popular knowledge of such a past association was a certain career- killer. An incredulous and visibly upset Welch called McCarthy out on ruining this young man’s life on national television, famously saying,
“Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last?” Welch asked. “Have you left no sense of decency?”
The American people answered that question with a resounding “no” and McCarthy shortly thereafter faded away into the history books.
We may, as a nation, finally be reaching that place with Donald Trump. Of course, The Donald has answered with a resounding “no” the question Welch posed a hundred times over with his boorish, crude and cruel actions.
Just in the last two weeks, he has attacked Ted Cruz’s wife as both ugly and psychotic (neither of which, dear reader, are true), defended his historically violent campaign manager for assaulting a reporter and being indicted on a battery charge. One prominent Florida attorney and former prosecutor for Palm Beach County said, “You have the most corroborating evidence I’ve seen in a battery case in a long time.”
Oh, and Trump more than likely either planted or was aware of the Cruz hit piece which appeared in The National Enquirer (a “newspaper” of a quality which would make William Randolph Hearst grimace), which happens to be owned by a man who has endorsed Trump and is a close family friend.
And of course, this leaves aside the wink-and-nod act with white supremacists, the Meghan Kelly menstrual cycle comments, the insults to John McCain’s military service and, you know, Trump’s entire history in entertainment and business over the last thirty years. As Trump might phrase it in 130 characters, “Sleazy Donald Trump is a lying misogynistic racist. Bad. #NeverTrump.”
But I digress.
The rampant misogyny, indecency, incivility and racism which has characterized the entire Trump campaign may finally be catching up with the front runner. He may be approaching his “Have you no sense of decency?” moment. Polls nationwide have Trump’s favorability at only 31 percent, while 63 percent view him unfavorably, a noticeable decline from the start of the campaign. And in Wisconsin specifically, where the next primary election will be held on April 5, Trump has gone from having a 10-point lead to a 10-point deficit to Cruz over the last month and will likely lose there. Badly.
Indeed, a loss in Wisconsin and another one in Indiana alone would make it almost a mathematical certainty that Trump will not go into the Republican Convention with enough delegates to win on the first ballot, and it is doubtful that Trump would win on any other ballot after that.
Voters seem to be wising up. Trump still has a perilous path to clinching the nomination before the convention, and it appears that finally—finally—his birds are coming home to roost. Stay tuned, and stay civil.