It’s been established that Chris Christie is washed up. Getting in bed with someone like Trump is something you don’t ever walk back—although from the look on Christie’s face these days, he would give his left testicle to wake up and discover this has all been a very bad dream.
Which raises an important question for those of us who don’t plan to vote for The Bad Idea: What happens the “morning after” for the country as a whole?
Consider: Now that Trump has revealed more of his inner Marge Schott — with the non-disavowals and the open incitement of violence at his rallies — to be a Trump supporter is to publicly declare your OK-ness with spectacularly incorrect bucket list. You’re no longer a closet hater, tucked safely behind dog whistles and coded rhetoric: you’re basically marching down Main Street wearing both a sheet AND knee-high black boots.
You’re also betting the farm, reputationally. While Trump certainly could win in November, that’s still a stretch; polls show Clinton beating him now by 5-7 points, and if anything, his new racist red shoes will widen that margin faster than GOP anti-Clinton oppo attacks will narrow it.
Which means that, as a Trump supporter, you won’t only have backed the wrong horse; you’ll still be out of the closet in a big, hard-to-take-back way, with your neighbors, your family, your employers, your kids. Some non-Trumpians may relish the prospect of so many outed haters, elections having consequences and all; at the very least, we’ll no longer be able to ignore the fact that America has a serious personality disorder.
But I have to admit I’m actually a little afraid of the shape this new knowledge might take. We won’t merely be faced with the reality of America’s nastiness; we’ll also be faced with the everyday, on-the-street fact of maybe 45 million of our fellow citizens who supported a guy who casually flirts with fascism and thuggery – people who, if they remained Trump supporters till Election Day, with all that he is likely to have said, aren’t likely to have the grace to be embarrassed. No, they’ll be pissed; worse, they’ll feel entitled to express that anger, having just spent the preceding year or so being encouraged to give life to their worst impulses, without shame.
The genius of the American political system is that it has the near-miraculous capacity heal itself after each, once-every-four-years rupture. And while that power was already running low these last few decades, Trump could crush it entirely.
So thanks, Christ Christie. You’ve made your bed – and we’re all sleeping in it.