Trump plays the trickster, and Fiorina advances

It might be said today — right now — that America advances to a new era of light and shadow driven by anthropology more than history: History will follow, but at the moment, we face a 70-year transition or transformation. It is or will be, when all is said and done, a classic study for those students of generational history: We are almost at the turning. Something just ahead, almost at hand, just on the horizon. You can sense it but it is not yet in full sight. This time, next year it may be.


As Michael Barone of the Washington Examiner said at the beginning of the Tea Party rise, the effort rising in bombast and shrill cords, featuring Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck and Ron Paul, quite resembled the Sixties in sheer outrage. And this suggests the beginning of a classic historic process in the rough birth of a new phase of conservatism, which will in time, if successful, be seen in hindsight as sublime.

It rises like one of those old three-stage rockets of the Apollo age, in which the first stage would blast off then fall away and the second would take over.

And that is where we are today. The initial bombast, the first stage of the rocket, falls away. What is called for now to go forward is a little balance and maturity. That will determine who will go forward in 2016. Right now, my guess is that the urbane and very capable Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, will be among the leaders.

The key to everything in this new cycle hinges on businessman Donald TrumpDonald John Trump5 things to know about Boris Johnson Conservatives erupt in outrage against budget deal Trump says Omar will help him win Minnesota MORE's pitch to enter the debates and run for president. He is the Trickster who churns the ages, and the others' fate depends on where they stand in relation to the Trickster. He is the one necessary component in the campaign so far. Without Trump, there is nothing. He is John Brown; he is John Lennon. The world begins again with Trump. We enter now phase two of a rising conservative movement, one which, if successful, will run the century.

Like Lord Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar, it could have gone one way or another. This July is one of those turnings; it could go either way. The future of conservatism and the fate of the 2016 contenders depended exclusively on how they responded to Trump's comments on illegal immigrants, particularly the claim of "rapists" in their midst, immediately followed by his challenge to Arizona Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), icon of the post-World War II era, but from a war fought 50 years ago (and frankly, a war that we did not win); Will they respond with umbrage, caution or affirmation?

Thankfully, in the end, the people speak through the polls and the mannered mainstream media, which form rather than inform, yields. Trump's comments put him at the top of polls going into 2016. There are two in the group whose lives changed forever at that moment by aligning themselves to one side or the other of reaction: Former Texas Gov. Rick PerryJames (Rick) Richard PerryAmazon taps Trump ally to lobby amid Pentagon cloud-computing contract fight How to reduce Europe's dependence on Russian energy Senior Trump administration official to leave post next week MORE (R) and Fiorina.

Perry slammed Trump as a "cancer to conservatism" who must be "discarded," bringing in the heavy guns. Had the public agreed with him, Trump would have been out overnight and Perry would be the new Alpha Dog.

Fiorina said that Trump is "hitting on issues that Americans care about" and should not be dismissed.

Why Trump — who likely understands electronic media and mass communications better than anyone on board — took this tack in the first place is to get into the first critical debate in early August. As it stands now, you must be in the top 10 to participate. Trump is now assured a spot.

And Fiorina is moving up in the polls. As reports, "The only female GOP presidential candidate, Carly Fiorina, former Hewlett[-]Packard CEO, is ranking in the top ten among the GOP presidential candidates in two national polls."

Which puts her tied for seventh place with two others in a national Economist/YouGov poll conducted July 18th to July 20th.

Perry is in eighth place, tied with two others.

Fiorina has secured a place in the debate. Perry is still on cusp.

Perry did what was to him the right thing to do. So did Fiorina. Nature now will take its course. Increasingly, Trump will be accepted in the mainstream and his turning of events will create a new mainstream. Polling shows it already has. And it will be hard for Perry to walk back his severe remarks. It will be easy for Fiorina to go forward with the momentum she is gaining. She should have been at the front of the group from the beginning.

It makes no difference now if Trump is elected president in 2016 and I see no reason why he shouldn't be, or if he soon disappears entirely from the public scene. It is the way of the Trickster to retire to the sublime bliss of the forest when his transitional work is done. He has already established the paradigm for a new conservatism: Less whiny about so many battles lost in the past eight years, far less provincial in outlook than most of the others (as is Fiorina), not at all nostalgic, less apologist for failings, less beholden to the past and its broken icons.

Suddenly, with Trump and Fiorina, Republicans can be contenders.

Quigley is a prize-winning writer who has worked more than 35 years as a book and magazine editor, political commentator and reviewer. For 20 years he has been an amateur farmer, raising Tunis sheep and organic vegetables. He lives in New Hampshire with his wife and four children. Contact him at