LIKE A BAD SMELL

Everyone keeps asking when Donald Trump is going to go away. Even The Onion has noticed his staying power, noting the number of times the candidate has said or done something that led observers to conclude, "That was the final straw; he's done now." It turns out though that a campaign can survive a lot when its core supporters are racists, people who aren't very smart, and racists who are not very smart. As superlative nonfiction author Mark Bowden, who covered Trump nearly 20 years ago for a magazine piece, says:

Apart from the comical ego, the errors, and the self-serving bluster, what you get from Trump are commonplace ideas pronounced as received wisdom. Begin registering all Muslims in America? Round up the families of suspected terrorists? Ban all Muslims from entering the country? Carpet-bomb ISIS-held territories in Iraq (killing the 98-plus percent of civilians who are, in effect, being held hostage there by the terror group and turning a war against a tiny fraction of the world’s Muslims into a global religious crusade)? Using nuclear weapons? The ideas that pop into his head are the same ones that occur to any teenager angry about terror attacks. They appeal to anyone who can’t be bothered to think them through—can’t be bothered to ask not just the moral questions but the all-important practical one: Will doing this makes things better or worse?

When your bread and butter is people who don't like to think, it's pretty difficult to drive them away by saying poorly thought out, offensive, and stupid things. And here he is, leaving every major poll about a month out from the first real live nominating events.

So when IS he going to go away?

Well. One school of thought has been that his leading position will disappear when actual votes are cast. In other words, people who say right now that they like him or choose him on polls simply because of his name recognition will get serious and choose a "real" candidate when it's time to vote. Another is that eventually he will say something so offensive that his supporters will abandon him for a candidate with a better chance of winning. I think both of these scenarios are improbable.

The most obvious problem, and also the best explanation for why Trump has yet to disappear, is that knocking someone out of first place requires someone else to step into that position. All of the other candidates in this field are so bad, so inept, and so ruthlessly unlikable that none of them can build enough momentum and support to threaten Trump except Carson, whose followers are of the same "What's the point of thinking?" variety. Were there a single good candidate in the field, you wouldn't have 17 candidates in the first place. There's no Mitt Romney this time around, no candidate who is safe, relatively sane, superficially affable, and ready to be handed the keys when it becomes apparent that everyone else in the field is just too insane.

My best guess is that Trump is going to go away once the primaries heat up, but not for the reasons so many people believe right now. This is a man of unprecedented arrogance who has never paid attention to a detail in his life; something tells me that he and his campaign are not going to shine when the time comes for old fashioned, ground level campaigning to begin. I'm guessing that Trump's ground game strategy is something along the lines of "I'm awesome, of course people are gonna come vote for me." The knowledge, ability, and willingness of a campaign led by an arrogant sociopath and made up of complete morons to campaign effectively in anything but the current "talk into the camera" part of the campaign must be lacking. Who is making up the precinct lists in Iowa? Who's in charge of the ground game in New Hampshire? What's the broader strategy for the first wave of primary states after Feb. 1? Has anyone involved in the Trump campaign at any level though of any of this? Certainly he can afford to pay campaign professionals; has he acquired the services of any competent, experienced ones? What are his volunteers doing aside from showing up at the occasional publicity stunt waving signs?

In short, it remains to be seen if Trump can campaign seriously because this is a man who has never taken anything seriously. He is so in love with his self-styled genius that it probably hasn't occurred to him that he does not know how to run a campaign at the nuts-and-bolts level. If his strengths are limited, as they appear to be, to drawing attention to himself in the national media, then the wheels will indeed come off this clown car when the actual ballots begin to be cast. If not, and he proves smart enough to hire people who know what they're doing to run his campaign, then the historic awfulness of this Republican field could enable him to stick around for quite some time and even, if there is a prankster God who loves us, win the nomination. But that's quite an "if". My gut reaction is that neither he nor anyone like-minded has the attention span and intellect necessary to do the long, tedious work of actual campaigning.

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63 Responses to “LIKE A BAD SMELL”

  1. Jestbill Says:

    My first thought was that Trump is the "None of the above" candidate.

    The flaw in the situation is, as you point out, what if "None of the above" is the best available?

  2. Isaac Says:

    I keep thinking of all those stories of Roman politics where things got so outta control that a buncha senators got shanked in the Forum.

  3. Bitter Scribe Says:

    All of the other candidates in this field are so bad, so inept, and so ruthlessly unlikable…

    But at least it's a deep bench!

  4. Nick Says:

    I agree that Trump is unconcerned about the actual work of campaigning, but I think if his campaign sticks around for much longer he'll find someone who can do it for him. His bigger issue is that the GOP knows he's utterly incapable of winning a general election, because while he's certainly tapped into the id of the Republican Party, the number of people who will actually cast a vote for the George Wallace of 2016 is never going to be enough to win, even factoring in how much the right hates Hillary. So the Republicans will do whatever it takes to get their own candidate in place. It remains to be seen whether Trump will split the vote (though I think his vote-splitting capacity is more on the level of Nader vs Gore than Roosevelt vs Taft) but the Republicans won't allow Trump to take the primary no matter what his support looks like by the convention.

    Of course, their best alternative now that Carson is losing support (because let's be real, they're not going to nominate a black guy even if he weren't a nutjob) appears to be Ted Cruz, a man who when he speaks bears a striking resemblance to a particularly sweaty vagina, so their chances are still not exceptional.

    Good to see a new post up, by the way.

  5. Mr. Wonderful Says:

    Here's another question: Do you all think Trump really wants to be President? A friend of mine says, "He want to be king." Granted. But given the impossibility of that, then what? Some think he did this as a publicity stunt that has now gotten out of hand. I can't imagine why, infantile ego aside, he *would* want to be prez. It's not like he has a vision, or actual political ambition. His life as an asshole celeb seems plenty gratifying. So why would he hire savvy pros to do what he can't be bothered to do, if he doesn't really need the hassle of winning?

  6. J. Dryden Says:

    Given the demographics of the majority of his supporters–white, male, less educated, middle-aged–it is perhaps illuminating that this same demographic has recently been identified as the only one in America with a declining average lifespan, a decline due to a shockingly disproportionate number of suicides and suicidal behaviors.

    In other words, I think Trump is seen as the candidate of choice who are desperate to the point of wanting to see it all burn to the ground–who has no respect for the system of governance, the rules that maintain political (and civil) discourse–like the Tea Party before him, he appeals to those who have given themselves over to the kind of angry despair that can only be satisfied with pulling the whole goddamned thing down around their ears.

    Which means that the more outrageous he is, the more he fulfills exactly what his supporters want from him: a cataclysmic end to it all.

    So that, really, his slogan isn't "Make America Great Again"–if you put on the They Live sunglasses, you'll see that it's really "Let It Burn. Let It All Burn."

  7. Isaac Says:

    The worrying thing is that the ass-holes I'm surrounded by, who probably rarely vote and can't name a Supreme Court Justice to save their lives, are pretty fired up about Cruz/Rubio/Carson/Trump and will most likely show up to vote against Hillary or Bernie. Because GUNS and GOD and the GAYS.

  8. wetcasements Says:

    The most bizarre dynamic to Trumpolini is that he isn't actually spending all that much money. Ad buys? Why? He can literally show up somewhere and all the major networks are going to give him free airtime, and the dumber bullshit he spouts the better.

    So I'm not convinced he's going to win the nomination, but if he senses he's going down he simply runs as a third-party candidate who can grab a healthy 10 percent of the national electorate. And again, he doesn't have to spend a penny of his own wealth on "real" advisers — he just keeps the clown show rolling and angles for a future new reality show or a FOX guest commentator spot.

    tldr; even if Cruz or Rubio manages to catch fire, Trump sticks around much to Hillary's delight.

  9. Xynzee Says:

    A thought that came to me the other day is that perhaps he despises the Republican Party as it stands today. He is out on a kamikaze mission to bring the party to total and absolute destruction and for whatever opaque reason is out to ensure Clinton wins at the same time.

    To bad for him that our political system is how we have it. Sure he can tank the hopes a Repuglicant White House, but he can do little to truly gut the party. Even if he fielded a whole army of like minded minions who ousted incumbents and won the nomination for the House and Senate, too many would be elected anyways. Then what?

    But that maybe his end game. Four years of the most ineffectual president ever—s/he might as well have the government printing office print up reams of paper with a preprinted VETO on them and head for the beach—at the end of which there will be a redistricting. Then hopefully more sensible people will have won in the states and the lock on the House will be broken.

  10. Dave Dell Says:

    I've written it here before and I'll reiterate. Trump is bored and is only doing this for his own amusement. Here's a take on it that I think hits the mark:

    http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/trump-sets-his-own-campaign-fire-donalds-increasingly-insane-behavior-all-part

  11. Major Kong Says:

    The only one who scares me worse than Trump is Cruz.

  12. Anubis Bard Says:

    Trump seems to be a truly stupid man, but he obviously has a talent for deal-making and pandering without appearing to pander. I also agree that he doesn't have the attention span for a campaign, much less a presidential administration. If I were advising the nervous plutocrats, I'd be figuring out what shiny thing would buy Trump off – or what pointy thing would scare him off. It's not like the man doesn't have a price – or a concern for his own skin. Then they just let him pretend to be kingmaker for a Rubio or a Fiorina as he throws his chumps back to the Establishment.

  13. Tom Says:

    Trump continues to tell _hard_ truths in the farcical C21 us-vs.-them media
    environment that you seem to have fallen prey. Trump's popularity (according
    to my research in the field) is due to his refreshingly existential brand of
    honesty—honesty that has been missing from American politics since long before
    WMDs.

    Trump wants to stop Chinese and Mexican slave labor. The West still has
    slaves—we just put them to work out of sight and across the ocean.

    Trump wants to end religious wars, and he's not afraid to be honest about
    Israel's role as an agitator.

    Trump wants to audit the Federal Reserve—a hornets nest that has led how many
    U.S. presidents to an early grave? He wants to understand w/t/f 20 trillion
    dollars of debt even _means_. He's a graduate from the best business school in
    the world, making it slightly more likely we won't see a complete dog & pony
    show.

    If you want to get out of Peoria, start using the Socratic method like an
    honest, disinterested scholar.

    P.S. Who cares if a small minority of his supporters are "racist"
    (whatever the f/ that means) and if an even smaller minority aren't very smart;
    every candidate has unaligned supporters. The world would be a better place if
    people didn't reduce others to a single most undesirable attribute—be
    aware of the gestalt and beware the synecdoche.

    P.P.S. Only idiots actually vote; the smart people are busy making money—the
    real ballot.

    Copyright 2015 and beyond, Tom

  14. Greg Says:

    Well, pick my jaw up off the floor. Never expected to see Mickey Kaus on this thread, pseudonymously or not. Please, please, please, "Tom," share your research for our edification.

  15. Zak44 Says:

    I'm with Dave Dell and Mr. Wonderful here. When Trump began his "campaign," and it came up in conversation, I remember remarking to the effect that the last thing he wanted was the actual job of president and having to do the real work that came with it.
    I suspect that no one is more surprised than Trumpelstiltskin himself that it's gone this far. Eventually, he'll find a way to bow out and—just as he's done so many times before—leave the people he conned holding the bag. Which will be empty.

  16. Creigh Says:

    Tom, "the west still has slaves, we just put them to work out of sight and across the ocean." That's good.

    But I'd like to hear more about what $20T of debt means. The way I see it, all 'money' implies an obligation or promise. The issuer of money makes an explicit promise of a future benefit of some kind to the person who accepts the money. The Federal Government used to promise exchange for gold. Now the only promise is that the USD is (the only) acceptable means of paying taxes. This doesn't even get into the issue that, according to the experts, most 'money' in circulation is created by banks. So the question is, what does the best business school in the world have to teach us about this?

  17. Ubu Imperator Says:

    I think we're going to see some Cruz-mentum pretty soon. Is he abhorrent as the day is long? Does he have a voice that makes you want to pull your own ears off? Does he embody all of the most sociopathic, anti-government, know-nothing, bible-banging, pseudo-libertarian-but-really-authoritarian tendencies of the modern GOP? Yep, uh-huh, and oh yeah.

    However, he just got endorsed by the Family Leader here in Iowa, the RW-Christian group whose followers fall into line like grunts at boot camp when told who to vote for. The Family Leader's endorsement got no-hopers like Huckabee and Santorum to win the Iowa Caucuses in '08 and '12; I see no reason why that shouldn't work a third time. And when Cruz does win, you will see a flood of stories about a return to sanity for the GOP. He will suddenly become an "establishment" candidate by virtue of being in the Senate; he will represent a "new take" on racial diversity and immigration policy by being the first-generation son of a Cuban father; he stands for "traditional family values"; and most importantly, he's smart enough (unlike Trump) to not say the quiet parts loud, even though the Venn diagram of his positions and Trump's would come close to an overlapping circle. As a result, he'll be portrayed as the "sensible", "mainstream" alternative to a grotesquerie like Trump.

  18. c u n d gulag Says:

    No, t-RUMP doesn't know the nuts and bolts of campaigning,

    He just knows the nuts.

    Speaking of nuts, the one who'll benefit is/when t-RUMP falls, is Teddy Cruz-ader.
    And he scares me even more than t-RUMP!

    If somehow, Dumb-'n-old wins, there's at least some chanel he'll put in some competent people I his cabinet.
    Sure, they'll probaby be "yes" folks, but he'll hold the accountable, lest he, HE, be embarrassed!
    Cruz-ader will put in "Christian" and conservative true-believers – and we all know how THAT turned out, under W!

  19. Andrew Laurence Says:

    I'm no Trump supporter, but right now it looks like he or Cruz will be the eventual nominee. Distaste for Hillary is so high, one of them might actually win it all. Nonexistent god help us!

  20. Skipper Says:

    On December 14, 2003, Howard Dean was the acknowledged "unbeatable front runner." No one disputed that. He was drawing huge crowds and tons of excitement. Then, the corporatist media decided he had to go. The media leveled a three-week barrage against him that was unprecedented in US history. Every media outlet — NY Times, WSJ, cable "news," Time, Newsweek, you name it, right down to you local supermakret Pennysaver, carried the story that "Howard Dean is unelectable." By the time of the Iowa caucuses, John Kerry wiped out Howard. Caucus-goers told exit pollsters that they voted for Kerry because "Howard Dean is unelectable."

    Then, just for good measure, the media set Dean up with the phony "Dean scream," and no one ever heard from Howard again.

    People will eventually vote for whomever the corporatist media tell them to vote.

  21. Emerson Dameron Says:

    Ditto Major Kong. Tailgunner Ted makes Trump look like JFK.

  22. Andrew Laurence Says:

    Isn't the amount of work the president does kind of up to him or her? We've had slacker presidents before.

  23. MH Says:

    I know that "Pfff. Trump is all show he doesn't have a ground game" is the new "Oh he'll say something offensive and disappear and Bush will be the nominee", but seriously, no.

    I'm not saying he's going to win, because holy hell does the Republican party not want that and I'm guessing eventually they'll get scared enough to go all in for Cruz, as much as that what hurt. But all those questions about his ground game are things that can actually be answered! Really!

    Here, here's one from November: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/how-donald-trumps-ground-game-looks-in-early-states-2015-11-23

    But these have been showing up regularly since August. The guy has, in fact, hired people and those people are actually veteran political operatives no just random yahoos.

  24. JohnR Says:

    Mr Wonderful says: "I can't imagine why, infantile ego aside, he *would* want to be prez."
    I can. Trump runs on at least a couple main tanks – satisfying his monstrous ego and proving his detractors wrong*. I'm inclined to think that this started as a vanity project, but having got this far into it, his ego is on the line; I'm sure he wouldn't care about bowing out if he was ahead, but I think he'd really hate looking like he was forced out. On the other hand, he's never seemed like the kind of guy who can be bothered to put a real effort into things. On the other, other hand, have we already forgotten GW Bush?

    *a polite way of saying "giving them the finger and kicking them in the balls". He'd crawl over broken glass to screw over somebody who bad-mouthed him, imo.

  25. mojrim Says:

    That trick only works with democrats, Skipper, not on the GOP. The base has been electing establishment candidates for decades to no avail (job loss, economic meltdown, lost wars, etc…) and is now going for the guy they like no matter what.

    More importantly, they have discovered something the american left still hasn't clued into: There is no moderate, undecided middle. That idea is an historical curio from when the parties were outwardly similar in policy and demographic. This is a completely polarized era where all that matters is turn out. Fire up the ideological core and they will drag the bored and lazy to the polls. Dean was, quite frankly, far more electable than Kerry – he was charismatic and exciting, and could rally the base, exactly what Kerry was not.

    Trump is dominating not because there is no Romney in the field, but because he is exactly the opposite of him. The GOP base is sick to death of "electable" establishment candidates that sell out their (perceived) interests before they finnish swearing in. The right has figured out that "electable" is a scam anyway, and have spent 30 years purging their ranks and building a cavernous bench. Turf one out and another steps into the breach. That excitement actually gives The Donald a better chance in the general than any of the other candidates, who generally put the base to sleep.

  26. sluggo Says:

    If Trump manages to win a couple of primaries, expect an announcement by him withdrawing for health issues and that he wishes for privacy at this time.

    I don't think he wants the job, he just wants to raise some hell for the next few months. Actually being stuck with the day to day details is the last thing he wants.

  27. Andrew Laurence Says:

    I think he wants the power and prestige, but does not want to do the hard work. Fortunately, since the president is pretty much his own boss, he can do as little hard work as he likes.

  28. Mo Says:

    Thanks, "Tom," for the coffee spew at the copyright statement.
    Impressed by your own self much?

    Major K, here's a thought to trigger a reach for the rye before lunch:

    Cruz/Trump or Trump/Cruz?

    That cat fight would be fun to watch, tho, eh?

    Uh oh – what about Cruz/Rubio? [goes off to get another ice cube for breakfast]

  29. Chris Says:

    Kasich seems to me (hard to tell since the coverage is all Trump or Trump/Cruz/Rubio) like he meets all the qualities you were looking for: safe, sane, superficially a person (I wouldn't go so far as to say likeable). He's basically another Romney. The problem is that's not what republicans want. They want a racist prick.

  30. JustRuss Says:

    @ JohnR: I agree. Trump doesn't want to be president, but he loves to win, and the president of the US of A is the biggest prize there is. He can't let it go. And given his well-documented aversion to thinking things through, he's not really worried about what happens next. When you have ore money than you can ever spend, you can get away with not worrying about consequences.

  31. Andrew Laurence Says:

    Trump may have more money than he can ever spend, but he could easily piss away a lot of it in failed investments, as he has in the past. The guy is less successful at growing his wealth than the Vanguard S&P 500 index fund.

  32. JustRuss Says:

    @ Mo: Too easy. Trump will never veep for anybody. Cruz on the other hand, has been sucking up to Donald for weeks. Trump/Cruz, no question.

  33. Edward Says:

    My hope is that people will take third parties more seriously.

  34. Mo Says:

    JustRuss –

    Yep. And then the assassination.

  35. FastEddie Says:

    Trump is smart enough to hire people who know what they are doing. His buildings don't fall down, for example. But no way is he suited to actual governing. Exactly like our Governor Ruiner. Exactly. So I believe Trump will get the nomination.

  36. Mr. Wonderful Says:

    Someone (seemingly knowledgeable) says in a FB-circulated graphic that if Trump had just taken his inheritance and parked it in an index fund he'd be worth twice what he is today.

  37. MS Says:

    Trump is going to win the Republican nomination, easily. Fortunately for the country, the demographics for Republicans to win the presidency are so bad that it's unlikely he could win that. So look for a Democratic president.

    But Trump will absolutely, without a doubt in the world, be the Republican candidate for president. It's not even close. The answer to why is this: Trump is the candidate that appears to maximize liberal outrage, so he is the most appealing to most Republican voters. It doesn't matter what Trump does as long as it pisses off liberals.

  38. mothra Says:

    I think Trump will ride the wave to win a few primaries and then he will bail when he starts to lose primaries in states where the populace has more teeth. In other words, he will stay in until it quits being fun and a total ego fluff. Then he'll move on to something else. Nasty little toad.

    As for who will step into his void? I think Ted Cruz will annoy everyone. My money is on Marco. Cute and just slick enough…

  39. Andrew Laurence Says:

    I'm fairly sure that if Trumps wins the nomination, he has a strong chance in the general against either Hillary or Bernie. Voter suppression laws keep a lot of anti-Trump voters away from the polls. Say what you will about Republicans, they turn out to vote, and they don't vote third party when they don't like the GOP candidate, as Democrats sometimes do.

  40. Freecookies Says:

    From my POV the only real reasons that Trump is succeeding better than his competition is that he is willing to:

    1. take calculated risks
    2. actually talk to ordinary people on the internet

    He's not creating careful messages crafted by armies of flunkies that aren't really talking to you, but talking to some computer generated synthetic composite that sort of resembles you.

    Look at his Twitter account sometime. He's willing to engage and take relatively unknown people and engage them at their level. He's so confident in his PR skills, he's willing to talk to anyone and everyone.

    And he's also willing to take calculated risks based on what he thinks the public is really thinking about things. All of the professional politician class only want to minimize and avoid risk, carefully making sure every word in their messages are measured and cut just so.

    What ha actually wants to do, what his actual ideology and platform is, I claim, doesn't really matter, because nobody else is actually talking to the public on the fly, in real time, unfiltered.

  41. democommie Says:

    Trump–Busey 2020?

  42. Andrew Laurence Says:

    I'm not sure Busey is unhinged enough. My wife spotted him in the Kahului (Maui) airport many years ago, apropos of nothing.

  43. Nate Says:

    @Mr. Wonderful Absolutely. The man has been bankrupt like 4 times in his life. His main source of income is trying to sue the pants off of anyone who offends him. He's like the de-facto example of litigious. He has lawyers in a permanent suckfest around his wallet… which happens to be real close to his asshole.

    I shudder at letting him be in a 5 mile radius of the US Treasury.

  44. Tom Says:

    Creigh: USDs are also used by other countries to buy petroleum from Saudi
    Arabia.

  45. Skipper Says:

    @ mojrim. I don't know if it's a "trick," but it is working with the GOP base quite nicely. Every time Trump farts through his lips, the media flogs itmto death. If they gave Trump the silent treatment they're giving Bernie,no one would know he was running.

    @MS. I don't know if it's so much that Trump pisses off liberals. He pisses off thinking people, which is why he's so popular with the Teapeople. Also, it's not so much pissing off people as horrifying them with his proto-fascist philosophy. It's a sad statement about the current state of the US that someone this retrograde is even taken seriously as a candidate.

  46. Mr. Wonderful Says:

    What Skipper says. Trump pisses off liberals, yes, but he also pisses off conservatives and independents and anyone with a brain and a sense of decency. (I said "conservatives," not "Republicans." There's a difference.) His followers are right to be pissed off and resentful. The problem is, they've spent a lifetime being ignorant and watching Fox News, so they take it out on all the wrong people and institutions.

  47. Mo Says:

    Thank you, Freecookies, for stepping up an an example of the Core Supporter.

  48. mojrim Says:

    @skipper, @mr wnderful…

    It doesn't matter how much of the media or what brand of conservatives (to which I agree) he pisses off. The angry know-nothings vastly outnumber them. The only question comes in the general election.

  49. Mr. Wonderful Says:

    DO the angry know-nothings outnumber everyone else? I (would like to) doubt it. Every 4 years I go through the same thing: How many fatally stoopid people are there in the electorate? I have no prediction. We'll see.

  50. Sharkbabe Says:

    Really love your writing, Ed.

    My $.02 – Trump will be president. Sorry folks, but we are at the end of this country. There will certainly be another(s) "terra" attack, who knows maybe even some big sexy splashy one, before the 2016 elections. Trump and the media are a perfect $$ self-licking ice cream cone, and the rageoholic dumbasses can't get enough of the latest rage-inducing dumbassery. Fuck yeah!

    Trump is the end product of capitalism, Edward Bernays, several generations now of ever more brain-battering television, and the fact that people don't know what to do with themselves in the first place and are so absurdly easily susceptible to incitement.

    I saw somewhere today that in the past few months ABC News has given 81 minutes of news coverage to Trump vs. 1 minute (!) to Bernie Sanders. Says it all. Even places like Salon ffs, they're total Trumpfest, just article after article.

    Gah, what's to say. I recommend trees and birds and walks around the block.

  51. Xynzee Says:

    @Shark: it's because EVERYONE wants to talk about him.

    This is Ed's third (?) post that has referenced him.

    Instead people, ourselves included, and the media in particular should use it as a segue into Bernie's vision for America.

    As for trees and birds, the song in this is is entitled "On Trees and Birds and Fire".
    ;)

  52. Xynzee Says:

    Sorry here's the link:
    http://youtu.be/t5FeGH1rhWA

  53. JDM Says:

    And on that note, the Trump campaign:

    http://youtu.be/EZ8O6cIk7kY

  54. Xynzee Says:

    JDM: that film is quite the cult classic.

  55. HoosierPoli Says:

    Ed is back in form. Good to see.

  56. Skipper Says:

    Trump supporters beat up on and eject protestors. Heck, this is Munich 1920s all over again.

    http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-trump-rally-scuffle-20151215-story.html

    I wonder if the Trump supporters were wearing their brown shirts.

  57. cromartie Says:

    The American media landscape is so disparate that networks cover what will get the attention of the portion of the audience that is most easily duped into spending money and spends the most time listening to/watching their product.

    In an era where the only way you keep this audience is through the age old trick of making that audience feel abused by "others" and being charismatic enough to convince idiots like "Tom" that they, and only they, are telling you the truth.

    It's just a deviation on the Evangelical church model, really.

    To that end, among this group of people, which is primarily white, rural and aging, that make up somewhere between 9 and 12% of the US adult population, Trump is more or less their Holy Grail. In a normal election, a Republican field filled with charisma sucking black holes like Romney who have some cross demographic appeal would be fine. This group would even grumble at an egghead like Cruz or someone as vapid as Rubio (who would and will get slaughtered in debates like labor laws in a Walker Administration) and fall in line.

    But this time, they're being led by the nose by the Carnival Barker in Chief, and there's no one who's going to talk them out of it.

    Quite the dilemma.

    Is he going to be President? Not if the Democrats scrounge up even a reasonable ground game. There's a zero percent chance he takes any significant demographic slice out of the Democratic coalition. The eight remaining moderate Republicans would either cross the aisle or sit it out.

    Is he going to get the Republican nomination? Unless he gets bored, he has a decent chance of conquering the hinterlands and earning enough delegates as part of the process to cause a serious schism in the party at a national level, resulting in a brokered convention. Which makes me glad I'm half an hour away when the true believers set the Q on fire. (And a good chance for Republicans to learn the consequences of the Cleveland Police Department's 'shoot first and ask questions later' police first hand).

    Normally, I'm screaming at the Democrats for playing rope-a-dope, but for once it's working brilliantly. The schism on the right Trump is causing is absolutely consuming the news cycle and is destroying, possibly once and for all, any hope the GOP had at image rehab someone like Rubio could employ. And for that, we have Trump to thank.

  58. Skipper Says:

    Tom Brady stands by Donald Trump

    http://www.boston.com/sports/football/patriots/2015/12/15/tom-brady-stands-his-support-friend-donald-trump/9aa05koGT27w4hMz6yZ63I/story.html?p1=feature_sec_hp

  59. mothra Says:

    Of course Tom Brady supports Donald Trump. Of course. Cheating fuckfaces stick together, after all.

  60. Nate Says:

    Lost in all the Trump madness are the facts that 1) as bad as he is, his opponents for the GOP nomination are arguably worse, and 2) all the real shit gets done at the state level anyway and his candidacy gives those assholes the cover to be really truly horrible.

  61. eric titus Says:

    Trump has gotten where he is with (1) an extreme immigration policy that most republicans support but has no general election chances, and (2) a disregard for the rules that appeals to people fed up with "politics as usual." (1) is why Rubio may not have a chance. (2) is why Bush is out. Cruz might be able to win over the anti-immigrant crazies, but his more extreme moments don't come across as leaderly. Pitching himself as Trump-lite is only going to win him supporters if Trump leaves the race.

    If things stay as they are, I think Trump has a decent shot of contending for the nomination. I think he could beat Cruz, who will have trouble winning over "mainstream" voters. To beat Trump, I think you would need a 2-way race between him and a mainstream Republican. Rubio could fit the bill, and possibly Christie (although he did hug Obama). Jeb! is still sitting on a really big pile of cash. He is the Mitt-style candidate, but after getting beaten down by Trump he might crawl into a hole for the rest of the process.

  62. Barry Says:

    "(And a good chance for Republicans to learn the consequences of the Cleveland Police Department's 'shoot first and ask questions later' police first hand)."

    The only question they've ever asked afterwards are 'who hit him first?' (that guy gets to drink free)

    And there's no way in f*cking h*ll that a b*st*rd police department ever goes after racist white right-wingers.

  63. Pleasantly Insincere or Sincerely Unpleasant | The Spiral Staircase Says:

    […] Donald Trump, so it's unlikely that I will have anything particularly original to offer. This post at Gin and Tacos, including the mostly excellent commentary, got me thinking. Whereas most politicians are […]