TRUMPED

For what seems like forever we have been waiting for the Trump campaign to come to an end, to reach the point at which the joke will be over and the GOP will pick a real candidate. As you may recall I thought the end of his campaign would come when the actual voting began and the lack of a ground game and professional campaign organization would catch up with him. Unfortunately to knock Trump off his perch there is another necessary ingredient that has not materialized: an alternative candidate who isn't complete garbage. There remains a chance that Republicans can rally around one of the others – most likely Rubio, whom I argued five years ago was the only candidate in their field with any semblance of personal appeal. But the window in which that could happen is diminishing.

In the future we may look back at the Jeb! campaign as one of the most spectacular failures in the history of American politics. One got the impression all along that he was their Mitt Romney-esque fallback option, that if none of the other candidates caught fire the big money people behind the party could go with Jeb! and at the very least feel confident that he wouldn't screw anything up too badly. His ineptitude as a candidate took everyone by surprise. He proved incapable of generating any momentum despite his massive bank account and near-universal name recognition. Imagine Hillary Clinton spending $150 million and never finishing better than 4th in a primary and you get the picture of what Bush managed to do.

The stunning failure of their empty vessel / cipher / hereditary heir apparent has left the GOP scrambling, though. Trump's level of support is what it is, and if the party could unify behind one other candidate he remains beatable. But which one? Jeb! was abysmal. Rand Paul was a non-starter. Recycled evangelical puds like Santorum and Huckabee never got off the ground. Christie was never taken seriously. Fiorina sounded good on paper but whenever she opened her mouth everything in the room died. Kasich is far too dull and too "liberal" (the imaginary GOP version of liberal) to appease competing factions in the party. Carson really isn't even running. That leaves Cruz, who looks like a cut-rate mortician and sounds like the lunatic he is, and Rubio, who can't seem to do anything except repeat canned phrases interminably.

Now that we are down to four candidates (excluding Carson) and one of them is not acceptable to the GOP base (Kasich), look for the big right wing donors and the RNC leadership to throw their weight behind Rubio, or perhaps Cruz, in a last ditch effort to save themselves from Trump. The more they dither on choosing between the two, the higher the chance that it will be too late by the time they act. In an ideal GOP scenario, Cruz would accept some kind of concession to drop out and leave Rubio as the last man standing in opposition to Trump. If the political class was able to sell George W. Bush as a bootstrap-pulling cowboy then there is no reason they won't be able to sell Rubio as some sort of charismatic young go-getter.

There is no reason at all to feel sympathy for them; metaphors about reaping and sowing come to mind. The GOP establishment made Donald Trump. It had dozens of opportunities to push back against the insanity of some of their supporters and they chose instead to fan the flames for short-term benefits. That paid off in 2010, but now the true long-term costs are becoming apparent. Couldn't happen to a more deserving bunch of hacks.

By the way, on the point of timelines: if an independent candidate wants to enter the race that decision will have to come very soon. Ballot access rules vary by state but some deadlines for appearing on the November ballot are approaching. Jumping through the many hoops set out to disadvantage third party and independent candidates takes time, and in most states a candidate would have to get tens of thousands of signatures very quickly. If that decision hasn't been made by March 1 the window in which it could be practical may close.

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64 Responses to “TRUMPED”

  1. cgordon Says:

    Rubio is bsically a haircut and a suit. Perfect material for the establishment to use.

  2. greatlaurel Says:

    Ed, I have to vehemently disagree with you about Kasich. He has very quietly and thoroughly looted Ohio for his owners and turned hundreds of disabled and mentally ill people to fend for themselves in a privatized system. The public schools are being looted for the private charter schools who donate massive amounts back to the GOP. The man will do anything to anyone to win. He is the scariest of the lot because the media has named him a moderate with not one scintilla of evidence.

    He just signed another horror show of a bill defunding Planned Parenthood in Ohio thus making sure thousands of women in Ohio will not get cancer screenings and STD treatment in addition to birth control. His contempt for women is palpable, with his comments about doing laundry and from the kitchen.

    Kasich is a monster, who learned well at the feet of his mentor, Buzz Lukens, another Ohio Republican.

  3. Xynzee Says:

    It'll be interesting to see how the GOP establishment and its mouthpieces spin this should Trump wins the nom, and craters spectacularly.

    They—or the base I should say—cannot say they the election was stolen or whatever. They chose him and this is what they get. Unless a someone runs as an independent against him in the general.

    This is what they get for following their ideology to its logical conclusion and outsourcing their messaging, of which they've completely lost any and all control over.

  4. wetcasements Says:

    Last summer my aging hardcore Republican dad whispered to me at dinner that he suspected Trump may have been encouraged to run by Hillary as a super-secret plot to destroy the GOP.

    I shot back that then he should probably vote for Hillary, because that would make her the smartest, most capable politician since Augustus Caesar.

    And I remember thinking at the time that I'd burned my dad pretty good and all, but ha ha ha Donald Trump would never make it past Iowa.

    Speaking as an American who will vote happily for either Bernie or Hillary, we're all a nation of dumb fuck-nuggets, but at least a Dem in White House might just put off our national collapse for another four or eight years.

  5. waldoh Says:

    A new survey (2015) finds that more Americans view former President George W. Bush favorably than President Obama….52 percent of those surveyed said they had a favorable view of the former president while 43 percent said they have an unfavorable view

    A little while ago, you wrote that Jeb! was dumber than his brother, W. History and video may have proved you right tho' I will ever contend that W. is an intellectual and moral vacuum that cannot be transcended.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIjo-dWE1Jg

    But we're skirting the critical paradigm here. As evidenced by the poll above, large sections of the American people are stupid; and not just ill-informed or led astray or childishly simple but intransigently, determinedly, arrogantly stupid. And they love Trump because he's just as stupid and arrogant and brutishly ignorant as they choose to be.

    I can't admire or respect Bernie Sanders enough. In a nation where the political atmosphere has, for decades, been spiritually toxic, morally corrupt and ethical as a barrel full of venomous snakes and spiders, he stands as example of the best of humanity and I am doing everything in my humble sphere of influence to help him get elected.

    But troublingly, deep down inside, I hope that America gets the president She deserves; Donald Trump.
    Because then I can finally shut down my computer, cease my political endeavors and, in my dotage, watch the world go to hell in a handcart.

  6. Katydid Says:

    I refuse to believe the Republican lineup is not just some elaborate joke. Surely the real candidates are going to pop out behind a curtain and say, "ha-ha! We fooled you!" Right? RIGHT?!?!?

    I agree that where we stand now is the logical conclusion of where the Republican party has been heading by pandering to its religious whackjobs and its stubbornly-and-proudly-stupid base.

    I agree with GreatLaurel; the more I find out about Kasich, the more appalled I get, and the angrier I get that the so-called "liberal" media has not exposed this man's truth. He and Rubio both deeply and profoundly hate women; Rubio hides it under the bland, practiced-lying of his Mormon upbringing.

    How sad that the best you can say about this pack is that Trump is openly and honestly appalling.

  7. Major Kong Says:

    Living here in Ohio, I agree with Greatlaurel and Katydid.

    Kasich may campaign as a moderate but once elected he's anything but.

    He's just a slightly more charismatic Scott Walker.

  8. mojrim Says:

    Given that only 19% of JEB! supporters said they would switch to Rubio, while 11% would go to Trump, I don't think even your "consolidation" scenario works. As Maddow put it "If they can't have some Trump, they'd like them some Trump." The GOP nomination process is practically over and the only thing we can do now is find the candidate to beat him in the general by peeling off generally right-wing voters.

  9. Dave Dell Says:

    Originally I thought DTrump was in it for shits and giggles. I thought he really didn't want to be President so much as his love of the spotlight relieved his boredom.

    Now I think that, perhaps even much to his surprise, he senses he could be the nominee and the spotlight will last and last and shine and shine.

    This would almost be amusing if it wasn't such a… what? Tragedy? Farce? It's as though The Onion is the newspaper of record.

    Only the Democratic Party has a caucus here in NE. I get to vote in the NE Dem Caucus for Bernie, switch registration to Republican and vote in the Primary (for Trump) and then vote for the Democratic nominee in the general.

    My stomach hurts yet I feel the need for a drink at 6:12 am.

  10. Major Kong Says:

    As bad as he is, I'd still take Trump over Cruz.

  11. Andrew Says:

    The problem with the ideal scenario is that Cruz won't take a concession because that would be compromise, and would greatly restrict his ability to be as much of an asshole as possible to as many people as possible.

    Waldoh – current president always gets a raw deal ("Thanks, Obama") – give him a few decades and Obama's star will rise.

  12. BigHank53 Says:

    Major Kong–gotta agree with you there. President Trump would be a disaster, but he'd be an equal-opportunity disaster. Cruz will make sure the boot comes down hard on the poor, on women, and homosexuals. He'll get around to smiting the rest of us unbelievers eventually. And good luck to whatever poor fucks are living in the random Middle East country he chooses to get a landscape makeover by the USAF.

  13. Tim H. Says:

    Trump might be survivable if he chooses good staff, if he chooses ideologues, we might become a pariah nation, as it hasn't been long enough since "shrub".

  14. Mo Says:

    Yeah, Tim, we survived Reagan with Alzheimer's.

    Barely.

  15. Katydid Says:

    I'm not in Ohio, but I'm finding out more and more about Kasich and his deep-seated belief that women should be silent and in the kitchen makin' sammiches fer their menz and not worryin' their pretty little heads over things like bodily autonomy and education. Cruz's wife open says he's planning to institute Christian Sharia law (i.e. wimmen & minorities in shackles, non-Christians openly persecuted). We all know the Mormon beliefs of a woman's place (in binders!) if Rubio gets elected. Trump's just going to deport the 99% wholesale.

  16. J. Dryden Says:

    The media has taken to calling Kasich a 'moderate,' so much so that that's his brand now–if he wins the nomination (he won't), that'll be the banner that he runs under to win over swing voters–choose me, I'm a moderate. (And don't laugh at the notion, that shit worked for Dubya plenty when he ran against Gore.)

    He is, of course, not a moderate. At all. He is awful, by any objective measurement of the political spectrum. But as I watched the debates (not all of them, and not in their entirety, as my GI tract is not made of titanium), I realized something:

    There's a reason why the media has taken to called Kasich "moderate." "Moderate" is their collectively-agreed-upon euphemism–a substitute for what they are really telling us.

    Kasich isn't a moderate. He's SANE. THAT'S the word the media wants to use, but can't, because it doesn't want to be accused of excessive partisanship.

    I live in Ohio. I hate Kasich as much as–more than–most everyone. But on a stage shared by Trump, Carson, Cruz, and the histrionics of Christie, the robotics of Rubio, the delusions of Bush–Kasich comes across as…well, the only one there with both feet on the ground.

    Kasich isn't a good candidate, a good governor, and he would be a terrible president, and I will not vote for him. He is not a moderate. But he does seem to know what color the sky is.

    (Insert your own segue to another topic, I can't be bothered)

    It's pretty clear at this point that what ought to happen is this: Cruz should drop out and throw his support behind Rubio. That way lies the only clear path to an Establishment Republican being elected. And that, I'm sure, is what folks like Reince Priebus are trying to MAKE happen behind the scenes: "Look, Ted, your numbers in a national election are just awful–we can't make this happen–drop out, and we'll find you something really juicy when Rubio wins."

    That's what SHOULD happen, and WOULD happen, if this were the Washington of as recently as 10 years ago. But alas for the grey eminences of the GOP–Ted Cruz is an egomaniacal shitheel with radioactive sludge instead of a soul. He is a foul-hearted monster who straight up does not care what happens to anyone other than the slithering thing he sees in the mirror each morning. (Fun Fact: They have to replace that mirror every day, because having born the stare of Cruz, it commits suicide rather than exist in universe in which Such Things Are.)

    Cruz will hang on, and on, and on–and Rubio (who, just to be clear, is so fucking awful that only by standing between Trump and Cruz can he look halfway human) will suffer for it.

    Ah, the self-immolation of the Ailesian/Kochian GOP. If I have another slice of schadenfreude I'm going to burst–oh, well, maybe just ONE more.

  17. Emerson Dameron Says:

    Agreed about Kasich. I would have picked Christie over him. Hunstmann was the GOP's last semi-moderate candidate, possibly ever, and was unceremoniously taken to the woodshed.

    At what point did Perot enter the '92 race? He came close to *winning* before he went fully off his meds.

  18. robert e Says:

    Wow, talk about burying the lede! It's all the way down in the last paragraph, so I've dug it up for you guys:

    The GOP establishment won't make its move until it's too late for Trump to run as an independent. Then it'll get behind Kasich the crypto-fascist, the new W.

    In fact, you have to read this whole article backwards to see how well it nails the situation.

    Rewrite and resubmit for a better grade.

  19. greatlaurel Says:

    It was "Buz" Lukens, sorry getting his name wrong. http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Donald_%22Buz%22_Lukens

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_%22Buz%22_Lukens

    Kasich served as Lukens administrative assistant from 1975 to 1978.

    Kasich was the Lehman Brothers managing director who facilitated the suckinginto Lehmans millions of dollars of Ohio state pension funds. Here are a couple of links for those so inclined to read up on Kasich.

    http://rethinkecon.org/2011/03/07/john-kasich-and-the-temple-of-state-pension-funds/

    http://plunderbund.com/2010/05/12/john-kasich-lobbied-state-pension-funds-for-lehman-bros/

  20. nonynony Says:

    look for the big right wing donors and the RNC leadership to throw their weight behind Rubio, or perhaps Cruz, in a last ditch effort to save themselves from Trump.

    As I keep telling people – if it's a choice between Trump or Cruz, the RNC leadership is throwing their weight behind Trump. They do not want Cruz in charge for a lot of reasons:

    * Cruz is the REAL Tea Party candidate. Trump is an opportunist who hasn't done the work of building a coalition of angry populists – he's just swept in and stolen the angry populists out from under the Tea Party politicians. A Cruz win is a step towards a Cruz takeover of the top levels of the party – a Trump win is a step towards the establishment co-opting Donald Trump because he's an opportunist and can be bought. That's an obvious choice.

    * Cruz is hated by the political establishment. They don't like him personally and they don't like his power plays designed to knock them down. Trump has not made personal enemies among the Republican movers-and-shakers the way that Cruz has. On a personal level, they'd also prefer Trump. (Kasich has this problem as well – he's got an abrasive and angry personality that has alienated potential allies in the past. It's the real reason I suspect that the establishment hasn't lined up behind him – because he's made a lot of enemies).

    * They honestly believe that Ted Cruz will drive away voters and hurt down-ticket races while Trump has the potential to bring in new voters. That's a no-brainer choice – back Trump.

    If it comes down to Cruz v. Trump, the Party is going to back Trump. Knee-capping Ted Cruz is far, far, far more important to them than stopping Trump is. The only problem is that it's a short-term solution to stopping the Tea Party takeover of the GOP elites' jobs. If Trump loses, Cruz will be there in 2020 ready to go with an "establishment stabbed us in the back" narrative. If Trump wins, Cruz is still going to be in the Senate twisting the knife.

  21. Charles D Says:

    In my fantasy, the Republican Convention is forced to nominate Trump and therefore the remaining minority of those who are not certifiable will split off and move toward someone else – Bloomberg? The Democrat fantasy is that Sanders will take the nomination and the corporatists will split off and push Hillary. In this scenario, both parties disintegrate (a great boon for democracy!) and we have at least 4 candidates in the race in November.

    No chance of that, but my realistic version is that we end up with The Donald and Shillary and he captures the White House. Hillary's message is quite simply "There is no point in voting since nothing of consequence can change in our political system." She is quite correct, but that has to be the worst possible way to market a candidate.

  22. robert e Says:

    P.S. OK, except for the part about Kasich being unacceptable–Ed got that wrong. He's not only the establishment's ideal candidate (see comments), he's the only one who can win the general, and we have to assume that there are people in the GOP who are smart enough to see that.

  23. Tim H. Says:

    In an ideal world, the bible – thumpers would stop flipping past the gospels and realize what company they're keeping.

  24. geoff Says:

    If even the Jesus Freaks of South Carolina, the Home Of American Sedition (TM Charles P. Pierce) and reddest of the red states voted for Trump at twice the rates they went for Sr. Cruz (a REAL Jesus Freak), I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say no one (with the possible exception of Trump himself) can stop him from cruising to the nomination. God help us all.

  25. Bitter Scribe Says:

    You mean the Republicans don't have a deep bench after all??!?!

  26. bb in GA Says:

    Help out here

    I thought in all the head to head polling so far, Mr Trump loses to the Democrat in November.

    If that is the case, why wouldn't y'all follow the Machiavellian principle "If your opponent is destroying himself (the GOP) step out of the way and remain silent."

    Surely you would have a hard time convincing me that y'all care about the GOP enough to be concerned about the state of their health. I know I don't.

    Is it that the polls are not trustworthy, there is worry about the D candidate viability, what ?

    //bb

  27. geoff Says:

    @bb, well I AM kinda enjoying watching the GOP burn itself down, but am also starting to get concerned that The Donald might could (sic) actually beat Mrs. "No We Can't" in the general election. I'm getting even more concerned that I might end up agreeing with those who vote for him more than those voting for HRC. Which is pretty fucked up.

    Trump's obvious racism, xenophobia, and proud know-nothingism are of course appalling, but stacked up against Clinton's corruption, neoconservative warmongering, and itch to cut the social safety net, it's actually kind of a hard call.

  28. Skepticalist Says:

    I heard somewhere that Trump supporters are those that masturbate at Anime cartoons.

    Come to think of it, the more it describes the whole GOP party today.

  29. Major Kong Says:

    If anyone remembers the movie "The Dead Zone", Cruz reminds me far too much of Greg Stillson.

  30. Mo Says:

    Hey, we suffered an addle-pated B-movie actor as prez, why not a short-fingered vulgarian with hilarious hair?

    Confirm the world's stereotype that Americans are rich but about as smart as beef cattle.

  31. Scout Says:

    Mo at 1:48; That comment is pure poetry. May I please use "short fingered vulgarian with hilarious hair"? Pretty please???

  32. jon Says:

    Trump is not the outsider. The Republican brand is like a franchise. It's just a few easy-to-remember positions, as easy as a pledge, with some money to back up a candidacy. He's got it down pat.

    Anti-Obama, anti-abortion, pro-war, pro-America no matter what, pro-business, anti-PC, pro-Israel, anti-tax, pro-gun, anti-government, and against terrorism. The necessary badges wouldn't even fill a Boy Scout sash, but everyone gets to be an Eagle Scout right away anyhow.

    Never mind competency, understanding of international politics, acknowledging difficult decisions, figuring out any foreign policy goals with any actual means to achieve them, or any economics involving real numbers. Never mind figuring out what the Constitution means, even if they claim to be in favor of it. Ask them specific and difficult questions about anything and they'll run away because the media is picking on them! UNFAIR! UNFAIR!

    Trump figured out the formula, and he's running with it. The Repubicans want to win, and I can't figure out why they'd be convinced anyone else is better at expressing what they want. They want to lash out at protesters. They want to put the women and minorities back in Their Place. They want to Make America Great Again.

    Trump is a mainstream Republican. Not a mainstream politician, but he's definitely a mainstream Republican.

  33. seniorscrub Says:

    @Major Kong. You nailed it. Now all we need is someone to submit the video of him stomping the dog.

  34. Huey Says:

    There is not a chance in hell that the party will rally behind Cruz.

    That leaves Kasich or Rubio, and I think Kasich is probably doomed by his comparative competence and lack of Rubio's suit and hair.

    So: Marco loses to Hillary, but the GOP continues to control the House, and the next four years look pretty much like the last four years, except with everybody hating the woman instead of the black guy.

  35. Skipper Says:

    Trump has been kind of a conundrum, but then I just read something that had never occurred to me, but makes perfect sense.

    Bill Blum today wrote a piece on how Trump could be the next Arnold Schwarzenegger.

    The parallels are uncanny. As someone who lived through the nonsense that put Arnold into office, I should have seen the comparison earlier. The destruction of Gray Davis was organized by the despicable Darrell Issa who saw himself as becoming the next governor.

    Instead, up popped Arnold, "A serial misogynist and buffoonish action-movie star with no prior experience in elected office."

    "By all accounts, Schwarzenegger and Trump are fantastically wealthy, and each has benefitted enormously from our bloated celebrity culture. Trump paved his road to fortune and fame by expanding his father’s real estate empire and as a reality TV host on the hit series, “The Apprentice,” which morphed into “The Celebrity Apprentice.”

    "Schwarzenegger, who became a household name playing Conan the Barbarian, among other iconic roles, is slated to take over as MC of “Celebrity Apprentice” later this year. Rumor has it that he’ll replace Trump’s catchphrase—“You’re fired”—with his own signature send-off: “You’re terminated.”

    "Renowned for their dogged work ethics, Trump and Schwarzenegger have touted their success in the private sector as assets for government service and as proof of their independence from special interests. Because he had no need to draw a taxpayer-funded paycheck, Schwarzenegger opted to serve as governor without a salary. In kindred fashion, from the outset of his presidential run, Trump has boasted that he alone among the candidates is self-funded and beholden to no one.

    "The pair also share grandiose and famously narcissistic character traits. “I knew I was a winner back in the late sixties,” Schwarzenegger wrote in his 1977 biography, “The Education of a Bodybuilder.” “I knew I was destined for great things.” On the stump in 2003, he promised every Californian “a fantastic job.” In his first State of the State address the following January, he promised not simply to move what he called the “boxes” of the state bureaucracy around, but to “blow them up.”"

    "But by far and away the most critical component of the Schwarzenegger/Trump axis is their appeal to return state and country to a mythical yesteryear. Schwarzenegger’s principal 2003 campaign slogan was “Let’s Bring California Back.” Trump’s omnipresent 2016 slogan is “Make America Great Again.”

    "In 2003, California voters made a horrible mistake electing Schwarzenegger, thinking he could return them to glory. Instead of restoring the state’s lost luster, he wrecked its finances, leaving it with a $28 billion budget deficit and skulking out of office in 2011 and back to Hollywood with an approval rating of 23 percent."

    http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/is_trump_the_sequel_to_schwarzenegger_20160223

  36. Katydid Says:

    @MajorKong: YES! Stillson! Read the book The Dead Zone and it's even more apparent.

    @Skipper; do you remember when the Republicans were agitating for the USA to get rid of that whole "natural-born citizen" thing to let Ah-nold run for President? That's when I first made the connection that the Republican mind sees only the most shallow perception of things, not the truth. Ah-nold wasn't *actually* Conan–that was just a role he played in a movie.

  37. Hazy Davy Says:

    Rubio it is: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/02/23/former-bush-donors-rally-around-rubio-in-bid-to-take-on-trump.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+foxnews%2Fpolitics+%28Internal+-+Politics+-+Text%29

  38. Ed Says:

    This is it, that's the end of the joke.

  39. Brian M Says:

    God, I think Rubio is creepier than Trump. Such a perfect polished little Dominionist. And petty.

  40. Beleck Says:

    to watch Trump beat Hillary would be the best worst scenario. lol just watching the R's stunned horror with Trump's exposing R's lies, breaking the R's 11th commandment, is worth the slide to Somalia we have become. The R's promised us freedom to kill anything and everything, with help from the Vichy D's, we see the beginning of the Final Acts.

    i know i will make a point to vote for Trump over Wall St. Hillary, so he can be the next overseer of the Plantation. some things just can't be imagined. to have the D's and R's go down together is like life, short and sweet. and full of idiots who go after the weak and helpless. Americans who voted R for all these years since St. Reagan are just earning payback for sowing the whirlwind. Hold on tight!

    Trump would personify the American Exceptionalism created to grift Americans out of everything of value. Don't pay attention to Trump, he just exposes what never should have been said out loud by our Overlords.

    to watch the R's recoil in horror and says they don't like Trump, fantastic popcorn enjoyment, or schadenfreude. lol like they don't like Bush or Cheney or another neocon who made us so safe on 9-11/not! all that money for the military that can't win the wars they create. the War on America is another losing war!!

    Trump is usurping the usurpers. my kind of American. watch him turn out to be another plant by the Overseers, or be "Sopranoed".

  41. Mo Says:

    Now this is truly creepy

    Holy cow! After reading that, now I'm scared! Must…vote…Trump…

  42. Noskilz Says:

    Considering the sort of candidates that have been leading the pack for months, I'm not really getting the sense that there's a huge interest among GOP primary voters in anyone who isn't promising to upset all the apple carts.

    Heck of a “strongest Republican party presidential field in 36 years” you've got there, Mr. Todd.

  43. Honky Daugherty Says:

    bb in GA–many of the commenters have addressed your questions, & mine. The comparison with Schwarzenegger was a new one to me; the link to the authoritarian study of Trump supporters confirmed what I had thought. As regards polling accuracy: I think a large percentage of people lie to pollsters as part of a general level of surly anger directed towards a vaguely defined group of movers & shakers. I think a person who expresses disgust at the 'lamestream media' may also be a likely Trump supporter. & I agree with Mo about the perception of a Trump in the White House from Not-America. The Earth may be moved off its axis by the force of all the political observers in other countries nodding their heads at the perfection of the stereotype.

  44. Katydid Says:

    @Mo: that WAS scary, but very predictable.
    @Beleck: you are the kind of Bernie supporter that's turned so many people off Bernie Sanders. Congratulations?

  45. waspuppet Says:

    "Trump's level of support is what it is, and if the party could unify behind one other candidate he remains beatable. But which one?"

    I said it the day before the first GOP debate (and I wasn't the first one): They can't actually disagree with him on anything. They DON'T actually disagree with him on anything. They just couldn't say certain things out loud because they thought Chuck Todd's disapproval 1) meant something and 2) wouldn't change to "Well, both sides do it" ina week.

    "It had dozens of opportunities to push back against the insanity of some of their supporters and they chose instead to fan the flames for short-term benefits. That paid off in 2010 …"

    It paid off in 1980. The first day a Republican got a cheap applause line by saying "government ought to be run like a business," Trump became inevitable.

  46. Noel Says:

    The commentariat are totally flummoxed – how can evangelicals, poor whites living on food stamps, oldsters living on social security, pro-lifers, etc, follow Trump no matter how inconsistant he can be with their self interest or most closely held convitctions. It is very simple: his racisism, zenophobia, homophobia, et. al. Trumps everything! Their identity as agrieved economically and educationally marginalized white nativists in love with guns totally outweighs whatever they may think their convictions are. Fortunately these sad folks are a subset of the minority political party – this is the only thread of hope for our nation's future we can hold onto – short of another 9/11 it is hard to imagine their misguided support of the malevalent Trump will prevail.

  47. John Danley Says:

    And to think, Melania Knauss became a naturalized citizen for this.

  48. Skepticalist Says:

    It's a sitcom where all the children are smarter than the adults come into being.

  49. sluggo Says:

    @bb

    Liberals giving advice to GOP candidates is a long standing and foolish sport. Way to much time/effort is wasted on MSNBC on this. I'll never figure it out.

    Hillary Clinton as a candidate. MEH. I'll drag my ass to the polls in November to vote for her, maybe. I may look at the Green Party Candidate. I don't think she gives a flying fuck about making my life better, but that is better than Republicans that actively want to sabotage my life. She is the type of person that you hire if no one else applies for the job.

    Bernie? I'd belly crawl over ground glass to cast a vote for him.

  50. quixote Says:

    The Repub crazies "Couldn't happen to a more deserving bunch of hacks."

    We're not that safe, y'know. With enough "Oh, Hillary, MEH" the Repub thug could happen to all of us.

  51. Chicagojon Says:

    This post may have to be 'pinned' for a while. Last night I suddenly had a 'fuck – he's going to be the nominee' moment followed by a 'I could actually see him winning vs. Clinton part deux and socialist-commie-marxist-pinko'. Still is somewhere in the <5% range for me (post on the electoral college drives that home) but it's getting close to where 10 million people not voting and then saying 'wait — fuck — I totally would have voted if I new it would be this close' is a possibility.

  52. Chicagojon Says:

    Also — did Cruz really lose an election because his cronies played dirty pool election day politics with the nice black doctor?

    His fall from grace is one for the ages…or people aren't really voting their religion anymore if they're angry enough (which they always will be per the playbook)

  53. quixote Says:

    On a usually well-informed blog like this people here do know that the meme of Hillary being a corrupt lying Wall street stooge was started by Rove, right?

    The Repubs back in the day wanted to be sure her health care reforms went nowhere. (The ones that were a lot more like single payer than the HeritageCare/Obamacare we ended up with.) Helped by a liberal dollop of sexism, they got that firmly planted in the narrative and now you find it on sites like this. I just boggle.

    The facts? She doesn't cut the social safety net. She pushes it forward. She managed to get children's health insurance passed in the teeth of a Republican Congress. She has actual detailed policies proposed to raise minimum wages, increase family leave, improve Obamacare, as SOS she pushed for programs that helped the weakest and poorest way more than any other SOS, and on and on and on.

    She doesn't pander to Wall St. Making money off speaking fees to tell them they have to change their ways is not actually a dumb move! In 2007, when it would have done some good, she had actual, detailed policy proposals that would have dealt with some of the markets worst excesses (h ttp://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2015/jul/15/hillary-clinton/hillary-clinton-says-she-called-wall-street-regula/).

    In 2008 at the very beginning of the housing crash, when it would have done some good, she had actual detailed proposals for mortgage forgiveness to help duped homeowners. (h ttp://www.wsj.com/articles/SB122230767702474045) The banks screamed like stuck pigs. But instead of remembering, people forget the Rovian origin of the slander against Clinton.

    How about we don't do that here? Disagree with her as part of the reality-based community, sure. But enough with the right wing memes.

  54. ScrewyCanuck Says:

    Here's a link back to the first 50 comments.

  55. waspuppet Says:

    "… breaking the R's 11th commandment …"

    Please never forget the supposed commandment that thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican was coined by Ronald Reagan, who RAN AGAINST incumbent president Gerald Ford and was probably the person second-most responsible for Carter beating Ford.

    He came up with that "commandment" when he was the one in a position to be criticized. Self-serving dishonesty? Hard to believe, I know …

  56. robert e Says:

    +1 quixote

  57. JustRuss Says:

    In fairness to Jeb!, W's reign of error made the Bush name toxic. While the Clinton moniker carries a lot of baggage, a lot of it is positive, at least among Democrats.

  58. Greg Says:

    Quixote I too though not a huge HRC fan am extremely frustrated at my sense that many lefties too young to remember clearly simply accept the Richard Mellon Scaife narrative as true, because it was never debunked as prominently as it was peddled.

  59. Katydid Says:

    What robert e said: +1 Quixote.

  60. Robert Says:

    I'm still boggled that people can call either Clinton a 'liberal' and not get horse laughed out of the room.

  61. Jesse Says:

    Maybe I like to play with fire but I'm standing by the prediction that this will be the biggest GOP trouncing in a Presidential election in a long, long, long time. Like I've said before…they are choosing to pin their hopes on A) Donald Fucking Trump, the worst person in the fucking world….or B) Someone who could barely eek out a victory against Donald Fucking Trump (making them, perhaps, the second-worst person in the world?) and only thanks to an 11th-hour push. This is going to be great.

  62. Mayya Says:

    Lol "W's reign of error." Haven't heard that one before.

    Where did I read/hear that perhaps Bernie's popularity among the young may be because millenials have never experienced a time when HRC wasn't being maligned as every kind of monster? For their entire lives they've been innundated with a massive smear campaign, it's no womder they don't like or trust her.

  63. Nate Says:

    @Major_Kong: That is one of my favorite early Christopher Walken films. Cruz is a dead ringer for Stillson – not being Martin Sheen.

  64. Katydid Says:

    @Mayya; the anti-Hillary smear job has been going on since about 1991. OMG, she wears PANTS (yes, that was a huge sin for a politician's spouse in rightwing circles back then!). She has AN EDUCATION! Fetch the fainting couch! And let's not forget the collective panic attack that she has SHORT HAIR! Oh, yeah, and that one time she said she's not much for baking cookies–take away her "mother" license! It's just said that the generation that pats themselves on the back for being able to look up knowledge anywhere…refuses to educate themselves or evaluate what they're hearing.