Donald Trump: a creation of modern Republicanism

Note: when I started this post, I didn’t know about the Orlando mass murders. Yes, the person who did this is a Muslim and a horrible human being; he was also unstable and a wife beater and yes, born in New York.

And yes, Donald Trump is hotdogging.


So, while the media grapples with him and his appeal to xenophobia and his, well, priorities on what to feature:

RICHMOND, Va. — Donald J. Trump has some ideas for how to jazz up the Republican National Convention, and he previewed one at a rally here on Friday evening: a “winner’s evening” of sports celebrities and champions addressing the convention rather than politicians.

“We’re going to do it a little different, if it’s O.K.,” he told the crowd. “I’m thinking about getting some of the great sports people who like me a lot.”

After regaling the crowd with the long story of how he successfully courted the endorsement of Bobby Knight, the former Indiana University basketball coach, Mr. Trump rattled off a list of other names of sports figures who he said have supported him. According to the candidate, he also has the support of the star quarterbacks Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger; Brian France, the chief executive of Nascar; and Dana White, the president of Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Republicans are coming to grips with what is happening. Charles Krauthammer understands why a political leader like Paul Ryan might grudgingly accept him (“taking one for the party”) whereas Michael Gerson wonders where the statesmanship is.

But Mathew Sheffield, writing in the American Conservative, gets it right:

The time to stop Trump was in the 1990s, when the movement’s intellectuals were busy prostrating themselves before Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell as they sought to remake the GOP into a party for white Christians. The time to stop Trump was during the George W. Bush administration, when Republicans swallowed the nonsense that deposing secular dictators was a great way to promote moderate Islam. The time to stop Trump was in 2009, when Sarah Palin was dumbing down conservatism into an alternative lifestyle that glorified anti-intellectualism. The time to stop Donald Trump was in 2013, when Ted Cruz was opportunistically telling Republican voters that obstreperousness was the equivalent of conservative philosophy.

2016 was far too late to stop the Trump Train.

Having failed to persuade a single politician to die for their sins, the #NeverTrump elites announced they would be putting forward David French, a staff writer at National Review who was generally unknown even to political junkies. But even that effort collapsed upon itself after the French candidacy was greeted with nearly universal bewilderment and derision.

Matters were made even worse after a video emerged of French saying that he would vote for Donald Trump if the billionaire got the Republican nod. Last week, French made it official by announcing he would not make the run.

It was a wise decision. It would have been a far wiser, however, if conservatives (including myself) had tried to meet the needs of the middle rather than stoking the flames of populism. We didn’t. Now they’re burning down our house.

What is the saying about “if you lie with dogs, you end up with fleas?”

Now the story will be different in the general election. Paul Krugman writes

Think about Trump’s obvious weaknesses, why Republicans couldn’t exploit them, but why Democrats can.

First, he’s running a campaign fundamentally based on racism. But Republicans couldn’t call him on that, because more or less veiled appeals to racial resentment have been key to their party’s success for decades. Clinton, on the other hand, won the nomination thanks to overwhelming nonwhite support, and will have no trouble hitting hard on this issue.

Second, Trump is proposing wildly irresponsible policies that benefit the rich. But so were all the other Republicans, so they couldn’t attack him for that. Clinton can.

Third, Trump’s personal record as a businessman is both antisocial and just plain dubious. Republicans, with their cult of the entrepreneur, couldn’t say anything about that. Again, Clinton can. […]

Think about Marco Rubio: even before his famous brain glitch, it was just obvious that he was a prefab candidate, a nice-looking guy with no real convictions or experience reciting lines he was told to deliver. The infamous “We must dispel with …” wasn’t just vile and stupid (even the first time, let alone repeated); it was also, transparently, not something Rubio believed or even cared about except that his handlers told him to say it.

Or think about Ted Cruz, whose mean-spiritedness and self-centered nature evidently stand out even in today’s conservative movement, making him a hated figure even among those who should like his message.

Clinton, on the other hand, is not ludicrous. She can think on her feet; she’s tough as nails. Do you really think the person who stared down the Benghazi committee for 11 hours is going to wither under schoolboy taunts?

The news media will, I fear, try their best to pretend that the contrast isn’t what it is. We’ll hear endless explanations of why Trump’s vanity, ignorance, and lack of moral fiber somehow prove his “authenticity”, which Clinton somehow lacks. And maybe that will stick with voters. But I don’t think it will. In the end, it will be a race between a tough, smart lady and someone who is obviously a yuge, um, Antonin Scalia School of Law. And voters will notice.

About the nuts and bolts of the election: if you want to play with your map and say, postulate that turnout for demographic X will be up or down in 2016, you can waste hours of time here. My guess is that Trump will help the Hispanic turn out and maybe put Arizona in play.

My “off of the top of my head” guess is that the 2016 electoral map will look a lot like the 2012 one. Trump is about a 3-1 underdog.



June 12, 2016 - Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social, Uncategorized | , ,

1 Comment »

  1. really enjoy your posts-keep it up from Ohio

    Comment by Jesse Krislov | June 13, 2016 | Reply

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