I'm going to guess that "experienced" and "right personality" things are what rational people will think is important when voting for a president. It's unknown how many rational people there are in this country at the moment.
I'm seeing some disturbing chatter on social media saying that Trump is coming around some issues so maybe he isn't so bad after all. It's true that he is all over the place on specific issues. But this passage from the 1990 Playboy interview shows he's remarkably consistent about some things:
What’s the first thing President Trump would do upon entering the Oval Office?
Many things. A toughness of attitude would prevail. I’d throw a tax on every Mercedes-Benz rolling into this country and on all Japanese products, and we’d have wonderful allies again.
Would you rescue our remaining hostages in Lebanon?
Number one, in almost all cases, the hostages were told by our Government not to be there. If a man decides to become a professor at Beirut University, when he was told not to be there, and that person is captured—
He deserves it?
You feel very bad for him, but you cannot base foreign policy on his capture. With that being said, when they killed our Colonel Higgins, I would have retaliated militarily immediately. I would have hit something vital to them. And hit it hard. In any other case, I would let the takers of hostages know that they’d have one week to return that hostage. And after that week, all bets would be off. You would not have any more hostages taken, believe me. Weakness always causes problems. Do you think George Bush is soft?
I like George Bush very much and support him and always will. But I disagree with him when he talks of a kinder, gentler America. I think if this country gets any kinder or gentler, it’s literally going to cease to exist. I think if we had people from the business community–the Carl Icahns, the Ross Perots–negotiating some of our foreign policy, we’d have respect around the world.
What would President Trump’s position on crime be?
I see the values of this country in the way crime is tolerated, where people are virtually afraid to say “I want the death penalty.” Well, I want it. Where has this country gone when you’re not supposed to put in a grave the son of a bitch who robbed, beat, murdered and threw a ninety-year-old woman off the building? Where has this country gone?
What would be some of President Trump’s longer-term views of the future?
I think of the future, but I refuse to paint it. Anything can happen. But I often think of nuclear war.
I’ve always thought about the issue of nuclear war; it’s a very important element in my thought process. It’s the ultimate, the ultimate catastrophe, the biggest problem this world has, and nobody’s focusing on the nuts and bolts of it. It’s a little like sickness. People don’t believe they’re going to get sick until they do. Nobody wants to talk about it. I believe the greatest of all stupidities is people’s believing it will never happen, because everybody knows how destructive it will be, so nobody uses weapons. What bullshit.
Does any of that fuzzy thinking exist around the Trump office?
On a much lower level, I would never hire anybody who thinks that way, because he has absolutely no common sense. He’s living in a world of make-believe. It’s like thinking the Titantic can’t sink. Too many countries have nuclear weapons; nobody knows where they’re all pointed, what button it takes to launch them.
The bomb Harry Truman dropped on Hiroshima was a toy next to today’s. We have thousands of weapons pointed at us and nobody even knows if they’re going to go in the right direction. They’ve never really been tested. These jerks in charge don’t know how to paint a wall, and we’re relying on them to shoot nuclear missiles to Moscow. What happens if they don’t go there? What happens if our computer systems aren’t working? Nobody knows if this equipment works, and I’ve seen numerous reports lately stating that the probability is they don’t work. It’s a total mess.
And how would President Trump handle it?
He would believe very strongly in extreme military strength. He wouldn’t trust anyone. He wouldn’t trust the Russians; he wouldn’t trust our allies; he’d have a huge military arsenal, perfect it, understand it. Part of the problem is that we’re defending some of the wealthiest countries in the world for nothing…. We’re being laughed at around the world, defending Japan—
Wait. If you believe that the public shares these views, and that you could do the job, why not consider running for President?
I’d do the job as well as or better than anyone else. It’s my hope that George Bush can do a great job.
Every fascist achieves and cements his power by pledging to rescue ordinary people from the depredations of economic elites. That’s how fascism works.
Read, for instance, this article from a Nazi-friendly website on “How Hitler Defied the Bankers”:
When Hitler came to power, Germany was hopelessly broke … Germany had no choice but to succumb to debt slavery under international (mainly Jewish) bankers until 1933, when the National Socialists came to power. Hitler began a national credit program by devising a plan of public works that included flood control, repair of public buildings and private residences, and construction of new roads, bridges, canals, and port facilities … Within two years, the unemployment problem had been solved. … Germany’s economic freedom was short-lived; but it left several monuments, including the famous Autobahn, the world’s first extensive superhighway…
And, for what it’s worth, it’s true! Hitler built the Autobahn! He conquered inflation! (It’s not hard, if you can shoot people who raise prices.) Unemployment plummeted!
You might even say that for “ordinary Germans” struggling in the modern economy, things got pretty good.
But guess what? Under fascism, economic protection for the goose accompanies dispossession of the gander. White people prosper in part because minorities suffer—whether, under Hitler, by taking away property from Jews, or as Herr Trump expects, by taking back “our” jobs from “them,” whether the them is immigrants or our supposedly duplicitous trading partners.
There’s even a sociological term for it: herrenvolk republicanism. We’ve had it here, too, if in milder form.
George Wallace said to William F. Buckley Jr. in 1968 that the state of Alabama “had five generations of people who didn’t go to school because there were no schools for black or white.” Then he became governor and—he claimed—turned Alabama into an educational paradise. Like all authoritarians, he lied: Education stayed plenty awful, especially for blacks in segregated schools.
And, like all authoritarians, the bedrock of his appeal was his hate. As one voter in Massachusetts asked Wallace’s aide Tom Turnipseed in 1968, “When Wallace is elected president he’s going to round up all the niggers and shoot them, isn’t he?” Turnipseed assured him, “We’re not going to shoot anybody.” At which the voter responded, “Well, I don’t know whether I’m for him or not.” Which sounds a whole lot like what Trump fans told The Nation’s Sasha Abramsky. “I’d give ‘em a choice,” said one un-cherry-picked voter, concerning Muslims in America. “A trench on one side or a ticket out of here.”
Build infrastructure, jail banksters: Hell, I’m for all that, too. It shouldn’t take electing thugs to do it. There’s a reason the saying “anti-Semitism is the socialism of fools” made so much sense in Weimar Germany: Socialism and barbarism can look very similar in their surface appeals. The real fools are the media sophisticates who don’t bother to look a bare inch underneath.
They say admitting you have a problem is the first step in solving it. From the New York Times:
She had been napping in bed with her father, Courtenay Block, late last month when she discovered the 9-millimeter handgun he often kept under his pillow in his Kansas City, Mo., home. It was equipped with a laser sight that lit up like the red lights on her cousins’ sneakers. Mr. Block told the police he woke to see Sha’Quille by his bed, bleeding and crying, the gun at her feet. A bullet had pierced her skull.
During a single week in April, four toddlers — Holston, Kiyan, Za’veon and Sha’Quille — shot and killed themselves, and a mother driving through Milwaukee was killed after her 2-year-old apparently picked up a gun that had slid out from under the driver’s seat. It was a brutal stretch, even by the standards of researchers who track these shootings.
“If Donald Trump is at the top of the ticket, here in Arizona, with over 30 percent of the vote being the Hispanic vote, no doubt that this may be the race of my life. If you listen or watch Hispanic media in the state and in the country, you will see that it is all anti-Trump. The Hispanic community is roused and angry in a way that I've never seen in 30 years.”
Let's hope so. They have every right to be.
But maybe McCain should have thought twice about approving this message:
E.J. Dionne says "Pplease don't normalize Trump." He calls on the Republicans to do he right thing and reject this destructive force in their own party. But he speaks to the left as well:
The fact that Trump draws opposition from the most ideological parts of the Republican Party heightens the temptation on the left to cheer his apparent victory. As someone who has argued that the right has long been on the wrong path, I understand this urge.
It’s certainly true that his feat vindicates much of what progressives have said about the conservative movement. Republican leaders have a lot to answer for, and not only the incompetence and timidity of their stop-Trump efforts.
They have spent years stoking the resentment and anger on the right end of their party that fueled Trump’s movement. They ignored the material interests of their struggling white working-class base and also popular exhaustion with foreign commitments fed by interventionist misadventures. Along with many Democrats, they underestimated the anger over trade agreements that accelerated the economic dislocation of the less well-off.
After this election, the GOP will need an extended period of self-examination. But no one on the left should applaud the rise of Trump as representing a friendly form of “populism” — let alone view him as the leader of a mass movement of the working class. He is no such thing. He is channeling the European far right, mixing intolerance, resentment and nationalism.
If anyone's confused about this, they need to read this piece by Rick Perlstein. Right wing "populism" is a feature of fascism, not a bug. It's certainly fair to look deeply into the conditions and circumstances that bring people to this point, but it's important to separate those impulses from the other ones --- and there are many --- that are drawing people to Trump. It's not all about economics. Not by a long shot.
The problem with Dionne's plea is that Trump's already being normalized and I don't know if the media can help itself. He's a slippery fellow. And frankly, I'm not sure they want to. As Fox News' Chris Wallace said yesterday, TV covers Trump excessively because ratings spike when they do. Are we really going to change that incentive?
What a difference a year makes. Last June when Donald Trump descended from that escalator at Trump Tower to announce his presidency nearly everyone in the political world laughed and laughed. How could this pompadoured clown could possibly think he could get the Republican nomination for president of the United States? What a joke. Some of us recognized Trump's inherent appeal to the right wing and admonished political observers to pay attention. But for the most part the pundits dismissed his candidacy as some sort of comedic performance art.
The smart numbers crunchers like 538's Nate Silver and the NY Times', Nate Cohn dismissed Trump as a flash in the pan with Silver writing that "our emphatic prediction is simply that Trump will not win the nomination" and Cohn predicting that the comments about John McCain not being the kind of war hero Trump preferred was "the moment Trump's campaign went from boom to bust." Perhaps most famously, The Huffington Post covered Trump in its entertainment section rather than its political section as a way of making statement both about the media's obsession with Trump and about Trump himself. They unceremoniously moved their Trump coverage to its rightful place some time ago and both Silver and Cohn issued their explanations yesterday. And they were hardly alone.
Plenty of others made the same prediction. It was conventional wisdom at the time and for some good reasons, perhaps the most important being that the 2012 GOP primary race had featured an epic assortment of weirdos and misfits, some of whom were number one in the polls for a time, including the likes of Michele Bachman and Herman Cain. Right wing religious extremist Rick Santorum was the runner up in that race, after all. Conventional wisdom held that presidential primaries tend to have a bit of a freakshow quality in the beginning that usually peters out as people begin to pay more attention.
In fact, Ben Carson proved the point. For a time he was the frontrunner, collecting tons of money from small donors and dominating the coverage. But when he stumbled badly answering questions about his past and generally sounding ignorant about American foreign policy, he quickly sank in the polls. This had the effect of reinforcing the beltway conventional wisdom that this was the normal process and soon it would happen to Trump as well.
However, one needs only to go slightly further back to 2008 to recall the spectacle of Sarah Palin being chosen to be the Vice Presidential nominee to recognize that the modern Republican Party has not been afraid to put one of their sideshow acts on the main stage. That should have tipped off the intelligentsia that Trump's act could catch on with GOP voters. The base loved Palin and her crypto- white nationalist paeans to Joe the Plumber. And they certainly didn't mind that she was completely unprepared for the job. In fact it was a selling point. The similarities between her subsequent turn as a reality star and The Donald's long stint on "The Apprentice" escaped the notice of most observers in the apparent belief that such an embarrassing career was a disqualifier when their fans saw it as a major plus.
And if people had been paying slightly closer attention they would have seen that despite all the breathless reporting about the GOP's "deep bench" of astonishing political talent, the Republican race was already a clown car with the top tier candidates like Christie and Walker making fools of themselves overseas, Rubio making no impression whatsoever and Jeb Bush appearing to be sleepwalking. For all of their credentials and experience they were already bumbling their way through the primary by the time Trump threw his comb-over into the ring. But the PR push had been fierce going into 2016 with Republicans of all stripes convinced that between their young and vigorous candidates or their vastly experienced political hands their field was unbeatable. Even if the media had taken Trump more seriously the fact that the Republican establishment failed to do so would have tilted the coverage in another direction.
The story of the GOP leadership's long list of mistakes in this primary will surely be the subject of several campaign books. But the main error is the same as the media's: they assumed that Trump would implode the same way the other "outsider" candidate, Ben Carson imploded. But Trump defied all such expectations at every step of the way, making shocking comments nearly every day, none which managed to take him down. Instead, they kept him in first place. Nobody could believe that they were actually helping him by proving to his followers that he was confident enough and tough enough to say what they are all thinking right out loud. The more politically incorrect he is, the more they love him.
But the main reason so many people failed to see Trump as a serious candidate is not just because he is a special candidate or because the electorate is still feeling the effects of a massive economic crisis and many years of stagnant wages. (The polls show that Trump does not actually have any special appeal to the working class over any other group in the GOP. In fact, his voters are economically better off than most Americans. ) The problem is that many of the commentariat and the political establishment had fooled themselves into believing that the conservative movement has been inspired by ideological commitment to a set of constitutional principles, patriotic obligation and devotion to traditional values.
The Republican establishment is starting to come to terms with this and it's going to be a painful process. Ben Ginsburg, the powerful Republican lawyer and operative rather poignantly explained it yestrday on MSNBC:
There were certain precepts of the Republican Party that you had to be strong on national security, on certain economic policies, and on social issues. Donald Trump has taken a position that's contrary to Republican doctrine and orthodoxy on each one of those three legs of the Republican stool. So all of a sudden Republicans have to be thinking, is there a new and better way to form a cohesive governing strategy than what we've been doing for he past couple of decades including losing two presidential elections?
Last night on All In, Chris Hayes speculated about what the Republican base wants it to be:
"We're going to give it a go as the party of essentially white identity resentment politics. That is going to be the new iteration of the Republican Party of the next six months looks like and let's see if it works."
This dark side of American politics has always been with us and it's often wielded substantial power. But in recent years it was forced to stay on the down low. Now we're about to find out if it's coming fully out in the open again, declaring its intentions and daring the world to stop it. And considering the terrible track record of the last 10 months of punditry, it would be very foolish to predict how it's going to come out. We'll know soon enough.
Why did the prognosticators get it so wrong?
Because they never believed the dogwhistles were real. After all, none of the Republicans they know are racist throwbacks who want America to be start kicking ass and taking names.
The entire commentariat is going to feel a little silly when Marco Rubio wins every Republican primary.
http://washingtonspectator.org/mitt-vs-trump/ Perlstein's insight that the establishment had always held back the meatheads and then found they couldn't do it.
There were certain precepts of the Republican Party that you had to be strong on national security, on certain economic policies, and on social issues. Donald Trump has taken a position that's contrary to Republican doctrine and orthodoxy on each one of those three legs of the Republican stool. So all of a sudden Republicans have to be thinking, is there a new and better way to form a cohesive governing strategy than what we've been doing for he past couple of decades including losing two presidential elections. --- Ben Ginsberg on MSNBC
The Village misread Real America. They were never voting for the elaborate ideological construct of the modern conservative movement. They were voting for the dogwhistles. Trump is the first guy with enough charisma and clout to make it real. He's the man on the white horse they've been waiting for. A TV celebrity who says what they re thinking.
Hayes had it right indeed. The book is well worth a re-read in this moment.
I wish I could say that I ever believed that the "reform" reaction would automatically prevail and a peaceful revolution would fix our problems. I'm not that romantic. These things tend to play out in non-linear fashion with feints in different directions before it settles in and I have no idea where that will be. It could be that Trump will work the strongman impulse out of the system and leave us with a renewed commitment to reform our democracy. But it's playing with fire. Let's hope it burns out quickly.
When 25-year-old Cassandra McWade got in a car accident on a highway in Asheville, North Carolina, on Monday, Ken Shupe drove his tow truck to the scene. But when he saw that McWade, who has disabilities, had Bernie Sanders signs on her Toyota Camry, he decided he wouldn’t help.
“He said, ‘I can’t tow you ... you’re a Bernie supporter,’” McWade recalled. “I was like, ‘Wait, are you serious? You’re kidding me.’”
Ken Shupe, a 51-year-old from Travelers Rest, South Carolina, was very serious. “I’m a conservative Christian, I’ve just drawn a line in the sand,” he said. “I’m not going to associate or conduct business with them.” (The incident was first reported by FOX Carolina 21.)
McWade was heading home to Travelers Rest on I-26 when a tractor trailer hit the front of her car, she said. Afterward, her car wouldn’t start, and a first responder moved it to the side of the interstate. The driver’s door was approximately two feet from the highway line, she recalled.
McWade said she collects disability payments and has psoriatic arthritis, impaired mobility, early stage Crohn’s disease, severe fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. (She sent HuffPost a picture of the disability tag, as well as a photo of her many medications.)
“I was in a little bit of a shock, and definitely a little scared,” she said.
Shupe showed up, saw the Sanders signs, and drove back to South Carolina without sticking around. McWade was “sitting there in a very safe area ... with her air conditioning on and her car locked, she was perfectly fine,” he said. He didn’t know she had disabilities, he said, but noted, “there’s a huge difference between being disabled and drawing disability.”
This tow truck driver decided to teach this Bernie supporter a lesson by refusing to help her. He told her this to her face and left her sitting on the side of the road. Apparently he doubts that she's really disabled.
Oh, and he calls himself a Christian. It's unlikely that's what Jesus would do. In fact, we know it's the opposite. Helping people was his big thing.
Trump wins GOP nomination. Village says "Thanks Obama!"
Get a load of this one:
It's the hippies fault you see. The Republicans were ever so willing to negotiate in good faith when Obama came into office and he just spit in their faces and did it his way. And now look at the result: Donald Trump. I hope he can live with himself.
Basically, the Villager logic is this: because Republicans represent Real America, when they win Democrats should enact the GOP agenda. When Democrats win, they have won with "coastal elites" who are out of touch with Real America so they should enact the GOP agenda.
*Needless to say, anyone over 5 years old remembers that Obama went out of his way to work with Republicans throughout his first term, short selling the stimulus, offering up Social Security and Medicare and extending most of the Bush tax cuts. They would have none of it and even said up front their primary goal was to make him a one term president by obstructing everything he did no matter what it was. Unfortunately for them, Democrats decided it was important to pass some health care reforms so that millions of Americans could stop going bankrupt and dying for lack of health insurance. What a bunch of assholes. Now we have Trump. Thanks Obama!
Just weeks before North Carolina Republicans enacted their insta-infamous HB2 transgender discrimination law, I wrote that the M.O. of the extremist Republican Party is this: find the lines, cross them, dare people to push them back. Yesterday the U.S. Department of Justice pushed back:
RALEIGH — U.S. Justice Department officials repudiated North Carolina’s House Bill 2 on Wednesday, telling Gov. Pat McCrory that the law violates the U.S. Civil Rights Act and Title IX – a finding that could jeopardize billions in federal education funding.
The department gave state officials until Monday to respond “by confirming that the State will not comply with or implement HB2.”
This was not unexpected. When Republican legislators placed an anti-marriage equality amendment to the North Carolina state constitution on the 2012 primary ballot, then N.C. House Speaker (now U.S. Senator) Thom Tillis told the NCSU newspaper, “If it passes, I think it will be repealed within 20 years.” That assessment did not stop them. Amendment 1 did pass. A federal court declared it unconstitutional in two.
HB2 has been in place less than two months.
Knowing they could not stop it, Democratic legislators (IIRC) made a deal to move the divisive Amendment 1 to the 2012 primary ballot instead of the fall ballot. Rumor has it that the NCGOP has been kicking around the idea of placing some version of HB2 on the fall ballot this year to help get out the conservative vote. (Republican politicians do nothing that isn't at least a twofer.) The Department of Justice may have just put the brakes on that.
“The State is engaging in a pattern or practice of discrimination against transgender state employees and both you, in your official capacity, and the State are engaging in a pattern or practice of resistance to the full enjoyment of Title VII rights by transgender employees of public agencies,” Principal Deputy Assistant General Vanita Gupta wrote in the letter to McCrory obtained by local Raleigh TV station WRAL.
The Justice Department letter was focused specifically on transgender state employees.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits an employer from discriminating against an individual based on sex. The DOJ alleged that HB2 also violates Title IX, which prohibits education discrimination based on sex.
“HB 2, which took effect on March 23, 2016, is facially discriminatory against transgender employees on the basis of sex because it treats transgender employees, whose gender identity does not match their biological sex, as defined by HB2, differently from similarly situated non transgender employees,” the letter reads.
McCrory's Democratic challenger this fall, Attorney General Roy Cooper, said, "Enough is enough. It's time for the Governor to put our schools and economy first and work to repeal this devastating law."
The GOP race for the presidency has been upgraded from a clown car to a three-ring circus with the official entry of Donald Trump into the race. After daughter Ivanka delivered a stirring introduction worthy of Abraham Lincoln or Winston Churchill, the audience waited expectantly for the great man to appear. And it waited. And waited. Finally after several long moments, the great man finally emerged above the crowd on the mezzanine level of the glittering Trump Tower building waving as if he were Juan Peron (or the Queen of England). As Neil Young’s “Keep on Rockin’ in the Free World” continued to play over and over again, he then descended to the stage on an excruciatingly slow-motion escalator and began his speech by insulting his fellow Republican candidates for failing to know how to put on a competent political event.
It was a perfect beginning to what is going to be an astonishing political spectacle.
Right out of the gate he began to free-associate like a drunken Tea Partyer on 2 Shots For A Buck night, insulting Mexican immigrants by calling them rapists and drug dealers, asking when we’ve ever beaten China or Japan (!) at anything, declaring himself to be potentially the greatest jobs president God has ever created and more. Oh, and he also told us that he’s worth $8,737,540,000 — more or less. It was the best presidential campaign announcement ever, even better than Lindsey Graham’s.
The media seemed a little bit shell-shocked in the early going — perhaps they’ve never actually heard what the average right-winger believes. They seemed to find it noteworthy that he was incoherent and contradictory, with promises of totally free trade even as he said he would make Mexico pay a tariff to construct the Great Wall he envisions building on the border.
And they didn’t seem to know what to think about his endless gobbledygook about “making” the world do what he wants it to do. They are clearly unaware that members of the far right don’t follow the philosophy of Edmund Burke. They follow the philosophy of Glenn Beck, Joe McCarthy and P.T. Barnum. Not even Roger Ailes can control the way their minds work.
Donald Trump may not make sense to the average journalist — but to the average Tea Partyer, he’s telling it like it is, with a sort of free-floating grievance about everyone who doesn’t agree with them mixed with simplistic patriotic boosterism and faith in the fact that low taxes makes everybody rich. It’s not about policy or even politics. It’s about following your instincts. (“In your heart you know he’s right.”)
But it wasn’t long before Twitter lit up with insider jokes and insults among the Village press. Salon chronicled some of them here. The only one to take Trump seriously was Bloomberg News’ Mark Halperin, whose first impression was quite a bit less derisive than anyone else’s, giving him a solid B- on his tiresome political report card:
Substance: Made a concerted and admirable effort to laundry-list his presidential plans before the speech was finished, calling for the replacement of Obamacare, cautioning foreign adversaries about messing with the U.S., expressing opposition to the current trade bill, promising to build a southern border wall and sticking Mexico with the bill, terminating Obama’s executive order on immigration, supporting the Second Amendment, ending Common Core, rebuilding infrastructure, resisting cuts in entitlement programs. Still, left open too many questions about the hows and wherefores, given that he has never run for nor held office.
Best moment: Protracted run-up to formal declaration of candidacy was spirited and engaging.
Worst moment: Lost his rhythm a bit whenever cheerful supporters in the crowd tossed out helpful prompts or encouraging chants.
Overall: A madcap production–garrulous, grandiose, and intense—that displayed his abundant strengths and acute weaknesses. For the first time in decades, Trump is a true underdog, but his ability to shape the contours of the nomination fight should not be ignored. On the debate stage, through TV advertising (positive and negative), in earned media, and by drawing crowds, Trump has the potential to be a big 2016 player. He staged an announcement event like no other, and now he will deliver a candidacy the likes of which the country has never seen.
What is it they say about a stopped clock? Well, even Mark Halperin is right twice a day. The Villagers in general may not be able to see it — but for reasons about which we can’t even speculate, Mark Halperin is on to something when it comes to Donald Trump.
First, let’s dispense with the fact that his ideas are more bizarre than anyone else in the field. They are not. Say what you will about the Donald, but nobody can bring the wingnut cha-cha-cha like Tea Party fave Dr. Ben Carson:
“I mean, [our society is] very much like Nazi Germany. And I know you’re not supposed to say ‘Nazi Germany,’ but I don’t care about political correctness. You know, you had a government using its tools to intimidate the population. We now live in a society where people are afraid to say what they actually believe.”
Compared to that, building a wall on the border is standard boilerplate on the right and it certainly isn’t hard to find candidates who are willing to demagogue China or Japan and claim that liberals have destroyed the American way of life. Trump’s style is colorful, to be sure. His ideas are disjoined and irrational. But they are hardly unique. In fact, he represents a very common strain in American political life: the right-wing blowhard.
Trump actually has something that none of these other candidates have and they’re pretty important. First, of course, is the money. Trump says he’s worth 9 billion. Let’s assume he’s exaggerating by 50 percent. That’s still a whole lot of money, more than enough to finance a presidential campaign for as long as he wants to do it. The Beltway wags seem to believe that he’s only announcing so that he can get himself into the debates but it seems more likely that he’s finally so wealthy that the cost of a campaign is so negligible he figures he’s got nothing to lose. After all, if he were to spend even a hundred million on the primary it wouldn’t make a serious dent in his bottom line. What else has he got to do?
But there is something else he has that may be even more valuable than money: stardom. I don’t think it’s possible to place a political value on the fact that Trump has had a prime-time network TV show for over 10 years with “The Apprentice” and “Celebrity Apprentice.”
“The Apprentice” averaged 6 to 7 million viewers a show with finales sometimes getting between 10 and 20 million viewers. Last year’s “Celebrity Apprentice” averaged 7.6 million a show. Fox News’ highest rated shows rarely get more than a couple of million viewers and they are all elderly hardcore Republicans. The Donald has a wider reach and might even appeal to the most sought-after people in the land: non-voters.
It’s impossible to know if that’s a serious possibility. But it’s fair to say that many more people in the country know the name of Donald Trump than know anyone else in the race (with the possible exception of Jeb Bush). It’s hard to quantify that kind of name recognition but it’s certainly not worthless in our celebrity-obsessed culture. And remember, Trump would not be the first show business celebrity who everyone assumed was too way out there to ever make a successful run for president. The other guy’s name was Ronald Reagan.
Obviously, Trump is no Reagan. But he does bear a passing resemblance to another wealthy presidential gadfly who wasn’t taken seriously by the political cognoscenti: Ross Perot. 1992 featured a Republican incumbent who was widely considered a shoo-in for reelection and a Democratic Party offering up a long list of people who were trying out for what was assumed to be the next opening in 1996. When Perot appeared on the scene with his quirky style and his facile prescriptions for the nation’s intractable problems (“I’ll get under the hood and fix it”) nobody thought he was more than a flash in the pan. But he ended up getting 20 percent of the vote in the general election — and that was after a couple of epic implosions that had undoubtedly eroded much greater support.
So far, Trump is running as a Republican and there’s no reason to think he would go third party as Perot did. But if he had the slightest encouragement, can anyone think he wouldn’t? After what he said about his fellow Republicans today, it certainly doesn’t appear that he cares what they think.
Sure, Trump is a clown. But he’s a very rich and a very famous clown. And he’s really not much more clownish than many of the current contenders or some serious contenders in the past. It’s interesting that the one time Mark Halperin deviates from the conventional wisdom he may actually have seen something more interesting than the rest of his cohort: the fact that Donald Trump has the potential to be a serious 2016 player. And that says everything you need to know about the Republican presidential field and the state of our politics today.
Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has been energizing and electrifying white supremacists, and their excitement is hitting new highs now that he is clearly the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee.
The neo-Nazi site Daily Stormer, which endorsed Trump two weeks after his immigrant-disparaging campaign launch, is filled with posts celebrating the GOP candidate’s victory this morning. “White men in America and across the planet are partying like it’s 1999 following Trump’s decisive victory over the evil enemies of our race,”
says one post, which also celebrates that “[t]he Jews are in full-on freak-out mode.”
The site is also promoting a video parody in which Trump and other political figures are spliced into clips from the movie “300” and Trump is portrayed as “leading an army of the White race against the barbarian hordes.” Daily Stormer is also glad that Trump helped move his ally Alex Jones from “tinfoil goofiness” and into “nationalism.”
White nationalist Richard Spencer’s Twitter feed is similarly filled with celebratory gloating.
White nationalist leader Matthew Heimbach, chair of the pro-Trump Traditionalist Worker Party, recently celebrated Trump for having gone “full ‘America First’ for his foreign policy plan.” On his Daily Traditionalist show on Radio Aryan this morning, Heimbach and co-host Sven Longshanks praised the way Trump’s campaign has “opened up so much political space for nationalists” and made it easier for people in both the U.S. and Europe to say things that were previously impossible to say in public discourse.
Heimbach said Trump’s campaign has also helped his Traditionalist Worker Party’s organizing because areas in which Trump does well provide fertile ground for recruiting. There’s a need for long-term organizing, he said, and while Trump takes the beachhead, nationalists will provide the reinforcements.
The fires of nationalism, the fires of identity, the fires of anger against the corrupt establishment are arising all around Europe, all around America, all around the entire world. So we just need to strap in, because the future is gonna definitely be interesting, and I believe we could have a switch in our direction even more…Hail, Emperor Trump! And hail, victory!
The white nationalist website VDARE leads with an article by James Kirkpatrick celebrating the meltdown of the conservative “establishment” and the conversion of the Republican Party into a nationalist party. A few days earlier, after Trump’s wins in the so-called “Acela primaries,” Kirkpatrick declared that Trump “is creating a new opportunity for the American Right, which either needs to embrace nationalism and identity policies or suffer slow extinction in a Third World America.” -
And keep in mind that Trump has been promising to bring a lot of new people into the process ...
We can totally trust him when he says he's going to be "neutral" on the Israeli-Palestinian issue. After all, he says "I know more about foreign policy than anyone else, believe me." He understands it all:
Donald Trump came down foursquare in favor of new construction of Jewish settlements in the West Bank on Monday, telling Dailymail.com that the controversial practice has to 'keep going' and 'keep moving forward.'
There are 'thousands of missiles being launched into Israel,' he said Monday. 'Who would put up with that? Who would stand for it?'
Trump said last year he would like to initially remain 'neutral' in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as president, a position that he believes would allow him a better opportunity to be seen as a peace broker.
Meanwhile he has repeatedly expressed his love for Israel and increasingly his support for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his policies, all while repeatedly trashing the Barack Obama-backed Iran nuclear deal.
But in an exclusive interview with DailyMail.com, Trump came out for the continued construction of new settlements irrespective of Israeli government policy.
Asked whether there should be a pause in new construction – which the Obama administration has pressured Netanyahu's government to observe in order to bring the Palestinians to the negotiating table – Trump responded: 'No, I don't think it is, because I think Israel should have – they really have to keep going. They have to keep moving forward.'
'No, I don't think there should be a pause,' Trump said. 'Look: Missiles were launched into Israel, and Israel, I think, never was properly treated by our country. I mean, do you know what that is, how devastating that is?'
'With all of that being said, I would love to see if peace could be negotiated. A lot of people say that's not a deal that's possible. But I mean lasting peace, not a peace that lasts for two weeks and they start launching missiles again. So we'll see what happens,' Trump added.
'I'd love to negotiate peace. I think that, to me, is the all-time negotiation,' Trump said, in reference to stalled peace talks – which Palestinian negotiators say won't occur without a halt in new construction.
I read this story the other day and reserved judgment because I didn't know if the perpetrator might just be a mentally ill street person. Now that I've seen the video, it does not appear to be a street person. Perhaps she is mentally ill but if so, Donald Trump is inspiring her thoughts:
A Washington, D.C. Muslim woman says she was attacked by a Donald Trump supporter while sitting outside a coffee shop, WJLA reports.
The woman, who did not give her name, is African-American and wears the hijab, a head covering that devout Muslim women wear. She told WJLA she was sitting outside a Starbucks on April 21. Police have since released surveillance footage that shows the woman yelling in the victim’s face, then returning with a bottle of liquid and dousing her.
“A Caucasian lady with blond hair walked right past me,” she told the station. “Then as soon as she sat down she started talking about me. Saying ‘F-ing Muslim. Trash, worthless piece of Muslim trash. You all need to go back to where you came from.”
The woman was able to record a brief video, on which the attacker can be heard saying, “You’re a terrorist. So stupid.”
According to a video released by MyNews4, the woman is wanted for simple assault.
The victim says the attacker said she supports GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump.
“She says if Donald Trump wins the nomination I’m going to vote for him so he can send all of you all back to where you came from,” she told WJLA.
If anyone thought Trump might go easy down the stretch, yesterday's circus sideshow before the vote should disabuse them of that fact. On the day he was projected to win a yuuuuuge victory in Indiana, which was widely assumed to spell the end of the #nevertrump movement and be Ted Cruz's last stand, Trump decided to take a gratuitous swipe at Cruz by parroting a National Enquirer article that accused Cruz's father of being in on the Kennedy assassination:
TRUMP: And, you know, his father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald’s being, you know, shot. I mean the whole thing is ridiculous. What is this, right prior to his being shot, and nobody even brings it up. I mean they don’t even talk about that. That was reported, and nobody talks about it. But I think it’s horrible. I think it’s absolutely horrible that a man can go and do that, what he’s saying there.
BRIAN KILMEADE (CO-HOST): Right. There was a picture out there that reportedly shows Rafael Cruz standing with Lee Harvey Oswald —
TRUMP: I mean what was he doing with Lee Harvey Oswald shortly before the death, before the shooting? It’s horrible.
Cruz was clearly angry about that and with some justification. If anyone else had said something like this it would have been considered a heinous smear unworthy of a presidential candidate. With Trump it was just another Tuesday.
Cruz came out swinging and staged an election day press conference like nothing we've ever seen before. “Pathological liar", “narcissist", “serial philanderer” are just a few of the words he used to describe his rival. He reminded people that Trump has said he regards “his battle with venereal disease as his own personal Vietnam” and said he was "nuts." And that was just for starters.
"Lyin' Ted" spoke the truth. Trump is all those things and more. But he's Teflon Don and nobody cares.
Cruz also showed that he had finally figured out how to grab the microphone from Trump and use him as a foil to get media attention. He managed to do it with the Fiorina announcement, his weird confrontation with a Trump yahoo on Monday and now this. The problem is that he figured it out too late. And even if he had done this earlier instead of being too clever by half by clutching Trump to his bosom, assuming he would implode and he'd inherit his votes there's still the problem of Cruz's truly unpleasant personality which puts people off so much they're willing to take a chance on putting the country into the hands of Donald Trump.
And as if he were a big cat playing with mouse, Trump responded to Cruz's angry tirade with this:
Ted Cruz is a desperate candidate trying to save his failing campaign. I is no surprise he has resorted to his usual tactics of over-the-top rhetoric that nobody believes.Over the last week I have watched "Lyin' Ted become more and more unhinged as he is unable to react under the pressure and stress of losing.
Within 12 hours of Donald Trump accusing his father of being involved in the JFK assassination, Ted Cruz dropped out of the race. Donald Trump is officially the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party.
You have to give Cruz credit. He was almost as much of a long shot as Trump when this whole thing started. And he turned out to be the runner-up in a field that had been touted as an embarrassment of political riches. Nobody expected him to do as well as he did and for good reason. He is an extremist much too far right to win a national election and way too unpopular in the party establishment. Nonetheless, he might have been able to pull it off if it weren't for the fact that Trump exposed a major tear in the GOP matrix. It turns out that at least half of those who call themselves evangelicals aren't quite as principled as they like to pretend. They succumbed to the siren's call of a decadent, thrice married billionaire who hates foreigners and women a lot more than he loves Jesus. Cruz had planned to get the whole Christian Right on his team but was only able to corner the market on those who aren't hypocrites. Unfortunately for him, it turns out that there aren't as many ultra-conservative right wing ideologues in the Republican party as we all thought.
But despite setbacks, he proved to be a smart tactician who used sophisticated modern methods to analyse the electorate and was nimble enough to switch gears when things weren't working. (Recall that his original plan was to sweep the hard right conservatives in the deep south, which had to give way when Trump was so strong there.) He fought hard all the way through yesterday, trying anything and everything to gather delegates by hook or by crook, planning for a contested convention by lining up 2nd ballot delegates all over the country.
As loathsome as I find his politics, I cannot help but feel sorry for him. Ted Cruz was everything the base of the GOP said it wanted. He is an evangelical Christian, a social and fiscal conservative, a demagogic warrior for the far right who went to Washington and did exactly what all these people say they wanted the Republicans to do when they voted for them in the 2010 and 2014 midterms. He obstructed the president at every turn, angrily defied the GOP leadership and answered only to the Tea Party base. It wasn't good enough.
The problem for Ted Cruz was made clear on the day before the Indiana election by a protester he engaged on the sidewalk outside one of his events. People in the crowd were yelling, "career politicians have killed America" and "Trump'll take down ISIS, he'll take down the whole damn thing" and the man to whom Cruz was speaking directly looked right in his face and said, "you are the problem, politician, you are the problem."
The Trump phenomenon isn't a rejection of ideology, it's a rejection of politics. Trump and the people who are voting for him aren't interested in fancy ideas or academic theory and they do not care about the principles that inform our system of government. They just want action and a lot of them obviously think Donald Trump might just be a superhero who can make things happen by sheer will and the power of his out sized personality.
No one would ever mistake Ted Cruz for a superhero. He's just a True Believer and that's no fun at all.
I'm going to miss Cruz being in the race. Throughout this amazing primary season he has offered us the purest example of what the modern conservative movement has to offer. As horrifying as his program for the country is, it's rational and familiar, subject to scrutiny and analysis and argument. Trump is something else entirely.
The good news for Trump is that the media simply refuses to accept that he is serious about what he says, which means that his inane gibberish will continue to be normalized.
We are witnessing the pivot. This is the most presidential we've seen @realDonaldTrump since he launched. Gracious. Thankful. #Trump2016
Nate Silver pointed out that during the fallow period in the campaign when Trump was failing to get traction he whined and complained a out the system being rigged and threatened to riot at the convention if he didn't get his way. You have to wonder if he'll have a similar effect on the general electorate --- he's going to make it s ugly that people will tune out. The only voters who aroused by his schtick are Republicans. Everyone else is repulsed. digby 5/04/2016 10:00:00 AM
Requiem for a movement?
by Tom Sullivan
Donald Trump all but officially clinched the 2016 Republican nomination for president when Sen. Ted Cruz bowed out last night after a crushing loss in the Indiana primary. Bernie Sanders upset Hillary Clinton to keep his campaign alive, but because Democrats assign delegates proportionally, he gained little ground in the delegate chase.
Politico reports that Sen. Elizabeth Warren wasted no time in launching an assault on the presumptive Republican nominee, "hitting him with a blistering late-night tweetstorm in which she cast the presumptive Republican nominee as a racist with a dangerous authoritarian streak." She defined the challenge ahead both for herself and the country:
What happens next will test the character for all of us – Republican, Democrat, and Independent.
Warren is not the only one. Republicans are already declaring they will not support Trump. A Republican foreign policy expert from the American Enterprise Institute tells Think Progress:
“If a conservative emerges that approaches foreign policy in a principled, coherent manner, and that understands and values the important role that America plays in world affairs, I will support them,” he wrote in a text. “Otherwise, I have faith that Clinton’s foreign policy would align with what I’m looking for, and she would have my vote.”
Philip Klein, the conservative Washington Examiner's managing editor tweeted:
Perhaps the most dramatic response came in the form of a mea culpa posted to Red State Monday night, nearly 24 hours before Indiana polls closed. "Donald Trump is my fault as much as anyone else’s," wrote Ben Howe. He built alliances with people with whom he fundamentally disagreed out of expedience:
I justified it quietly to myself the way we had at the beginning of the tea party when such things would happen. People would say outlandish things and I would find myself nodding my head and awkwardly walking away, not calling them out for their silliness.
After all, there were more pressing matters.
And so, as I said, I kept quiet about these allies in new media and in Washington. People who I thought I agreed with only 70% of the time. Which normally is a great reason to consider someone an ally, but not when the other 30% is cringe-inducing paranoia and vapid stupidity.
I chose peace over principle. I chose to go along with those I disagreed with on core matters because I believed we were jointly fighting for other things that were more important. I ignored my gut and my moral compass.
The result is that, almost to a man, every single person I cringed at or thought twice about, is now a supporter and cheerleader of Donald Trump.
It is perhaps too early to write the requiem for the conservative movement. Conservatism can never fail. It is only failed by people who were never really true conservatives. True conservatives will construct a stirring counter-narrative about how they were stabbed in the back once again by false ones who, as the Jesus-Only people believe, should be condemned to hell on a technicality because they failed to get the right baptism.
Congratulate the Trump supporters. Tonight will be their high point. In six months, they'll be blaming the rest of us for their choices.
A survey by the Republican analytics firm Evolving Strategies found that anti-Trump messages were far more likely to hit the mark with women than with men. After women viewed one of three ads that questioned Trump’s character, their support for Trump dropped from 52 percent to 44 percent. But the needle didn’t move for men sampled.
Hey, if you don't count women, he's really popular, amirite?
Hillary Clinton represents all of the elements of Washington DC that people are in rebellion against… I think a lot of the millennials who were voting for Bernie Sanders are not going to vote for Hillary Clinton. I think they think she’s not honest. I think they’re bothered by her scandals with the Clinton Foundation, her scandals with her email server… There’ll be a lot of Democrats out there looking for someone to go to. In addition, Trump has somehow communicated with blue collar workers across America and we certainly see this in terms of registration numbers… We’ve had a 60% increase in Republican turnout this year compared to four years ago. There’s been about a 30% Democrat turnout decrease over 2008, the last time they had a contested nomination… Secretary Clinton is not exactly rousing people’s excitement…
I think it’s important this year because of the unique moment in time and because of the uniqueness of Donald Trump to erase all of our thinking about what kind of states could be in play. I think if Trump runs as aggressive campaign in the general election as he has done in the primaries all 50 states could be in play.
Our previous survey results suggested that as of early January, 46.7 percent of voters would vote for a Democrat and 43.1 percent would vote for a Republican in the upcoming presidential election. These results suggested a greater vote for the Democratic candidate. In March, our results indicate that 53.0 percent of voters will vote for a Democrat, and 37.9 percent will vote for a Republican in the upcoming presidential election, suggesting that the Democratic candidates are pulling ahead of the Republicans in the national vote.
I guess they have to say this. And who knows? Maybe it will happen that way. A lot of Republicans seem to think that because the young progressives prefer Bernie Sanders and both candidates are against trade deals, they are ripe for the picking. Let's just say that's not born out by the polling which shows that only 17% of millennials have a favorable opinion of Trump.
But Gingrich is a demagogue and an authoritarian tyrant too so he's naturally drawn to Trump. They are cut from the same cloth. (It's doubtful that Trump has the same regard for him, however. He's a "loser" who was ignominiously forced to resign from his leadership position.) Gingrich is undoubtedly very impressed with Trump's ability to command the attention of the media and the country and his ability to run his campaign on his own terms. He was that kind of politician himself although without the resources and the glamour.
But Gingrich and Trump are both convinced of something that just isn't true: that the majority of Americans like what Trump is selling when the evidence is that the more people see of him the more they loathe him. Yes, Republicans are starting to accept that he's going to be the nominee but he's hardly winning the nomination by acclamation.
Donald Trump on Tuesday alleged that Ted Cruz’s father was with John F. Kennedy’s assassin shortly before he murdered the president, parroting a National Enquirer story claiming that Rafael Cruz was pictured with Lee Harvey Oswald handing out pro-Fidel Castro pamphlets in New Orleans in 1963.
A Cruz campaign spokesperson told the Miami Herald, which pointed out numerous flaws in the Enquirer story, that it was “another garbage story in a tabloid full of garbage.”
“His father was with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to Oswald's being — you know, shot. I mean, the whole thing is ridiculous,” Trump said Tuesday during a phone interview with Fox News. “What is this, right prior to his being shot, and nobody even brings it up. They don't even talk about that. That was reported, and nobody talks about it.”
“I mean, what was he doing — what was he doing with Lee Harvey Oswald shortly before the death? Before the shooting?” Trump continued. “It’s horrible.”
Trump and Enquirer chief executive David Pecker are reportedly palsy — "very close," according to the New York Daily News, and "friends for years," according to New York magazine. Conservative radio host Michael Savage, a Trump backer, told listeners last week that "David Pecker flies to Florida from New York on Trump's private jet." In 2013, Trump even suggested Pecker ought to take over Time magazine.
Trump has written several articles for the Enquirer during the campaign, including one that appears to have been recycled from 2011, when the tabloid was cheering the billionaire real estate mogul toward a White House run that he ultimately decided not to make. The contents are a glorious fusion of Trump's bombast and the Enquirer's gratuitous use of exclamation points.
After hearing this accusation about his father Cruz proceeded to go before the press and let fly:
What a circus sideshow. Unbelievable. Trump really can get away with saying anything. And Cruz was a little too clever by half when he helped fluff Trump all fall and winter in the hopes that he would inherit all those Trump voters once he dispensed with the rest of the competition for him and then imploded. That was a bad bet. It didn't work out.
Liberty U lawyers: Your guns are going to cost you money
by Spocko Liberty University to allow handguns in dorm rooms Next fall, Liberty University students with concealed handgun permits from the state can get permission from the school to keep their guns in safes in their dorm rooms
—Jesse Pounds, Daily Progress)
Liberty has been increasing the places that guns can be carried concealed on campus since 2011. The residents’ hall is one of the last places they were forbidden. Officials have downplayed the number of students who might have guns in the dorm, as well as the risk.
They might also be downplaying their financial liability if someone is injured in a gun accident while in a Liberty dorm or on campus.
After I read these I wonder, “Could this have been prevented?” Sure, through proper handling, storage and transportation, but also through not having a gun. No gun = no gun accident. QED.
However, sometimes your gun-owning neighbor, his 3-year-old or a gun-carrying student has an accident with a gun, and hits others. Some of these incidents are classified as an accident, others as criminal negligence.
How many people who had an “accident” while cleaning their gun were actually suicides? If they can prove suicide, insurance won’t pay.
It depends on the circumstances and how it is classified by the police. This distinction is important because when innocent people are injured or killed by accident, it’s treated differently by the law–and by insurance companies– than when the injury or death happens because of negligence, intent or a criminal act.
I wondered, when a student at Liberty injures someone with a gun by accident, who is liable?
Let’s say a student who lives on campus has a gun accident and injures others. If he is a minor, his parent will be liable for damages in a civil case– and so will the school. The injured people will sue both the student’s parents and the school. In some cases they will settle with an insurance company in others it will go to trail and a court will determined the percent liability each has and determine compensation.
Why sue the school? Two legal reasons and a financial one:
1) Schools must have liability coverage to remain open
2) Schools actually have a duty to keep the people on the property reasonably safe—and they failed
3) Schools usually have deeper pockets than a student or his parents
I was going to get all technical about the Liberty’s duties to their licensees and invitees vs. trespassersas defined in the book Premises Security: A Guide for Security Professionals and Attorneys,William F. Blake, CPP, CFE and Walter F. Bradley, Esq. But insurance legalese is the most boring of all the major legalese, it’s designed so you don’t read the fine print –until you are sued, or want to make a claim and find out you aren’t covered.
Here’s the thing: this area of law and insurance is built on legal precedence and historical data, not wishful thinking and anecdotal stories from different situations.
University officials are welcome to teach students to prepare to stop the “bad guy with a gun.” They are free to make some security decisions based on what they think will work to protect their employees, students and guests. But, if they are wrong, there will be a huge price to pay, in the death and suffering of the students, staff and guests–and also financially.
By not adhering to the norms for security in the industry–and going against the advice of law-enforcement–when there is a gun incident, the University will bear greater liability.
Maybe Liberty’s insurance carriers will stand by them, but in a recent lawsuit Citizens Insurance Co. of America and Hanover Insurance said they had no duty to defend them.
It is quite possible that Liberty’s current underwriters will follow the same path as EMC, Kansas’ primary insurer for schools, who told all the schools in Kansas that they won’t cover any school with armed teachers. (Liberty has armed teachers and students. It’s also a good thing underage students in the dorms never drink! “Hold my beer + What Could Go Wrong = gun video below.)
However, even when Liberty is covered, when there is a gun accident the plaintiff’s lawyers will point to the school’s policy and say, “Not only didn’t this policy keep the person safe, it would not have happened if the student did not have a gun. The University’s policy of allowing and encouraging guns on campus has made this injury/death possible.”
Liberty U adminstrators won’t listen to reason, but they will listen to money