Donald Trump Is More Important — and Dangerous — than You Think

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Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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244 Responses

  1. Avatar Jaybird
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    says:

    My choice is between some milquetoast who won’t really represent me and some boisterous jerkface who won’t really represent me who will call the milquetoast a loser?

    If neither guy will institute any policies or help pass any laws that will help me, at least the guy who calls the milquetoast a loser has actually *DONE* something that I approve of.

    Compare to the milquetoast.Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Jaybird
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      says:

      Yep. This is exactly what’s been going on.

      I actually didn’t realize that the split between the conservative grassroots and the establishment had gotten this extreme. And maybe it hasn’t: maybe people are just blowing off some steam, and will literally change their affinities in the next few months. Or maybe somehow these surveys are picking up people who won’t vote, and aren’t picking up people who will vote, so it’s just not actually portraying the relevant group of people at all. (You’d think they’d know how to reach people who actually are likely GOP primary voters by this point, though.)

      But maybe it has. And if it has, this is pretty striking indication of that.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Michael Drew
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        says:

        Yes this could be entirely cathartic and when Iowa comes the base simply says “Okay we’ve had our fun, back to work.” Then Trump crashes and burns out.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Michael Drew
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        says:

        The interesting thing about this is besides is stance on immigration and his xenophobia, Donald Trump is probably the most liberal of all Republicans running. He has pledged to support Medicare and Social Security as they are, still supports affirmative action, refuses to backdown from his previous support of single-payer, and probably has much fewer problems with LGBT people than anybody else in the GOP. Yet, he has become the standard bearer of the Republican base.Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Jaybird
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      says:

      …Although, it’s not just the calling people losers. There is a policy-expectation element. The establishment was going to try to downplay immigration in this cycle, and this is to some extent a genuine policy reaction to that. But it’s a lot the “loser” thing too. (And the “loser” thing as applied to that policy shortcoming, too.)Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Jaybird
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      says:

      I don’t think this analysis really flies, because it suggests that the people rallying around Trump don’t see his as representing them. I think this is the complete opposite of what I am seeing. It is certainly the opposite of what they are saying.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Tod Kelly
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        says:

        If what they’d all really, really like to do is just tell the entire GOP establishment to just fish right the fish off for being losers (perhaps for sidelining immigration, which, I just really don’t buy your view that that is not genuinely and intentionally at the center of his run), then Jaybird’s analysis is entirely consistent with Trump representing them.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Tod Kelly
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        says:

        Seems like the response to Trump is a collective “Right Arm!” “Yeah!” “You tell ’em, Donald!” stuff like that. And that’s why I keep on thinking that eventually this is going to go away.

        But if it’s really true that Republicans have, excepting a handful of policy wonks, functionally lost interest in actually governing, then the quip is the policy. The zinger is the ideology. The outrage is the agenda. Eliciting a stunned “I can’t even begin to process that you just said that” silence from the slackjawed-in-amazement liberal is victory, no matter what insanely stupid thing you had to say to get that reaction.Report

        • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Burt Likko
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          says:

          the quip is the policy. The zinger is the ideology. The outrage is the agenda. Eliciting a stunned “I can’t even begin to process that you just said that” silence from the slackjawed-in-amazement liberal is victory, no matter what insanely stupid thing you had to say to get that reaction.

          That all is what is going on right now either way. The only question is whether a real agenda re-emerges and supersedes all of that or not (it will). But for now, it’s not a question of if. That all is what’s going on.

          (But as I say, a big question in all of this is, who exactly is getting polled right now, anyway?)Report

          • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Michael Drew
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            says:

            (But as I say, a big question in all of this is, who exactly is getting polled right now, anyway?)

            That’s something the GOP needs to be figuring out, if it’s not doing so already. Really, they just need to have an army of pollsters working around the clock. They’ve needed it before now.

            Of course, what those pollsters may have told them is that the quickest path to victory involves the Missing White Voter. Which is a theory with some currency in the party. The Trump campaign, though, has done a lot of damage to that theory. Especially if that’s where he’s getting a lot of his support.Report

            • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Will Truman
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              says:

              Will, by damage, do you mean *political* damage – caused, in fact, by the *empirical* support for the theory embodied (perhaps) in Trump? (If you follow that.)

              I.e. that the MWV is emerging, it just turns out to be a Trumpkin. Which means, it’s not even a voter who is particularly committed to the GOP agenda, or even to the GOP (Trump being the RINOest of RINOs, even the legitimacy of his carrying the name being in question)?

              This would fit with a pet theory of mine, which is that even though the electorate has polarized into political bases, this political bases are more institutionally detached, so that the GOP and Dem bases, while more segregated from each other than ever (the Big Sort, geographically and intellectually), are also less reliably Republican or Democratic than ever.

              Counterevidence for this theory is that third parties have had less influence than ever recently, it seems. Though perhaps they are just splintering.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Michael Drew
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                @michael-drew The damage to the MWV theory is along the lines of “If this is what we have to do to engage them, we cannot engage them and could not win even if we tried.” Multiple people have said this, and Sean Trende who has been credited with creating the theory has been distancing himself from it, emphasizing that he always said it had limitations.

                Here is where Trende kicked everything off, in 2013.Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Will Truman
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                Gotcha. Trende is, in fact, whom I associated with it.Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Will Truman
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                says:

                It strikes me that I’m not sure which is really worse news for the GOP here: what Trump is doing to perceptions of the party in the short term, or what his rise means about what it is the people in the GOP orbit who can really be mobilized really want.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Michael Drew
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                Should be the latter, if it pans out*. The former they at least have some control over and right now at least it doesn’t seem to be hurting the other candidates.

                * By which I mean we still have no idea how serious the people who are answering “Trump” on polls are. The qualifier applies to both options, though. If it doesn’t pan out, then it depends if damage occurs.Report

          • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Michael Drew
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            says:

            (Amending my comment to Burt:) …But there also are political reasons why this guy is getting enough of a look for this other stuff to be appealing. See below.

            (To Will:) On the first point, yes. On the second, can you elaborate or provide links on how the MIssing White Voter hypothesis plays in here (and what exactly it says)?Report

        • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Burt Likko
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          says:

          Seems like the response to Trump is a collective “Right Arm!” “Yeah!” “You tell ’em, Donald!” stuff like that. And that’s why I keep on thinking that eventually this is going to go away.

          A problem the other candidates have is that their message is “You ought to be angry about X, which I’m angry about!” Each of those candidates gets a part of the angry base, those who have bothered to think about why they’re angry and agree it’s X. Trump tells them “You’re angry! And you deserve to be angry!” But he doesn’t tell them what they’re angry about, leaving it up to the people in the audience to decide for themselves. Some of them know, but many of them can’t articulate it and will settle for a candidate that does a “I feel your anger!” shtick.

          A larger problem in multiple ways is that there’s a significant number of really angry voters out there, who don’t know exactly what they’re angry about. They’re not going to go away, and they’re not going to be satisfied, and they are going to put a some people in the Senate, more in the House, and a whole bunch in state legislatures. I expect the ugliness to get much worse before it gets better.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Tod Kelly
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        I don’t know what the revealed preference for Trump actually reveals wrt policy. I agree, absolutely, that he’s never thought about half of these things before and the other half consists of “I bet I could come up with an awesome conclusion about that issue if I cared about it more” kind of thoughts.

        But what is he actually doing that is so exciting?

        He’s kicking the establishment in the nuts. (He’s spent more time attacking Republicans than the presumed Democratic frontrunner, for example.)

        Why does this resonate?

        My guess is that it’s because there is a huge chunk of the electorate out there who really REALLY *REALLY* wants to see the establishment kicked in the nuts.Report

    • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
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      That’s great and all, but what pols do does affect peoples lives. Pols send people to war or decide who gets health insurance or who can get in the country or a hundred other things. Liking the guy who is the biggest clown, and i’m referring to supporters of His Trumpness, are being suckered. Suckered hard and long.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
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        says:

        Worse than when Romney/McCain/Bush/Dole/Bush suckered them?Report

        • Avatar greginak in reply to Jaybird
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          says:

          RomneyMcCainBushBush and another Bush were offering R’s some set of policies. Vague often and more based on generic ideology, but at least something. Trump isn’t even offering that. If people go full in for spectacle they shouldn’t be surprised when the show doesn’t get them what they want. WWF if fine and all, but it isn’t gonig to pay the bills.

          I know, i know, policy is boring. People want elevator pitches and soaring speeches that bring a tear to their eye and make them feel like a warm apple pie. Suckers, save the soaring rhetoric and talk about policy. ( just to get ahead of this, yes O had plenty of soaring rhetoric. And policy to go with it. Sadly my preference for less speechifying and more details is not shared by most others.Report

          • Avatar Jaybird in reply to greginak
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            Yes. They were offering some set of policies.

            Did these policies accurately represent (a noticable chunk of) the people inclined to vote for the people offering these policies?

            If the answer is “no”, we’re back to my theory about how this has to do with not being represented by the people who explain the loudest that they represent you.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to greginak
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        Well it’s not like the Trump will ever be in the position to deliver on any of his promises. So if Trump spouts mind blowing idiocy while say, Romney spouts disingenuous doggerel and they both lose what have their supporters lost. At least with Trump they had a good time and sent those hateful liberal commentators to their fainting couches. With Romney they lost AND their noses hurt from pinching them so hard long enough to vote.Report

    • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to Jaybird
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      says:

      When people who want to start wars, eviscerate the social safety net, repress black voters, and ignore climate change are ‘milquetoast’, something’s already gone terribly wrong with the party.Report

  2. Avatar Burt Likko
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    says:

    What you describe is your “Sailing Away to Irrelevance” thesis metastasized: an entertainment candidate for entertainment’s sake, not meant to be taken seriously. I remain not as wholly convinced as you that it’s truly come to this… but I’ll run with it for a second.

    Is this the result of Hillary Clinton portraying herself as the inevitable next President too effectively? In effect, the rank-and-file collectively deciding “No, we haven’t got a shot at all, Hillary’s just going to cream us no matter what we do, so we may as well have a little fun on the way.” ?Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Burt Likko
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      Huh. I confess, I had not considered this.

      It’s certainly a lot less depressing than my own read.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Tod Kelly
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        says:

        A lot more depressing now that I think about it, @burt-likko

        I’m not sure I am thinking the base just wants to be entertained. I think it’s that the base has gotten to the point where Trump scratches the same itch that some candidate you love scratches for you.

        I do not believe Trumpies think of him as a joke candidate. I think they genuinely believe he would be the best person to lead, by doing exactly what he’s doing right now.Report

    • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Burt Likko
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      says:

      That’s some Jedi mind-trick power you are giving to HRC.

      Do you really think 2016 is a lost cause? Do you have any other evidence besides your Trump card?Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Saul Degraw
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        Hillary Clinton is beatable. She is not inevitably going to the next President of these United States. She can win, to be sure, and is still the odds-on favorite to do so. But it’s not an inevitability. Few things are inevitable in a polity with as evenly-divided an electorate as ours.

        And I still think that if Trump lasts beyond this flash-in-the-pan, pre-voting phase, and actually gets delegates, the rest of the party is going to collectively say, “Are you guys done f—-ing around yet?” and find a way to close ranks.

        The alternative, as @tod-kelly notes, is simply too horrifying and depressing to permit of a durable mental purchase.Report

        • Avatar North in reply to Burt Likko
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          says:

          Or entertaining, I have watched the GOP for 18 years now, my entire adult political life, and I would not shed a single tear if this was the year they formed an inward facing circle and roared “READY, FIRE, AIM!!!”
          *crunch*munch*crunch*Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to North
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            says:

            I’m going to ignore Godwin and note that plenty of people found the Nazis very entertaining before they seized power. Than the joke no longer became funny. Trump is much better than any of them or really even many Republican candidates in certain respects, he will leave the American welfare state alone, but political jokes can become very serious very fast.Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Burt Likko
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      I’ve thought about this, @burt-likko, and I believed it myself for a while.

      But I’m coming around to the view that, to the extent they are thinking ahead in any of this to what it means for a race with Hillary, what they are thinking is that any of their conventional candidates will lose because they will play the conventional game against HIllary and certainly lose it, because she is superiorly fit at that game. So I think they’re thinking, to have any chance, our only shot is to change what game gets played. And this guy might just change the game.

      Which is pretty scary, if true (either that they’re thinking that way, or God forbid that it should turn out to be correct).Report

      • Avatar North in reply to Michael Drew
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        says:

        It can’t be correct Michael, the world can’t work that way. You don’t piss on Women and Latinos in 2015 and then somehow get the same support from those demographics that you got in the previous election (and you LOST with the support you got from those demographics last election FF*S)

        *fish’sReport

        • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to North
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          says:

          I don’t think it’s correct, but I wouldn’t say it’s impossible. There’s, like a <1%, black-swan-like chance it could be.

          First of all, it does seem like a not-insignificant part of Trump’s supporters *are* women. Second, if Trump were to just absolutely electrify white men (and some women), particularly aggrieved Reagan Democrats (since the 90s, Republicans) that either Obama won some of on his promise of bipartisanship (who feel burned), or who became disillusioned with politics but especially the GOP through the war failures and the party’s drift toward neoliberal entitlement cutting and immigration liberalism, he could potentially win through the “Missing White (Male) Voter” hypothesis (if I have it right), if it turns out to be right. (As I say, it’s way improbable.)Report

  3. Avatar Saul Degraw
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    says:

    I think one issue with Trump’s politics is that he is the perfect “moderate.” Remember there are no real moderates, what pollsters call moderates are people with extreme left-wing and right-wing answers to questions on polls. These ideologically inchoate or confused people get called moderates because pollsters are lazy.

    There seems to exist in the United States (and maybe most democracies) a disconnect between elites and wonks in a party and the bases. There also tends to be a big disconnect between wonky types and political realities of democracy.

    Last weekend, there was a big debate at LGM about public transportation. The wonks argue that we need more density, park and ride is horrible, and the problem with the suburbs is that the costs are hidden from the consumer. Perhaps it is more accurate to suggest that the consumer’s decide to use the democratic process to hide the costs from themselves. Wonky types don’t seem to have an answer to democracy except maybe a whine about how it is not fair.

    Yesterday Chait pointed out that the elite of the Democratic and Republican Parties tend to be more fiscally/economically conservative than their bases. This could largely be because the elite of the party is never hurt by austerity and/or globalization. THE GOP (and maybe the Democratic elite) might also be more socially liberal than their bases. One of the reasons Clarence Thomas is a much loved conservative superstar is because he actually lives like much of his supporters seemingly. Someone like David Brooks probably has much more culturally in common with the liberals that he likes to chide. Same with many other conservative journalists.

    So Trump (and perhaps Sanders to a lesser extent) is partially a response to the frustrations of the base who are tired of being told just vote for us and getting a pat on their head for their policies. Chait seems to think the disconnect is stronger in the GOP and he is probably right. Liberals might want universal healthcare but most think the ACA is doing a pretty good job despite not being single-payer and Obama did try and did deliver (in a fashion) on a long-cherished liberal dream.Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Saul Degraw
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      I do commend the first half or so of that Chait piece to everyone. It clearly explains a big part of how Trump is doing this: there’s a whole segment of conservative-leaning people out there who are not as fiscally conservative as their elite, and more socially conservative. (Check out the weird scatterplot table he uses to illustrate this.) Right now, that disconnect is getting channeled into xenophobia and anti-immigration. In 2004 Bush did a good enough job of appealing to that segment (maybe populated by a slightly different set of individuals, but with a similar concern profile) through an anti-gay agenda, that he didn’t have a problem being more interested in cutting Social Security than a big part of his base was. But the current elite isn’t squaring that circle. One alternative for that segment right now is Huckabee. But he’s… Huckabee. Trump is Trump. Who ya gonna call?

      http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2015/08/donald-trump-is-going-to-lose-because-hes-crazy.htmlReport

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Michael Drew
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        The Chait piece really is good. That’s not something I personally say about Chait often.

        I would add to your comment that The War(s) did a lot to consolidate this group. Probably more than the gay question. Arguably, at least, it’s the collapse of The War(s) that have lead to the current predicament, and The War itself papered over the Bush/Buchanan divide for the better part of eight years.Report

      • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to Michael Drew
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        From Chait’s piece: Trump himself is crazy — not just ideologically, though he is certainly that as well, but in the sense that he lacks any rational connection between his actions and his goals, to the extent that his goals are discernible at all. That is also his downfall.

        That depends on what you think Trump’s goals are. We know he loves the spotlight, loves attention. He’s getting tons of attention. If you assume his goals aren’t overly sophisticated, then his actions are succeeding in achieving them.

        However, he may also simply be monumentally arrogant enough to think that if he actually wins the nomination, he’ll just be able to be president without knowing anything about policy. This guy’s had life handed to him on a golden, diamond-plated platter. That isn’t something that breeds either realism or humility.Report

        • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to KatherineMW
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          says:

          Agreed. The second half of Chait’s piece where he declares the future based on a characterological assessment of Trump & how that fits into the party, while probably basically accurate, is much weaker than the first half where he analyzes the political dynamic that is making space for Trump.Report

  4. Avatar Will Truman
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    says:

    I can’t say that I think you’re right… but I can’t say that I believe you’re wrong, either. A lot of it depends on how Trump falls from the perch, and when. He’s a couple months from making history even if he does flame out in Iowa. And even if he flames out in Iowa, the nature of the current state of affairs – if they are thus – have become a lot more clear.

    On the other hand, if there is a natural gliding away as we get closer to game time, a lot of this can be dismissed as liking the guy on mostly an entertainment and transient/visceral level. At which point, the non-Trump faction of the party can continue to shrug it off if there isn’t some hard indication of an ongoing effect in 2016.

    I’ll be honest and say a part of me is hoping for the former. Let’s have it out. Let Donald Trump be the hill on which they choose to fight. At some point, the people who want to win will be convinced that this is not part of a winning coalition. That they cannot bridge the gap through this policy or that one and we’ll just give some nudge-wink support and go about our daily business. If so, it’ll be a bloody war. But the country – and in a way, the GOP – could do a lot worse than Hillary Clinton at the helm while the GOP has its civil war.

    But there is also a fair amount of reason to believe that it is the latter. That the Trump coalition of viscerals, entertainment-lovers, barely-paying-attentions, and bandwagon riders will get bored with it all. And Trump will be just one of those weird things that everybody knew would fall apart in November. The GOP will convince itself that it managed the crisis by giving Trump a platform at the party convention, that the party lost this time around but it was a one-off thing and let’s try again in 2020 and hope there is not an equivalent temper tantrum.

    Or somewhere in between. It’s impossible to know where things land while things are still in the air.Report

    • Avatar North in reply to Will Truman
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      I’m pretty much with you on your analysis here. Particularly the last part. I’m still more convinced than not that Trump crashes and burns in the first three Primary states, gets a private lunch with the front runner and a slot at the convention and declares victory.

      I don’t WANT that to be true, I want him to barbeque the elephant over the burning remains of their 2016 electoral hopes and maybe drag the Senate down with him. But I can’t indulge in that kind of fantasy and neither can my party.Report

  5. Avatar North
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    I’m going to repeat myself here because I think this statement encapsulates the current situation:

    This Trump thing is, interestingly, just natural evolution. Trump is basically an alien predator invading an ecosystem that has happened to change into one that suits his strengths.

    For about fifteen or more years the GOP has been systematically dismantling their internal controls. They’ve been doubling down on conspiracy theories, hyperbole, over the top accusations, dismissal of objections as biased nonsense and above all elevation of angry tone over actual substance. They started out doing this cynically: to exploit a segment of voters; some of them evolved to doing it as mercenaries: realizing that this large segment of voters could be mined for enormous amounts of money; now suddenly a related critter- a chameleon like apex predator from television, has swum into the suddenly hospitable waters and the GOP’s politicians are realizing to their horror that Trump is better at this shit than they are.

    What Trumps success suggests is that, having for years cultivated a base and strategy that is congenial to an all style-no substance-television-huckster the GOP is starting to turn into a party where only an all style-no substance television huckster can thrive.

    On the other hand, right now I still am unconvinced that Trump can translate his windfall of support into actual votes on the ballots. My current money is that after Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina Trumps campaign will be a crashed wreck. The question will be if that wreck will just vanish without a trace (simply go away), leave an oily smoke screen lingering over the other candidates (lasting damage with women and Latino voters), or pour burning fuel oil all over the field (a party schism with possible third party run)

    Now what does this mean for us over all? If I were an optimist I’d presume we’re approaching peak nimrod level for the GOP. Maybe Trump will precipitate a cataclysmic implosions and breakup for the GOP, a painful corrective to their recent trajectories. Then again, maybe he’ll fizzle out and the party will continue on making on. It bears noting that while Nationally the GOP has been doing terribly at Presidential Politics they have been doing mightily well at state and local politics. The GOP and the Democratic Party both contain legions and while it may be safe to say there is a profound illness or rot at the pinnacle of the GOP political edifice the Democratic Party is suffering a potentially long term crippling bout of ennui and failure at their roots. Who’s to say which party, in the long run, has the bigger problem?Report

    • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to North
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      says:

      My current money is that after Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina Trumps campaign will be a crashed wreck. The question will be if that wreck will just vanish without a trace (simply go away), leave an oily smoke screen lingering over the other candidates (lasting damage with women and Latino voters), or pour burning fuel oil all over the field (a party schism with possible third party run).

      My money’s on the oily smoke screen. It’s happened before. But in the meantime, let’s get a refill on that popcorn.Report

    • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to North
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      says:

      “For about fifteen or more years the GOP has been systematically dismantling their internal controls. They’ve been doubling down on conspiracy theories, hyperbole, over the top accusations, dismissal of objections as biased nonsense and above all elevation of angry tone over actual substance. They started out doing this cynically: to exploit a segment of voters; some of them evolved to doing it as mercenaries: realizing that this large segment of voters could be mined for enormous amounts of money; now suddenly a related critter- a chameleon like apex predator from television, has swum into the suddenly hospitable waters and the GOP’s politicians are realizing to their horror that Trump is better at this shit than they are.”

      +1

      I, and other people have said this before. We’ve gone from Republican’s who believe almost none of the BS they’re selling to the rubes (ie. the 80’s era Republican’s who had drinks with Tip O’Neill, and spent seven days a year in their district) to Republicans who believe some of the BS they’re selling to the rubes (ie. Newt Gingrich) to Republicans who believe almost all of the BS they’re selling to the rubes (the current 2016 class).Report

    • Avatar notme in reply to North
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      says:

      “They’ve been doubling down on conspiracy theories, hyperbole, over the top accusations, dismissal of objections as biased nonsense and above all elevation of angry tone over actual substance.”

      Clearly you aren’t listening to the folks in your own party. Just today Hillary was comparing republicans to terrorists on women’s issues and just the other day another Dem, Gwen Moore, said Scott Walker’s policies were ‘tightening the noose’ on black people. What kind of BS is that?Report

  6. Avatar Brandon Berg
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    says:

    Has anyone else been reading Scott Adams on Trump as a master of persuasion? I’m not quite sure what to make of it.Report

    • Avatar North in reply to Brandon Berg
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      I have read it, it’s a good read but I can’t, I just can’t, imagine Trump in that role. I just can’t wrap my brain around it, I mean I know he’s canny in some way but I can’t believe he’s -that- wily.Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Brandon Berg
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      I have, and I think he’s pretty much right on, unless you’re talking about his predictions. The analysis is pretty much spot-on. Guy knows what he’s doing (except when he’s doing stuff like quadrupling down on dissing Megyn Kelly, which is pretty clearly just out-of-control ego).Report

  7. Avatar Christopher Maurer
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    says:

    Discontent, enmity, betrayal, scorned, violated, vengeance, prove, action, media.

    Donald Trump will win the nomination. Mitt turned out only 57% of the white vote. In the Reagan landslide in 1984, he turned out 68%. I say Trump will turn out 64%. The grass roots support for Trump is a diaspora that crosses all racial and ethnic demographic subsets, save Latinos. Yes I’m saying a record amount of Blacks will show up for Trump.

    This is an electorate that hasn’t been seen in a generation. These people feel discontent and betrayal by their Reps. and Senators. But further than that they have enmity for the GOP. They feel scorned and violated over Obamacare. They are sufficiently motivated to an act of vengeance-which is voting for the outsider. This electorate is out to prove to the career politicians, GOP, DNC and the media that they will take action and vote Trump as the nominee.Report

  8. Avatar Jaybird
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    says:

    Eric Cantor just endorsed Jeb.

    Whether this endorsement will be a game-changer remains to be seen.Report

  9. Avatar Chris
    Ignored
    says:

    Scene: One year from today, as the campaign between Hilary and [Rich White Dude] is just beginning to heat up, two likely Republican voters are sitting in a bar sharing a plate of nachos. The television behind the bar is on. A commercial for a new reality show premiering on NBC, starring Donald Trump, begins.

    Nacho-eater #1: Hey, Trump has a new show.

    Nacho-eater #2: Didn’t he run for President?

    Nacho-eater #1: I… think?

    Nacho-eater #2: Yeah, yeah, he did! I remember now.

    Nacho-eater #1: Did he run as a Democrat or Republican?

    Nacho-eater #2: You know, I don’t remember, but does it really matter?

    Nacho-eater #1: You’re probably right. [Speaking to the bartender.] Hey, can you turn on the game?Report

  10. Avatar DensityDuck
    Ignored
    says:

    Proposition: Donald Trump is the conservative #BlackLivesMatter.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to DensityDuck
      Ignored
      says:

      Not bad. I think the difference is – of course – that BLM folks are actually in the trenches whilst Trumpy is … dispensing from above. Now, if there were a group called “Conservative Lives Matter” and Trump were their spokesperson (… hmmmm….) then you’d have a pretty good analogy going since conservatives, as we all know, are down there in the Murkin trenches EVERY DAY pulling up their bootstraps and ruggedly individualizing, ya know? Creating jobs and stuff, and not taking gummint money and things, dammit!!Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to DensityDuck
      Ignored
      says:

      That isn’t a very good proposition. Maybe I’ll date you if you come back with a better one.Report

  11. Avatar DrRichard
    Ignored
    says:

    Reminds me of “Network” with the guy screaming, “I’m mad as hell I’m not going to take it anymore!” Or maybe the Republican campaign slogan in 1948: “Had enough?”

    Or he could be channeling Archie Bunker.

    There’s a lot of anger in this country and The Duck is tapping into that. Normally I’d say he’s going nowhere since the party bosses will go with Jeb (yuck) or (shudder) Walker. But I also remember my father-in-law’s talks about living in Weimar Germany. He and his fellow Berliners laughed at the loudmouth little guy with ridiculous speeches too.Report

  12. Avatar Mike Schilling
    Ignored
    says:

    In terms of being a serendipitous political success, Trump is Joe McCarthy. Seriously. What put McCarthy on the political map was a speech he gave in Wheeling, WV in February 1950 about the dangers of Communist subversion. It wasn’t particularly original: it was cribbed from Nixon’s standard speech on the same subject. It wasn’t a subject McCarthy particularly knew anything about, or had been associated with previously. He didn’t realize it would be a particularly important speech until the massive media reaction turned him from one of the most deservedly obscure men in the Senate to one of the most famous. Before long, he turned this fame into power. (As the saying went “Nobody loves Joe but the people.” Seem familiar?)

    Trump is not going to become the name of an era, as McCarthy did, nor is he going to have the same level of influence or the same ability to ruin innocent lives. McCarthy still has his defenders today (even if they are Ann Coulter and similar hyper-partisan hacks.) Trump will be forgotten 65 years from now.

    Lighten up. We’ve seen this kind of thing before, and this is absolutely the comic version.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Mike Schilling
      Ignored
      says:

      Lighten up.

      Yeah, this. Tod’s gotten into a bad habit when titling his political posts. “Ten things about Hillary that ought to terrify you!!”, “Five things about Trump that will destroy America!!!”. (I don’t know where he came up with this tactic….). But I agree: Trump – win or lose, supported or reviled – is just part of the ever-evolving political landscape we all live in.

      I mean, if push came to shove, I really don’t believe Trump would be a worse Preznit than Dubya. That Guy Was Dangerous!!!Report

      • Avatar LWA in reply to Stillwater
        Ignored
        says:

        That’s it-
        Trump is the “Restore America To Greatness With This One Weird Trick” of politics.

        Trouble is, there is somewhere north of 27% who would click thru that link.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to LWA
          Ignored
          says:

          Ha!Report

        • Avatar veronica d in reply to LWA
          Ignored
          says:

          Win!Report

        • Avatar Glyph in reply to LWA
          Ignored
          says:

          Another way he is like that, is the way Trump keeps repeatedly popping up on every site, no matter WHAT you are actually interested in reading about.

          {Clears throat, cuts eyes to side}.Report

          • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Glyph
            Ignored
            says:

            I’ve done my part. I have various post ideas where I’ve been waiting for a few days of Trumpless OT that end up being spiked because there is no Trumpless OT.

            OTOH, he did have his own LF section this week.Report

            • Avatar Glyph in reply to Will Truman
              Ignored
              says:

              I realize that hot air expands to fill all available space, but this is getting ridiculous.Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to Glyph
                Ignored
                says:

                Yesterday, I posted about Jeb! and ya’ll trumped 100+ comments.

                Only a few even bothered to mention Jeb! or address my contention that the Great Recession the Bush Brand albatross.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Glyph
                Ignored
                says:

                Hence my play in one partial scene.

                I’m pretty sure that when the dust settles, not only will Trump have meant nothing, but this will barely be remembered except by pundits and such. Even Trump will have forgotten, as he will have moved on to his next attention-grabbing stunt, and even the worst quarterbacks forget their interceptions by the next snap.

                Our constant need to look for deep structural causes of superficial phenomena more than a year before the general election, and a year before the convention, is pathological. In fact, if Trump shows anything, it’s not anything about Republicans or our political system, it’s about our boredom. C’est l’Ennui!

                Mais parmi les chacals, les panthères, les lices,
                Les singes, les scorpions, les vautours, les serpents,
                Les monstres glapissants, hurlants, grognants, rampants,
                Dans la ménagerie infâme de nos vices,

                II en est un plus laid, plus méchant, plus immonde!
                Quoiqu’il ne pousse ni grands gestes ni grands cris,
                Il ferait volontiers de la terre un débris
                Et dans un bâillement avalerait le monde;

                C’est l’Ennui! L’oeil chargé d’un pleur involontaire,
                II rêve d’échafauds en fumant son houka.
                Tu le connais, lecteur, ce monstre délicat,
                — Hypocrite lecteur, — mon semblable, — mon frère!
                Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Chris
                Ignored
                says:

                If this is how it turns out, so help me gawd, I will never pay attention to another poll from before Thanksgiving, or maybe even labor day, again.

                Remind me of this is 2019.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Will Truman
                Ignored
                says:

                This political-junkie promise is as reliable as a similar promise from any other type of junkie.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Will Truman
                Ignored
                says:

                I will remind you by bombarding you with more Baudelaire.Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Chris
                Ignored
                says:

                I’m pretty sure that when the dust settles, not only will Trump have meant nothing, but this will barely be remembered except by pundits and such. Even Trump will have forgotten, as he will have moved on to his next attention-grabbing stunt, and even the worst quarterbacks forget their interceptions by the next snap.

                This really depends on what we mean by Trump in particular meaning something. Will it have specifically mattered that it was Trump this time? Sure, we might move on from that. Boy, that was crazy! Now let’s watch Jeb lose.

                But Republicans will not move on from this reality. I won’t say “until.” They just won’t. They can deal with it more intentionally, putting forward more appealing candidates than Huckabee, Santorum, or Trump that appeal to different parts of the electorate that they are now not serving, to try to carve up the mass of support that these candidates are getting before the establishment kills them off. Or, they can keep sustaining these robust booms of candidates who are either not acceptable to the party establishment, donor class, and a good part of the more moderate part of its voter base (Huckabee, Santorum), or else just completely embarrassing to the party (Him). Because that’s the structure of public opinion, and it’s not going to change. (Will the Democrats had to deal with this too? I think so, in some way, eventually. But they are massively buffered by being on balance electoral beneficiaries of both increased immigration, and of the GOP becoming more and more felt by the country at large in its full diversity to be the party of white males. So they have a lot longer to figure this out.)

                Does that mean Trump himself will specifically matter over the long term? No, but it does mean that, even if it can be pathological to look for deep causes in superficial phenomena, here it simply isn’t. There’s a cause staring the party right in the face. It’s going to matter to them. And the only question is how and when they want to deal with it.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Michael Drew
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                says:

                Every candidate in the Republican primary represents the fact that the Republican Party is the party of white dudes. If they didn’t represent that fact, they wouldn’t be Republicans. The main difference between Trump and the others is not his electability, it’s his entertainment value. He’s entertaining, and the media have been living on him for this reason, while the country, and this blog, have been eating it up like that fried pecan cake Burt posted on Twitter the other day (goddamn that looked awesome). Hell, I’d bet a substantial portion of the people who say they support him in polls do so, consciously or not, so that he’ll stick around and keep entertaining them. And his entertainment value is clearly non-partisan. I’m not sure a bunch of Democrats wouldn’t say they’d support him, at this point, just to keep him on TV saying stupid-ass shit to make us laugh and then take to the internets with feigned gasps, pretending to be afraid that this silly man might somehow be President in January 2017, but knowing that by then we will have forgotten all about this, and our complicity in it.

                And the other candidates? He seems to be helping them all in one way or another: soaking up the Republican crazy rays, so that the other crazies look a bit more sane; getting the crazy out of the system so that the boring white dudes will look more attractive; but mostly just keeping the spotlight on an extremely early campaign that, if it didn’t include Trump, would be ignored by 99.9% of the people in this country (with the other .1% being political reporters and their political junkie followers). Instead, like 15%* of the country is paying attention, which, for a primary, especially one this early, is huge.

                Like I said, Donald Trump exists as a Candidate Trump because we’ve got nothing better to do. We’re bored shitless, and Trump’s a shit salesman with a mouth full of samples. He doesn’t represent anything about the Republican party that the rest of the candidates do not represent, to the extent that he represents anything about the Republican Party at all, and what he specifically says about us, he says about us regardless of whether we’re likely Republican voters.

                *This number, like 92.6% of all statistics, is made up, but you get the point.Report

              • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to Chris
                Ignored
                says:

                Every candidate in the Republican primary represents the fact that the Republican Party is the party of white dudes.

                Even the two Hispanic candidates?Report

              • Avatar LWA in reply to Chris
                Ignored
                says:

                Especially.
                Because they embrace and exemplify the worldview of the old white dudes, the same way that Piyush Jindal decided he preferred Mr. and Mrs. Brady to his actual parents.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to LWA
                Ignored
                says:

                It’s too bad can’t be a proper minority and instead chose a name improper to his heritage.Report

              • Avatar LWA in reply to LWA
                Ignored
                says:

                What is telling to me, is that nobody in the conservative world thought it odd that Piyush Jindal would change his name to Bobby.
                It just seems normal and natural, the sort of thing millions of immigrants do when they want to be Real Americans.

                Contrast this to the reaction to Cassius Clay becoming Muhammed Ali.
                Notice how conservatives think it is a mocking point to call Barak Hussein Obama “Barry Sotero” (See? He doesn’t even WANT to pass as a Real American!)

                When Eduardo Cruz person embraces a white identity of Ted Cruz, its normal; when Rachel Dolezal becomes black, it is a scandal.

                Again, this is just the reflection of the older white generation that defines itself as Real America, and is terrified by the prospect that the Real America is fading away.
                So a guy who wears a hat to Make America Great Again seems pretty appealing.Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to LWA
                Ignored
                says:

                Nicky R. Haley, too.Report

              • Avatar Murali in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                I thought Nikki Haley changed her first name too. But it turns out that she didn’t. Nikki is the middle name her parents gave her. Technically it means small in Hindi, but I suspect that this along with other modern indian baby names are often given so that children get names that sound western or can be shortened to look western but which can still pass as Indian names on a technicality and also so that they don’t get picked on in school for having a weird name.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to LWA
                Ignored
                says:

                I personally don’t find it odd because I know multiple people who chose an American name like Jindal did. I don’t think their decision to do so is my concern apart from “what should I call you.” this is true even if they are running for office.

                Psychoanalyzing their personal relationship with their ethnicity isn’t cool and is not really made okay by assigning the racism to the bad guys.Report

              • Avatar LWA in reply to Will Truman
                Ignored
                says:

                Of course its not odd since that is the story of America, of immigrants shedding their identity to become part of the Hollywood America melting pot.

                Hollywood’s version of the melting pot America is of course, the version held most dear to conservatives.

                The idea of white people being in the minority is exactly the issue here, front and center, and is what is making so many Americans anxious and fearful.
                An America where a guy doesn’t want to shed the name Barak Hussein Obama and become Barry Sotero is an America that is strange and foreign and frightening to Trump and his supporters.
                The guests who we so magnanimously tolerated have now started acting like family and taking liberties, like that Mexican reporter guy who spoke out of turn and needed to be shown his place.

                And what, like you think that Indian-Americans didn’t notice and have no opinion about Piyush/ Bobby, and how easily he sneers as anchor baby immigrants? Yeah, that’s what not cool.

                All the “model” immigrants that used to bask in the warm welcoming glow of Reagan era conservatism- the Vietnamese, Chinese, Persians, Arabs, and Cubans for example- are now seeing how quickly the lines around Real America are being drawn, and how quickly and easily it is to wake up and find yourself on the wrong side.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to LWA
                Ignored
                says:

                If you had chosen his immigration policy as a starting point, this could have been avoided. But you didn’t. You chose to make his name the marker of his ethnic authenticity, his relationship to it, and his relationship with his parents.

                That’s what I was objecting to.Report

              • Avatar LWA in reply to Will Truman
                Ignored
                says:

                @will-truman
                You really think I’m being too hard on Jindal?
                Maybe. I don’t know enough about the Jindal clan to know if his choice to adopt a name from a silly sitcom amused or horrified his parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.

                I name checked Avalon but a better choice would have been “The Namesake” with Kal Penn, about an Indian-American boy who scorn his name and heritage in favor of a secular one, then learns to embrace his family history.
                Both films show that assimilation is both wonderful and excruciating, giving rise to both pride and shame.

                Us secular assimilated white people don’t really have much experience or appreciation for that. For us, choosing and slipping or off a name, a religion, an identity like a coat seems natural, but for most of the world, renouncing the name of your birth is very much a big middle finger to your entire line of ancestors.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to LWA
                Ignored
                says:

                From what I understand, he asked to be called Bobby when he was seven and that decision was honored. Nikki Haley, also mentioned, switched to a middle name her parents gave her. And some parents give their kids American names to begin with. Different people are different.

                I don’t know if you’re being too hard on Jindal generally, but I do believe you’re making assumptions about what he chose to be called – a decision commonly made – that are not warranted or justified.Report

              • Avatar aarondavid in reply to LWA
                Ignored
                says:

                You know @LWA, that is probably the most racist comment I have read here at OT. Looking at the makeup of both parties candidates, the D’s are the party of old white people. This piece by Howard Fineman pretty much says is all.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Will Truman
                Ignored
                says:

                I don’t find it odd, either, and find the focus on his name disgusting.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to LWA
                Ignored
                says:

                To be fair to Jindal and Haley, renaming themselves something more European might have also been an important part of their conversion to Christianity.

                I represent Chinese immigrants on my job. Most of them pick English names for their American born children, although they do get a bit more creative than most American born white people, and when they naturalize select an English name for themselves. In my entire career, I came across one client who selected Chinese-style personal names as the birth certificate names for his American born children. Slightly more select Chinese style names for their kids middle names on birth certificates but even that is very rare.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to LeeEsq
                Ignored
                says:

                It can also be a simple matter of having to choose between having to correct people on the pronunciation of tour name every day of your life and not having to do that.

                But let’s assign Very Deep Meaning to such things. Or have them explain so that we can decide whether they did it for acceptable reasons.

                There seems to me to be enough about Jindal that he has volunteered to suggest that he is unlikely to find a bond with most Indian-Americans to get their vote (maybe, I don’t know but it seems like a reasonable thing to think).

                But using his name as evidence of this theory – and especially as evidence of a desire to be white and disregard his parents – is foul.Report

              • Avatar LWA in reply to Will Truman
                Ignored
                says:

                @leeesq and @will-truman
                That’s exactly my point-
                Converting to Christianity, adopting a name that is easy for English speaking people to say is all part of shedding the old identity of his parents to blend in with the new adopted country.

                And there is nothing wrong with it.
                My ancestors did the same as did probably most of the people here. Barry Levenson made a terrific movie exploring the poignancy of the promise and pain of it called Avalon.

                My point is that the melting pot America is giving way to the multi-cultural America, where white Christian identity is no longer the only acceptable one.
                And that frightens a lot of people.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to LWA
                Ignored
                says:

                where white Christian identity is no longer the only acceptable one.
                And that frightens a lot of {{white Christian}} people.

                Fixed that. But also, and I think to your point, it’s frightening to non-white christians who’ve leaned into adopting that cultural identity as a (partial) payment for a ticket to ride.Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to Will Truman
                Ignored
                says:

                But using his name as evidence of this theory – and especially as evidence of a desire to be white and disregard his parents – is foul.

                That’s really twisting it; it was common (and still is) to adopt western names. There’s nothing wrong with doing that, this white washing of one’s heritage is very much a part of American heritage. New names were handed out like candy at Ellis Island.

                But becoming whiter is a white washing; it’s adapting to the local cultural norms. It’s learning English, and I won’t bother linking to David Foster Wallace on the topic of mastering English, but I could.

                I don’t think LWA’s saying these people are shameful for participating in that tradition; I hear him saying that that’s considered OK, but the opposite — going black? Going native? Not so much. Just ask Jeb! or Warren.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to zic
                Ignored
                says:

                He suggested that Jindal, by virtue of his changing of name, “decided he preferred Mr. and Mrs. Brady to his actual parents.”

                That… is just an awful thing to say. Even as a sort of hyperbolic joke. Context doesn’t help make it less awful. And I really don’t believe I am being at all uncharitable in reading the above as something less than neutral towards those who choose to go by a different name than the one their parents gave them.Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to Will Truman
                Ignored
                says:

                It can also be a simple matter of having to choose between having to correct people on the pronunciation of tour name every day of your life and not having to do that.

                And people of all sorts of heritage make the decision for that, and other obvious reasons. My grandfather Vernon Milford Cain, white small-town Iowa boy, went by “Bill” for most of his life.Report

              • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to Chris
                Ignored
                says:

                Seems weird to me. The Democrats run a major black presidential candidate, and it’s groundbreaking. The Democrats run a major female presidential candidate, and it’s groundbreaking.

                The Republicans run two prominent Hispanic presidential candidates (when the Democrats have none), and it’s ignored or dismissed.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to KatherineMW
                Ignored
                says:

                I suspect where Chris is going with it is that regardless of their personal demographic, they are going to run campaigns and govern in a way that will appeal first and foremost to white men, and that may be the only demographic that he wins (as would gave been the case with Romney if he has eeked out a victory).Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Will Truman
                Ignored
                says:

                @katherinemw I take that back, Romney won white women as well.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Will Truman
                Ignored
                says:

                See, they WERE bound to vote for him after all.Report

              • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to Will Truman
                Ignored
                says:

                I agree that any Republican candidate will likely be weak with minority voters due to both the party’s policies and its hostile tone, but I still think it’s worth noting that the Republicans may be the first major party to nominate a Hispanic presidential candidate.

                Also, where do you find exit polls that broke the vote down by a combination of race and gender (black men, black women, white women, white men)? None of the ones I’ve found do that.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Will Truman
                Ignored
                says:

                Yes, this is what I mean.Report

              • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to KatherineMW
                Ignored
                says:

                @katherinemw considering his political opinions on immigration, Ted Cruz probably reads as white to many people rather than Hispanic. He certainly doesn’t insist on emphasizing his Hispanic heritage that much and even uses the Anglo Ted. Marco Rubio is much more openly and proudly Hispanic but his political opinions are very different than the majority of most Hispanic-Americans.Report

              • Avatar LWA in reply to LeeEsq
                Ignored
                says:

                Ted Cruz reads as white most importantly to Mexicans, Hondurans, Guatemalans, and El Salvadorans.

                When conservatives talk about dirty mooching anchor baby rapist immigrants with calves the size of cantaloupes, they don’t mean Cubans.

                We really need to be thinking less in terms of Hispanics (people who speak Spanish) and more in terms of Latino (People from Latin America) or Chicano (people from Mexico).

                This is where, just as in America, race and class intertwine.
                Its not lost on anyone that light skinned Spaniards and Cubans enjoy a different class status than dark skinned Indios.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to LWA
                Ignored
                says:

                We really need to be thinking less in terms of Hispanics (people who speak Spanish) and more in terms of Latino (People from Latin America) or Chicano (people from Mexico).

                Or…and this is crazy talk, I know…we could stop seeking to subdivide and atomize people ever further.

                Maybe even go the other direction.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Glyph
                Ignored
                says:

                Glyph,

                I hear ya. But there are these things called “demographics” out there in the woild, and as long as marginal gain accrues to an individual by utilizing them (and corporations are people too!) we won’t see them going away any time soon.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Stillwater
                Ignored
                says:

                I guess. It just kind of looks like some here are saying, “Sure…but are guys named ‘Cruz’ and ‘Rubio’ Hispanic enough?”

                Heh. No True Spaniardsmen.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Glyph
                Ignored
                says:

                No True Latinosmen!!Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Glyph
                Ignored
                says:

                I almost made a comment in response to KMW about Cuban-Americans often being considered something of a special case subset of Hispanics. It’s a distinction that has long existed, and not just because historically Cuban-Americans have been more friendly to the GOP.

                There was a thing early on during Obama’s campaign where it was asked whether he was really black because he wasn’t a descendant of slaves, which itself is a bit of a distinct category. As immigration from Africa increases, it could become more of a distinction. Or it could become less of one, depending.

                I’m not sure how much of a distinction there is politically as both lean pretty heavily Democratic, though there is a sense that some of the children of immigrants might be slightly less difficult for the GOP to pick off at some point. I follow a few black non-leftwards on Twitter, and I get retweets from many more, and there seem to be a disproportionate number of children-of-immigrants (Nigerian in particular). But that opens up the immigration question, where the GOP is also struggling… so probably not soon.

                There have also long been distinctions among Asian-American immigrants, with Vietnamese being the most Republican-leaning. In any event, I don’t think there are any Real Scotsman questions there… but I don’t think they view themselves as a group the same way that African-Americans tend to (and whites, increasingly, as distinctions of Irish vs Italian vs Anglo have fallen away).

                So… yeah, it’s going to be complicated. I don’t think there is any question that Rubio, if elected, would be considered the First Hispanic President. His being Hispanic may not get him as many Latino votes as they hope. But while all partial progress will be poo-pooed by critics, any progress is progress and might help lead the party away from doing the things it does to alienate non-whites of all sorts (and by extension, some whites).Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Will Truman
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                says:

                Cubans, unlike many other immigrant groups, and Latin American groups in particular, have wielded a fair amount of political power at the local and state levels, and with Florida’s electoral college importance, even at the presidential level. Buy I don’t mean to imply that Rubio is white, or that Fiorina is a man. I’m only making a remark about whom the party’s policies represents.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to KatherineMW
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                says:

                Both parties have had women and non-white people in their primaries. If one of them gets close enough to smell the nomination, then it becomes something worth mentioning. Until then, you’re comparing apples to lawn mowers.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird in reply to KatherineMW
                Ignored
                says:

                They’re white Hispanics.Report

              • Avatar notme in reply to Jaybird
                Ignored
                says:

                They’re self loathing white Hispanics.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to notme
                Ignored
                says:

                They’re unspokenly passionate self-loathing white Hispanics.Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Michael Drew
                Ignored
                says:

                Like I said, the underlying cause of the Donald Trump phenomenon doesn’t explain why it’s specifically Donald Trump occupying that position right now, or why he’s doing so surprisingly well. You’re right that that’s largely about entertainment.

                But entertainment is one thing. People are saying they want to vote for him. They wouldn’t be saying that if he weren’t entertainingly sooting off on stuff they want to hear said.

                The next exponents of the policy space Trump is occupying might not be so memorable, so their numbers might not be so inflated. But they’ll be around. Will the party take them seriously? If not, the party will be susceptible to the next guy who comes down the pike and wants to make a big show of how the GOP is not serving a big part of its natural constituency.

                So you’re right that the full, crazy frothiness of the Trump phenomenon is a lot about who he is. But he would not be able to do what he was doing if the policy space he’s doing it in weren’t so underrepresented by figures with real currency in the party, rather than has-beens like Santorum or Huckabee (neither of whom are nearly as “strong” on immigration as Trump is anyway).Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Michael Drew
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                says:

                But entertainment is one thing. People are saying they want to vote for him. They wouldn’t be saying that if he weren’t entertainingly sooting off on stuff they want to hear said.

                Why wouldn’t they? What would it cost them to do so? Nothing, right? But they get a few more days or weeks or, god help us, months of Trumptastic Trumpmania. I see no reason to think that summer of ’15 polls about the ’15 primaries are taken all that seriously by the likely Republican primary voter respondents. Right now it’s just a matter of who makes them feel warm and fuzzy, and it doesn’t really matter why he or she makes them feel warm and fuzzy. If they pull levers for him in any number above the “19 year old troll” or “42 year old and high as fuck, and this shit is hilarious” representation in the party, then we’ll talk.Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Michael Drew
                Ignored
                says:

                No, I’m not going to accept that test.

                Trump is too unserious for a lot of people to ultimately be able to cast a vote for for president.

                But that doesn’t mean that the current support being expressed for him is only about his entertainment value, and not a fair amount about the fact that he offers a profile of positions that is underrepresented by (reasonably attractive) candidates compared to its prevalence in the GOP voting coalition.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Michael Drew
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                says:

                I’m sure there are actually a fair number of reasons why people say they’d vote for Trump, or Deez Nuts for that matter. They don’t like the party, they don’t like the political system, they like reality TV and this looks a lot like a reality TV show, complete, as Will’s crowd-size link shows, with selective editing by the producers (that is, the press), and maybe they just know who Trump is and liked it when he used to fire people on NBC. I can probably rattle off another dozen or so potential reasons, too. I see no reason to think, “They said they’ll vote for him, so it’s gotta be policy” is a defensible position, empirically.Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Chris
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                says:

                What’s a defensible reason for concluding that anyone who says she’ll vote for someone says so because of policy?

                From where I sit, the fact that the support that his positions enjoy(anti-immigration, anti-cutting-entitlements, willing to say an unwise war was an unwise war) dwarfs the support that the positions of the conventional candidates that the party throws its weight behind have (more pro-immigration, pro-cutting-entitlements, dug in on Iraq) is prima facie empirical evidence that that issue profile has something to do with his support. Even if the issue profile is partly just a means of establishing difference with the rest of the party, so as to give him something to display his bombast over. It still speaks to policy views that are under-spoken-for by the other leading candidates.

                It’s hardly a slam-dunk that Trump is all about the issue territory he has staked out and not about his personality (I’m not arguing that, and I think Yglesias is pretty nuts go so far as to suggest that someone milder than Trump with the same positions might be doing even better than he is). But I think it’s more than enough empirical evidence that issue positioning shouldn’t be thrown off the table as a likely cause of a significant part of the phenomenon.

                Have you read the Chait and Yglesias pieces?Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Michael Drew
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                says:

                I have not, but I generally don’t read either of them.

                I wonder, do the polls that ask the election questions ask any other questions besides the basic demographic stuff?Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Chris
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                says:

                Not sure what you mean exactly by “the polls that ask the election questions,” but also don’t really know what all polls ask. They ask a lot of opinion questions, but not always the same ones that are asking about candidate support.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Michael Drew
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                says:

                I meant the “who would you vote for if the election were held today” sorts of polls that show Trump leading.

                I dug into the data that the other Vox article (the one Yglesias got the chart from) uses, and it’s interesting. If you look at self-identified Republicans only, about 51% favor a decrease in immigration, either big (28%) or little (23%), while about 39% want to keep it the same, and 9% want it increased either a little or a lot. It’s pretty much 51-49 decrease to stay/increase. Social security is much different, of course: 11% decrease, 37% increase, and 52% stay the same.

                Using Yglesias’ data, his point hinges entirely on people voting on social security. Which, you know, a lot of Republicans are old, so maybe that’s the case, but it seems a bit of a stretch, particularly given this (what is the most important issues for our country, just for Republicans), which suggests that even immigration may be a stretch, as an explanation:

                1. Taxes 18 1.7%
                2. Education 21 2.0%
                3. Terrorism 22 2.1%
                4. Economy 452 43.5%
                6. Healthcare 52 5.0%
                7. Jobs 152 14.6%
                8. Foreign policy 7 0.7%
                9. Race relations 2 0.2%
                10. Environment 5 0.5%
                11. Immigration 34 3.3%
                12. Situation in afghanistan 8 0.8%
                13. Energy 20 1.9%
                14. Other (please specify): 79 7.6%
                15. Federal deficit 168 16.2%
                Total 1040Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Chris
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                says:

                That is interesting.

                Economy always dominates those lists, and yet it’s not always what defines primary campaigns – what the people who are most mobilized in them are mobilized over. But it’s a fair point.

                At the same time, Trump has what the party has recently been putting forth as its solution on the economy anyway: get a guy in there who knows business, has succeeded in business (hello. billionaire.), “kicks ass in the private sector” etc. That’s what they tried to do with Romney, except Romney also tried to be a real politician, too (because he wanted to win, and because he actually is one). And, Bush was the CEO president. Or at least the MBA president. Trump is presenting the unvarnished version of that pitch. Negotiator-in-chief: he’ll get the deal done and it’ll be a good deal.

                So it’s not clear Trump has a liability on the economy vis-a-vis the rest of this field, in particular with the way the GOP has approached that issue (thus conditioned its base’s expectations) recently.Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Michael Drew
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                says:

                The other critical thing to understand: in a lot of people’s minds immigration is wrapped up in the economy, as an issue. “Our economic problems stem from too much immigration!” Or nationalism: “China’s taking our jobs!”

                Trump is directly speaking to these concerns. He’ll go to China and get a super classy deal so they’ll …I don’t know what they’ll do. Buy more of our stuff, whatever. Doesn’t matter. He’ll kick their asses.

                …But: in the service of the American economy; of the economic well-being of Americans. So a lot of what Trump says, which we might hear as proto-fascist American nationalism, is heard by receptive people as speaking to their personal economic concerns. (And it’s ever been thus with xenophobic nationalism.) This is part of the reason the guy who made in the chart in the Chait/Yglesias pieces chose immigration and Social Security. They’re not two randomly chosen issues. They go right to the heart of the economic insecurities of the self-perceived economically fragile, nationalistic voter that the GOP establishment (and the Dems aren’t doing a bang-up job either) isn’t reaching right now – the Trump voter.

                Sometimes I wonder whether a Biden entry might not be the thing that could prick the Trump bubble just enough. Sanders ought to be able to do it (and if not for Sanders, who knows, maybe the Trump numbers might even be a little bigger), but I think he’s just a little too consciously lefty to pick up any of this particular group of voters (even though Sanders voters are certainly concerned with economic insecurity, and are not completely without their own kind of nationalism.) But I think Biden is culturally closer to some of the more loosely-attached Trump supporters, and despite his record on bankruptcy, when he gets out there speaks to economic insecurity tinged with nationalist identity as well as just about any Democrat of his generation.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Michael Drew
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                says:

                I dunno. I mean, we can rationalize it to get it to fit the narrative however we want, but unless we’re to believe that Trump leads on the basis of social security, I see no reason to believe that Yglesias’ argument derives from any source other than his derrière and some cherry picking of numbers.Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Chris
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                says:

                The argument would be that he leads on the basis of giving voice to a segment of the electorate that is seeking more economic security, and is quite open to arguments that things like immigration and offshoring and other governments taking out lunch money are harming it – plus a bunch of people who are just flat-out immigration cranks who aren’t getting what they want from the party.

                If you’re concerned about economic security, cutting the retirement safety net is gonna be kind of a drag on your willingness to support the establishment. So that creates an opening for someone to present an alternative there (is the argument about Social Securty). And then there’s this guy presenting all these easy solutions for “Making America Great Again” (translation in this opera: “Making You Feel Economically Secure Again.”)

                You don’t have to think that immigration per se is the most important issue to be attracted to the way Trump presents fighting against immigration as a way to address your primary concern: your own economic wellbeing, along with a grab bag of other easy solutions he’ll provide.

                Plus, he’s entertaining.Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Michael Drew
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                says:

                I’ll give you this much, Chris: think there are potential Sanders supporters out there right now who are currently responding to Trump largely because Trump is more attention-grabbing and just more fun to watch than Sanders is.

                But what he’s saying substantively (I know, it’s not very substantive, but the issues he is giving attention to, and to some event the simplistic things he says about them) is not irrelevant to why they would move from giving Sanders a hearing to thinking that Trump seems to have (even) more confidence about what he’d do to address some of the same basic concerns.Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Michael Drew
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                says:

                Well that would certainly suggest that some of the appeal of Sanders’ anti-outsourcing rhetoric is a result of the xenophobia, or worse, of some of his supporters, then.Report

              • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Michael Drew
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                says:

                Right – and compared to many Dems he’s downright Jacksonian on natl security – recall his 2012 convention speech and the cases of the vapors it gave to pacifistic intellectuals…Report

              • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Michael Drew
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                says:

                Reihan Salam’s piece on what “real” Trumpism might look like is also quite useful (tweeted it y-day, but you may’ve missed it): http://t.co/krBcQ1ZSMu

                In one or another grand scheme of things, “when the dust settles” (and that settling dust includes you and me), the result of this latest “most important election ever” will also likely “have meant nothing.” That even in more conventional senses, the life horizons of the broad majority, our elections may seem to mean nothing or virtually nothing, is what opens them, especially in the pre-season, to the likes of Trump.

                I’ve generally taken the same position Chris has on Trump, but, when we refer to “Trump” or the meaning of Trump, we’re referring to several different phenomena simultaneously – as we are when we refer to the “conservative base,” or the Republican “base”: There is no one, coherent, organized American right or, different thing, populist or Trump “base.”

                In one sense, as most writers, like Tod, will acknowledge early on, Trump appears to have no real political prospects. In that sense his candidacy seems to reduce to “entertainment” or “distraction” – and support for him, as we say, chiefly comes down to sending a “message” – something like “fuck all y’all” to the establishment and its established way of doing things and interpreting messages.
                But a message isn’t meaningless. That’s a contradiction in terms. A message is meaningful. It expresses something. Part of this message is exactly the same sincere frustration over its own lack of practical effect to this point and in all likely circumstances. The very fact that it is dismissed by “reasonable” people leads those for whom it is expressive, reasonably or not, to insist on its being heard and being taken to be significant. Eventually, such frustration can become practical-politically very significant.

                I still believe as I’ve been maintaining all along that the reason Trump keeps coming up is that his campaign is the current focus of frustrated American nationalism, or reactionary nationalism – which tends to overlap with but is not the same as white nationalism, and is an “identity issue.”

                Perot, Buchanan, the Tea Party all had somewhat similar shapes, but Trumpism serves as “identity-implicating” even-especially for those who despise Trump and his followers, and their predecessors, since the existence of the Trump campaign is an embarrassment to their own identity ideals. They want to believe or would very much like to believe that America is or could be something greater, and instead we’re getting this (see below) lousy hat. It’s not a classy hat. It’s a hat for a loser. Only a slob would wear that hat, and only a loser slob would support it, and only a loser slob un-classy un-great country would waste any time on it.Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to CK MacLeod
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                says:

                Pretty much agree with @ck-macleod here, especially on the point that you can always extend the timeline long enough to produce meaninglessness if that’s an imperative for you. Trump will not will the nomination. But if merely that reduces him to meaninglessness, then a lot else is reduced to meaninglessness with him (which, in fairness, is a legitimate position to take wrt presidential primary elections, if that’s your position).

                I am having a hard time picking up whom CK is speaking for on the hat at the end there. The people who dig Trump’s exclusionary pro-Americanism (or just his, well not his, pro-Americanism, and would like it not to be exclusionary), or just basically himself.

                I would say not to worry too much about Trump’s effect on the sentiment for the country to be great. He’s exploiting that right now, but people in this country, maybe not enough of them but many, will always want for it to be great, and will be willing to do serious work to try to make it great. Trump won’t permanently stain that with his unclassy hat. Also, you’re always going to have to deal with a good segment of the people who want America to be great wearing unclasp hats. That is what they actually wear in real life. (That’s why they like Trump’s hat.) Let them have the hat. We just need them to back away from the racism and xenophobia. Which will never happen in full unfortunately (because it is at the heart of a certain amount of the concrete policy foundation of Trumpism), but which will ebb and be brought once the Trump phenomenon passes.

                But we have to deal with the fact that it’s there, and that’s why Trumpism matters. It shows us the worse angels of our nature, even of some of those who do genuinely want America to be great. So the rest of us who want that have to try to help us all find our better angels.Report

              • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Michael Drew
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                says:

                Michael Drew: I am having a hard time picking up whom CK is speaking for on the hat at the end there. The people who dig Trump’s exclusionary pro-Americanism (or just his, well not his, pro-Americanism, and would like it not to be exclusionary), or just basically himself.

                Am saying that even the people who despise Trump, including even many on the left who would be happy never to hear from or of him again, and who do not think of themselves as especially nationalistic, certainly not jingoistic, feel implicated as a matter of identity, consciously or not. Even many who feel certain about his or the campaign’s practical insignificance feel compelled to comment – defending their ideal against him/it.Report

              • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to CK MacLeod
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                says:

                Yes. That’s certainly true.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chris
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                says:

                Chris,

                Man, for someone who started out by saying how silly it is to talk about Trump (basically saying “there’s nothing to see here!”) it’s good to see you coming over to the dark side. 🙂Report

              • Avatar Chris in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                I’m talking about people talking about Trump. 😉

                Seriously, though, that’s what I find most interesting. Not Trump, but the obsession, on both sides of the mainstream political divide, with figuring out what Trump means. Everyone’s tossing bones into blood and reading the angles, and I find the why of that fascinating.

                Also, it gave me a chance to quote one my favorite poemsReport

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Chris
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                says:

                Chris,

                Oh, I hear ya. And given your training and such I get what you’re sayin in a way big way. But that’s the nature of politics, yeah? I mean, on a first order level you might think there’s nothing unusual or interesting here, but the fact that other people think Something Important is taking place makes it interesting at a whole nother level, which indirectly reinforces the view that (to quote from Twin Peaks) “Something IS happening, isn’t it, Margaret?”Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to Chris
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                says:

                Everyone’s tossing bones into blood and reading the angles, and I find the why of that fascinating.

                Yup. It’s all meta for me; the other conversation’s boring and predictable. From a media perspective, it’s crucial to construct a coherent narrative; so mine’s that Trump is Coyote; his hair looks like hair on an old coyote head in deep winter. He gambles. He plays the game, not to win or lose, he’s got no deep commitment to right or wrong, but to the ongoing changing of the odds. So not only does Trump look like Coyote, he owns casinos.

                So my narrative is what good does he bring; because before Coyote slinks off in shame, he usually manages to do some good before he screws things up and makes a fool of himself.

                My prediction remains that this time next month, when we’re talking about the new Pope that’s come to town, we will look back on Trumpmania like a bad case of Chia-Pet-Rock Syndrome that we’d rather not talk about because it’s a little-bit cheesy.

                That’s the clowns job; to help us see ourselves more clearly; and that’s how I read the omens and portents.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater in reply to zic
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                says:

                zic,

                Yup. It’s all meta for me;

                What if all politics is meta? (I mean, we just had a very intelligent person on this site say – not unreasonably – that a lil bit a politically motivated lying is necessary to get people to pay attention, ya know?)

                Adding: by way of contrast, policy, strictly speaking, is not meta.Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to Stillwater
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                says:

                I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently; not sure where I’ll go with it.

                I think the difficult thing here is that politics is the art of the possible; a game of probabilities; sometimes, it’s better to accept compromise (and so tossing somebody under the bus) that keeps potential open instead of fighting a short-term battle that, while it can be fought, diminishes potential probabilities. Many examples, but Hillary’s acceptance of the plight of women in Saudi Arabia spring to mind; she’s been widely criticized for not criticizing the Saudi’s treatment of women. Yet the’ve just achieved the right to vote there, and her condemnation might have foreclosed that outcome.

                So politics is about the meta.

                I updated Going Rogue with the video. Amongst a whole lot of mutual butt-kissing, I heard Donald Trump say (and reinforce with images of broken bridges ) that our public infrastructure was going to hell, and we needed to fix it.

                If Trump opened that conversation up with the GOP, I’d be pretty grateful.

                It’s creating options.

                His wall, on the other hand, seems insurmountable, in a politically-meta way. He won’t make it over that one.Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to zic
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                says:

                @zic I think you had me for a moment… but then you went way, way too far with that football.

                FTR, I agree that you can only do what you can do — especially when it comes to foreign relations. That leaders hold their tongue about the cultures of allies that we might find backward is fairly universal throughout history and nation, and is absolutely necessary. But when we start moving all the way to, “not doing anything to help oppressed people was really a secret, clever plan to help oppressed people,” I think we’re in that territory where we’re just telling ourselves stuff to make ourselves feel better about the lot we’ve thrown in with.

                I’m pretty sure that every person who might say that HRC being OK (or at least looking the other way) with the Saudi’s treatment of women was awesome 3-dimensional chess to help those women thought no such thing about GWB when he did the same.Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to Tod Kelly
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                says:

                You know that there’s been studying of this topic, and I’m not just pondering thin air to weave pretty pictures to please myself?Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to zic
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                says:

                Well, is that the story you were telling yourself during the Bush years?

                If it was, then point absolutely conceded.Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to Tod Kelly
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                says:

                Well, I think GWB had other priorities with the Saudi government that merit their own inspection. As SOS, Clinton was specifically criticized for her lack of condemnation.

                Now that Saudi women are registering to vote for the first time, Clinton’s actions will be reconsidered in the light of that progress. I have read some argument that she would have foreclosed that by inciting religious extremists if she had been more publicly forceful; I don’t know if they hold merit; but that has been the trend in the region recently. This is progress in a far, far better direction.Report

              • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to zic
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                says:

                That last point is certainly true.

                That this is a thing brought up in a thread about Donal Trump is also a really good indicator that we seriously need more women writers here.

                That’s the kind of news that someone should be doing whole posts on, and it shouldn’t always be “zic’s job.” Not that any of us boyos that are already here couldn’t do it, obviously. But in the same way that Saul is going to have a better sense for possible Jewish news and issues that fly under the rest of our radars, more women writers here would better get this kind of important news talked about, I think.Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to Tod Kelly
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                says:

                I’ve ordered the book, I’ll probably write about it in terms of current events as I read it; but I’m in no hurry to tackle this project; too early in the election cycle; maybe after I return from a trip to Europe in the fall.Report

              • Avatar Glyph in reply to Chris
                Ignored
                says:

                You are an obsession
                You’re my Trumpsession
                Who do you want me to be
                To make you vote for meReport

      • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Stillwater
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        says:

        I assume that sort of thing is skewering rather than copying click bait headline techniques.

        I’m as guilty of anyone of this political-intellectual equivalent of bingeing on salt-and-vinegar potato chips: like reading and writing about Trump, S&V chips are absolutely putrid and you somehow can’t stop once you start until the entire product has been consumed and you feel bloated yet unnourished and you’re more than a little ashamed of yourself.Report

  13. Avatar Stillwater
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    says:

    What Trump’s candidacy has shown is that all that base really wants is someone to shout, act outraged, make fun of people who have more money/power/education than they have, and spout politically incorrect wisecracks about women and minorities on live television and Twitter.

    That’s an interesting – and ironic! – take on the issue since it seems to me that what the base really wants is for someone to cut thru the bullshit which comprises 99%+ of political and pundit rhetoric coupled with latching on to a candidate who doesn’t blatantly pander to them (or anyone else!). What they see in Trump, seems to me, is a person who can play politics at the highest levels levels without kowtowing to PC pressure, or the Establishment, or the liebrul media, or any of that.

    And to follow up on why it’s ironic: the fact that you feel comfortable drawing really harsh conclusions about Trump supporters based solely on your own perceptions of Trump rather than theirs strikes me as exactly what makes them support him.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Stillwater
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      says:

      @stillwater This comment may not make a whole lot of sense, but it is sort of where my mind is at the moment.

      You know that hat that he’s hawking? “Make America Great Again!”

      I love that hat. That is a great hat. If it did not have the particular association that it does with that campaign, I would totally want that hat. I can’t even explain why I love that hat. If you’re thinking it’s ironic, it’s not. I just love the oomph of that hat. The whole “America, F&#% Yeah!” of it. The nerve it touches that says “Things don’t have to be this way! They can be great! Yeah!” Now, “make America great” is associated implicitly and/or historically with all sorts of bad things. Viscerally? I don’t care! Not one bit.

      Now, you may want to tell me that liking that had makes me a crypto-fascist, that I explictly or implicitly support fascism by being attracted to that hat, a part of me is “Hey! Screw you!!” Viscerals, baby! Viscerals! (But only a part, more below.)

      And to be double-dog clear, I am not mocking this feeling. I feel it, at least in my own way. Though not to Trump in the least little bit. I don’t like him in my head, and I don’t like him in my heart. His hat resonates with me, but he does not. But I can sort of see someone looking at Trump like I look at that hat. And as long as it’s not really serious-serious like they’re actually going to try to make him the Leader Of The Free World, then at least a part of me is all “bygones.”

      As cool as that hat is, and as much as I might buy that hat, I would likely not wear that hat in public. Not where people would see except for people who know me and know what I am and am not. Because I don’t want potential consequences of that hat. I don’t want fascism, crypto or otherwise. I would be careful about the application of that hat.

      So where I am right now is wondering how many of his supporters want the hat because it speaks to them in a particular way and would mostly where it while mowing the lawn or telling a pollster who they would vote for… and how many want to wear the hat to State Dinners? Because wearing the hat in some circumstances is mostly harmless if irritating. But in others, I have a different reaction altogether.Report

      • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Will Truman
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        says:

        I just love the oomph of that hat. The whole “America, F&#% Yeah!” of it. The nerve it touches that says “Things don’t have to be this way! They can be great! Yeah!” Now, “make America great” is associated implicitly and/or historically with all sorts of bad things. Viscerally? I don’t care! Not one bit.

        @will-truman

        To the contrary, it’s a very negative hat. It says, “America is not great,” or “America is no longer great.” Has Trump ever revealed when America was last in his opinion great? Has he specified what set of conditions or what achievement of which objectives would qualify for him and ought to count for us as a restoration of that former greatness?Report

        • Avatar Will Truman in reply to CK MacLeod
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          says:

          It does make that acknowledgement, but in the same way that Reagan’s Morning in America implied darkness. A necessary concession. If we must concede that America has lost at least some of its greatness, it captures the sense that things don’t have to be this way because we’re America (F$@% Yeah).

          Surprisingly, Trump is light on the details of how he would restore our glory. And I fear that he may not actually get around to doing so.Report

          • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to Will Truman
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            says:

            “Morning in America” never implied that during the dark night America had ceased being great. Nor is having “lost at least some of its greatness” the same as no longer being great. Now, I understand it’s just a slogan, and that it is meant to appeal to the emotions, but it is on his head all of the time, and you say you love it, and his followers seem to love it. If I were one of his opponents I would be preparing or already be giving an “What do you mean ‘make America great again’? – America is great, don’t listen to the naysayers, let’s make her even greater” speech.

            Incidentally, it’s not just a negative hat, but to my eye it also looks like the kind of hat you could make by yourself with a hobby kit. It’s not a good hatReport

            • Avatar Will Truman in reply to CK MacLeod
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              says:

              The iron kit thing is part of its charm.Report

            • Avatar zic in reply to CK MacLeod
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              says:

              It’s the kind of hat one expects in a swag bag, the kind that you bring home, don’t bother to throw away immediately, and then keeps collecting dust and dirt and getting moved from corner to corner of your coat closet, until finally, years later, you throw it in the trash in a “What was I thinking?” cleansing.Report

              • Avatar CK MacLeod in reply to zic
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                says:

                The only good thing about the hat is what’s worst about it: the fact that its ironically iron-on-ical message is self-reflexively true. The fact that so many people in America are paying attention to the slob in a hat that isn’t classy at all seems to confirm that, in fact, there is something less than great about us. It’s very sad and not classy.

                It may be somewhat comforting to note how really easy it will be to restore our greatness in this respect, by consigning the slob and his hat to the historical recycling bin, but that will still leave an exploitable deficit in our political system, as a potential at the right conjuncture for a more serious individual sensing a more serious opportunity, not just for message-sending but for power-taking (and score-settling). In a way, that is what Reagan did, but the next Reagan may not be a whole lot like the last Reagan. She or he might even be as mean and not classy as Trump.Report

              • Avatar zic in reply to CK MacLeod
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                says:

                It all depends on what you mean by classy.Report

        • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to CK MacLeod
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          says:

          @ck-macleod

          Unsurprisingly, and to Will’s reference, Trump has indeed told us that – at least when America last was great. It was when the last guy who told us he would make us great again was around. The Reagan era.

          Which is hardly surprising, as it was Trump’s absolute personal high-water mark (other than now, and I actually don’t think now is his high-water mark, for him).Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Will Truman
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        says:

        @will-truman

        Seth Stevenson at Slate correctly noted that Trump’s hate takes a Reaganism and makes it more bossy/commanding and less inclusive.Report

      • Avatar veronica d in reply to Will Truman
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        says:

        You know that hat that he’s hawking? “Make America Great Again!”

        I love that hat. That is a great hat. If it did not have the particular association that it does with that campaign, I would totally want that hat. I can’t even explain why I love that hat. If you’re thinking it’s ironic, it’s not. I just love the oomph of that hat. The whole “America, F&#% Yeah!” of it. The nerve it touches that says “Things don’t have to be this way! They can be great! Yeah!” Now, “make America great” is associated implicitly and/or historically with all sorts of bad things. Viscerally? I don’t care! Not one bit.

        Funny thing, I felt this way about Obama. I mean, I like to think I’m realistic. I did not expect him to usher in a new age of peace or anything. But I thought that, on the whole, he was a great thing for this country.

        I still think that, on the whole.Report

      • Avatar Lurker in reply to Will Truman
        Ignored
        says:

        If you could see the invisible print -which many people can, and we all recognize subconsciously- the hat would say “Make America Great, i.e. More Racist, More Homophobic, More Classist, More Transphobic, More Misogynistic, More Xenophobic, Again!”Report

      • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Will Truman
        Ignored
        says:

        Trumwill,

        That whole comment makes lots of sense to me, especially given the last paragraph. That’s the pudding where you find the ever elusive proof, yeah? And obvs we’ll see about that. I mean, sitting here right now it’s hard to imagine a majority of voters wanting to wear that hat at a State Dinner, or a dinner with International Guests, and so on. But … well … ya just never know, ya know? And personally, I don’t think it’d be the worst thing in the world. Seems to me that if nothing else it’d show us what the rest of the world already knows thinks about us: that we aren’t opposed to electing yahoos to our highest offices. (American Exceptionalism, baby!)Report

  14. Avatar zic
    Ignored
    says:

    @tod-kelly you know, the Pope’s coming to town:

    In a few weeks, Pope Francis will visit our fair land, a fitting pivot from the Summer of Trump, closing out a gluttonous episode of narcissism, rudeness, frivolity and xenophobia. For all that the orangutan-haired vulgarian has done to elevate the worst human traits a public figure can have, Francis is the anti-Trump. He has more power, media magnetism and authenticity in his lone functioning lung than Donald Trump has in his entire empire of ego.

    Report

    • Avatar zic in reply to zic
      Ignored
      says:

      @katherinemw this is the event, I think, that cleans house. The Pope’s visit in September, when the vapors of hot summer abate.Report

      • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to zic
        Ignored
        says:

        Pope Bienvenue is rapidly becoming one of my favourite world leaders.Report

        • Avatar dhex in reply to KatherineMW
          Ignored
          says:

          a man who is vastly rich and powerful in inherited wealth and related trappings…leveraging the vast weight of an organization that has persisted in also being incredibly rich and powerful for thousands of years because of the imagination and fear of millions upon millions of people…is the anti-trump?

          huh.

          the next time someone says “ugh marketing is stupid” i’ll just point at pope frank.Report

    • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to zic
      Ignored
      says:

      I will go on record saying the pope’s visit won’t mean s–t as far as the presidential race goes. But then Trump could begin to fade a week or a month or three months later, and you’ll be able to claim that was the reason, nothing I can do about that. Won’t make it true, though.Report

  15. Avatar John Howard Griffin
    Ignored
    says:

    Mr. Kelly, are you referring to

    Bernie Saunders (born June 21, 1956 in Montreal, Quebec) is a retired Canadian professional ice hockey right winger who played two seasons in the National Hockey League for the Quebec Nordiques.

    or are you referring to

    Bernard “Bernie” Sanders (born September 8, 1941) is an American politician who currently serves as the junior United States Senator from Vermont.

    I’d call out your Freudian girdle right there, but I’m not sure what it means.Report

  16. Avatar John Howard Griffin
    Ignored
    says:

    Mr. Kelly, I agree with a lot of what you have written, but disagree with some really big points.

    1. Trump is not unique, at all. The path was paved by a certain half-term, reality-show star named Palin. Consider their similarities for a moment.

    2. I think everything Trump does is by looking at things like they are a Deal, and he is always trying to get the better end of any Deal.

    3. An argument could be made that Lord Magnus von Supremus von Reaganus was one of the earlier ones that started paving this path. He was an ACTOR for fish’s sake! That’s all he knew how to do (and badly, at that).Report

  17. Avatar zic
    Ignored
    says:

    zic: Trump is Coyote; his hair looks like hair on an old coyote head in deep winter. He gambles. He plays the game, not to win or lose, he’s got no deep commitment to right or wrong, but to the ongoing changing of the odds. So not only does Trump look like Coyote, he owns casinos.

    So my narrative is what good does he bring; because before Coyote slinks off in shame, he usually manages to do some good before he screws things up and makes a fool of himself.

    @tod-kelly I think Ross Douthat and I might agree. He’s describing Coyote, too, though he doesn’t use the word:

    Which is where Trump comes in. So far he’s running against the Republican establishment in a more profound way than the Tea Party, challenging not just deviations from official conservative principle but the entire post-Reagan conservative matrix. He can wax right wing on immigration one moment and promise to tax hedge fund managers the next. He’ll attack political correctness and then pledge to protect entitlements. He can sound like Pat Buchanan on trade and Bernie Sanders on health care. He regularly attacks the entire Iraq misadventure, in its Bush-era and Obama-era manifestations alike, in a way that neither mainstream Republicans nor Hillary Clinton can plausibly manage.

    snip

    He won’t [fight his fellow elites and win], of course, but it matters a great deal how he loses. In a healthy two-party system, the G.O.P. would treat Trump’s strange success as evidence that the party’s basic orientation may need to change substantially, so that it looks less like a tool of moneyed interests and more like a vehicle for middle American discontent.

    Report

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