Gets My Vote for Best Polit-Junkie Think-Piece of 2015


CK MacLeod

WordPresser: Writing since ancient times, blogging, e-commercing, and site installing-designing-maintaining since 2001.

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13 Responses

  1. Avatar Tod Kelly says:

    I still don’t think he’ll get the nod, in no small part because I still don’t think he wants to be the nominee. But the “25-30%” is either a little behind the times or wishful thinking. He’s been polling in the mid to high 30s nationally for a while now, and the most recent one I’ve seen has him at 41%. Obviously, that 41 might or might not turn out to be n aberration, but as everything I’ve seen written about him over the past half year has incorrectly described anything remotely going Trump’s way as a aberration whose bottom was likely to fall out in that current week, well…

    As I said, I still don’t think he gets the nod. But from high teens to 41% in 6 months doesn’t seem so “nothing to see here.” It clearly means something.Report

    • Avatar KatherineMW says:

      I agree that it’s not “nothing to see here”. I wish it was.

      Suppport levels in the high-20s in September/October are meaningless. But now? With at least a third of the vote, six weeks away from the first primaries, and with no close competitors? It’s getting harder to believe that this is just a flash in the pan. It’s going from annoying farce to genuine danger.Report

      • Avatar CK MacLeod says:

        Well, I did hedge a bit: “close to,” “final message.” Plus “nothing to see here…” was not meant as an absolute measurement even within narrow bounds. Obviously, we all think there are some things to see in the phenomenon.

        I still don’t see the Trump candidacy as “genuine danger.” At most, I’d put at it approaching the upper limits of “not to be considered genuine danger.”

        Trump’s “vote” – that is, his standing in the polls – is at its highest point right now, put at 33% in the RCP poll of polls:

        He seems to be the immediate beneficiary of the decline of Carson – an even more unlikely figure, also for a time a serviceable message-candidate from the despised masses to their betters, more like the 2012 flashes-in-the-pan. The proximity of the San Bernardino atrocity and his related negative PR coup no doubt helped.

        Though the main point of this OTC was to commend the article to the attention of people who like that kind of thing, I do think McLaughlin does an excellent job of explaining how Trump specifically got where he is and why the R candidates – along with the rest of the American political class and intelligentsia – were and remain unable to find the magic spell to make him disappear, in this period before political dangers are genuinely genuine. On the last note, OG Saunders might be right that real people are already being harmed, or he may be exaggerating, or it may be that that degree of harm might be one price of a having a free society and a pre-primary system controlled by mass opinion.Report

  2. Avatar Francis says:

    I confess I didn’t follow the logic of his demise. It seemed to assume that as other candidates drop out Trump won’t collect their voters. But so far I see no evidence that’s true. This week, Cruz is surging. But can he surge past Trump? That very much remains to be seen.

    And if Trump, Rubio, Cruz and Others persistently split votes cast 35 / 20 / 20 / 25, then it would seem to me that Trump should be the one piling up the delegates, especially in winner take all states.

    Anyhow, it should be an interesting winter.Report

  3. You had me at baseballcrank. But then you lost me at federalist.

    Seriously, how many times does Ben Domenech have to be a complete disgrace before he goes the hell away for good?Report

    • Avatar CK MacLeod says:

      Domenech’s darkly speckled past aside, he’s a smart commentator, and the Federalist publishes interesting work. His piece on Trump and white identity politics as a challenge to Republican conservatism was also one of the better analyses of the Trump phenomenon published this year. In a crucial way, he agreed more with Katherine and Tod than with McLaughlin:

      The phenomenon is real, and the danger Trump presents for the Republican Party is real. Even without winning the GOP nomination, which is still a remote possibility at best, his statements have tapped into a widespread anger that has the potential to transform the Republican Party in significant ways. Ultimately, Trump presents a choice for the Republican Party about which path to follow: a path toward a coalition that is broad, classically liberal, and consistent with the party’s history, or a path toward a coalition that is reduced to the narrow interests of identity politics for white people.

      He ended the piece on a pessimistic note:

      A classically liberal right is actually fairly uncommon in western democracies, requiring as it does a coalition that synthesizes populist tendencies and directs such frustrations toward the cause of limited government. Only the United States and Canada have successfully maintained one over an extended period. Now the popularity of Donald Trump suggests ours may be going away.

      Plenty on the Left seem ready to join Trump or his followers on this path, while sincerely believing they have the complete opposite in mind. Speaking of the Left, David Niewert’s historical analysis was more substantial than Domenech’s, but crucially in agreement on the main theme – so more support for Tod and Katherine –

      Trump may not be fascist, but he is empowering their existing elements in American society; even more dangerously, his Tea Party brand of right-wing populism is helping them grow their ranks, along with their potential to recruit, by leaps and bounds. Not only that, he is making all this thuggery and ugliness seem normal. And that IS a serious problem.

      A little too ideological for my tastes, however, and not really aimed at “political junkies,” which was the category for this “award.”Report

      • Avatar dragonfrog says:

        “Say what you want about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it’s an ethos.”

        If that second quote is meant to refer to Canada’s last decade of Reform-a-Tory Conservative government, I don’t know that I’d characterize it as enduringly “classically liberal”

        I mean, yes, they tore furiously at many of the areas of government that aim to do good – environmental protection, financial regulation, anything resembling rehabilitation of prisoners, science, demographic analysis, protection of human rights, etc. So limited government, sort of.

        Except that they also weren’t that big on the civil rights thing that I understand to be part of “classical liberalism” – it doesn’t go very well with the “tough on crime” thing. They worked hard to invent lots of new crimes to be tough on, and to increase the invasiveness of government at its most maximal – the incarceration of humans – in terms of percentage of the population so invaded, duration of invasion, and intensity of invasiveness.

        And they bent branches of government that weren’t meant for the purpose, into tools of invasiveness – notably the PMO directing the revenue agency to target its audits toward NGOs whose political directions were opposed to Conservative party priorities.Report

  4. Avatar fuster says:

    Trump’s candidacy will simply blow away like the fart in a wind storm that it isReport

  5. Avatar miguel cervantes says:

    well seeing as political forecasting has proven William Goldman right ‘no one knows nothing’, I doubt he will fade away, our own would be Silvio is typical of a time, when a leader has used the constitution as a scouring pad, rewriting law by diktat, capitulating to the Persians, to the priests of Moloch et al,Report

  6. Avatar miguel cervantes says:

    as opposed to which publication, hold such a sterling record, Carlos Slim’s organ grinders, the baby Voxers,
    Bezo’s spread sheet, how about the Sinaloa Chamber of Commerce newsletter, (The Times, Vox, Washington Post and Rolling Stone,) in that orderReport