Jeff Greenfield: Stopping Trump: The Nuclear Option – Politico

CK MacLeod

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35 Responses

  1. Name says:

    “frontal attack on his character and temperament”
    would come off as support.Report

    • Chris in reply to Name says:

      I was just thinking that stooping to insults, as appears to be Rubio’s new strategy, plays right into Trump’s hands.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Chris says:

        Well, the other interesting thing is about all the Trump-related gnashing from Establishment Conservatives is they think it’s possible to take out Trump and save the GOP. But in my mind, what Trump has shown is that the GOP is so broken there’s nothing there to save, so to speak. The talking points that have defined the GOP’s conception of conservatism (“eliminate the capital gains tax!” “Obama created ISIS!” etc) just don’t play with 40% of conservatives when given an alternative.Report

        • Art Deco in reply to Stillwater says:

          Trump has shown is that the GOP is so broken there’s nothing there to save, so to speak.

          Your position in legislative bodies is the worst it’s been since the 1920s. I take it that the condition of the Democratic Party is thus less than zero.Report

          • Stillwater in reply to Art Deco says:

            I’m not sure I have a position on legislative bodies. I mean, other than that I think they should make smart, serviceable laws that balance competing interests while promoting “the general welfare” (in some sense of that term). The GOP has shown over the last 7 years that they don’t care about legislating at the national level, and they’ve also shown that the policies they are championing (vociferously! “Freedom!!!”) just don’t matter to 40% of their electorate. Apparently those folks want something other than bog-standard GOP political hectoring about “true conservatism” and all that nonsense.

            The want a Wall. A non-establishment Doer. To Make American Great Again. And so on.


            • Art Deco in reply to Stillwater says:

              You’re in a comment box, not a politician on stage asked an embarrassing question. No point in offering evasive non sequiturs.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Art Deco says:

                I have no idea what you’re talking about, Art.Report

              • Art Deco in reply to Stillwater says:

                While it’s difficult to tell if you are particularly serious, i’ll just repeat myself: you keep losing elections, and right now you’d have to go back eighty-odd years to find a time when you had fewer seats in Congress or the state legislatures. There’s ‘nothing to save’? OK, tell me what there is to save of your preferred crew? While you’re at it, you might ask why you’re preferred crew is such a collection of geriatrics. You can run down the list of ranking Democrats on your federal Senate committees and you’ll find one person who’s too young to collect Social Securty. Most of them have been in Congress for 25 years or more. Your caucus leader is 76 years old.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Art Deco says:

                Yeah, still not getting Art. Like I said to Chris, I’m not sure what the Democrats have to do with a thesis about Trump’s success signalling the demise of the GOP, a thesis which I didn’t put forward (btw) and one which is becoming quite common amongst panicky conservatives. It’s a thesis I happen to agree with, for whatever that’s worth, and I believe it’s correct irrespective of whether Trump wins or loses since his success has exposed the cracks in GOP political orthodoxy, especially insofar as those political views are supposed to be reflective of the general concerns of the conservative electorate.

                Now, if you’re effectively discounting my views on this because you think they come from an ideologically determined partisan-oriented filter, I’d remind you that I’m not the one publicly declaiming that Trump signals the end of the GOP as we know it GAAAHHH! That’d be conservatives. All I’m doing is agreeing with their concerns, and I do so for factual reasons: Trump is leading the primary and polls at +/- 40% nationally.Report

              • Art Deco in reply to Stillwater says:

                I can explain something to you. I cannot comprehend it for you.Report

            • Chris in reply to Stillwater says:

              I believe Art’s point is that for a broken party, they’re sure doing well in elections at every level except, perhaps, the President. The Democratic Party is broken, and the country suffers for it.

              Presidential candidates are, by necessity, anomalies within their parties. Their performance at every stage of a presidential campaign is related to a lot of things, mostly to do with people making money on campaigns, but has little to do with the health of their party.

              There is a sort of, well, idiocy that is unique to smart people who pay a lot of attention to national politics, which continues to believe that the health and fate of a political party is tied almost entirely to its candidates and performance in presidential elections. As such people argue and make grand pronouncements about Republicans and Democrats, left and right, liberal and conservative, the parties and the people who drive them go about winning and losing elections for everything from dog catcher to senator.

              Right now, the broken Republican Party is kicking the Democratic Party’s ass at all those levels, throughout much of the country, and the only effect the presidential campaign can have on that is turnout and, maybe, the charisma of a popular nominee to get a few extra votes for an embattled state senate candidate in Minnesota or New Mexico.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Chris says:

                You got all that outa two sentences? 🙂

                Well, I’m not the conservative lamenting how Trump is Destroying Conservatism. That’d be Greenfield in the linky. (And lots of other conservatives, btw.) My only point was that what he (Greenfield) is proposing makes no sense: that destroying Trump will somehow save the GOP.

                Now, I’m not sure what that comment has to do with Democrats, or GOP successes at the local, state and national Congressional level (which I’ve pointed out repeatedly to one of Front Pagers who wrote a series about the GOP and irrelevance). So I’m still confused as to what Art’s getting on about. It’s conservatives that think Trump signals the End of the GOP as we know it.

                (I happen to agree with them in a limited sense – especially if he wins – but I also hope that he does wrt national level and presidential GOP politics.)Report

              • Chris in reply to Stillwater says:

                That sort of smart people diseases knows no ideological boundaries. It’s pretty much universal.

                I’ve said before that my only real worry with Trump is that he’ll spawn imitators throughout his party, because winners spawn imitators, but I’m afraid that’s inevitable at this point. Republicans will have to deal with that. Democrats, on the other hand, will have to unbreak their party enough to win elections outside of major urban areas and away from the coasts.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Chris says:

                Oh, I agree about the Democrats. I’ve written about that before here at the ole OT, actually. Unless there’re some real changes in retail politics as well as general political philosophy things are going to continue to get worse for them as a party.Report

              • Chris in reply to Stillwater says:

                And the seas continue to rise.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Chris says:

                Yes they are. Which is why a vote for Trump makes sense. More walls!Report

              • Chris in reply to Stillwater says:

                When the levee breaks, mama you gotta vote Democrat.Report

              • Michael Cain in reply to Chris says:

                I often say the same thing, although I do offer the caveat that on some major policy issues that I care about — electricity, coal, and CO2 — the Republicans are getting their asses kicked by the combination of a handful of blue states, the Supreme Court, and the regulatory agencies.Report

  2. Chip Daniels says:

    Art puts his finger on the problem, actually.

    All the wailing and gnashing of teeth about the short fingered vulgarian obscures the real problem, which is that an appallingly high number of people in America really DO want to round up Mexican immigrants in cattle cars, they DO want to turn Muslims into suspect-semi-citizens, and so on.

    What they are saying about the GOP could easily be said about the American citizenry- the call is coming from inside the house.

    The problem is that we have to confront not the noxious manners of one man, but the noxious opinions of millions of our fellow citizens. They aren’t gullible rubes blind to his horrible ideas- horrible ideas are the main draw, the thing they demand from their leader.Report

    • notme in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      which is that an appallingly high number of people in America really DO want to round up Mexican immigrants in cattle cars,

      Only the illegals, or is enforcing our laws now such a terrible thing to the Dems?Report

      • Chip Daniels in reply to notme says:

        Your comment is like that old W.C. Fields joke, where a prissy woman scolds him- “You were drunk, and in the gutter!”
        To which he responds indignantly, “I was NOT in the gutter!”

        You only want to round up the ILLEGAL Mexicans in cattle cars.
        So noted.Report

        • notme in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          Your answer is quite telling. Sadly but not too surprising, it really is too much for the Dems to support enforcing our laws.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          We’re headed to one hell of a Pauline Kaelish moment.

          And not the real quote (that one is actually fairly interesting).

          We’re headed to a moment based on the fake quote.Report

          • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Jaybird says:

            I have a funny feeling we disagree on whose going to be saying, “how could x lose, I don’t know anybody who voted for them” in November.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

              Democrats’ primaries and caucuses have anemic turnout. Republicans’ primaries and caucuses are breaking records.

              Maybe this isn’t the indicator that I think it is…Report

              • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Jaybird says:

                All I’m going to say that in 2016, if I’m a Republican operative, I don’t want my nominee to be the guy that has a -81 favorability rating with Hispanic’s. No matter how many white working class voters Trump rounds up, it isn’t going to help that much.Report

              • Art Deco in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

                Votes are votes. They don’t count more just because they come from one of your preferred mascot groups. Trump polls adequately against Hellary. Bit worse against Sanders.Report

              • Morat20 in reply to Jaybird says:

                It’s not. Turnout patterns for primaries are rarely predictive for general elections.

                It makes sense, if you think about it. High turnout in a primary generally is indicative of a contested primary, which doesn’t mean they’re generating good candidates. (The “I’m electable” argument has not, I think ever, actually swayed many voters).

                Low turnout in primaries involves either foregone conclusions, mostly uncontested primaries, that sort of thing. Polling of Democratic primary voters show that Sanders and Clinton have similar levels of support, enthusiasm, and favorable numbers — indicating that, internet screaming aside, the base is pretty happy with either. (And in terms of “First Female President” I think that’s contrasted by “It’s a Clinton — we’ve had one, and also she sort of shot her wad on that in 2008” and by the relatively uncontested primary. As hard as the media is trying to make this a two horse race, it just doesn’t feel like one).Report

          • El Muneco in reply to Jaybird says:

            I think this is true. A couple days ago, I went to a get-together with a lot of former co-workers, and where I was seated, for quite a while I was the youngest and most liberal. Everyone but me was ex-military, and mostly dismissive of Clinton’s chops to handle a serious pressure situation (I’m not her biggest fan, either, so I held my tongue about mentioning her current job) as a special case of “women in politics, military, etc.”.

            Every single one of them would take Sanders – and despite what they thought of her in general, all but one would take Clinton – over Trump (and even he would abstain).

            I’m pretty sure I don’t know any actual Trump supporters. I know some evangelicals, but they’re serious about it, so they’d break for Cruz if anyone (I don’t want to ask about a hypothetical Carson/Sanders election – I suspect brain asplode). I know some conservatives, but they’re middle-class left-coast conservatives, and that’s outside of Trump’s bubble. I know some people who are definitely working-class, but most of them are Hispanic.Report

        • Art Deco in reply to Chip Daniels says:

          I don’t think the Bureau of Prisons or the Marshall Service have a fleet of cattle cars. Buses and planes, I think.Report

      • Jesse Ewiak in reply to notme says:

        I jaywalked last week, should I be shot or just put in the stockade?Report

    • Art Deco in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      an appallingly high number of people in America really DO want to round up Mexican immigrants in cattle cars,

      I’ll plead guilty to wanting to enforce the immigration laws, which does incorporate arresting turnstile jumpers, jailing them, and deporting them. You’ve got no enforcement, you’ve got no immigration policy (other than Bryan Caplan’s nonsense policy).Report

  3. KatherineMW says:

    a massive media campaign designed to undermine the core of his appeal.

    I think media hostility would just make Trump’s supporters more enthusiastic and determined.

    To my mind, the “nuclear option” – in terms of desperation and potential destructiveness to all involved – is to stop Trump at the convention if he arrives there with fewer than 50%+1 of delegates. It would stop him, but it would almost certainly mean a third-party run for him and cost the Republicans the presidency.

    I don’t think the Republican powers-that-be would do it if they had the chance. They may not like Trump, but they’d prefer him as president to Hillary as president.Report

  4. Marchmaine says:

    Can’t say the article struck me as very smart.

    Think about it… going nuclear on Donald (in the sense of something much greater than just political campaigning) would poison the well with Trump voters and guaranty a loss; riding the wave and hoping Rubio pulls it out keeps Trumpistas in the fold and at least hoping for their votes in the general with the Donald (appropriately paid off for his efforts – and secretly glad he’s not really about to be exposed in a General election, or worse, be president). The tactical nuclear option is to nuke Kasich, Carson and (pick-one) Cruz or Rubio. And I’m not ever sure they have those nukes in the arsenal.

    The Global-thermonuclear option is the Republican Establishment running a 3rd party campaign against the Republican nominee, Donald Trump. I have my doubts on whether the the republican machine could afford to contemplate throwing the election for HRC (not becuase of HRC, but because another 4-years of exile is bad for the resume and earning power). But those are the only nuclear options available to the establishment.Report