It Ain’t Theft If It’s Legal


Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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142 Responses

  1. Avatar RTod says:

    “It ain’t theft of its legal.”

    Yeah, but it can still be bloody stupid, right?Report

    • Avatar Kolohe in reply to RTod says:

      Will’s point is that ‘stealing it’ it’s less stupid than letting it go. I’m inclined to agree. Especially because with Trump taking a wrecking ball to the Overton window, I don’t think Cruz’s prospects, and particularly his down ticket effect, is as bleak as Will says in this piece.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Kolohe says:

        What states can Cruz win that Romney lost in 2012? Cruz is much further to the right than Romney and much more off-putting to more people.Report

        • I agree with this, though it’s worth noting that unlike Mitt, he’s not running against Obama.Report

        • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          You actually run against real people. Ronald Reagan was “well to the right” of Gerald Ford and irritated a great many people (as it happened, people who would not have voted for either man, so no loss there). He also faced different candidates in different circumstances. You might also consider the possibility that media memes are nonsense (or reflect the opinions of media figures and people on their rolodexes) and that the general run of voter is not viscerally bothered by Cruz (or Sanders, while we’re at it).Report

        • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          Saul Degraw:
          What states can Cruz win that Romney lost in 2012? Cruz is much further to the right than Romney and much more off-putting to more people.

          Like Mike Schilling said elsewhere, there are two types of people – people that don’t like Cruz, and people that don’t know him. But like Will said, Clinton, fairly or unfairly (mostly, but not entirely unfairly), is not as ‘likable’ as Obama.

          It’s also worth pointing out that Cruz’s unlikable reputation is from people that have worked with him (but not for him) – and that in turn was from real and perceived betrayals when Cruz put his personal ambition above everything else, even by the standards of the typical politician. But also, by the standards of the typical politician, he’s not any more slimy or smarmy than most when he’s on the stump or in a media environment.

          270towin has 4 states that were ‘very close’ in the 2012 contest – OH, FL, NC, and VA. NC went to Romney, but all could be in play in a Cruz-Clinton contest. (one big reason, the African American vote will decline a bit from the record levels it hit in the 2008 & 2012 elections).

          Notably though, even if Cruz sweeps these 4 states, Clinton still has 272 electoral votes. Which leaves Cruz an uphill fight, but still possible, for either Nevada or New Hampshire (or Colorado).

          To be perfectly clear, Clinton is still the favorite to win, and still has the advantage in all the close states that Romney lost. But campaign vs campaign, Cruz has a path to victory, he just needs to play a good game and catch some breaks.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Kolohe says:

        @will-truman @kolohe @saul-degraw I should probably do a post on this, but it occurs to me that from a certain point of view all of this is not a departure from what is killing with the GOP so much as a continuation.

        For the past decade or so, they haven’t really stood for anything. They are literally reactionary. What’s happening right now? Whatever it is, we are against it! No vision, few proposals, no cohesive plan for the country.

        What’s happening with Trump is exactly the same, except they’ve replace the the words “liberal” and “Barack Hussein Obama” with the word “Trump.” They’re not stepping up to the place with a better or different vision for people to get behind and rally around; they aren’t coming up with a viable alternative to Trump or Trumpism. They’re simply offering a new thing everyone can be against.Report

        • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Tod Kelly says:

          I don’t entirely disagree. I’ve commented in the past that Trump has cracked the code of the GOP psyche (turns out, the code of about 2/5th of it). At some point, though, when you’re walking down a particular path, you can actually stop doing so. Having walked down that path in the past does not obligate you to continue walking past it. You run into a ledge, you don’t say “Well, gosh, I’ve been walking south-by-southeast for the last eighty yards, I should just keep on going…”

          Trump has the advantage of being a relatively clear line. That’s why a lot of people who had previously been okay with the trajectory of things are not okay with Trump.Report

          • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Will Truman says:

            @will-truman I think you may misunderstand my point.

            That point being, that the moment you stop walking down that path is where you say, “Here’s a vision, the policies to achieve that vision, and the plan to implement those policies” and see how it sticks, and make adjustments as needed. Saying, “Now our whole thing is that we are against Trump!” isn’t actually getting off that path. It’s just renaming it.Report

            • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Tod Kelly says:

              After you stop walking, you have to figure out what to do next. That’s difficult in any event, but less difficult from the top than the bottom of said ledge.

              I see zero sense in letting this play out, except a sense of justice. But if you’re actually a character in the morality play, that’s still actually something to be avoided as best as possible.

              There was a time earlier in the campaign where I thought the lesson might do them good. But no, I have become convinced that’s not the case. I’ve become further convinced that my prior position was more influenced by a sense of justice than practicality. Report

              • As an aside, one of the things I’ve tweeted a few times here and there is that I am bemused by the degree to which Trump has brought together a lot of Republicans who can’t stand one another. I have no use for the likes of Erick Erickson and he has no use for the likes of me, but we do agree on Trump.

                If Trump goes down, that evaporates and we go back to hating one another pretty intensely. This was also a problem with the Third Party talk, wherein he would want it expressly to nominate the candidate I would find least acceptable. JayFromBrooklyn has remarked on this as well.

                So yeah, bringing Trump down doesn’t actually solve much if it happens. But neither does not bringing him down. Either way, there’s going to be a lot of work. The party is going to need to figure a lot of stuff out. Including who their voters are these days.

                Hitting Rock Bottom with Trump doesn’t really help with that much. He represents a lot of the same problems that Jeb Bush did, on a party-unity level. Both reasonably represent one faction of the party reasonably well but are repellant to the others.

                (Which was always the thing that aggravated me about Jeb’s candidacy. Before it became apparent that Trump was in it for the longer haul, Jeb was the candidate I looked at and said “Man, there is just *no* good that would come from his nomination.” Indeed, there is a certain train of thought that Jeb played a very strong role in the elevation of Trump.)Report

            • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Tod Kelly says:

              This is where Cruz has another understated advantage. Cruz is selling more than ‘Not Obama, Not Clinton’, he’s the selling the game of the year edition of conservative orthodoxy – robust national defense, low taxes and light regulation, and ‘family values’.

              True, this was the game of the year in 1984 and 2004, and may not run on most the next gen consoles, but it doesn’t necessarily have to. It just needs to run on enough of them to flip a few states.

              “What do you stand for” is a potential problem for Clinton. Sanders stand for something (say what you will about the tenets of democractic socialism, at least its an ethos). Even Trump stands for something. Stopping immigration is a very concrete stance, even if his path to realizing his vision varies between impractical and immoral. And Trump’s antipathy towards globalization is as concrete as the bricks that get thrown through Starbuck’s windows during WTO protests.

              Clinton does have a set of core beliefs – those of an upper middle class (white) feminist of her generation. But there’s always been a lot of movement in the mantle that surrounds that core, and she runs the risk of falling into the traps that Kerry and Gore did, when they fell short of articulating a positive vision for their election, rather than relying on the other guy being a poopyhead.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Kolohe says:

                I’m a bit less bearish on Cruz than I was a couple weeks ago. He apparently put on his General Election face at the Republican Jewish Conference and was extremely, extremely impressive. Which has me actually sort of thinking that he may be able to cash in on some of the right-wing cred he’s had. And that maybe that was his plan all along. (Hardly a novel plan, to be sure, but one that he’d suggested pretty convincingly that he wasn’t interested in playing, which factored in to my bearishness.)

                That being said, the thing he’s selling still seems more like General Conservative Schizophrenia, and a continuation of existing problem just a bit further on down the line. Report

        • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Tod Kelly says:


          I sort of covered this below. The GOP is currently heading towards failure mode. They have a large base of true believers but one that places them at odds with the Presidential electorate.

          The issue is that as Aaron and Art Decco will point out: The GOP still controls huge swaths of state legislatures, governorships, and Congress. Now some of this can change but the GOP has sheltered themselves from the reality of the failure mode via gerrymandering and voter ID. We have been through this many times on OT. I and others pointed out that more people voted for Democratic congressional candidates in 2012 than Republican candidates. This was done on an order of several million. The Republican response on OT has always been to just ignore this stubborn fact completely.

          This leads me to believe that the GOP doesn’t care how they win as long as they win. I suspect voter oppression techniques and gerrymandering will get worse before they get better.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Tod Kelly says:

          This isn’t entirely fair. I actually do think the Republicans stand for something even if it can’t be articulated using positive language or well. The Republicans want to create 1950s TV suburbia as a reality but without the pesky New Deal policies.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater in reply to Tod Kelly says:

          What’s happening with Trump is exactly the same, except they’ve replace the the words “liberal” and “Barack Hussein Obama” with the word “Trump.” They’re not stepping up to the place with a better or different vision for people to get behind and rally around; they aren’t coming up with a viable alternative to Trump or Trumpism. They’re simply offering a new thing everyone can be against.

          Right on, Tod. Great observation. As an example: Obamacare repeal:replacement policy::NeverTrump:replacement option. Or in other words: conservatives know what they DON’T want, goldernit!!

          Cleek’s Law is eating itsownself, at this point.Report

  2. Avatar Kazzy says:

    Taxation is theft.
    It ain’t theft if it’s legal.
    Taxation is illegal.
    The GOP wins!

    (Sorry, couldn’t resist. I wholeheartedly agree with your assessment of the rules.)Report

  3. Avatar Kim says:

    “Why not take them all out and just install someone with a chance of winning? ”
    Hillary, perhaps?Report

    • Avatar Will H. in reply to Kim says:

      More like Captain Kangaroo.
      Everyone loves Captain Kangaroo.

      I think he’s a bit to the left of Mr. Green Jeans though.
      Have to watch out for that rural vote.
      Green Jeans is likely some sort of extremist; advocating tough anti-immigrant measures while employing them as cheap, under-market labor in his garden (fenced, no doubt), and hand-in-glove with Monsanto (i.e., as corporatist as HRC).

      Besides, people love military credentials, even if they show the candidate’s wealthy father pulled some strings to keep him from seeing some real action during the war.

      Captain Kangaroo would probably go over well.
      He wouldn’t take any crap from Putin.
      He would make those dark-skinned people “over there” hush up and sit down.Report

  4. He would be bad for the brand. He’d be the worst nominee in either party in over fifty years.

    Since Goldwater? Worse, probably. Though his support isn’t largely overtly racist, so there’s that.Report

    • The general public was abnormally satisfied with their leaders during the period running from 1953 to 1965. Three very different men had public approval scores about 70%. That was the matrix within which both Adlai Stevenson and Barry Goldwater were working. Goldwater performed marginally worse than did Stevenson, which may be the contribution of some of his deficiencies as a candidate.

      Cruz does not poll badly against Hellary. Sanders would be more of a challenge (and that’s so for all three leading Republicans).Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to Art Deco says:

        You still care about the polls?
        How silly.
        Obama has lost control of an FBI investigation with over 100 people assigned to it.

        Can you please WAIT before you look at the polls?Report

        • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Kim says:

          I’m presuming that the U.S. Attorney’s office and the Criminal Division will continue to be what they have been during the course of the Obama Regime – reliable components of the Democratic Party lawfare operation. I’d be flabbergasted were Hellary indicted.Report

        • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Kim says:

          Kim: Obama has lost control of an FBI investigation with over 100 people assigned to it.

          There were never 147 people assigned to the Clinton email investigation, it was more like 4.Report

          • Avatar Kim in reply to Kolohe says:

            Then why am I reading that so many folks are engaged in it?
            (I know why Obama wants the prosecution to have Some Sort of Finding before Philly gets involved…)Report

            • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Kim says:

              because people love to peddle bullshit in an election cycle, and people love to read bullshit.Report

              • Avatar Kim in reply to Kolohe says:

                The line i heard, “Obama has lost control of the investigation” ain’t from any bullshit peddler. Now, I’m not going to say he’s a Man of Influence, or anything… but he’s got enough ears in enough places to know.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Kim says:

                Obama should have never had control of the investigation. Yes, political pressure is a real thing, and the FBI culture is institutionally conservative (and Republican) but the senior agent in charge of any investigation has a least two bureaucratic superiors, and two presidential appointed superiors between that agent and Obama.Report

  5. Avatar Damon says:

    I think if there is any blatant shafting of Trump his supporters would turn vindictive. Hell, I would. I’d actively look for ways to screw them over hard. Maybe recall petitions of existing office holders state and local for instance. Maybe I’d look for someone running locally or statewide who was “like Trump”. Maybe I’d just vote for HRC.

    Could be a lot of blow back to this type of shenanigan.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Damon says:

      Once you’ve already shot the hostages, “don’t make us mad” doesn’t resonate.Report

      • Avatar Damon in reply to Will Truman says:

        If you’re arrested for shooting the hostages. If not you’re still free to cause mayhem.

        Will I doubt Trumps supporters have the diligence to stick it out, a ground campaign similar to Colorado’s recall efforts re gun control could be a threat. But I prefer not to bet on “lack of vindictiveness”.Report

        • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Damon says:

          You missed the point. Saying “If you don’t nominate Trump, we’ll destroy you!” doesn’t effectively work when the thing they’re insisting upon would have the same effect as far as a lot of other folks are concerned.

          What are they going to do? And how is what they do going to be worse than nominating Donald Trump? You need a larger differential between the demands and the threat for it to work.Report

          • Avatar Damon in reply to Will Truman says:

            If Trump is nominated the Repubs loose the presidential election. Do they loose a lot of seats in congress? Not sure.

            The threat from the Trump folks would be thus: regardless of how bad the party fared in the presidential elections, we’ll work for a nuclear war and remove every last one of the GOP congress critters, and local folks we can, leaving you with nothing at national, state or local level.

            Would it work? Not sure. I guess it depends upon how bad you expect the GOP to do in the non pres races. Given the re-election percentages of congress, I’d assume it’d be “decent”.Report

            • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Damon says:

              Trump does not have the kind of organization to mount a guerrilla war against GOP congressional candidates, even if he wanted to do that. He’s having trouble contending with just the Cruz organization re delegate selection.Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Art Deco says:

                I’m not suggesting that this would be a Trump organized thing. It would only be possible on a grass roots level by Trump supporters self organizing to screw back the GOP that done screwed them.

                I’m dubious of the likelihood that happening, but it is possible.Report

              • Avatar Art Deco in reply to Damon says:

                Have you interacted online with highly motivated and opinionated Trump supporters? Trump has popular appeal; there’s a difference between voters and activists, however. Any posited organized effort not employed and directed by the candidate might (one would suggest) be in the hands of these people. You don’t want to go there.Report

              • Avatar Damon in reply to Art Deco says:

                “Have you interacted online with highly motivated and opinionated Trump supporters?”

                Dude, I live in a Democratically controlled machine state full of liberals, semi communists, and far lefties who CANNOT EVEN IMAGINE voting Republican much less for Trump. Nor do I spend much time online on political forums. OT is one of my few bad habits. I abhor social media. I’d rather watch Rio Bravo for the 400th time.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Damon says:

                If the Trumpers had the ability to do this, Trump wouldn’t be having so much difficulty getting a majority of the delegates.Report

              • Avatar DavidTC in reply to Art Deco says:

                Yes, but people forget, there’s pretty good evidence that Trump is doing what he’s doing (Seriously running for president, instead of pretending to run for president, which was a hobby of his.) because of a grudge.

                Everyone forgets this now, but Trump is, or at least was, a birther.

                So when Trump showed up in 2011 at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, Obama made a few mentions of this, and people laughed.

                Now, you think: Wouldn’t it have made more sense to seriously run in 2012, then? You know, *against* Obama?

                Well, no. I think he got over that, a little.

                The problem is that Obama never did stop mocking him for his birtherism every time Trump was at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Which sound petty of Obama, but Trump spent years claiming Obama wasn’t eligible to be president, and then shows up at the one place the president is allowed to make fun of people, so I’m not entirely sure what Trump is *expecting* to happen.

                Trump even got *publicly booed* when he showed up at the Correspondents’ Dinner in 2013.

                I don’t think it’s even really him being anti-Obama (Which doesn’t really make sense for him to be running *now*.). I think it’s some sort of attempt to force the political establishment to take him seriously after years of mockery. ‘One day *I* will be president and *I* can get up there and insult all those people who laughed at me!’

                Anyway, my point is: Assuming that Trump, in the future, won’t be able to hurt the Republican party over a petty grudge is sorta odd when…that’s what he is literally doing right now. He’s hurting the Republican party over a petty grudge…and it’s not even a grudge *at* the Republican party!Report

              • Avatar Will Truman in reply to DavidTC says:

                There shouldn’t be any doubt Trump can hurt the party. What is in doubt is that Trump can hurt the party more tomorrow in a vendetta than as the nominee today.Report

            • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Damon says:

              If Trump is nominated the Dems may flip the House.Report

      • Avatar Francis in reply to Will Truman says:

        The day after the election, the GOP starts putting together its strategy for 2018. I think that Trump could do incredible damage to the brand between July and November, and thereafter.

        Yeah, Perot sank pretty much without a ripple. But since I’ve been spectacularly wrong about this campaign so far, I might as well continue my streak. The anti-immigrant / anti-capitalist movement could be captured by a Democrat who promises strict enforcement of immigration laws, by focusing on employers. If Trump backed that message, he could swing a lot of voters to the D ticket.Report

  6. Avatar Jaybird says:

    There are a lot of ways to play by the rules and to win. There are a lot of ways to drag Not Trump across the finish line at the convention in such a way that presents vaguely legitimately.

    The problem is that if it’s done in a rules-lawyery way that is opaque to the majority of the folks out there, it’ll present identically to corruption.

    Maybe it’s not possible to keep the Trumpers happy. Maybe there is nothing at all possible that the Republicans could do to come up with a candidate that everybody likes. If, however, the argument is that it’s okay for the Republican Establishment to defect first because they knew that the Trumpkins would defect first if the Establishment waited… well, it might be true, but I don’t know what the official “Prisoners’ Dilemma” game has to say about that particular tactic. I think it’s “you defected first, you defector”, though.

    It’s one thing to say “hey, we play and sometimes there are winners and sometimes there are losers but the process is what’s important.”

    It’s quite another to play “you can’t win, you can’t break even, and you can’t get out of the game”.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Jaybird says:

      The process, of course, is what says Trump isn’t the nominee until he gets to 1237. And I would contend that while the “Blow up the party” paragraph is optically identical to corruption (even if for a good cause), declining to give Trump the nomination isn’t. Some of the primary rules and delegate allocation rules are pretty opaque and/or are unknown.

      The concept of an open convention is a TV plot used with enough frequency that it has become a cliche.

      Trump is the rightful nominee if he hits 1237. If he doesn’t, he’s not. At that point, the party must decide either to make him the nominee, or not to make him the nominee. Either way, it it involves someone being carried across the finish line.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Will Truman says:

        I’m not arguing about the rules with regards to 1237, though.

        I’m more wondering about trust and collaboration in societies and what happens when a society transitions from a higher level to a lower level.

        What happened in Colorado, for example, looks like a shenanigan.Report

    • Avatar Guy in reply to Jaybird says:

      Tit for tat, or something like it, is generally the winning strategy in the prisoner’s dilemma (if not, perhaps, in body art). So if you think the Trump folks have already defected, the party establishment I ought to defensively defect as well. If.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Guy says:

        That faction has run a campaign consistent with an extraordinary amount of contempt for the other factions of the party, and the establishment itself. They thought they had the support for a coup. Maybe they do, but their miscalculation (if it was one) imposes no obligation on the part of those they would overthrow.Report

        • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Will Truman says:

          Just so I’m clear, what are the major allegations of fact relating specifically to the charge of contempt of party (or, factions thereof)? I assume repeatedly calling them losers is part of it. General juvenility. Anything more technical/substantive?Report

          • Not going to get too far into this brush, but referring to the faction more than Trump himself. Boosters, fans, etc. Not so much (most of) the Buckley List people, or the opportunists, but the motor behind it. The people I would have left off the list because they fell in the category of Known Enemies. Stone, Pierson, Coulter, Breitbart people, and some of the folks I know that have rallied around Trump and committed.Report

  7. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Basically you are saying that the GOP is damned if they do, damned if they don’t?

    The speculation right now is that Paul Ryan is not-running but running for the nomination in the hopes that Trump does not make it to 1237 and Cruz doesn’t do well in round 2 of the ballot.

    Whether it would be good to make Ryan a surprise nominee in 2016 is anybody’s guess. He is just as right-wing as anyone but maybe a bit more of a soft-peddler on social issues like Nikki Haley in South Carolina.

    You say that Cruz would take the GOP in the wrong direction but in my observations I think many people in the GOP would disagree. There are still a lot of people in the GOP who believe that “Conservatism can’t fail, it can only be failed.” They are trying like mad to blame Trump on Obama, on liberals, on the Democratic Party. They still think that if you gave the American people a clear and strong conservative candidate, it would be 1972 or 1984 all over again.

    Lee has made an observation before that there comes a time in a political party’s lifespan when the base that you need are still true believers but the majority of the public is moving on. This happened to the Labour Party in the 1970s. The base did not want to abandon nationalization but the majority of the UK did. It seems to me that the American Public is growing more diverse and generally more socially liberal and economically liberal. Yet the GOP is still pushing the same stuff to an increasingly uninterested public. My guess is that the legs in the stool still have too much strength for the party to move back to the center.Report

    • For the reasons outlined, I don’t consider the Ryan scenario likely. Not the least of which because I believe Ryan wants no part of it and there is only so much the party is going to be able to talk him into it. Could talk someone else into it, but that leads to the problem that the decision-makers here wouldn’t be the national leadership.Report

    • Avatar Alan Scott in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      On top of that, in order to nominate Ryan, they’d have to change the eight states rule. And AFAIK know, they’d have to change it *before* the convention begins. Since the people who would vote to change the rules are mostly Cruz and Trump supporters, that doesn’t seem like a super-likely outcome. Whatever happens, I think it will either be Trump or Cruz at the end of the day.Report

      • Even assuming it stands as is, there are ways around it. Here’s the current text of rule 40(b):

        Each candidate for nomination for President of the United States and Vice President of the United States shall demonstrate the support of a majority of the delegates from each of eight (8) or more states, severally, prior to the presentation of the name of that candidate for nomination. Notwithstanding any other provisions of these rules or any rule of the House of Representatives, to demonstrate the support required of this paragraph a certificate evidencing the affirmative written support of the required number of permanently seated delegates from each of the eight (8) or more states shall have been submitted to the secretary of the convention not later than one (1) hour prior to the placing of the names of candidates for nomination pursuant to this rule and the established order of business.

        Reading that with my old legislative analyst hat on, after the first ballot, when delegates are unbound, it looks like presenting a proper set of signatures to the secretary is sufficient demonstration of support to put someone into nomination. And of course, if there’s widespread support, there’s rule 33:

        A motion to suspend the rules shall always be in order, but only when made by authority of a majority of the delegates from any state and seconded by a majority of the delegates from each of seven (7) or more other states, severally.


    • Avatar LeeEsq in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      The American political structure will insulate Republicans a lot longer than the British system did for Labour.Report

  8. Avatar Mo says:

    If I’m the GOP establishment and taking 2016 as a loss, then Cruz is the ship I want to go down with. You throw a bone to the hard right, no compromises wing and show them that they can’t beat a weak D nominee.Report

  9. Avatar North says:

    Well as far as the Northcorp predictions business is going we’re not having a spectacular run this year. Bush and Rubio were flat out wrong and those were significant losses. We made out ok on the HRC has got this but most everyone was betting that way so the gains don’t outweigh the losses. No, only my prediction that Trump won’t get this remains outstanding and thankfully it’s looking like I’m going to win that one out as Teddy Cruz relentlessly rakes up delegate support and Trumps odds of hitting 1237 fade. For a data point consider: Trump got zero, zilch, nada, delegates from Colorado basically because his campaign didn’t know what the fish it was doing. If he doesn’t get to 1237 he’s done and it’s gonna take some big blowout wins to push him over that line. Which means Northcorp will *barely* be in the black in terms of right and wrong calls. Not a sterling year for sure.

    Now… nnnghh.. if I was Cruz or the GOP under Cruz you’d really be …nnf… thinking hard about how to try and get Trump on board… the Donald …ugh.. ultimately is gonna want a big kiss the ring opportunity… I can’t do it. Screw it!

    Enough with trying to be analytical; I just have to get this out there. I’m enjoying the HELL out of watching the GOP immolate. It was enough to make me seriously revisit the concept of a just deity looking on from on high (full disclosure, nope- still agnostic). I know it’s nakedly partisan but I’ve always had my cards on the table on that subject. It feels fishing GREAT to see this happening to the GOP. Those mother fishers have been using the Trumpkin wing of their party, and all the mantras it encapsulates, to flambé the hell out of all of us to the left of them (and especially us minorities) for decades and to see that flame thrower rupture and coat the establishment is a sizzling layer of burning napalm is damn near euphoric. Just typing this out is having palliative effects, I can feel the stress leaving me like getting a back rub from a Swedish masseuse with fingers like warm steel and biceps like bowling balls; aaahhhh… lower Helga!

    It’s just… downright… biblical the way every weapon and crutch the right has leaned on at least since 2008 at the minimum is now shattering and driving jagged splinters into their thrashing limbs. I understand that the country really would be better off with two functioning coherent sane parties instead of one that gets fat and lazy while the other one is gibbering and rolling about in its own urine in the corner but I still can’t bring myself to regret Trump. And the best part is that even though the GOP looks like it’s going to dodge the Trump bullet the odds are that they’ll end up with Cruz?!? The laughter comes like sweet cool white wine! It’s like the GOP is a Disney princess at the end of Beauty and the Beast and the terrible hideous monster is sufficed in an arcane glow turning from a monster into a man and that radiance withdraws to reveal to the breathless princess the grinning features of… Vincent Schiavelli. I just can’t, the laughter, I.. just can’t even, it’s just too good! I’m just basking in the glow right now, stuffed to near sickness on popcorn while roasting marshmallows on the flames. Okay, okay… I’m done.

    Anyhow *cough* Ryan isn’t going to happen. You’d need the convention drawn out a lot more before they’d even consider a white knight move like that. Ryan knows better too, the little weasel isn’t an idiot-he’s not going to jump into that Shriner car just to lose historically in the general. I’d guestimate Cruz will hit 1237 in the third round of voting if not the second. Depends on the rules but the Donald has only just begun examining the delegates whereas Teddies boys have been putting names on post-its on a whiteboard probably since Iowa. Cruz has lapped the rest of them. Only way out I see is if Kasich loses his mind and decides to offer to throw in with Trump for the veep slot which I consider unlikely.Report

    • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to North says:

      @north “Well as far as the Northcorp predictions business is going we’re not having a spectacular run this year.”

      I have to say, I think Kellymetrics is having kind of a bang up year on this front, all things considered.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to North says:

      It’s worth pointing out that one of the relatively opaque things I did not realize is that it’s not as simple as Kasich “throwing in with Trump” as previously supposed. Which is to say that while some of Kasich’s delegates may be loyal to him, it’s not clear that he can instruct his delegates on who to vote for and many of them don’t even support him (Kasich). They’re Rubio people or Jeb people or Cruz people or maybe even Trump people, in addition to being Kasich people.

      Which is to say I’m not sure this convention can actually be brokered as some have suspected.

      (It may be possible – I haven’t found out yet – that Kasich can give his delegates to Trump and maybe then they would vote for Trump on the first ballot in lieu of voting for Kasich… but I think that varies from state to state.)

      All of which is to say… yeah, kind of a messed up system. I do have an outlined sketched for what I would do with the primaries, if I were king.Report

  10. Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

    As a point of information, Sam Wang currently has the polls favoring a Trump delegate majority.

    On a different note, I find myself in the surprising position of having a meaningful vote in a presidential primary, and being registered as a Republican, since the Republican primary is the meaningful election on the local level where I live. So who to vote for? Frankly, I find all three candidates deeply unappealing. Kasich gets the “sane candidate” press, but this is largely due to his affect comparing well with his competition’s. His great claim to sanity lies in accepting free money rather than pissing on poor people. While this is commendable, my soft bigotry of low expectations doesn’t go that low.

    In any case, a Kasich vote at this point is essentially a protest vote. The real voting comes down to Trump and Cruz. Frankly, I consider Cruz the more dangerous of the two. He likely is slightly more electable (OK: slightly less unelectable). And the thing is, once you get past the rhetoric, in those few areas where Cruz and Trump take different policy stances, I much prefer Trump’s. And while President Trump would be a loose cannon, President Cruz would be competently and affirmatively trying to accomplish terrible goals. I think a lot of Democrats are rooting for a Trump nomination on the theory that it is most likely to lead to a Democratic landslide. I agree with this, but also think him the lesser of the two evils.

    Or perhaps this is the year to write in Cthulhu.Report

    • Avatar North in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

      I agree with this.Report

      • Avatar El Muneco in reply to North says:

        I’ve always agreed with this, and in addition I think Cruz would have bigger coattails. Even in the favorable scenarios, even with Trump as nominee, the 51st Senate seat might be a reach. With Cruz, the Senate map is a lot more standard.Report

        • Avatar Will Truman in reply to El Muneco says:

          In a favorable or unfavorable scenario, Cruz will likely do a decent job of bringing out Republican voters. In the most favorable Trump scenario, he will have difficulty bringing out Republican voters and will bring out new voters who will punch precisely one chad and then go home.Report

          • Avatar El Muneco in reply to Will Truman says:

            True enough. In addition, he makes predictions even harder than expected specifically because he is strong where a more traditional R might not be, and weak where a more traditional R might not be – so you can’t just plug him in to the model and turn down the approval rating. Which you mostly can for Cruz.Report

    • I think right now the pundits are being too dismissive of the more-likely-than-not proposition that Trump will reach 1237 or close enough to it to take it on the first ballot. The delegate allocation rules favor him strongly in California, and a small margin there multiplies greatly. On the other hand, his margin there isn’t great and he’s underperformed polls in the aggregate. But after the northeast, the narrative is going to change and change in a way that might move some votes.Report

      • Avatar Alan Scott in reply to Will Truman says:

        Yeah, it’s easy to look at the numbers and say “Trump won’t make it to 1237 before the convention”, but enough of the unpledged delegates will still vote for him that he’ll win on the first ballot even if he comes up a few short.

        This tool, from fivethirtyeight, is pretty fun.Report

    • Avatar Doctor Jay in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

      I have friends in CA who crossed over in 1980 to vote for Ronald Reagan in the R primary, since it’s open in CA. They did so thinking there was no chance that Reagan would win the general.

      This has soured me on the idea of “voting strategically”. Permanently.Report

    • Avatar aaron david in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

      “Or perhaps this is the year to write in Cthulhu.”

      Errm… I think HRC is gonna actually be on the ballot. No need for a write in.Report

      • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to aaron david says:

        She’ll be on the Republican primary ballot? She really IS evil!Report

        • I’ve commented in the past that while Erick Erickson and Jennifer Rubin argue whether the future of the Republican Party is Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio, the emergent future of the Republican Party is Hillary Clinton.Report

          • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Will Truman says:

            …By which you mean POTUS HRC becomes the GOP’s stalking horse for four years, much as Obama has been for the past nearly eight years — a demonic figure against whom the party faithful can rally and enjoy shared Five Minute Hates and against whom the party funders can use as a boogeywoman with whom to shake the tree.

            Still doesn’t solve the problems of a) the grand coalition cleaving apart, b) the populists not being all that conservative, and c) finding some theoretical Son Of Reagan to magically solve these problems by force of sheer overwhelming charisma — but it does allow four more years of hoping maybe that all happens somehow because-holy-crap-we’re-screwed-if-it-doesn’t.

            Or more likely, d) POTUS HRC presides over something that Really Bad like a recession or an unpopular war or a disaster or there’s some new awful-awful scandal that maybe sticks this time.Report

  11. Avatar Art Deco says:

    A lot of donors won’t line up. All of which would give credence to the paranoid fantasy that Trump was sabotaged by the party. Except that it wouldn’t be entirely fantasy, because it would be at least partially true.

    Actually, it would be entirely true.Report

  12. Avatar Doctor Jay says:

    I’m pretty much with Will on this. A process that follows the rules ain’t cheating. Honestly, if you give him his first ballot, and he doesn’t make it, and keep quiet about what happens next, it will be exciting and interesting for lots of people. Yeah, it’s disappointing to the Trump supporters, but they will very publicly have their shot. I think Trump himself won’t be too unhappy with that outcome, I don’t think he actually wants to be president, as opposed to “taken seriously”.Report

    • Avatar Richard Hershberger in reply to Doctor Jay says:

      I think Will is talking about the scenario where the rules committee meets and sends to the floor a rules amendment releasing the bound delegates, this amendment being adopted by the convention as a whole, all before the first vote. This would take away the first ballot, even if he apparently had a clear majority going in. This scenario would be legal, because in most cases the delegates are only bound by the rules of the convention, which said convention is free to change. But it would certainly–and I think legitimately–result in righteous wrath.Report

      • I mention that scenario, but for the most part I’m talking about Trump not having enough votes on the first ballot, and losing on a later ballot despite coming in the delegate leader. The former is rightfully controversial (even if justified). The second shouldn’t be.Report

      • Avatar Alan Scott in reply to Richard Hershberger says:

        Voting to unbind candidates in advance of the first ballot is political suicide on the Republican front, I think.

        You can make a plausible case that going for someone else after the first ballot doesn’t get you to Trump is still doing right by the Republican primary and caucus voters. Can’t make that case if you skip the first ballot. That’s a route to a guaranteed 3rd party run by Trump and a decimation of the down-ticket races.

        Plus, you get into the weeds where the rules binding delegates are written by the state parties, not the national one. So you can’t vote to change them, you can just vote to ignore their breach.Report

        • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Alan Scott says:

          Some legally can’t be unbound. Enough can to throw the first ballot, though, and wait for future unbinding. Though I would accept this if it came down to it, I doubt that is a storm they’re likely to be willing to weather.Report

  13. Avatar dragonfrog says:

    All of which would give credence to the paranoid fantasy that Trump was sabotaged by the party

    I thought the accepted paranoid fantasy was that Trump is running in order to sabotage the party – that his entire life history of extravagant shallowness is a front, and he’s playing sophisticated 4-dimensional chess as a stalking horse for Hilary Clinton.Report

  14. Avatar Barry says:


    “What, exactly, are they going to do? It’s not clear what they can do that’s worth what the party is being asked to concede: a Trump nomination. They can stay home, but that simply makes a lost election still lost. They can try again in four years, but once again the worst they will be able to do is produce the results they’re expecting given to them now. And, in four years, the party is less likely to be caught off guard and less likely to have rules so favorable to a(n) outside, pluralist victor in delegate allocation, and they’re more likely to take Trump – or a successor – seriously before it’s too late. This election was the convergence of a lot of factors, events, and errors. They may be reproducible, but it’s not clear that they are. It’s a turd in the hand versus a turd in the bush.”

    I don’t mean to be harsh, Will, but it seems to me that you’re ignoring the past 6 years. There’s a strong anti-establishment faction in the GOP which thrives on confrontation and raw nihilism. They work with a festering network of right-wing media which also thrives on confrontation and raw nihilism. These two, in turn, have an accidental alliance with the ‘liberal’ MSM, which loves confrontation and good visuals. Trump, of course, has a massive ego, knows how to use the media, and will be in an excellent position to make it clear that You Do Not F*ck with the Trump.

    They will have a revolt on their hands, and if they are very, very lucky it will not (a) result in well-televised, flat-out riots in Cleveland, and (b) devastate (as opposed to damage) the down-ticket races. This, of course, should help move a lot of people into the Democratic ticket. I am assuming that there are a fair number of people in the GOP who, when it turns to a sh*t stew, will actually vote for the other party, as opposed to staying a weekend in the LP shanty and calling themselves principled.

    And that’s just in August – November.

    Those people will not go away, nor will the right-wing mediasphere. And heck, Trump might continue on, just for revenge.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Barry says:

      It’s because of the last six years (and that it has lead us to this point) that I hold the views that I do. That they have been doing what they have been doing the last six years leaves me believing that that their course is set and appeasement by giving the nomination to Trump is not a viable solution for a working partnership (if there is one).Report

  15. Avatar Dan Scotto says:

    With Trump’s general election numbers where they are, I worry less about the prospect of Trump winning the nomination and somehow becoming president, an outcome that I think is the scariest. So I won’t be too terrified if Trump does, somehow, get the nomination.

    But bottom line: I agree with Will here. Use every tool in the arsenal to prevent Trump from being the nominee, and deal with the consequences later.Report