Now Cometh the Bunker Mentality, Trump Style


Andrew Donaldson

Born and raised in West Virginia, Andrew has since lived and traveled around the world several times over. Though frequently writing about politics out of a sense of duty and love of country, most of the time he would prefer discussions on history, culture, occasionally nerding on aviation, and his amateur foodie tendencies. He can usually be found misspelling/misusing words on Twitter @four4thefire and his writing website

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68 Responses

  1. Avatar J_A says:

    If I were the incoming Democratic House, I would avoid ever saying the word Trump.

    I would spend half my time passing the bills that Trump hinted at during his campaign (infrastructure, a better ACA Replacement, shoring up Medicare, Medicaid and SS, Dreamers and immigration reform, etc.) and watch all those initiatives die up in the GOP Senate, and the other half investigating cabinet level officials for failing to do the things Trump hinted at.

    But I would never, ever, mention Trump by name. Let there be a Trump shaped hole in the air.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      I agree with this. Let the Media be the bad cop. Let the Democrats just talk about how they want to get stuff done.

      For The American People.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        I get the sentiment, but it depends on why you think Dems won the House in the last election. Was it because of their positive agenda, or was it because voters wanted Dems to check Trump’s lawlessness? Surely a mix of the two, yes?Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          Was it because of their positive agenda, or was it because voters wanted Dems to check Trump’s lawlessness?

          I think it’s some weird variant of aesthetics. Any given congressperson running for office may as well be Generic Democrat/Republican and so, come election day, you’re not voting for Jack Johnson or John Jackson, you’re voting Generic Party Rep.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater says:

            Evidence suggests otherwise, seems to me, eg., suburban women who flipped R to D.

            OTOH, maybe lawlessness is merely an aesthetic property with no real world implications.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird says:

              I’d more say that lawlessness is orthogonal to aesthetics.

              If Trump were within the same ballpark of lawfulness as Obama, he’d still be exactly as unaesthetic.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                In your opinion. Not the opinion of the people we’re talking about, tho, right?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                It’s opinions all the way down.

                I’m not sure that there’s a meaningful way to hammer out what the true interpretation of the national mood happens to be.

                (If you’ve got measurables, I’d love to see them.)Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                This is a weird response since you’re conceding that no evidence supports *your view* that Democrats took the House due to some “some weird variant of aesthetics”.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                The evidence that supports my view includes gut feelings.

                There’s no way that I can make you feel my gut feelings and so I shouldn’t expect you to be moved by this piece of evidence.

                That said, if you have gut feelings that you feel that disagree with mine, I hope you understand that I weigh them appropriately.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Oh, look! Measurables!

                The Washington Post article was really good and gave me numbers to chew on. (The Politico one less so… if anything, it makes me say “yeah, aesthetics”.)

                The Kavanaugh hearings appear to have done a great deal of harm to the Republican brand. They made the Republican party really unattractive to female voters!

                Which seems to me to be different than whether it’s about Trump’s “lawlessness”.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                The Kavanaugh hearings appear to have done a great deal of harm to the Republican brand. They made the Republican party really unattractive to female voters!

                Which seems to me to be different than whether it’s about Trump’s “lawlessness”.

                Progress! I’d phrase it differently: it’s not that female voters find the aesthetics of assault unattractive, but that they don’t like being assaulted.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Well, maybe 2020 isn’t a given.

                If #MeToo can maintain momentum, surely the Democrats can ride this new wave to the White House. They just have to avoid nominating, oh, Biden or something.Report

              • Avatar Fish says:

                2020 can’t be a given, nor can (I think) #MeToo carry the momentum for two years.

                SURELY the Democrats will be smart enough to sit back a little bit and let Trump be Trump…he’ll not be able to resist providing the fuel necessary to power the next hashtag.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Well, we *were* talking about how Democrats in the House perceive retaking control and whether or not they’re justified in believing the public wants them to curtail Trump’s lawlessness, but sure, we can switch to 2020 if you want to. Here’s my take. (Ahem.) Regarding best-tactics in 2020 no one knows anything yet.

                Add: well we know one thing: that Schumer’s a liability.Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain says:

                I was looking at the Senate map for 2020. All of the usual pundits seem to say that it favors the Democrats. I disagree.

                This year the Dems did very, very well in the 13-state West and 12-state NE urban corridor (those 25 states are about 45% of the US population). In the 25-state Rest, not nearly so well — including the loss of 4 US Senate seats.

                In 2020, there are only seven Senate seats up in the West plus NE urban corridor, all currently held by Republicans. However, only three of them (AZ, CO, ME) are realistically in play. It seems to me unlikely that the Dems will hold the seat they have in AL. Somehow, they have to win a few seats in the South, the Great Plains, and the most rural Western states. If this year is an indication, that’s a real problem.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                See, when you say “Trump’s Lawlessness”, I hear stuff like “Russia” and “Illegal Detention Camps” rather than “he thinks that women are chattel!”Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Why lump Russia and snatching kids from their parents together? I hear different things there….Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Because Russia was illegal collusion and the detention camps are unconstitutional and both indicate lawlessness?Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Good job.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Yeah, but I think that the Kavanaugh hearings moved more voters than “Russia!” did. (Same for the detention camps.)Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                I think the midterms were pretty well determined by the Women’s March, myself, which is when the GOP started hemorrhaging women voters, especially from the burbs.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                And now we can discuss whether the Women’s March is an indicator of aesthetics or an indicator of lawlessness on Trump’s part.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Lawlessness. The participants of that march were predominantly from outside the intersectionality community and were protesting Trump’s lawlessness, specifically his rapey, assaulty behavior, but also things like the Trump U scam, history of money laundering, bribery, and so on.Report

    • This is very wise, and thus will probably not happenReport

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      I disagree with this approach. The Democratic Congress should make some attempts at passing legislation even if they are doomed to fail because of the Senate and Presidential veto. An exclusive focus on passing liberal legislation that can not pass will come across as impotent though. The House needs to do act within whatever power they have to reign in Trump and investigate him so they do not come across as doing useless action after useless action.Report

    • Avatar Dark Matter says:

      If I were the incoming Democratic House, I would avoid ever saying the word Trump.

      Then you’d have a big, BIG, BIG problem.

      Trump will be in the news and you won’t. The media, and your supporters, will be baying for his impeachment and if you manage to stay above the fray, your fellow Dems will not. Some congress(wo)man will play the part of the lunatic left.

      And if somehow no one steps forward, Trump will throw out some vile comment to make you.Report

  2. Avatar Chip Daniels says:

    We are now at the phase where the special prosecutor is winding up, and Congress and the courts will be forced to make a decision one way or the other.

    It isn’t settled whether a sitting President can be indicted, so the courts will have to rule;
    Failing that, Congress will have to settle things through impeachment proceedings.

    This is going to be a test for the American people, of whether we actually take our duties as citizens seriously.Report

    • The court part will be fascinating to watch, not only legally but in the precedents it could conceivably set for the future. The impeachment part, which is politics dressed up as a legal proceeding, is a little more of a known quantity, as we have had one in the recent past.Report

  3. Avatar Kolohe says:

    Kelly and his replacement at Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, increasingly found themselves allied together but alone in the room when decisions where made. That was due in no small part to Kelly’s long-rumored dislike of the official roles of Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump

    What’s confusing is that some of these decisions *are* aligned with Kelly’s and Nielsen’s ideological preferences – much more than Javanka’s reported ones. But the Trump admin can’t help but tripping over their own [feet] – and that’s likely because Stephen Miller still throws an outsized amount of weight around.

    It’s possibly a credit to Miller that he wasn’t mentioned in this post? *That’s* how you become a dark lord – act like one. Low profile, behind the scenes. Not like Gorka or Mooch, not even like Steve Bannon.Report

    • You know I didn’t even think about Miller writing this. Possibly also the fact that I have written about what a cretin Miller is at length before so I just might have blocked it mentally. Also something to watch, now that Kelly is gone, Mattis loses his last ally so he will be increasingly isolated across the river at the Pentagon till whatever last straw either Himself or the president uses as an excuse to move on.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        Mattis has been more or less useless. He’s gotten the DoD more money, which is what the DoD wanted, but not what it needs. The DoD needs smarter spending, not more spending because there’s not enough money to grab long term (either politically or objectively)

        He let Da Troops be used as pawns in Trump’s border show of force. The increase in SOF optempo, in a force already stretched, on questionable missions has resulted in increased casualties with little to gain from it. He’s let a bunch of 3 and 4 stars go around and almost literally publically crowdsource an Afghanistan policy.

        So yeah, if Mattis goes, I’m pretty much ‘so what’ at this point. There’s more potential for ‘adults in the room’ to be provided by the 116th Congress than the DoD secretary.Report

  4. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    It’s going to become a three-way stalemate.

    McConnell & Co. in the Senate have let their disdain for Trump be known from time to time, and they’ll have more opportunities to do so in the future. It’s clear enough that they consider him a useful idiot and are willing to disregard his grandstanding on things that don’t really matter to them, and slow-walk the things they disagree with him about, so long as he keeps the spotlight on himself so they can do the important work of making rich people richer.

    Pelosi & Co. have signaled that they aren’t going to actually impeach until and unless they are quite certain they can obtain a conviction in the Senate. If Michael Cohen took to the airwaves and said “After he was in office, President Trump personally offered me a pardon if I perjured myself to conceal the fact that the President took a bribe and was acting under pressure of blackmail from Putin,” at this point that might not be enough to get 23 Republican Senators to vote to convict upon articles of impeachment.

    And, as the OP illustrates, the White House is really a brand apart from the Republicans in the Senate, with its own… agenda? “Set of priorities,” let’s say, which are likely to basically all be defensive from here until the campaign.

    Which means we’re in for two years of frustration all around. Two years of MAGA types frustrated at both sides in Congress; two years of progressive types frustrated at Pelosi and the Democratic Establishment; two years of Federal policy basically locked in place where it is right now.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      And I’m still not sure that he wouldn’t win re-election, given the right Democratic opponent.

      And I’m pretty sure that the DNC and the double-secret Superdelegates would be unable to do anything but nominate the right Democratic opponent.Report

    • I keep going back to this quote by Gingrich the day after the ’98 midterms, when impeaching Clinton was looming and the Democrats won back seats, a first for a party of the president in a midterm since the 30’s. “I mean I totally underestimated the degree to which people would just get sick of 24-hour-a-day talk television and talk radio and then the degree to which this whole scandal became just sort of disgusting by sheer repetition.” He was talking about the Clinton scandals, and the then-nearly 4 year old Starr investigation (8 if you roll the original Whitewater affair into it) that morphed in the Lewinsky mess. We still have two more years till 2020, and at least another year, at minimum, of Mueller/Trump/Impeachment. I really wonder if fatigue and numbness doesn’t set in to general public at some point on the constant drumbeat of it all.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        I really wonder if fatigue and numbness doesn’t set in to general public at some point on the constant drumbeat of it all.

        To avoid that risk House and Senate Dems should lobby Rosenstein to end the Mueller investigation.Report

        • Avatar InMD says:

          I get you’re probably being sarcastic but I do think they’d be wise to lobby for a proverbial shit or get off the pot in the very near future.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater says:

            I don’t understand this. Mueller *has* been shitting.

            My sarcasm was directed at equating Whitewater with the Mueller probe. The better comparison would be to Iran-Contra, in my opinion.Report

            • Avatar Dark Matter says:

              I don’t understand this. Mueller *has* been shitting.

              But not on Trump.

              Mueller has proven Trump is vile and nasty and hangs out with scum and cheats on his wife. We already knew all of that. We’re probably also going to learn that his business cheats people. We also knew that.

              Victory conditions is proving he and Russia fixed the election.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                So you’re raising the bar higher than mere “collusion,” then, eh?Report

              • Avatar Dark Matter says:

                Actually no, but the Trump campaign was so disorganized it couldn’t cooperate with the RNC. “Collusion” presumably would take more than a handshake and there’s been no leaks that would seem to pass muster.

                As always, I’m open to evidence.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                They didn’t collude.

                They just cooperated, coordinated, conspired, and collaborated with the Russians.

                But colluded? No Way!Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Way too disorganized to collude Chip. Only organized people could do something like that.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

        Like I said this is a test of the American people.
        It is a test of how seriously we talk all this talk about us being citizens.

        Or are we just helpless serfs, watching the aristocrats squabble over the throne?
        The detached, Politico style of horserace commentary assumes the posture of a palace courtier delivering gossip to a serf.

        Although I’m not opposed to an indictment, I prefer impeachment, since it is the precise Constitutional mechanism for this. The President committed crimes and misdemeanors, and what are the People and their elected representatives going to do about it?

        As Ms. Pelosi herself said- “We were sent here to do a job, not keep one.”Report

        • I suspect if you caught her in a private and honest moment, Pelosi would prefer to not deal with impeachment at all. No matter what happens, at her age and stage of career you have to assume this is her last go round with the gavel and she’d probably like to end it with some policy achievements, or at least fighting for them, not the speaker at war with Trump constantly.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater says:

            she’d probably like to end it with some policy achievements

            I’m confused by this statement. The House can write and pass bills, and I’m sure they will, but do you really think any of them will make it through McConnell’s Senate?

            Re: impeachment, I think you’re projecting your own preferences onto Pelosi, since impeachment seems like a wildly open possibility, depending, as it should, on the continuing emergence of evidence indicating Trump committed crimes. If that trend continues there comes a point where Dems look weak by *not* impeaching the President.Report

            • Yes, there are pathways for legislation, and a “I’ll sign anything” president awaiting them if the democrats pick their lanes carefully.

              It has been widely reported by multiple people that privately Pelosi doesn’t want anything to do with impeachment and has worked to keep her caucus from even discussing it as much as she can until they have something concrete to go off of. That isn’t projection. Pelosi is very savvy, and she was around the last time we did this. She knows what it would mean if they swing and miss on impeachment, and I doubt she will proceed with it till she is either forced too by her party or thinks it will result in impeachment. She certainly isn’t going to go after the president just on news reports and tweets.Report

              • Avatar Stillwater says:

                Which is different than saying “Pelosi would prefer to not deal with impeachment at all.” Instead, she would prefer not to deal with impeachment unless she has to or the evidence compels doing so. Ie., Pelosi’s calculus is political based on facts on the ground.

                Re: passing legislation which she can count as achievements, if recent history is a guide (and it is!) McConnell will.not.allow a Dem victory to pass thru his Senate. Pelosi can talk about *wanting* to pass legislation, but she knows, absolutely knows, it will be eviscerated by the GOP Senate.Report

          • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

            My beef is with the citizens who aren’t demanding impeachment, the whole, “hey, we’re just passive spectators to this reality show”.

            Because all the “savvy” analysis invokes The People being implacably opposed, that this is a wildly unpopular idea.

            So either the palace courtiers are wrong, or the people have surrendered themselves to living in a banana republic.Report

      • Avatar Patrick says:

        One of the things to consider here is that Whitewater and Starr got boring for the same reason Benghazi got boring: there was no real new news to report in a frequency that kept people interested, unless they were already going to be consumed by the process out of sheer Clinton hatred.

        That’s… not looking to be the case here. Juicy new details and folks and indictments and sentencing memos all of which add more corners to be explored, not the same inside baseball real estate shenanigans.

        I see this as different in kind and degree.Report

  5. Avatar J_A says:

    and the double-secret Superdelegates would be unable to do anything but nominate the right Democratic opponent

    I’m sure you are not referring at Hillary because you are only just sayin’, but in 2016 Hillary won millions more votes, and more regular delegates, than Bernie, and it was Bernie and his supporters who were asking the superdelegates to throw the nomination his way. Again, just sayin’Report

    • Avatar Jaybird says:

      They certainly picked the person who would lose to Trump last time.

      Indeed, they could do no other.

      My suspicion is that they will do so again.

      Indeed, that they can do no other.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        Here’s a thought on the pickle Dems are in right now: the national electorate dislikes a Dem candidate who advocates Medicare for All or free college or the rest of the social democratic kaboodle *less than* it dislikes a national Democratic Party institutionalist. And The Party will work tirelessly to nominate an insider.Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          The main person that I thought might be able to straddle that particular Rhodian harbor was Elizabeth Warren.

          Well, until October.

          They’re going to need someone with a foot in each camp. I don’t know who can pull that off.

          Gillibrand is the only name that might do it and she’d need someone like Booker to balance as VP.

          And then you’d have yet another freaking pair of Northeastern Liberals for the Republicans to go up against and those are the only politicians that Republicans know how to beat reliably.Report

          • Avatar Stillwater says:


            More seriously, I think the problem the Dems have is the (potential) Gillibrandization of the national party: that insiders choose someone who’s an insider down to his or her political bones but *presents* to the base as a progressive, and therefore passes the insiders’ national-electorate smell test. It won’t work, IMO.Report

            • Avatar Jaybird says:

              Well, at least 2024 will be a bloodbath.Report

            • Avatar bookdragon says:

              Klobuchar/O’Rourke 2020!!!

              Get someone from a Northern/Midwestern state who is a party insider and presents well. Couple her with a fairly charismatic Texan who is perceived as progressive.

              The rightwing hate machine will of course demonize both of them as the worst most radical liberal/socialist candidates EVER (and the NYT will amplify every possible scandal and every concern about whether they are just too far left for ordinary ‘Murcans), but that will happen to anyone the Dems nominate.Report

    • Avatar DensityDuck says:

      Considering that in 2008 she also won more votes and more regular delegates than Barack Obama, I’m not sure this is as awesome of an argument as you think.Report

      • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

        So this “terrible” candidate consistently wins more votes than her opponents?

        You keep using that word…Report

        • Avatar Jaybird says:

          Oh, God. It never occurred to me that she might run again. I mean, I joked about it… but not seriously.Report

        • Avatar DensityDuck says:

          “So this “terrible” candidate consistently wins more votes than her opponents?”

          I am pleased to see you come around on the idea that Donald Trump, having received more votes than his opponent, is therefore the legitimate President.Report

          • Avatar dragonfrog says:

            If we’re counting votes, wouldn’t Trump legitimately be the Republican candidate but have lost the general?

            Yeah I know, electoral college, or druids scrying the innards of a white duck fed holly before being slaughtered with a silver knife, or however it is y’all Americans figure “votes”.Report

      • Avatar J_A says:

        Considering that in 2008 she also won more votes and more regular delegates than Barack Obama, I’m not sure this is as awesome of an argument as you think

        Are you sure?

        Wikipedia agrees she got (slightly) more votes -albeit barely a rounding error- but less regular delegates, given the vagaries of how delegates are calculated in the different states

        If I recall correctly, her argument was exactly that the superdelegates should give her the nomination because she had had more votes, even though she had less delegatesReport

  6. Avatar Chip Daniels says:

    Trump was a terrific candidate.
    Whether the election was legitimate is still being investigated.Report

  7. Avatar Michael Drew says:

    I guess there’s a bunker mentality, and then there’s an actual (well okay, strictly speaking [I think?] still metaphorical- but much more stark and present) bunker:
    saying noting for a week while your country is looted and burned over your policies.Report

  8. Now even Chris Christie won’t go near the guy.Report