Sunday, March 20, 2016

This Week in Trump

The New York Times writes, Republican Leaders Map a Strategy to Derail Donald Trump.

Republican leaders adamantly opposed to Donald J. Trump’s candidacy are preparing a 100-day campaign to deny him the presidential nomination, starting with an aggressive battle in Wisconsin’s April 5 primary and extending into the summer, with a delegate-by-delegate lobbying effort that would cast Mr. Trump as a calamitous choice for the general election.

But should that effort falter, leading conservatives are prepared to field an independent candidate in the general election, to defend Republican principles and offer traditional conservatives an alternative to Mr. Trump’s hard-edged populism.

The names of a few well-known conservatives have been offered up in recent days as potential third-party standard-bearers...Among the recruits under discussion are Tom Coburn, a former Oklahoma senator who has told associates that he would be open to running, and Rick Perry, the former Texas governor who was suggested as a possible third-party candidate at a meeting of conservative activists on Thursday in Washington.

Coburn would rather back someone else and Perry seems like a horrible choice since on Sept 11, 2015 he was the first to drop out after yet another debate disaster (seriously, can this man speak without sounding like an idiot?)

Matthew Yglesias says, Donald Trump is Republican leaders' fault. "The fact of the matter is that the Trump phenomenon is entirely their fault — the malign consequence of years of willfully reckless misconduct of public affairs followed by months of cowardly dilly-dallying." He cites many elected Republican leaders who refused to call Trump a racist crank when he spouted his birther theories in 2011.

Leaders didn't scold or repudiate the birthers in their ranks because they were actively courting them. At a time when Trump's only known interest in national politics consisted of spreading wild, racially tinged anti-Obama conspiracy theories, Mitt Romney proudly stood beside him on a stage to accept his endorsement in the 2012 primary.

Later, Republicans invited Trump to speak at their 2012 convention. All of which is just to say that Trump is, in a very literal, very practical, very banal sense, entirely the fault of the Republican Party leadership. They knew in 2011 and 2012 that he wasn't a serious thinker about public policy and didn't have any longstanding commitment to conservative philosophy. But they embraced and promoted him as a political figure not despite his ugly conspiracy-mongering but because of it — doing so at a time when he had no other conceivable connection to Republican Party politics.

Then in their pledge to support anyone that won the nomination "Republican leaders vouched for Trump's fitness to serve".

Party leaders could have taken any number of opportunities — the time he approvingly cited a fictional war crime, his lavish praise of Vladimir Putin, his vile slurs of Megyn Kelly, his evident lack of knowledge of any policy issue, or his repeated incitements toward violence at his rallies — to simply admit that the pledge had been a mistake. They said they would support Trump, but they had never really meant it at the time and shouldn't have said it, because Trump is clearly unsuitable for the presidency.

But they didn't. Even in the course of a Tuesday night concession speech in which he implicitly lambasted Trump, Marco Rubio hewed to the line of party loyalty. Paul Ryan says he will support Trump if he is the nominee. Mitch McConnell and the entire Senate Republican caucus are holding a Supreme Court seat open for Trump to fill. And Republican strategists are currently advising candidates on how to Trumpify their own campaigns.

The question for Republican leaders is whether they will continue to legitimize Trump in the name of party unity, or do the right thing and disavow him. The preferred path of least resistance, obviously, is to choose not to choose. To have senators and House members in contested races distance themselves from the unpopular Trump even while the party as a whole mobilizes behind him to keep turnout and morale up. But politics is about making choices, and this is a time for choosing. Despite his anti-establishment credentials, Trump has been boosted and elevated by the Republican establishment every step of the way. If they don't stop that — and soon — they are all complicit in the consequences, no matter how much they quietly dream of a brokered convention to save them.

I recently found the twitter account, Propane Jane, and she is writing a lot of good stuff, including.

That's how they ended up w/Trump. He represents the GOP's lack of leadership and its outright refusal to admit its own terrible mistakes.

Nobody in the GOP wants to tell the White electorate (Indie or GOP) that they've been selling them horse shit for the last 50 years.

Last November Vanity Fair asked, Is Donald Trump Actually a Narcissist? Therapists Weigh In!.

For mental-health professionals, Donald Trump is at once easily diagnosed but slightly confounding. “Remarkably narcissistic,” said developmental psychologist Howard Gardner, a professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education. “Textbook narcissistic personality disorder,” echoed clinical psychologist Ben Michaelis. “He’s so classic that I’m archiving video clips of him to use in workshops because there’s no better example of his characteristics,” said clinical psychologist George Simon, who conducts lectures and seminars on manipulative behavior. “Otherwise, I would have had to hire actors and write vignettes. He’s like a dream come true.”

Raw Story wrote a similar article in January, A neuroscientist explains: Trump has a mental disorder that makes him a dangerous world leader.

Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan describe the many clips I've seen of the violence at Trump events and how Trump himself is supporting it. As Democracy Now does so well, they put it in context, Fascism: Can it Happen Here?.

Paxton gave a short history of the rise of fascism in Germany: "In the election of 1924, [Hitler] did very poorly, for a marginal party. Then you have the Depression in 1929 and 1930. ... There’s this huge economic crisis with tens of millions unemployed, and there’s also a governmental deadlock. You cannot get any legislation passed." Paxton continued, "The German Weimar Republic really ceased to function as a republic in 1930, because nothing could be passed. ... So, between 1930 and 1933, President von Hindenburg ruled by decree. And the political elites are desperate to get out of that situation. And here’s Hitler, who has more votes by this time than anybody else. He’s up to 37 percent. He never gets a majority, but he’s up to 37 percent. And they want to bring that into their tent and get a solid mass backing. And so ... they bring him in."

So here's the crazy thing, while a few months ago it seemed like the Democrats had only the slightest chance of taking back the Senate and a zero chance of taking 30 seats back in the House to get a majority, now the chance of the latter isn't zero anymore. Why experts think Trump could hand Democrats a House majority.

A Trump or Cruz nomination wouldn't guarantee a down-ballot disaster for the GOP, but operatives on both sides admit it would inject much more uncertainty into races - especially if it were Trump. For one, given Hillary Clinton's high unfavorable ratings and Trump's willingness to adapt his message to fit changing political conditions, anything from an extremely close race to a total Clinton blowout seems possible in November.

Second, if November does turn into a Democratic rout, it's impossible to know just how bad it could get for Republicans sharing a ballot with Trump or Cruz. On one hand, past presidential blowouts in years like 1964, 1972 and 1984 haven't led to dramatic sea changes in House seats. On the other, there hasn't been a true presidential blowout in 20 years. Today, rates of split-ticket voting are at all-time lows and House candidates are defined by their party and the top of the ticket more than ever.

They currently don't see a way for the Dems to get 30 seats, but they do cite 10 districts (half with Democratic incumbents) where Republican support is weakened by a Trump or Cruz nominee. As Vox put it "Paul Ryan will probably be speaker in 2017 just as much as he is today. But while four months ago the idea that he might not be seemed totally crazy, as of mid-March it doesn't seem crazy at all."

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