Thursday, August 20, 2015

Trump-- It Can't Happen Here... Can It?


Before we get into today's little history lesson, let's take a minute to look at the brand new CNN poll and the brand new PPP poll (just for North Carolina). CNN polled Hillary against each Republican; she's ahead of them all. Registered voters only:
Hillary 52%- Jeb! 43%
Hillary 51%- Trump 45%
Hillary 52%- Walker 46%
Hillary 53%- Fiorina 43%
They didn't bother with head-to-heads for third-tier candidates like Chris Christie, Lindsey Graham, Marco Rubio, John Kasich, Rand Paul, etc., and perhaps the PPP polling helps to explain why. Trump has all the momentum in North Carolina, not just leading the pack, but with the biggest rate of growth in the past month-- up by 8 points since July and with a 47-40% favorability rating among Republicans.
Our newest survey of the state finds that Trump's momentum has just continued to grow. He's now at 24% to 14% for Ben Carson, 13% for Jeb Bush, 10% for Ted Cruz, 9% for Marco Rubio, and 6% each for Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, and Scott Walker. Those folks make for a pretty clean top 8 in the state. Rounding out the field are Rand Paul at 3%, Chris Christie and Rick Santorum at 2%, John Kasich and Rick Perry at 1%, Jim Gilmore, Bobby Jindal, and George Pataki with less than 1%, and Lindsey Graham with literally no supporters... Trump leads the GOP field with moderates (29%), 'somewhat conservative' voters (25%), 'very conservative' voters (21%), men (26%), women (22%), middle aged voters (26%), younger voters (25%), and seniors (20%) alike...“Rather than seeing his support fall apart following the debate Donald Trump has just gotten stronger,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling.
Here's some bad news for the Republican Establishment from the PPP poll of North Carolina Republicans:

The two other Establishment faves, Walker and Rubio, each hold Trump down to 43% in head-to-head matchups, Walker with 50% and Rubio with 51%. OK, now for the lookback into a little history we don't want to repeat. Let's go back to a politically tumultuous and fragile Germany between 1925, when Paul von Hindenburg was elected president, and 1933, when he appointed Hitler chancellor.

Germany's plutocrats-- while not adverse to a "strong man" who would come in and kick some Commie worker ass after the ailing Feldmarschall von Hindenburg inevitably died-- felt they could "control" Hitler when push came to shove. It quickly did, and they couldn't. I'm not saying Trump is Hitler, especially since he has far more in common with the buffoon Mussolini, but I am saying that the Republican Establishment, which basically means Fox News and the big money players, thought they could have their fun with Trump and then shoo him away.

Time writer Phil Elliott tweeted yesterday that former Trump adviser Roger Stone told CNN that the RNC has a "secret war room to take out Trump." It doesn't seem to be doing a very good job so far. "Writing for New York, Jonathan Chait explains it hasn't exactly worked out for them, at least not... so far. Chait wrote that Trump "stands little chance of capturing his party’s nomination. But he is not going to go away, either. He appeals to an identifiable constituency that will stick with him even in the face of defeat or embarrassment. Trump has already endured numerous mortifying gaffes, by ordinary standards, and an apparently unsuccessful effort by Fox News to destroy his standing within the party during a highly visible televised debate. He will not run out of money. He can, and probably will, take his candidacy all the way to the end."
The worst-case scenario for Republicans is if Trump decides to run a third-party campaign. Even managing to get his name on the ballot in a handful of states would bring victory out of reach for the GOP’s eventual nominee. The best-case scenario is that Trump straggles through the race, eventually supporting the nominee. But this scenario is also far from ideal. It means that Trump has shaped the tenor of the race in almost precisely the opposite way the party establishment had hoped.

Immigration did not represent the totality of the party elite’s strategic response to the 2012 election, but it did constitute its main tenet. The Republican brain trust hoped to resolve its image problem with Latino and Asian-American voters by passing immigration reform as quickly as possible. The purest version of this strategy, articulated by Charles Krauthammer, called for Republicans to fold completely on immigration, and change nothing else about their program. The idea was to take the short-term hit as quickly as possible after the midterms, allowing the base to vent its spleen and make up in time for the presidential campaign. Republicans in the Senate were able to make this happen, but the House proved typically impotent in the face of opposition.

In the wake of this failure, Republicans have vaguely hoped to finesse the issue. Trump is making that difficult. His arch-restrictionist plan-- involving mass deportations and a gigantic wall on the Mexican border that Trump, through the use of his uniquely Trumpian negotiating power, would make Mexico finance-- has set a standard against which others will be judged. Scott Walker is already bellying up to the bar, comparing himself to the polling leader (“I haven’t looked at all the details of his, but the things I’ve heard are very similar to the things I mentioned"). Given that Trump has made himself the symbol of racism against Mexicans, it is difficult to imagine a simple escape from the party’s branding disasters of the Obama era. But that is what they have, and what they may well continue to have, well into 2016.
Brian Beutler's perspective was somewhat different yesterday. He wrote: "This isn’t the fight the right needs right now. But it's the one it deserves... The fight among conservatives... is marked almost entirely by nastiness and self-interest. The fact that it's over a character like Donald Trump is fitting." He points out that most people covering the Trump campaign "operate under the assumption that he won’t be the GOP presidential nominee-- that something he says or does or did in the past will eventually cause his poll numbers to collapse. If his demise is baked into the plot, why not grab some popcorn and pass it around till it finally happens?"
Of the many drawbacks to this kind of myopic voyeurism, the biggest of all is that it obscures the carnage his candidacy is creating on the right as he mows down its sacred cows. Within the conservative movement, the fight over Trump is being waged mostly by surrogates, but surrogates can’t elevate or ennoble it. Instead it has degenerated into a vulgar farce befitting its main object-- Trump himself.

The battle line runs between factions of the conservative movement that care about winning, and ones that specialize in entertainment and charlatanism, with Fox News caught appropriately in the middle.

On one side you have most professional Republican strategists, the Republican National Committee, elite conservative opinion makers, a growing number of Republican presidential candidates, and even coarse and uncompromising activist organs like Red State. On the other are a band of less strategic, but arguably more influential vessels of self-interest like Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, and the propaganda site Breitbart.

Fox threw in its lot briefly with the former, using the first debate as a staging ground to sandbag Trump at his most vulnerable moment and drag him out of contention. The effort failed. And in the aftermath, perhaps out of a concern for ratings, or a fear that Trump would cite Fox as a justification for a third-party candidacy, the network called a truce.
I wonder when journalists and others covering Trump's campaign-- as well as the GOP elites-- will realize he is going to win the Republican nomination. And there's nothing they can do about it. Let's leave the last word to Bernie Sanders, who certainly makes the most sense on the Trump phenomenon. "I think Donald Trump’s views on immigration and his slurring of the Latino community is not something that should be going on in the year 2015, and it’s to me an embarrassment for our country."

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At 5:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Schwarzenegger happened in one of the most liberal states. Of course, the Republican energy oligarchs (meaning, the Bush and Koch cliques) used Enron to sabotage Governor Gray Davis, the California economy, and the California political climate in a concerted ploy right out of the CIA manual of the type usually perpetrated against foreign nations, such as the coup d'etats in Honduras a few years ago and Ukraine only last year) to pave the way for The Total Recall Terminix Man. But don't think for a minute that the Republican financial oligarchs haven't been busy subverting Hillary Clinton's image for the last several years in hopes of ousting her from the primaries or neutering her chances in a general election. This includes the NY Times news operation and certain inexplicably popular NY Times columnists. The Republican menace never sleeps, because it can't afford to, as the people of the United States are turning against it and the GOP's only hope is for us to be distracted from their perfidy, amorality, and incompetence.

At 7:37 PM, Blogger ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

It could EASILY happen here. Imagine if we get our next recession before fall of 2016.

This entire recovery of ours has been built on giving money to rich people. And what they've done is goose the value of things they already owned (stocks and bonds) by buying more. Everyone else has gotten trickle-down.


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