Trump Will Probably Be The GOP Nominee-- Bernie Would Be The Best Opponent Democrats Could Run Against Him
Trump didn't show up for the "debate" in New Hampshire Monday night, so neither did the public. The debate-- or forum-- was delegitimized by Trump's absence. ABC's Rick Klein wrote:
Trump is so much of the story right now that when he doesn’t show up at a candidate forum, there’s almost no story at all. Monday night’s pre-debate show in New Hampshire struggled to find a rhythm, as if the fact that a certain candidate’s name never got mentioned robbed the participants of their focal point. As the top 10 candidates get their debate invites from Fox on Tuesday, with 3 percent support looking like the bar to clear, it’s worth calculating that the frontrunner has enough support to earn seven or eight podium spots. Yes, that’s Mr. Trump, who now doesn’t need to exaggerate to claim that he’s leading essentially every poll, national and state. It may be time to change assumptions about Trump, whose numbers aren’t peaking as many GOP leaders had assumed or hoped. Expecting Trump to implode seems like less of a sure bet.Go up to that long-suppressed Trump documentary up top. I watch it and see a wretched, self-aggrandizing crook and phony. Trump is a Brooklyn huckster who grew up on the same street as my first girlfriend, Avenue Z. I know exactly who and what he is. But Republicans look at the same video and see a "classy" presidency by a smart, successful businessman.
Beltway professionals underestimated Trump's appeal to Republicans whose power of analysis goes no deeper than parroting the dreck that pours out of Fox News and Hate Talk Radio. Long after he was supposed to have peaked and faded, the polls show him crushing the Republican Establishment's Jeb Bush, crushing the Koch Bros' Scott Walker, crushing Adelson's Marco Rubio and stealing all the thunder on the right from Chris Christie and Ted Cruz with their carefully developed stratagems meant to appeal to the crowd who admire authoritarian bullies.
The latest WMUR Granite State Poll, released Monday, says Trump is the top choice of 24 percent of likely GOP primary voters, doubling the support of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who is backed by 12 percent. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, at 11 percent, is the only other candidate in double digits.Nationally, Trump's favorables among Republican voters have climbed from 28% in April to, according to the new Monmouth poll, 52% today, and his unfavorables among Republicans have shrunk from 56% to 35%-- adding up to a swing from -28% net approval to +17% net approval. He can win the nomination, and he probably will. The base embraces his Know-Nothing approach and admires his personality.
Not only has Trump surged to the head of the pack in New Hampshire, but also for the first time, he is now viewed favorably by more likely GOP primary voters than unfavorably. And, he is named as the candidate best able to handle key issues facing the nation, from the economy to terrorism, and from immigration to health care policy.
...Trump’s move to the top of the New Hampshire primary field has coincided with an improvement in how he is viewed by likely voters. Currently, 51 percent of those polled view him favorably and 40 percent unfavorably. In the WMUR Granite State poll in June, 38 percent viewed him favorably and 48 percent unfavorably.
In February, Trump was viewed favorably by only 19 percent of likely New Hampshire Republican primary voters and unfavorably by 69 percent.
Ken occasionally writes about NYTimes in-house conservative David Brooks. I've avoided him-- until today, when I read his column, Donald Trump's Allure: Ego As Ideology. Brooks' perspective may comfort GOP elites looking for an explanation of Trump's mind-boggling success in the race for the Republican nomination.
A few decades ago the sociologist Jonathan Rieder studied what was then the white working-class neighborhood of Canarsie, Brooklyn. People there were hostile both to their poorer black neighbors, who they felt threatened their community, and to the Manhattan elites, who they felt sold them out from above.
We are now living in a time of economic anxiety and political alienation. Just three in 10 Americans believe that their views are represented in Washington, according to a CNN/ORC poll. Confidence in public institutions like schools, banks and churches is near historic lows, according to Gallup. Only 29 percent of Americans think the nation is on the right track, according to Rasmussen.
This climate makes it hard for the establishment candidates who normally dominate our politics. Jeb Bush is swimming upstream. Hillary Clinton may win through sheer determination, but she’s not a natural fit for this moment. A career establishment figure like Joe Biden doesn’t stand a chance... Bernie Sanders is swimming with the tide. He’s a conviction politician comfortable with class conflict. Many people on the left have a generalized, vague hunger for fundamental systemic change or at least the atmospherics of radical change.
The times are perfect for Donald Trump. He’s an outsider, which appeals to the alienated. He’s confrontational, which appeals to the frustrated. And, in a unique 21st-century wrinkle, he’s a narcissist who thinks he can solve every problem, which appeals to people who in challenging times don’t feel confident in their understanding of their surroundings and who crave leaders who seem to be.
Trump’s populism is pretty standard. He appeals to people who, as Walter Lippmann once put it, “feel rather like a deaf spectator in the back row. … He knows he is somehow affected by what is going on. … [But] these public affairs are in no convincing way his affairs. They are for the most part invisible. They are managed, if they are managed at all, at distant centers, from behind the scenes by unnamed powers. … In the cold light of experience, he knows that his sovereignty is a fiction. He reigns in theory, but in fact he does not govern.”
When Trump is striking populist chords, he appeals to people who experience this invisibility. He appeals to members of the alienated middle class (like those folks in Canarsie) who believe that neither the rich nor the poor have to play by the same rules they do. He appeals to people who are resentful of immigrants who get what they, allegedly, don’t deserve.
But Trump’s support base is weird. It skews slightly more secular and less educated than the average Republican, but he doesn’t draw from any distinctive blocs. Unlike past populisms he’s not especially rural or urban, ethnic based or class based. He draws people as individuals, not groups.
Unlike past populisms, his main argument is not that the elites are corrupt or out of touch. It is that they are morons. His announcement speech was fascinating (and compelling). “How stupid are our leaders?” he asked rhetorically. “Our president doesn’t have a clue,” he continued. “We have people that are stupid,” he observed of the leadership class.
In other words, it’s not that our problems are unsolvable or even hard. It’s not that we’re potentially a nation in decline. The problem is that we don’t have a leadership class as smart, competent, tough and successful as Donald Trump.
...[E]go is his ideology, and in this he is absolutely consistent. In the Trump mind the world is not divided into right and left. Instead there are winners and losers. Society is led by losers, who scorn and disrespect the people who are actually the winners.
Never before have we experienced a moment with so much public alienation and so much private, assertive and fragile self-esteem. Trump is the perfect confluence of these trends. He won’t be president, but he’s not an aberration. He is deeply rooted in the currents of our time.
Stupid people, empowered by Rush Limbaugh and Fox News, are thrilled to imagine that the elites are even stupider than they are. The huckster in Trump knows exactly how to manipulate those feelings. Sunday, Robert Reich made some sense of this by contextualizing it as a revolt against the ruling class. "[A]s enthusiasm for the bombastic billionaire and the socialist senior continues to build within each party," he writes, referring to Trump and Bernie, "the political establishment is mystified. Political insiders don’t see that the biggest political phenomenon in America today is a revolt against the 'ruling class' of insiders that have dominated Washington for more than three decades. In two very different ways, Trump and Sanders are agents of this revolt."
America has long had a ruling class but the public was willing to tolerate it during the three decades after World War II, when prosperity was widely shared and when the Soviet Union posed a palpable threat. Then, the ruling class seemed benevolent and wise.Want to help make sure this revolt goes the right way? You can help Bernie's campaign here. Think of the alternatives.
Yet in the last three decades-- when almost all the nation’s economic gains have gone to the top while the wages of most people have gone nowhere-- the ruling class has seemed to pad its own pockets at the expense of the rest of America.
We’ve witnessed self-dealing on a monumental scale-- starting with the junk-bond takeovers of the 1980s, followed by the Savings and Loan crisis, the corporate scandals of the early 2000s (Enron, Adelphia, Global Crossing, Tyco, Worldcom), and culminating in the near meltdown of Wall Street in 2008 and the taxpayer-financed bailout.
Along the way, millions of Americans lost their jobs their savings, and their homes.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has opened the floodgates to big money in politics wider than ever. Taxes have been cut on top incomes, tax loopholes widened, government debt has grown, public services have been cut. And not a single Wall Street executive has gone to jail.
The game seems rigged-- riddled with abuses of power, crony capitalism, and corporate welfare.
In 1964, Americans agreed by 64% to 29% that government was run for the benefit of all the people. By 2012, the response had reversed, with voters saying by 79% to 19% that government was “run by a few big interests looking after themselves.”
...Donald Trump is their human wrecking ball. The more outrageous his rants and putdowns of other politicians, the more popular he becomes among this segment of the public that’s thrilled by a bombastic, racist, billionaire who sticks it to the ruling class.
On the left are the rebuilders. The Occupy movement, which also emerged from the Wall Street bailout, was intent on displacing the ruling class and rebuilding our political-economic system from the ground up.
Occupy didn’t last but it put inequality on map. And the sentiments that fueled Occupy are still boiling.
Bernie Sanders personifies them. The more he advocates a fundamental retooling of our economy and democracy in favor of average working people, the more popular he becomes among those who no longer trust the ruling class to bring about necessary change.