Thursday, December 31, 2015

Herr Trumpf And The Iowa Evangelicals


Would even one evangelical anywhere fall for a candidate pandering to them this way? This is how Herr Trumpf, waving around a Bible and claiming "plenty of pastors" support him, opened his rally in Council Bluffs Tuesday night:
"I even brought my Bible-- the evangelicals, ok? We love the evangelicals and we’re polling so well. This Bible was given to me by my mother, going to Sunday school… So, we love the Bible. It’s the best. We love The Art of the Deal, but the Bible is far, far superior, yes."
How offensive is that to someone who patterns their life, on some level and with some degree of sincerity,  around Jesus Christ? Most of the rest of the rally consisted of Trumpf boasting about his polling numbers although there was a tiny bit of self-reflection-- rare for the comedian insult dog canddiate-- when he suddenly said "If I don’t win, I would never have done it again because it would have been a waste of time. To me it would have been a big fat, beautiful waste of time, and I really mean that... Unless we win, I couldn’t care less. It’s really true."

The most recent CBS poll of registered Republican voters in Iowa predicts a possible bad night for Trumpf February 1:
Cruz- 40%
Trumpf- 31%
Rubio- 12%
Dr. Ben- 6%
Jeb- 2%
Fiorina- 2%
Huckabee- 2%
Rand Paul- 2%
Santorum- 1%
Kasich- 1%
Christie- 1%
When asked which candidate was someone they could relate to, Trumpf scored the lowest of any of the top tier, just 28%, compared to 53% for Dr. Ben, 46% for Cruz and 32% for Rubio. And did Trumpf's subliminal swipe at Cruz in Council Bluff make any sense to anyone? "To the best of my knowledge, not too many evangelicals come out of Cuba, okay? Just remember that, okay?" What does that even mean? I'm not an evangelical nor a Republican, but it sounds like it would offensive-- or at least confusing-- to evangelical Republicans. As for Rubio, Trumpf's now harping on some craziness about Rubio not being a patriot because his ads have a black background instead of an American flag, which, if nothing else, at least gives us an idea about with Trumpf's soon to be unfurled "millions of dollars" in ads are going to look like.

Wednesday morning, Politico was speculating that Trumpf may be coming to terms with the fact he's going to lose in Iowa next month.
"If I come in second by 2 points, they'll say 'Ooh, this is a terrible defeat,'" he said, referring to media and pundit pronouncements. "It's not terrible."

It seemed like a classic case of expectations-setting common to presidential campaigns, but rarely seen from Trump, who has consistently led both in national and early-state polls. He heaped praise on Iowa's first-in-the-nation status and warned of political plots to bump Iowa "to the back of the pack" in future primary seasons. He said that if he wins, he'd ensure that Iowa remains the first state to hold a nominating contest.

It comes as he foreshadows a sustained ad blitz-- at least $2 million a week-- in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. He also told Iowa rally-goers to expect him to be there so often "You're going to get so sick of me."

"I really want to win Iowa," he said, adding, "We're going to give it our best."

Trump's comments came toward the end of a typically free-wheeling speech that ran more than an hour and featured an accusation that the Obama administration makes it more difficult for Christian foreigners to get into the country than Muslim foreigners.

"We take only the Muslims," he said. "We don't take the Christians. If you're Christian, it's almost impossible to get into this country."

Trump also spent time criticizing Caroline Kennedy, President Barack Obama's ambassador to Japan and the daughter of President John F. Kennedy. He argued that she's unqualified to be the nation's liaison to Japan and has been too eager to accept the wining and dining of her host country.

"She's a very nice person. I say that because my daughter Ivanka says she's a very nice person," Trump told the crowd. "She has no experience at this."

Trump pivoted from that critique to a broader indictment of Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton. As he launched into a hypothetical scene in which Clinton is president, he began to say "Madame President" and then paused.

"Can you imagine?" he said. "If it's gotta be a woman, which I'm all in favor of someday, it shouldn't be Hillary."
Yes, I'm sure he's all in favor of it. He once wrote "I know Hillary and I think she'd make a great president." Andrew Kaczynski:
Less than a decade ago, Donald Trump could be spotted on TV or in print gushing over Hillary Clinton. He publicly praised her health care plan (it had an individual mandate). He said he liked Clinton and her husband “very much.” He said she would do a good job negotiating with Iran.

During the heat of the 2008 campaign, Trump took to his own blog to praise Clinton, writing that she’d make a great president.

“Hillary Clinton said she’d consider naming Barack Obama as her vice-president when she gets the nomination, but she’s nowhere near a shoo-in,” wrote The Donald about the heated Democratic primary in 2008. “For his part, Obama said he’s just focused on winning the nomination, although at least one member of his team said Clinton would make a good vice-president. (I know Hillary and I think she’d make a great president or vice-president.)”
I have a feeling she never said-- or thought-- he's make a great, or even plausible, president or vice president. I'm no Hillary Clinton fan but I know she isn't insane. How many Iowa caucus goers are? You can contribute to Bernie's campaign here.

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At 11:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"And did Trumpf's subliminal swipe at Cruz in Council Bluff make any sense to anyone? "To the best of my knowledge, not too many evangelicals come out of Cuba, okay? Just remember that, okay?" What does that even mean? I'm not an evangelical nor a Republican, but it sounds like it would offensive-- or at least confusing-- to evangelical Republicans."

Having toiled in the Iowa vineyards a few cycles it makes perfect sense to me. Remember that Iowa Republican caucus-goers are both mostly evangelical and mostly extremely low information. So, first, it reminds them that Cruz comes from Cuba. Cuba bad because communism and Castro. Cuba bad because hispanic. For slightly higher-information caucus-goers, it also indirectly questions whether or not Cruz is really an evangelical. Cruz' all-over-the-map stances invite questions on what he really is and what he really stands for, questions Trump is inviting without claiming that he's an evangelical himself - because he clearly isn't. Finally, for very high-information Iowa Republicans, it reminds them that Cuba is mostly Catholic or atheist.

But I am still waiting for Trump to go full birther on Cruz. If he's not really an American, what is he? Who is he working for? If done correctly, that could unleash the full pandaemonium of modern-day "Republican" paranoia.

At 6:36 AM, Blogger Natalie Daniels said...

Apparently Cruz is eligible under birthright citizenship. Just let that irony sink in. These people are obsessed with wombs- whose womb was where and on what day. Trump has a great shot in the SEC primaries and that is what he is waiting for but I doubt he will admit that strategy. He can afford to spend tens of millions of his fortune campaigning and will be fine without Iowa and NH which I think he will lose resoundingly. Cruz thinks he has some sort of handle on Trumpf which is hilarious, he is like a rabid dog that bites after you feed it.


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