Thursday, January 28, 2016

No Stopping Herr Trumpf Now-- Who's To Blame?


Remember the bright red "Keep Calm It Won't Be Trump" memes floating around the internet as recently as two weeks ago? No more. Geoff Garin, head of Hart Research polled 160 political insiders about who they expected to see win the Republican nomination. Way back in October, 8% had chosen Herr Trumpf. Now 59% say the GOP nominee will be Herr. 18% say Rubio-- who has fallen to slipping under the waves in all the new polls of New Hampshire Republicans-- and 16% say Cruz.

Our own informal poll of DWT readers show the majority are hoping for a deadlocked-- brokered-- GOP convention in Cleveland in July, in which no candidate has the 1,237 delegates to win on the first ballot. It isn't so much that they want to see Paul Ryan emerge as the nominee-- a likely outcome, and one GOP billionaires are financing right now-- as it is the expectation of a gun battle inside the convention hall when the Trumpf fans figure out the establishment is stealing the nomination from the only man who can make America great again. (Yes, Ohio has a concealed carry law and guns will be allowed into the Republican convention.)

This week, Reid Epstein, writing for the Wall Street Journal outlined the scenario that will lead to the gun battle likely to wipe out the Republican Party once and for all. Epstein sees several dynamics at play:
the crowded field, formerly known as the "deep bench"
Herr Trumpf's ability to energize unaffiliated fascist voters looking for a fuehrer
the take over of the GOP by the Old Confederacy and the redrawn primary map that gives more sway to Southern states that back nominees who aren’t acceptable to normal people
the GOP's new way of counting delegates in early contests that will spread them out among the competitors, preventing anyone from separating from the pack
Remember of the 1,237 delegates needed to win, only 133 are being chosen in the 4 early states the media (and the candidates) are obsessing over. The March 1 Confederate Super Tuesday counts for around 600 delegates, "awarded proportinally based on the percentage of the votes the candidates receive, making it likely that one candidate won’t be able to build an insurmountable lead over a crowded field in which several contestants are accruing delegates."
Even if one candidate wins 40% of the delegates awarded by March 15, he or she would have less than one-half of the necessary delegates to win the nomination.

If the leader at that point is a social conservative like Mr. Cruz, the road to Cleveland will be difficult: No Southern states vote after March 15, making a comeback possible in the Midwest and Northeast for an establishment candidate, should one survive. March 15 also brings the first winner-take-all states: Florida (99 delegates) and Ohio (66).

The last real chance for candidates to become the presumptive nominee comes in late April, when New York and five other Northeastern states hold primaries. There are few chances after that to run up large delegate numbers. The biggest prize on the calendar comes at the end, when California votes June 7. But that state, like New York earlier, will award its 172 delegates proportionally by congressional district, forcing candidates competing there to plan strategy based on how many votes they can win in areas like Los Angeles, with comparatively few Republican voters but many delegates, that haven’t seen a contested presidential primary contest in generations.

Delegates won during the primary season are obligated to vote for their candidate only on the party’s first ballot at the July convention. If no candidate wins a majority in that tally, the delegates would be free to vote for whomever they like, creating the possibility of a free-for-all when GOP delegates gather at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland starting on July 18.
They stole the GOP away from the establishment

And that's where the guns start blazing. Except the scenario is all wrong. Despite the best efforts of the GOP establishment, Herr Trumpf is going to walk into the Quicken Loans Arena with the 1,237 delegates he needs because he will be unstoppable-- as Ted Cruz predicted glumly-- after he sweeps Iowa (once Cruz country), New Hampshire (once Jeb or Rubio or Christie or Kasich country), South Carolina (once Cruz or Bush country) and Nevada (once Rubio or Bush country).

At Politico Alex Isenstadt looked at the finger-pointing inside the Republican establishment as they all blame the rise of Herr Trumpf on each other and as they see control of their little racket-- the Republican Party-- slip through their fingers. "The chiding," he wrote, "once limited to private conversations, is now erupting in public view-- with campaigns, operatives, donors, party officials and conservative intellectuals arguing over why something hasn’t been done to stop the man who has been leading nearly every state and national poll since August. Trump, many in the GOP’s upper ranks are convinced, would lead the Republican Party to an epic defeat in November, with consequences all the way down the ballot." They all agree on one thing: "This whole thing is a disaster." Many people blame Jeb whose SuperPAC hasn't deployed effectively against Trumpf but used millions of dollars attacking the hapless Rubio and the other hopeless also-rans. There's a lot of insider hate being directed towards Jeb's selfish, greed-obsessed, incompetent hatchet man, Mike Murphy.
Yet others say it’s unfair to solely blame Bush-- and that Rubio is just as culpable. Despite winning the support of an array of deep-pocketed donors, including hedge fund manager Paul Singer and tech titan Larry Ellison, Rubio has and his allies have done little to attack Trump. Of the $33 million that Rubio and the super PACs supporting him have spent on television ads, none of it has been against Trump. He rarely tweets about Trump, and when asked about him in interviews, Rubio tends to dodge the question.

“He has been afraid to criticize Trump for fear of being attacked unless directly put on the spot by a reporter,” said Tim Miller, a Bush spokesman.

Still others fault Ted Cruz, who spent months cuddling up to Trump in hopes of scooping up his supporters. Only this week, as he saw his lead slipping away in Iowa, did Cruz and several of his super PACs launch hard-hitting TV ads castigating the Manhattan billionaire as a New York liberal who couldn’t be trusted on hot-button social issues like abortion.

The anti-Trump barrage may be too little, too late, many Republicans fear.

“Cruz's crew should’ve done it. It was incredibly shortsighted. The longer [Trump] goes, the harder he is to kill,” said Brad Todd, a veteran Republican strategist who until recently worked for a super PAC that supported Bobby Jindal’s presidential campaign. “Now they are locked in a death match with a short clock, and their money is worth less than it would be when the air was clear and Trump's fans were just flirting.”

But it’s not just campaigns that are coming under fire-- it’s also donors, many of whom were presented with the opportunity to go after Trump but didn’t pull the trigger. Among those pushing to launch a serious anti-Trump campaign was Alex Castellanos, a veteran GOP strategist who was a top adviser to Mitt Romney. Last year, Castellanos visited a number of top GOP donors, operatives and lobbyists in an attempt to find financial support for a proposed TV ad campaign that was to cost in the eight-figure range.

Often a carrying a personal laptop into meetings, Castellanos laid out a detailed plan for a negative ad blitz against Trump, casting him as a flawed strongman. Yet those familiar with the effort say Castellanos, who spent hours venturing into New York and Washington offices, was met with disinterest from donors, who gave a variety of reasons for not wanting to open their checkbooks. Some predicted that Trump would collapse by the sheer weight of political gravity. Others said they had business interests with the front-runner, or expressed fear of retribution.

“Some donors are wonderful, but others have been saps during this entire process,” said Anderson. “If you want to know how to lose elections, the first people who you should talk to are the Republican Party’s major donors.”

Much frustration has been directed at the RNC, which some believe has been pushed around by the party’s surprise poll-leader. Last year, many cringed when RNC Chairman Reince Priebus traveled to New York City to meet with Trump when he signed a pledge to support the eventual GOP nominee. And when the RNC dropped National Review last week as a sponsor for a forthcoming debate, fans of the magazine’s anti-Trump special issue saw fear at work.

“My sense is that most rational RNC members hope Trump is not our nominee but do not want to upset him in case he is the GOP nominee,” said Al Cardenas, a former Florida Republican Party and American Conservative Union chairman who supports Bush. “The challenge is that while the RNC and others play this strategy out, the odds improve that Trump will be the nominee without an organized opposition to his candidacy beyond his rivals in the primary.”

...Sally Bradshaw, a longtime top Bush adviser who helped write the report, blamed a "lack of courage in our party" for the failure to take on Trump, as Bush has. She called Trump a “bigot” and said he “couldn’t unite our party and bring women, Hispanics and independent voters into the fold.”

“We won’t beat Hillary Clinton with Donald Trump as the nominee,” she added. “It doesn’t take a whiz-bang political data scientist to figure that out."
They're still sitting around with their fingers up their asses as their party has been hijacked. Jeb's newest theme is that Trumpf isn't a true Christian, the same ugly accusation Huckabee's SuperPAC (funded by Ronald Cameron, a rich chicken processor from Little Rock and Sharon Herschend owner/operator of Dollywood, Silver Dollar City in Branson, Wild Adventures in Valdosta, Georgia, the Harlem Globetrotters brand, Ride the Ducks, and Stone Mountain, the Confederate Mount Rushmore and a birthplace of the KKK) is making about Ted Cruz. Watch this hideous ad running in Iowa and you'll understand why it was so easy for a hustler from New York to take the Republican Party right out of their hands without breaking a sweat:

Right-wing nut Jonah Goldberg, writing in the L.A. Times was weeping bitterly over the conservative crackup-- the loss of the right's philosophical coherence and its s imminent demise-- he sees roiling his dark horrible world. He blames Herr Trumpf-- and the "fierce internecine battle over whether to oppose Trump's run, passively accept his popularity, or zealously support his bid."
The level of distrust among many of the different factions of the conservative coalition has never been higher, at least not in my experience. Arguments don't seem to matter, only motives do... [T]he GOP establishment has become so corrupted, its members would knowingly reject a savior just to protect their comfortable way of life... There's no shortage of reasons for why the right is at war over whether or not to take a flier on Trump. All of the various establishments and the counter-establishments over-promised and under-delivered in recent years. Cruz and his supporters accused his fellow politicians of being corrupt sell-outs and so many people believed him, they'd now rather take a gamble on Trump than back Cruz, a mere politician.
Eric Boehlert has been more than happy to explain how the Republican Party is getting burned by the implosion of the right-wing noise machine. "What's inescapable about the mounting GOP hand wringing," he wrote, "is that Trump is a right-wing media creation. He's flourishing on the fertile playing field of bigotry and resentment that National Review, Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and a litany of others, have helped seed for many years. There's little doubt that during President Obama's two terms they cultivated an anti-intellectual movement that now appears poised to seize control of the Republican Party." And their civil war is getting bloodier by the way.
On one side, Trump's denounced as a "vicious demagogue," a "con man," a "glib egomaniac," and "the very epitome of vulgarity." On the other side, Trump's army has derided National Review as out of touch, and accused the magazine of cozying up to "open border zealots," a cardinal sin on the right.

None of that disguises the fact that Trump is the monster the Noise Machine created by encouraging bigoted and dishonest forces within the conservative movement; by giving credence to the three year Benghazi cover-up charade, the two year IRS witch hunt, by fueling ugly passions about Obama wanting to take away everyone's guns, and by arguing he's uninterested in defending America's national security.

For years, lots of conservative pundits and talkers cashed large, and in some cases very large, paychecks feeding this ugly beast. Now the beast is beyond their control and they're going to whine all the way to New Hampshire?

Call it the perils of Obama Derangement Syndrome.

Conservative John Ziegler saw this media-enable crack-up coming months ago:
Thanks to Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, Matt Drudge, Sarah Palin, a website named "Breitbart," and certain elements of Fox News (all of whom have both pushed and ridden the Trump bandwagon for selfish commercial purposes), the conservative base is living under several important delusions which has allowed for "Trumpsanity" to foster and grow.
The Right Wing Noise Machine was revved up to 11 during the Obama years in an effort to destroy his presidency. In the end, the Noise Machine's lasting contribution, in the form of a Trump nominee, may be assuring that Obama hands the White House over to another Democrat.

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