Days of Change

Expectantly Unexpected

May 4, 2016
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In earlier posts, I wrote that is was more common in recent history for presidents to come from the ranks of unexpected candidates rather than anointed candidates. That was the case with Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. That alone covers 25 years of American politics. Being unique does not make Donald Trump or even Bernie Sanders unique.

Ann Coulter is making some weird victory lap today because she said in June of 2015 that Donald Trump was the announced GOP candidate most likely to win the general election in 2016. She seems to be forgetting that 10 seconds later she supported a ticket of Romney / Walker. Romney did not run at all this year and Scott Walker announced three months after Coulter’s statement on “Real Time.”

If you really want to see something interesting, here’s a clip from Andrew Breitbart himself from 2011 being asked about Donald Trump, who considered running for the 2012 Republican nomination.

Back then, we didn’t know the government had been spying on our e-mails or using the IRS to bankrupt Tea Party groups. If that was part of the deal breaking that led to Trump, I don’t know that it will end up being a positive for the Republic.

I am about as “Never Trump” as I was “Never Romney” until January 2012 or “Never (again) Bush” until March of 2004. There may be a point where I can live with him as president. The problem is, of course, that any endorsements by Republicans, like Ted Cruz, mean that they are endorsing a man who has been openly hostile toward the Republican party, not just the establishment, for years and supported Democrats as recently as the early Obama administration.

It’s not about being the Republican nominee this year. To me, it’s about what the Republicans even stand for anymore.


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Someone Had Better Figure this Out

May 3, 2016
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Sean Hannity made a pretty good point about a general election between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. Clinton comes out of the convention with 47% of voters choosing her. Donald Trump has to fight for that sliver of persuadable voters. He has to win more of that sliver if Republicans stay home.

When you get down to it, Donald Trump’s base is the Tea Party. This goes back to the Sarah Palin endorsement. The Tea Party is made up of a small number of Democrats who were done with the party after Obama, Republicans who had no quarter with the establishment and people who were mad as hell and were not going to take it anymore, to paraphrase “Network.” The Tea Party found the weaknesses in the Democrats’ election strategy. They are geared toward national races and long coattails. As a national group, the Tea Party made every Congressional race local.

2010 had a lot of races where the GOP was playing it safe with moderate and liberal candidates. Many of them lost to the Tea Party in the primaries, much like Trump is beating real Republicans right now. The Tea Party also had some notable losses because the party (and Republican voters) fought back. They had virtually no effect on the 2012 race and Obama made his way back into office.

The Tea Party is back, and they’re hoping to force Trump on the GOP. They tried the same thing with Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio and now the Tea Party people hate both of them. Trump will never be enough. He already supports some kind of single payer health care.

For me, I feel just as miserable today as when Romney’s chances started slipping away in 2012. I’ve expressed my disdain the only way I know how, with zero support for a Trump candidacy. It only makes me less likely to vote for him when Trumpsters try to blackmail me into voting for Trump by threatening a Hillary Clinton presidency. I’ll tell you something. Under Barack Obama, manufacturing came back to the US for my company. Under a Trump presidency, it sounds like my company will lose the business in China we have because he wants to start a trade war. Or maybe Trump is lying. In that case, I might as well support Ted Cruz.

But the campaign can go all Obama 2008 and tell me they don’t need my stinking vote and he will win anyway. Okay, then. My vote wouldn’t win him New York anyway. I think it’s more realistic that the Trump campaign has to figure out how to smooth things over with Republicans who got beat up by Trump trashing everything we stand for.


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Pivot

May 2, 2016
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All of the Trump supporters and most of the Republican establishment believe Donald Trump will have a solid 1237 delegates by June 7. For the last few weeks, the much anticipated “pivot”from being a douchebag to simulating a person with respect and empathy has yet to pass. Trump will not attack someone one day, see something to set him off and it’s back to lying Ted or disgusting Kasich all over again.

The Trump team has to understand that you have to be presidential 24/7. Even the rare slip-up by John McCain and Mitt Romney became fodder for days. At some point Trump will call Hillary fat and / or old, ending any aspirations for gravitas.

If you run your campaign on personal insults and lunch pail policy statements, you might as well keep going in that direction. If Trump expects to win back people who supported Cruz or Kasich, (or Walker or Rubio) he’d better be down 5% in the general election. A big lead would be the excuse for people to treat him like he treated his primary competitors.


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Self-Fulfilling Failure

May 1, 2016
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I was listening to a Trump supporter on Hannity’s radio show asking the question “Do you hate Trump more than you hate the country?” My answer could not be repeated in polite company. It’s a good example of the propositions from fascists who equate a person with the government. Remember how criticizing Obama was not only racist, but unpatriotic?

Even Trump die-hards are concerned that Don the Builder spent so much time burning bridges with substantial segments of the Republican Party some of them might just go through with Never Trump. So far, many are satisfied that Trump will emerge from a cocoon and magically become presidential after the convention.

The ones not so sure are already making up excuses, threatening that if Trump opponents don’t submit to him, Hillary Clinton will win. I’m sure on Election Night, one of Trump’s surrogates, probably his marble-mouthed lawyer, will be on the air to blame the corrupt Republicans for his loss. In politics, we call that a losing strategy. At least in 2008, Nicolle Wallace only blamed Sarah Palin.

I’m a firm believer that two Trump traits, his lack of campaign knowledge and his tendency to scorch the earth in response to personal affronts, will give the Democrats a wide opening to get out the inner city vote, the only one that matters. Remember, Bernie Sanders got more people to vote for him in a New York State Primary than Trump did.

I’ve voted for Republicans before I hated less than the Democrat. I don’t see any reason to vote for Hillary Clinton. I don’t know if not being Hillary Clinton is enough reason to vote for Trump. Bad presidents have a way of tainting their party. Look at George W. Bush. Gary Johnson might be running this year. I have more reasons to vote for him, and he was a governor.


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It Can’t Happen Here

April 30, 2016
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The attempt by Democrats to force more minority cable channels onto TV continues to fail. One such network is El Rey, owned by Robert Rodriguez, the director of “From Dusk ’til Dawn.” Aside from a series based on that movie and a show about Mexican wrestling, E Rey is now the home of old actions shows from the 80’s and 90’s interspersed with Kung-fu movies.

Today’s blast from the past is V, the most successful science fiction miniseries on network television. Interestingly enough, the series was first pitched about politicians, but was deemed too cerebral. Thus, V entered the pantheon of great science fiction stories; the ones that actually describe the human condition. Eventually, the original screenwriter jumped ship and V became “Star Wars” on Earth.

Basically the Visitors, secretive aliens from 9 light years away, arrive on earth by the thousands and offer access to advanced technology in exchange for some chemical manufacturing they are somehow unable to do at home. They are eventually discovered to be reptilian creatures attempting to extract all the Earth’s water and abduct the human population for food.

Where this becomes interesting is how people react to this information. The Visitors rely on brainwashing, collaborators, a willing media and the disbelief of the general population to continue their plans. The V in the series is for Victory, the kind of symbol resistance fighters used against fascists in the early 20th century. The miniseries creator, Kenneth Johnson, based it on a book called “It Can’t Happen Here“.

Now is the part where I compare the fascist in that novel to Donald Trump. I am entirely not surprised that connection has already been made, but I may be the first to use science fiction to do it. The fascists in the book promised to make America great again, use intimidation tactics and eventually declare war on Mexico. It was written 80 years ago.


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This is Only the Battle

April 29, 2016
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I heard Herman Cain on the Sean Hannity radio show yesterday. Apparently, Donald Trump sought his counsel early in his run and Cain offered that the thing he should look out for is lawsuits. Cain said that what ultimately forced him to drop out in 2012 was the sheer number of suits being filed against him. Those suits evaporated after he left the race, as if their only purpose was to drive him out of the campaign.

Lawsuits are essentially what drove Sarah Palin out of office as well. Democrats in the state legislature abused strong ethics laws, created under Palin, to drain legal fees from her personally to defend frivolous ethics charges because she dared to do things like leave the state and campaign for other Republicans.

Donald Trump is used to lawsuits. He’s being sued right now over the dubious “Trump University” program. He’s got lawyers on retainer and other lawyers working on his campaign. Also, Trump threatens to sue people all the time, like states who don’t have primaries where winning 35% of the vote gets him 100% of the delegates.

So, how does this all tie together? Sarah Palin was not interested in picking winners and losers in the 2012 GOP primary, so she stayed out of the endorsement business. By 2016, she was courted by Donald Trump. She ended up giving her endorsement and her support to him and essentially made Trump the Tea Party candidate for 2016.

The day after the election of 2012, I wrote about the limits to the usefulness of the Tea Party in national politics. I also wrote that the GOP “won’t get fooled again.” They didn’t get fooled, but they certainly seem to have been out-maneuvered by Trump. The Tea Party has weaknesses, however. They have no money and their passion is best directed toward local races.

All through the campaign, there was an escalating series of actions that the GOP could have taken to stop Trump. Most of them involved getting behind Ted Cruz early and often. The more establishment choices didn’t want to embarrass themselves with pitiful delegate counts until enough candidates left the race. So, we were left with Cruz, who has nothing to lose, and John Kasich, who’s disgusting eating habits indicate he has no personal shame. I doubt that the party has the stones to rewrite the rules to block anyone who unregistered as a Republican 4 years ago or broke his promise to support the eventual nominee.

I think the Trump campaign has a number of weaknesses. One is that Trump is a cheap bastard who waits far too long to part with a nickel. Another is that he relies on name recognition and personal attacks to gain support. Democrats are all about money. They’ll waste it, bribe with it and advertise with it. If Trump supporters really think every one of his employees loves him, they are in for a rude awakening in about 4 months. We haven’t even gotten to the war yet.


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Now That I Shot You, Stop Fighting Back

April 28, 2016
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For about a month now, Trump supporters have been demanding that Ted Cruz drop out of the race for the good of the party. Somehow, after being called a loser since about February, Trump devotees want to bestow some loser prize upon Cruz that will somehow redeem him. Of course, their ilk has already been calling him creepy, a liar, a lousy person, an illegal alien, an adulterer and a cheater. I guess they take it all back if Cruz concedes, which would make them a bunch of lying, cheating creeps.

Donald Trump has run a pretty effective mean girl campaign. Mean Girls are the catch all term for teenage girls who badmouth other people, then turn around and offer friendship in a sort of “keep you enemies closer” fashion. Trump has insulted most of the other candidates for their looks, personal quirks and various rumors, and on rare occasion, for their political stances. That’s okay, though. You can be in the clique once you sacrifice your dignity to Trump. Look how happy Chris Christie is.

Trump has built an empire on gambling and human misfortune and he’s built a political empire out of burning bridges with whole swaths of the Republican base. If Ted Cruz has the money to run a scorched earth campaign to keep Donald Trump below 1237 delegates, I’m all for it. Are Trump supporters right that the GOP might still screw Cruz out of the nomination if Cruz does stop Trump? Maybe they are, but Cruz isn’t getting a better deal if he kneels before Zod.


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The Experiment

April 27, 2016
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I have two basic problems with a Donald Trump candidacy. First of all, it represents a fundamental problem with the Republican Party. They require adherence to a series of positions rather than an overall belief system. Early on, when Trump talked tough on immigration, candidates who tried to follow suit (Walker) were threatened with losing their campaign donations by big business. While Trump works cheap, he has spent a lot of money saying things no one else in the party can safely say.

I also have a problem with Donald Trump himself. He has no loyalty to the Republican Party. Even worse, he has no legislative history, or any significant history, in fighting for social (or even some economic) ideals that the Republican Party represents. Frankly, he’s kind of a throwback. I’ll get into that more later.

Since Ronald Reagan, there has been an experiment that conservatives have wanted to perform in ideal conditions. They believe that two candidates, one unashamedly conservative and one unashamedly liberal would lead to the total devastation of the liberal by the conservative. The closest example of this is the 1984 election, where Ronald Reagan got 60% of the vote and won all but a single state.

In some ways, Ronald Reagan was an accidental presidential candidate. Barry Goldwater may have been the most conservative presidential candidate, but he was beaten by a better and more brutal campaign from the other side. For his part, Reagan was a former governor of California, a former actor and a Democrat, back when Democrats were more conservative than Republicans.

One can argue that Republican losses were due to Democrats (Clinton and Obama) who straight-up lied about their liberal policy goals. McCain and Romney were generally more straightforward. McCain pretty much lays his cards on the table. Romney even stood by his Romneycare system in Massachusetts. They were both conservative, but they were weak in some areas, especially immigration.

Now we come back to Donald Trump. Trump’s campaign has been a series of platitudes like “Make America Great Again” along with a muddled series of policy stances. He’s either for punishing women getting abortions or making exceptions for rape, ensuring that every woman who doesn’t feel like a baby girl will suddenly be a rape victim. Sometimes he wants to kick Arab ass, other times he blames Bush for trying to fight terrorism. He doesn’t like Obamacare, but he’s cool with the concept of socialized medicine. He has been clear on one thing. Foreigners suck.

For at least the last decade, the GOP has been looking at the browning of America. More than just Mexicans having children, more Americans are mixed race. The United States is barely majority White now, heading for simply plurality White. I another 100 years, White European may be a minority around the world except for parts of Eastern Europe. Pat Buchanan referred to it as the death of the West. Donald Trump seems to use it as his campaign playbook.

I find Donald Trump both lacking in economic and social conservative credentials. I think he is at best a moderate jingoistic Democrat who’s for lower taxes. To win, I think he has to whip up a frenzy among the people who blame foreigners for everything and don’t like Hillary Clinton. I suspect it will not be a good plan for the future of the Republican Party. Then again, neither was most of what the GOP has done for the last 6 years.


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Everybody Loves a Winner

April 26, 2016
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With about 10 states left to go, Donald Trump has finally started getting the kinds of numbers that one would expect from a front runner in primary race. He’s been able to run a pretty Obama-ish campaign on Republicans to convince people that they are the key to his success and not the free media attention or his overall ability to get things on the cheap in this campaign.

All the calls for Cruz or Kasich to drop out will probably be unnecessary. Trump is rolling on the bandwagon effect. Instead of Trump opponents being motivated to try stopping him, the real motivation is for people to get behind a winner like Trump. It seems pretty accurate to argue that he was right about the Republicans not having the courage to fight. The rules committee could find any number of reasons to de-certify Trump at the convention, but they probably won’t.

One thing is sure. Donald Trump is the man to love if you hate Republicans. Trump has served up a nonstop buffet of reasons why the GOP sucks and wants to disenfranchise voters. He thinks George Bush was a bad president and gives lip service to Ronald Reagan so far as he can compare himself to Reagan.

The reason why parties with no chance of losing can still lose elections is because every doofus comes out of the woodwork to be the other guy in the race. Maybe I should vote for Hillary Clinton. She’s going to have the bandwagon in six months.


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Too Much, Too Little, Too Late

April 25, 2016
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The major problem the Republican Party had this year was assuming they could starve out undesirable candidates financially. Real conservatives were left with Ted Cruz shortly after the first primary. Rubio and Kasich should have gotten out after March 1 if they really wanted to keep Donald Trump out of the running. To this day, Rubio has more delegates than John Kasich.

I don’t make much out of the “deal” between Kasich and Cruz to stop Trump. Obviously, if you are in third place a few days out, (unless you’re John Kasich) you don’t devote money to that race. Cruz has been doing that all along. In fact, Trump has had his delegate lunch eaten a number of times due to not understanding how unbound delegates work. Kasich is only barely grasping the idea he has no mathematical path to the nomination just as Ted Cruz is almost in the same boat.

My opinion is that Cruz might as well stay in until June 7 since Donald Trump is in real danger of not reaching 1237 delegates. This could have been a lot cleaner had Kasich just dropped out in time for Cruz to be the only non-Trump choice. Now, the GOP has to decide if they are going to follow the 2008 Democrats and create rules that will invalidate enough of Trump’s bound delegates to lose the nomination. Then all hell breaks loose.


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