Donald Trump and the Republican Party

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No one — with the possible exception of Donald Trump — believes that Trump is going to be the 2016 GOP presidential nominee.  The 18 percent that Trump is drawing in the poll average at Real Clear Politics is probably pretty close to his ceiling, but with a field of 16 candidates at last count, the GOP base is so divided that 18 percent can look more ominous than it really is.

pollingGOP

The Trump balloon will collapse eventually, but it’s unlikely to happen soon enough to keep him out of the early rounds of debates. So the question for other candidates is how to handle him on that stage. You could try to ignore him, but Trump is not a man to be ignored. And if his competitors all gang up on him, the political dynamics are as likely to help Trump as hurt him. One of the things that unites the GOP base is suspicion of their own party’s establishment, and Trump knows how to play establishment  victim perfectly.**

Instead, if the Republicans’ goal is to destroy Trump, their best strategy may be to assign their best man to the job: Trump himself:

“When Donald Trump is on a stage on his own, it has a circus quality to it, or a reality show,” said GOP strategist Matt Mackowiak.

“It’s different when he’s standing there beside serious, accomplished, intelligent people. If he’s asked about how to counter ISIS, and his answer is, ‘I’m going to hit them so hard,’ that’s going to look ridiculous next to [Florida Sen. Marco] Rubio or [Texas Sen. Ted] Cruz or these other candidates,” Mackowiak added.”

I understand Mackowiak’s argument. For example, when a candidate for president of the United States is asked how to counter ISIS and his answer is along the lines of “We ought to bomb them back to the Stone Age,” that’s going to look pretty ridiculous compared to the much more rational policy proposals of, say, Ted Cruz.

Except that Cruz, not Trump, is the one who gave that answer.

Likewise, a candidate who dismisses the idea of needing a warrant to spy on suspected terrorists, saying that if you’re even thinking about joining ISIS, “I’m not going to call a judge, I’m going to call a drone and kill you” — well, that candidate would look pretty silly in a debate with, say, Sen. Lindsey Graham, who is an attorney by trade.

Except that was Graham’s rhetoric.

And surely only a flamboyant nutcase like Trump would be promising to void the Iran nuclear deal in his very first hours as president, without consulting allies and with the possibility of ordering military strikes against Iran that very day.

Except that was Scott Walker, not Trump.

In short, it’s difficult to draw sharp distinctions between the simplistic, emotional, knee-jerk politics advocated by Trump when the supposedly more mainstream candidates of your party are doing pretty much the same thing. It doesn’t make it impossible; it does make harder than it should be.

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**UPDATE: In a speech in Washington today, Rick Perry made a bold bid to bring down Trump and by doing so reinvigorate his own standing in the party.

From a transcript of his remarks:

“In times of trouble, there are two types of leaders: repairers of the breach and sowers of discord.

The sower of discord foments agitation, thrives on division, scapegoats certain elements of society, and offers empty platitudes and promises. He is without substance when one scratches below the surface.

He offers a barking carnival act that can be best described as Trumpism: a toxic mix of demagoguery, mean-spiritedness and nonsense that will lead the Republican Party to perdition if pursued.

Let no one be mistaken – Donald Trump’s candidacy is a cancer on conservatism, and it must be clearly diagnosed, excised and discarded.

It cannot be pacified or ignored, for it will destroy a set of principles that has lifted more people out of poverty than any force in the history of the civilized world – the cause of conservatism.

I feel so strongly about this because I believe conservatism is the only way forward for this country.”

 

Reader Comments 0

906 comments
justhetruth2015
justhetruth2015

Sometimes I just love to go back and see for myself what idiots some people are. If today, you still dont think Donald Trump can be President then you probably dont know what an 8962 IRS form is. The 8962 is 15 pages long and the Gov will give you money if you can figure out how to fill it out. Honestly, being qualified is certainly not a requirement for being President cause if it were Obama would not be the President today.  Trump is infinitely smarter than all the others in the field because he figured out how to change the rules. 

You Jay, are like the kid who always cries when it doesnt turn out his way and takes his ball and goes home.  Trump will be the next President. Your just too convinced that you are always right and will never understand this line of thinking. 


nd thats what makes re reading your columns fun...sometimes. 

juliainatlanta
juliainatlanta

the entire lot of GOP candidates are a bunch of whack jobs and knuckle dragger's, posturing and preening for the Fixed Noise viewers who eat that foolishness up.  rock on the lot of you morons 

straker
straker

down - "their entitlement money"


Wow, I could sure use some of that.


Please explain how I can get on that "entitlement money" gravy train.

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

Headline from the WSJ:  "U.S. Jobless Claims Fall To Lowest Level Since 1973"

Failure to understand the labor participation rate in 3...2...

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

@Nick_Danger With the obligatory response of "...10,000 retiring every day..."

Like clock-work, huh?

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

@TBS Well, since the minimum wage was not increased until April 1st....

Smarter trolls, please?

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@DownInAlbany @TBS

Ok, fair point. But I read your foxnews story, and it's pretty obvious that nothing dreadful's happened, just the expected adjustments one typically sees as businesses work around a new requirement.

Obviously one pressure point doesn't fix the problem of poverty, particularly in just one city. It's just one thing, y'know?

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

@Visual_Cortex @DownInAlbany @TBS That's part of my issue, vc.

The higher wage was implemented in order to pull folks out of poverty...a great objective, on the surface.  But, when you have folks (and, I understand it may not be as widespread as the article would have you believe) asking for fewer work hours because it's messing with their entitlement money...

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@DownInAlbany @Visual_Cortex @TBS

asking for fewer work hours because it's messing with their entitlement money

I'm not sure that really affects the overall economy adversely though, does it? Doesn't that just mean more hours for some other workers? Or perhaps even some new workers brought on board to pick up the slack (collectively)?

DownInAlbany
DownInAlbany

White House National Security Advisor Susan Rice admitted the existence of two secret “side deals” between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), to accompany the main Iran nuclear deal agreed last week between Iran and the P5+1 powers (U.S., Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China).

They've lied about major portions of the historic deal and simply hidden the facts on other "deals."  IF it's sooooo great, why the lack of transparency?

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@DownInAlbany

They've lied

aw jeez, this again?

I'm so saddy sad you feel you were "lied" to because you didn't understand the manner in which information was presented to you by your right wing "news" sources.

TBS
TBS

When it's all said and done it will probably be revealed that the U.S. agreed along with the other countries to assist Iran in getting nukes within 18 months

Bulls_3y3
Bulls_3y3

Protesters take over Time Square, protesting the Iran deal. Good to know there are real Americans out there!!!

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

@Bulls_3y3 

"Good to know there are real Americans out there!!!"

What?  You got something against imaginary Americans?

Bulls_3y3
Bulls_3y3

Good morning Laredo... Waiting the arrival of the Donald... There is a buzz of excitement in the air... This is better than New Hampshire... Did you know Jeb is in NH???

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@Nick_Danger @Bulls_3y3

Oh, to have his caravan meander across the border and encounter an especially feisty drug gang.

His critter-topped noggin would look splendid atop a pike, don'tcha think?

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@Nick_Danger @Visual_Cortex @DownInAlbany @Bulls_3y3

I will, admittedly, use every opportunity to remind folks that we've had a brutal, sadistic, torture-loving extremist group operating much, much closer to us than ISIS for over a decade now, and somehow we have managed not to send ground troops nor even Freedom Bomb Mexico during this time.

Numbers_R_Us
Numbers_R_Us

I hear talk of Republicans using a new technique to reach more of their voting base--an outreach program they call "Gays for Guns".  Just bring in a gay person and swap him or her for a gun.

Peachs
Peachs

Then Trump is going to run third party. This United Citizen thing is coming back in spades.  He doesn't have any limits and he is going to wreck the 30% vote the right was going to get anyway.  Hilary probably can win with around 40 plus percent.  Thank you Justice Roberts for the unseen gift of minority politics. Two sides banging on a weak right wing that can't handle its own party should be fun to watch. 

Eustis
Eustis

How many times will we hear "Repeal and Replace"?

Numbers_R_Us
Numbers_R_Us

@Eustis That's too many words.  Their base's attention span is much too short for that soundbite.  The GOP contestants will be focusing on one-word responses that resonate best based on studies conducted by Luntz.  Expect to hear responses such as "Patriot" and "Abortion"  and "Freeeeeedom" and "Guns".

Numbers_R_Us
Numbers_R_Us

Will Fox put all the Republican candidates on the stage at the same time.  I see no reason why it would not work.  After all, their constituency can't handle anything more in depth than the 5 second responses that would be allowed from each contestant in order to give each one time to make their case.  Bwah hahahahahahaha!

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@Numbers_R_Us

Will Fox put all the Republican candidates on the stage at the same time

No, it's hilarious to contemplate, but apparently there's a "loser's bracket" debate that gets broadcast around 5pm, three hours before the primetime debate. That's where they'll corral the nine guys (and 1 gal, I assume that's where Carly! will get seeded) who poll lower than the Prime Time top ten.

It's gonna be like the Super Bowl, in terms of both run-time and party possibilities.

Peachs
Peachs

@Numbers_R_Us put Trump up there and he will unload on FOX and how most of these candidates are on the FOX payroll or have been in the last 4 years. This is going to be good. 

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@Peachs @Numbers_R_Us

put Trump up there 

He'll be on prime time, never fear.

Actually, Sam Seder and crew on the Majority Report podcast were speculating yesterday about how great it would be if Trump pulled a Kanye during the loser's-bracket debate, walked on stage and just hijacked the thing for a few minutes.

(Wish I could post a link but it's behind a paywall for now.)

Peachs
Peachs

The only way Republicans are electable is going to the states that barely have contact with the civilized world and gerrymandering. You get them worked on on side issues like a flag and you go rob the bank.  It was Harold Dent who discovered how dumb the south was and if you stop calling them dumb and praised them for being idiots and tell them, " ill moral people have their rights to", you have them eating out of your hands.  They don't like living around smart people so there is a natural herding process almost a Darwinism if you will where they cluster in their huddles of poverty, and illiteracy waiting for a savior to tell them what they are is somehow holly and beer for their horses. 

SimpleTruths
SimpleTruths

@Peachs "The only way Republicans are electable is going to the states that barely have contact with the civilized world"

Darn those United States!
Stupid framers giving every state a spot at the table!

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@SimpleTruths @Peachs

Stupid framers giving every state a spot at the table

What's "stupid" wasn't that, as rendering minority voices in those states meaningless, which is what our idiotic, embarrassing Electoral College does. A Republican voter in NY? You're fcrewed. A Democrat in Utah? Similarly fcrewed.

Yeah, it's stupid, all right.

oh, and it's hardly "every state." Nowadays it's more like three or four that really matter in the general election, and the rest can pretty much fornicate right off.