Trump: What goes up must go … up even higher?

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It was, I suspect, intended to strike a serious blow to the Trump candidacy.

In the opening moments of last week’s Fox debate, Bret Baier asked a question ostensibly directed at all ten candidates but in fact targeted at The Donald: Here, in the same Cleveland arena where the Republican Party will nominate its 2016 candidate, would any of you on the stage refuse to commit to backing that eventual nominee for president, especially since an independent run would all but guarantee a Democratic victory?

Trump looked around for a brief moment and then raised his hand, setting off boos from the largely Republican audience. Yet even after that admission of disloyalty, and even after his subsequent ugly confrontation with Fox News, polls indicate that Trump still holds a double-digit lead among GOP voters and may even be expanding his margin.

How is this even possible?

It’s important to begin by repeating this caveat: Trump will not be the Republican candidate. Despite his bluster, it’s also unlikely that he will show the patience and diligence needed to launch a meaningful third-party candidacy, although it remains a possibility. An independent bid would require, among other things, the building of a campaign infrastructure capable of producing and airing ads, navigating state ballot laws, etc., and to date Trump has shown no stomach for such necessary minutiae. His “campaign” is more akin to a seat-of-the-pants personality cult than an honest effort at winning.

Nonetheless, he has clearly tapped into something powerful. Despite his excesses, other GOP candidates have been wary of attacking him, often praising him for expressing the anger that many in the party feel even if they disagree with how he puts it. It’s also worth nothing that the GOP candidate who has been most aggressive in condemning Trump, former Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, is now laying off all of his paid staff because of a lack of money.

Trump thrives in a GOP campaign despite his lack of party loyalty because many of his supporters have themselves become disenchanted with their party. According to a recent Pew poll, the approval rating for the Republican Party is at 32 percent, its lowest since 1992, the year of Ross Perot. (The Democratic Party comes in at 48 percent approval.) And much of that GOP decline reflects a loss of support among Republicans themselves. According to Pew, “positive views of the GOP among Republicans have declined 18 percentage points since January.”

It’s hard to tease out underlying trends from the spectacle that is Trump, but here’s what may be going on:

The modern conservative movement is founded upon a symbiotic relationship between two somewhat dissimilar groups with dissimilar goals. For decades now, the movement has served to validate and give voice to a sense of resentment and loss among its largely white, male constituency; the political support generated by that approach is then converted into backing for the interests of the pro-business financiers who fund its campaigns and support system. (Nowhere is that arrangement more obvious than in the funding of the Tea Party “Americans for Prosperity,” a supposedly “grass-roots” organization largely financed and run by the Koch brothers.)

At some point, though, “validate and give voice to” comes to seem an insufficient reward. The party’s rhetoric about “taking back our country,” thus rescuing it from the scourge of liberalism, carries the implication that at some point effective action will and must be taken if the republic is to survive. But despite total GOP control of Congress and a supposedly conservative Supreme Court, no successful action is ever taken.

ObamaCare hasn’t been repealed or struck down; Obama himself remains president, with no effort at impeachment for his supposedly brutal assault on the Constitution; the government hasn’t been shut down; gay marriage has become the law of the land; abortion remains a constitutionally protected right; Planned Parenthood is still funded, with Mitch McConnell saying that he won’t allow it to become an excuse for a shutdown; illegal immigrants aren’t being deported by the millions. Most of all, the reviled Hillary Clinton, she-wolf of Benghazi, is eying a return to the White House, this time not as a First Lady but as president and commander in chief.

For years now, the base has been fired up with warnings that these are issues of existential importance to the country that they love. Yet they are also told that those very same goals are not important enough to expend political capital in pursuing. The cognitive dissonance is startling. As Newt Gingrich observed last week, rising anger is a product of “an enormous gap between what the legislative process is delivering and what the conservative wing of the Republican Party wants.”

In short, the realization is sinking in that they are being played, that the base has been promised many many things that the party has no intent or capability of delivering. The result is deep frustration. It may even be dawning among some in the conservative base that while their own priorities get mere lip service, those of their partners in Wall Street and corporate America have been all but fully realized.

Since the 2008 bailout, corporate after-tax profits are at an all-time high, the gap between the rich and the rest is growing and thanks to Citizens United the billionaires have politicians at their beck and call, haughtily summoning them to audition for them as if candidates for president of the United States were mere actors begging their bosses for a role. “I think it’s very frightening,” as Gingrich also put it. “I don’t think the Founding Fathers intended for the U.S. to be an oligarchy.”

Trump, on the other hand, doesn’t do auditions. He can’t be bought; if political influence is to be bought and sold in a corrupt system, he will be the one doing the buying.  Trump doesn’t color within the lines dictated by political correctness, nor does he acknowledge any limits or complications. Caution of the sort practiced by McConnell and John Boehner is for losers — weak, pathetic losers.

In short, if you take the frustrations of a substantial segment of the GOP base and give them human form, they would be Jeb Bush, like Mitt Romney the mild embodiment of transactional politics.  He is what angers them most about their party, and Trump is his antithesis.  Trump turns the validation and expression of resentment up to 11 on the Nigel Tufnel scale, and the tragic part for his supporters is that he is even less equipped to make good on his inflammatory rhetoric than are those milquetoast leaders whose leadership they find so wanting.

They are being sold the same bill of goods, but by a more audacious, shameless salesman.

Reader Comments 0

1657 comments
straker
straker

Hedley - "I'd say there are a few thousand US soldiers who were pulled out of Iraq and are alive today who just might disagree"


Don't ignore the strong forces in the GOP and elsewhere that are striving mightily to get them right back there.

LeninTime
LeninTime

@td1234 

We are an empire and we have always been a warring people so the sooner you realize this and accept it then the better you will feel. 

**
Fascism has many faces.

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

@td1234 

Why did you include "interest on the debt" with social welfare programs?  Just curious?

td1234
td1234

@Nick_Danger You have to put into context with the discussion at the time of all these grandiose new programs being discussed. 

fedup52
fedup52

Georgia Democrats may have found a new star in Taylor Bennett, the 29-year-old former Georgia Tech quarterback who scored a surprising victory in a conservative-leaning northeast Atlanta House seat last night.

Bennett won with 2,714 votes, 54.53 percent, to Republican J. Max Davis’ 2,263 votes, 45.47 percent.

+++

A vanishing breed making a come back.

St Simons he-ne-ha
St Simons he-ne-ha

oh not vanishing by a long shot. Just waiting until this temporary idiot plague passes, and it will

fedup52
fedup52

"with new wars on the horizon"

++++

It is in our DNA to fight wars.  Nothing has changed.  Why the surprise.

td1234
td1234

@fedup52 We are an empire and we have always been a warring people so the sooner you realize this and accept it then the better you will feel. 

THEFEEBLELIBERAL
THEFEEBLELIBERAL

FUZZY LIBERAL MATH


we only spend 18% of federal spending on the military


yet the feeble little liberal mind


thinks we spend 81%


reform american math education now


fund more planned parenthoods in liberal school districts?





THEFEEBLELIBERAL
THEFEEBLELIBERAL

surely we feed the children


and give them education


and healthcare


not 


tanks

guns

tractors

corn

corn syrup

milk



THEFEEBLELIBERAL
THEFEEBLELIBERAL

and that it is a ruse to line the pockets of multinational corporations on 


the taxpayers dime........... quarter............ dollar............... 

THEFEEBLELIBERAL
THEFEEBLELIBERAL

there is no way that the "foreign aid" we send is in the form of purchases of food / goods / services /  weapons of US multinational corporations 



Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@THEFEEBLELIBERAL Foreign Aid is an incredibly small part of our budget 


You would need a jeweler's loupe to find it.


Other countries are far more generous. 


http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonkblog/wp/2013/11/07/the-budget-myth-that-just-wont-die-americans-still-think-28-percent-of-the-budget-goes-to-foreign-aid/


"Foreign aid is the only program that [people] consistently favor cutting," said Bruce Bartlett with a sigh, "perhaps because of grossly overestimating its share of the budget." He went on to list poll after poll showing the public's wildly incorrect opinions about how much the United States spends helping other countries.


And yet the perception persists. A new poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that Americans think 28 percent of the budget goes to foreign aid. That would make foreign aid pricier than Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, or all defense spending.


Of course, foreign aid isn't that pricey. About 1 percent of the budget goes toward foreign aid. And the Kaiser poll found that when you tell people that fact, it changes their opinions:

THEFEEBLELIBERAL
THEFEEBLELIBERAL

whats next


will they think that the money we send to other countries as "foreign aid" actually goes to help the people of that country?



Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@Hedley_Lammar @THEFEEBLELIBERAL

new poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that Americans think 28 percent of the budget goes to foreign aid. That would make foreign aid pricier than Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, or all defense spending.

Doesn't surprise. I think I've seen polling that indicates Americans believe something like 30% of the population is Black.

(it's actually ~13%, and has been around that since forever.)

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

  it may not really matter WHO we elect for President.


Id say there are a few thousand US Soldiers who were pulled out of Iraq and are alive today who might just disagree. 

straker
straker

Lenin - "with new wars on the horizon"


All too true.


This also raises an uncomfortable suspicion that, because of The-Military-Industrial-Complex and its power, it may not really matter WHO we elect for President.

LeninTime
LeninTime

@straker 

because of The-Military-Industrial-Complex and its power, it may not really matter WHO we elect for President

**
Well, duhh. 

Preaching to the choir comrade. :) 

LogicalDude
LogicalDude

Trump as frontrunner?  When will the Republicans even look at some of the other candidates who are much more viable than Trump? 


It's like a group of businessmen who are trying to run a meeting and getting updates that are displayed on projector, but that one guy doing a presentation keeps breaking the display projector, and nothing gets done. 

gotalife
gotalife

Congress’s job approval slides

Mark Hensch - 08/12/15 10:30 AM EDT

Gallup found that Americans give low marks to GOP leadership in both chambers.



This one is very important and shows the gop are going to lose again. 

ByteMe
ByteMe

@gotalife Only in the Senate.  They will still have the House locked up until 2022 via rigged districts.

RandroidWillBoy
RandroidWillBoy

@Kamchak


Such a rush to judgment a common theme amongst liberals.  Nobody is in a position to pass such judgment for at least another 2-4 years.

Kamchak
Kamchak

@RaindroidWillBoy 

 Nobody is in a position to pass such judgment for at least another 2-4 years.

Oh dear.

The PPACA was passed and signed into law in 2010 and you've been repeating that ever since.

Just how many more "2-4 years" do you need?

Hedley_Lammar
Hedley_Lammar

@Kamchak @RaindroidWillBoy Just how many more "2-4 years" do you need?


They will be kicking that can down the road for years to come


All the while telling their sheep " Just you wait "



straker
straker

Lenin


All in all, how do you think Bernie stacks up against Hillary and the 14 or 15 Republicans running for President?


Would  he be a good President?

ByteMe
ByteMe

@LeninTime There's going to be crowds cheering an old socialist?  I guess it depends on the message.  If he keeps hammering on increased minimum wage, that's one thing he'll probably be able to get done before the McCarthy/Cruz wing (good lord they look alike!) can generate enough noise.

ByteMe
ByteMe

@straker Will he survive 4 years in the pressure-cooker?  Like McCain, the VP becomes important.

LeninTime
LeninTime

@straker 

Would  he be a good President?

**

That question is almost impossible to answer. 

Note that none of the major policy proposals he's offering have the slightest chance of being enacted with gigantic portions of our budget going to support a giant military presence and wars abroad, with new wars on the horizon. 

So, if elected, the question would become, as in the case of Barack Obama, how he would maneuver the huge let-down that would inevitably follow his election.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@LeninTime @straker

Note that none of the major policy proposals he's offering have the slightest chance of being enacted 

But here's the thing. You don't ever get forward progress without making those proposals, saying that stuff out loud, and getting fellow party members on record as supporting them, or at minimum something similar. Take for example the debt-free college Hils was proposing. That's a direct result of Bernie being in the race, calling for free tuition.

At this point, we're close to such a thing becoming the expected Democratic position. Can't be enacted now, but in (say) 2020? maybe.

ByteMe
ByteMe

@Visual_Cortex I think "free tuition" is likely a non-starter, but doing something about the HUGE amount of student loan debt out there is something that one of the candidates will eventually address in a meaningful way.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@ByteMe @Visual_Cortex

"free tuition" is likely a non-starter

Fun fact--entire states used to offer it as a matter of course.

But we can't now, because we're "broke"? gimme a break.

LeninTime
LeninTime

@td1234 @LeninTime @straker 

Around 80% of our budget goes to entitlement programs, means tested programs and debt service. 

***
Not intended to be a factual statement.

LeninTime
LeninTime

@Visual_Cortex @LeninTime @straker 

I heard about the Clinton proposal but have not yet looked at the details. 

I guess what we're about to witness is a grand experiment in whether the argument you're making is true.

ByteMe
ByteMe

@Visual_Cortex No, we can't offer it now, because we've seen the rise of "higher learning" institutes that are spending more on research than on teaching so they need lots more money in tuition.  It's not that we're "broke", it's that the business model is not working and we need to find another one that will force down rising costs instead of giving them a blank check.

MOOCs are a very viable option, as are community colleges.  But the bigger universities are getting too fat in the present funding model.

td1234
td1234

@LeninTime @straker Do you actually have a clue as to what our taxes are paying for? Around 80% of our budget goes to entitlement programs, means tested programs and debt service. 


We spend more money each year on means tested programs than we do on our military. 

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@ByteMe @Visual_Cortex

Fair points, and remember, Obama's already made community college tuition funding something that's out there and viable. 

but about this:

MOOCs are a very viable option

They're just a supplement; they are not a silver bullet, and any GOPer trying to present them as such needs to be laughed at and publicly pantsed.

And then there's this lovely suggestion of indentured servitude:

http://thinkprogress.org/election/2015/07/07/3677543/marco-rubios-economic-plan-calls-students-sell-private-investors/

I'm not even sure what the appropriate public humiliation for Rubio ought to be.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@LeninTime @Visual_Cortex @straker

But there are plenty of examples from the past. You don't think that Medicare, and Medicaid, just came out of nowhere, do you? Truman had been proposing universal healthcare coverage back in the 40s.

td1234
td1234

@Jackie_36


From your own site reference: 


Social Security: 24%

Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP- 24%

Safety Net programs: 11%

Interest on debt 7%

Benefits to Federal retirees and vets: 8%


Total= 73% of the budget to entitlements, means tested programs and interest on the debt. 


Military spending: 18%

td1234
td1234

@Jackie_36 Social security is not self supporting and has not been since all the funds were taken out of the account and placed in the general funds. It is still a promise to the American people (IOU) but all money to pay for it comes from the general funds each and every year and has to be counted as taxes collected. 

td1234
td1234

@ByteMe Why is there a huge student debt problem? 

barkingfrog
barkingfrog

@td1234 @Jackie_36


That is the biggest lying crock of BS ever spread about the most

successful government program in history.