Post-debate note: The political wind seemed to change at the second debate. So–praise cheeses!–this may be the last Trump-centric column.
He’s what’s happening, baby! His poll numbers keep climbing, the TV coverage is non-stop, and the rest of us just want cover our ears and shout out “La la la la la la…” But if you care about your country and your government, you cannot ignore it.
Our pathetic election turnout every year empowers the loonies and we get a government that most of us don’t deserve. Unless we vote. Even on the small shit. In fact, especially on the small shit. But that’s another column.
In the presidential race, our options right now are laugh or cry. And so:
With apologies to Rodgers, Hammerstein, and Julie Andrews…
How do you solve a problem like The Donald?
Sonofabitch will drive the party down.
Write me a phrase to demonize The Donald:
A will o’ the wisp!
Many a thing he’ll take the time to tell you.
How many times before you understand?
Each day that he runs for Prez
Another mean thing he says.
He’s sweeping the polls like waves upon the sand!
Oh, how do you solve a problem like The Donald?
How do you halt Napoleonic Man?
Now that the leading Republican candidate finally signed a pledge to support whomever is nominated by the party, donors and would-be kingmakers are busily calculating how they can dump him without losing his multitude of supporters.
But they are very foolish if they think that they can cut a deal with him, and then just cut him out. Have they studied recent history? Trump responds to attacks like a cornered hyena. A writer for the San Francisco Chronicle (who spent formative years in New York City) explains Trump realistically: New Yorkers look at the world in an in-your-face way, and Trump’s temperament might best be described as New York Rude.
The article contains a paragraph describing New Yorkers that really applies to everyone:
“[When asked] What’s your opinion of a person or thing, [Trump and New Yorkers like him] would answer in terms of how nice that person was or how good or bad their experience of it was. There’s no objective reality beyond how it affects you.”
That’s not so different from how everyone sees the world as a child. It’s the “Id view” of the universe: I am at the center! Trump didn’t invent or even perfect this world view. Ayn Rand followers should recognize the attitude, and the Republican drift in this direction has been ongoing for decades.
So here’s my prediction of how the no-third-party-pledge ends. The Republican establishment figures out a way to take him out, and it works. Trump loudly announces his third party bid with a petulant press conference that begins with, “They backed out of the deal, they screwed me, so there is no deal.”
But that time is a ways off. If the party is smart—and don’t count on it—they’ll wait for him to self-destruct before the primaries even get going. It could happen, despite the fact that today’s poll has him at 27% and Ben Carson at 23%.
(Side note: that’s 50% of Republican voters who prefer a non-politician. Those people are their base, and they’re delivering a damning message to their own representatives.)
So who is Trump trashing this week? And who is trying—unsuccessfully—to take him down? The list of windmills jousting with him (or attempting to) is impressive and illustrated wonderfully in a chart of Trump’s Feuds from the Washington Post.
I’ll list those, and more:
- Jorge Ramos (Univision), following Trump’s physical removal of Ramos from a press conference.
- Megan Kelley (Fox News), following her sharp questioning and his personal attacks in response.
- Companies that dumped him after his “Mexican criminals” remarks (ESPN, NASCAR and Macy’s)
- Companies that do or plan to move jobs to Mexico (Nabisco).
- Frank Luntz’s focus group, which found Trump’s persona unpleasant.
- Bill Maher, sued by Trump over an orangutan insult that eventually drew his own birth certificate as proof of parenthood. Here’s the kicker: that document turned out to be the same state-issued, newly printed standard form that had previously failed to satisfy Trump regarding Obama’s citizenship.
- Rivals for the Republican nomination:
- Rick Perry… he’s gone.
- Jeb Bush, Rick Perry, Lindsey Graham and Rand Paul (who picked a fight with him)
- Scott Walker and Marco Rubio (who didn’t pick fights but earned attacks anyway)
- Christ Christie tried to pick a fight, but couldn’t even draw a response. Ouch.
- Dr. Ben Carson implied that he was more religious than Trump, and got the assessment “He’s an okay doctor” in return. Classic! And that budding little feud continues to flower; stay tuned!
Don’t miss the quick video compilations of Trump delivering insults and outrage in the above article! They are both hilarious and spookily informative of his style. He bloviates so matter-of-factly that I place him in the same public speaking class as Dick Cheney. Are you scared yet?
It’s ancient history that Peggy Noonan actually wrote most of those kind grandfatherly words that Ronald Reagan delivered from the Oval Office and other locations. It’s no secret that master orator Barack Obama has speechwriters.
But who would guess this? A Mother Jones article examining the physical source of tweets from @realDonaldTrump confirms that he does not send most of his tweets. But how many of them does he write himself? The article suggests that he dictates, and it makes sense because who else could even think up that crazy shit?
And speaking of others doing his dirty work, failed former politician Arnold Schwarzenegger takes over Trump’s role on The Celebrity Apprentice. How sad that he’ll be unable to teach The Donald anything about his own shortcomings as governor of California—because Ah-nold is unlikely to acknowledge them.
Schwarzenegger began his reign as “The Governator” in full bully fashion, thinking the celebrity factor that got him elected would let him breeze through a hostile legislature. And even though he was re-elected, he wound up slinking off the schoolyard like so many bullies who learn eventually that those kind of wins are short-term.
Something strange happened Monday and Tuesday September 14 and 15, on MSNBC during East Coast prime time: on each day, a separate endless speech by Trump, uninterrupted and uncommentated. On Monday, he gleefully announced that his lawsuit with NBC was settled (he dropped it), and how nice they were to him. I would bet money that one of his conditions was all that airtime.
Here’s the question that I want to ask Trump, the next time he disclaims his four corporate bankruptcies as not mine personally: “So, if the United States goes bankrupt during your presidency, it still wouldn’t count against you personally, right?”
Take your pick: the one bright spot for terrified liberals like myself: Trump still loses (in fact, all the Republican candidates lose) to Hillary, Bernie, and Joe.
Having said that, here’s a scary Mother Jones article listing the five presidents we elected who were not politicians but businessmen like Trump: John Adams, Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Warren Harding, Herbert Hoover.
Those last two are obviously scary, but all five swept into office on an anti-immigrant agenda.
…and still we fail to acknowledge that much of our strength comes from immigrants and diversity. It’s just that so many descendants of white European immigrants think that they are more entitled than the darker ones who came later. First bit of evidence? The involuntary immigrants who came over in chains, on slave ships.
Oh, and not to forget the non-white natives who lived in the Americas before those illegal white immigrants showed up. They were foolish to welcome those Europeans!
I’ve complained for years that the skills needed to win an election have little to do with the skills needed to actually govern—and held up the Bush Administration as my proof. An article in Slate claims that how other candidates deal with the unexpected success of Trump is a way to evaluate their competency in office.
But the problem is that the article cites their morph-the-question strategy: fold Trump-centric questions into statements about your own experience. I agree, it’s a decent measure. But the two candidates who do this the best? Bobby Jindal and Chris Christie. Yikes, both with terrible records as governor, both polling negatively in their own states. And both with no chance of being nominated, much less elected.
I’m not sure that I agree with this funny little essay tweaking conservatives about the cat that they taught to piss in the toilet. But I’m laughing!
♦ ♦ ♦