Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Yes, Trump is terrible (but the next Republican will be worse)

And speaking of shitty, why isn't Hillary beating Drumpf by a greater margin?  (That's a rhetorical question, most of us -- even Erick Erickson -- already know why.)

By any conventional standard, Donald Trump just blundered through the worst three days of any presidential candidate in living memory.

Showing a characteristic refusal to back down from a fight, Trump took the almost unthinkable step of publicly escalating a feud with the parents of fallen US solider, Capt. Humayun Khan, who blasted Trump at last week's Democratic convention as unfit for the presidency.

And in an interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos, Trump said Russian President Vladimir Putin wouldn't make a military move into Ukraine -- even though Putin has already done that by seizing the Crimean Peninsula in 2014.

In any normal political campaign, these stumbles would hobble Trump's ability to pass the fabled commander in chief test, in which Americans take their measure of a candidate and decide whether he is fit to lead them.
But no one needs reminding that 2016 is not a conventional political year.

The Republican Party is NOT imploding, but they are having an existential crisis.  Let's admit it: this cycle wouldn't be much different if Ted Cruz was the nominee.  I agree with this guy's premise (but not his rationale -- "Free trade GOOD!"), who says that the GOP has to lose this year so that they can win in 2020.

There is a Simpsons episode where two aliens, Kang and Kodos, invade our planet and scheme to take charge by abducting and impersonating the two US presidential candidates.

They are discovered before polling day, but this does not prevent their triumph.  Kodos declares: “It’s true, we are aliens, but what are you going to do about it?  It’s a two party system; you have to vote for one of us”.  One plucky man says: “I believe I’ll vote for a third party candidate”.  But Kang responds witheringly: “Go ahead, throw your vote away!”

No, seriously.

The key dividing line in the United States (has) little to do with Republican vs. Democrat, rich vs. poor, or liberal vs. conservative. To explode these conventional oppositions, it would take a billionaire Republican populist, who had once been a solid Democrat and who offered a political program that mixed together liberal and conservative ideas, conspiracy theories and racial animus, but above all else exhortations [...] to rise up and retake the country. Indeed, the triumph of Trump in the Republican primaries -- based, in part, on his appeal to former white working-class Democrats and independents, his fierce attacks on mainstream Republicans, and his flouting of what passes for conventional wisdom about electability -- sent the pundits back to their think tanks to figure out what on earth was happening with American voters.

Trump was, they concluded, sui generis, a peculiar mutation of the American political system generated by the unholy coupling of reality television and the Tea Party revolt. But Trump is not, in fact, a sport of nature. He reflects trends taking place around the world. He is, in many ways, just a mouthpiece ... 

Trump won't be able to overcome his raging ego, narcissism, or lack of emotional maturity (Clinton was spot on when she said he can be baited with a Tweet), and that's before you consider his hideous bigotry and highly questionable business dealings.  He's quite the fraud, but he'll fail, and the GOP nominee next go-round will not make his rookie mistakes.

Cruz is taking copious notes, and Paul Ryan can surely put a shinier coat of lacquer on his own neo-fascism to fool enough people disgusted with Hillary's presidency four years from now.  And that dynamic will hold irrespective of how well the Greens and Libertarians can do in the next cycle, after what portends to be a banner year in 2016.

This cycle is unprecedented but reasonably predictable.  Twenty twenty?  Not so much.


meme said...

What is a greater margin? Fox has Clinton up by 10 today.

Unknown said...

Ah, hindsight.