Home / General / Would Trump as president be significantly worse than Cruz or Rubio?

Would Trump as president be significantly worse than Cruz or Rubio?

Comments
/
/
/
781 Views

living colour

I’m leaning toward “yes he would.”

To get a couple things out of the way first, it should go without saying that any of these outcomes would be a serious disaster, so this is roughly analogous to trying to figure out if you’d rather try to live through a major hurricane or a massive earthquake.

Also, nothing in what follows takes into account or is otherwise based on which of these candidates would be more likely to actually win. This is of course a legitimate factor in shaping one’s hopes and fears in regard to the outcome of the GOP nomination process, but I’m excluding it here.

That said, I think a Trump presidency has a significantly greater potential to be a genuine national catastrophe. This is the case even though I agree with Scott that there is likely to be little substantive difference in the sorts of bills that get signed or vetoed in any of the three hypothetical administrations, and with Rob that there’s something more than a little absurd about Max Boot et. al., wringing their hands about the prospect of a bellicose and blustery foreign policy under Trump.

Indeed, at least in regard to domestic policy, there’s certainly an argument to be made that Trump wouldn’t be as bad Cruz or Rubio, since perhaps he would actually do something to advance some elements of the economic populism he’s been touting, and he would probably be less inclined to try to gut what remains of the welfare state (ie Social Security and Medicare), since he understands such a policy is only popular with the GOP money men who fear and despise him, rather than with the people who are voting for him.

Nevertheless, a Trump presidency presents two huge risks:

(1) The social costs incurred by putting someone who campaigns as an open racist in the White House. I don’t know whether or to what extent Trump is “really” racist, but that is basically irrelevant to calculating those costs. Air raid siren racism is worse than dog whistle racism, for the same reason that open corruption is worse than the covert kind. It’s actually an important social advance that, relative to a a couple of three decades ago, covert racists now feel the need to disguise their racism, because when they don’t feel that way racism becomes more socially acceptable, just as when open bribery becomes a feature of public life its very openness makes it more socially acceptable, and therefore more common than it would otherwise be.

(2) Trump is not merely a narcissistic megalomaniac of an extreme kind: he’s a narcissistic megalomaniac who isn’t constrained by any political institutions, as even an “anti-establishment” conventional presidential candidate like Cruz or Sanders would be. He’s a true political outsider, and as such he’s much more unpredictable. Institutional socialization, and the constraints it builds up, are real. Trump presents a non-trivial risk of being the sort of politician who would actually do the sorts of things that conspiracy nuts of the Alex Jones type are always fantasizing normal politicians are about to do: declare martial law, suspend elections, seize major media outlets etc. Trump really might turn into an American version of Vladamir Putin or perhaps Juan Peron.

As dire as a Cruz or Rubio presidency might be, that’s not going to happen under them. Trump, in my view, does actually present a non-trivial existential threat to American democracy.

FacebookTwitterGoogle+Share
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Linkedin
  • Pinterest
  • Rob in CT

    Two points in favor of this view:

    1) Trump released a healthcare “plan.” GOP boilerplate. No populism to speak of.

    2) Have you seen the 1922 NYT article on Hitler that’s been passed around? That’s the best refutation of “oh, he doesn’t really mean it, he’s just saying that to fleece the rubes” I’ve ever seen. Who gives a flying fuck whether he means it in his heart?

    To the extent we can determine his likely policy approach, he’s selling GOP boilerplate. He is selling it via a nastier, more vulgar, openly racist/xenophobic pitch.

    Wunderbar.

    • Joe Bob the III

      The political morass becomes much clearer if you just start with the simple frame that the candidates mean what they say. No need speculate on their hidden motives or what they really meant. Take their statements at face value and proceed on that basis.

      Of course, that will quickly take you from a state of mild alarm to one of stricken panic. We all know what Trump has said. But how about Cruz? He said he wants to carpet bomb ISIS until sand glows in the dark. You take all this at face value and the obvious conclusion is that a Trump or Cruz presidency will entail a dramatic re-escalation of conflict in the Middle East.

      This also made me think back to John McCain. Remember “Bomb Iran. Bomb, bomb Iran.”? Yeah, that wasn’t a joke. That was just the veil momentarily dropping away to reveal McCain as the insane warmonger he always was.

      • CrunchyFrog

        The political morass becomes much clearer if you just start with the simple frame that the candidates mean what they say.

        Completely agree with this. Back when Krugman wrote his book “Conscience of a Liberal” he had an interesting anecdote about doing research on times when a radical force gained control of government and began making radical changes. He did this, of course, in reaction to the first GWB term. He found a old, but fascinating doctoral dissertation by, of all people, Henry Kissinger on exactly this topic. One of the main findings was that the people in the ostensible “elite” of the country would tell themselves that “this new group doesn’t really mean all the crazy stuff they are saying – that’s just for the rubes”. Of course, the big example of this was indeed the rise of the Nazis in Germany, but there were other less severe examples as well.

        And Krugman drew the analogy to the US at the start of the century – most of the people he talked to who thought he was too extreme in his criticism of the Bush administration voiced the same sentiment – that they don’t really mean to do all of those things they are saying.

        So I agree that the idea of a Trump presidency is frightening based on what he says – but also Cruz, Rubio, Carson, and most of the other candidates. I think that the only way that Paul Campos can conclude that Trump is more frightening is that he is discounting what Cruz says as “he doesn’t really mean it”. Why?

        Trump is not merely a narcissistic megalomaniac of an extreme kind: he’s a narcissistic megalomaniac who isn’t constrained by any political institutions, as even an “anti-establishment” conventional presidential candidate like Cruz or Sanders would be.

        In short, because Cruz (or presumably Rubio) would be more constrained by political institutions. Sorry, I don’t see it – they are voicing exactly what their backers – who are a big part of those institutions – want. Maybe the apparatichinks at the State Department would continue to work in the way they have under Obama, but when President Cruz orders the carpet bombing of ISIS territory with tactical nukes, all of that goes for naught. And can there be any doubt that the Washington GOP consensus would rally around him as they did for the Occupation of Iraq?

        • AMK

          GWB didn’t campaign on any of the crazy shit he actually did (aside from his tax cuts, which in today’s GOP look moderate). He campaigned as a friendly generic Republican at the head of a bunch of well-known Bush 41 people (Cheney, Powell, Rice). Plenty of people thought he was an idiot from day 1, but nobody was running around saying American democracy is in danger.

          • CrunchyFrog

            While this is true about stuff said in his stump speeches, his “team” did publish stuff on the economy and foreign policy that laid out exactly what they intended to do. This is what Krugman was reacting do before Bush was elected in 2000.

        • Mark Field

          I basically agree with this. To me, if the correct historical analogy for Trump is Mussolini, the correct analogy for Cruz is Franco. I don’t want either, but if you held a gun to my head, I’d pick Mussolini. And then tell you to pull the trigger.

          • Joe_JP

            Mussolini sounds a bit like Christie being second fiddle to Trump.

          • JustRuss

            Wait, Generallisimo Franco isn’t still dead?

        • CP

          Completely agree with this. Back when Krugman wrote his book “Conscience of a Liberal” he had an interesting anecdote about doing research on times when a radical force gained control of government and began making radical changes. He did this, of course, in reaction to the first GWB term. He found a old, but fascinating doctoral dissertation by, of all people, Henry Kissinger on exactly this topic. One of the main findings was that the people in the ostensible “elite” of the country would tell themselves that “this new group doesn’t really mean all the crazy stuff they are saying – that’s just for the rubes”. Of course, the big example of this was indeed the rise of the Nazis in Germany, but there were other less severe examples as well.

          I am picking nits here, but that was “The Great Awakening,” not “Conscience of a Liberal.” But yes, exactly this. To be precise, he was talking about “revolutionary powers” as opposed to “status quo powers,” the former meaning powers that do not abide by the existing, accepted norms of international behavior and set out to remake the system – Napoleon’s France and Hitler’s Germany, in Kissinger’s context. And comparing these things to domestic politics and the rise of movement conservatism.

          (Years before the Trump phenomenon, it should be noted).

          • CrunchyFrog

            Shit, thanks for the correction. Sigh. As I was typing that I had some doubts about which book it was but I didn’t stop to check. Ideally I’d have spent the time looking it up and re-reading that section, but then wouldn’t have been able to post until after the thread was buried.

      • DrDick

        I would have to say that while Paul may be correct about Rubio, Cruz would be much worse, both based on the criteria you cite and his personal history and beliefs. Cruz is a full blown Xtian Dominionist.

        • Dilan Esper

          I hate Cruz, and this whole discussion, to me, is, as my father would put it, like arguing the distinction between whale shit and horse shit.

          But Cruz is a LOT more cynical and a LOT less of a true believer than many of you are saying. He let the mask slip in some comments about gay marriage and about condoms earlier in the campaign. Cruz is basically a conventional Republican politician / con artist who is also a huge asshole and opportunist who has no friends.

          Trump, on the other hand, might well be Moussolini– I am agnostic about that argument, but it’s possible. He’s certainly very different from Cruz.

          • addicted44

            But Cruz is a LOT more cynical and a LOT less of a true believer than many of you are saying.

            This applies far more to Trump than Cruz. If we are considering “what they actually mean rather than what they are saying” it’s a much better bet to believe that Trump is making shit up than Cruz.

            Applying those standards Trump is probably a better bet than both Cruz and Rubio.

            In reality, as pointed out in the original article, what the candidates actually say matters far more than what they “truly” believe, so I’m not giving Cruz any brownie points for being cynical.

    • pianomover

      Hitler wrote Mein Kampf.

      Trump The Art of The Deal.

      • Joe_JP

        We aren’t exactly Weimer Germany either.

        Good to be worried, but useful to get a bit of perspective too in the mix too.

    • los

      1. USA has checks and balances, and most of the GOP hates Trump.
      2. All of the obey Cruz’s bosses.
      Conclusion: Cruz would be more destructive than Trump because other Republicans would work (with Cruz) against the USA.

  • Nick056

    How is this even a question? Trump is building a campaign on explicit racism in order to bring out white voters who feel left behind in a diverse nation where minorities have a voice and are fighting for more power.

    Trump is making promises and forging a connection with these people every day. If elected, he will appoint a broomstick to the EEOC — someone who makes Clarence Thomas look like Thurgood Marshall. He will ensure the DoJ does *nothing* on voting rights or criminal justice, taking a lighter caseload than under Bush; he will likely sign EO’s making life much harder for federal contractors or employees with respect to racial diversity; and he will push for routine violations of civil rights for Muslim Americans in a way that I believe Cruz or Rubio would not, or not to that extent.

    It’s depressing that it’s even a question for some as to whether the white nationalist is worse than the conservative.

    • gmack

      It’s a question because many of the people speculating about the nature of a Trump presidency often assume that he’ll be a president in much the same way recent people have been. Even your own comment articulates his awfulness in these terms (i.e., in terms of the legislation he might get passed, or who he’ll appoint to head various agencies, or his violations of the rights of various minorities). I think Paul’s second point gets it right, however. It’s not so much that his particular legislative priorities, appointments, or executive actions will be vastly worse than Rubio or Cruz; it’s that if Trump wins, there is a much bigger chance of a complete breakdown of our existing constitutional system than with any other candidate.

      ETA: I don’t want to dismiss the stuff you’re raising, by the way. It’s just that I think that the difference between Trump and the other Republicans on those issues is merely quantitative. I think, however, that there is a qualitative danger with Trump that these policy issues don’t get at.

      • Srsly Dad Y

        100% agree. Trump’s election would shred norms (or choose your metaphor) in a way that could take a long, long time to repair. For example, Tom Ricks at Foreign Policy speculated this week that authoritarian/Tea Party governors could be emboldened in Trumpian climate to deploy their National Guards to “protect” anti-civil-rights and anti-immigrant groups, similar to the way the Southern governors used the Guards to “keep Negroes in order” in the 1950s before Ike nationalized the Guards.

        ETA … Add to this the possibility that military flag officers could resist undertaking a crazy war of pique.

        • witlesschum

          And what should a blue state governor do if President Trump actually orders rounding up and deporting all Muslims or something? If people think the norms and systems of society are breaking down, imagining what they might do gets very scary.

          • SNF

            They’d probably have to either give them up or Trump would use force against the state.

      • Barry_D

        “… it’s that if Trump wins, there is a much bigger chance of a complete breakdown of our existing constitutional system than with any other candidate.”

        I think the opposite; he won’t know how to maximize his evil.
        Cruz would.

      • los

        “bigger chance of a complete breakdown of our existing constitutional system than with any other candidate”
        I disagree.
        Behaving akin to as he behaves now, Trump would soon be impeached by Democrats and enough Republicans (Republicans welcoming the Vice President taking office as President)

        Cruz would aggressively pursue the Koch/Halliburton agenda, perhaps disastrously over-aggressively (starting a war with Russia…)

        Rubio would also pursue the Koch/Halliburton agenda, but in contrast to Cruz, Rubio would require much guidance by staff.

    • Quite Likely

      It’s certainly a question, given that Trump has pretty objectively superior policies to Cruz and Rubio in most areas where he can be bothered to formulate a policy. It’s reasonable to argue that other factors mean he would still be worse, but saying that symbolism is so obviously more important than substance that it’s not even a contest seems like going a bit far.

      • Barry_D

        Note that for all of his lies about helping the American people, is tax plan is 100% make the rich richer.

        I expect that the only ‘middle class American’ policy which he would actually enact is more racism.

        • divadab

          But no worse than either Rubio’s or Cruz’s tax plan – they’re all a plutocrat’s wet dream.

          But at least Trump says he’ll preserve Social Security, which the others have on the chopping block.

    • ThrottleJockey

      You’re being too charitable to Cruz. Cruz sounds like the smarmy televangelist who believes that God has called him–just him–for a special purpose. I was raised in a religious environment but Cruz’ constant invocation of religion actually scares me. Truth be told either he or Trump could be the Antichrist. That’s how seriously megalomaniacal those 2 are. Trump wants to round up all the Muslims, Cruz wants to round up all the gays. Is there a serious difference there?

      If either one of those two guys wins I say Obama should seize a third term. The risks are too great.

      • Cruz really does throw a curveball into discussions like this. If Trump wasn’t running, we’d be talking about the differences between Cruz and the “normal” Republicans.

        • Rob in CT

          Seriously. Cruz is a horrifying would-be theocrat.

          • And that shutdown he engineered, in direct confrontation with McConnell and the rest of the party, demonstrates a serious lack of the institutional constraints on his behavior that Paul posits in the OP.

            • tsam

              Like maybe he’d set up an office in the basement and sell illicit weapons to an enemy to raise funds for a terrorist group…

              One thing about Cruz and conventions–he has not a single fuck to give about that business.

              • I’m not entirely sure what the point of your comment is.

                If covert support for the Contras is the worst thing you can think of a president doing, so that Cruz couldn’t possibly be worse than a normal Republican like Reagan, you lack imagination.

                • tsam

                  As a recent example of “fuck the rules, fuck Congress”.

                  I can’t imagine Cruz would be anywhere near as restrained as Reagan was.

            • Rob in CT

              Right, good point there. Cruz has demonstrated that he’s a bomb-thrower.

            • Pseudonym

              The rest of the party? Other than the House of Representatives?

              • What about them? If you’re asking whether they’d constrain Cruz, they didn’t during the shutdown.

                • Pseudonym

                  I mean that Cruz was the instigator of the shutdown but it actually happened because the House of Representatives supported it.

                • Ah, capice.

        • Bruce B.

          One set of things Cruz might do that I think Trump likely wouldn’t:

          – Fill the Supreme Court vacancy with someone suitably reactionary.
          – Get Congress to pass a federal version of a “religious freedom restoration act”.
          – Someone uses it in support of their murdering one or more queer people, claiming gay/trans panic plus their religious convictions.
          – The case goes to the Supreme Court, which upholds it.

          And then it’s open season on LGBT Americans, with Congress withholding funds for essential services from states that refuse to go along.

          There are a lot of Scott Lively fans out there in Cruz’s core constituency.

          • witlesschum

            The idea that Trump would go to bat for gay rights or legal abortion seems difficult to believe, unless it’s by accident because he appointed his cousin to the Supreme Court. And if the Republicans control congress, President Trump is getting that bill on his desk whether he asks for it or not.

          • notahack

            Uh, rfra is a federal act already. Signed by Clinton.

          • brugroffil

            I’m not sure that that fact pattern is in any way realistic. There’s already a federal RFRA, for one, and I’d be hard-pressed to imagine the sort of language would allow that to be a permissible defense.

        • Phil Perspective

          If, somehow, either Cruz or Trump are elected I want to know who are setting up the Abraham Lincoln Brigades.

          • You think anyone else in the world is going to piss off the U.S. government to save our asses, Phil?

            “I feel bad for the good ones,” they’d say. “There really are some.”

        • los

          Trump is the oddball or detour from the Reagan era’s single-minded pursuit of the End Times. Cruz Stays on the path. Cruz is “merely” one of the most extreme of 2016 End Timers.

    • McKingford

      See, I think this is completely backwards. I don’t think Trump has any interest in getting in the weeds of actually administering his presidency. Not to mention, he doesn’t have the kinds of ties to movement conservatism that will make for an easy transitioning and staffing of his administration.

      On the other hand, I imagine both Cruz and Rubio will make it a high priority to infect every last crevice of the civil service with true believer Liberty U grads who will work from Day 1 to clear out things like the DOJ civil rights division.

      • Scott Lemieux

        See, I think this is completely backwards. I don’t think Trump has any interest in getting in the weeds of actually administering his presidency. Not to mention, he doesn’t have the kinds of ties to movement conservatism that will make for an easy transitioning and staffing of his administration.

        On the other hand, I imagine both Cruz and Rubio will make it a high priority to infect every last crevice of the civil service with true believer Liberty U grads who will work from Day 1 to clear out things like the DOJ civil rights division.

        Agree 100%. In terms of staffing the executive and judicial branches, Trump is clearly the least worst option.

  • Matt

    I’ve never understood the logic of the “oh, he’s not really a racist he’s just pandering to the neo-Nazis for their votes” argument. To me, that manages to actually be WORSE…

  • Joe_JP

    I think the argument has legs.

    Two things: [1] Rubio still will be a disaster and I think he has a somewhat better shot at winning. To me, that is a major reason him as a candidate in the general arguably is worse [2] I think a Trump candidacy — I realize people are cynical here and think party faithful will just go along but even Christie type support will poison them — is the level of bad that must happen for something to happen that might force members of the Republican Party to actually move toward sanity.

    I realize this plays with fire but sometimes you do that.

  • Grumpy

    Not that this changes the net conclusion, but there’s an argument that Congress, the courts, and even the military would act to restrain a President Trump (precisely because he’s such an outsider) more overtly than those institutions would normally be willing to.

    • petesh

      Well, they have been practicing

      • ThrottleJockey

        Please, people will fall in line for money and power. They always do.

        • petesh

          Kindly check your snark detector for possible malfunction

        • Barry_D

          “Please, people will fall in line for money and power. They always do.”

          The question is always ‘how much?’

    • fledermaus

      I agree with this. The CIA or DHS ordered to waterboard everyone in the middle east or shoot to kill Mexicans crossing the border won’t be able to count on “we must look forward not backward” pass given to your garden variety GOP president.

    • This is one of my husband’s arguments, looking at what someone–I think it was Hayden?–said about the military refusing to carry out President Trump’s unlawful orders. But in my mind that is also one of the reasons a Trump presidency would be worse. One you’ve had the military refuse orders from their commander in chief, no matter how much I would agree with that decision substantively and morally, it’s hard to put that back in the bottle.

      • ThrottleJockey

        Where does Hayden get off spouting off like this? He’s a war criminal himself.

        • so-in-so

          “even the war criminal Hayden..”

          • markregan

            “The war criminal Hayden” …
            Sterling Hayden …
            General Jack D. Ripper!

        • Barry_D

          “Where does Hayden get off spouting off like this? He’s a war criminal himself.”

          As has been pointed out before, he’s a f*cking criminal who quite happily followed a criminal president’s criminal orders.

          It was 100% a case of an Establishment Republican declaring Trump to be an enemy of the Establishment GOP.

      • Karen24

        I agree with you. I would just as soon avoid having ANY military coups over here, regardless of whom the target is.

      • River Birch

        Right. “An unprecedented constitutional crisis will prevent Trump from getting his way” is not much to pin your hopes on.

        • Barry_D

          “Right. “An unprecedented constitutional crisis will prevent Trump from getting his way” is not much to pin your hopes on.”

          It’s not really that, it’s that (IMHO) Trump would be less effective.

    • He’d have his finger on the button. ‘Nuff said.

      • brugroffil

        At least to me knowledge, there’s not a “launch nuclear missile” button in the White House. The order would still have to be relayed through the appropriate channels and carried out by people in silos in North Dakota or on subs deep under the ocean.

        • ThrottleJockey

          But I’m pretty sure they don’t train those people to second guess their orders.

    • ringtail

      I’m not convinced the military would resist a Trump CiC. I think this is exactly the kind of thing a certain kind (perhaps even the majority) of military servicemember chomps at the bit for: a chance to protect and defend the Constitution, enemies foreign and domestic, etc etc and live out some kind of Die Hard/Red Dawn/The Seige fantasy.

      Remember, the average serviceperson doesn’t know they’re swearing to uphold and defend a Marbury, Supreme Court adjudicated version of the Constitution. They think they’re swearing to uphold their own internal conception of what it means, with all of the talk-radio/Fox News/Conservative facebook feed baggage that it entails. If an elected official gave them carte blanche to act on it I’m sure many of them would.

      I think it would only take one sympathetic battalion level commander (or higher)to let a very dangerous situation develop.

      • Lee Rudolph

        I think it would only take one sympathetic battalion level commander (or higher)to let a very dangerous situation develop.

        Isn’t it traditionally a (full) colonel? Or does it have to be several colonels to be traditional?

        • brugroffil

          Clearly it’s at least Brigadier General level.

    • SNF

      Congress and the courts can’t really do anything if the President has the military on his side and doesn’t feel like deferring to their power.

      If the president doesn’t think that other branches of government are legitimate, a lot of their power vanishes.

  • Alex.S

    One of the scarier things about the Trump candidacy is that the racism and violence he is creating can happen* without him winning the general election.

    He probably will lose in the general. But getting to that means another summer of Trump with more and more anger directed towards minorities coming from one of the two parties in the United States.

    So yes, a Trump win is worse than Rubio or Cruz. But in addition, the Trump candidacy is much worse than any other Republican’s campaign.

    * “I will say that people who are following me are very passionate. They love this country and they want this country to be great again. They are passionate. I will say that, and everybody here has reported it.” -Donald Trump, in response to a report that a couple of his fan were inspired by him to assault a Hispanic man – https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/08/21/trump-says-fans-are-very-passionate-after-hearing-one-of-them-allegedly-assaulted-hispanic-man/

    • Lee Rudolph

      One of the scarier things about the Trump candidacy is that the racism and violence he is creating can happen* without him winning the general election.

      I actually think that’s the scariest thing about him; and that it’s seriously scary.

    • random

      Another problem is that, win or lose in the general, him winning the GOP nomination sets up an incentive for future aspiring GOP politicians to also pour it on much more thickly.

      The 2018 mid-term was already going to be intensely focused on driving up white voter share, positive reinforcement for Team Klan in this primary is just going to make it that much worse.

      • I do think Paul Ryan deserves some credit for calling out Trump’s refusal to unambiguously distance himself from David Duke’s endorsement.

        That may be the first time in decades that a member of the GOP has openly pushed back against the tide of increasingly racist rhetoric from their party.

        • The Lorax

          I did laugh out loud when he said that they weren’t the party of racism; they were the party of Lincoln.

          • los

            “the party of Lincoln”
            long gone, but agree that Ryan’s effort was good.

            Also recall GWB’s “Our war is not against Islam, or against faith practiced by the Muslim people. Our war is a war against evil.”

          • ajay

            I did laugh out loud when he said that they weren’t the party of racism; they were the party of Lincoln.

            Lincoln Rockwell, to be precise.

      • Philip

        Pray to Cthulhu they’re bad enough to somehow swing the House blue.

    • N__B

      Will happen, not can. I’m with Charlie Pierce on this: the evils are out of the box and will not be contained until something seriously awful happens. Last turn of this wheel, it was the OKC bombing.

  • random

    The easiest thing any Republican President can do to boost his ratings after swearing in is….fill Scalia’s seat, start signing bills sent to him by the (likely) GOP-controlled Congress, and start getting his major campaign promises underway.

    So with Rubio and Cruz, you get a President that signs whatever bill and nominates whatever judge Mitch & Paul tell him to.

    But with Trump, you also get a President who signs whatever bill and nominates whatever judge Mitch & Paul tell him to, only in exchange for them letting him build a giant wall and crack down on Those People.

    • Phil Perspective

      But with Trump, you also get a President who signs whatever bill and nominates whatever judge Mitch & Paul tell him to, ….

      LOL!!! They’ll vote for what ever judges Trump tells them to. Did you not see Trump’s comment about Eddie Munster on Tuesday? Given his treatment of The Big Chicken, do you really think Trump was joking about what he’d do?

      • Malaclypse

        Do you think Trump really has any plan at all about what he’d do? Planning is something people do for you. Quality people. People that know you gotta pay if you wanna play.

        • tsam

          Heh–He’ll be the dog that caught the car.

        • Phil Perspective

          Of course he doesn’t. But I’m sure he’s not going to let McConnell or Ryan push him around.

          • random

            But I’m sure he’s not going to let McConnell or Ryan push him around.

            The first year he can easily boost his approval ratings, just by getting the machinery of government moving again. Appointing judges and signing the legislation that the GOP passes to him is very much in his best interests.

            If they get to bargaining, his biggest campaign promises were a giant wall and cracking down for the white man, so they can leverage those things.

            If they get to fighting, I would not bet any money on Mitch “No” McConnell losing that one.

    • twbb

      “So with Rubio and Cruz, you get a President that signs whatever bill and nominates whatever judge Mitch & Paul tell him to”

      Rubio, sure, but where on earth do you get the idea that Cruz would do so. His whole career is based on not working with the GOP establishment.

  • tsam

    I don’t care if Trump is sincere in his racism or not. (He is–I don’t see any reason to believe otherwise).

    The problem is that this shit gets people killed. That’s why no fascist has a right to live.

    • Nick056

      Careful dude. You’re close to saying a guy with SS protection has no right to live.

      • BiloSagdiyev

        Aldo Raine 2016!

      • Anon21

        Abstract advocacy of assassination, or expressing a desire that Trump (or anyone) should be killed is protected expression.

        • Nobdy

          Not when Trumpolini is in charge. He won’t tolerate journalism and he CERTAINLY won’t tolerate this kind of insolent backtalk!

        • Not necessarily. You’re skating close to the edge with it. And it certainly isn’t in any way helpful.

          • Anon21

            “No fascist has a right to live” is skating close to the edge? In the U.K. or Germany, perhaps. In the U.S., clearly protected.

          • Casey

            Do you have a “This Machine Concern-Trolls anti-Fascists” sticker on your computer? You should.

        • CD

          Protected or not, it’s a crappy rhetorical path, especially if you’re in the middle of a larger argument about how someone else’s rhetoric leads to real violence.

          I wish Donald Trump a long and happy life.

          • tsam

            #SupremacistLivesMatter

          • Tehanu

            I wish Donald Trump a long and happy life in an asylum, wearing a straitjacket.

            FTFY.

      • Timurid

        Secret Service or Schutzstaffel?

    • Joe_JP

      The problem is that this shit gets people killed. That’s why no fascist has a right to live.

      huh

      • tsam

        Riffing on Woody Guthrie

        • brugroffil

          this internet commenter kills fascists

        • UserGoogol

          Woodie Guthrie was being metaphorical. An acoustic guitar is actually a rather ineffective tool for ending the lives of fascists.

  • the ordinary fool

    I pretty much agree with this. To me, Trump’s recent comments on libel laws are a good example of his unique horrible-ness.

    You could say that most (though, I agree, not necessarily all) of his policies are as bad as the other Republican candidates. But no one was talking about weakening libel protections for the press – it just wasn’t a salient issue. This is pretty much Trump going out of his way to stake out an aggressively anti-democratic stance.

    I’m not saying he would be successful – some libel protection stems directly from the First Amendment so presumably courts would strike down any of these laws, assuming Congress would even pass something. But I think he would generate a non-trivial amount of support for something like this. Creating demand for new anti-democratic ideas is something unique to Trump (or, perhaps, the degree to which it’s true is unique to Trump).

  • brad

    Yep. If by some nightmare Trump moves into the White House, the question is not whether there will be a Constitutional crisis, but when and how destructive. The man has no concept of the rule of law, it’s not a question of policy so much as how many laws he’ll break before even the Repubs in Congress can’t look away.

    • BiloSagdiyev

      Exactly. Just on a pscyhological level, his urge to WHATEVAH! I DO WHAT AH WANT! also means he will be meddling constantly and upsetting applecarts throughout federal bureuacracies, and people there have a hard enough time figuring out how to do their jobs and get things done, day to day.

      I am certain that when it comees to the Pentagon, he’ll be just like Hitler. As in, sticking his finger into the pie every time they turn around, considering himself a military genius. GROFAZ II — Electric Boogaloo.

      • BiloSagdiyev

        Shorter me: A loose cannon, in the original, nautical sense, ia dangerous, scary thing.

    • brad

      And in addition to all the very valid consequences of Trump’s racist and xenophobic pandering that have been mentioned, it also means that when said crisis occurs there will be quite literal blood in the streets as his supporters lash out in incoherent rage at whatever Other is nearest.

    • Sly

      It’s not just that he has no concept of the rule of law, it’s that he has no concept of the rule of law and he’s an exceptionally petty human being. Nixon broke the law to win elections and wars. Trump would break the law to win a Twitter feud.

      • The Lorax

        I really think that even this GOP Congress would impeach Trump if/when he turned into Franco.

        • Brautigan

          If, and only if, after careful political analysis, Mitch McConnell determines it increases his chances for re-election.

          I’m not being sarcastic.

      • brad

        Indeed. Even allowing him more self awareness than the character he plays on tv, the simple example of the short fingered vulgarian and Trump supposedly still at it sending pics of his hands to the guy shows how pathological Trump is.
        I don’t see how this swing to the center for the GE everyone’s afraid of is even possible for him. The whole world will be watching everything he does in a way that even he hasn’t experienced before. As much as he wants the attention, he can’t handle the consequences.

  • Anon21

    Fully agreed. And a corollary to your second point is that he has a greater chance than Rubio or Cruz of provoking a war between major powers that would lead to enormous loss of life. Whatever you want to say about the neocons (and I’ll say plenty), they consistently pick weak countries to prey on, and have no interest in starting a hot war with Russia. With Trump, there’s no basis to know what he’d do.

    • BiloSagdiyev

      Whatever you want to say about the neocons (and I’ll say plenty), they consistently pick weak countries to prey on,

      Exactly. Grenada, Central America, Panama, Libya for a night – I call those “the Wiffle Bat Wars.” The secret sauce was that there was little risk of losing or paying much of a price. And people LOOOOVED it. ‘Murka is standing tall!

      W.’s decision to jumnp feet first into Iraq and stay there was a huge deviation from the recipe, and his reputation paid a price. But still, on pure military terms, a weak military, easily handled.

      • CrunchyFrog

        Weakened by a severe war 12 years before and 12 years of sanctions. What a trick:

        1991: In this cease fire agreement you’ll promise never to build this long list of weapons
        2002: We’re sending our inspectors in to make sure you didn’t build those weapons
        2003: Inspector’s report: they didn’t build any of those weapons.
        2003: President: GREAT! They’re undefended. Send in our troops!

        • rhino

          And then they still lost.

          What does that tell you?

          • CrunchyFrog

            They won the war. No real opposition.

            They lost the occupation. Somehow in the last 15 years our nation has gotten confused on the difference. A war is against another country with organized armed forces. When they surrender you’ve won the war. Now you have to govern their country. Sometimes you can do that effectively – see Japan, post WW2. Sometimes you fail. The organized resistance in Iraq did not kick in until 6-9 months after the war ended, when it became clear that the US intended to just plunder the oil assets and not actually govern or assist the population. Flash forward 12 years and a new group, ISIS, has emerged that has no trouble recruiting 16-20 year olds to fight for their cause – people who were age 3-7 when the occupation began, and whose attitudes towards the US and the west were formed based on those early experiences. Yes, the horribly managed occupation had, and is still having, very bad long term consequences.

            I keep seeing/hearing the phrase “Obama inherited two wars”. No, he inherited two occupations. Very different situations, very different challenges.

            • tsam

              But if we don’t use the term war, how can we blame Obama for not winning?

      • CP

        W.’s decision to jumnp feet first into Iraq and stay there was a huge deviation from the recipe, and his reputation paid a price. But still, on pure military terms, a weak military, easily handled.

        It was a deviation, but not an intentional deviation. The complete lack of planning for an aftermath, the scrapping of the Clinton-era people who actually had been thinking about the aftermath, Rumsfeld’s smug assurance that we wouldn’t be there more than a couple months, all tell the tale. They really thought Iraq would be another version of Kuwait or Panama or Grenada. Quick in and out, lots of American flag waving, lots of endless CNN coverage of smart bomb hits, nice big boost at the polls, home in time for the Memorial Day parade.

    • mds

      Marco Rubio has already engaged in saber-rattling against Russia and China. Ted Cruz supposedly wants us to take massive unilateral military action in Syria, which would escalate tensions with Russia. So we’re back around to “Yeah, but they don’t really mean it” when it comes to their deranged warmongering.

      • Anon21

        They come from an identifiable school of foreign policy “thought,” one which is heavy on saber-rattling and nonexistent on hot wars with nuclear-armed countries with strong conventional militaries. It’s fair to judge the likelihood of their putting money where mouth is by the standards of their predecessors and common advisors.

        Trump comes from no school of thought at all. His foreign “policy” is just a series of off-the-cuff remarks. Quite possibly, he would act like a doctrinaire Republican in office, but there’s a small possibility that he could bring about an absolute calamity because he has no ideas and no advisors with actual foreign policy experience.

        • BiloSagdiyev

          And shows no indication of the ability to listen to an advisor who might know more than he does.

      • The Lorax

        I actually think Rubio is a bigger dick than Cruz. Which a few months ago I’d have said was like finding a married bachelor.

        • tsam

          What was it that brought you to that conclusion? The recent insult war?

    • Aaron Morrow

      he has a greater chance than Rubio or Cruz of provoking a war between major powers that would lead to enormous loss of life.

      False, both Rubio and Cruz are far more likely to start a hot war with Russia (via surrogates, one hopes) over Syria. Trump LOVES Putin.

      Whatever you want to say about the neocons, they started out with anti-Chinese rhetoric, and have interest in starting a hot war with China (via surrogates, one hopes).

      • los

        Trump loves Trump.
        Trump loved Romney, but just yesterday…
        Trump loved Putin, but just tomorrow…

  • Coastsider

    I agree with your points but there are two other reasons why I think that Trump would be way worse than any other candidate
    1) despite his wealth and ‘success’, I get the sense that deep down Trump is pretty lazy. He likes the good life and being the President requires a lot of work and isn’t like being a CEO. I think he’d break W’s record for most vacation days. This would mean an administration run by his VP and/or his cabinet.
    2) I’ll bet his cabinet will be staffed by the people who did the best job stroking his ego, not those who are well equipped to deal with policy issues. It would be like W’s admin all over, but with extra stupid. Was there anyone in the Bush White House who would compare to a Secretary of State Palin?

    • Nobdy

      Sarah Palin is way too lazy herself to be secretary of state.

      Do you know how many flight miles Hillary Clinton logged?

      Chris Christie, on the other hand, would have to take whatever scrap he is offered, and it’d be a way to pay him off without actually having to deal with him regularly.

      Either that or Trump brings in a ‘great negotiator’ from the private sector.

      Expect a LOT of private sector grifters in the government when the Trumpenfuhrer takes his throne.

    • Joe Bob the III

      Michael “Heckuva Job” Brownie” Brown?

      Alberto Gonzales? Gonzales made John Ashcroft look reasonable.

      I threw out those names only on the basis of rank incompetence. If you were to open the competition to include evil as well as inept, naturally you would have a much longer list.

      • UserGoogol

        FEMA isn’t cabinet level, strictly speaking. It’s part of DHS.

    • Bruce Vail

      I dunno, Henry Paulson was pretty terrible.

      And there was that clown Abraham at Energy.

      Come to think of it, Trump is likely to do better than Bush in cabintet appointments. It’s a very low bar.

      • The Lorax

        Paulson was not Mike Brown terrible. He wasn’t a law-degree-from-Liberty-University terrible.

    • Lev

      SoS Palin would be essentially like leaving the seat empty. Which would be an improvement on Powell/Rice, honestly.

    • alex284

      I agree that he comes off as lazy. He complains that debates are too long for him, etc. this is part of why I don’t think he’s much of a threat in the general – running a campaign is a lot of work when your opponents aren’t handing victory to you.

  • Bruce Vail

    I’m wondering who thought it was a good idea to have Mitt “Corporations are people too” Romney deliver today’s attack on The Donald?

    Isn’t Mitt guilty of about 90 percent of the things he is accusing Trump of?

    • BiloSagdiyev

      Yeah, but he says it with very good hair.

      • N__B

        I saw Mitt Romney drinking a pina colada at Trader Vic’s.

        • heckblazer

          Did he go out for some beef chow mein afterwards?

          • BiloSagdiyev

            Hmmm… that does remind me. We could excuse everything Donald has done with,”He’s just an excitable boy.”

        • divadab

          Shirley Temple…..

        • los

          Hey,
          “Trump was a showgirl with yellow feathers in his hair and a dress cut down to there.
          At the Mar-a-Copacabana, the hottest spot north of Havana”

          Doesn’t this look like Trump’s portal to terrorism? https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-ufJHSPNq4fY/TZqDNBknF4I/AAAAAAAABSA/-9-m6P_CQaI/s640/Arabic%253F.jpg

    • alex284

      Yeah, and the base hates him.

      I don’t think he will have his intended effect.

  • Barry Freed

    Agreed. The most frightening thing is the racist violence he’s unleashing among his supporters. You just aren’t going to get that with Cruz or Rubio. And Trump seems to really get a kick out of his ability to work his worshipers up into a frenzy like that.

    • Steve

      That is not going to go away when Trump loses. I am worried a lot of this is already baked in over the next several years regardless of what happens in the election.

  • Lee Rudolph

    Was there anyone in the Bush White House who would compare to a Secretary of State Palin?

    Well, not in the Cabinet, but Brownie?

  • xq

    Trump is not merely a narcissistic megalomaniac of an extreme kind: he’s a narcissistic megalomaniac who isn’t constrained by any political institutions, as even an “anti-establishment” conventional presidential candidate like Cruz or Sanders would be. He’s a true political outsider, and as such he’s much more unpredictable. Institutional socialization, and the constraints it builds up, are real

    You’re claiming that the reason a Cruz-like figure wouldn’t suspend elections is because he’s been socialized not to do so, rather than because circumstances are such that doing so would be against his best interests? I’m not convinced this is the case. Even if it is the case now, movement Republicans have been destroying norms and are in the process of destroying more. If American democracy isn’t resilient enough to survive Trump, is it resilient enough to survive the extreme version of establishment-supported movement conservatism? Doesn’t the elite distaste for Trump offer a defense against him that wouldn’t exist if a figure that came from within the conservative elite decided overturning democracy was the only way to protect the interests of the right-wing establishment and those it represents?

    • so-in-so

      Good point. Nobody considered shutting down the whole Federal Government to get their way – until the present GOP did it. Cruz was game to do it AGAIN, and complained that the rest wouldn’t paly along.

      • random

        Even the shutdown was within the scope of the powers relegated to Congress, he wasn’t claiming the House could adjudicate law or nominate judges.

        All things being equal, if President Trump is checked by the courts, he is just as inclined to respond by claiming that he has the final say anyway. This isn’t true of Cruz, who at least actually does have the Constitution memorized. He at least has a concept of there being a ‘right’ answer to the question of who gets to decide what the law is.

    • random

      You’re claiming that the reason a Cruz-like figure wouldn’t suspend elections is because he’s been socialized not to do so, rather than because circumstances are such that doing so would be against his best interests?

      Cruz spent the vast majority of his waking lifespan either studying the law or advocating within the scope of the law and abiding by the outcomes. At his worst he’s doing creative interpretation, as with the government shutdown.

      Cruz will bend the lines, sure. Trump doesn’t even know where most of the lines are in the first place.

      • Nobdy

        I am not so sure.

        Cruz has up to now had severe constrains on his power. He’s been a lawyer and a senator. You can’t do much unilaterally as either.

        He sees himself as a messianic figure though, and do we really think he will let Man’s law get in the way of God’s when he is president?

        • random

          Cruz sees the Constitution as an emanation of God’s Law in the first place, so I’m less-worried about this. He may have a different take on the Constitution than we do, he may try to interpret it in narrow ways to get what he wants, but he still believes in its supremacy.

          Trump’s theory of power is a lot more cynical than that. He sees the law as a means to an ends, not as inspired by a Divine Creator, and he’s also someone who has almost never been told ‘no’ in his entire life, going back to childhood. Even bothering to synthesize an alternate interpretation of the Constitution in order to justify what you wanted to do anyway, is probably a step further than he’d go.

          • tsam

            I would think Cruz would be like any other zealot. It’s God given law if they agree with it, and God says to do away with the rest. ie–Roe v. Wade and any other legislation that takes power out of the hands of propertied white males.

            • random

              The zealot part of his brain fundamentally sees obeisance to the Constitution as the proper extension of the Divine Order. Cheating? That’s Not How God Wants You To Win.

              He probably also sees this sort of cheating as an insult to his brilliance and dignitude. In his mind he’s the best lawyer that ever lived.

              He’s not someone you want in office, but he’s still a lot more likely to respect separation-of-power than the Chaos Monkey that is Trump.

              • so-in-so

                It’s not cheating when you are certain you alone understand what the framer’s intended.

                • random

                  Sure, but Cruz’s entire life says he thinks the Supreme Court has the final say in what the framers intend.
                  He’s dangerous because he’ll appoint right-wing justices to interpret it his way, not because he’ll just completely ignore the judiciary.

          • mds

            Cruz sees “the Constitution” as an emanation of God’s Law. Not the actual Constitution, but the David Barton “Constitution.” There’s a big difference between the two.

            As to his previous actions, a lawyer arguing before a federal judge and a US senator are far more constrained by existing norms of Constitutional interpretation than a president is (see, e.g., the George W. Bush administration). Meanwhile, his Dominionist posse has made it clear that human law remains subordinate to God’s law as laid out by (their interpretation of) the Bible. So I wouldn’t be surprised if he pushed the envelope as much as Trump would be able to. No, it’s not like he’d declare that Congressional elections are dissolved in favor of a rump legislature appointed by him, or try to serve more than two terms because God told him to. But Trump wouldn’t be able to do any of that, either.

            And “be able to” is important: As we’ve seen, the modern GOP has exploited elements of our Constitutional framework that rely on conventions and the existence of a sense of shame rather than black-letter law. Cruz would be a master of that sort of exploit, while Trump’s attempts to go further would more likely run into pushback precisely because of a lack of legalistic veneer.

            (I’m guessing a lot of people have been missing the GOTT MIT UNS feel of Cruz’ Iowa rallies, where he was making himself out to be a Christlike figure, raised up to lead the nation out of darkness. Regardless of what he actually believes, that can be playing with fire, too.)

            Still, who really knows? Let’s just not find out either way, eh?

            • random

              Still, who really knows? Let’s just not find out either way, eh?

              You said it. It really is a choice between two piles of shit.

          • los

            Traditionally, conservatives ‘interpret’ law/Constitution conservatively.
            Cruz would interpret favoring Cruz.

            Another comment above noted that the Weimar era’s Kochacracy lost control of their monster (Adolf H). The U.S.’s Kochacracy could easily lose control of Cruz.

      • xq

        Cruz will bend the lines, sure. Trump doesn’t even know where most of the lines are in the first place.

        The question is whether the lines are real or not. If Trump tries to overturn American democracy and fails, then he’s not an existential threat to American democracy. If the survival of American democracy is reliant on Cruz being properly socialized, then I’m more worried about the next version of Cruz than I am about Trump, because the elites are more likely to resist Trump.

  • Ransom Stoddard

    I lean towards them being equally terrible, but there are two substantive areas of public policy on which it seems possible that Trump would be significantly worse than Rubio or Cruz: immigration and trade. http://www.vox.com/2016/2/18/11050194/donald-trump-president-immigration-trade

    But you still have to ask: 1) to what extent does Trump actually care about implementing these proposals? 2) what would Rubio and Cruz do if POTUS about immigration? and 3) would Trump be a substantially better leader on the global stage than Marco Rubio? I’m not sure what the answer to any of these is, but it seems at least plausible to me that a Rubio or Cruz administration would be exactly as terrible as a Trump one.

  • Mike in DC

    The trade stuff alone is incredibly dangerous. He could drop kick the country into recession with a single wrong move on China. For which he should and hopefully would be impeached.

    • Nobdy

      I don’t think a president should be impeached for implementing the policies he ran on, so long as they’re constitutionally permissible*, even if they are very very bad policies.

      *I want to be clear I am differentiating bad policies like trade tariffs from horrible unconstitutional ones like banning people from this country on the basis of their religion.

    • ProgressiveLiberal

      Ugh…people need to refrain from talking about issues if they haven’t a firm grasp. Exports to China account for very little of our gdp. Please bring actual numbers. His trade stuff is the least of our concerns.

      • alex284

        As an economist it’s been weird these last 8 or so years to see so many americans go “Er mer gerd, china!”

        Yeah, it’s good to keep good relations with them, especially on human rights and national security issues. But I haven’t seen much evidence that Chinese economic policy is anything other than what the chinese government thinks is in its best interests, meaning that it will probably continue along its path independent of the politeness of the US president.

      • Steve

        And exports overall make up maybe 10% of the GDP total.

      • ProgressiveLiberal

        To put it another way, ~20% of China’s exports go to the US – which is 3X as much as we export to them. This isn’t a trade war they will win. Who are they going to sell their shit to, rural peasants? Puhlease.

      • JonH

        What if China slapped a tariff? not sure what you’d call it, but a large fee or tax on every item manufactured in China for American companies? For an iPhone it’d raise the price by a third, say. Or a half.

        • ProgressiveLiberal

          Again, only 13.5% of our GDP is exports, and only 7% of that 13.5% are exports to China – ie, less than 1% of our GDP are exports to China. Even if they could stop us completely – which they can’t, and won’t – it isn’t enough to put our economy in a recession.

          You realize that Iphones are imports, not exports, right? And that putting a tariff on them wouldn’t harm our GDP one bit? IE, people will buy other phones instead? I mean, c’mon…you have this so backwards. No country in the world would think to harm another country by putting a tariff on their EXPORTS. You want to make your exports cheaper and your imports more expensive – which is why china hold excess foreign reserves to keep the value of their currency down and their exports cheap.

          Bush put a tariff on steel – including from china – in 2002, and do you recall the trade war/recession? Uh…they just took us to the WTO and won.

          You also realize that we just slapped up to 236% tariff on Chinese steel in Nov 15? Are we in a trade war yet?

          Trump may be stupid, but trade is one of the places he is least wrong. We really are getting screwed out there, and we probably should do something about it instead of helping the screw-ers with another TPP. Which is why I’m for Sanders and not for the other candidate who negotiates and votes for these shit deals more often than not.

          • JonH

            “You realize that Iphones are imports, not exports, right? And that putting a tariff on them wouldn’t harm our GDP one bit?”

            It would hurt Apple. And other American companies who are dependent on Chinese manufacturing. It would be felt on Wall Street and in retirement accounts.

            No, this isn’t a standard trade war. But it’s something China could do. Perhaps they could even find a sneaky way to do it that would skirt WTO enforcement.

        • los

          A sizable iPhone tax might prop up Chinese Android device sales in the USA. But Apple would soon shift contracts to other neoslavery countries.
          It’s the abruptness (“disruptiveness”) of tariffs, embargoes that tend usually to cause the damage.
          Also, Apple products are middle to upper class products, less sensitive to price changes.
          Black markets favor small, high price-density items.

          Compare to more damaging economic sabotage:
          It took about 6 or 7 years for North Sea, Gulf of Mexico, Siberian, and Alaskan oil to counter 1970s OPEC “tariffs”

    • wengler

      Offending China is not an impeachable offense, and recessions every half decade are going to be a consequence of banks owning our government and rich people having all the money. Trump isn’t going to do anything about the latter, and it’s unclear Hillary will either.

  • catbirdman

    Agree. A frightening level of social disruption is likely to accompany unleashing President The Donald. Republicans have shown no interest in working with the rest of America to improve anything, except through blocking whatever the Democrats want. Trump + Republican congress will result in dismantling government, increasing pollution, increasing destruction of the environment, reducing health coverage, and increasing global warming, without any plan for how to deal with the downside of unemployment, recession, environmental destruction, etc. Trump’s a guy who wants to give America full employment, at $8/hour. You’ll have all these fired-up low-income people, whose quality of life is unlikely to be increasing, looking around to see who’s to blame for Trump not solving America’s problems. Trump knows they’ll be happy to blame it on the immigrants and other non-white people. This may be one reason why he’s already signaled repeatedly that blaming immigrants is a valid response — it will take the focus off him and put it on Mexicans, Muslims, etc. Also, his fans are going to be easy to rally around some phony war against one of America’s many “enemies.” After all, it’s a Republican article of faith that war is the best way to help the economy while looking and feeling like tough guys. Only “pussies” oppose war. Trump sux.

    • Lev

      I don’t know. I think that the first five or so sentences are what any GOP president would do. And Republicans would essentially respond with some version of the rest of it.

      • random

        If we assume the material outcome of the two in terms of formal policy is nearly identical (which I agree is probably the case), that means Trump is still substantially worse.

        • catbirdman

          I think that, with Trump, you run a bigger chance of things getting way out of control.

          • The Temporary Name

            I imagine a Saturday Night Massacre every Saturday night, but with more Borks around.

            • los

              There’s a ‘The Simpson’s’ episode in that concept.

  • I agree with this entirely. While the specific policy proposals of Trump or Cruz or Rubio might all be terrible, Trump does present a unique threat. He is advocating explicitly fascist policies, and his overt racism is already leading to violence. His thin-skin and lack of any kind of respect for rights of political opposition are exactly the recipe that make authoritarian governments so dangerous for everyone.

    I agree with the Daily Show’s assessment on this: With Cruz, you know he’s going to nuke someone, but at least you know it’ll be another country. President Trump might nuke Idaho just because some random guy insulted him on twitter.

  • Would Trump be worse than Bush? I kind of don’t think so, but it would depend a great deal on who Trump picks as his Regent. And isn’t thatan interesting question? Do you suppose the party could pull it together enough to install a somewhat less insane person as his running mate? Where would they even find such a person?

    • Nobdy

      The dark lord Cheney is still available…

    • Crusty

      I’ve long figured that if Rubio managed to capture the nomination, he’d need an older guy as VP to counter the notion that he’s too boyish and inexperienced looking to be POTUS. Ladies and gentlemen, meet your Rubio-Rumsfeld ticket.

      • Steve

        I figured he’d go Kasich…Ohio helps too.

        • los

          and Kasich is letting the other clowns clash.

    • JonH

      If the Regent isn’t necessarily the VP, it’d probably be one of his kids.

  • Davis X. Machina

    There’s a qualitative difference between being stuck with bad politics, and bad politicians, and winding up with the politics of no politics at all — just statues and rallies, of Jesus and Il Douché, depending.

    Cruz and Trump strike me as departures down that second, and probably irretrievable, fork in the road.

  • Quehashecho

    Totally unconvinced.

    Most of us wringing our hands don’t understand what it will be like for us to retire without Medicare or Social Security.

    That’s what you get with Rubio and Cruz, along with the exact same racism and fascism, but under a veil that allows it to continue to thrive without it being confronted.

    I like that Trump has pulled the veil back. Deal with it, cowards. It’s time to look it in the eye.

    Trump will lose. The fascism will get some of the blame. That is a GOOD thing.

    • alex284

      OTOH it would be nice if conservatism got the blame. If Trump loses the general, we’ll have another 4 years of “the (not my) president only won because s/he didn’t run against a TRUE conservative.”

      It’s what they told themselves in 2008 and in 2012, and they were more right in 2008, and now they’re going to have so many things to blame besides their politics that it’ll be annoying.

      • ForkyMcSpoon

        Yeah, but they’ll also have the fun of the other half of the party saying “Clinton only won because the party bosses stabbed Trump in the back.”

        Hopefully they’ll just break apart altogether.

        Not that this sort of stabbed-in-the-back narrative has never led anywhere awful…

      • los

        With the Nihilists Party, we always get, ‘Heads – we all lose; tails – we all lose.’

  • libarbarian

    I wouldn’t take “Invade Mars” off the table.

    Mother-fuckers blew up the White House on Independence Day, dontcha know?

    • Now you are confusing Trump’s information sources with Reagan’s.

      • los

        Martians have Redcake!

  • slothrop

    I already experienced a “nontrivial existential threat to democracy” by attending a Colorado caucus. The entire event was organized by retirees who probably huff lacquer thinner. And then we have the interesting problem of the “superdelegates.”

    Total scam.

    • Davis X. Machina

      And then we have the interesting problem of the “superdelegates.”

      Finally, someone who’s isolated, and understands the single greatest threat to the Republic in this, the third century of its existence.

      • los

        tea huffing is more damaging.

  • rea

    Trump is scary because goddess knows what he would do–at best he’d be Marco Rubio aka George W. Bush dedux.

    Cruz is scary because we know what he’d do–he’d try to act out his dominionist fantasies (the Bible mandates slavery!). At best, he wouldn’t be able to pull that off, and would be Marco Rubio aka George W. Bush redux.

    Marco Rubio is scary because, at best, he’d be Marco Rubio.

    • Deggjr

      Marco Rubio is scary because he will be whoever is funding him.

      • los

        to the koch gulag with you, “slavery is freedumbs”

  • Crusty

    I don’t know how these would translate while in office, but in terms of personal qualities, Trump is worse than Rubio. The greed, narcissism, nastiness, egotism- sure, all present in Rubio, but present in scientific study-type levels in Trump. He is a bad person.

    • random

      The greed, narcissism, nastiness, egotism- sure, all present in Rubio, but present in scientific study-type levels in Trump.

      LOL yeah.

      Rubio and Cruz are mostly horrible because of their ideology. If Trump was a liberal, he’d still be totally unfit for the Presidency. He is in the ‘Korean Dictator’ zone on the narcissism scale.

      • Rubio and Cruz are mostly horrible because of their ideology. If Trump was a liberal, he’d still be totally unfit for the Presidency. He is in the ‘Korean Dictator’ zone on the narcissism scale

        Completely. This is absolutely, completely right. Anyone trying to analyze or attack Trump based on policy is completely missing the point.

      • The Kim dynasty, horrible as they are, seem to have a sense of loyalty to their own dynasty. Trump does not even have that. Contrast Rupert Murdoch, whose taste runs to women of independent character, and who has brought up his children as successors to the throne.

  • alex284

    I don’t think Trump has much of a chance for the general election, and I’ve been thinking from the beginning that he’ll probably get the gop nomination.

    First, this was already going to be a difficult election for any republican candidate. Dems have been winning the popular vote for the presidency since 1992 (except 2004 when the Republican was a popular wartime incumbent), the economy is doing OK, and Republicans have been painting themselves into a corner getting more and more extreme each year.

    Second, Trump is particularly unlikable for a republican. His personal life, his blatant racism, his demeanor, his stupid hair… He has an almost 60% unfavorable rating for a reason.

    Third, he hasn’t had experience with a real campaign, ever. He wasn’t taken seriously in this primary and no one attacked him. Rubio is going negative with some petty junk now, too little too late. He hasn’t organized a decent ground game and he hasn’t even put together a real ad campaign because he hasn’t had to. I don’t think he’ll be able to float to victory so easily in the general.

    Last, imagine the “gaffes” as he tries to appeal to mainstream audiences. Imagine the material his life has given for ads against him. Romney’s 47% quote didn’t help him, and Trump’s life has been one long 47% quote. Yeah, it doesn’t matter in the primary because he has his fans (people who already vote republican so, you know, no representative), but the rest the country won’t be so forgiving.

    As for whether he would be worse than cruz or rubio should he win… It’s a hard call. I think the foreign policy stuff is pretty important and he seems less likely than a crazy like Rubio to start a war for no reason, plus I think that his being anti-establishment cuts both ways – it’s harder to control him, but it’ll be harder for him to work the machinery of the government like Rubio or Cruz could.

    • Juicy_Joel

      The potential for violence if Trump is the nominee seems exponentially higher than the rest of the candidates especially if he gets the nomination and loses.

      • Steve

        Yeah that is what I am worried about. Once he gets the nomination (or if he loses in a brokered convention) I think there will be violent fall-out.

    • twbb

      Rubio would not start a war for no reason; he would always have one. It would be a terrible reason that no rarional person would agree with, but it would be a reason.

      • los

        The reasons will be the usual conservative reasons: to win reelection and to pump Halliburton with “taxpayers’ hard earned dollars”.

  • Bruce Vail
    • Rob in CT

      I’d rather keep Miley Cyrus than Donald Trump.

      • los

        We can assume Trump stapled a little red squirrel onto the head of his little “finger”.
        I also prefer Miley Cyrus.

  • PJ

    So … what is this with some progressives on Twitter giving legitimacy to Trump’s free trade and foreign policy ranting? Are they seeing something I’m not seeing? Are his policies a Trojan horse for leftism or something?

    Or is this still about swing white voters who may or may not be captured by a Bernie campaign?

    • Brien Jackson

      Well….they’re white people who hate Hillary Clinton more than Trump and/or would really like a regular gig writing for The Intercept.

  • tsam

    This question can’t be answered because there’s no way to isolate one critical variable: Nobody has any idea if Trump means any of the things he says. Trump has no idea if he means them.

    How do you make a fair comparison when one side can’t be measured?

    • pianomover

      Do you believe any or some of what either Cruz or Rubio say?

      • tsam

        No, but they use the standard Republican cypher, so we know what they’re really saying.

  • AMK

    This is why it will be interesting to see what Trump does in a general election campaign. I would not be surprised if he pivots back to the center far more artfully than Romney did. He already plays the media like a harp, and it would just take a few caveats….”I read about the Klan, and they’re losers”; “the wall will be drones and border patrol in some places”; “good Muslims can come in if we vet them”; “I’m friends with lots of fantastic gay people” etc…for the talking heads to start the narrative on how Trump is a NYC moderate after all.

    And maybe he is! Who knows?

    • twbb

      Right, he would just spin everything he’s said as just an opening for a negotiation session.

  • OT, but only a little: Nationwide roundup of Bundy Ranch/Malheur standoff participants going on.

    Did you ever wonder why the FBI doesn’t immediately raid a house or a bar that they’ve bugged when they catch some mob guys doing something illegal?

    • Rob in CT

      Glorious.

      • BiloSagdiyev

        I’m sure Alex Jones is turning this into something absolutely hysterical and pants-wetting.

      • brugroffil

        Staffer of a group supporting Trump, not Trump campaign staffer. Shockingly, rawstory overstated the actual story in the headline.

    • rhino

      Arrested for taking a photo of officers?

      That’s a wee bit problematic.

      • Aaron Morrow

        If it turns out that what his wife claimed was true.

        If it turns out that she lied again, that’s another story.

      • So, the answer to the question at the end of my comment is, “In order to follow them and roll up a larger conspiracy.”

        That was a conspiracy to engage in armed sedition, and I don’t much care what initial charge they use to make the initial arrest of the conspirators.

  • Steve

    I am interested in seeing what his rapidly racist gun-toting followers do if either a. the Republican leadership manages to oust Trump in a brokered convention or b. Trump gets the nomination and loses badly.

    Either way I expect them to react very poorly and possibly violently. His whole appeal is based on tearing down the system they hate. What percentage of them decide to take matters into their own hands when he fails?

    • twbb

      The vast, vast majority of them are all talk.

  • politicalfootball

    John McCain dances around and sings “Bomb, bomb, Iran” — and clearly means it. Then he selects Sarah Palin as his vice presidential candidate.

    Today, McCain complains about Trump’s “uninformed and indeed dangerous statements on national security issues.”

    Mitt Romney complains because Trump hasn’t yet released his tax returns!

    Soon, one supposes, GW Bush is going to come out against Trump because Trump would torture people. Or maybe Bush will say Trump lacks ability as an administrator, or can’t be trusted to supervise US Attorneys appropriately.

    The “respectable” leaders of the Republican Party completely lack any sense of shame, and — aside from Paul’s accurate discussion of the distinction between overt and covert racism — there’s no reason to suppose Trump would be any worse than they were.

    And neither Cruz nor Rubio is respectable in the way Bush, Romney and McCain are. The two of them are crazy Tea Partiers who have had a hard time differentiating themselves from Trump on policy matters. Remember that Cruz has been openly advocating crashing the American economy by way of debt default.

    On balance, I’ll take Trump over any of them.

    • Gregor Sansa

      If we could elect one of them, but then have Trump warging them for the length of the presidency, I’d prefer that. But between living in a country run by a vicious racist psychopath, and living in a country run by a vicious racist psychopath where a majority has just embraced that psychopath’s overt racism, I’ll take the former. It’s not about what they do in office, it’s about how they normalize overt racism by winning in the first place.

    • Matt McIrvin

      If hypocrisy is the tribute vice pays to virtue, I’d rather they keep paying up at least a token amount.

      • Lee Rudolph

        Vice is in Chapter 8.

        • N__B

          The hangover is in chapter 9.

  • Rob in CT
    • John F

      So… they polled 1800 US Muslims and got:

      HRC 46
      Sanders 25
      Trump 11
      Cruz/Rubio/Kasich 7
      Carson 0
      ND 9

      Ignore that works out to favoring the Dems 71:18 instead notice that Trump beats the rest of the GOP candidates and title your article:

      Why some Muslim voters are betting on Donald Trump

      Anyway, based on 1-2 interviews the article actually comes up with a not totally wrongheaded answer- a subset of Muslim voters see the economy as being more important than issues like Islamophobia- among that subset Trump is relatively favored because he’s a billionaire businessmen and thus must know a thing or two about how the economy works…

      11% gee that’s what the GOP used to poll among African Americans too…
      What the poll shows is how the GOP has basically driven off Muslim voters.
      In 2012 the electorate was 72% “white” (and 28% not-white)
      If you get just 20% of the not-white vote you need 61.1667% of the white vote to reach 50/50.

      • Rob in CT

        Oh, no doubt. I just loved the one guy explaining that it’s the economy driving all this loss of social cohesion and Trump’s a dealmaker so they could work with him… yeesh. Talk about naïve.

        • twbb

          But honestly…they probably could.

          • Rob in CT

            I… don’t know about that. Maybe, maybe not. It’s playing with fire.

        • los

          suppressed self-deportation wish.
          NPR news has played similar little bits of Latinas proclaiming love for trump.

          Differently, NPR recently broadcast more than a few minutes of a senile (former) Nicaraguan Somozista declaring her Leona Helmsley teen-idol worship for Trump and his negotiation “skills”.

      • JonH

        “The thought of living under a corrupt billionaire tyrant.. it just feels like home, you know?”

  • Gregor Sansa

    The expected value of a Trump presidency is more negative, but that has to do with the lower tail. He’s unpredictable and some of the crazy things he might just manage to do mean that the USA ceases to exist as a democracy.

    The modal value of a Rubio presidency is more negative, because he’s got no upper tail on social policy.

    The expected value of a Cruz presidency might be more negative than Trump if you think he’s more likely to nuke the Middle East, but otherwise not because he’s pretty clearly less likely to try to suspend elections entirely.

    • ForkyMcSpoon

      Right.

      In terms of median outcomes, it’s probably Trump > Rubio > Cruz

      But in terms of average outcomes, it’s probably Rubio > Cruz > Trump

      Cruz has a tight and quite negative distribution. Rubio has a somewhat looser but less negative distribution. Trump has a wide distribution with a long tail of disaster.

  • spearmint66

    Yes. Any failure to recognize this is a failure to recognize that there are orders of magnitude to these things. The Bush administration was a disaster; as would be a Cruz or Rubio administration. But the Bush administration was not anywhere near as bad a disaster as is possible. We’ve never had the combination of stupid, racist, narcissistic, and authoritarian that Trump would represent. Not nearly. We probably can’t survive that. The comparisons can not begin and end with policy positions.

    Bush was 40 year old Jeter as your shortstop. Trump would be Stephen Hawking as your shortstop.

    OK, that’s a terrible analogy.

    • Gregor Sansa

      Wow. Trump=Hawking, and it kinda made sense. That is impressive.

      • BiloSagdiyev

        Let’s just hope Donald didn’t hear that, or he’ll regale us all with his Hawking-playing-baseball impersonation.

    • twbb

      “But the Bush administration was not anywhere near as bad a disaster as is possible. ”

      Unless you are Iraqi…

    • Rob in CT

      Dubya as a replacement-level POTUS. Giggle.

      Sticking with the baseball analogy, I’d say Trump is more like Hanley Ramirez as your catcher. With a replacement-level pitching staff (GOP congress).

  • MyOhMy

    > Trump really might turn into an American version of Vladamir Putin or perhaps Juan Peron.

    And Cruz might turn into Nehemiah Scudder who, though fictional, is worth considering. (This comes from an early phase of Heinlein, before The Brain Eater got him.) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/If_This_Goes_On%E2%80%94

    None of this good, is it?

    • CrunchyFrog

      Thanks for that reference. Some months ago I was trying to remember this novel but couldn’t remember the title and didn’t recognize it among the list of Heinlein stories.

  • Jackson87

    Rubio would rely on the usual cabal of wise old men to help keep a steady hand at the helm.
    Trump would argue with them that they were not trying hard enough to find a way to allow him to do what he wanted.
    Cruz would be actively trying to bring about the end times.

  • ForkyMcSpoon

    I’m sure that Ted Cruz will do whatever he can to take us back to the times of Gerri Santoro.

  • wengler

    We’re down to four left in the GOP clown car and no one has made the four horsemen comparison? For shame.

    • tsam

      Only supposed to be three stooges.

    • JonH

      Tacky, Greasy, Buggy, and Sleepy?

  • Pingback: Current Links()

  • Pingback: What is the Least Worst Case Republican Nomination Scenario? - Lawyers, Guns & Money : Lawyers, Guns & Money()

  • Pingback: Ted Cruz is trying his level best to make Donald Trump seem like a better choice - Lawyers, Guns & Money : Lawyers, Guns & Money()

  • Pingback: There'll be phantoms, there'll be fires on the road and the white man dancing - Lawyers, Guns & Money : Lawyers, Guns & Money()

It is main inner container footer text