Home / General / The Bottom Line on The Donald and His Party

The Bottom Line on The Donald and His Party



It didn’t come out of nowhere, no matter what conservative pundits are going to claim as they reconcile themselves with their party’s nominee:

The paranoid mendacity of Joe McCarthy, the racial pandering of Barry Goldwater, Richard Nixon, and George Bush, the jingoism and anti-intellectualism of Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, and Sarah Palin — all these forces have embodied the essence of American conservative politics as it is actually practiced (rather than as conservative intellectuals like to imagine it). Trump has finally turned that which was always there against itself.

And the paradox is that he has managed to pull off the trick of downplaying or abandoning unpopular orthodox Republican ideas while being highly unpopular with the general electorate:

It is easy to find examples of parties where ideologically orthodox members felt sold out by moderate leaders who softened party platforms. Think of Tony Blair in the UK or Dwight Eisenhower in the US.

But at least those moderate leaders tend to be broadly popular with the public and to win elections. That allows those ideologically orthodox party members to get half a loaf — in the form of implementation of a watered-down version of a party platform.

Trump has somehow found a way to throw away the ideologically extreme ideas that orthodox conservatives cared about while actually making the party less popular. His nomination is a recipe for conservatives to sell out and lose anyway.

And don’t kid yourself: Trump is a terrible general election candidate. I’m not basing that on the head-to-head polls, which show Clinton thumping Trump; they generally aren’t very predictive this far out, and while they might mean more than usual this year because of how well-known both candidates have been for so long, there’s no way of knowing that ex ante. Rather, it’s that 1)the Democrats have a structural advantage in the electoral college all things being equal; 2)his unfavorable ratings are insanely high, putting him in a major hole and negating Hillary Clinton’s own high unfavorables, which should have been a major opportunity for the GOP; 3)Trump is almost certain to mobilize a high minority turnout; and 4)giving sexist boors enough rope is one thing that Clinton does really well. I would never say that it’s impossible for a major party candidate to win an election under the current partisan configuration, but Clinton is a yooooooooge favorite.

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  • sharculese

    So I don’t think I’ve mentioned this here before, but my mom is a native Long Islander. When she moved to the south she made a conscious effort to drop her accent. It worked, with a few exceptions. She still has a couple of New York-isms, like ‘close the lights’ and ‘stand on line’ in her system, but the big one is that she has the same tendencies with ‘hu’ sounds as The Donald. ‘Youston’ is a large city in Texas, the weather down here is ‘yumid’ and of course, big thing are ‘yuge.’ My dad claims to never have noticed this, which seems impossible, but my brother and I have had a lot of fun with it the past couple of months.

    ETA: Gentle loving fun, for our mother, who is awesome and has done so much in her career to make women’s health an issue for our public health agencies.

    • Bootsie

      stand on line

      As a native Long Islander, I am now learning that that’s something only we say. I thought there were other civilized parts of this nation?

      • I s’pose y’all wait “on” line rather than in line too?

      • Matt McIrvin

        In the UK, there’s a weird conspiracy theory going around about how when Barack Obama said things at a news conference urging continued membership in the EU, he was just parroting lines fed to him verbatim by David Cameron’s office, and you can tell because he used the word “queue”, which no American would ever say on his own initiative. Language Log had a skeptical take.

        • delazeur

          A Kenyan Muslim smart wily enough to steal the White House is also wily enough to make himself sound like an American when speaking in Europe.

          • Matt McIrvin

            What gets me is that the claim depends on Barack Obama being not only too stupid to use British terms in Britain, but also too stupid to paraphrase ideas in his own words.

            • so-in-so

              The “teleprompter meme” dies hard.

        • Redwood Rhiadra

          I use “queue” all the time. (Admittedly, being a programmer probably has something to do with that.)

          • At this point, who hasn’t had a document stuck in the printer queue?

          • cpinva

            “I use “queue” all the time. (Admittedly, being a programmer probably has something to do with that.)”

            you’ve never heard of “queuing theory”, the study of moving large numbers of people through lines quickly and efficiently? it pre-dates programming by decades. well, I should say it pre-dates COBOL & FORTRAN IV. it was designed to help get lots of customers through cash register lines, in the new fangled grocery stores and supermarkets, which sprang up after WW2. an English economist (whose name escapes me) originated it.

      • cpinva

        “I thought there were other civilized parts of this nation?”

        unless there is a line painted on the ground, it’s physically impossible to wait “on” line. I lived on the Island for part of my yout, I don’t recall this term being used. must have been folks from the grammatically challenged part of it.

    • MDrew

      I’m given to understand that they call it Youston in Youston as well, so she should be all good when in those parts.

      • PohranicniStraze

        You must be talking about the vast NY expat community in Houston. I live slightly to the north (in Fort Worth) and work with a lot of Houstonians, and have always heard it pronounced with a distinct H sound.

        • DrDick

          My grandson lives there and always pronounces it with an “h”.

      • liberalrob

        “Yewston” not “Youston”. The difference is subtle. “Ewww” instead of “oooo”.

        Illustrated Texas Dictionary of the English Language, Vol. 4 by Jim Everhart

    • Jordan

      “youston” is actually very close to how most houstonians pronounce it, as long as the emphasis isn’t on the “you” part.

      • Karen24

        Exactly. There’s a large railway station in London called “Euston,” and every Texan whoever travelled there has a story about looking for “Houston” station.

        • efgoldman

          every Texan whoever travelled there has a story about looking for “Houston” station.

          Whereas Houston Street in lower Manhattan is pronounced “HOW-stunn.”

          • Karen24

            This demonstrates why anyone who has a choice in the matter continues to speak Spanish rather than learn English.

          • Srsly Dad Y

            OT but reminds me of something funny from Spy magazine. They had a parody map of NYC neighborhoods, and one covered most of the country. It was called SoHoNoHoTex, South of Houston and North of Houston, Texas.

          • liberalrob

            Not to be confused with professional baseball pitcher Huston Street

    • DAS

      Mrs. DAS spent most of her formative years in Queens. She never realized she had an accent until Lil’ Miss DAS was learning to speak, picking up Mrs. DAS’s accent and amping it up to 11: Lil’ Miss DAS would, for example, want to go to bed because “it is noit-toim”.

    • tsam

      ETA: Gentle loving fun, for our mother, who is awesome and has done so much in her career to make women’s health an issue for our public health agencies.

      My oldest daughter graduated from UW with a public health degree last year. Women’s health is what she wants to focus on as well–and LGBT equality in health systems (which are apparently horrible)

  • Donald Trump: Part of the ongoing effort to make George Bush, John McCain, and Mitt Romney appear to be popular, non-ridiculous statesman….

  • howard

    when chait is good, he’s very, very good (and of course when he’s bad he’s awful), and on this, he’s very, very good.

    • Rob in CT


      Virtually the entire Republican apparatus will follow Trump sooner or later, because without the voters, they have no power. And those voters have revealed things about the nature of the party that many Republicans prefer to deny. Whatever abstract arguments for conservative policy — and these arguments exist, and a great many people subscribe to them earnestly — on the ground, Republican politics boils down to ethno-nationalistic passions ungoverned by reason. Once a figure has been accepted as a friendly member of their tribe, there is no level of absurdity to which he can stoop that would discredit him. And since reason cannot penetrate the crude tribalism that animates Republicans, it follows that nothing President Obama could have proposed on economic stimulus, health care, or deficits could have avoided the paroxysms of rage that faced him.

      The paranoid mendacity of Joe McCarthy, the racial pandering of Barry Goldwater, Richard Nixon, and George Bush, the jingoism and anti-intellectualism of Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, and Sarah Palin — all these forces have embodied the essence of American conservative politics as it is actually practiced (rather than as conservative intellectuals like to imagine it). Trump has finally turned that which was always there against itself.

      That’s well done.

      • I have my doubts. Johnathan Chait is so freaking bad when he’s out of his depth, that every time he says something I agree with, I have to triple check to figure out if my position is as privileged, knee jerk, and idiotic as Chait is when he’s wrong.

        • Incontinentia Buttocks

          I’ve begun to feel this way, too. I think it was his recent claim that Communists were cool in the 1950s ’cause they were so persecuted that pushed me over the edge.

          • Linnaeus

            Yeah, Chait’s bid to become the next Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. comes off as a little silly.

        • Rob in CT

          This is probably a good thing, as a check against lazy thinking.

          And yet, I think he nailed that one.

  • I’m too drunk to go back and look up the link, but I just saw Chris Cilleza in the Washington Post point out that Hillary is up like 13 points in Florida, and that with Florida, all she needs is every state that has voted Dem in the last six consecutive elections. Without Florida, the GOP needs to win every state that Clinton, Gore, Kerry or Obama lost at least once, and then one.

    Edit: pretty sure I spelled Chris C.’s last name wrong

    • Vance Maverick


    • Warren Terra

      I believe the proper attribution is Chris “Mad B!tch” Cillizza. Two L’s, two Z’s, one refusal to forget his awful judgment.

      • wjts

        Two L’s, two Z’s…

        And his tortoise, Slow Chris.

      • Pseudonym

        Ah, Howard Kurtz the reasonable moderate unbiased media reporter… good times.

    • MDrew


      Are you a TK Little?

    • Matt McIrvin

      Which is not to say that Clinton actually needs Florida. Without it, she still has many ways to win: with the deep blue states plus Ohio and Virginia, or with just Virginia and three or four softer-blue states that have voted Democratic in the last couple of cycles.

      I get the impression that a lot of people are worried about close-ish numbers in Ohio, but Ohio isn’t necessarily the bellwether here. Clinton seems to be doing a bit better in the purple South and Southwest than we’re accustomed, and maybe a bit worse in the upper Midwest. She won some recent head-to-head polls in NC and Georgia, also in Missouri and Arizona. I wouldn’t count on any of those states, but they’re gettable and she might well win some of them.

  • AMK

    Even if that order took the form of the extremist Ted Cruz wrenching the nomination in some kind of chaotic scene, the Republican Party would still have wound up fulfilling the basic threshold duty of a functioning party: ensuring its presidential nomination had remained in the hands of a reasonably well-informed and indisputably sane person — not a giant, not a Lincoln, but at least one of the 10 or 20 million most qualified people in America, or at minimum, a certifiable non-sociopath

    He would be able to get away with this if the last serious non-Trump standing were Bush or Rubio. But not Ted Cruz.

  • Pseudonym

    I’m not basing that on the head-to-head polls, which show Clinton thumping Trump; they generally aren’t very predictive this far out…

    Sam Wang begs to differ.

    General-election matchup polls (e.g. Clinton v. Trump) started to become informative in February. In May, they tell us quite a lot – and give a way to estimate the probability of a Hillary Clinton victory.

    • I prefer the analysis of Prof Hubbard, who outperformed both Wang and 538 in the last couple of elections:


      Also, he is a personal friend and a science fiction geek as well a being a New Wave musician, so you KNOW his bonafides are legit…

      • I am willing he will be alarmed by seeing any kind of traffic from this link. I am a card….

      • BobBobNewhartNewhartSpecial

        The most likely result according to the polls is a Trump win by single digits, say about 7 or 8.

        I would not be surprised if Kasich throws in the towel later this week.

        Hillary’s lead over Sanders is more modest, probably in the 4 to 5 point range. It would certainly count as an upset if either of the front runners lost

        Well, he certainly didn’t do very well with his predictions in Indiana.

        • Arouet

          Got one right at least.

  • keta

    Hucksterism ascendant.

    I think it’s very fitting that the party that most complains about modern culture and its lack of values is the same party that nominates a reality teevee show fraud as its presidential nominee.

    • StringOnAStick

      A reality teevee show fraud who was pushing a National Enquirer story on his opponents’s dad helping kill JFK on a day when the polling shows him crushing his opponent. That’s some serious judgement on display there, like he’s taken the Conan the Barbarian battle cry to heart, or that he’s just a jackass who can’t just win, he has to utterly destroy. Hillary better be ready, and she’s had decades of practice on dealing with this crap so I suspect she is.

    • Karen24

      I suggest we stop calling him a “reality TV” star and call him what he really is: a game show host. And not even a good game show like “Jeopardy!” Where the contestants have to know things; a show where the winner was the best toady for the season.

  • Dilan Esper

    I did post in the other threat that it is theoretically POSSIBLE for Trump to win, but let me be absolutely clear– Trump winning would be a Buster Douglas level upset.

    • Schadenboner

      I think a 2.4% chance (42:1) is a little high.

      • tomscud

        We’re more in Leicester City territory here.

        • Incontinentia Buttocks

          Sam Wang says that polls suggest a 9% likelihood of a Trump victory.

          • NonyNony

            Jeebus. I know how stats work and that that really isn’t a high probability. If my doctor said that I had a 9% chance of having a heart attack in the next 40 years I’d be happy.

            But still – that seems way too high of a probability of Trump getting into power for me to feel at all comfortable.

            • Rob in CT


            • Cheerful

              But what if it were 9% in the next ten months?

              I think I am closer to seeing it as a game of Russian roulette, with one bullet in the chamber. That’s still pretty good odds, but who wants to play?

              • JKTH

                Still better than most years when it’s two or three.

                • djw

                  Right. It’s no fun, but we have to play every four years. I’ll take 1 Trump bullet over 3 Rubio bullets without hesitation.

          • Matt McIrvin

            That’s a 9% likelihood just based on historical performance of national head-to-head polls at this point in the race. He hasn’t started his traditional state-poll-based analysis yet.

            I think his point isn’t so much that the probability of Trump winning is really 9% (though that actually sounds plausible to me as a probability of some unknown catastrophe large enough to flip the race). It’s that you can get more information even out of this obviously flawed channel than you might think. People usually say that these polls indicate absolutely nothing this early; he’s saying they actually say more than nothing.

          • GFW

            Right now, the betting markets are at about 30%. So if you’re inclined to take the effort of registering on a betting market, you ought to be able to make some money betting against that 30%.

  • Bootsie

    Alright class, let’s begin our next topic: the 2016 elections, or How America Almost Elected A Reality TV Star or the Zodiac Killer.

    • already been done. It was called “Idiocracy”

      • BobBobNewhartNewhartSpecial

        Mike Judge has prophetic genius.

      • MAJeff

        But in that movie, the underclass’s breeding habits led them to overwhelm their upper-class superiors, whose lower birthrates effectively moved them out of the picture. Idiocracy is more of a Charles Murray style dystopia, where the Untermenschen took over.

        It’s not working class whites going to Trump and the GOP. It’s angry middle and upper-middle class whites.

        • Rob in CT

          Ah, I see you beat me to the 538 link.

          And yeah, it’s best not to actually buy the underlying idea from Idiocracy. I think the movie works pretty well satirizing our present-day culture, though.

          • Matt McIrvin

            It’s lifted from an old short science-fiction story by Cyril Kornbluth called “The Marching Morons.” Eugenics of some sort was a pretty common trope in SF of the time, even after the Nazis.

        • LeeEsq

          Like all right populist candidates, Trump finds his biggest supporters in the Petite Bourgeois.

        • JKTH

          That really tells me that primary voters in general are more well-off than the average person (not surprisingly), which means that nothing that’s happened in the primaries tells us anything about who the WWC supports.

          • MAJeff

            If there’s a white working class to be lost, they’ve already been lost. Fuck, “Reagan Democrats” were 30 goddamned years ago. They’re either dead or using their walkers to get down the hall to the voting booth at the retirement home.

            Democrats have lost the white vote for a long time. If folks didn’t defect over voting for Obama, they won’t be defecting over Trump. There’s likely no one left to lose….they’ve already been lost.

            • There’s no such thing as the white vote. When groups in this country are beyond a certain size of the electorate, they cease to vote cohesively, and we need to break them down further to arrive at a group whose voting patterns can be meaningfully described.

              Even if you want to talk about the white working class vote, you probably have to add some more categories, like southern vs. non-southern or young vs. old.

              • MAJeff

                But that’s secondary to the larger point: the white supremacist vote has already been lost, and folks defecting over that issue have already done so. There’s a reason it’s still talked about as “Reagan Democrats.” They’ve already left, and are in walkers or the grave as Republicans.

                There’s no reason to expect *greater* white losses after two elections in which the Democrats put forth a Black man. Why would voting for a racist be more attractive than voting against a Black man. There is no reasonable reason to expect some kind of massive white move to the GOP.

                • Oh, the white supremacist vote. Well, yeah.

                  There’s no reason to expect *greater* white losses after two elections in which the Democrats put forth a Black man.

                  I almost made this point elsewhere just now. Yeah, shouldn’t we be talking about an expected recovery for the Democratic nominee among white voters this cycle? It seems like there is broad consensus that Obama’s race cost him a few points in the 2008 and 2012 general elections.

        • JMV Pyro

          If I remember right, don’t poor whites tend to lean Democratic overall?

          • MAJeff

            If they vote at all, yes.

  • Warren Terra

    Vox has some of the Twitter humor about the situation; a couple of my favorites:

    Best, deepest Republican field in recent memory….wiped out one-by-one by the host of Celebrity Apprentice.

    Shouldn’t #TedCruz have been forced to carry his unviable campaign to term?

    And this visual joke.

    • “Shouldn’t #TedCruz have been forced to carry his unviable campaign to term?”

      And then been punished for terminating it. Although, frankly, I can’t think of a worse punishment than being forced to be Ted Cruz for the rest of his life….

      • lahtiji

        Being married to Ted Cruz seems worse.

      • Hogan

        Ted Cruz is Ted Cruz crazy
        Just be glad it’s him not you
        If you had Ted Cruz’s troubles
        You might be Ted Cruz crazy too

        • Tony Pius

          …aaaand there’s the Coulton earworm. Well done.

  • FFS, if he is as wealthy as he claims, how the fuck does he not afford a hairdresser of any kind of competence?

    Let alone a colorist?

    Let alone an interior designer?

    What a crass asshole…

    • Karen24

      One of the commenters here earlier said that Trump was what a truck driver thinks a rich guy ought to be. He’s not a cultivated aristocrat; he’s a lottery winner who blows the cash on big screen TV’s and gold leaf.

      • LeeEsq

        That would be my brother Newish. Since Trump was in the high end real estate and spectacle industry cultivating the flashy rich person image was actually an intelligent career move. It served him just as well as Jobs pseudo-Bohemian public image and Gates nerd public image.

        • Thirtyish

          Brother? I thought you two were cousins. I apparently thought wrong.

      • Dr. Ronnie James, DO
        • Thirtyish

          Great find.

    • so-in-so

      Hiring and listening to such people would mean his taste wasn’t top-drawer. He has to have the best taste, anyone who doesn’t like his hair or his decorating is a loser.

      • He got the Emperor’s new hairstyle.

      • LeeEsq

        Trump projected an image of flashiness for most of his career. It worked well for him for the most part.

        • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

          Trump’s image for decades has been “1980’s rich Manhattan douche” and he’s never updated it. “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” trapped in amber.

          • muddy

            Golden golden amber…

            Possibly also the name of his hair dye.

    • Murc

      Forget all that. Shouldn’t he be able to afford a better-tailored suit with a properly proportioned tie?

      I mean, for fucks sake. If I had Trump money, all my clothing would be made bespoke, including my t-shirts and hoodies. My suits would look amazing.

    • Crusty

      In all honesty, I think the hairstyle is part of his never apologizing, never admitting a mistake, etc. It didn’t always look that ridiculous, but it hasn’t aged well at all, but he is not a guy who says you’re right, I need a new look, and changes it. Because a) he never says someone else is right, b) his look is already perfect, and c) he is forever living in 1986.

  • charluckles

    Is Trump that well known? It seems to me people know him as a business man and TV star, but the man has a graveyard in his closet. Opposition researchers are going to have a field day.

    • addicted44

      The Republicans were to afraid to go negative on him because they didn’t want to alienate his supporters. Hillary will have no such compunction.

    • Rob in CT

      This should be true for the general. I hope. In the primary… he told a wide variety of absolutely obvious lies and the GOP primary electorate gleefully ate it up (Chait points this out).

    • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

      Still amazed I haven’t seen a decent Trump attack ad yet. I think the best approach would be to put a human face on his victims to puncture his whole “looking out for the working class” image. Show all the Americans he wouldn’t hire at his hotels because he was flying in Romanians he could pay less, or all the people who shelled out thousands as “students” for the Trump University scam.

      • JG

        Hillary put out two really good ones today

  • Karen24

    I’m really surprised no one has done “Ted Cruz . . . you’re fired!”

    • CP

      Well, he was never hired in the first place. It was a job interview :D

  • Rob in CT

    Interesting 538 article on the (self-reported) income levels and educational attainment of Trump supporters (and Cruz, Kasich, Bernie and Hillary too).


    Many of the differences reflect that Republican voters are wealthier overall than Democratic ones, and also that wealthier Americans are more likely to turn out to vote, especially in the primaries. However, while Republican turnout has considerably increased overall from four years ago, there’s no sign of a particularly heavy turnout among “working-class” or lower-income Republicans. On average in states where exit polls were conducted both this year and in the Republican campaign four years ago, 29 percent of GOP voters have had household incomes below $50,000 this year, compared with 31 percent in 2012.

    Trump voters are less likely to have college degrees than Cruz or Kasich voters, but are still above the US non-Hispanic white average.

    In short: 1) as usual, poor people don’t vote (at the rates wealthier people do), especially in primaries; and 2) there is no discernible spike in support for Trump attributable to the WWC.

    The case for Trump winning the general tends to require either massive defections from the Dem coalition *or* a right-wing version of Bernie’s revolution: a bunch of disaffected voters turn up and vote Trump. There is no evidence, so far anyway, that this is going to happen.

    • so-in-so

      So the upper middle class GOPers vote Trump and then blame the working class…

      • CP

        Well, that makes good sense. It’s already how Polite Society relates to its white supremacist past.

        (If you’re from anywhere but the South, you can offload it onto the South, but if you’re Southern and middle or upper class, you offload it onto the “white trash.”)

    • Matt McIrvin

      I think a Trump win would have to be a confluence of several things: major recession hits in 2016, then Bernie Sanders goes off the rails at the Democratic convention and starts urging his supporters to reenact 1968, storm the convention center and vote for Jill Stein, then ISIS-affiliated terrorists start massacring people by the hundreds somewhere in the US. That might do it.

  • I expect the voter suppression initiative to kick into overdrive, so we’ll have to see how Hillary’s lead holds up when Democratic voters are purged from the rolls, turned away due to lack of valid voter id, polling places are shut down in Democratic districts, and all the other tricks Republicans have up their sleeves.

    • CP

      I expect the voter suppression initiative to kick into overdrive

      Yeah. I hope there’s enough immigrant turnout to overcome it, but immigrants are also the people most likely to be effectively targeted by voter suppression.

    • Speaking for the organizations I work with in VA, I see a lot of voter drives, know your rights, and how to vote seminars in the future. Plus field trips to the courthouse for early voting.

  • thispaceforsale

    It’s important for the democratic party to take trump seriously. His message is simple, I can make things better for you. Everything he has ever done, said, stood for, been a part of or represented directly contradicts this message. There is no evidence he will make anything better for anyone other than himself. Every character trait anyone has ever held as a reason for hating Hillary he has embraced. Every stereotype of a rhino, he has embodied.
    And yet he defeated the republican party. He could have run as a democrat this year, and that message of I can make things better for you would have resonated in the primary.
    It will resonate in the general election. America is perilously close to falling into a dark, dark place. And whether or not he wins, there will still be, the day after the election, millions of Americans who want that darkness.

    • Murc

      His message is simple, I can make things better for you.

      No. It isn’t.

      His message is “things aren’t good for white people because brown people and foreigners are taking your stuff, and I’ll put the boot on their necks.”

      He could have run as a democrat this year, and that message of I can make things better for you would have resonated in the primary.

      No, it wouldn’t have, because that’s not his message, and his actual message would not have resonated at all.

      • slothrop

        The Clintons have used politics to enrich themselves. They are the perfect marks for Trump. People are sick of careerist politicians. You don’t really get it – Trump doesn’t need any other message except that HRC is a cesspool of political corruption. People won’t vote for Trump; people will vote against Clintonism.

        • Rob in CT

          People will vote against Trump and Clinton. Voting against something/someone is a powerful motivator – likely more powerful than voting for someone.

          Clinton wins that election.

          Thankfully, not enough people hate Hillary Clinton as much as you do to swing it to Trump. That would take some dramatic event(s): terror attack, stock market crash, etc.

          • slothrop

            To give one example, among multitudes of examples, Trump simply has to remind and remind and remind voters that Hillary’s victory fund is nothing more than a money-laundering scheme.

            • kped

              How’d that work out for Bernie? He’s been trying to spin it that way too, not getting much traction outside of the internet Bernie-or-Busters.

              I mean, the lengths he would have to go to even explain the Victory Fund would just bore people to tears, and you think it’s a winning message?


              • slothrop

                Well, he just won Indiana.He’s not dead yet.

                • Rob in CT

                  Yes, he is. He’ll keep campaigning, but he’d need to run the table at something like 66%/34% from here on out, and he’s behind in the polls.

                  I mean, sure, he’s not mathematically eliminated. He doesn’t need to drop out. But his chances of winning are tiny and boil down to “HRC hit by truck.”

                • kped

                  Yeah, but he still fell short of his needed target and has needs a greater % of future primaries to make up ground. He lost ground winning.

                  And he needed 2 Million, to Hillaries…$0 spent to win those 5 extra delegates.

                  Face it, he’s drawing dead.

                  Right now demographics predict the election better than polls. Demographics had this a plus 7 state for Bernie, and he did about that. Some western states will be better for him Demographically. But California? Nope. DC? Nope. New Jersey? Nope.

                  And Hillary will barely spend a dime.

                • djw

                  Yeah, to state the obvious, as a practical matter he’s further from the nomination now than he was on Monday. His break-even point was something like a 30-35 point win in Indiana. A five point win makes his already near-impossible odds even longer.

                • MyNameIsZweig

                  He’s definitely dead.

                  And I say that as a Bernie supporter.

              • djw

                How’d that work out for Bernie? He’s been trying to spin it that way too, not getting much traction outside of the internet Bernie-or-Busters.

                I’m sure it’ll stick much better coming from Trump than Sanders. After all, the voting public clearly trusts Trump more than they do Sanders, right?

                Shorter slothrop: “All Trump has to do is say things I already believe and suddenly, magically, everyone else will believe them too.”

                • Everyone already believes those things about Hillary Clinton. Scott is right – her public image should have been a major opportunity for the Republicans, but they nominated Donald Trump.

            • Rob in CT

              Oh, he’ll certainly try to paint her as corrupt. That’s obvious.

              Some of it will stick, just like many of the RW smears stuck over the years.

              It won’t be enough, though, without a big splashy event.

              HRC is not as good a candidate as Obama (I feel like he’d win the 2016 election 60-40), and so it’s best not to get too cocky. The last thing we need is complacent Clinton. We need brawler Clinton.

              But I’m just a blog commentor, and I don’t see what you see.

              edit: also what kped said about the complicated nature of campaign finance/pacs. Trump will roll out “corrupt!” but I doubt it’ll involve the CVF. He’s much more likely to go with a simple lie rather than a complicated half-truth.

              • kped

                I’ve been reading up on this “scandal”, and it’s so convoluted. The candidate and the state and the DNC have joint fundraisers, the money goes to each group, then the DNC pays the campaign for the fundraising efforts. And that’s bad…why?

                When the individual states get to use Clinton’s volunteers and data based on these agreements, saving them time and money, that will be bad…how?

                Seriously, this is just turning into a bad Oliver Stone movie with the conspiracy theory crap on the Bernie side (that sadly, the candidate is stoking).

                • Rob in CT


                  There’s the vox explainer on this.

                  Basically: not against the letter of the law, but like so many things with campaign finance it looks to be against the spirit of the law. Or, put another way: the crime is what’s legal.

                  It strikes me as yet another edition of the argument over whether it’s wrong to work the game as it exists even if you think it’s wrong (“that’s unethical! You’re corrupt, you don’t really want reform! This proves it! Versus “No, this sorry state of affairs wasn’t created by me – in fact I fought against it. But this is how it is now. You want me to unilaterally disarm?”).

              • JG

                Obama would make him squeal like a piggie. Oh well.

            • Scott Lemieux

              Trump simply has to remind and remind and remind voters that Hillary’s victory fund is nothing more than a money-laundering scheme.

              I’d set the over/under on the number of votes this could move in a national election at about two dozen.

              slothrop’s HOT TAKES about American politics almost make me miss his HOT TAKES about American popular music.

        • tsam

          bengawzi email inditement!

    • slothrop

      This! And really… Jonathan Chait? He’s like reading chicken entrails.

      HRC is the consummate insider – the Clintons are symbols of corrupted political duopoly. She’s a terrible campaigner, constantly lies, totally unprincipled. Don’t kid yourself. Trump can certainly win.

      • Murc

        She’s a terrible campaigner, constantly lies, totally unprincipled.

        This statement is at best 33% true. At best.

        Speaking as someone who is pretty sure Clinton is gonna get us into a shitty war of choice somewhere within two years of being elected, you are being grotesquely unfair to her to the point that I have to consider that you are either lying or unhinged.

        • slothrop

          She campaigns in Connecticut, and she talks about gun control. She campaigns in Pennsylvania, and suddenly she’s all about the virtues of gun ownership.

          Hardly a day goes by when she is either lying or trapped in another unprincipled contradiction of belief. Just one example among very many.

          • UserGoogol

            She doesn’t call for banning all guns in Connecticut and she doesn’t ban for removing all restrictions on guns in Pennsylvania. She emphasizes different aspects of a multifaceted position as suits her purposes. Which is less than a perfect attitude towards the truth, but it’s not lying. Any good liberal is going to have a “on the one hand, but on the other hand” attitude towards a wide variety of issues. Life is complicated and liberals embrace that complexity. Hillary Clinton’s multifacetedness does in many cases spill over into having bad opinions about policy (I voted for Sanders!) but we shouldn’t treat it as an inherently bad thing.

            • Scott Lemieux

              Nobody who shapes their political message to the constituency they’re addressing could ever be elected president. This is clear. Also, absolutely nobody listens to the music of an artist who currently has 5 albums in the Billboard Top 10 and 19 in the top 200.

              Projection is one hell of a drug.

              • slothrop

                You are the most well-written Knucklehead on the Internet. She lies her ass off in pursuit of any constituency she can find. As far as this guy goes, well. And he would destroy Trump.

                • Hilary appears to be more honest and much less of a knucklehead than you so at least she has that going for her.

                • Pseudonym

                  You are the most well-written Knucklehead on the Internet.

                  Politifact rating: Pants on Fire. The internet is full of other knuckleheads who are far better known… for now.

                • Scott Lemieux

                  Yes, those Factchuck trivialities are totally going to give the scrupulously honest Donald Trump a clear path to the White House.

          • tsam

            Hardly a day goes by when she is either lying or trapped in another unprincipled contradiction of belief. Just one example among very many.

            That’s very unusual for a politician campaigning at the national level.

    • djw

      Analysis of Trump’s appeal that don’t even mention race aren’t, as a general rule, going to have much analytic value, as this comment demonstrates.

      • slothrop

        For Trump, 12% of the African-American vote is good enough.

        • Hogan

          And if anyone can deliver that 12%, it’s Dennis Rodman.

          • slothrop
            • Hogan

              Largely evangelical Christians in worldview and practice while relatively liberal on racial justice and economic policy domestically, black voters have often made the difference at the polls, including on referenda like California’s 2008 same-sex marriage ban, in which they were the decisive demographic in blocking gay marriage, while fully backing Obama.

              Meh indeed.

              • Matt McIrvin

                That claim about Prop. 8 was based on the crosstabs in one CNN poll. If I recall correctly, the numbers didn’t hold up on further analysis.

              • djw

                African-American theological conservatism has been around forever, but has never translated into political conservatism. But I’m sure Donald Trump is the man who’ll finally figure out how to do it.

                • Warren Terra

                  The idea of Trump having an innate ability to sway theological conservatives is about at silly as imagining he’s got great credibility with Black Americans. This is the intersection of those ideas!

                • tsam

                  But I’m sure Donald Trump is the man who’ll finally figure out how to do it.

                  Offering up being in the “one of the good ones” club? Wait, they’ve been doing that for years.

            • brad

              Y’know what might help that article resemble reality?
              Mention of birtherism.
              Go back to caring about Pitchfork reviews, you’re just out of your depths.

              eta: I think Obama campaigning for Clinton might matter more to black folk than the random chessboard move claims of dead end Berniebros playing thought games with their votes.

              • slothrop

                I don’t know what your problem is with the article. Apologies. I also need to spend more time with you at TGIF Fridays to improve my music tastes.

                • brad

                  I don’t spend much time in midtown, sorry.

                  And the problem with the article is it ignores that Donald Trump, whose father was in the KKK, spent a year and change being the public face of birtherism, which is either outright racist as a belief or merely borne aloft on a chorus of racist dogwhistles. He’s endorsed by white supremacists and retweets their propaganda. President Obama sees him as a personal foe and will be incredibly active as a campaigner against this man.
                  And you think an article that ignores all this to say “if you squint, maybe Trump will do better than any Repub has in decades” has any valid point to make or be taken from it?
                  You’re just not good at this, sorry.

        • Context:

          Quinnipiac University, Feb. 10-15: This poll showed Trump’s level of support at 12 percent — the highest level of any poll taken in February. However, it was in line with what other Republican candidates received in that poll: Ohio Gov. John Kasich, 18 percent; Sen. Ted Cruz, 16 percent; and Sen. Marco Rubio, 11 percent. The margin of error is plus or minus 10.39 percentage points.

          • Rob in CT

            In 2004, the AA vote went 88-11 Kerry-Bush (at least that’s what I found in a couple of minutes via google).

            After two terms of watching the GOP respond to Barack Obama, culminating in nominating Donald Trump for Pres, well… maybe I’m overoptimistic but I can’t figure how HRC does worse than 90%.

            • kped

              With Obama on the campaign trail rallying black voters, mocking Trump for his birtherism, i really can’t fathom how Trump gets 12%. Like you said, Bush couldn’t get that in 2004, as a popular wartime president, before Katrina. And Trump will?

              • Rob in CT

                Before Katrina, and also before the RW reaction to President Kenyan Usurper (and Trump was a big Birther!). Trump’s running a white nationalist campaign.

                I wouldn’t be surprised if Hillary wins AA’s by the same margins Obama did (95-5, roughly). Turnout is a question – which wins out? GOP voter suppression tactics or AA anger at the GOP?

                • jim, some guy in iowa

                  with any luck some of the money the Clinton campaign isn’t spending on television ads is going to pay for staff on the ground helping people jump through the hoops (rings?) set up by the republiratfkers

                • Don’t discount mass anti-Trump organizing efforts in Latino constituencies — Romney’s 27% in 2012 is toast.


                  This year Latino groups project at least 13.1 million Hispanics will vote compared to almost 10 million in 2008, making up roughly 10 percent of the electorate. But that figure could be boosted by a desire to vote against Trump, who after last week’s five-state primary sweep and his expected Indiana win Tuesday is considered the likely Republican nominee.

                  Nearly 90 percent of 2,200 registered Latino voters across the country have an unfavorable opinion of the billionaire, according to a poll in April by Latino Decisions, a firm that has worked for Hillary Clinton, on behalf of the immigrant advocacy group America’s Voice.

                  Almost half said they are more inspired to vote this year than in 2012, when Latinos were key in winning President Barack Obama his re-election. More than 40 percent said their primary motivation is to vote against Trump and to fight against anti-immigrant and anti-Latino sentiment.

                  Many Republicans, on the other hand, find Trump’s tone on immigration refreshing, a recognition that the federal government isn’t doing enough to fix what everyone agrees is a broken system. They see him as a truth-teller who isn’t afraid to say things polite society may deem racist or sexist or to fight against the establishment.

          • djw

            Awesome. And of course slothrop doesn’t even bother to try to cherry-pick some random poll about the Latino vote, for obvious reasons.

            • slothrop

              I did not say anything about Hispanic vote.

              • kped

                djw knows that, and they said “for obvious reasons”…for obvious reasons…

                Try to keep up slothrop.

              • djw

                Indeed! Pretending it doesn’t exist is necessary for your argument.

        • NonyNony

          The GOP candidate hasn’t hit 12% of African-American voters since Bob Dole in 1996. And the GOP has done nothing since 1996 to bring African American voters to their side.

          Meanwhile Obama will be out campaigning against Trump constantly. Likely he’ll make a hobby out of it. He’d probably do it whether the Dem nominee wants him to or not at this point given his history with Trump.

          I suspect that Trump will be lucky to hit Romney’s 6% mark.

          Meanwhile Romney managed to get 27% of the Hispanic/Latino vote. And I suspect that Trump is going to find it difficult to hit that mark as well.

          • jim, some guy in iowa

            it interests me to see how thoroughly even we here buy into the notion that white people (esp guys) are going to keep getting what we want indefinitely

            • JMV Pyro

              That’s what has really baffled me about this election season more then anything else. Trump is being endorsed by actual Klansmen but there are people on the left saying that he can court black voters because of economics and corruption. This is with Obama campaigning against him, mind you.

              It’s a phenomenally skewed and privileged way of examining the world.

          • djw

            Clinton derangement syndrome is a hell of a drug.

        • And the Mexicans, the Mexicans love Trump, and don’t forget the broads, chicks dig his manly hands.

    • Yep. Once he’s on the ballot, anything is possible.

    • Mike G

      Trump’s message is less “I’ll make your life better,” and more “I’ll make life worse for people you hate, and let you watch.”

  • kped

    God, for someone who grew up wealthy and has been wealthy his entire life, Donald Trump acts like he learnt about being wealthy from fucking Richie Rich comics. So tacky and gaudy.

  • Joe_JP

    Sen. Ayotte’s candidate.

    Orin Kerr was on Twitter discussing how he’s a Never Trump etc. That’s nice. He showed sanity various times at Volokh Conspiracy. But, his party earned Trump. My sympathies for him are fairly low.

    • sharculese

      Orin Kerr seems decently sane for a libertarian, but you have to question the judgment of anyone who voluntarily associates with the Volokhs.

  • Joseph Slater

    From today’s WaPo: “And a new CNN poll out this morning underscores how deeply flawed a nominee he is likely to prove. The poll shows Hillary Clinton leading Trump nationally by 54-41.

    But more important, the new CNN poll finds Trump is viewed unfavorably by 64 percent of women; 73 percent of nonwhites; 70 percent of voters under 35; 67 percent of college graduates; and 57 percent of moderates. Those are mostly constituencies the GOP had hoped to improve among. And while it’s often rightly pointed out that Clinton is disliked, she fares substantially better than he does among most of those particular groups, who will be pivotal to Clinton’s hopes of reconstituting the Obama coalition this fall.

    And on top of all this, the CNN poll shows that Trump is also viewed unfavorably by 37 percent of conservatives, suggesting the possibility that some might potentially support a third party challenger, or if no such challenge materializes, at least stay home.”

    • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

      “If we can all the straight white men in America to pull in the same direction really really hard…” Romney was supposed to be that guy, now for the exact same reasons, it’s Trump, who’s like Romney after he got whatever happened to the Toxic Avenger. And it’s an even stupider idea in 2016 than it was in 2012.

  • rm

    On NPR’s “On Point” earlier today, they had a bunch of Republican politicians to comment on Trump. Some Trump-supporting congressman suggested that Ted Cruz could be a Supreme Court Justice. The host made an involuntary sound, like she had just thrown up in her mouth.

    • Sev

      Nominating him would be a nice gesture on Trump’s part, in keeping with his new magnanimity. But how many Senate votes could he get?

      • rm

        I’m still stuck on the gag reflex.

      • Pseudonym

        Votes to get Cruz out of the Senate? All of them.

  • muddy

    Thanks for the image! I roared with laughter when I saw it. Everytime I start getting over it I look again and keep on laughing. OMG!

    That’s WAY more douchey than Ted Cruz’s paisley robe!

  • drpuck

    Project: google-driven ‘forensic’ ethnography

    Data tags:

    (search #1) trump MRA alt-right alpha

    (search #2) trump SJW cathedral

    (search #3) “Donald Trump” traditionalism evola

    bonus, old favorite bracket

    (search #4) masonic “Donald Trump” illuminati


    warning: these searches may freak you out and storm your dreams

    • Dr. Ronnie James, DO

      Guessing there’s a lot of Geocities-level web design going on in those pages.

      • drpuck

        In fact, whatever the association is with “anybody can do it, anybody can believe it” geocities (of yore,) all manner of crazed ideologies (etc.,) have made the transition into our era of social media, and, networked proselytizing.

        Because Dilbert creator Scott Adams believes Trump will win in a landslide, the commentariat on blog.dilbert.com collects together all the tribes. However, Adams had to institute two rules: no outright nazism or klanism.

        The alt-right is more than warmed-over white supremacy. It’s that, but way way weirder. (Vox)

        • Porkman

          The thing that scares me about Scott Adams is that he’s been right so far.

          He does have a coherent explanation of Trump’s methods and how they work.

          What if he is right that Trump is very, very good at being persuasive on a subconscious level and he’ll win in November because of it?

          I’m worried that we on the left are using epicycles to model the political solar system while Trump has figured out the heliocentric universe.

          • drpuck

            There are two fundamental problems with Adam’s theory, a theory borrowed and transformed into a monolithic ‘folkish’ explanatory tool.

            One: what works in the positive persuasive sense also works in the negative persuasive sense. Adams has been taken to task for this by some of his educated commenters, but he just ignores this because ignoring stuff is persuasive!

            Two: There is no factor analysis that supports his assertion that all elections are always decided by ‘3d’ persuasion. Actually, Adams traffics in both a tautological theory–“it is so because it is so”–and a non-falsifiable theory (because it is said to be ‘always so.’)

            Nevertheless, his blunt and callow reduction of social psychology has attracted to his blog’s commentariat all the tribes of white male resentment/insecurity/aggressiveness. It is there that the guys in the Trump frat line up behind the idea that their joined tribes will elect ‘alpha’ Trump to be the emperor of vulgarians–in a landslide.

    • wjts

      “Evola” was a new one for me, but after googling, I’m convinced. Who wouldn’t listen to a fellow who looks like a mash-up of the real-life H.P. Lovecraft and his fictional Innsmouth denizens?

  • Rob in CT

    Your daily dose of liberal pessimism:


    I wish I could disagree, even a little.

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