Chris and I confer on the Best Carne Seca in Tucson, then we discuss the popular talking point that Trump is “just a jerk”, the coalition that he compiled in order to win the Republican nomination, the myth of the spoiler, the electoral opportunities and difficulties for the Libertarian Party, and the dangers of perfectionism in economics and national security.
Currently a major talking point of the pro-Trump Right is that everyone is ignoring Hillary’s egregious faults because Trump “says mean things”. Or you will hear, “He isn’t a totalitarian… He is simply a jerk.”
While it’s certainly an effective media message (as is seen by its rapid proliferation through the social media posts and political cartoons of Trump sympathizers) is it reality?
To say Trump is “simply a jerk” seems to illustrate a deep confusion or ignorance about who Trump is: Continue reading
We should not forget that elections are both tactical and strategic. In other words, you are always balancing the best you can get this cycle with correct long-term directional momentum.
Unfortunately for the GOP, Trump is bad on both counts… He probably loses this cycle (bad tactics), and he will likely put a stake through the heart of any remnant of the idea that Republicans represent a principled classical liberal belief system (bad strategy). The American Right will thus be left with a Hillary presidency, represented by a major national party which no longer holds any credibility as the standard bearer for limited, rights-based governance.
Donald Trump is running an Anglo-centric nationalist campaign, in which his policy touchstones are reactionary militarism, economic isolationism, and racial/religious division. These are the shoulders on which we are hanging the conservative mantle? Continue reading
For my conservative friends who have not yet sold their political souls to El Trumpo, please read this article by David Brooks (Trump’s Enablers Will Finally Have To Take A Stand):
Over the past few days, Trump has destroyed this middle ground. He’s exposed the wet noodle Republicans as suckers, or worse. Trump has shown that he is not a normal candidate. He is a political rampage charging ever more wildly out of control. And no, he cannot be changed.
Then maybe check out http://www.johnsonweld.com for an optimistic, rational alternative.
Me: I just can’t bring myself to vote for Trump… He’s really pretty crazy.
TrumpFriend: What? You don’t BELIEVE all that crazy campaign rhetoric do you?
Me: Well, he’s pretty consistent.
TrumpFriend: Oh Taylor, so naive. You just don’t UNDERSTAND how this works… Remember we’re dealing with a MASTER negotiator here. He wrote the “Art of the Deal”…
Me: Didn’t his ghost writer AND publisher say he didn’t actually write the book?
TrumpFriend: [Ignoring that] When he says he wants to forcibly deport 11 million people that’s just an “opening bid”… You know, like offering half in order to end up at 80%-90% of the sticker price.
Me: That seems like a strange perspective on rounding people up…
TrumpFriend: Or his threats over NAFTA and the TPP… He’s just gonna go in there and get us a BETTER deal, not actually walk away.
Me: Okay, so he’s not as crazy as he seems? Well, I guess his SCOTUS appointment list is just another “opening bid” right? Playing to the conservative crowd during the campaign? That’s too bad…
TrumpFriend: Oh no, SCOTUS appointments are THE reason to vote for Trump, and he is totally committed to doing EXACTLY what he’s said.