This is the Open Thread for Thursday.
Today’s snippet (that’s what I call these things) is from the Roman Catholic Mass. Apologies to anyone thereby offended, but it seems appropriate today: Priest: “Let us give thanks to the Lord, our God.” All: “It is right to give Him thanks and praise.”
This is a good place for new polls or articles you think might be of interest.
The Boston Globe has a piece this afternoon highlighting an interview with Jennifer Horn, the current Republican Party Chairwoman in the state of New Hampshire. The Granite State is currently where Donald Trump’s numbers look to be the strongest of any state, which is why Horn’s remarks are making headlines this afternoon: she predicted Trump will not win New Hampshire.
“Shallow campaigns that depend on bombast and divisive rhetoric do not succeed in New Hampshire, and I don’t expect that they will now,” state GOP chair Jennifer Horn said Wednesday in a phone interview, when asked about Trump’s candidacy.
“In New Hampshire, historically, the truth is, people really don’t make their final decisions until very, very close until Election Day,” Horn said, noting that US Senator Marco Rubio has been climbing in state polls. “People are probably underestimating Chris Christie. And, certainly, Bush is working very, very hard in New Hampshire,” she added.
The heavy retail-style campaigning that some candidates have been emphasizing – over, say, Trump’s massive rallies – tend to pay dividends in her state, Horn said.
“Big rallies are a lot of fun, but in New Hampshire voters are looking to have that real conversation with a candidate,” she said.
For a party official – especially the state chair – to weigh in on a primary race in this way is rather unusual. Of course, this prediction is a conflation of Horn’s professional opinion (which is legitimate – she assumedly knows the GOP electorate in NH better than anyone) as well as her implied desire as a GOP official to see Trump lose. The perception of Trump “winning” is a self-perpetuating cycle for him; for him to lose, that cycle must be broken.
While Chairwoman Horn (barely) remained professionally neutral in her interview, however, the Globe has another story out this afternoon reporting the former New Hampshire GOP Chair, Fergus Cullen, is one of the people now actively and publicly working against Donald Trump in the Granite State. What is becoming increasingly clear is Republicans at every level are waking up to the fact that a)Trump is more resilient than they ever believed and b)he is more dangerous than they ever believed — and they are beginning to pull out all the stops to ensure he doesn’t win.
Something that is becoming clear is that the opposition to a Donald Trump nomination is growing too strong for him to ultimately overcome. It’s painfully true that he has been attacked and scorned for months, and made outrageous statement after outrageous statement, and after each he stayed on top. Sometimes he would drop for awhile, such as after the second debate, but would come back again, sometimes higher than ever.
So why should it be any different in the future? Ever hear the expression; the death of a thousand cuts? How about the straw that broke the camel’s back? Only before the cuts were paper cuts, and in the future it will be stiletto cuts; and instead of added straws, in the future it will be added bricks. One of the things that brought down Trump in Iowa, e.g., was a million dollars in ads by The Club For Growth. The Club is raising money for a new barrage, and they won’t be engaging in a solo effort, From an article by Caitlin Huey-Burns in Real Clear Politics:
“The Wall Street Journal reported last week that Republican strategist Liz Mair is launching Trump Card LLC, a group leading a “guerilla campaign” against the businessman that doesn’t have to disclose donors under Federal Election Commission rules. The group plans to sponsor unconventional television and radio ad buys, along with Web ads and opposition research. The group is soliciting donations from all sources, including other campaigns interested in seeing Trump fall.
And New Day for America, a super PAC supporting John Kasich, is preparing to spend at least $2.5 million in anti-Trump messaging. The group launched an ad in New Hampshire painting Trump and Ben Carson as unfit for the role of commander-in-chief.”
One suspects that this is the tip of the iceberg. Financial backers of other candidates, such as Jeb Bush and Chris Christie, are donating to the Kasich effort to bring down Trump. They aren’t changing allegiance, but they really want to see Trump go away. It is known that other efforts are in the planning stages. The RNC is and will remain strictly neutral, but the long knives are being unsheathed.
Long friendly to Donald, and they’ve even appeared together, Ted Cruz has even started to go on the offensive against Trump, telling him to “tone it down,” and saying he, personally, is not a fan of the idea of registering all Muslims. He has to be circumspect because he wants to see Trump brought low but doesn’t want to offend Trumpkins in the process. He wants to inherit Donald’s minions. In the very recent Quinnipiac Poll of Iowa, Trump led with 25%, but Cruz had moved all the way up to 23%, very much within the Poll’s statistical margin of error. Carson dropped to 18%, not surviving the recent round of media attacks on him intact.
Given the ongoing vectors of support-shifting in Iowa, the new rounds of attacks might well be overkill in and of themselves. What happens when Trump loses Iowa? For one thing, the aura of inevitability will be shattered, particularly if Donald loses by a lot. And he might. For another, it will make it less likely Trump will do well in New Hampshire. The other candidates are getting less timid in their verbal sparring with him. Super PACs other than Kasich’s are waiting for the right moment to pile on. If and when Trump loses in Iowa, it will be the right time.
The days when the “outsiders,” roughly defined as Trump and Carson, had a cumulative 60% or more in polling are already long gone. Right now their combined total, nationally, is in the mid 40s. If Trump and Carson fare as poorly in Iowa as it appears they will, it will drive that total down into the 30s or even lower.
Iowa and New Hampshire will also winnow the field. Most of the putative candidates in the race will be gone, meaning fewer “establishment” candidates to divide an increasingly larger portion of the pie. It might come down to just Marco Rubio, who has quietly been rising in the polls. His movement has been overshadowed by Trump and Carson, but Ben is moving lower, and might well not recover. At most it will come down to Rubio and one other; most probably Jeb Bush.
What will Trump do when he loses? One suspects that Carson will go silently into that good night, but Donald not so much. A better question is: What will the Trumpkins do? One shudders to think.
This is the Open Thread for Wednesday.
‘E’s not pinin’! ‘E’s passed on! This parrot is no more! He has ceased to be! ‘E’s expired and gone to meet ‘is maker! ‘E’s a stiff! Bereft of life, ‘e rests in peace! If you hadn’t nailed ‘im to the perch ‘e’d be pushing up the daisies! ‘Is metabolic processes are now ‘istory! ‘E’s off the twig! ‘E’s kicked the bucket, ‘e’s shuffled off ‘is mortal coil, run down the curtain and joined the bleedin’ choir invisible!! THIS IS AN EX-PARROT!!
This is a good place for new polls or articles you think might be of interest.
The narrative continues to emerge… Kasich should be given a standing ovation for using the entirety of his campaign funds to wake people up to the danger of Donald Trump. This is easily his best ad yet:
After CNN noted that Donald Trump sure is displaying a lot of fascist tendencies lately, the Washington Post editorial board is out with an editorial slamming Trump as a “dangerous” and “disturbing” candidate advocating “brutality”. We’re seeing the beginning of a pattern here, folks:
THE GROWING ugliness of Donald Trump’s campaign poses a challenge to us all. We have seen the likes of him before, in the United States and elsewhere: narcissistic bullies who rise to prominence by spreading lies, appealing to fears and stoking hatred. Such people are dangerous.
These are not random errors. All of them appeal to the basest instincts in supporters; they reinforce fears and prejudices. All of them, Mr. Trump knows by now even if he did not know when he first stated them, are false, but he does not care. The amplification of the lies is accompanied by growing intolerance in his campaign, with Mr. Trump praising supporters for beating a protestor, crudely denigrating anyone who challenges him and penning reporters into designated zones so that they cannot speak with his followers. And all of this matches the brutality of his policies: mass deportation of longtime U.S. residents, torture of foreign detainees, expulsion even of refugees who are here legally.
The more reticent such leaders are, the more successfully Mr. Trump can brand their party and, to a disturbing extent, the nation with his demagoguery. The only way to beat a bully is to stand up to him.
As they say on the internets, read the whole thing. There is a growing narrative out there that fun time is over. We’ve all had our laughs about how ridiculous Trump is, and now we’re waking up to the realization that he truly is dangerous. It’s not rhetoric. It’s time to dump Trump once and for all.
Since those days, Donald Trump has more than proven us correct in our assessment: he has placed his fascist tendencies on full display in the way he has dealt with the media, with his Muslim database registration idea, with his endorsement of his supporters physically assaulting a protester, and other insane remarks and attitudes. It’s become so obvious that the mainstream media is finally picking up on the theme, with CNN today wondering: why are so many people now calling Donald Trump a fascist?
Let’s start with the examples CNN gives of some major players who are finally utilizing the “f-word”:
“Trump is a fascist. And that’s not a term I use loosely or often. But he’s earned it,” tweeted Max Boot, a conservative fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations who is advising Marco Rubio.
“Forced federal registration of US citizens, based on religious identity, is fascism. Period. Nothing else to call it,” Jeb Bush national security adviser John Noonan wrote on Twitter.
Conservative Iowa radio host Steve Deace, who has endorsed Ted Cruz, also used the “F” word last week: “If Obama proposed the same religion registry as Trump every conservative in the country would call it what it is — creeping fascism.”
Even one GOP presidential hopeful — albeit a little-known candidate barely registering in the polls — has used this language. In an interview with Newsmax TV on Friday, former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore said Trump’s immigration policies, including the idea of creating a “deportation force” to remove undocumented immigrants from the country, amounted to “fascist talk.”
Those are all political folks, of course, who are invested in seeing Trump be taken down. But CNN went further and asked some scholars and historians about Donald Trump and this burgeoning perception:
Scholars of fascists like Benito Mussolini in Italy and Adolf Hitler in Germany… say, however, that Trump does display some of the key characteristics of a fascist. His comments about a national registry for Muslim-Americans, together with his propensity to stir up anti-immigrant and xenophobic sentiments among his supporters, amount to a perception of hostility toward ethnic and religious minority groups.
“The most recent comment he said about creating a national registry of all Muslims — that’s very dangerous,” said Steve Ross, a professor of history and scholar of fascism at the University of Southern California… “You’re talking about an American government that would move towards the persecution of citizens and people living within its own country,” he said. “That is why people are saying, ‘Gee, if you follow this through, it’s fascism.’ ”
Historians say they see other characteristics of fascism in Trump in addition to his propensity for racial and ethnic stereotyping. Among them: nativist undertones, attempts to control the media; and even condoning violence against his critics.
At a Trump campaign rally in Birmingham, Alabama, a black protester was physically attacked by a handful of Trump fans in the crowd. Video captured by CNN shows the man being shoved to the ground, punched and at one point even kicked. The next day, Trump drew fierce backlash when he said that perhaps “he should have been roughed up.”
The sentiment was then echoed by Trump’s senior counsel Michael Cohen. “Every now and then an agitator deserves it,” Cohen said on CNN’s “New Day” Tuesday morning.
Ross said the incident illustrates behavior that is only steps removed from fascism.
“We had the same thing happening in Germany in the 1920s with people being roughed up by the Brownshirts and they deserved it because they were Jews and Marxists and radicals and dissidents and gypsies — that was what Hitler was saying,” Ross said.
Once upon a time, Donald Trump was a joke. Then he was a danger to the Republican Party. Now the growing consensus among politicos, scholars, and historians, is that Donald Trump is a danger to the country. There is no way I can see that Trump ever withstands the authoritarian temptation. His campaign has given ample evidence of the kind of leader he would be, and it is, as Steve Ross says above, dangerous. It has no place in the Republican Party or in America as a whole. As more and more people finally wake up to this fact, hopefully it means the Trump Train gets derailed sooner than it would have otherwise.
Jeb Bush adds to his congressional endorsement lead today with Rep. Bishop (R-MI):
“As we face growing threats abroad and continued economic challenges at home, I believe Jeb Bush’s executive experience and vision uniquely qualifies him to face our nation’s challenges on day one,” Bishop said in a statement first obtained by The Hill.
“The federal government has no greater task than to ensure the security of our nation,” Bishop continued. “Governor Bush has presented a solid plan to combat [the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria] and is committed to tackling the issues which the current administration has neglected for too long.”
This gives Bush 29 endorsements from current members of the House and Senate, more than Rubio and Cruz, his nearest competitors, combined.
- Trump – 32%
- Rubio – 18%
- Cruz – 10%
- Bush – 7%
- Carson – 5%
- Christie – 4%
- Fiorina – 4%
- Kasich – 2%
- Paul – 1%
- Graham – 0%
- Huckabee – 0%
- Pataki – 0%
- Santorum – 0%
- Undecided – 14%
134 Republican voters / Nov 19-22 / MoE ±8.4%
This is the first Suffolk poll we’ve gotten out of Massachusetts, but by way of reference, an Emerson College poll one month ago showed Trump leading by 34 points over Ben Carson, 48-14, with Rubio at 11 percent.
Josh Kraushaar in The National Journal:
“Nearly every fundamental measure—with the notable exception of the country’s demographic shifts—favors the Republicans in 2016. The public overwhelmingly believes the country is headed in the wrong direction (23/69, a historic low in Bloomberg’s national poll). President Obama’s job-approval rating has been consistently underwater, with the opposition intensely rejecting his policies. Any economic growth has been uneven, with more Americans pessimistic than optimistic about the future. The public’s natural desire for change after eight years of Democrats in the White House benefits the opposition. Meanwhile, the party’s likely standard-bearer has been saddled with weak favorability ratings of her own, with her email scandal dragging down her trustworthiness in the minds of voters. This is not the environment in which the party in power typically prevails.”
This would all seem so obvious as to not bear repeating, except that the media consensus is that Dems will win in 2016. Nate Silver’s 538, the betting markets, the remains of the MSM, and, of course, the Left-wing journals are unanimous in thinking that Republicans are self-destructing and generally falling apart at the seams. How many mentions of “the Republican clown car” have there been? To exacerbate the situation, these outlets have trumpeted Trump at every opportunity, and have monotonously made fun of Ben Carson, while ignoring the candidates with rock-solid chief executive experience and very real foreign policy chops.
The fact is that according to a rich electoral history in democracies throughout the world, any time a multi-term incumbent steps down, his party’s would-be successor has a less than 20% chance of winning. It seems that the need for a change is built into human psychology, something that Obama was actually right about in 2008. Conflate that need with further evidence that this is especially true if the incumbent stepping down has an approval rating of less than 50%, as Obama’s has been consistently since 2013.
Then along comes ISIS, who has actually caught the attention of the slumbering American electorate. Kraushaar points to a poll that shows that 60% of American voters want The United States to send in ground troops to defeat ISIS in Syria and Iraq. That is shocking since Obama was elected not that many years ago to get us out of the Middle East and never risk American lives again.
The public seems to have picked up on the absurdity of sending in 50 members of the Special Forces, and in spending more than $50 Million finding, equipping, and training four Syrian soldiers willing to fight. Add them together and the U.S. effort to bring down ISIS in Syria consists of 54 men on the ground. This, when a solid majority of Americans thinks we are at war with ISIS. While there is much evidence that Islamic terrorists are at war with US, there is very little that we are at war with THEM. The polling evidence is that Democrats are not part of the majority on the issue, but that evidence also shows that they are relatively unenthusiastic about voting, period. With their top two candidates being Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, of course, how could they be?
“The Democrats’ hopes of holding the White House rest on: a) remobilizing the Obama coalition of millennials, single women, and nonwhite voters; and b) hoping that Republicans nominate someone outside the mainstream, like Donald Trump. In short: If the Republican Party doesn’t split in two—which is a distinct possibility if Trump is either nominated or runs as a third-party candidate—Republicans have a clear advantage.”
That’s a very big “if.” Had Trump not shown up, the upcoming election would be all but in the bag, but with him it’s not. When plans were made not many days ago to raise funds on a significant scale to bring The Donald down, he lapsed into the time-honored tradition of whining: “That wasn’t in the deal!” In other words, he thinks that the Republican Party as a whole has to play nice with him or he will run on a third party ticket. He might. It was always clear that he probably wouldn’t keep his word when he signed a pledge saying he wouldn’t run if he lost the nomination.
The problem is that polls show that Hillary has at least 40% against any Republican in a general election contest, so Trump running 3rd Party would only need something like 15% to ensure a Hillary victory. One poll showed that him leading a 3rd Party effort would only take two percent from Hillary’s total, with the rest coming from Republicans.
But, barring that, we should win.