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More on Trump as Independent

Trump And GOP ElephantReturning to the topic of Trump acting as an “independent” I would note that the following (first two stories from July) are not what a politician does when separating from a party.  It is what a politician does when seeking to shape a party.

Via CNN:  Trump’s White House is recruiting primary challengers against Republican Sen. Jeff Flake.

President Donald Trump and White House officials have had a series of conversations with prospective Republican candidates about challenging Arizona GOP Sen. Jeff Flake in the 2018 primary.

Kelli Ward, who has already launched her campaign, and Robert Graham, a former state GOP chair and Trump adviser who is considering it, both told CNN on Monday they have had multiple conversations with White House officials about opposing Flake in the Senate primary.

In addition to the White House directly, political allies have similar goals:

Via The Hill:  Trump backers eye GOP primary challenges for Flake, Heller

Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.) could soon face primary challenges from allies of President Trump.

Flake and Heller — considered two of the most vulnerable GOP senators up for reelection in 2018 — were critical of Trump during the 2016 campaign and have shown a willingness to buck him during his first six months in office.

It remains to be seen whether Trump will support or fund primary challenges against sitting GOP senators, especially since Trump-backed infighting could upset Republicans’ slim, 52-seat Senate majority. But there’s early indications that Trump or his allies could wage war against members of his own party, especially if the Senate GOP’s ObamaCare repeal completely falls apart.

From last week, from Business Insider Steve Bannon is recruiting a challenger for a GOP senator who has feuded with Trump

A Republican senator who was once on Donald Trump’s short list for a Cabinet spot but has since feuded with the president could be targeted by a primary challenger backed by Steve Bannon.

Trump’s former chief strategist is seeking primary challenges to several GOP senators, including Sen. Bob Corker, of Tennessee, the chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, according to Politico and CNN.

This is how a politician (and that politician’s faction) behaves when it wants to assert further control over a party, not how one behaves if one is an “independent” or a “party of one.”

How all of this plays out remains to be seen, but it is yet another was that the “Trump as independent” thesis is undercut.

Related Posts:

About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    trump is a creature of the GOP but now the GOP belongs to trump. Frankenstein’s monster come to consume the rotting corpse of what was once the Grand Old Party.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  2. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    As I noted before, it takes a lot of linguistic and semantic legerdemain in order to fill the required number of Trump column inches in any major newspaper–particularly on the opinion pages. “Trump is really an independent and here’s why” takes a lot of column inches to explain (many more than “Trump is a dangerous idiot”–which we already know) and has the advantage of appealing to the administration–a winning combination for the task in question. That the thesis depends on “alternative facts” is simply a feature of the task, and since it adds to the ability to fill the required Trump inches, not a bad thing.

    Unless truth matters. But we are talking about the opinion pages and situations where opinion can be worked in disguised as objective fact (an unnamed source said that he thinks…), so no harm, no foul.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  3. teve tory says:

    Now that trump’s talking amnesty for the Dreamers, the Breitbart commenters have turned on him. If trump loses the racists he has nothing left.

    Some of them are really getting creative in their blame.

    JF Ryan kyrifles • 2 days ago

    I for one, have never forgiven Mr. Clinton for his perjury. His unethical behavior enormously degraded our trust in institutions and is part of the reason we are burdened with Mr. Trump today.

    And as usual, gotta bash Killary:

    Jan_in_NH kyrifles • 2 days ago
    I’m not happy with Trump right now but no one and I mean NO ONE has as filthy a mouth as Hillary Clinton. And if you have a name of someone he’s molested, please give it to us.
    No one’s going to forgive him this transgression, once his supporters turn, the crap hollywood spewed will sound like praise.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  4. Barry says:

    Steven: “This is how a politician (and that politician’s faction) behaves when it wants to assert further control over a party, not how one behaves if one is an “independent” or a “party of one.””

    No, it’s how one behaves if one is a delusional whackaloon.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  5. @Barry: Well, delusional whackaloons have been known to manipulate political parties.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  6. Todd says:

    I don’t really see what the issue is with the labels. If letting Trump pretend that he’s an “Independent” causes him to be more likely to make deals with Democrats, which also has the effect of sidelining the freedom caucus, then I don’t have a problem with it. Above all else, Donald Trump wants to be praised, especially by the “liberal” media. Let him keep pissing off the conservatives with his deals. At some point, the left is also going to get pissed at Chuck and Nancy, but so what on that count too. I want compromise to come back in fashion in Washington, and I don’t care who get the credit.

    I read a few articles that some progressives wanted to use the debt limit to try to pass DACA. No, just no. Holding the debt limit hostage was BS when conservatives tried it, and it would be just as BS when done with a progressive pricetag.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  7. Trump can’t be a independent in part because Congress holds a huge deal of power in the United States. That’s the nature of a Federal System.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. DrDaveT says:

    Steven, you might well be right but I’m curious — how are you distinguishing this behavior from the much simpler “getting back at people who have pissed him off” hypothesis?

    The key evidence for me would be clear indication that Trump cares where the GOP goes, in terms of its future platform and policies, totally independent of Trump’s personal role or legacy or popularity. I still haven’t seen anything that looks like that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  9. Kylopod says:

    @Todd:

    I read a few articles that some progressives wanted to use the debt limit to try to pass DACA. No, just no. Holding the debt limit hostage was BS when conservatives tried it, and it would be just as BS when done with a progressive pricetag.

    Yup. I got in an argument a couple of months ago with some commenters over at Kevin Drum’s who asserted that Dems should refuse to raise the debt ceiling without concessions over the ACA and tax reform, because Republicans did this and “they now control all three branches of our government.” I pointed out to them that (a) When Republicans first did this in 2011, Obama made the mistake (and I consider it one of the greatest mistakes of his presidency) of making concessions, resulting in the sequester–and yet it didn’t stop him from handily winning reelection a year later (b) When they tried it again in 2013, Obama (having learned his lesson) called their bluff and they ended up getting absolutely nothing out of it. They did do well in the following year’s election and in 2016, but there’s no reason to assume a causal relationship; at the time it happened polls showed the public placed the blame squarely at the Republican’s feet.

    There is a certain breed of lefty who thinks all of the Dems’ electoral woes can be attributed to their refusal to “play hardball” like the righties do.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  10. @DrDaveT: The motivation for the behavior is irrelevant. The bottom line is that he is he seeking to restructure the party to his liking.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  11. MBunge says:

    Is Bernie Sanders a Democrat? He ran for the party’s Presidential nomination and appears to be pushing for the party to explicitly adopt certain principles and policies.

    Mike

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  12. Lit3Bolt says:

    @MBunge:

    The question is whether being on the outside from a institution or system provides an objective viewpoint or the illusion of one.

    Most groups of people dismiss outside critics, but lend more credence to ‘inside’ critics who have demonstrated loyalty to the group. In Bernie Sanders’ case, he’s an independent demanding a system…the Democrats…to move a certain way and obey his critiques.

    But Sanders is an outsider. Is he an agent provocateur, loyal to himself, or a true ideologue? In short: Can we fully trust this guy?

    I think it’s healthy that the Democratic Party has had a dialogue about Bernie Sanders and has pushed back against his cult.

    Note that the Republican Party, aside from a stillborn NeverTrump movement, never had such a debate. They simply fell in line without question to the “outsider” and fully trusted him from the get-go. How is that working out for Republicans?

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  13. Ben Wolf says:

    @MBunge: Sanders is a Rooseveltian, so one could argue he’s as traditional a Democrat as it gets.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  14. CSK says:

    @Lit3Bolt:

    I don’t think they willingly fell in line behind Trump. He won the primaries. Loathsome as he was, he won.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. Sanders is an independent who caucuses with the Democrats in the Senate.

    He ran for the Democratic nomination for President in 2016. Part of why he had some trouble, and why the DNC was not all that inclined towards him was precisely because he was an outsider trying to win the party’s top slot. This is why I was not surprised by the tone of some of the leaked DNC e-mails. The institutional party was never going to be all that thrilled with Bernie (plus, they didn’t think he could win in November in any event).

    Of course, had he won the nomination he would have taken on the key leadership position in the party, which would have been interesting given his past independence. But, like Trump is doing now, Bernie as head of the Democrats would have had consequences for the party.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  16. Kylopod says:

    @Ben Wolf: How is Sanders a “Rooseveltian”? You make it sound like it’s a fact, when it’s just as questionable as your second assertion.

    Sure, Sanders has invoked FDR as the justification for his “socialism.” But the leading socialist of the 1930s, Norman Thomas, was very clear that FDR was no socialist:

    But I am concerned to point out how false is the charge that Roosevelt and the New Deal represent socialism…. His slogan was not the Socialist cry: “Workers of the world, workers with hand and brain, in town and country, unite!” His cry was: “Workers and small stockholders unite, clean up Wall Street.” That cry is at least as old as Andrew Jackson….

    Sanders invokes FDR for the same reason Republicans still invoke Lincoln: it’s a way of basking in the esteemed reputation of one of the most beloved presidents from their party. I’ll agree that Sanders is closer to FDR than most modern-day Republicans are to Lincoln, but he’s no closer than Obama or Hillary or any other mainstream Democrat today; indeed, “one could argue” that he’s a good deal farther.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  17. @Ben Wolf:

    Sanders is a Rooseveltian, so one could argue he’s as traditional a Democrat as it gets.

    Well, he is a self-proclaimed democratic socialist. But I would argue that trying to define someone in terms of a specific set of ideals is problematic, especially if the contemporary party has shifted.

    The question is: how are people self-identified now and how do they use those labels to a) get on the ballot, b) win office, and c) organize with others with the same label to influence government?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  18. grumpy realist says:

    @teve tory: As long as the Establishment Republicans hope they can by hook or crook manipulate Trump into signing legislation that they want to get passed, I expect the Republican Party to continue to support Trump.

    And most of the Trumpenproletariat don’t give a fig about Trump’s actual positions. As long as their man says stuff that makes it sound like their Great Leader is sticking it to the “elites”, they’ll cheerfully follow him along whatever path he takes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  19. CSK says:

    @grumpy realist:

    It’s quite true that the Trumpkins love their man principally because he’s an oaf. But they’ve also discovered a way to rationalize his tendency to hurl them under the bus: If the NYTimes, WaPo, NBC, Fox, whatever, reports that he broke a promise to them, that’s “fake news.” It literally did…not…happen.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  20. MarkedMan says:

    Bernie is not a Dem in another very important way: as a significant contender for the Democratic nomination he did not help any Democrat down ticket. He made a big deal about how he was going to help someone primary Wasserman Schulz, but that was because he felt aggrieved. And he never delivered on even that score-settling promise. With Bernie, it’s all about him, all the time. And it’s all talk.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  21. Just 'nutha ig'nint cracker says:

    @CSK: “They” voted for him in sufficient numbers to lock him in to the primary victory and it is because he is who “they” are!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  22. CSK says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’nint cracker:

    Oh, I know; that was part of my point. They identify with him.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  23. Ben Wolf says:

    @Kylopod:

    In his inaugural remarks in January 1937, in the midst of the Great Depression, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt looked out at the nation and this is what he saw.

    He saw tens of millions of its citizens denied the basic necessities of life.

    He saw millions of families trying to live on incomes so meager that the pall of family disaster hung over them day by day.

    He saw millions denied education, recreation, and the opportunity to better their lot and the lot of their children.

    He saw millions lacking the means to buy the products they needed and by their poverty and lack of disposable income denying employment to many other millions.

    He saw one-third of a nation ill-housed, ill-clad, ill-nourished.

    And he acted. Against the ferocious opposition of the ruling class of his day, people he called economic royalists, Roosevelt implemented a series of programs that put millions of people back to work, took them out of poverty and restored their faith in government. He redefined the relationship of the federal government to the people of our country. He combatted cynicism, fear and despair. He reinvigorated democracy. He transformed the country.

    And that is what we have to do today.

    …So let me define for you, simply and straightforwardly, what democratic socialism means to me. It builds on what Franklin Delano Roosevelt said when he fought for guaranteed economic rights for all Americans. And it builds on what Martin Luther King, Jr. said in 1968 when he stated that; “This country has socialism for the rich, and rugged individualism for the poor.” It builds on the success of many other countries around the world that have done a far better job than we have in protecting the needs of their working families, the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor.
    In that remarkable speech this is what Roosevelt stated, and I quote: “We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. Necessitous men are not free men.” End of quote. In other words, real freedom must include economic security. That was Roosevelt’s vision 70 years ago. It is my vision today. It is a vision that we have not yet achieved. It is time that we did.

    …In that speech, Roosevelt described the economic rights that he believed every American was entitled to: The right to a decent job at decent pay, the right to adequate food, clothing, and time off from work, the right for every business, large and small, to function in an atmosphere free from unfair competition and domination by monopolies. The right of all Americans to have a decent home and decent health care.

    https://berniesanders.com/democratic-socialism-in-the-united-states/

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  24. MBunge says:

    Isn’t this semantic discussion of “independent or not” missing the point? The label is being applied to Trump because his behavior is radically different not only from the GOP in Congress over the last 16 years but from what the current Republican establishment still wants to do.

    Accurately describing things is important but so is clearly signaling the significance of those things.

    Mike

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  25. Ben Wolf says:

    @MarkedMan: Sanders fundraised for dozens of candidates in 2016. And campaigned for Hillary Clinton. And Barrack Obama. And Elizabeth Warren. And dozens more in 2017.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  26. DrDaveT says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    The motivation for the behavior is irrelevant. The bottom line is that he is he seeking to restructure the party to his liking.

    On the contrary — the question of whether he is “seeking to restructure the party” depends critically on his motivation. In particular, if his motivation is NOT “to restructure the party’, but rather “to get back at certain individuals who displeased him”, your conclusion does not follow.

    If you were making a claim about the likely consequences of Trump’s actions, motivation would be irrelevant. Motivation is the ONLY thing that matters, if you are making a claim about what Trump is seeking to do.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  27. Kylopod says:

    @Ben Wolf: Sanders’ description of FDR’s presidency has the timeline seriously confused. He begins by citing FDR’s second inaugural (which, I should note, does not contain even the bare outlines of policy proposals; it’s far more a delineation of problems than solutions). Then Sanders observes: “And he acted. Against the ferocious opposition of the ruling class of his day, people he called economic royalists, Roosevelt implemented a series of programs that put millions of people back to work, took them out of poverty and restored their faith in government.”

    You know what the problem here is? Most of the New Deal happened during FDR’s first term. Early in his second term he did pass a couple of important items: the Housing Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act. But he also practiced austerity in 1937, leading to a new economic collapse. In the 1938 midterms Congress was taken over by conservatives from both parties, and he enacted no more major reforms after that.

    Furthermore, while FDR did attack “economic royalists” at certain points, he vacillated heavily throughout his presidency in his relationship with the business community. Early reforms such as the National Industrial Recovery Act made heavy concessions to business. And you want to talk about health care? He twice scrapped plans for national health care due to pressure from the AMA. A left-wing group called the Southern Tenant Farmers Union complained that under Roosevelt “too often the progressive’s word has been the clothing for a conservative act.” A book I recently read by Robert McElvaine, one of the leading historians of the Great Depression, reprints several letters to FDR, which included the following from a worker in Ohio that was very typical:

    “We the people voted for you, we had a world of faith in you, we loved you, we stood by you…but it is a different story now… [T]he very rich is the only one who has benefited from your new deal… [I]t is common now to hear the people, everywhere you go say President Roosevelt has proven to be no different from any other President, there all for big business after they get in office.”

    FDR did ultimately move leftward and take a stronger stand against big business, but it was based as much on politics as principle. In particular, Huey Long planned a third-party bid in the 1936 election, which potentially could have done serious damage to FDR’s reelection prospects, though it was cut short by Long’s untimely assassination. It did definitely make the Roosevelt Administration sweat, however.

    Keep in mind, also, that for all the important reforms FDR put in place, the Depression did not truly end until WWII. It wasn’t until 1943 that unemployment dipped below its 1929 levels. Part of the reason, at least for those who accept the principles of Keynesian economics, was that FDR was actually very hesitant to engage in massive government spending until the military buildup during WWII.

    The consensus of most historians is that FDR was not an ideologue and had no overriding philosophy of government. He was, at bottom, a master politician who juggled many conflicting factions and made many compromises, infuriating purists. (It is often forgotten that the New Deal Coalition is what inspired Will Rogers’ famous quip “I belong to no organized political party. I’m a Democrat.”) Moroever, it is generally accepted that his greatest achievement was saving the free enterprise system. As McElvaine notes:

    There can be no doubt that the New Deal performed a marvelous job of conservation: it saved American capitalism at the time of that economic system’s worst crisis to date. To accept this, however, is not to say as some leftist historians have…that things would have been better had the reforms of the Roosevelt administration never occurred. It may very well be regrettable that the New Deal did not do more, particularly that it did nothing effective to strike at the maldistribution of wealth and income that continues to plague the American economy. But some reform is better than none.

    Not exactly a Sanders-esque assessment.

    Sanders does not appear to have any understanding what the term “democratic socialism” actually means. (Not surprisingly actual socialists have stated unequivocallly that Sanders is no socialist.) He seems to have a romanticized attachment to the trappings of radicalism which he then incorrectly conflates with a president who was anything but a radical.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  28. @DrDaveT:

    If you were making a claim about the likely consequences of Trump’s actions, motivation would be irrelevant. Motivation is the ONLY thing that matters, if you are making a claim about what Trump is seeking to do.

    My point is about consequences, not motivation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  29. Let me put it this way: if the net result of this is that there are more nationalist Republicans in office, will it matter what the original motivation was?

    What is more important: the reasons why Tea Party candidates ran in 2010+ or the fact that the Freedom Caucus now exists?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  30. DrDaveT says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    My point is about consequences, not motivation. […]

    Let me put it this way: if the net result of this is that there are more nationalist Republicans in office, will it matter what the original motivation was?

    So, now that you have completely changed what you are claiming, I agree with you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  31. Ben Wolf says:

    @Kylopod:

    You know what the problem here is? Most of the New Deal happened during FDR’s first term.

    It’s a speech, not a chronology.

    The consensus of most historians is that FDR was not an ideologue and had no overriding philosophy of government.

    Roosevelt’s philosophy of governance was primarily guided by his sympathy and empathy toward the economically disadvantaged. The difference between that and a socialist is one of degree.

    Sanders does not appear to have any understanding what the term “democratic socialism” actually means.

    I would disagree.

    Not surprisingly actual socialists have stated unequivocallly that Sanders is no socialist.

    A Marxist is not a democratic socialist is not a libertarian socialist.

    He seems to have a romanticized attachment to the trappings of radicalism which he then incorrectly conflates with a president who was anything but a radical.

    I would challenge others to find anything in Sanders’ 2016 campaign that can be defined as radical.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  32. @DrDaveT:

    So, now that you have completely changed what you are claiming, I agree with you.

    I don’t see how I have completely changed what I was claiming.

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  33. @DrDaveT: @Steven L. Taylor:

    Let me seek to clarify.

    @Your original comment:

    how are you distinguishing this behavior from the much simpler “getting back at people who have pissed him off” hypothesis?

    The key evidence for me would be clear indication that Trump cares where the GOP goes, in terms of its future platform and policies, totally independent of Trump’s personal role or legacy or popularity. I still haven’t seen anything that looks like that.

    To me, there is nothing in my original post that indicates it matters if he is attempting on asserting control for policy reason or petty personal reason. An attempt at asserting control, is an attempt at asserting control regardless of why. If the action leads to actual outcomes, i.e., more nationalists in the Congress, that is what matters, not why Trump did what he did.

    Further, Trump empowers other actors (like Bannon) who have their own motivations–although again, the motivations are ultimately less important than the outcomes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  34. MarkedMan says:

    @Ben Wolf: here’s what I found. Before he was a presidential candidate he accepted lots of help from the DSCC, including direct cash, access to mailing lists and tony fundraisers from the wealthy elite. (These are the very same fundraisers that he railed against Clinton for attending. Because when anyone else does it, its corruption, but it becomes pure as soon as Bernie touches it. ) The only help he gave to Dems that I could find was that he regularly paid his dues to the DSCC ($30K/yr). Small potatoes in comparison to what he got from them and of course if he didn’t pay those dues he wouldn’t have gotten the benefits.

    After he was well into the presidential campaign and a fundraising phenom, MSNBC had this to say:

    The first part matters, of course, to the extent that Sanders’ fundraising juggernaut is eclipsing Clinton’s operation, but it’s the second part that stands out. How much money did Sanders raise for the DNC and state parties in March? Actually, zero. For the quarter, the total was also zero.

    And while the typical voter probably doesn’t know or care about candidates’ work on behalf of down-ballot allies, this speaks to a key difference between Sanders and Clinton: the former is positioning himself as the leader of a revolution; the latter is positioning herself as the leader of the Democratic Party. For Sanders, it means raising amazing amounts of money to advance his ambitions; for Clinton, it means also raising money to help other Democratic candidates.

    Sanders may have given some money to down ballot Democrats after he conceded. If he did, I would be very surprised if the donations were strategic (I.e. to help Democrats win one of the houses) rather than merely a payback to someone who had endorsed him or spoken favorably of him. But I may have missed something and would be happy if you have more information.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  35. DrDaveT says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    To me, there is nothing in my original post that indicates it matters if he is attempting on asserting control for policy reason or petty personal reason. An attempt at asserting control, is an attempt at asserting control regardless of why.

    OK, let me also attempt to clarify:

    You have smuggled your conclusion into your premise when you assume that what he is doing is “attempting to assert control”. The raw data are not “an attempt at asserting control”; that is your interpretation of the data. The raw data are threats to support primary challenges to particular GOP legislators. When I asked how you knew that these threats were “an attempt to assert control over the party”, rather than merely attacks on people Trump was unhappy with, you said it didn’t matter why he was attacking them.

    I’m saying that your interpretation, that Trump has a broader “assert control over the party” agenda beyond his immediate “hurt people I’m mad at” agenda, is a claim that requires additional evidence beyond the threats themselves. The pre-schooler who bites a classmates the he is unhappy with is not “attempting to assert control over the nursery”, in any meaningful sense.

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  36. @DrDaveT:

    The raw data are threats to support primary challenges to particular GOP legislators

    Perhaps this is a semantic argument, but I see no discernibly important difference between supporting primary challengers for the purpose of nominating a more sympathetic member of Congress and asserting control over who the nominee would be.

    One could argue that “asserting control” is too strong a characterization, although when a party leader seeks to influence who the nominees are for the party so as to make the party’s elected officials more amenable that that party leader, I am not sure that the phrase is in any way incorrect.

    I’m saying that your interpretation, that Trump has a broader “assert control over the party” agenda beyond his immediate “hurt people I’m mad at” agenda, is a claim that requires additional evidence beyond the threats themselves. The pre-schooler who bites a classmates the he is unhappy with is not “attempting to assert control over the nursery”, in any meaningful sense.

    Actually, if the pre-schooler bite a classmate so that he can get the toy that the classmate has, that is an assertion of control.

    Beyond that, you are arguing more about efficacy than countering my argument.

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  37. Keep in mind that the only real power the President (any president) has in these matters (e.g., a Senate race in AZ) is who he endorses and publicly supports.

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  38. Ben Wolf says:

    @MarkedMan: I understand what you’re saying. The difference is that Clinton raised a lot of funds for the DNC and DSCC while Sanders has fundraised for individual candidates, typically by reaching out to his donor list for contributions through Act Blue. In other words his online operation is still in existence and he’s bypassing the leadership which makes it more difficult to figure out just how much money was raised. Some of the local and state candidates disclosed the results and said their campaigns were fully funded within 48 hours.

    This year I’ve gotten requests (and donated to):

    Maggie Hassan
    Beto O’Rourke
    Michela Skelton
    Randall Woodfin
    Vincent Fort
    Rob Quist

    Last year there were dozens. Sanders was sending emails requesting donations that would split between his campaign and many other candidates. A few of those I contributed to:

    Pramilla Jayapal
    Russ Feingold
    Chris Pearson
    Jane Kim
    Joe Salazar
    Carol Ammons
    Zephyr Teachout

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  39. DrDaveT says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Perhaps this is a semantic argument, but I see no discernibly important difference between supporting primary challengers for the purpose of nominating a more sympathetic member of Congress and asserting control over who the nominee would be.

    Once again, everything you say here after “for the purpose of…” is interpretation, not data. You are making a claim about motivations that matters for your argument. It is not merely semantic, but you keep treating your conclusions as if they were data. How do you know that Trump’s purpose is “nominating a more sympathetic member of Congress”, and not simple spite/revenge?

    (The meta-question is “how can you not see that you are making assertions about WHY Trump is doing things, and that these are claims about motivations?”)

    Actually, if the pre-schooler bite a classmate so that he can get the toy that the classmate has, that is an assertion of control.

    Which is to say that you agree with me that motivations matter if you’re going to apply that interpretation to the events, no?

    Read more: http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/181027-2/#ixzz4t35duD9I

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  40. Kylopod says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    It’s a speech, not a chronology.

    Being a speech does not exempt it from factual correctness. It very clearly implies that FDR’s second inaugural was followed by his greatest economic reforms. Of course you might engage in Clintonian quibbling by pointing out that Sanders said “And he acted” (as opposed to “Then he acted”), but is that really going to be your defense?

    Roosevelt’s philosophy of governance was primarily guided by his sympathy and empathy toward the economically disadvantaged.

    I hate to break it to you, but Roosevelt had no consistent philosophy of government, and while I won’t deny he had a considerable amount of sympathy for the economically disadvantaged, he was also a politician looking out for his own political survival, and his leftward turn in the mid-1930s (keep in mind that one of his campaign pledges in the 1932 election was that he would balance the budget) just happened to track exactly where the public as a whole was moving.

    A Marxist is not a democratic socialist is not a libertarian socialist.

    Okay, here’s Cornell West, a democratic socialist who actually worked on Sanders’ campaign, explaining why Sanders is no socialist:

    https://youtu.be/eonSbiihto0?t=36s

    I would challenge others to find anything in Sanders’ 2016 campaign that can be defined as radical.

    I didn’t say he was a radical, I said he had a romanticized attachment to the “trappings of radicalism.” Indeed, his lack of any actual radical policy positions is part of the point.

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  41. Ben Wolf says:

    @Kylopod: Ok.

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  42. @DrDaveT: At this point, I will say “uncle” and move on.

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  43. Bob The Arqubusier says:

    When a clearly intelligent person engages in sophistry and/or pedantry to defend a point, it’s clear that they aren’t missing the point, they’re avoiding it.

    Yes, Trump is the titular head of the GOP. But he didn’t rise up through the ranks of the GOP; it’s his by right of conquest. It was, essentially, a hostile takeover. He holds that title because he won a single election.

    But the “hostile takeover” metaphor fails because, unlike in the private sector, Trump’s victory did not come with the power to purge those who opposed him. The Powers That Be in the GOP didn’t get banished, they just got bumped down a rung or two. They still have their fiefdoms, their own agendas, their own power bases, and their own goals.

    Trump’s hold on power is, as I said, based on that single election last November. And as you’ve so carefully avoided mentioning, there are a LOT of people working desperately to undo that election, By Any Means Necessary (capitalized because that’s literally one of the names they’ve chosen for themselves). Quite a few of the people who support getting rid of Trump hang around here, and express their sentiments quite volubly at every opportunity.

    And quite a few of those looking to unseat Trump before January 20, 2021 are within the GOP.

    The most absurd thing about this movement is that they see Trump as some kind of embodiment of a movement, and that if they get rid of Trump, they get rid of the movement. That’s laughable. Trump is merely the chosen tool of a whole host of movements who have found rough accommodation and a few shared goals among themselves.

    Get rid of Trump, and you will achieve two things: 1) you will have legitimized whatever tactics you used to remove Trump to go after the politicians and causes and groups you support;; and 2) you will guarantee that the next chosen tool will be Worse Than Trump.

    The left’s tolerance for political violence in general and Antifa specifically is also being carefully noted. The same people who ranted about how we mustn’t “normalize” Trump have now “normalized” mob violence in service of a political agenda. This will not end well.

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