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New National Poll Finds No Evidence That Attacks From Rubio & Cruz Have Hurt Trump

Ted Cruz Donald Trump Marco Rubio

If the latest CNN/ORC National poll of the Republican race for President, the attacks on Donald Trump that began at last Thursday’s debate have had no impact whatsoever on Trump’s standing in the polls, and may have actually helped him increase his support:

On the Republican side, the new survey finds Trump’s lead is dominant, and his support tops that of his four remaining opponents combined. The businessman tops his nearest competitor by more than 30 points: 49% back Trump, 16% Marco Rubio, 15% Ted Cruz, 10% Ben Carson and 6% John Kasich.

Trump’s supporters are incredibly enthusiastic about the coming election, and largely committed in their support for him. Nearly 8 in 10 say that they are more enthusiastic about voting this year than in previous elections, among Republicans who are not supporting Trump, just 39% say they are more enthusiastic than in years past. Likewise, 78% of Trump’s backers say they will definitely support him vs. 22% who say they could still change their minds. Among those backing other candidates, 57% say they are committed to their chosen candidate.

The survey asked those Republicans not currently backing Trump whether they would support him if he became the party’s nominee, and just a quarter of Republicans overall say they probably or definitely wouldn’t support him in November. That’s about the same as the share saying they wouldn’t back Rubio or Cruz.

Trump is widely viewed as the candidate in the field who would be most effective at solving the country’s problems, 51% vs. 17% for Cruz, 13% for Rubio and 10% for Carson, and as being best able to handle the responsibilities of being commander-in-chief, 48% say so, compared with 17% for Cruz and 15% for Rubio. The billionaire is also seen as the one who best understands the problems facing people like you, 46% Trump vs. 18% Cruz and 15% Rubio.

As accusations of dishonesty have flown between Trump, Cruz and Rubio, voters say they are more apt to see Trump as honest and trustworthy. Asked who of the five candidates is most honest and trustworthy, 35% name Trump, 22% Carson — who has largely stayed out of the mudslinging – 14% Cruz and 13% Rubio.

Unlike the state-level polling of Super Tuesday states that I wrote about yesterday, this poll was conducted almost entirely after the most recent Republican debate on February 25th, at which both Senators Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz went after Trump aggressively for perhaps the first time in the campaign, so it arguably provides a more accurate reflection of the state of the race in light of these new attacks. The poll was also at least partly conducted after the endorsement that Trump received from Chris Christie on Friday afternoon at a rally in Texas, and endorsement that has been followed by others by sitting and former Governors and a sitting U.S. Senator. As the numbers plainly show, the attacks on Trump appear to not only have had no impact at all on his standing in the race, but it appears that Trump is actually stronger in the wake of both the winnowing of the field that has taken place this month and the change in tone in the race. Based on the last CNN/ORC poll conducted last month, Trump is up eight points while Cruz had dropped four points. Marco Rubio, meanwhile, saw his numbers almost double from the last CNN/ORC poll, but it’s worth noting that he wa in single digits when that poll was taken and its at 16% now. John Kasich, who was a essentially a non-entity in the last poll saw his number increase five points to six percent nationally, which is likely a reflection of his success in New Hampshire earlier this month. Even Ben Carson is doing better in this poll as he went from six percent in the previous poll to ten percent now. Part of what we’ve seen here, obviously, is a redistribution of the support of the candidate who have dropped out of the race since the last poll, with Trump, Rubio, Kasich, and Carson all gaining support to some degree, while Ted Cruz actually lost support. If nothing else, this doesn’t bode well for Cruz going forward.

Looking at the poll averages, Trump now has a lead of 15.8 points in the RealClearPolitics national average heading into Super Tuesday, with his 35.6% average putting him ahead of Ted Cruz, who stands at 19.8%. Marco Rubio sits in third place at 17.4%, followed by Ben Carson at 9.0% and John Kasich at 8.8%. Trump’s lead is much larger in the broader Pollster average, but whichever number you look at what seems clear is that Trump remains well-positioned to run the table, or nearly so, tomorrow on Super Tuesday and to at least pick up the lion’s share of the delegates at stake. If that happens, then he’ll be one step closer on the path to becoming the GOP nominee. The one caveat to note here, of course, is that neither this polling nor the polls I discussed over the weekend reflect any potential reaction to controversy that erupted yesterday over Trump’s response to an endorsement from KKK Grand Wizard David Duke, a response that the campaign has since clarified to make clear that the candidate does indeed disavow the endorsement from Duke and the group he’s associated with. Whether this story will have any impact on how voters act tomorrow is something we’ll just have to wait until Tuesday night to find out since there’s unlikely to be much time to put together a sufficiently scientific poll before polls open in the morning. In any case, though, it does appear that the least we can say is that the newly aggressive tone taken by Senators Rubio and Cruz has done nothing to blunt Trump’s momentum, but then did anyone really think it would?

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. CSK says:

    I realize that an increasingly large number of pollsters are claiming that much of Trump’s support comes from educated and well-informed people, but dear God, how could anyone with the intelligence of a bivalve listen to Trump for five minutes and think he’s the most honest candidate out there?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 2

  2. C. Clavin says:

    At 49% Trump beats all the others combined.
    So even if everyone not named Rubio got out, which isn’t going to happen…and all their supporters went to Rubio, which isn’t going to happen…he’d still be losing to the worlds worst comb-over.
    Everything changes after tomorrow…and the GOP enters the final phase of it’s death spiral.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  3. Mikey says:

    In any case, though, it does appear that the least we can say is that the newly aggressive tone taken by Senators Rubio and Cruz has done nothing to blunt Trump’s momentum, but then did anyone really think it would?

    Not me. He’s already proven untouchable. If his own statements, no matter how outrageous and certainly deadly to any other Presidential campaign in living memory, won’t hurt him, how will those of the other candidates?

    And further, what’s going to stop him? What kind of Black Swan is going to have to show up? Will the GOP leadership be able to take him down at a brokered convention?

    I’d be basking in the warm glow of the Schadenfreude, except there’s actual risk to our nation if this guy manages to actually get himself elected.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 0

  4. CSK says:

    @Mikey:

    How possible do you think a Trump win in November is? His unfavorables with the general electorate, Republicans included, are astronomical.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  5. MBungte says:

    @CSK:

    From marketwatch.com

    “The Huffpost Pollster, for instance, finds the average unfavorable ratings for Clinton in 369 polls from 40 pollsters to be 53.6%, with favorable ratings at only 40%. Trump, for his part, currently registers a 57.6% unfavorable rating average in 103 polls from 18 pollsters, and a 36.1% favorable rating.”

    A lot of the professional Democratic election folks I’ve seen on TV appear to understand that Trump would have more than a puncher’s chance in November. It’s the pundits and issue activists who are in denial.

    Mike

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  6. CSK says:

    @MBungte:

    Okay, but that’s a 13 point differential for her and a 21 point differential for him. Her numbers aren’t good, but his are worse.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  7. Scott says:

    @CSK: If you look at the various Trump vs Clinton polls, you see them about even. I wouldn’t be complacent at all if Clinton is the nominee.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  8. Jen says:

    @CSK: The real danger, IMHO, is depressed turnout on both sides. If you have large portions of the electorate disgusted with both candidates, it turns into a GOTV contest, and the Republicans are darn good at turning their voters out. It’s worth noting that Trump’s core voters (generally speaking, white, male, and older) are frequent voters anyway.

    A low turnout election would favor Republicans, just like it does in off-presidential years.

    Now, all of this is prognosticating before the general election battle–who knows what will come out in the meantime. But I don’t think it’s that far-fetched to realize that Trump does have a fair chance of getting elected, despite his unfavorables.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  9. Mikey says:

    @CSK: I think the likelihood he gets the nomination is much, much higher than actually getting elected. But if he gets the nomination, there’s at least the possibility he gets elected.

    Honestly, at this point I don’t know what actually prevents him getting the nomination.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  10. CSK says:

    @MBungte:

    I had seen some polls–admittedly, a few weeks ago–suggesting that Trump was the one candidate whom she could beat.

    @Scott:

    Do you think Sanders would have a better shot?

    @Jen: @Mikey:

    I think he has the nomination in the bag. As for the general election: Call me a cock-eyed optimist, but I’m still hoping the number of voting troglodytes isn’t quite large enough to make that possible.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  11. jukeboxgrad says:

    Do you think Sanders would have a better shot?

    This question has been discussed at length in some other threads. Link:

    In hypothetical matchups against the three leading Republicans (Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio) he [Sanders] beats them all soundly, and polls better than Clinton in every case.

    And contrary to popular belief, these polls actually mean something:

    In all five elections since 1996, February matchup polls yielded average results within two points of the final outcome.

    Clinton’s margin over Trump: 5.1%.

    Sanders’ margin over Trump: 10.7%.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  12. CSK says:

    JBGrad: Thanks. So according to those results, the Democrats need not worry about Trump, which is pretty much what I’ve been saying all along.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  13. MBungte says:

    @CSK:

    Oh, absolutely. I think Trump can generate more enthusiasm than she can but I’m sure far more of the people who don’t like Hillary see her as at least capable of doing the job.

    Mike

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  14. jukeboxgrad says:

    So according to those results, the Democrats need not worry about Trump

    Polling has been shown to work, and prediction markets also have a good record. One market says the odds of a D/R winning in November is 62/39. That doesn’t exactly mean “Democrats need not worry.” It just means the other side should worry more. But the message of the polling is that our worry would be reduced further if we picked Sanders instead of Clinton.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  15. Jen says:

    But again, it’s important to note that these are poll results done in the relatively salubrious conditions of a primary. The vast, vast majority of voters are not paying attention yet. It will be far different in a few months. Just as Hillary will get pummeled if she’s the nominee, so would Sanders. The attacks on him would be all about him being a “socialist”–and I doubt much nuance will be paid to differentiate between Democratic Socialist and, you know, the “bad kind from Russia.”

    While these numbers are not totally meaningless at this point, I don’t put much stock in them either. It’s just too hard to predict what will resonate with voters–especially the ones who will go to the polls.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  16. Frank says:

    I’m beginning finally to get Trump’s success and I would like you guys to try and shoot down my theory.

    Trump’s voters seem to like Trump for ‘telling it like it is’, for being authentic. I see that this is often countered by people saying he’s provably lying. See John Oliver’s segment for the most recent example. People seem to think this is a good counter-tactic against Trump. His authenticity is a strength, and saying he’s lying is a contradiction of that strength, right? Again, see Oliver for a recent use of that counter-tactic.

    So there’s two statements:

    1) Trump tells it like it is
    2) Trump has obviously lied

    Actually, these statements aren’t contradictory. The deposition Oliver quotes shows to me what’s really going on. Oliver quotes a deposition in which Trump stated that his stated net-worth is based on “feelings, even my own feelings … and that can change rapidly from day to day”. Trump is *the* Colbert truthiness candidate.

    Trump tells it like it is: what his truthiness sense/his gut is telling him at that moment. It may be utterly false. But it’s what’s his feeling of what the truth is or should be at any given time. It’s the belief that what our gut, what our feelings tell us, has meaning and value.

    I think that’s a large part of his appeal: he isn’t beholden to facts. Or contradictions. Rubio and Hillary *are* beholden to facts. They will and do pander, just like Trump. But their pandering will be based on a conscious calculation, whereas Trump’s just going with the flow and telling it like it is (it = his gut) at every point. It’s a form of calculation as well, but one not really seeming like a calculation. Because for something to seem like a calculation, a person must seem like he/she is calculating. Feelings can be calculating as well, but it doesn’t seem as conscious, so less obviously manipulative or fake. Unlike brain-based manipulation, there *is* a truth and authenticity to this gut feeling. It may not be true, but it’s true that the gut is having that feeling.

    Same theory works with Trump’s outrageous statements. They’re seen as a weakness: but they’re part of his appeal. It’s again based on some kind of raw emotion.

    So his appeal is basically that he’s not this political calculator, someone who thinks of others and what they might think of what he is saying or if it’s true. That’s a tremendous power against Clinton. And I think it’s so powerful because there’s a severe “feeling gap” in politics and culture: cold calculation, pandering is the status quo in politics. But also in society, science kind of has laid claim on the truth and the ‘gut’ is outdated (actually science is warming up to the idea that feelings have their function, see the new scientific field of psychoneuroimmunology for example). There’s something to be said that there should be more politicians basing their policy on what they feel is important and just, and not just a good opportunity.

    So given this, I doubt pointing out Trump’s lies is the best tactic against Trump.

    But what is?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  17. Frank says:

    I think tactics based on gut feelings would make more chance. Not sure what they would be. But I think Sanders would be better than Hillary on creating positive gut feelings about himself, while Hillary would be better than Sanders at creating negative ones about Trump. I’m thinking like things such as loss-aversion, shame, fear, disgust should be triggered. (notice how much Trump panders to shame, fear and disgust, for example in his constant talking about how the world views the US right now… or how weak his opponents are)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  18. Frank says:

    Darn, I added a reply to Jukeboxgrad and forgot he’s cursed. Could somebody rescue my comment?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  19. Tony W says:

    @Frank: You’re not wrong – but I’d argue that we don’t need to worry about trying to catch Trump lying – as everyone points out, it does not hurt him.

    The fact is that his hard-core supporters will support him no matter what. We now know that. ~60% of the Republicans and damn near every Democrat does not support him – and they too are rigid in their opposition.

    A few will be swayed, but Trump has proven that regular political rules don’t apply to him. I believe that “rules don’t apply” meme extends to the general election where he picks up essentially zero net-new support after the nomination.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  20. grumpy realist says:

    @Frank: it also would explain why Trump has been a failure in all areas of business outside real estate. Real estate is littered with hype (particularly because what is considered an “elite” location is nothing than the feelings of a lot of people, rather than anything intrinsic to the location.) But in all other areas of business, you’re going to have to deal with hard, cold facts–such as “does the equipment work?” or “what is the competition coming out with?”, or “you can’t line your airplane with marble because you won’t be able to FLY!”

    The activities in which Trump excels are those where “selling the dream” is all that’s necessary and reality has little to do with it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  21. jukeboxgrad says:

    Jen:

    The vast, vast majority of voters are not paying attention yet.

    This claim is made often but it happens to be wrong. Link:

    Fully 74% of Americans say they have given a lot or some thought to the candidates, higher than the shares saying this at comparable points in the past two presidential campaigns.

    And that was 2-3 months ago.

    The attacks on him would be all about him being a “socialist”

    A concern that is greatly exaggerated. Link:

    When the Berlin Wall came down twenty-seven years ago, today’s median voter was not old enough to drink alcohol. In addition, this year’s polls show little sign of an electorate ready to abandon Sanders at first exposure to right-wing talking points. Only 35 percent of Virginia independents said they would be less likely to vote for a “Democratic-Socialist” candidate. And when a conservative push-poll asked Nevada Democrats and independents how they felt about Sanders’s plans to spend “$15 trillion dollars” for “a government run health care program,” 53 percent replied that it made them more likely to support him.

    It’s not 1950 anymore, and yelling ‘Commie’ is not going to work the way it used to work.

    Frank:

    So given this, I doubt pointing out Trump’s lies is the best tactic against Trump. But what is?

    Give voters a chance to pick a true populist outsider who is not also a lying asshole. That person is Sanders.

    I added a reply to Jukeboxgrad and forgot he’s cursed. Could somebody rescue my comment?

    Your comments seem to be getting through. If something is blocked, just post it again, but avoid using the Reply feature. That’s what triggers the problem.

    Tony W:

    60% of the Republicans and damn near every Democrat does not support him

    It’s a big mistake to assume that an R voter who supports a non-Trump in the primary is not willing to turn around and support Trump if their preferred candidate becomes unavailable. Number of Rs who say they could see themselves supporting Trump: 65%. A year ago, that number was 23%.

    the general election where he picks up essentially zero net-new support after the nomination

    Polls show that against Clinton he gets 43% support. This suggests that he picks up more than zero net-new support. In a year with lots of big surprises, that 43% is dangerously close to 50%, in my opinion.

    grumpy realist:

    The activities in which Trump excels are those where “selling the dream” is all that’s necessary and reality has little to do with it.

    Unfortunately, ” ‘selling the dream’ is all that’s necessary and reality has little to do with it” might be a good description of how elections work in this country right now, for a large portion of the electorate.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  22. Paul Hooson says:

    The smartest thing would be to hit Trump hard on his extensive dealings with organized crime, not only in Atlantic City with the gambling industry, but in other dealings where Trump and organized crime figures have made real estate deals.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  23. C. Clavin says:

    @Frank:

    I think that’s a large part of his appeal: he isn’t beholden to facts.

    Well yeah….the Republican Party is only about emotions. So lies won’t factor in.
    The only way to take down Trump, IMHO, is to show that he really isn’t what he claims to be..
    As Grumpy typed, he is really bad at any business besides real estate…and he’s not even the top dog in NYC real estate. Bankrupt Casinos. 3 marriages. He had to get money from Daddy to get his start….and who inherits $40M and calls themselves self-made? And if he had invested his fathers $1M loan in the S&P 500 he would have more money than he claims to have now. He’s thin-skinned and a hot-head. Etc.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  24. DrDaveT says:

    @JBG:

    It’s not 1950 anymore, and yelling ‘Commie’ is not going to work the way it used to work.

    You might be right about that. The sad fact, though, is that the rubes are more afraid of looking like Sweden these days than they are of looking like the Soviet Union. Communism is dead — even China has clearly abandoned any pretense of leftist-type communism — but “everybody knows” that Socialism = higher taxes for me and taking away from hard-working Americans (like me) to give handouts to the undeserving.

    You think that doesn’t resonate with a lot of voters?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  25. jukeboxgrad says:

    You think that doesn’t resonate with a lot of voters?

    The Trump wave proves that a lot of what we all assumed that R voters believe is not actually what R voters actually believe, or at least a large segment of them. Trump’s core are people who don’t have a deep love for the concept of small government. They are fine with big government, as long as that means a government that’s helping them in a big way.

    There’s lots of evidence for this, which I have cited in prior threads. What I’ll post here is something new. I spend time reading comments at right-wing blogs, and I am lately seeing a lot of comments saying positive things about Sanders. This is a remarkable development. I’ll just post one example, because I think it’s highly representative. Scroll down to 2/28/16, 6:03 PM:

    OK, now what? It looks like the Pubs have finally and officially thrown in the towel on reducing the size of government. … I’m guessing I’m going to support Sanders. For real! This country needs a conversation about how big is too big government. If we’re going to have big government then let’s get something out of it. Free college education for all who qualify. Free medical for all. Stop being the chumps who pay for the whole worlds security. … Let’s have the conversation. … If it is Clinton vs Trump then I’m voting for Trump. Illegal immigration is a huge issue for me.

    Above I cited polls showing that Sanders does better against Trump than Clinton does. This person I just cited is a perfect example, and I have seen many other people speaking similarly. He is saying pretty directly that if it’s Trump vs Sanders he will vote Sanders, and if it’s Trump vs Clinton he will vote Trump. This is not hard to understand. People are craving an outsider. Trump and Sanders are outsiders, or are seen as outsiders. Clinton is seen as the ultimate insider.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  26. An Interested Party says:

    People are craving an outsider.

    Yes, they also seem to be craving unicorns, rainbows, and a whole host of other things that neither Trump nor Sanders will be able to deliver…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  27. Jen says:

    @JBG —

    I’m hard to convince in this area, I’ll admit. People *always* say they are paying attention when asked by pollsters. And, to a certain extent this year it might be true since Trump has been dominating the news cycle. I’ve worked on campaigns, and most people are only really engaged (like, paying *actual* attention) between one month and two weeks out.

    And, of course, there’s the much-discussed Gallup poll that showed Americans are less likely to vote for a socialist for president than a Muslim or an atheist.
    http://www.gallup.com/poll/183713/socialist-presidential-candidates-least-appealing.aspx

    Sanders has to win over the next few weeks, substantially, or this discussion is moot anyway. I don’t see that happening–and, given the change in tone in his campaign, I don’t think he sees it happening either. He is a good man, with some ideas I agree with, but he’s running a campaign against someone who has done this–run a national election campaign–three times prior to this, her fourth national run if you count the two she ran side-by-side with her husband. That’s a deep well of relationships, party loyalty, and organization.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  28. jukeboxgrad says:

    An Interested Party:

    they also seem to be craving unicorns, rainbows, and a whole host of other things that neither Trump nor Sanders will be able to deliver

    The idea that Sanders can’t deliver what he promises is something else that’s said a lot that isn’t true. All that’s needed to find the money is to restore pre-Reagan tax rates on the rich. I have posted the numbers here many times, and I can show you where to look if you want to see them.

    And all that’s needed politically is the right leader. There’s plenty of evidence that voters who don’t label themselves “progressive” nevertheless support progressive policies. For example, a majority believes that government should “redistribute wealth by heavy taxes on the rich.” So ‘socialist’ is like ‘Obamacare;’ when you take away the label, and just describe what the thing contains, you find that a surprisingly large number of people like the contents.

    Jen:

    People *always* say they are paying attention when asked by pollsters.

    This statement is obviously false. I posted evidence that it’s false.

    the much-discussed Gallup poll

    Yes, it has been much-discussed, including here. If you want to know why it doesn’t mean what you think it means, I have already explained that.

    That’s a deep well of relationships, party loyalty, and organization.

    Those things are generally summarized these days with the following word: ‘establishment.’ Sometimes that’s what people want. This year it’s the opposite of what they want.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  29. humanoid.panda says:

    This entire converation is taking place in a rather unique context, that will be gone by the summer. Sanders and Trump are in a somewhat unique position, or top two candidates who were not at all attacked during much of the primary process: SAnders because the GOP wants him to win, while Hillary is afraid of alienating his supporters, and Trump because the GOP elites were terrified of alienating him enough so that he runs 3rd party. You have to price in vast amounts of gold that will be spent on negative advertising and oppo research in the summer- they will drive Sanders’ numbers down, and will make it very hard for Trump to improve his numbers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  30. Lit3Bolt says:

    I think a bit of business ju-jitsu can easily bring down Trump. Trump is making racism his strength. Fine. Then everyone needs to make it a crippling weakness.

    “Trump Supports the KKK”

    “Trump = White Power”

    “Trump Wants To Be Strong…Like Hitler and Mussolini”

    “Trump Wants To Deport Immigrants…Except For the Ones He Marries”

    “Trump Wants Segregated Schools”

    “Trump Wants to Gut the 1st Amendment”

    Ultimately, I think it’s in the best interest of Republican Party in the long term to let Trump be the nominee, associate him with “Heil Hitler/Lynch Blacks” racism, and let him be inevitably demolished. No corporation will want to be associated with him. No pundit will want to explain for years why he was a vocal Trump supporter.

    It’s come down to this. The Republicans welcomed the disaffected Democratic Party racists 50 years ago. The chickens have come home to roost. Will the Republicans rally behind a blatantly racist/fascist leader? Or will they let their manufactured antipathy towards Hillary cloud their judgement?

    Has the Republican party gotten too high on its own supply?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  31. jukeboxgrad says:

    humanoid.panda:

    top two candidates who were not at all attacked during much of the primary process

    This claim was false when you made it before, and it’s still false.

    Trump because the GOP elites were terrified of alienating him enough so that he runs 3rd party

    That must be why National Review decided to not devote an entire issue to condemning Trump.

    SAnders because the GOP wants him to win

    Remember Operation Chaos? If what you said is true, why isn’t that happening again?

    vast amounts of gold that will be spent on negative advertising and oppo research in the summer- they will drive Sanders’ numbers down

    Deja vu:

    In February 2008, then-Clinton chief adviser Mark Penn discounted early polls that showed Barack Obama performing well in a general election: “Sen. Obama has never faced a credible Republican opponent or the Republican attack machine, so voters are taking a chance that his current poll numbers will hold up after the Republicans get going.”

    Sounds familiar.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  32. dmichael says:

    There are reports that the New York Times is holding an audio recording of an interview with The Donald in which he suggests that his anti-immigration position is simply a negotiating ploy (negotiating with whom?). Cruz and Rubio are demanding that Trump explain and the Times release. Questions: Really? And why is the Times holding it? Do they want to repeat their cowardice shown before the 2004 election about the NSA revelations that could have damaged Bush?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  33. Davebo says:

    @dmichael:

    There are also reports that Trump is actually an alien visiting this planet in a planning mission for eventual conquest.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  34. Kylopod says:

    @Frank: The phrase “tell it like it is” has long been a cliche used by people as an excuse to wallow in base prejudice. I think of the old John Candy movie called Only the Lonely in which he plays a Mama’s Boy whose mother wears that phrase as a personal motto–and the woman is not only rude and abrasive, but a good old-fashioned bigot. What “Tell it like it is” really means is “Tell it like I think it is,” and it fails to consider the possibility that one’s perceptions of the world might not be accurate.

    But none of that applies to Trump. He isn’t a crazy uncle, he’s a professional showman and provocateur whose persona as a right-wing crank dates basically to 2011, the first time he flirted with a run for the GOP nomination. There isn’t any doubt that he deliberately lies. The picture of Trump as a person speaking his mind without a filter is a mistake that seems to reflect a fallacious assumption many people have of equating sincerity with a willingness to outrage. I’ve already written two posts on this tendency, so I won’t say more than the following: brutal honesty can sometimes lead people to step on social taboos, but it doesn’t follow that anyone who does the latter is honest.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  35. Ravi says:

    @jukeboxgrad

    If you want to substitute “Sanders has show zero or negative evidence that he’s capable of delivering on his promises” (what Sanders critics generally mean, in my experience) for “Sanders delivering on his promises requires a logical paradox” (how you seem to be interpreting “Sanders can’t deliver on his promises”) feel free, but I’d hope the distinction would be irrelevant when deciding who to vote for.

    I’ll start by agreeing with you. Yes, even though the Sanders campaign is downplaying the costs and exaggerating the benefits of his proposals (as is typical for a campaign) it is mathematically possible to deliver on his promises at reasonable levels of taxes and spending. Unfortunately, this is not evidence that Sanders can deliver Canada and Western Europe have been the existence proof of that for decades, but that’s hasn’t made any difference in US politics.

    And it is the politics where your argument really goes off the rails. You’re right that there is plenty of (not-new) polling evidence that a majority of people prefer Sanders-style policies when asked about them directly. Nevertheless, many of them don’t vote that way when they get in a voting booth. Revealed preferences matter. You can’t just wave them away because they don’t fit your narrative.

    Of course you say “all that’s needed politically is the right leader”. In a narrow, technical sense that is true. It is theoretically possible for an effective enough politician to trigger the political realignment required to push through whatever changes they want. After all, in theory, an effective enough politican could persuade 3/4 of the states to amend the Constitution as necessary. Of course, that shouldn’t be necessary to get Sanders’ policies through. But what is?

    Well, considering that Obama started with large majorities in the House and Senate and a more-or-less even split at the state level and, to a first approximation, all he got was the stimulus, the ACA and Dodd-Frank over intense opposition… we’re talking a parlimentary-style realignment at the federal and state levels. Not only are we talking about flipping the House, the Senate and lots of governorships and state legislatures from (R) to (D), we’re also talking about replacing plenty of insufficiently-progressive Democrats (remember Lieberman single-handedly blocking Medicare buy-in for 55-65? And several more Democratic Senators promising to filibuster a public option?). Getting the levers of power isn’t enough. You need to get those levers while also electing people willing to use them aggressively.

    And thinking that Sanders is the leader who can get all that done is magical thinking. Has he started recruiting the hundreds (thousands?) of lower-level candidates required? Is he targeting conservative and moderate Democrats for primary challenges? Is he building the new, national political infrastructure to manage this sort of campaign?

    No, he’s not. And without that, we already know how this movie ends. Sanders could crush Trump in the general and sweep into office with a brand-new, shiny mandate he wants and Ryan and McConnell will still declare his agenda DoA (and back that up in their chambers). How, exactly, would that deliver on Sanders’ promises?

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  36. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @CSK: Don’t confuse intelligence and knowledge with common sense, empathy, wisdom, honor, or morality. The people who support Trump know what they are supporting and the one’s who will not be bothered about his support by the KKK are of a kind with the guy that I knew who was teaching a college-level US history class where one of the main topics was the War of Northern Aggression–in a smallish mill town roughly 50 miles from Portland, Oregon.

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  37. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @MBungte: I happened to be listening to Glenn Beck this morning. He was opining that if Trump becomes the nominee, the result will be a landslide of Reaganesque proportions. As much as I’d like to believe that, I have to ask myself: How often has Glenn Beck been right about anything?

    I know that even a blind hog can find a truffle, but…

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  38. An Interested Party says:

    All that’s needed to find the money is to restore pre-Reagan tax rates on the rich.

    A Republican Congress will never approve that and I don’t see a Sanders presidency leading to the Democrats regaining control of the House of Representatives…so, therefore, unicorns and rainbows…

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  39. jukeboxgrad says:

    Kylopod:

    There isn’t any doubt that he deliberately lies.

    That’s for sure, and even more than a typical politician, which is saying a lot. But I think there’s a specific reason why he gets a lot of slack on this.

    I think Trump’s core message is this: the game is rigged, by both parties, and the little people are getting screwed. I happen to think this assertion is true, and I think Trump’s base agrees with me. Trump and Sanders are the only two candidates who are communicating this message in a strong, convincing, committed manner. So when Trump’s base says ‘we like him because he tells it like it is,’ I think to a great extent what they are thinking about is this particular message of his. They are hungry for this message, and grateful to hear it, especially when it’s expressed so plainly and bluntly, and therefore they give him a lot of extra slack for the mountain of bullshit he produces.

    And it’s also true that a big chunk of his base are just blatant, vicious racists, as Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker suggested. And that’s why they cut him slack for so much lying: because they’re so grateful to hear blatant racism. So it’s not a totally simple picture.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  40. jukeboxgrad says:

    Ravi:

    Canada and Western Europe have been the existence proof of that for decades, but that’s hasn’t made any difference in US politics

    A good point, but here’s why: because we weren’t ready. The time wasn’t right. The surprising rise of Trump and the surprising rise of Sanders are signs that things are moving in a big way.

    there is plenty of (not-new) polling evidence that a majority of people prefer Sanders-style policies when asked about them directly. Nevertheless, many of them don’t vote that way when they get in a voting booth

    And eventually that changes, because there is some kind of fundamental realignment.

    Not only are we talking about flipping the House, the Senate and lots of governorships and state legislatures from (R) to (D)

    That doesn’t actually need to happen. People in office will go the way their base tells them to go. Above I cited a (nominally) right-wing commenter who wants “free medical for all.” Social Security was once a radical, Commie idea. Now it’s bedrock America, like motherhood and apple pie. “Free medical for all” is going to be the same story, and Republicans will claim it was their idea and they always supported it.

    This isn’t going to happen overnight, but signs are pointing that way.

    And thinking that Sanders is the leader who can get all that done is magical thinking.

    No, of course, he won’t get all that done, because these are long, slow processes. But he will make a lot of progress in the right direction.

    Has he started recruiting the hundreds (thousands?) of lower-level candidates required?

    One step at a time. And as I said, change can happen from the bottom up. When voters are noticed pointing in a certain direction, office-holders will rush to get in front of the parade, even if they have a history of facing in some other direction.

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  41. jukeboxgrad says:

    An Interested Party:

    A Republican Congress will never approve that

    Consider this statement: large numbers of R voters will never support a candidate who says ‘Bush lied, people died.’ Or this one: evangelicals in the south will never support a foul-mouthed New Yorker who is currently married to his third wife.

    Those statements once sounded reasonable, just like your statement sounds reasonable. It’s important to notice when things are changing in a big way. This is one of those times.

    Related material:

    Major partisan realignments do happen in America — on average about once every 40 years. The last one, which involved the unwinding of the New Deal coalition between Northern and Southern Democrats, is variously dated as having occurred in 1968, 1972 and 1980. There are also a lot of false alarms, elections described as realignments that turn out not to be. This time, we really might be in the midst of one. It’s almost impossible to reconcile this year’s Republican nomination contest with anyone’s notion of “politics as usual.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  42. Tillman says:

    OT, but on Twitter Mitt Romney is being attacked by right wing media figures Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham for, of all things, denouncing Trump for not condemning KKK/David Duke endorsements.

    Since there’s a nonzero chance these tweets won’t exist by the morning, here’s a screencap of both.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  43. Kylopod says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker:

    I happened to be listening to Glenn Beck this morning. He was opining that if Trump becomes the nominee, the result will be a landslide of Reaganesque proportions. As much as I’d like to believe that, I have to ask myself: How often has Glenn Beck been right about anything?

    Beck is almost certainly wrong about that. Reagan won 44 states in 1980 (while barely reaching 50% of the popular vote) and 49 states in 1984 (with a solid 58% of the popular vote). To suggest that Hillary or Bernie could achieve either feat, you have to believe that nominating Trump would suddenly put states like Alabama, Alaska, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming in play. That’s 15 states right there, amounting to far more electoral votes than either Carter or Mondale received. The fact is that both parties have a much higher floor than they did during the Reagan era. Indeed, the reddest states are not filled with the sort of people who give a fig about “true conservatism,” but they can be counted on to come out in hoards to vote against anyone with a D after their name.

    Of course, the fact that Trump isn’t likely to lose to a “Reaganesque” degree doesn’t mean he’s likely to win, either. We just need to put these things in perspective.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  44. humanoid.panda says:

    In February 2008, then-Clinton chief adviser Mark Penn discounted early polls that showed Barack Obama performing well in a general election: “Sen. Obama has never faced a credible Republican opponent or the Republican attack machine, so voters are taking a chance that his current poll numbers will hold up after the Republicans get going.”

    Sounds familiar.

    And you know what? Obama was attacked- rather viciously- by both Clinton and the Republicans, and some things that would have sank a weaker candidate, did surface during the campaign. The question is- does Sanders has the ruthlessness, flexibility and rhetorical gifts of Obama? Color me skeptical.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  45. Ravi says:

    @jukeboxgrad

    Social Security was once a radical, Commie idea. Now it’s bedrock America, like motherhood and apple pie.

    Well, with the exception of that major political party with that platform plank about eliminating it, and spends lots of time and energy trying to convince people it’s falling apart (including legislative stunts trying to make that happen)…

    No, of course, he won’t get all that done, because these are long, slow processes. But he will make a lot of progress in the right direction.

    I totally agree getting a Sanders-style agenda is going to be a long, slow process. And it is a process and an agenda that I generally support. But that long, slow process has a lot more to do with Dean’s 50-state strategy than it does with a presidential campaign “playing to win”. Running in the primary is great. Convincing the next generation of Democratic activists that his agenda is the way forward (including many that don’t vote for him) is wonderful.

    But trying to take the next step now is dangerous. How in the world does Sanders winning the nomination or the presidency advance his agenda? It doesn’t. In fact, winning the nomination undoes that progress that has already been made. For instance, if Sanders is nominated and loses (especially to Trump), that will just convince those same activists that no matter how they like his agenda, the public is still very far from buying it.

    And if Sanders wins and then can’t get any meaningful policy victories (as the short-term configuration of political forces essentially guarantees) that’s just the next level of disillusionment. Remember a lot of the enthusiasm for Sanders is being powered by disillusionment with Obama. But in comparison to Obama, a Sanders presidency will have promised a lot more and delivered a lot less.

    By contrast, nominating Hillary does move the ball forward. If she’s nominated and loses (especially to Trump), that’s a clear signal that incrementalism is no longer enough. At the moment, this is a very uncertain proposition because second-term Obama (who Democrats generally approve of) has been a very incremental president. Alternatively, if she’s nominated and wins, she preserves our existing gains, banks the tactical victories she can (e.g. confirming judges, doing more with executive orders and so on) while being far less disillusioning because she promised less. I don’t necessarily expect her to be re-elected, but even if she isn’t she’ll still finish the job of laying the foundation for the next (political) generation’s gains.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  46. Kylopod says:

    jukeboxgrad:

    I think Trump’s core message is this: the game is rigged, by both parties, and the little people are getting screwed. I happen to think this assertion is true, and I think Trump’s base agrees with me. Trump and Sanders are the only two candidates who are communicating this message in a strong, convincing, committed manner. So when Trump’s base says ‘we like him because he tells it like it is,’ I think to a great extent what they are thinking about is this particular message of his.

    Then why isn’t Sanders described as a “Tell it like it is” candidate anywhere near as often as Trump? And why, for that matter, do we hear the phrase applied to figures like Chris Christie, whose campaign was anything but populist? The fact is that people just tend to assume that anyone who’s brash and vulgar is automatically honest and straightforward. I think that has a lot more to do with the “Tell it like it is” stereotype than any particular message Trump is preaching.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  47. jukeboxgrad says:

    humanoid.panda:

    does Sanders has the ruthlessness, flexibility and rhetorical gifts of Obama?

    Of course not, but who does? Obama is in a special class inhabited only by him, Bill Clinton, and no other living American I can think of right now. But on the scales you named, I think Sanders is much closer to Obama than Hillary is. On a stage with Clinton and Trump, I think it will look like a contest between a phony, calculating person and a real, spontaneous person. On a stage with Sanders and Trump, I think it will look like a contest between a man and a boy.

    Trump’s most effective attacks are fundamentally personal, and have nothing to do with policy or ideas. Clinton is an easy target for him because she is not liked and not trusted. Even many people who would vote for her don’t like her very much and don’t trust her very much. Trump will say ‘no one trusts you’ and the attack will work because it’s pretty close to the truth.

    Sanders is a difficult target for Trump because Sanders is fundamentally liked and trusted. Policy-based attacks (‘he’s a commie, he’s going to raise your taxes’) are not personal, and are not the game that Trump likes to play.

    What is the Trump-style attack against Sanders? A younger version of Trump would go for the jugular with various forms of ‘you’re ancient, you’re falling apart,’ but actual Trump can’t do this, because the actual age difference is less than 5 years.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  48. jukeboxgrad says:

    Ravi:

    with the exception of that major political party with that platform plank about eliminating it

    Which R candidate ever dares to say plainly they want to eliminate SS? This never happens. Of course they want to, but they never dare to say this. On the other hand, Trump is the only R candidate saying he won’t touch it at all, and his base loves this.

    a lot of the enthusiasm for Sanders is being powered by disillusionment with Obama

    Yes, that’s an astute observation.

    But in comparison to Obama, a Sanders presidency will have promised a lot more and delivered a lot less.

    Could be, who knows. My premise is that a President Sanders would be drawing a surprising amount of grass-roots support from the right. Look at what Tea Party says about Wall St, and then look at what Occupy says about Wall St, and you see a lot in common. Sanders could draw support from working-class Rs in a way that Clinton never will, because they’ve spent too many decades learning to dislike and distrust her.

    In comparison, what will a Clinton presidency accomplish? She will not have a chance at the crossover appeal I just described. It will be the same old pitched battle of R vs D (and black vs white, since her base is disproportionately black), and 8 years of intense R obstructionism will become 12 years of intense R obstructionism. And at the end of another 4 years of depressing gridlock, Rubio will be in a strong position to replace her.

    she preserves our existing gains … while being far less disillusioning because she promised less

    But you know the most disillusioning thing of all? The idea that we can’t escape from the current paradigm of extreme polarization and permanent gridlock. This is the key promise that Obama made and could not keep. No one expects Clinton to address this. Polarization in a Clinton presidency would be as least as bad as it is now. Sanders is appealing because he has a shot at being part of a fundamental realignment.

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  49. jukeboxgrad says:

    Kylopod:

    Then why isn’t Sanders described as a “Tell it like it is” candidate anywhere near as often as Trump?

    Except that he is described that way, by voters:

    Sanders is the clear winner on a quality that matter most to a third of the public – being honest and trustworthy. In fact, his rating on honesty is the highest of any of the remaining candidates with the public overall, Republican or Democrat. Clinton and Republican Donald Trump fare the worst.

    Even though Trump himself is a liar, he will be effective in attacking Clinton as a liar, because people already see her that way. This line of attack will not work against Sanders.

    And why, for that matter, do we hear the phrase applied to figures like Chris Christie, whose campaign was anything but populist?

    ‘Populist’ and ‘honest’ are two entirely different parameters. There is only one candidate who has both: Sanders.

    people just tend to assume that anyone who’s brash and vulgar is automatically honest and straightforward

    The phenomenon you’re describing is real, but it’s not the whole picture. It’s more complicated than that. Sanders is definitely seen as honest and straightforward, more than any other candidate, but he is definitely not seen as brash and vulgar.

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  50. Kylopod says:

    jukeboxgrad:

    Except that he is described that way, by voters

    I wasn’t talking about voters, I was talking about the media. It’s striking that after all the lies Trump has been caught on, many, many commentators still insist on viewing him as “a guy speaking his mind.” And I’m not just talking about his supporters–many people who have no love for Trump have credited him with blunt candor. They say things like, “Well, he may be crazy, but at least he’s honest.” I already mentioned, in the blog post I linked to, Frank Rich’s description of Trump’s style as “improvisational candor.” Here in this very thread, the commenter Frank (no connection, I presume) suggested that maybe Trump believes his own BS.

    Sanders, for the most part, hasn’t been cast in this way by the pundits. They may not be calling him a liar, but his reputation in the media isn’t as a politician who’s unusually blunt or a straight talker.

    Of course, both Donald Trump and Chris Christie have frequently used that phrase “Tell it like it is”; as far as I’m aware, Sanders hasn’t. And it’s that phrase that has done a lot of the rhetorical work in linking brashness with honesty. The linguist Geoff Nunberg explored the history of the phrase last year, particularly its use by politicians:

    http://www.npr.org/2015/07/15/423194262/tracing-the-origin-of-the-campaign-promise-to-tell-it-like-it-is

    As you may notice, one of the pols credited with popularizing the phrase as a campaign slogan was someone Trump has often been compared with: George Wallace. Nothing could be more fitting on this point, because the phrase “Tell it like it is” is the perfect cover for racist demagoguery. Ever since the 1960s (and probably earlier, as I noted a few days ago), it has become socially unacceptable to admit to racial prejudices openly. But millions of white Americans have continued to hold such prejudices, and they have learned to keep these beliefs to themselves most of the time. They end up assuming that everyone is secretly racist just like they are but are too afraid to admit it. (There’s a scene in The Sopranos where Meadow protests her dad’s racism, and he responds, “Why don’t you admit it, you’re thinking exactly what I’m thinking?”) This makes them easy prey for public figures who “go there,” who speak racist tropes explicitly and without hesitation. To the private citizens, this seems to legitimate their beliefs and make them acceptable.

    And that’s the real power of the phrase “Tell it like it is”: it’s a phrase implying that there are plain, simple truths so obvious that everyone knows them to be true, but which people are afraid to voice aloud due to the oppressive rules of decorum–or “political correctness”–which have kept people from saying what they truly feel. The possibility that one’s private feelings and beliefs might be questionable never comes up, because the phrase “Tell it like it is” shifts the focus away from the issue of justifying the beliefs and toward the social taboos standing in the way of expressing them openly. It also confuses sincerity with truth: it is possible for a person to be 100% honest about what they believe even if what they believe is bullshit.

    None of these assumptions are really reflected in any of Sanders’ rhetoric. He may be seen as honest and trustworthy, but what’s important is why. It isn’t because he’s calling Mexicans rapists or bringing up a female reporter’s menstrual cycle. The Sanders mode of honesty is very different from Trump’s “Tell it like it is” shtick–apples and oranges–and according to your own link, most voters seem to think so too.

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  51. C. Clavin says:

    Super Tuesday…the official beginning of the end of the GOP

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  52. KM says:

    @jukeboxgrad:

    Policy-based attacks (‘he’s a commie, he’s going to raise your taxes’) are not personal, and are not the game that Trump likes to play.

    Are you serious??? “Socialist” and “Commie” has been a personal slur in this country for going on half a century now. In fact, it still lingers in our lexicon BECAUSE its a personal insult, not a political/social indicator (see “librul” or “hippie” for further education). It’s taken on a unique cultural connotation completely separate from it’s ideological roots and is widely applied regardless of actual beliefs to smear anyone from a presidential candidate to blog poster. Honestly, go hang out on some non-political news website (like Yahoo) and count how often it appears in the comments as a pejorative. Most people who use it today have never meet a real Socialist, don’t know what it is, and don’t freaking care. It means “bad” to them, “Other” . That’s all it has to mean.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  53. lKD says:

    @Frank:
    I hear the same things about Trump over and over and most people think it is just the uneducated. This is really a revolution. Many in the electorate across the board recognize or think they recognize two classes of people. Those who make the rules but don’t live by them called the politicians and the rest who must live by the rules. It has now reached a breaking point. There has been no politician to challenge this system because they are too well paid. The five highest per capita incomes are in counties surrounding DC. These are not GS 7 workers but the consultants that feed on the DC machine regulations and tax dollars. trump represents someone who at least people think will go against this system. Most know he is flawed but he is the only choice. The rest are all bought and paid for. These same people look at the hysteria and pushback against Trump of evidence that something very valuable has been challenged. The problem for the political class is that they only get one vote like the rest of us. Don’t write him off that would be a mistake. This is a bloodless revolution.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  54. KM says:

    @lKD:

    Those who make the rules but don’t live by them called the politicians and the rest who must live by the rules. There has been no politician to challenge this system because they are too well paid. The five highest per capita incomes are in counties surrounding DC.

    This is where that logic breaks down: Complain the rich aren’t challenging the rich people’s system so…. send a rich guy proudly known for being a part of that system. Complain politicians play political games so…. send a guy who happily plays games and enthusiastically wants to be in politics. Complain “important” people don’t live by the rules set for others….. send Trump to kill the nation via irony?

    That isn’t a bloodless revolution, it’s a snowjob of people who fundamentally misunderstand the world. It’s like complaining about the high frequency of hospital errors and insisting on a Jiffy Lube mechanic instead of a surgeon. It’s all just parts that need fixing right? There’s enough surgeons in surgery, we need a viable alternative!! Those damn doctors are totally owned by Big Pharma; they keep giving me prescriptions for stuff like antibiotics to prevent infection! Why can’t they just build a wall around the hospital and keep germs out? Down with the AMA, over-regulating bastards!!

    hese same people look at the hysteria and pushback against Trump of evidence that something very valuable has been challenged.

    $50 bucks those same people think someone complaining about the Kardashians being famous for nothing are just “haters”. A true challenge needs substance – otherwise it’s what could kindly be referred to as “poser”. Fix the system from within but sending the Joke Character isn’t the way to do it…..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  55. LaMont says:

    @Kylopod:

    Or in short – The only difference between Trump’s rhetoric and 7 years of conservative rhetoric is that Trump decided to throw out the dog whistles!!! I have come to that conclusion a while ago. I personally believe a lot of the anger these Trump supporters are showing is grossly misguided anger. They are likely more angry at the Republican establishment for some of the very same reasons that always frustrated progressives, hence, the reason they really don’t care about some of Trump’s more progressive stances in the past. The wildcard here, besides Trump’s media pull (which should not be overlooked in all this), is the fact that Trump is willing to pounce on the bigoted side of these individuals by simply throwing out the dog whistles.

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  56. Rafer Janders says:

    @KM:

    Most people who use it today have never meet a real Socialist, don’t know what it is, and don’t freaking care. It means “bad” to them, “Other” . That’s all it has to mean.

    Yeah, but those people aren’t going to vote for a Democrat anyway. We recognize that 45% of the population will always support the conservative candidate, and those are the same people to whom it’s an insult. But there’s a persuadable 10% approx. in the middle who don’t have a strong opinion one way or the other, and that’s who can be reached to form a winning majority.

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  57. Moosebreath says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    “Most people who use it today have never meet a real Socialist, don’t know what it is, and don’t freaking care. It means “bad” to them, “Other” . That’s all it has to mean.

    Yeah, but those people aren’t going to vote for a Democrat anyway.”

    I think this is where the disagreement lies. The polling which the pro-Clinton posters point to shows that not all people opposed to voting for a self-proclaimed socialist are Republicans. Many typically vote for Democrats.

    And while Republicans have been calling every Democrat a socialist for decades, the difference between Sanders and Clinton or Obama is that Sanders also calls himself a socialist (and the word “democratic” will be quickly elided in attack ads), and uses rhetoric which explicitly calls for revolution unlike the others. So it will stick with Sanders in a way it would not to Clinton.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  58. KM says:

    @Moosebreath:

    Yes, this. Pro-Sanders Democrats are taking for granted their typcial voters will fall in line for him because he’s not-Hillary, despite the fact that Liberal=/= Socialist for a huge section of the voting block. We have single issue voters too, you know. There’s a ton of blue-collar union workers who grew up with the spectre of Communism As Evil ingrained in them via cultural osmosis but still value what their union membership brings them. They like socialism with the little s in practice but will resent being called a Socialist to their face. Sanders people are really undervaluing how deep this goes, especially with anyone born pre-Reagan; the fact that they are treating it like a strength despite what the polling is telling them means they’re making the rather big assumption his charisma and idealism will override that social hesitance.

    We’re questioning the wisdom that the Repubs will hold their nose and vote Trump to spite the Dems; how they can’t assume that in this environment that they won’t just sit it out. Why then do people think Dems will just fall in and vote Sanders if they can’t get past this?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  59. jukeboxgrad says:

    Kylopod:

    I already mentioned, in the blog post I linked to, Frank Rich’s description of Trump’s style as “improvisational candor.”

    Thank you for reminding me of that Frank Rich article, which I read at the time. I still think it’s probably the best thing I have ever read about Trumpism. In your blog post, you said this about that article:

    In my last post I marveled at how quick so many people are to attribute honesty to Trump, but it’s especially striking coming from a liberal like Rich.

    I think you are badly misunderstanding Frank Rich. I think the essence of your mistake is that you are treating “honesty” and “candor” as synonyms. Yes, they will often appear in a thesaurus as synonyms, but there is nevertheless an important difference in meaning, and that difference is especially relevant in this context.

    “Honest” means I care a lot about making sure that all my statements are factually true. “Candid” means I am inclined to say whatever I am thinking. I don’t adjust my answer because I’m afraid of how someone else might react. Instead, I am blunt, frank, direct, outspoken and fearless in my statements. Notice that one can be honest without being candid. Take another look at how Frank Rich explains this:

    A perfect paradigm of how lame old-school, top-heavy campaigns can be was crystallized by a single story on the front page of the Times … Its headline said it all: “Clinton Aides Set New Focus for Campaign — A More Personal Tone of Humor and Heart.” By announcing this “new focus” to the Times, which included “new efforts to bring spontaneity” to a candidacy that “sometimes seems wooden,” these strategists were at once boasting of their own (supposed) political smarts and denigrating their candidate, who implicitly was presented as incapable of being human without their direction and scripts. … They [Clinton’s aides who leaked the story] all seemed unaware of the downside of portraying Clinton as someone who delegated her “heart” to political operatives and her calibration of contrition to a focus group. By offering a stark contrast to such artifice, the spontaneous, unscripted Trump is challenging the validity and value of the high-priced campaign strategists, consultants, and pollsters who dominate our politics, shape journalistic coverage, and persuade even substantial candidates to outsource their souls to focus groups and image doctors.

    One can be highly candid and also be someone who lies a lot. That’s Trump. Trump is candid but not honest. The candor is so rare and exciting that people forgive the dishonesty. Clinton has the worst of both worlds, because she is not candid and also not honest.

    This is the main reason why Clinton is going to struggle against Trump. Standing on a stage together, he is going to look “spontaneous” and “unscripted,” and she’s going to look like someone who was created by “focus groups and image doctors.”

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  60. jukeboxgrad says:

    KM:

    “Socialist” and “Commie” has been a personal slur in this country for going on half a century now

    I think you misunderstand what I mean when I say “personal.” Trump’s best weapon is personal attacks that are truly personal. That means I am attacking something about you that is physical, permanent, involuntary. It doesn’t mean attacking what you believe or do. It means attacking what you are. You sweat, you’re short, you’re ugly, you’re a Cuban, you’re a n****r are all personal attacks. Also a personal attack: you have blood coming out of your whatever. Also a personal attack: you’re a fat pig. Also a personal attack: I think you just peed in your pants. Also a personal attack: you have small hands, which means you also have a small dick.

    “Commie” is in an entirely different category, because it’s an attack on your beliefs. Not as powerful, not as intimate, not as cutting.

    They like socialism with the little s in practice but will resent being called a Socialist to their face. Sanders people are really undervaluing how deep this goes, especially with anyone born pre-Reagan; the fact that they are treating it like a strength despite what the polling is telling them

    “What the polling is telling them” is that it doesn’t matter. Everyone knows that Sanders and ‘socialist’ are two words that go together, and he’s beating Clinton in the general election matchups anyway.

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  61. jukeboxgrad says:

    And what I’ve been talking about is nicely illustrated in today’s NYT:

    Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton are polar opposite politicians, and Mr. Trump’s direct and visceral style could prove difficult for Mrs. Clinton, whose inclination is detailed policy talk and 12-point plans. “Can you imagine what he’ll do?” Mr. Dowd, the former Bush strategist, said. She will bring up equal pay for women and abortion rights, Mr. Dowd said, “and he’ll turn to her and say, ‘You can’t even handle your stuff at home.’ ”

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  62. Grewgills says:

    @jbg:

    and 8 years of intense R obstructionism will become 12 years of intense R obstructionism. And at the end of another 4 years of depressing gridlock

    We’re gonna have that with any president with a D after their name, Clinton, Sanders, or Jesus risen.

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  63. jukeboxgrad says:

    We’re gonna have that with any president with a D after their name

    Another statement based on this concept: ‘nothing ever changes.’ Trump is proof that this concept is wrong. Trump has proven his ability to create change. Sanders is someone else who can create change.

    Clinton is not going to create change. Clinton’s entire concept is to be Obama’s third term, which is a losing concept right now. That concept worked in 1988, but now is not 1988.

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  64. Moosebreath says:

    @jukebox:

    “She will bring up equal pay for women and abortion rights, Mr. Dowd said, “and he’ll turn to her and say, ‘You can’t even handle your stuff at home.’ ””

    And a well-prepared Clinton will respond that Trump is not exactly a stranger to extra-marital affairs, and that her marriage is strong enough to survive a bit of philandering, unlike his twice so far.

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  65. jukeboxgrad says:

    a well-prepared Clinton will respond that Trump is not exactly a stranger to extra-marital affairs, and that her marriage is strong enough to survive a bit of philandering, unlike his twice so far

    I predict that she will not respond that way. I think her advisers will agree with my view, that she would be lowering herself to talk that way. It’s only her surrogates that will be allowed to talk that way.

    Also, Trump and his campaign will take advantage of the unfortunate double standard. A man who cheats and remarries to another hot piece of ass is a stud, a hero, a winner. Also, he will not be above hinting that she’s gay, and that’s why Bill cheats. It’s going to be incredibly ugly, far beyond what she has faced before in decades of being attacked by Rs.

    Speaking of gay: attacking Trump as an adulterer will get you nowhere, but you know what would be good? Proving that he’s gay. And it wouldn’t just work because his base hates gays. It would work because it undercuts a core message: ‘I have always been candid with you. What you see is what you get. Nothing about me is phony.’

    Anyway, when Trump attacks her that way on stage, she will just pivot to another subject, because she has no good answer. These attacks will be effective because they are grounded in truth, or at least what voters have accepted as truth.

    The big difference this year is that no other R candidate would ever stoop to attacking her that way (only surrogates would conduct such nasty attacks). Trump, however, is not above stooping. Trump is unprecedented and dangerous because he wins by stooping. Every time he does so, he is flaunting his candor, which is a key element of his appeal. This is why every new outrageous statement makes his polls go up instead of down. A lot of people have this reaction: ‘I have to admit that I don’t exactly like what he said, but nevertheless I’m impressed that he has such big balls.’

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  66. Moosebreath says:

    @jukebox:

    “I predict that she will not respond that way. I think her advisers will agree with my view, that she would be lowering herself to talk that way. It’s only her surrogates that will be allowed to talk that way.”

    It would be poor tactics when the campaign is already in the gutter to act as if you are above it all. I predict that Clinton will respond in kind, knowing it will throw Trump off his game, as no one has dared speak to him in that manner in decades, at the least. We could even see him blow a gasket in the middle of a debate if that happened.

    “Also, he will not be above hinting that she’s gay, and that’s why Bill cheats. It’s going to be incredibly ugly, far beyond what she has faced before in decades of being attacked by Rs.”

    If they are trying to go far beyond what she has faced before, they will have to do better than that. I’ve heard that dozens of times.

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  67. jukeboxgrad says:

    I predict that Clinton will respond in kind

    Of course you might be right. All we can both do on this is speculate.

    no one has dared speak to him in that manner in decades

    Except Rubio?

    If they are trying to go far beyond what she has faced before, they will have to do better than that. I’ve heard that dozens of times.

    Only from surrogates. Never from a major figure, and never to her face, and in a major setting like a debate. Not even close. And this is a difference that matters.

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  68. Moosebreath says:

    @jukebox:

    “Except Rubio?”

    There’s a difference between a goofy shot with no substantive basis behind it, and one which will draw commentary from the “fact checkers” pointing out that it is true.

    “Only from surrogates. Never from a major figure, and never to her face, and in a major setting like a debate. Not even close. And this is a difference that matters.”

    I will disagree. She’s heard it, and is sufficiently professional to take the hit, and hit back. That’s the difference between Hillary and Rubio or Jeb!.

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  69. jukeboxgrad says:

    That’s the difference between Hillary and Rubio or Jeb!.

    I will agree with you that Clinton has bigger balls (and I mean that only in the best possible way) than Rubio or Jeb, and will handle Trump much better than they did. So I don’t want to overstate my case. I’m not totally hopeless about her. Also, while I’m saying that she is, to a great extent, a creation of her team, and that creates a problem of authenticity, it is also the case that she has a great team, in my opinion. So that’s another reason why I’m still fairly hopeful about how she will do.

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  70. Grewgills says:

    @jbg:
    New polling from CNN is showing Sanders and Clinton with near identical margins over Trump in the general.

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  71. jukeboxgrad says:

    near identical margins over Trump

    From your article:

    Clinton tops Trump 52% to 44% … Sanders … 55% to 43% against Trump

    Clinton wins by a margin of 8%. Sanders wins by a margin of 12%. 8 and 12 are “near identical?” If I increase a number by 50%, I get a result that is “near identical” to the original number? If your boss gives you a 50% raise, do you complain that your new salary is “near identical” to your old salary?

    Since in your world 8 and 12 are “near identical,” then I guess it would be OK with you if I borrow from you the latter and then repay the former?

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  72. Dave D says:

    @jukeboxgrd: Margin of error is +/- 3 so it is well within the margin of error that make them “nearly identical.” That is how statistics work.

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  73. jukeboxgrad says:

    That is how statistics work.

    Actually it’s not. Your comment reflects an extremely common misunderstanding about the concept of ‘margin of error.’

    The poll said Clinton, running against Trump, would get 52%. The margin of error is 3%. You are essentially interpreting that information as follows: ‘since the margin of error is 3%, the poll isn’t really telling us that Clinton will get 52%. The poll is telling us that Clinton might get 49%, or she might get 55%, or she might get any number in the range 49% to 55%. And all those outcomes are equally likely; that is, the likelihood of her getting 55% is just as high as the likelihood of her getting 52%.’

    That’s what you’re saying, right? If that’s what you’re saying, let me know, and I’ll show you citations which explain why you’re wrong. Or if that’s not what you’re saying, then please tell me what you’re saying.

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  74. Kylopod says:

    jukeboxgrad:

    “Honest” means I care a lot about making sure that all my statements are factually true. “Candid” means I am inclined to say whatever I am thinking.

    I don’t know where you got that distinction from, but it isn’t supported in any dictionary that I can find. Here is a sampling from the web of what candid means according to dictionaries:

    (Google’s dictionary) truthful and straightforward; frank

    (Merriam-Webster) indicating or suggesting sincere honesty and absence of deception

    (American Heritage) characterized by openness and sincerity of expression; unreservedly straightforward

    Now, it is true that candor implies more than simply honesty. It also suggests directness. But honesty is still central to the concept; “candid liar” is an oxymoron.

    With that in mind, let’s review the full context of Rich’s remarks:

    …for all the efforts to dismiss Trump as an entertainer, in truth it’s his opponents who are more likely to be playacting, reciting their politically correct and cautious lines by rote. The political market for improvisational candor is as large as it was after Vietnam and Watergate, and right now Trump pretty much has a monopoly on it.

    Here Rich is clearly arguing that Trump is more authentic and sincere than the other candidates–which is a major stretch, to put it mildly. This is a guy who has earned the Pants on Fire rating from Politifact 20 times, far more than any of his opponents. As for authenticity, Andrew Kaczynski of Buzzfeed has done a thorough job documenting Trump’s bewildering amount of flip-flops over the years. If Mitt Romney was inauthentic because he took so many positions that you couldn’t tell what he really believed, what does that say about Trump, who far exceeds Romney on that front? He didn’t just flip on abortion and gays and health care and taxes. In 2009 he was a big Obama fan; less than two years later he was pushing the birther conspiracy theory. In 1999 he was attacking Pat Buchanan for nativism and racism, and as late as 2012 was criticizing Romney’s “self-deportation” remarks. Less than six months ago he argued that Cruz’s Canadian birth didn’t matter…until Cruz started rising in the polls.

    None of this can reasonably be described as “improvisational candor” or candor of any kind–whether we accept the dictionary definition of the term or your definition. He isn’t speaking his mind, he’s saying things deliberately designed to provoke people in the manner of his choosing and to achieve the ends that he desires.

    The fallacy in Rich’s analysis is that he overlooks the fact that there’s more than one way of being dishonest. Just because Trump doesn’t practice the polished, cautious deception of the average politician doesn’t mean he’s more truthful than they. It’s also possible to lie in an erratic and bombastic manner, which is exactly what Trump does. I’m not saying the latter is necessarily “worse” than the former. In some ways the standard political hucksters are more dangerous, because their lies are likelier to escape people’s attention. But overall (and despite his saying some things I happen to agree with, such as his attacks on Bush’s handling of the War on Terror), he’s still at bottom basically a scam artist, it’s just a different brand of snake oil from the one we’re normally offered.

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  75. jukeboxgrad says:

    I don’t know where you got that distinction from, but it isn’t supported in any dictionary that I can find.

    Then maybe you should try this dictionary:

    candid … openly straightforward and direct without reserve or secretiveness

    Which also says this:

    honest … marked by truth … not disposed to cheat or defraud; not deceptive or fraudulent

    “Reserve” means a lack of openness. If I choose to express myself with “reserve,” that doesn’t mean I am being “deceptive or fraudulent.” It just means I have decided that the contents of my mind are none of your business.

    Yes, the words ‘candid’ and ‘honest’ are often used as synonyms, but that’s not what matters. What matters is what Frank Rich meant when he used the word ‘candor.’ How can we tell what he meant? By looking at the context. Notice what Rich said:

    … on the matters of race, women, and immigration that threaten the GOP’s future viability in nonwhite, non-male America, he is at one with his party’s base. What he does so rudely is call the GOP’s bluff by saying loudly, unambiguously, and repeatedly the ugly things that other Republican politicians try to camouflage in innuendo, focus-group-tested euphemisms, and consultantspeak. … Trump embarrasses the GOP by saying in public what “real” Republicans keep private. The telling moment in the Fox News debate was not when Megyn Kelly called him out for slurring women as “fat pigs” and “dogs” but the cheers from the audience at Trump’s retort, in which he directed those same epithets at Rosie O’Donnell. (No one onstage protested.)

    If I go on TV and say ‘I think Rosie O’Donnell is a fat pig,’ that doesn’t give you any reason to think I’m an honest person, but it does indeed suggest that I’m a candid person. Rude and misogynistic, but also candid. When Trump is found “saying loudly, unambiguously, and repeatedly the ugly things that other Republican politicians try to camouflage in innuendo, focus-group-tested euphemisms, and consultantspeak,” that can be described as Trump being “openly straightforward and direct without reserve or secretiveness,” which is the dictionary definition of ‘candid.’

    That’s obviously what Rich is talking about when he highlight’s Trump’s “candor.” That’s also what supporters and observers are talking about when they say Trump ‘tells it like it is.’ Above you said this:

    It’s striking that after all the lies Trump has been caught on, many, many commentators still insist on viewing him as “a guy speaking his mind.”

    You are badly misunderstanding Rich, and you are also badly misunderstanding those “many, many commentators.” Trump has (or at least is good at pretending to have) the mind of a tea party voter, the R base. When Trump is found “saying loudly, unambiguously, and repeatedly the ugly things that other Republican politicians try to camouflage in innuendo, focus-group-tested euphemisms, and consultantspeak,” here’s what he’s doing: he’s “speaking his mind.” And when I point this out about him, I am not saying he’s honest, and I’m not saying he’s good, but I am saying he’s candid.

    You said this:

    Here Rich is clearly arguing that Trump is more authentic and sincere than the other candidates

    If I say to you with great conviction that I think ‘Rosie O’Donnell is a fat pig,’ then an objective observer can indeed describe my statement as “sincere.”

    As for authenticity, Andrew Kaczynski of Buzzfeed has done a thorough job documenting Trump’s bewildering amount of flip-flops over the years.

    That’s true, and this is why I said “or at least is good at pretending to have.”

    As someone (Einstein? maybe not) once said, everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. Trump has said many important things that are dishonest, but he has also said important things that are honest. As I said above, I think Trump’s core message is this: the game is rigged, by both parties, and the little people are getting screwed. Trump has said this many times, in many ways. I think this is an example of both candor and honesty. There is no contradiction in pointing out that this kind of candor is a key element of his success, while also pointing out that he’s a big fat liar, and a flip-flopper.

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  76. Kylopod says:

    jukeboxgrad:

    Yes, the words ‘candid’ and ‘honest’ are often used as synonyms, but that’s not what matters.

    I never claimed the two words mean exactly the same thing. That’s what synonyms are generally like: there are fine shades of meaning distinguishing them. If I choose to call someone an asshole rather than a schmuck, there may technically be a distinction but it would be safe to say I don’t consider him a nice guy. Candor describes a particular type of honesty, but what you’re trying to do is separate the concept of honesty entirely from the word, and that makes no sense. One cannot be both candid and a liar. You are treating the issue of Trump’s honesty as though it were a side point, but it isn’t: if Trump isn’t honest, then by definition he isn’t candid, just as a square must necessarily be a rectangle even though not all rectangles are squares.

    The definition you provided supports this point. Trump is most definitely deceptive and fraudulent, and the evidence suggests he has plenty of, um, financial secrets–at the very least.

    If I go on TV and say ‘I think Rosie O’Donnell is a fat pig,’ that doesn’t give you any reason to think I’m an honest person, but it does indeed suggest that I’m a candid person.

    Not necessarily. You could be expressing your deepest feelings, but a second possibility is that you’re deliberately taking advantage of the reaction your words provoke in others. What you and Rich fail to consider is that some famous people use controversy as part of a strategy to gain media attention. It’s a form of high-level trolling that celebrities have used since time immemorial to keep themselves in the spotlight. And it’s something that Trump has been doing for his entire career in the public eye. The range of views he has expressed has been all over the map, but his basic approach has stayed the same.

    When Trump is found “saying loudly, unambiguously, and repeatedly the ugly things that other Republican politicians try to camouflage in innuendo, focus-group-tested euphemisms, and consultantspeak,” here’s what he’s doing: he’s “speaking his mind.”

    You have no basis for thinking so when there’s ample evidence he doesn’t believe half the things he says he believes. Just because most Republicans try to hide their extremism doesn’t automatically imply that any Republican who expresses extremist views in plain language is speaking their mind. Ever since his entry into GOP politics in 2011, it’s been clear Trump has been playing to an audience he knows is receptive to his message. He doesn’t have the same incentives as a Paul Ryan or Marco Rubio, and for him, posing as the right-wing id serves his objectives.

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  77. jukeboxgrad says:

    Kylopod:

    I never claimed the two words mean exactly the same thing.

    You said this:

    In my last post I marveled at how quick so many people are to attribute honesty to Trump, but it’s especially striking coming from a liberal like Rich.

    You did that in response to Rich saying this:

    The political market for improvisational candor is as large as it was after Vietnam and Watergate, and right now Trump pretty much has a monopoly on it.

    I highlighted some important words. You explicitly accused Rich of attributing “honesty” to Trump. You did that even though Rich never attributed “honesty” to Trump. What Rich attributed to Trump was “candor.” You accusing Rich of attributing “honesty” to Trump based on Rich’s use of the word “candor” is only legitimate if you believe “the two words mean exactly the same thing.”

    One cannot be both candid and a liar.

    It’s probably true that “one cannot be both candid and a liar,” in the same instant, in a single statement, but it’s entirely possible and ordinary to make a candid statement and follow it with a dishonest statement. A person who does that is “both candid and a liar.”

    Trump has made some important statements that are candid, and he has also made important statements that are lies. These are two different sets of statements. I can notice the former without denying the existence of the latter. Rich was discussing the former.

    You are treating the issue of Trump’s honesty as though it were a side point

    You are determined to put words in Rich’s mouth, so I shouldn’t be surprised that you’re doing the same thing to me.

    if Trump isn’t honest, then by definition he isn’t candid

    No human is either honest all the time or dishonest all the time. When we say that a person is honest or dishonest we are making a generalization, and we know that either way, they are going to make certain statements that are exceptions to the generalization. When Trump makes a statement that is candid, he is being honest.

    Trump is most definitely deceptive and fraudulent

    I’m pretty sure you don’t believe that every statement Trump makes is “deceptive and fraudulent.”

    You could be expressing your deepest feelings, but a second possibility is that you’re deliberately taking advantage of the reaction your words provoke in others.

    Yes, that’s true, but so what? Only a mind-reader can know which it is, and in this context the difference doesn’t matter. Rich pointed out that Trump’s candor is appealing to voters. You seem to be saying that Trump’s candor is just an act. Maybe it is, but that doesn’t matter, because voters don’t see it that way, and the point of Rich’s article is to explain how Trump is seen by voters.

    You have no basis for thinking so when there’s ample evidence he doesn’t believe half the things he says he believes.

    When he contradicts himself, is he lying now, or was he lying before, or did he just change his mind? You don’t know, and you can’t know, and in this context it doesn’t matter. What matters is that he creates an impression of candor, and that’s a key element of his success.

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