National Review Takes On Donald Trump, But It’s Most Likely Too Little, Too Late
The flagship of the American right is leading the charge against Donald Trump, but it's not likely to work.
The magazine that is often credited with helping to give birth to the modern post World War II conservative movement in the United States has come out against Donald Trump in the most prominent manner yet, but it seems like something that will end up being too little, too late:
For months, Republican leaders have worried about how to stop 2016 frontrunner Donald Trump. Now, one of the conservative movement’s most influential publications is taking matters into its own hands.
National Review is dedicating a special issue of its magazine, one week before the Iowa caucuses, to stopping Trump. “Against Trump,” blares the magazine cover. Inside, a blistering editorial questions Trump’s commitment to conservatism, warning voters that backing him is tantamount to allowing the conservative movement to have “fallen in behind a huckster.”
“Trump is a philosophically unmoored political opportunist who would trash the broad conservative ideological consensus within the GOP in favor of a free-floating populism with strong-man overtones,” the editorial reads.
And that’s just the start.
The National Review issue features anti-Trump essays from more than 20 conservative thinkers, leaders and commentators spanning the GOP’s ideological spectrum from David Boaz, executive vice president of the libertarian-infused Cato Institute, to William Kristol, the hawkish editor of the Weekly Standard, to David McIntosh, president of the Club for Growth. All call for Republicans to nominate someone other than Trump.
“This is the time to mobilize,” said National Review editor Rich Lowry, who is also a weekly opinion columnist at POLITICO. “The establishment is AWOL, or even worse, so it’s up to people who really believe in these ideas and principles, for whom they’re not just talking points or positions of convenience, to set out the marker.”
Although Trump has dominated national presidential polls since last summer, he has been subjected to relatively minor attacks on the airwaves. Instead, the more traditional candidates have turned into a circular firing squad shooting at each other, especially anyone who emerges as a possible top Trump alternative. The campaigns and super PACs supporting Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush and Chris Christie have aired millions in ads slamming one another. (The super PAC supporting John Kasich has been the notable exception in targeting Trump.)
With Cruz clinging to a narrow lead in Iowa, and Trump leading everywhere else, the question of who to choose between the two has convulsed through Republican circles in recent days and weeks.
Some leading GOP voices, most notably Bob Dole, have argued that Trump is a deal-maker with whom establishment Republicans could actually work, unlike Cruz. Former GOP Senate leader Trent Lott said he’d take Trump over Cruz, too. And longtime Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad has announced his opposition to Cruz, though he has not backed Trump.
The idea of choosing between Cruz and Trump, though, has soured many Republicans. “It’s like being shot or poisoned,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, who recently dropped out of the presidential race and endorsed Bush, said on Capitol Hill Thursday. “What does it really matter?”
For movement conservatives, Lowry said, the choice is clear: Anybody but Trump.
“We’ve spent our lifetimes opposing poll-driven Republicans, and here’s a guy who’s the single most poll-obsessed politician in the history of the United States, judging by what he says,” Lowry said. “And we’re going to put him in the White House and expect him to stand by anything he’s said? It’s an insane gamble.”
Among those penning anti-Trump pieces are the faces and voices of other top conservative outlets, including Kristol, Ben Domenech, publisher of the Federalist, Erick Erickson, former editor of RedState.com, Yuval Levin, editor of National Affairs, and John Podhoretz, editor of Commentary. Syndicated USA Today columnist Cal Thomas writes an anti-Trump essay, and so does Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.
You can read the piece by National Review’s Editors and the pieces by many leading pundits on the right online this morning, To be fair, for the most part these are arguments that many on the right have been making for months now, seemingly in vain, as Trump has risen in the polls week after week and defied the expectations of pundits who said time after time that his dominance of the polls that could not last and that his latest offensive comment or outburst would be the one that ends his dominance of the polls. They’ve been wrong each time, of course. Donald Trump has been leading the polls nationally, as well as in New Hampshire and South Carolina for basically six months now, and he’s either led or nearly shared the lead in Iowa for the same amount of time. The idea that he’s some kind of flash in the pan, or that he can or will be brought down by something he said, or something some pundit or even one of his opponents says about him, has been refuted time after time. Given that, it’s hard to believe that this latest effort by National Review and other conservatives will have any more of an impact on Trump than any of the other attacks notwithstanding the fact that it would be good to see Trump go this far as the leader of the field only to find it all knocked down just when it seems like he has a real chance of becoming the Republican nominee for President. I just don’t see any evidence that these arguments, most of which we’ve seen from the same authors many times over the past six months, are going accomplish much of anything.
Not surprisingly, Trump has started hitting back at National Review within hours after the new issue was posted online via his Twitter account:
National Review is a failing publication that has lost it’s way. It’s circulation is way down w its influence being at an all time low. Sad!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 22, 2016
Very few people read the National Review because it only knows how to criticize, but not how to lead. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 22, 2016
The late, great, William F. Buckley would be ashamed of what had happened to his prize, the dying National Review!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 22, 2016
The bigger problem that movement conservatives like those who are going after Trump in National Review face is the fact that their arguments are unlikely to be effective because they either miss the point of what created the Trump phenomenon, or because they don’t want to acknowledge it. First of all, the arguments that many of Trump’s conservative critics make is the continued belief that voters generally place a lot of importance on political ideology when they decide who to vote for. The reality is that when one looks at exit polls, or talks to voters after an election, it becomes clear that the number of people who vote for a candidate based on the purity of their adherence to the ideology of the left or the right is really relatively small. Far more people base their votes on more abstract factors such as how a candidate makes them feel, or how a candidate speaks to the issues that impact them personally. These attacks on Trump that essentially center on the argument that he’s not a “real” conservative are, therefore, unlikely to be persuaded by arguments that essentially boil down to the idea that Trump should be rejected because he doesn’t adhere to some dictionary definition of what “conservatism” is or should be. Indeed, to the extent that the people who are backing Trump now are motivated ideology it’s arguably the case that they are well aware of Trump’s alleged deviations from conservative orthodoxy and simply don’t care about it.
A second problem with the anti-Trump strategy that National Review and other conservatives have now committed themselves too seemingly at the last minute is the fact that it largely plays into Trump’s hands as it helps him characterize himself as the continued target of a Republican/conservative establishment that wants to maintain its hold on power. By and large, it seems likely that the audience that reads National Review was already largely opposed to Trump long before this issue was posted last night. The voters who are inclined to support Trump right now, on the other hand, seem to consist largely of people who don’t necessarily immerse themselves in politics, and certainly not in the finer points of conservative philosophy. Many of them are attracted to Trump not because of the specifics of his plans, but because he talks tough and personifies their frustrations with the powers-that-be in a way that none of the other candidates are able to do. They support Trump because he says the things that they say behind closed doors, whether it’s about government, immigration, the way government works to benefit entrenched interests, or the fact the general incompetence of contemporary politicians. Combined with Trump’s undeniable abilities as a master of how to use the media to his own advantage, that seems to be the real reason that Trump is succeeding. When a bunch of conservative pundits attack Trump in a magazine that most of them have never read, they’re more likely to chalk it up to the elites being afraid of Trump and what he represents than to pause to reflect on whether Trump is a “real” conservative.
Finally, the main reason this latest effort to take down Donald Trump is that it fails to recognize several truths about the Trump phenomenon that are likely to make many on the right uncomfortable. Like it or not, Donald Trump represents the apotheosis of many of the forces that Republicans and conservatives have been tapping into for years now in order to invigorate the party and the movement. The populism, the nativism, the anti-immigrant xenophobia, the outright bias against Islam that makes someone think that a proposal to exclude them from entering the country is reasonable, and the anti-intellectual chest beating that epitomize the Trump supporter can all be traced to differing elements of the Tea Party and the GOP base that have been cultivated over the past twenty years or more by politicians eager to grab political power. For the most part, all of these elements of the base and the Tea Party were apparent years ago, but few people on the right said anything about it because they were able to exploit it to win elections. Those who did criticize it were decidedly in the minority at the time and largely ignored or even openly derided. The 2010 elections and the rise of the Tea Party as a force in Congress, though, demonstrated quite clearly what happens when these forces are given political power, and now we’re seeing what happens when someone with the rhetorical skills and media savvy of a Donald Trump taps into those forces, and it’s difficult to see how he’s going to be stopped unless the rest of the GOP unites behind a candidate capable of taking him on notwithstanding the fact that every previous effort to take Trump on has failed miserably. In the end then, Republicans have nobody to blame for Donald Trump but themselves. They opened Pandora’s Box and now they’re paying the price.
William F. Buckley?? What a liberal RINO… :))
I suspect the Republican Establishment wanted to wait until after the Trump-Cruz war started so that any support Trump loses won’t go to Cruz (as seemed likely last fall). I have 4 issues with this:
1. it is not likely to work in that it is not speaking through a medium which most of the Republican base will ever hear (as opposed to Trump being denounced by Rush Limbaugh, which if it occurred would be far more likely to succeed).
2. As Doug noted, the objections raised are not likely to cause Trump supporters to change their minds. Trump’s supporters are not the Republican establishment, which is more interested in ideological positioning, they are the base which is tired of being dictated to by the establishment.
3. In the event this works, the chance of a Trump third party candidacy and a long-term split in the Republican Party is high.
4. I fear the world’s popcorn production will be insufficient to keep up with my demand.
Every week Barron’s runs anti-Trump articles. With Hillary on the ropes in Iowa and New Hampshire Wall Street and the rest of the establishment is running scared that Democracy may finally have come to the point that people will vote their own interests instead of the interests of the oligarchy.
It’s fun to watch, of course the President has little power to change much on his/her own, but I appreciate that the Very Serious Billionaires who run the United States are clearly frightened by what they see.
As a result of this, the Republican National Committee has disinvited the National Review from hosting a debate in February.
Serious question – what would the lead time on the publication of this issue have been? These arguments probably would not have worked a couple of months ago, but they seem really dated now. It seems to be established by now that Trump supporters are pretty much anti-establishment types, so a series of articles by conservative establishment writers would be worse than useless. I would not be surprised if we found out a year from now that some arm of Trump’s empire bought National Review three months ago.
Trump just needs to put Palin on the ticket and Lowry will get starbursts in his eyes!
Some years ago I set out to find good conservative writers. It took me awhile to realize that the conservative intellectuals speak for and to no one but themselves. The .01% establishment know they’re only in it for the money. The base never heard of Buckley, much less Burke or Kirk.
Interesting phrase for telling the proles anything they want to hear to con them into voting to keep the .01% in power.
It’s difficult to feel anything but schadenfreude over what’s happening to the Republican Party. But they are half of the two party system we have and they’re eventually going to win the presidency.
The New Yorker has an article about the Koch Bros that should be mandatory reading for anyone who cares about politics. It’s by Jane Mayer based on her recent book Dark Money:The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right. They’re not doing well at buying a prez, but they’re doing great at buying a Congress and state governments to go with the next R prez.
Somehow I seriously doubt that the nimrods who are supporting Trump read National Review.
The Republican party establishment basically created (or allowed to be created) the base which now hates them. That’s been the ideological play since at least the Gingrich ascension.
I am now crying salty ham-flavored crocodile tears.
This strange era where one of our two governing party actively advocates *against* government and has no feasible legislative agenda will end. Getting there will be ugly.
You hit the nail on the head,”Donald Trump represents the apotheosis of many of the forces that Republicans and conservatives have been tapping into for years….” Dr. Frankenstein now regrets his works.
To begin to turn all this around how about accepting negotiations and compromise as a way of dealing with the inevitability of conflict in human affairs rather than appealing to a my way or the highway strategy appropriate to a sociopathic eleven year old.
Wow, Doug. Agree completely with most of your analysis. I would say that the roots of Trumpism date back much further, to the John Birch Society and indeed to the ideology of white supremacy that William F. Buckley and the National Review pandered to in the 1950s. Modern conservatism first gained political prominence in the the presidential campaign of Barry Goldwater in 1964. Nixon incorporated elements of it in his 1968 and 1972 campaigns, and Reagan institutionalized it in the Republican Party in 1980. Since then, what was the right wing of the Republican Party has steadily taken over the party, to the extent to the so called establishment wing of the Republican Party is now the unwilling servant of the parasite that has taken it over.
Frankly, I see no cure for Trumpism other than massive repudiation in the polls-and I’m not sure that will happen.I note that Mussolini, Berlusconi, and Milosevic all won democratic elections in Europe based on similar appeals. Racism, xenophobia, and nationalism are unfortunately quite popular.
Every time the establishment Republicans hammer The Donald he gets stronger. He may end up with the GOP nomination before Hillary ends up with the Republican-lite one.
For the past six months the Trumpkins have been accusing the National Review, Commentary, The Weekly Standard, Spectator, and any other conservative publication you care to name of being part of some giant conspiracy involving Karl Rove, Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, the Koch Bros., and the RNC to put Hillary Clinton in the White House because they want to turn the country into a third world Godless commie socialist hellhole. Rationality is not a distinguishing characteristic of the average Trumpkin.
…anti-Trump essays from …David Boaz, executive vice president of the libertarian-infused Cato Institute, to William Kristol, the hawkish editor of the Weekly Standard, to David McIntosh, president of the Club for Growth. All call for Republicans to nominate someone other than Trump.
Gee, with enemies like that, maybe we all ought to vote for him.
Hmmm, National Review or Trump … sorry, do I have to pick a side here?
In fairness to Buckley, he objected strenuously to the John Birch Society, and once remarked that he’d spent half his professional life trying to purge them from the ranks of conservatism. I think he’d probably be appalled by the kind of xenophobic yahooism Trump embodies.
The craven “both-sides-do-it” nonsense is annoying as always…but in any case…
Republicans are living in a post-logic world that they have built for themselves. Which explains why Republican politics is rife with mendacious fwckers.
It doesn’t matter that undocumented immigrants are at a low point since 2003 – to the Republican party there is a unchecked flow of masses of brown people pouring across our border.
It doesn’t matter that the deficit has been reduced every year since 2009 until the Republican Congress just raised it – to the Republican party Obama is a crazy spendthrift.
It doesn’t matter that 2015 was the hottest year in the historical record – to the Republican party climate change is a hoax and drill-baby-drill.
It doesn’t matter that Republican economic theory has been proven to be a failure everywhere it has been tried – to the Republican party the answer to every economic issue is to cut the taxes of rich people.
It doesn’t matter that it has been shown conclusively that more guns lead to more gun violence – to the Republican party the answer to the gun violence problem is more guns.
It doesn’t matter what science shows – for the Republican party Adam and Eve rode fwcking dinosaurs, dammit!!!
I don’t know how they get past this serious intellectual dishonesty that they have adopted.
And I don’t know how an intelligent person could vote for them.
The problem the conservatives have with Trump is they don’t really know what they are getting. He says he is pro-life now but has a long history of being pro-choice. He is in favor of single payer health insurance – the ultimate example of socialism to conservatives. He wants to carpet bomb ISIL but at the same time is very critical of the GWB/neocon wars in the ME. He has supported Democrats in the past including Hillary Clinton.
Maybe, but WFB was an apologist for Southern white supremacy back in the 1950s. To a certain extent, conservative intellectuals are the patrician cousins of the white nationalists and the xenophobes. The intellectuals tend to be the defenders and enablers of the nationalists, even when standing at arm’s length from them and looking down their noses at them. They may hold them in contempt, but are happy to make use of them. The nationalists equally regard the pointy heads with contempt, but understand that they gain a patina of respectability from their association with them.
BTW, I fully expect that some conservative intellectuals are going to eventually make common cause with Trump if he wins. They’ll do anything to stop “Obama’s third term”. And of course, there are Supreme Court nominations to consider. Think of the long game.
@de stijl: I think it goes much further back than Gingrich. It goes all the way back to the Nixon years and the late Lee Atwatter who planted the seeds that resulted in today’s Republican base. Attwater admitted the error of ways on his death bed.
Good point about the patrician cousins.And it looks–at least from this standpoint–that Trump will likely be the GOP nominee.
Yes, most Republicans will get behind him, gagging all the while. But I still think it’s impossible that he could win the general election.
A big recession in late summer, and it’s not so impossible. I hate to bring him up, but Hitler won a plurality of the German vote at the nadir of the Great Depression.
Great analysis, Doug, but a small quibble on your timeline.
The “southern strategy” started with Nixon’s 1968 campaign. While the anti-intellectualism may have come later, the populism, nativism, and racism (as opposed to its current cousin xenophobia) has been cultivated for nearly half a century or more.
Honestly, it’s astounding that it’s taken this long for someone like Trump to succeed.
Doug, great analysis.
I think we’re also going to discover exactly how much influence the self-proclaimed banner-carriers of the Right actually have on what the peasants do: zip.
Trump’s rise is going to be just as much of a finger-in-the-eye to the conservative pundits as it is to the establishment republicans. The only ones who will make out like bandits are the standard grifters like Sarah, who has latched onto Trump like a remora looking for its next meal.
Remember Pat Buchanan and his “peasants with pitchforks” routine? The message was that only rubes were “real” Americans. Then came Sarah Palin, an actual physical embodiment of the whole “yokel as patriot” notion.
Trump’s the logical extension of this. His supporters, the former Palinistas, love him precisely because he is an oaf.
And they’re too dumb to realize quite how much he despises them.
@Guarneri: Are you serious or just trying to get revenge for past requests that you provide links?
Links are not appropriate for things that are common knowledge. Links are needed for “facts” that appear contrary to common knowledge. If I mention the sun rises in the east I don’t need a link. @C. Clavin: cited the following specific facts: undocumented immigrant population is down, deficit is down, 2015 record hot, more guns = more violence; are widely published and common knowledge for politically aware people outside the Conservative Echo Chamber. If you don’t believe these things are true, it’s just another example of conservative rejection of objective reality.
And if you start up on guns, I hope everyone will ignore you. I will.
From a 1957 National Review editorial:
Again, let us speak frankly. The South does not want to deprive the Negro of a vote for the sake of depriving him of the vote…
…The central question that emerges–and it is not a parliamentary question or a question that is answered by merely consulting a catalog of the rights of American citizens, born Equal–is whether the White community in the South is entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally, in areas in which it does not predominate numerically? The sobering answer is Yes–the White community is so entitled because, for the time being, it is the advanced race. It is not easy, and it is unpleasant, to adduce statistics evidencing the median cultural superiority of White over Negro: but it is fact that obtrudes, one that cannot be hidden by ever-so-busy egalitarians and anthropologists…
…So long as it (the South) is merely asserting the right to impose superior mores for whatever period it takes to effect a genuine cultural equality between the races, and so long as it does so by humane and charitable means, the South is in step with civilization, as is the Congress that permits it to function.
This devotion to white guys at the expense of everyone else runs deep in the conservative movement. The elements of the right that are opposed to Trump are not particularly bothered by the xenophobic components of his campaign, but his opposition to free trade, acceptance of progressive income taxes and unwillingness to play nicely with the rest of the GOP.
While we’re all here commenting on the Trump campaign-to-date because we’ve been following the primary process closely, we all know that the vast and overwhelming majority of Americans haven’t been paying any attention at all to any of these things.
I can’t help but think of how many warnings we’ve all given ourselves (in our sober-minded moments) that nothing has yet been tested at the polls, and yet we continue to spend time worrying about one candidate or another.
Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, South Carolina, and then Super Tuesday will all have a lot to say about what the state of the campaign looks like. And after they’ve had their say, there’s precious little that fifty National Review writers are going to say to derail Trump (or have to say to resurrect him–in the event he flames out at the polls.)
@NoOne: My thoughts exactly. Those names and organizations are ones I vote against. I would vote for Trump before I let any of those people near power.
@Bradley Chase III: Yes, the most amusing aspect of this is the overweening certainty of the National Review authors that mush from them will, in fact, affect anything.
Hell, take 50 bloggers at random and you’ll get the same result: a big fat zero. The time when you could affect the course of history through a proclamation is OVAH.
He’s going to win the election. Trump actually has crossover appeal to Dem voters especially African Americans. Look at the latest numbers from North Carolina, a quasi battleground state.
“Perhaps the most striking finding from this poll is that not only does Trump lead the GOP field, he also has the highest favorability rating of any of the candidates in it. 62% see him favorably to 30% with a negative opinion. No one else has over a 60% favorability- Huckabee comes closest at 58/21. Trump also has the most committed supporters- 65% say they will definitely vote for him compared to 54% for Rubio, 50% for Cruz, 38% for Huckabee, and 33% each for Bush and Carson among the top candidates in the state.
“By the time North Carolina votes the field is likely to have contracted to a smaller number of candidates. We find everywhere that a smaller field would reduce Trump’s advantage, and that’s true in North Carolina as well, but he’s up by so much right now that it still leaves him with a comfortable lead. In a 4 way field Trump would get 41% to 24% for Cruz, 15% for Rubio, and 13% for Bush. In a 3 way field Trump would get 43% to 27% for Cruz, and 18% for Rubio. In heads to heads Trump leads Cruz 49/41, Rubio 52/37, and Bush 59/29. So while Trump wouldn’t keep his existing 22 point advantage as other candidates drop out and their supporters move to candidates besides him, he does remain the favorite in all those scenarios.
You left out “in a single poll of dubious methodology.”
Dude, you are looking at one poll in one state (which is not that much of a battleground state, at least not in the same way Florida or Ohio is), and extrapolating from that for the entire election. And you are thinking that Trump–who wants to ban entry to the U.S. based on the color of a person’s skin*–will beat out Clinton with the African American vote?
Additionally, the poll you cited is an obvious outlier. Here are the candidate’s actual favorability numbers, based on the average of polls. Bad news–Trump is the least popular among general election voters. http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/donald-trump-is-really-unpopular-with-general-election-voters/
*Yeah, I know, he wants to ban Muslims, not brown people. How much do you want to bet white muslims probably wouldn’t have any issues getting into the U.S.?
I thought that the GOP’s slate of presidential candidates was the most odious, deplorable group of human beings ever assembled in any one place, in all the history of humanity, never to be rivaled.
Until this NR whine fast came along. Erick Erickson, Glenn Beck, Dana Loesch, Charen, Domenech….Andrew McCarthy, ewwww man. What a group of despicible chucklefugs. America would be infinitely better off if the next NR cruise just never came back. One way trip to Ethiopia or something.
If Katie Pavlich is considered one of your intellectual heavyweights, it’s time to pack it in, folks.
Without a vote being cast, this is the most squirrelly political season yet. How about this:
We need a National Unity ticket: Clinton/Trump 2016. Or vice versa. Let’s start that meme.
One thing this whole episode reveals is how tenuous the concept of “the establishment” is. As you may have noticed, among this anti-Trump troupe is RedState’s Erick Erickson and Glenn Beck, who rose to fame as a more unhinged version of Limbaugh and was finally scuttled from Fox for being too loopy.
Meanwhile, we’re hearing seemingly pro-Trump remarks from the likes of Bob Dole and Orrin Hatch.
I feel like I’ve woken up in a parallel universe.
I’m a true independent and my sense is telling me Trump is going to win this thing. This man has offended Mexicans, women, and the handicapped and he keeps rising in the polls. Trump knows how to connect with people better than any candidate out there. The GOP establishment will also rally behind him against Cruz. I also think he’ll do an excellent job debating Clinton.
As for the polls, please feel free to choose Florida or Virginia because the results are pretty much the same.
this explains his rise pretty well.
Well, yeah, we already figured out he’s a quasi-fascist wannabe dictator who appeals to people who think Vladimir Putin is preferable to Barack Obama despite (or because of) the former’s tendency to poisoning his political critics.
Whether there are enough of those to get him elected is a very different question indeed and one that’s quite far from being answered at this point.
@Joe Gage: That was interesting. Of course we’ve already had the basic idea in our heads that some of his support derived from fear of Islamic extremists and the fear of Mexicans stealing our jobs. But I think that article connects more of the dots, at least for me.
Good question. More for James than Doug I guess. Your party:
– gave us big deficits in good times
– started two unfunded, mismanaged, long foreign wars
– almost certainly sanctioned war crimes
– blew up the Middle East
– ignores AGW to protect corporate profits
– is still fighting the Iran nuke treaty you have said is a good thing
– aided and abetted a propaganda machine that has created extreme polarization and made governance mostly impossible
– may not be responsible for the ’08 financial crisis, but has certainly impeded the recovery and is fighting any effort to rein in the banksters who will do it again if we don’t sit on them
– and is now poised to inflict Trump or Cruz on an undeserving nation
Is there some part of this you disagree with? How can you continue to support them? Do you expect them to reform? Do you hate Hillary that much? WTF?
@Pch101: I constantly debate with myself whether the Republican Party is now uniquely bad, or if they’ve always been like this and I was less aware of it.
I honestly don’t believe he stands for a lot of the stuff he says. He will move center-left in the general election. At this point, I do not think there is anything that can prevent him from being the GOP nominee. If W was able to convince people he was a compassionate conservative, I think a professional entertainer like Trump will have an easy time getting more people to believe his rhetoric.
I also have to agree with Bill Maher’s theory which is something I usually do not do.
“”Ted Cruz is scarier than Donald Trump,” he said in an interview published last Thursday. “Because I think Donald Trump, despite some of the crazy things he says and some of the disgusting things he says, he also says some things that a liberal can love.”
Maher also expressed doubts on whether Trump’s recent positions on a number of issues are sincere, describing the reality TV star as essentially a “liberal” before he announced his presidential candidacy.
“The big one for me that is troubling is seeing him throw in with the Republican rank and file on global warming being a hoax, but he’s very easily swayed by celebrity,” Maher said. “I think if we sent Leonardo DiCaprio over to Trump Tower on a secret mission, we could get him to believe global warming is real.”
Keeps rising in the GOP polls. Again, the link I provided shows pretty clearly he’s losing nationwide against, well, anyone.
I have to admit I’m enjoying watching the GOP implode. Seriously, who would have been their better candidate?
So as Jim stays in hiding and Doug professes his Libertarian bonafides (though we all know that a libertarian is just a republican who’s rightly ashamed to admit it) I look forward to seeing OTB chronicle the demise of the modern Republican party.
I think Lee Atwater was right to rip the dem’s apart.
They haven’t always been like this. But it was inevitable that they would eventually become victims of their own success.
I and many others miss the GOP of past days. Sadly, the inmates have taken over the asylum.
You need to look beyond the polls and appreciate the mans appeal no matter how detestable it may be to you. He and Sanders are arguably the most authentic candidates. The nate silvers of the world still don’t get it about him. You are also ignoring the tremendous disdain for Hillary Clinton from both sides. She has a ceiling on just how many votes she can get. Trump will throw everything at her and he’ll still come out as more likeable and authentic than her. A Poll won’t tell you that. Trump is a marketing and branding genius that will have the electorate excited to vote for him.
Perhaps. But do you think that might lose him some of his current supporters? These aren’t people who are adhering to him because of any moderate position he takes, and if he starts to become a moderate for the general election, they’re going to feel betrayed.
Some might stick with him, do a bit of nose-holding, etc., but as near-evenly divided as the electorate is, he won’t be able to afford to lose very many.
(That being said, I agree with you the likelihood of his getting the GOP nomination is a lot higher than pure polling math would seem to suggest.)
Apparently, Mexicans, women, and the handicapped aren’t people.
@Joe Gage: Well, yes–but then the problem is that the dog finally catches the car. What then?
I think Bill Clinton needled Donald Trump into running as candidate for the Republican Party, telling him that it would be a way to get back at Obama, and figuring that it would be a great way to handicap the Republicans. The fact that this has resulted in total blowback against Hillary is I think perfect karma.
When you decide to set off a revolution you never know exactly whose neck will end up under the guillotine….
It does however show exactly what a set of self-serving, mealy-mouthed WIMPS the rest of the Republican slate has turned out to be. In an ordinary year, Trump wouldn’t be on the ballot and we’d have seen the crown being tossed among Rubio, Cruz, Bush, Walker, and Christie. (I consider Santorum and Huckabee comic relief.)
Outside Trump, this is a “none of the above” election.
@Joe Gage: “He and Sanders are arguably the most authentic candidates.”
What is “authentic” about Trump? He changes his positions on everything depending on where his advantage lies, he’s a pathological liar, he’s a complete fraud as a businessman, failing at everything except selling his own brand.
Oh, but wait — he doesn’t pretend to give a damn about anyone weaker or poorer than him. In fact, he will bully them for fun. I guess to a Republican that makes him “authentic.”
Except those polls are showing pretty convincingly that over half of all voters find him detestable, Which is the point of favorable/unfavorable polls. I may just be misunderstanding your point, but it strikes me you are saying ‘You need to ignore all the evidence that most voters detest Trump in order to truly understand that most voters like Trump.” It’s nonsensical.
I’d also point out that you are asking me to ignore polls when your first post used polls to show that Trump was popular. A bit of a double standard.
P.S. I don’t think I’ve seen you around these parts before. Welcome. Glad to have an independent view that’s a bit different than mine and other regular commentors’.
Sorry, I expressed my thought poorly. What I was trying to get at was this notion that if one is a part of and a facilitator to a functioning government when the head of state is not of your party then you’re a kitty (think about it – starts with p, ends with ussy).
It’s back-bench grenade throwing behavior when it hits the main stage.
This state of active non-governance. I’m not talking deregulation or anti-government rhetoric in stump speeches a la Reagan, but actual active non-governance behavior on the voting floor. There is some element of anti-government sentiment amongst all current day R’s, and at the state level it’s sorta pro forma but they still fund the highways and keep the schools open mostly, but at the national level, the Gingrich era and beyond was when we saw this new tactic of petulant non-governance.
It’s “No” combined with “We will do everything in our power to prevent you from having a success no matter how small – highways and schools be damned.”
Now that the R’s have the majority in the House we’re seeing this behavior in spades. When you’re in the minority in the House the tactic has some benefits, but when you’re in the majority, you become toxic.
Everything is point-scoring and anything that doesn’t score you more points is irrelevant. They literally could not legislate a name change for a Post Office in Anchorage. The statute would be larded up with anti-ObamaCare riders and then kinda just fail in committee because there is no upside. Alaska is solid red, and who cares about a G-D Post Office?
Paul Ryan is now seen as a RINO because he funded the government for another n months.
That’s the type of behavior and the underlying psychology I was alluding to.
Barbara Bush trying to prop up her son’s campaign.
I think what’s frustrating about Trump is that he defies logic and reason. Any other candidate in modern politics who has said the things he has said would be a forgotten memory by now. I look at the money guys like Rubio and Bush have raised and it has barely helped them.
I think Trump is not as unpopular as you think. He’s very likable on the campaign trail and is skilled at telling people what they want to hear. He’s also a funny guy with a big personality which can make a difference in a general election against Hillary. It’s my opinion that people will be more excited to vote for him than Hillary. Hillary is very unpopular with young voters.
Since the 1980 election only twice, in ’92 and ’08, did more than 50 percent of voters under 30 vote in a general election.
There may be a scenario where young Bernie Sanders supporters may sit this election out if Hillary wins the nomination. They’d come out to vote for someone like Elizabeth Warren as the first woman president, but I’m not optimistic that they would do the same for Hillary. Trump will have his supporters more galvanized and eager to cast a vote for him.
As for Nate Silver, well he’s just been wrong about Trump since Day 1. :
“There’s some evidence that Trump is over-performing among ‘low-information voters.’ By November, their ranks will decrease: They’ll either have become more informed, or they’ll be screened out by pollsters because they aren’t likely to vote,” Silver wrote at the time, of the second hurdle Trump was to have faced.
Needless to say, their ranks had not decreased by November. But in a Dec. 27 update to the same post, Silver warned that “most difficult hurdles between Donald Trump and the Republican presidential nomination are still to come.”
A humbled Silver wrote Thursday, “[If] you, like me, you expected something like this to happen to Trump instead of Cruz, you have to revisit your assumptions.”
“Thus, I’m now much less skeptical of Trump’s chances of becoming the nominee,” he wrote.
btw, thank you for welcoming me to the site. I’ll try not to offend anyone and please excuse an occasional rant, bad grammar, or just a stupid thought…
Why do you want to be different? But welcome.
He is Unscripted. Trump says things that he believes, rather than what people want to hear. Now, you, me and millions may disagree with the substance of a lot of what he says, but it does come off as authentic. The majority of the electorate are also sick of being fed the same old recycled crap from both sides just wrapped up in a different package. I mean look at Bernie Sanders. Did anyone even think he would be leading in Iowa and NH now? Bernie is doing well because he is taking a completely different route to the presidency just like Trump. P
@Joe Gage: ?? He’s a salesman saying exactly what he thinks his audience wants to hear. No reason to think he believes a word of it. And he seems to be right about what they want to hear.
Here’s Jon Chait saying that even Trump-fearing moderate Republicans refuse to live in the real world.
Message to Republicans…if you have to rely on mis-information to make your case…you probably don’t have a case to make.
@Joe Gage: How do you reconcile “Trump says things that he believes, rather than what people want to hear” with your contention earlier that he’s “skilled at telling people what they want to hear”?
I’ll give you that he can BS off the cuff – he’s a classic fast-talking confidence scammer in that – but the best you can say is that he’s good at faking sincerity.
I disagree with who the article places at the top of the list here, but I think this pretty much nails both Trump and Cruz in terms of personality and trustworthiness:
Apologizing for rants, grammar, or stupid thoughts? Never mind, I don’t think you’ll fit in here :-P.
@Joe Gage: “Trump says things that he believes, rather than what people want to hear. ”
Welcome to the site, and sorry to start out our relationship this way… but no. You are acting like a sucker. A rube, actually.
If Trump “believes” anything he says, it’s because he’s got the narcissist’s ability to believe whatever is convenient for him at the moment. Every stand he’s fighting for in this campaign is directly opposed to what he’s claimed to be in favor of in the past. Except, of course, that he is great, which is the only thing he has ever truly believed.
Trump is one hell of a salesman and there are a lot of rubes out on the midway desperate to be fleeced by him. Why not try not to be one of them?
Political parties in the US were once oriented around urban/industrial vs. rural interests, not liberalism vs. conservatism.
There used to be liberal and moderate Republicans, and there still are conservative Democrats. But conservatism always had this racial element, regardless of party affiliation.
The National Review editorial of 1957 re: race is making similar arguments to some of what we heard with respect to gay marriage and Kim Davis. They claim not to oppose equality per se, but believe that equality should not happen until the majority is willing to support it and the minority is worthy of it (whatever that means.)
The appeal to tradition that is inherent to conservatism is going to benefit white males, by default, since equality requires that the spoils be shared with those who did not have them during the good ol’ days. Change is only acceptable to them when they’re ready for it.
The irony, of course, is that the entire idea of having a Bill of Rights is to reinforce that rights are innate and are not subject to majority whim. The same people who claim to care about the Constitution don’t comprehend this basic principle that the right to live free is not something that can be curtailed at the ballot box.
I’m a realist and a moderate voter and think you are incorrectly pegging me a Trump supporter.
You are ignoring the frustration and anger of the American electorate and viewing Trump only from your own eyes.
Step out of your partisan bubble and you can perhaps appreciate how incredible his rise has been in defying the odds. People are responding to his style. American loves a Winner and Trump fills that bill better than any other candidate. The media thought they would crush him but he actually owes a lot to them. He has and will continue to dominate the media coverage like no other candidate.
@Neil Hudelson: I just hope I can maintain civility here for more than a day. Looks like people can get pretty angry on this site!
… and I think Barack Obama was right to suggest renditioning the Republican Party Congressional delegation to Yemen for ‘re-education.’
@C. Clavin: That’s the thing that’s so utterly depressing about this situation. Much as I despise Trump I can’t claim to have any idea what he actually believes or what he’d do if elected. He’s a complete wild card. Which actually makes him less frightening than the rest of the field. OK, Carson’s also a wild card, but if he were by some freak circumstance to be elected, he’d be totally ineffective. But the rest of them seem to mean it when they propose tax plans that would blow the deficit and enhance inequality, they mean their neocon foreign policy, they intend to do nothing about AGW, and they’ll privatize SS and destroy Medicare if they can.
So we get rid of Trump somehow, what’s next? Cruz, a religious fruitcake with no friends? Jeb, who’d be W all over again, but apparently dumber? Rubio, a feckless twit? Kasich, who’s Scott Walker plus a couple IQ points? Christie, who took a good shot at bankrupting NJ? Much as I find Trump repellent, he’s the least frightening of the bunch.
You’re welcome here and please continue to contribute, but now I’m going to slag you. Hopefully in a good-natured manner.
Trump has the highest unfavorability rating of anyone running for President.
He has a 58% unfavorabilty rating.
That’s bad. Really bad. We’re talking several standard deviations of bad. He’s at the far right side, declining tail on the bell curve of favorabilty.
Think about it, people hate him more than hate Cruz and Clinton combined – and those two are prickly pears that you either love or hate. Clinton is -8 and Cruz is -7 and Trump is -25. I would think that favorable ratings are somewhat logarithmic where -25 is not twice as bad as -12.5 but sixteen times as bad. He’s an historically significant outlier in terms of favorability.
Granted, Trump will win the Republican nomination because the R base is primed, ready and pumped to do some really stupid Hail Mary crap that’s going to back-fire stupendously. This election cycle is going to cited two generations, maybe even two centuries, from now for its sheer idiocy.
Trump will win the R nomination and get creamed in the general election.
If my garbage collector was accidentally nominated to be the R Presidential candidate, he would get ~45% of the vote just because of the “R” after his name. That is just the nature of modern American Presidential politics. Trump is going to get ~43%. He will underperform my garbage man. He’s going to lose by 200+ electoral votes.
(If Trump frags himself then it’s going to be Cruz, but the outcome will be the same.)
That is a direct quote from a Politico article. You forgot to give the citation.
Joe Gage, I don’t think anyone is mistaking you for a Trump supporter, nor are they mad at you. They/We just think you are wrong on a few important particulars.
1) Trump isn’t sincere or authentic. He is a confidence man that plays authentic. He recognized the angry, anti-establishment mood that is particularly strong in the Republican base at the moment and is playing on that quite successfully. He comes closer to believing what he says than saying what he believes. That is, like most good liars he convinces himself as he convinces his audience.
2) You can’t use a (flawed) poll to support your opinion while discounting all polls that run counter to your position.
3) Trump in his current mode is disliked by more people than like him on a national level, particularly among those who don’t identify as Republican, and more particularly among minorities and single women. Of course that could change when he moves to the center for the general. He has been a great salesman with his current audience, so I am afraid he might be able to do the same with a wider audience. The short attention span of the American electorate makes me fear this more than I would if I were confident in the memories and rationality of our electorate.
Pretty much everyone has been wrong about Trump up to now, so who knows, but I am hopeful that he has put a bad enough taste in the mouths of enough independents that he will suffer for it in the general.
Trump a winner? Please elaborate.
@Joe Gage: Well, people are saying that they support Trump* but the question, at least for Iowa, is when his supporters are actually going to turn out for the caucusing.
(Welcome on board, by the way. I love to see new commentators. We’re pretty snarky here if you’ve been following us. Trolls enter at their peril, particularly since we have sufficient people with experience that pretenders to authority are likely to be thoroughly eviscerated and left hanging like gutted pigs.)
*except those that don’t, of course.
@Joe Gage: “I’m a realist and a moderate voter and think you are incorrectly pegging me a Trump supporter.”
I have no idea who you support. I am only responding to what you said — which is that Trump says what he believes.
Now it’s true that Trump is good at sounding like he believes what he says — but that’s not the same thing.
And there’s a layer of the American citizenry that has always fallen for the fast-talking huckster. These are the people who believe TV preachers when they say you can go to heaven if you just send in your hundred dollars. They’re the ones who agree with the idea that cutting taxes raises revenue, that blacks were better off under slavery, that gold prices can only go up, that they are Oppressed.
These are people who are so desperate to be told what they want to hear that they will follow anyone who says it.
Fortunately they have never made up a majority of the American electorate, even if they currently seem to be a majority of the Republican base.
These are the Trump followers.
@WR: Or, to use far fewer words:
The entire Trump base was summed up by a quote from one of his followers in (I believe) the NY Times some months ago:
“He’s going to make America great again. I know because it says so on his hat.”
@PJ: I think what he’s saying is “America loves a Winner and Trump is the best carny barker selling his Marvelousness to the gullible public.”
(Why can’t Trump simply bite the head off chickens like any other carny geek? Nooo, he has to run for POTUS. About the only benefit I see is Trump’s run has totally the exploded the “the American people demand a serious career politician!” meme on the right. When a reality-show host noted for having the fashion sense of Liberace and the interior decorating sense of Louis XIV is your main genius, you got a problem.)
Meanwhile, this happened:
Trump retweets neo-Nazi’s insult of Jeb Bush
He’ll have some excuse, just like he did when he re-tweeted white supremacist B. S. crime statistics. And none of his followers will care at all.
I see your comments regularly at Dreher’s joint. I don’t join in there because I’m a “none” and I shy away from chiming on religion oriented blogs just because of some weird ethical tic. Besides, the other “none”s do fine on their own over there.
You have a coherent POV and a clear style. When things get arcane there (WTF is “theosis” BTW) you bring the practical.
When at the end of his life when his body was riddled with cancer, Lee Atwater’s mind was riddled with shame. He confessed and recanted and sought true contrition. What Atwater did was not to “rip the dem’s apart”, but to rip America apart white from black. He consciously sought to sow racial antipathy for political benefit.
He recanted, but I’m not the one to grant him forgiveness.
@de stijl: Glad to hear from you and thanks for the appreciation!
From the comments of mine that Rod doesn’t post I get the feeling he really, really doesn’t like admitting that it’s possible for a non-Christian believer to have a numinous experience. (I’m a reluctant pagan saddled with belief in a goddess that the rest of my mind tells me is a figment of my imagination.) Oh well…..
Why does it have to be either/or?
At a Trump rally coming soon.
“You want to know what I’m gonna do to ISIS? This is what I’m gonna do to ISIS”
Bites head off chicken.
Wow, I hadn’t seen that one before. That is so awesomely awesome I had to go look it up:
As someone pointed out:
Please rescue my comment from jukeboxgrad purgatory. (In fairness, though, I have to admit this is the first time I’ve ever had this problem.)
You can rescue it yourself. Otherwise, it might be stuck there for days.
Just reply to me without using the Reply feature.
Why do these folks want an establishment politician? After 40 years, I would like one that is more business inclined and less of a politician. And, all though Obama has tripled the debt, he wasn’t the only one to contribute to it. The other thing, that is to perturbing is why do these writers on the right (as well as on the left) want to elect someone that can’t keep 10% of their promises? Leaving the braggadocios behind, let’s try something new or different – truthfully, can he screw things up any worse then the last 12 years…
Making America hate again.
Making America White again.
Not even close, but he has apparently tripled the tendency of ignorant people to regurgitate phony numbers.
There is precisely one president who “tripled the debt:” Saint Ronnie. And speaking of Reagan exclusives, here’s another one: he’s the only divorced president. So it makes perfect sense that the party of family values worships him.
Divorce doesn’t count, didn’t you know? “Family values” is only about gays and abstinence and women not having control over their own bodies.
The NR sold their integrity for cheap talking points, hence the National Review has no credibility now. That’s the trade-off for everyone who makes that choice, and Karma assures a better liar will come along to take advantage of it eventually. This one dubs them losers, Sarah a winner, and gets a standing ovation for it.
Epidemiological nihilism….payback is a b…..
Jeb Lund, The Guardian: The National Review’s coordinated attack on Donald Trump will backfire
Trump is Zaphod Beeblebrox.
He’s probably doing this just so he can steal a new space shuttle or something.
Douglas Adams was a prophet.
@Mark: I think I read somewhere that Zaphod was based on Ronald Reagan. In the 2005 movie, I had the sense they were aiming more for a Dubya impersonation. Adams had some involvement in the movie, but he died in mid-2001, just a few months after Bush took office.
@grumpy realist: I love this blog. What other political blog comment section teaches you a new word now and then? “Numinous.” I only recall one such moment. Paavo Jarvi and the Cincinnati Symphony, a particularly moving performance of the march movement from Beethoven Seven. Out of body. Thank you for the recollection.