Trump the Presumptive Nominee (Some of What I got Wrong)

In case anyone noticed: I got the Trump nomination wrong.

donald-trump-hatAs was pointed out to me, correctly, two weeks ago in the comments section of an unrelated post, I was pretty adamant early on that Donald Trump would not get the nomination.  Further, at one point in the process I noted that if I was wrong, I would write a post to that effect.  This is that post.  I have not gotten to it primarily because I have been very busy of late* (as my general lack of blogging should underscore).  However, the entire event has clearly been on my mind and I had not forgotten that I owed a front page “I was wrong.”  

I clearly thought that Trump was not a sustainable candidate.  I was, indeed, quite confident of that fact.  Well, I was also quite wrong.  Indeed, his trip through the nomination process was a reminder that it is dangerous to get overly confident about the way political phenomena will play out and is a further reminder of why social scientists usually use caveats and qualifiers when speaking about the future.

I think that there are two fundamental areas where I was wrong about his nomination:  the evangelical vote and the probability of winnowing.

First, I wholly misread the likely behavior of conservative evangelical voters.  Yes, there were initial signs that Trump was resonating more with those voters than one would have expected (I think here, for example, of his early rally in Mobile, AL).  Still, at the time I thought that was driven by his celebrity status and would fade.  I was woefully incorrect.  Given the salience of social issues such as abortion and gay rights, I found it highly unlikely that religious voters would ally themselves in large numbers with a twice-divorced, proud adulterer whose main business was casinos (and who had been on the record as pro-choice). Further, his inability to speak the evangelical language (e.g., “Two Corinthians” comes to mind) as seemed a problem.   Even now that does not strike me as an unreasonable position, but reality is what it is.  The part that I clearly missed, and I think will bear much study going forward:  the degree to which economic factors and, especially, racial identity are at work in forming that pro-Trump coalition.

Second, I really thought that the fragmented field would winnow faster than it did.  I still think there was a (missed) pivot point where if enough candidates had dropped out that a Not Trump candidate could have rallied support.  However, the field remained fragmented far too long for such an opportunity to happen.  Now, it is not unreasonable to assume that had the field held less candidates that Trump would have had a more difficult time.  If we look at two graphs from a 538 post back in April, we can see this:

enten-aggregate-1
enten-aggregate-2
Both of these graphs show that there was room for potential challengers to overtake Trump and that the fragmentation of the opposition made it impossible for it to coalesce.  Of course, it is also possible that some of the opposition support would have gone to Trump and he could have consolidated earlier.  They also show his comparative historical weakness as a candidate (which underscores he is an unusual candidates in more than one way).

In fairness, it should be pointed out that Trump has now won more raw votes than any GOP candidate (although the usefulness of raw vote totals for comparisons over time is limited).  Voter turnout is also up in the GOP contest, but it is difficult to know how much of that is Trump enthusiasm and how much of it is Trump opposition (not to mention a function of so many candidates running):

After long decline, primary turnout rebounds

Another error, which I admitted might be in play some time ago (I know I wrote it at some point, but cannot find the reference at the moment):  I really find Trump to be an abhorrent candidate and I think that this pushed some wishful thinking/confirmation bias into my analysis.  I know that I am going to have to guard against that as I watch the general election campaign unfold. Without a doubt, as Nate Silver put it in his own Trump mea culpa, “I acted like a pundit” and wanted to make a bold stand when social science doesn’t work that way.  So it goes:  live and learn, yes?

I will point out that this nomination season has helped underscore one of my favorite themes:  the rules matter.

To wit, from Daniel Nichanian at 538 in late April,  Clinton’s Delegate Lead Would Triple Under GOP Rules:

Clinton’s 289-delegate lead becomes a massive 977-delegate lead if we re-run the Democratic primaries using Republican rules. That’s a jump from a lead of 10 percentage points to a lead of 32 percentage points.

This explains how Donald Trump has been able to seize such a commanding delegate lead despite winning a string of plurality victories, plunging the GOP into the predicament it is in now. Republican rules have a lot of quirks (winner-take-most districts, viability thresholds, winner-take-all triggers, statewide bonuses) that allow a GOP candidate to win most of a state’s delegates even when that state’s allocation method is ostensibly proportional. This was, in part, designed to give a candidate who is doing well early on a boost in delegate momentum for the race to wrap up quicker than it otherwise would.

You can see the effect this would have on the Democratic side: Clinton’s 56 percent of the popular vote would be enough for her to win 64 percent of pledged delegates under GOP rules — just as Trump’s 40 percent of the popular vote has given him about 50 percent of delegates allocated so far.

What this points out is that the degree to which Trump is not the perfect manifestation of the desire of the collective entity known as the Republican Party is questionable.  The rules are simply not designed to accomplish such a feat (the Democratic rules are closer, and that is why it is taking so long to reach a conclusion).

Conversely, the disproportional rules of the GOP versus the more proportional rules of the Democratic Party work out this way from Trump (from a mid-April 538 piece by Harry Enten:  Trump’s Right That The GOP Primary Is Unfair — It Favors Him):

Overall, Trump has won 37 percent of the vote in the 35 contests, while winning 48 percent of the delegates. Even if you include the conventions, where we don’t have any good measure of vote total, Trump has won 45 percent of the delegates. If Republicans were to allocate delegates the way Democrats do, Republicans would be much closer to a 1-to-1 votes-to-delegates ratio. That system would also result in Trump’s having pretty much no shot at winning a majority of delegates heading into the Republican National Convention.

Any assessment of the nomination process, and of the internal divisions of the parties has to take all of these factors into account.  Trump clearly represents a sizable chunk of the GOP (and specifically of the primary electorate, which is ultimately a small number in national terms), but he is not necessarily the true preference of the majority (or the Condorcet winner, in political science terms) because the rules are not designed to produce such an outcome.  Of the many question that have yet to be answered include the degree to which Trump will reshape the party going forward.

Indeed, there is much to be learned here about the Republican Party in particular, as well as regarding the clear racial elements to the Trump campaign and his support, which has been more overt and up-front than we have seen for decades.

Any rate, this has made me a bit more circumspect going forward into the general.  At this point, I actually do think that the odds favor a Clinton win given the electoral college parameters of the race, but we shall see.  I shall refrain from bold predictions and great certainties (at least for the moment!).

——

*Not to make excuses, but to provide context:  in mid-March I was named Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University and was doing that job alongside finishing out my teaching for the Spring and acting as Chair of Political Science until we could get an interim in place.  Plus, last weekend was the first in I don’t know how long I did not either travel for soccer or have some deadline I needed to address (e.g., grading, a promised article, whatever) if not both.  Hence:  very light-to-nonexistent blogging (especially of anything that took much in the way of analysis).

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Campaign 2016, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Pch101 says:

    I’m not surprised that Trump had some support from the base — he’s media-savvy and he made an obvious effort to appeal to the populists within the GOP. Establishment conservatives have long been in denial about the xenophobia and cultural fears that motivate many of the party’s most vocal members.

    What did surprise me is that the establishment gave up without a fight prior to the convention. I’m still not sure whether this is a sign of disorganization, incompetence, acquiescence and/or a passive-aggressive strategy of allowing Trump to fail in the general election by providing minimal support to his campaign.

  2. grumpy realist says:

    Trump’s nomination by the Republican Party is the clearest example of path-dependence that I have ever seen.

    Also the clearest example of a “F-U” vote by the base.

  3. I shared many of the doubts you did, but as we got deeper into primary season, even before the voting began, it became more and more apparent to me that Trump was unstoppable.

    Once it became clear that there was nothing he could do or say that would deter his supporters, I stopped predicting the beginning of the end. The only doubt that remained was the question of whether or not he could convert his support in the polls into votes, especially given the fact that, by all accounts, his campaign didn’t seem to have the kind of organized ground game that is typically needed in these primary battles. Once he won New Hampshire, and then South Carolina, Nevada, and a majority of the Super Tuesday states (which were supposed to be Ted Cruz’s territory), it started to become apparent that he would probably win. The last chance the “Stop Trump” movement had was if it came up with a credible alternative that the non-Trump supporters would rally around. but that never materialized. Ted Cruz was simply unlikable, even more so than Trump himself. Marco Rubio never put together a strong enough campaign and was done in any case when he failed to win his home state. And as promising as John Kasich was, he was just too far behind to be a credible contender.

    The interesting question is whether there’s anything that any of Trump’s opponents could have done during the time between June 2015 and March 2016 to pop the Trump bubble.

  4. michael reynolds says:

    First, congratulations!

    Second, I think most academic social science disciplines fall prey to a reasonable man assumption. Academics (theoretically reasonable people,) have a hard time seeing the world in unreasonable terms. Economists, political scientists, et al don’t want to admit that homo sapiens does not follow rational rules of enlightened self interest. Or even unenlightened self interest. Humans operate on fear and greed for the most part, with small side dishes of reason in a minority of cases.

    This is why we have artists* because we don’t look at statistics or trends or theories, we look at humans and we know they’re just a bunch of howler monkeys, picking lice off their chests, masturbating publicly, racing around in sudden panics, and throwing turds at strangers.

    They are not rational. They sometimes manage to appear rational, but that’s just veneer. The wood beneath is a whole bunch of crazy.

    We look more at motivation, because as any decent fiction writer can tell you, character drives plot, not the other way around. The character of GOP voters has been obvious for a very long time. This is who they always were, and everything else has been smokescreen and rationalization and displacement. Character is core, politics and ideology and ‘beliefs’ are after-market add-ons, the free undercoating and floor mats, if you will. The engine is tribalism, ‘us’ vs.’them.’ They/We are about 10,000 years of evolution away from anything more profound.

    The white tribe fears encroachment by brown people on their best mango, carrion and insect food sources, and lo! There came unto them a Large White Male to pound his mighty chest and frighten off the brown ones. The Mighty Silverback (or orange-headed jack-o-lantern) has arrived. Hooo hah hah hah AH AH AH AHAH!

    They/We are just a bunch of primates in a panic and looking to throw some turd. And in all fairness, we on the Left will fling scat just excitedly when we feel threatened. I tend to think the best explanations of human behavior come from artists and primatologists.

    *Using that term very loosely in my case.

  5. steve s says:

    He’s still not really the nominee. The bible-thumpers aren’t happy, and the rich guys who use racist rubes to get themselves more tax cuts are pissed that the rubes are making the racism obvious this time.

    So who knows, they could still take it from him.

  6. steve s says:

    and that’s the real 3 legs of the GOP stool:

    Bible-thumpers
    Racists
    Rich people who don’t care about anything except paying less taxes.

  7. michael reynolds says:

    @steve s:

    They don’t want to take it from him. The Bible-thumpers are really just fascists-in-waiting, looking for a god figure to lead them. And the rich people think they see him winking and nodding in their direction. They all think they’ll get what they want. Somehow, I doubt it.

  8. Moosebreath says:

    @michael reynolds:

    “The Bible-thumpers are really just fascists-in-waiting, looking for a god figure to lead them.”

    Not sure if that is quite right, but a lot of the Bible thumpers seem concerned with something other than the dictates of the Bible. Mostly it seems their primary concern is returning this country to the social pecking order which was present pre-1960.

    “And the rich people think they see him winking and nodding in their direction. They all think they’ll get what they want. Somehow, I doubt it.”

    Yep, he’s a good salesman in that way, in that he leaves the customer thinking he agrees with them.

  9. michael reynolds says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    To take Trump down Republicans needed another psychopath, someone equally indifferent to truth, ideology, consistency or politesse. Their closest bet was Chris Christie, but in the end he was too much of a politician in a too-crowded field.

    There are other ways – Bill Clinton in his heyday could have done it with his supernatural gift for empathy. But failing that sort of genius, you needed a thug, a street fighter, what in hockey they call an enforcer. Trump’s a relatively dumb example of his mental disorder, great instincts, no capacity whatsoever for long-term thinking. Frank Underwood could have done it, and why not? A fictional character to take on a reality star?

    The GOP field obviously didn’t watch enough horror movies. If they did they’d know that you don’t wound or knock out Freddy Krueger, or leave him to die, you cut his head off and dance around the room like Bruce Campbell before plunging your chainsaw arm into his decapitated skull and spraying pink cottage cheese all around the room.

    What, too explicit?

  10. grumpy realist says:

    @michael reynolds: Trump’s great at “selling things.” Not so great at delivery, however…..

  11. Scott F. says:

    @grumpy realist:

    The remarkable thing about the “F-U” vote is that the base is latching out in response to their conviction that GOP leaders have been lying to them for years – making all these promises and not delivering.

    So who are they going for? A con artist whose lies are so transparent (all the conflicting statements are captured on tape) and whose promises are so impossible to deliver on (he’s telling California he can end the drought!) that he has no equal in the history of politics.

    The cognitive dissonance is breathtaking!

  12. DrDaveT says:

    in mid-March I was named Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University

    Congratulations, I think. (When I was in academia, my colleagues split about 50/50 on whether being named Dean was “Winning!” or a death sentence…)

  13. al-Ameda says:

    I think most observers of this campaign season were wrong about Trump for a few reasons:

    (1) They over-estimated the quality of this so-called deep Republican field – Rubio, Cruz, Bush, Huckabee, Christie, Kasich, Carson, Fiorina, Graham, Rand Paul, Trump.
    — I’ll admit, I thought Rubio and Bush would present themselves a lot better than they did. Jeb Bush seemed so uninspired – good enough for a gubernatorial run, but no spark for a national run. At every turn Marco Rubio seemed to be too light to be on the team. And Rand Paul? My goodness, he turned out to be a typical politician, and he was supposed to be a different and better alternative.

    (2) They overestimated the power of the evangelical base of the Republican Party.
    — If the evangelical base had the kind of power in the party that many assumed, Ted Cruz would be driving the bus. Many more conservatives care about secular bumper sticker values – “make America great again”, “build that wall”, “keep government out of my Medicare” – than they do about “prayer in school.”

    (3) They underestimated the ongoing appeal of a visceral populist candidate to current conservative voters.
    — After the recent Republican dance/dalliance with Sarah Palin it definitely seemed to me that a “tell it like it is” salesman/candidate (like Trump) could go far. Not that I thought it would ever go THIS far.

    (4) They over-estimated the common sense and intelligence of primary voters.
    — It is good to remind ourselves that there is no such thing as an abiding “wisdom of The People.” That is to say, sometimes The People collectively have wisdom, and sometimes (many times) they do not. Sometimes The People apply common sense in evaluating the ideas and pronouncements of prospective candidates, many times they do not.

  14. James Pearce says:

    @michael reynolds:

    If they did they’d know that you don’t wound or knock out Freddy Krueger, or leave him to die, you cut his head off and dance around the room like Bruce Campbell before plunging your chainsaw arm into his decapitated skull and spraying pink cottage cheese all around the room.

    That’s exactly what happened, only Freddy Krueger was Trump’s opponents and Trump was the one with the chainsaw going, “Groovy.”

  15. stonetools says:

    The problem with Steve, Doug, James and other pundits is that they aren’t white racists, frightened by the election of a black President, fearful of Muslims and convinced that the white American race is about to be overrun by a tide of brown people from south of the border. In short, the pundits , like the Republican establishment, don’t know the hopes and aspirations of Republican base.
    I think the Republican establishment and the pundits truly believed the base bought into the Republican economic gospel of low taxes for the rich, free markets lifting all the boats, and free trade being good for everyone. As it turns out, the main thing the Republican base got out of the low taxes talk was less of their tax money going to the blacks and browns, and they never bought the free trade, free market BS at all. Tricorner hat or not, they were also dead set against cutting Social Security, Medicare, and all of the New Deal social safety net that the Paul Ryan types wanted to cut.
    The base was thus tailor made for Trump with his white nationalist message.

  16. steve s says:

    I think the Republican establishment and the pundits truly believed the base bought into the Republican economic gospel of low taxes for the rich, free markets lifting all the boats, and free trade being good for everyone. As it turns out, the main thing the Republican base got out of the low taxes talk was less of their tax money going to the blacks and browns, and they never bought the free trade, free market BS at all. Tricorner hat or not, they were also dead set against cutting Social Security, Medicare, and all of the New Deal social safety net that the Paul Ryan types wanted to cut.

    this is absolutely dead on. They didn’t want ‘less government’. They wanted ‘less government handouts for those shiftless (censored)’.

  17. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    Yes, Dr. Taylor. On the subject of your being named dean, congratudolences–as we said in Korea (the euigook foreigners, that is–at the universities that I taught at, leadership positions for Koreans were either rotational or politically-based appointments, foreigners holding official titles were largely “designated blamees”).

  18. steve s says:

    they’re also civic and financial idiots. I know a woman whose husband is only able to get insurance now because of obama, and they hate obama, and when my friend Lewis asked her “well wouldn’t it suck if your obamacare was cancelled?” she replied, “It would be terrible, but we can’t just keep spending all this money! Obama’s making america bankrupt!”

  19. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @al-Ameda:

    Many more conservatives care about secular bumper sticker values – “make America great again”, “build that wall”, “keep government out of my Medicare” – than they do about “prayer in school.”

    I think you underestimate how much conservative Evangelicals care about the bumper sticker values. My experience has been that when choosing between “build that wall,” “keep gubmint out of (fill in the blank),” and “prayer in school” the third choice will be thrown under the bus first almost every time. It’s how Trump got as much evangelical support as he did.

  20. Ben Wolf says:

    Dr. Taylor,

    I sense your subtextual feelings of resentment toward my forecasting genius but if you’d followed my mathematically precise polls minus endorsements plus memes times guts model you’d have agreed with me last year that Trump was the likely nominee.

    I can only lead you to water. . .!

  21. Jenos Idanian says:

    Congratulations, Dr. Taylor. And your post is a mark of honor.

    That being said, a LOT of people dismissed Trump’s chances, and were wrong.

    A lot of us took the weasel route, and said “don’t be too certain to dismiss Trump; he’s got a lot going for him,” but didn’t openly say that he would win — merely that he could. (He did it without my vote.)

    And a few — a very few — called it, and called it very early.

    The general tone I’m seeing here is one of bitter clingers to their cherished myths. They all boil down to “Trump’s a horrible person, and I didn’t think there were that many horrible people who would vote.”

    This election, so far, has revolved around one point, and one point alone, and it’s one that transcends ideology: a huge disillusionment with the establishment leadership. People across the nation all looked at the official leadership, saw that they had made big promises, and not delivered. And, in many cases, they hadn’t even tried. So on both sides, a lot of people looked for the biggest middle finger they could find, and raised that to the establishment.

    On the right, the biggest FU was Trump. On the left, it was Sanders. The only real difference between the two is that Trump is incredibly competent at getting things done, and Sanders is totally incompetent at getting things done. So Trump won, and Sanders lost.

    So keep your little treasured myths about how it’s REALLY about racism and sexism and xenophobia and classism and homophobia and whatever. It’s about the people you’ve been calling those names for years finally getting fed up with being told to STFU, and saying “no, it’s YOUR turn to STFU.”

    Come November, we’ll see who says it louder.

    My bet — and my vote — is NOT for you folks.

  22. Kylopod says:

    You know who probably should get the award for being the first to predict Trump’s rise? It has to be the one who wrote the following:

    I don’t mean to overstate things here. Trump faces massive barriers. With his long history of liberal position stances and donations to the Democratic Party, he’s a ridiculously easy oppo research hit. And he may well be putting us all on anyway. But the right combination of circumstances could let Trump build momentum and steal the nomination from a divided field. It’s a longshot, but I wouldn’t say anymore it couldn’t happen.

    The above quote comes from Jonathan Chait…on April 28, 2011!!!!

    Now, I’m a big Chait fan (his 2007 book The Big Con is brilliant), but when he wrote this post I thought he was being ridiculous, and it came to look even more ridiculous after Trump, a short time later, announced he wasn’t running. Mainstream commentators at the time were virtually unanimous that the whole thing was purely a publicity stunt, and that his brief period of dominating the polls reflected name recognition, nothing more. So Chait’s “maybe we should kinda sorta start to take him seriously” looked like a bit of silly contrarianism, and he further tarnished his record for prognostication with a series of posts entitled “Romney Death Watch,” in which he argued that Romney couldn’t possibly win the GOP nomination in the age of the Tea Party.

    Looking back at this post on Trump, he may have been more onto something than any of us at the time suspected–particularly his reference to “the right combination of circumstances” and “a divided field.”

  23. grumpy realist says:

    @steve s: Ah yes, the “Keep the Gummit’s Hands Off Mah Medicare!”

    Stupidity should hurt, and I’m afraid a lot of Americans are going to learn that lesson the hard way. Trump is a babble-mouth who does not realize that if he can’t keep his mouth under control and staff his shadow cabinet with non-lunatics, he will associate the U.S. with RISK. Which means our allies will be tiptoeing away from us and forming alliances on their own, because if we elect Donald Trump as POTUS it will indeed show that we have gone batsh*t crazy.

  24. grumpy realist says:

    @Jenos Idanian: The “people” are perfectly happy to follow off after a hirsute talking yam of a Pied Piper, willing to believe whatever promises he makes, no matter how impossible.

    Great promises don’t mean much if you can’t follow through on them. And assuming that everything is up for negotiations and all contracts are simply made to be broken when the time is right will at some point slam up into Reality. The Chinese can continue to push science and technology while we don’t, and at some point they will be the place for researchers to hang out while the US isn’t–and the torch of possibility will have slipped from our fingers because we told ourselves pretty lies about the Laffer Curve and how we didn’t need anything of that education stuff and how it was perfectly fine that all our production went abroad……

  25. Jenos Idanian says:

    @grumpy realist: It’s so tragic, it’s almost cute how you really, really, really don’t get it.

    People aren’t voting for Trump for his promises, they’re voting for his attitude. And his attitude is “FU!” His attitude is “I got yer political correctness RIGHT HERE.”

    Hillary? I don’t know if she’s more paranoid than corrupt, more corrupt than paranoid, or if her sense of entitledness outweighs both her paranoia and her corruption. I’ll roll the dice with Trump.

    But November’s still a long way away, and I’ll be voting in person on election day. Things can change. Hell, things will change. I don’t feel any great rush to commit myself. But as the pollsters like to say, “if the election was held today,” I’d vote Trump.

  26. wr says:

    @Scott F.: “whose promises are so impossible to deliver on (he’s telling California he can end the drought!)”

    It’s actually worse than that. He’s telling California there IS no drought, just state government deliberately flushing all the water into the ocean.

  27. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian: “My bet — and my vote — is NOT for you folks.”

    Little Jenos — proudly wearing the brown shirt since 2016.

  28. CSK says:

    Does it concern the folks who support Trump purely because of his FU attitude that he may very well say FU to them one day?

  29. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian: “But as the pollsters like to say, “if the election was held today,” I’d vote Trump.”

    Of course you will. Because there is a large segment of the population that comes down to the loser douchebag brigade — ones who don’t care about anything except “attitude” or “middle fingers” and who don’t really care if they completely destroy their country and their own lives as long as they take down those guys too.

    So why would we not expect some little troll whose only pleasure in life is annoying people and who loathes anyone who has ever accomplished anything to vote for anyone else? I’m only surprised your not doing volunteer Trump security, bashing the heads of people who don’t express enough love for your Duce.

    Oh, wait, that would require effort. Never mind.

  30. An Interested Party says:

    So keep your little treasured myths about how it’s REALLY about racism and sexism and xenophobia and classism and homophobia and whatever. It’s about the people you’ve been calling those names for years finally getting fed up with being told to STFU, and saying “no, it’s YOUR turn to STFU.”

    Awful funny how certain things are supposedly “myths” when we have Trump himself pressing those buttons of racism, sexism, and xenophobia…actually what it’s really about is certain people finally realizing that the GOP has been playing them for suckers for years…ironically, those same people are now putting their hopes on yet another grifter…

  31. Guarneri says:

    So much bilge…….

    Jenos has it right. On the left we have those mad at the governing system, voting for Bernie’s free beer, to be financed by, well, people with beer. On the right we have those mad at the governing system, voting for the guy who claims he will return to the days when they can get a fair shot, by eliminating the incessant pandering and favoring of every grievance or politically powerful group you can think of. Dissatisfaction with the efficacy, fairness and total dysfunction of the system motivates two philosophically completely different groups; its the thread of commonality. Both are proudly giving their finger to the “system.”

    for those who care. This is precisely the point I made months ago in one of Dr Joyner’s posts. Interestingly, most of you are so wedded to your prejudices and insecurities that you still don’t get it. Back to your scapegoating and self feel good bilge masquerading as analysis.

  32. Guarneri says:

    So much bilge…….

    Jenos has it right. On the left we have those mad at the governing system, voting for Bernie’s free beer, to be financed by, well, people with beer. On the right we have those mad at the governing system, voting for the guy who claims he will return to the days when they can get a fair shot, by eliminating the incessant pandering and favoring of every grievance or politically powerful group you can think of. Dissatisfaction with the efficacy, fairness and total dysfunction of the system motivates two philosophically completely different groups; its the thread of commonality. Both are proudly giving their finger to the “system.”

    for those who care. This is precisely the point I made months ago in one of Dr Joyner’s posts. Interestingly, most of you are so wedded to your prejudices and insecurities that you still don’t get it. Back to your scapegoating and self feel good bilge masquerading as analysis.

  33. Jenos Idanian says:

    @An Interested Party: Remarkable, how people keep calling Trump the same old buzzwords — “racism, sexism, and xenophobia.” How did you miss “homophobia?”

    On the sexism front, Trump says bad things about specific women. And he says bad things about specific men. It’s how he rolls, and it’s actually pretty non-discriminatory — he’ll insult anyone. But when it comes to how he treats women, I’d say he has a hell of a better record than Hillary, who has consistently paid her women employees less than men, and put a lot of energy into attacking women who had the temerity to like her husband.

    As far as the racism/xenophobia, I see that as Trump proving himself a hell of a lot smarter than a lot of his critics, especially a lot of people here. Because Trump can see a difference between legal aliens and illegal aliens. Trump employs a lot of legal aliens, and he thinks that illegal aliens should be deported. And, for some reason, there are a lot of morons out there who seem to think that actually enforcing the law is TEH WORST THING EVAR.

    Speaking of illegal aliens, the family of Kate Steinle — the woman shot and killed by an illegal alien, who had already been deported five times, and shot her with a gun stolen from a federal officer — is suing San Francisco, which is a “sanctuary city” for illegal aliens. Where are all those people who like to argue about how federal law is supreme, and openly defying federal laws is akin to treason and sedition? Where are the calls to squash these “sanctuary cities” who put their own laws ahead of federal laws? You can’t say no to gay marriage, but you can say no to immigration laws?

  34. Jenos Idanian says:

    @An Interested Party: actually what it’s really about is certain people finally realizing that the GOP has been playing them for suckers for years…ironically, those same people are now putting their hopes on yet another grifter…

    You really, really don’t get it, do you?

    A lot of Trump supporters aren’t “putting their hopes” on Trump. They’re using Trump to send a message. And Trump’s overarching promise is to deliver that message, deliver it hard, deliver it repeatedly.

    Your smugness is laughably misplaced.

  35. James Pearce says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    It’s about the people you’ve been calling those names for years finally getting fed up with being told to STFU, and saying “no, it’s YOUR turn to STFU.”

    @Guarneri:

    Both are proudly giving their finger to the “system.”

    The vulgar revolution led by a dubious con artist and his faithful dupes. There’s a lot of problems in the world and your middle fingers aren’t going to solve a single one of them.

  36. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    And his attitude is “FU!”

    Would that be his attitude to everyone who doesn’t agree with him? It seems that way…..

    So do you think he’ll have a more moderate (Presidential) attitude with a Supreme Court, or with a General who refuses to carry out an illegal command, or any other world leaders that want to maintain existing treaties (defense or trade), or a Congress that won’t authorize the construction of a 13 billion dollar wall that solves a non-existent problem.

    His “FU” attitude, while it may appeal to some who don’t see any consequence flowing from it, scares many others.

  37. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:
  38. An Interested Party says:

    Interestingly, most of you are so wedded to your prejudices and insecurities that you still don’t get it. Back to your scapegoating and self feel good bilge masquerading as analysis.

    You poor thing, I see you’re projecting again…shouldn’t you be on your yacht somewhere in the Caribbean sipping cognac or something…

    Remarkable, how people keep calling Trump the same old buzzwords — “racism, sexism, and xenophobia.” How did you miss “homophobia?”

    Trump’s own words prove that your downplaying of his odious nature isn’t very effective…

    Your smugness is laughably misplaced.

    It is hardly smug to note that so many who have been played by politicians in the past are now being played by a grifter…what is laughable is how you think that Trump is being used by others when it is obvious that he is the one doing the using…

  39. CSK says:

    Yes, indeed. What comes after FU? Or is that a matter of no consequence?

  40. steve says:

    Having a fair understanding of how the GOP primary rules work, I predicted Trump would win. It was pretty clear early on that he had an unshakeable 25% of the vote locked up. Given the rest of the field, that made it pretty hard for him to lose given the way the votes work for the GOP primary. I think a lot of people left and right, especially left, assumed he would eventually say something so offensive that his voters would desert him. They didn’t realize that offensive comments are a plus. Also, the guy is a marketing genius and has spent years on reality TV figuring this stuff out. Perfect candidate for our age.

    Steve

  41. Kylopod says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Remarkable, how people keep calling Trump the same old buzzwords — “racism, sexism, and xenophobia.” How did you miss “homophobia?”

    Your lack of self-awareness on this point is intriguing. Most people haven’t accused Trump of homophobia for the simple reason that he has pretty much not engaged in it (beyond sorta vaguely saying he opposes same-sex marriage). It doesn’t seem to occur to you that these words might be something other than mindless name-calling, and so you assume that neglecting to use one of them implies “missing” it.

  42. Pharaoh Narim says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Every now and again you hit the nail in the head. The Republican primary is not about policy. 9 times out of 10 politicians can’t deliver anyway–then they’ll say, ” Well we coulda did it if it wasn’t for those (insert buzzword insult) (insult political party)” And alas we go right back to the status quo. Whether it’s gun control or immigration, etc, the most likely outcome after your team politician gets elected to office…..is NOTHING.

    So in that light, why the emphasis on analysis of focus-group tested policy positions that won’t survive a lobbyists rewrite anyway? The Republican primary voter wants a candidate that will dismantle institutions and tell other law makers and world leaders they believe have prioritized their concerns as irrelevant (they have) to stuff it!

    To look at what’s going on and only come away with fear and racism as the explanation is frankly, a vestige of Democratic Party group think. Especially since this myopia is allowing the same disruptive forces to flourish right under their noses. There are a lot of DNC voters ready to elect an FU candidate as well. Even more so after Clinton wins the nomination and moves Right and back to Big Capital.

  43. Pharaoh Narim says:

    @CSK: Hasn’t that already been happening to sizeable swaths of voters by numerous politicians?

  44. Pharaoh Narim says:

    @CSK: Unfortunately a redux of the 60s. Civil disobedience with some violence sprinkled in. The country’s institutions are not and have no plans to work for ordinary Americans. When that happens for a long enough period of time a young generation comes along and decides they won’t put up with it. That generation preschool age IMO. It’s an American tradition and therefore inevitable. It’s also the only real way to force disruptive change in large institutions. The natural state of any institution is to resist change.

  45. An Interested Party says:

    To look at what’s going on and only come away with fear and racism as the explanation is frankly, a vestige of Democratic Party group think.

    You may have a point that it isn’t only fear and racism but to say that fear and racism aren’t important factors, as some are trying to allege, is disingenuous…

  46. Ben Wolf says:

    Let’s not forget you were also quite mistaken regarding Sanders. In both cases your unacknowledged errors have been false pattern recognition and failure to factor Knightian uncertainty.

  47. James Joyner says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I think most academic social science disciplines fall prey to a reasonable man assumption. Academics (theoretically reasonable people,) have a hard time seeing the world in unreasonable terms. Economists, political scientists, et al don’t want to admit that homo sapiens does not follow rational rules of enlightened self interest. Or even unenlightened self interest. Humans operate on fear and greed for the most part, with small side dishes of reason in a minority of cases.

    and @stonetools:

    The problem with Steve, Doug, James and other pundits is that they aren’t white racists, frightened by the election of a black President, fearful of Muslims and convinced that the white American race is about to be overrun by a tide of brown people from south of the border. In short, the pundits , like the Republican establishment, don’t know the hopes and aspirations of Republican base.

    There’s a lot of truth in these statements. But contributing to the confirmation bias that Steven addressed in the original post is that the Republican nominating electorate has, in our lifetimes, chosen reasonable nominees for president. Yes, there was the Southern Strategy. But Richard Nixon ran on sensible policies and was, in many ways, a liberal by today’s standards. Ditto Ronald Reagan. Bush Sr. was a legitimate moderate. Ditto Bob Dole. Bush Jr., for all his failings as president, ran as a “compassionate conservative” and actually did some rather compassionate things on both the domestic and international fronts. McCain and Romney, too, were relative moderates who beat out a whole slew of much-more-conservative challengers.

    In hindsight, the increasingly rabid nature of the base–the outrageousness of many of the Tea Party rallies, the outrage over the Ground Zero mosque, the primary defeats of even ultra-conservative Republican leaders for being insufficiently pure—was plain to see. But they always came back to a sensible choice for the top of the ticket. Until they didn’t.

  48. James Joyner says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    Let’s not forget you were also quite mistaken regarding Sanders. In both cases your unacknowledged errors have been false pattern recognition and failure to factor Knightian uncertainty.

    We were less wrong on Sanders. I’ve been arguing all along that he’s the Democrat’s answer to Trump—the guy representing white hot anger at The System—but that Clinton would prevail. Neither Steven nor I thought he’d do nearly as well as he did. We misread the anger level in the electorate. At the same time, as Steven has pointed out in another posting, Sanders’ success this cycle has been inflated by bizarre rules. In addition to odd delegate allocation systems, the fact that there have been so many caucuses this cycle has greatly helped him. In the far more democratic (small-d) primaries, Clinton has done far better.

  49. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian: “They’re using Trump to send a message. And Trump’s overarching promise is to deliver that message, deliver it hard, deliver it repeatedly.”

    Yes. And that message is exactly the same as the one the turkey sends to the axe.

  50. wr says:

    @James Pearce: “There’s a lot of problems in the world and your middle fingers aren’t going to solve a single one of them.”

    Yes, but it will make them feel good for about ten minutes. And then when everything goes to hell because they’ve elected an incompetent conman, they’ll go back to their default mode of blaming everyone else for their problems.

  51. @Ben Wolf:

    Let’s not forget you were also quite mistaken regarding Sanders. In both cases your unacknowledged errors have been false pattern recognition and failure to factor Knightian uncertainty.

    In my case, I’ll readily admit that I misread the prospects for the Sanders candidacy. Two reasons come to mind. First of all, it seemed unlikely that a septuagenarian socialist from Vermont would really catch fire with large numbers of voters not only in places like New Hampshire, but also in Iowa and other parts of the country. Second, I think many analysts misread the extent to which voters in the Democratic Party wanted a choice of some kind in their primary rather than just a coronation of Hillary Clinton. There were signs of this is the fact that Joe Biden was polling so well before he decided not to run for President, and one wonders how things would have panned out had he gotten into the race, That being said, I would argue that most of the analysis about Sanders was correct — notwithstanding the fact that he’s won many states and done better than many analysts suspected, there has never been a point where he had a realistic chance at winning the nomination. Why he still refuses to admit this fact to his supporters is another question.

  52. stonetools says:

    The people who claim that Sanders and Trump are examples of the same phenomenon are missing some things, I think-like, for example, issues. Trump and Sanders are almost diametrically opposed on every issue, which is why talk of Trump drawing Sanders supporters come November is ludicrous.
    Also while Republican base rejected the Republican establishment ‘s message in toto in favor of a policy-free demagogue with a belligerent F.U. attitude, the debate in the Democratic Party was almost completely about policy. Sanders favored more radical policies, which he would bring about by pressuring the system through demonstrations and other, unspecified actions(his “political revolution”), while Clinton favored less radical policies and a more nuanced approach.However, despite the tweets of the Bernie bros, there really isn’t a yuuuge difference in actual policy proposals between Sanders and Clinton(they voted together 90 per cent of the time). The difference is that Sanders is uncompromising and IMO both self righteous and unrealistic.Clinton is uninspiring but pragmatic and competent. She doesn’t promise a lot but will likely find a way to deliver what she promises.
    Note while the Republican Party opted for the shoot-from-the hip demagogue, the Democratic Party went with the sane policy maker who will work through the channels(although she will tend to push the envelope sometimes there too.)The Democratic Party base was mostly happy with their choices;the Republican Party base mostly wasn’t.

  53. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @DrDaveT: Dr. Taylor has my sympathy also. I sometimes muse that one of the few satisfactions I get from trying to teach the (apparently) unteachable is that I get to make my dean’s life miserable.

  54. Jenos Idanian says:

    @stonetools: Believe it or not, I actually sympathize with you. I think policy’s important, and I enjoy little more than spirited discussions about policy and principles.

    But we are in a decided minority this election cycle, as people are more driven by passions than policy. And that’s what is driving the election.

    You talk about how close Bernie and Hillary are in policy, but I disagree. They may have voted similarly, but they are both stretching to meet where they do. Sanders is a simplistic, idealistic, inept socialist, while Hillary is a paranoid plutocrat. They don’t agree much on principles, but they can easily find common ground.

    I also question your description of Hillary as “competent.” What the hell has she ever done that’s proven her competency? She hasn’t managed to squash Sanders, despite having the entire DNC apparatus behind her. Her tenure as Secretary of State gave us such stellar relations with Russia, China, North Korea, Syria, and Libya. She can’t claim any credit for ObamaCare, as she was out of the Senate when it was passed. Her main highlight of her Senate career was voting for the Iraq war.

    Her campaign boils down to “vote for me because I have ladyparts, and I put up with all of Bill’s BS and was Obama’s loyal little soldier for 4 years, so I’m owed.” Her policy stances are, by and large, irrelevant, because her actions have been seldom shaped by policy or principles.

  55. Barry says:

    @steve s: “and that’s the real 3 legs of the GOP stool:

    Bible-thumpers
    Racists
    Rich people who don’t care about anything except paying less taxes.”

    The important thing was that the first two overlap quite a bit – the people allegedly most interested in Jesus fell for a guy whose main sales pitch was racis.

  56. Barry says:

    @CSK: “Does it concern the folks who support Trump purely because of his FU attitude that he may very well say FU to them one day?”

    These are the fools who look at Trump declaring (corporate) bankruptcy four times, walking away with fat pockets, who then assume that President Trump wouldn’t do it *to * them, but *for* them.

  57. Tony W says:

    @James Joyner:

    In hindsight, the increasingly rabid nature of the base–the outrageousness of many of the Tea Party rallies, the outrage over the Ground Zero mosque, the primary defeats of even ultra-conservative Republican leaders for being insufficiently pure—was plain to see.

    For many of us it is not hindsight.

    The terrorists won.

  58. Barry says:

    @James Joyner: “But Richard Nixon ran on sensible policies and was, in many ways, a liberal by today’s standards. Ditto Ronald Reagan. ”

    ‘Nixon was a liberal’ has been debunked over at Lawyers, Guns and Money.

    As for sensible polices, you must be kidding.

  59. Pch101 says:

    @stonetools:

    The people who claim that Sanders and Trump are examples of the same phenomenon are missing some things, I think-like, for example, issues.

    They both appeal to populists. Populists are motivated by the same visceral impulses (i.e. the beliefs that the system does not serve them and that their movement speaks for the majority, even though it almost certainly does not.)

    That does not mean that all populists agree with each other on policy or that their politics all fall neatly along conventional right-left lines. But the motivations are similar.

  60. Mikey says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    People aren’t voting for Trump for his promises, they’re voting for his attitude.

    Do you really think promises to build a wall on the Mexican border and throw out 11 million undocumented immigrants and close the borders to all the Muslims have nothing to do with his success?

    I think you just want to discount those because if it’s all about “attitude” and not about Trump’s actual statements, you don’t have to acknowledge just how racist your GOP has become.

  61. stonetools says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Well, I am comparing her to the Bush Administration’s SoSes. She is a freaking genius compared to those guys, but that’s admittedly a low bar. There were no ruinous , 4000 American dead wars with the wrong countries started on her watch and no lies to the UN. Over the course of her tenure she just brought the office back to normalcy, and restored to the international community a sense that the US isn’t crazy.She almost worked to build the sanctions regime that brought Iran to the table for the nuclear deal. In these ways she set the table for Kerry’s successes.

  62. stonetools says:

    Her campaign boils down to “vote for me because I have ladyparts, and I put up with all of Bill’s BS and was Obama’s loyal little soldier for 4 years, so I’m owed.” Her policy stances are, by and large, irrelevant, because her actions have been seldom shaped by policy or principles.

    This is the Republican attack on Clinton in one sentence. ” Ignore Clinton’s sane , well crafted policy program. Focus on how she is an icky person who is corrupt , dishonest, entitled and female. Also ignore that the Republican nominee is an unstable, racist demagogue who doesn’t know what he’s talking about and who shouldn’t be within a thousand miles of the nuclear codes.”
    Also too, do you know Hillary did something with emails?

  63. steve s says:

    @Barry:

    The important thing was that the first two overlap quite a bit – the people allegedly most interested in Jesus fell for a guy whose main sales pitch was racis.

    Absolutely, and that’s contributing to strain. The people who care slightly more about cramming Jesus down everybody’s throat are pissed at their evangelical leaders who, it turns out, cared slightly more about hating mexicans and mooslems.

    trump tearing evangelicals apart

  64. steve s says:

    I think you just want to discount those because if it’s all about “attitude” and not about Trump’s actual statements, you don’t have to acknowledge just how racist your GOP has become.

    the GOP is most freaked out right now because they like to dogwhistle the racism, and pretend like Willie Horton, reagan’s ‘states’ rights’ speech, cutting welfare, etc etc are principled things. Trump puts the bigotry out in the open and (big surprise) beats every other candidate like a rented mule, and people like James sit around saying “Where did this out-of-the-blue alien force come from? We’re so moderate and sensible and unbigoted!”

  65. @Jenos Idanian:

    People aren’t voting for Trump for his promises, they’re voting for his attitude. And his attitude is “FU!” His attitude is “I got yer political correctness RIGHT HERE.”

    You claim this isn’t about racism and misogyny. But since most railing about PC is from people who want to say what they want about blacks, hispanics, muslims, and women, it is pretty clearly about racismm, xenophobia, and misogyny.

    Could you name an example of concern over “political correctness” that isn’t about race, religion, or gender (and, for that matter, not about curtailing white males from making comments about race, religion, or gender?).

  66. @michael reynolds: @DrDaveT: @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker: thanks for the well-wishes and the “congratudolences” (which I have long maintained is word we need in English).

    Let’s say that while I never sat and dreamed of the day I would be Dean, circumstances conspired in a way that it was the right move for a variety of reasons.

  67. @Barry:

    ‘Nixon was a liberal’ has been debunked over at Lawyers, Guns and Money.

    As for sensible polices, you must be kidding.

    I would put it this way: regardless of what one might say about Nixon, he was a candidate within the normal parameters of American party politics. Trump is clearly an outlier.

  68. In re: multiple comments about Sanders, the bottom line is that Sanders is, even with his populism, a more standard primary challenger than is Trump. That there is a substantial progressive wing of the Democratic Party should not be a surprise, nor should it be a surprise that the Dem primary has, under its fairly proportional rules, drug on as long as it has. Remember: the 2008 Democratic contest similarly went into June.

    And note the info in the post above: under the Rep rules, Hillary would have had a much, much larger lead over Bernie. The rules matter and they matter if one is going to compare the Dem and Rep contests.

  69. Also in re: Bernie, IIRC the main thing I personally said about Bernie was that he would do comparatively poorly in primaries, especially in states with a more diverse electorate. This is precisely what happened, yes?

  70. James Joyner says:

    @Tony W: Oh, I saw and condemned much of it in real time. But the base rejected those impulses at the top of the ticket until this cycle.

    @Barry: He did plenty of illiberal things in the War on Crime but, hell, so did Bill Clinton. But Nixon also expanded the welfare state and ended the draft. He had Daniel Patrick Moynihan in the cabinet, for goodness sakes. Plus, the opening to China, etc.

  71. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: But since most railing about PC is from people who want to say what they want about blacks, hispanics, muslims, and women, it is pretty clearly about racismm, xenophobia, and misogyny.

    Trump started off by taking on (and taking out) Jeb Bush. He speaks out specifically against illegal aliens, but apparently there’s this incredible mental block on the left that can’t grasp any differences between illegal aliens and legal aliens. Trump doesn’t denigrate women in general, he goes after specific women.

    When the argument boils down to “yes, he says it about a subset XXX, but he REALLY means it about the whole XXX group,” there’s no point in discussing it. One side wants to discuss what is really said, the other what they think they hear.

  72. Mikey says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    When the argument boils down to “yes, he says it about a subset XXX, but he REALLY means it about the whole XXX group,” there’s no point in discussin

    Why not? Are you seriously so dense as to be unaware of that mode of slander-by-extension? It’s been a tool of bigots since time immemorial.

    Oh, wait–this is just you trying to discount the galactically obvious again, because admitting the truth would require acknowledging the sewer down which the modern GOP has descended.

  73. Pharoah Narim says:

    @An Interested Party: Fair point. But I’ve engaged Trump supporters who aren’t the racist yokels they are often caricatured as being. That broad brush is probably as skewed as the one of Obama supporters being Brown people that want free stuff.

    I would venture to say empirically, the Trump supporters is more motivated to nationalism as a response to globalism not to racial tribalism. They see much of what America worked for and built post cold way being given away voluntary….not another civilization rises up and taking it. Immigration for them is less about brown people that it is about globalist forces allowing unfettered immigration to suppress a labor market that blue collar laborers existing in. I actually see a natural alliance with Sanders supporters if not for the confounding wedge issues and dog whistles that litter the landscape. Sure a good chunk of Trump supporters are stone cold prejudice as well….but so are a good chunk of liberals. They just do a better job of expressing it in quiet rooms and through nuanced policy.

  74. steve s says:

    Pat Buchanan Calls Trump “The Great White Hope”

    Former GOP presidential contender praises current GOP presumptive nominee. Somebody remind me again how its us liberals who are the real racists, racism isn’t a thing anymore, reverse-racism is worse, blah blah blah….

  75. An Interested Party says:

    They just do a better job of expressing it in quiet rooms and through nuanced policy.

    Oh? Do tell about that bigoted nuanced policy…

    Meanwhile, poor Pat Buchanan…when did (heterosexual) (Christian) white men become a victim class in this country…

  76. grumpy realist says:

    @An Interested Party: Since they didn’t automatically get hired over women. Or darker-skinned people.

  77. anjin-san says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    No surprise that you would rush to the defense of a raging misogynist like Trump. Scratch little Jenos and you will find a lifelong strikeout artist with rage towards women simmering right beneath the surface.

  78. Pharaoh Narim says:

    @An Interested Party: Bill Clinton’s Law and order initiatives employed a whorde of white rural townships whose economic base had been shipped to Mexico. They simultaneously sourced this prison network with millions of low-level offending Black men. Only in recent years since middle-class whites have been fed intro the grinder has “over policing” been an issue. Affirmative action? Biggest beneficiary is white woman. Liberals put a minority face on their policies and then execute them in a way that excludes them. Thanks DNC!

  79. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Mikey: Once again, I find myself asking: if someone is such a self-evidently bad person, why the hell can’t people here limit themselves to the truth when denouncing them? Is there some unwritten rule that if someone is bad, then it’s not only allowable, but laudable to make up even more bad stuff about them?

    I don’t think Trump is obviously sexist, because he doesn’t treat women as a class as inferior. I don’t think he’s a racist, as he doesn’t treat members of a particular race as inferior. I don’t think he’s a xenophobe, because he doesn’t treat non-Americans as a class as inferior.

    He treats a LOT of people as if they’re inferior. He’s every non-discriminatory in that way.

    He says bad things about particular women. He also says bad things about particular men, and he actually has a decent record of how he treats women in his employ.

    He says bad things about illegal aliens. He also employs a lot of legal aliens. He’s even been attacked for employing legal aliens in some cases, instead of Americans.

    Yes, he thinks he’s better than most other people. But he doesn’t seem to think that because of race, or sex, or national origin. He seems to think that because he’s DONALD TRUMP, and they’re not.

    He’s a narcissist, an egomaniac, and a professional bullshitter. Just like pretty much every other politician. He’s just more blatant about it.

    I’ll go even further. He’s actually proud of it.

    I can offer plenty of angles of attack against Trump. I have little faith they’ll be effective, but I can assure you of one thing: they’ll be based on things he’s actually said and done, not what I think he means and what I think he would say, if he was to be perfectly candid.

    And what a fascinating double standard. I keep asking people to offer an explanation for why Hillary ever thought having her private email server for official business was a good idea, and everyone gets all high and mighty about how they’re not mind readers, and it’s unfair to expect anyone to even try. Even when I openly invite people to speculate and think of a reason, no one wants to.

    But getting into Trump’s psyche and boldly pronouncing what he really means, what he really thinks, what he’ll really do — that’s not only allowed, but encouraged and expected.

    No great surprise, though. The only standards most of the commentariat here demonstrates is the double standard.

  80. Pch101 says:

    If America is a city on the hill, then Jenos is the landfill where the town dumps its rotting garbage.

  81. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Pch101: Oh, I am so gravely wounded. Your biting wit has cut me to the quick; I have no choice to slink away in shame, knowing that I will never recover from your insult.

    Oh, the pain, the pain…

  82. @Jenos Idanian:

    I don’t think Trump is obviously sexist, because he doesn’t treat women as a class as inferior. I don’t think he’s a racist, as he doesn’t treat members of a particular race as inferior. I don’t think he’s a xenophobe, because he doesn’t treat non-Americans as a class as inferior.

    This may be the most delusional thing you have ever written or at least most weasel-worded defense of all time.

    I have often stated that you come across as not understanding the problems of racism and you really have fully confirmed this fact.

  83. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Feel free to attempt to enlighten me, then. I am on pins on needles to hear how treating everyone the same, regardless of race, is somehow racist.

    Apparently you missed my conclusion, as it’s essential to the context of the part you quoted, so I’ll repeat myself:

    Yes, he thinks he’s better than most other people. But he doesn’t seem to think that because of race, or sex, or national origin. He seems to think that because he’s DONALD TRUMP, and they’re not.

    I think I’m better than a lot of other people. (Most people do that, you know. You think you’re better than me, for example.) It doesn’t always have to mean because of race. Hell, genetically I’m a total mess. Look at my medical records, and that of my immediate family, and you can make a hell of a case that I’m an example of racial inferiority.

    But just what race is Trump so obviously prejudiced against, anyway? There’s a nice, simple question, which should have a nice, simple answer.

  84. Jenos Idanian says:

    Fine, I’ll go first. Let me explain why I don’t accept your definition of “racism.”

    In today’s society, being found a racist is a huge matter. It can be the social equivalent of the death penalty. Look at Mel Gibson and Michael Richards for examples.

    The Michael Brown shooting in Ferguson was immediately pushed as a murder by a racist cop. Before there was any real evidence in the case, the cop in question was found guilty in the court of public opinion. “Hands up don’t shoot” became a national rallying cry, and riots and mass destruction followed.

    But when the evidence started coming in, and the original story about the shooting turned out to be a total myth from day one, that didn’t matter. The officer in question, who had done nothing wrong and was the victim of the lies and the myth, found himself out of a job, out of a career, and a marked man. Because he is perceived by many as a racist who got away with murder. All the facts won’t change that.

    That’s what a false accusation of racism can do.

    In a previous threat, michael reynoldss said this: I oppose the death penalty for only one reason: the possibility of error. I rarely agree with him, and don’t particularly like him, but every now and then we agree. (And, I believe, we both feel a little dirty about it.)

    Before giving someone the social death penalty, be goddamned sure about it. And stop using accusations of racism as a way to shut people up. It’s contemptible, and it rarely works any more.

  85. @Jenos Idanian: I have neither the time nor the patience to try and change your mind on this, as I am certain it would have no effect. You are free to rationalize all of this however you like.

    And Mel Gibson shot himself in the the foot multiple ways, only one of which was being a pretty obvious, and out-spoken, anti-Semite.

    And even so, I am unclear on the relevance. As usual, you always try to shift the issue slightly.

    Even Pat Buchanan, as noted above, sees Trump as a white nationalist out to protect white males. It really isn’t that difficult to see, unless you simply don’t want to see it.

  86. An Interested Party says:

    Feel free to attempt to enlighten me, then.

    No problem…

    …Trump addressed the Republican Jewish Coalition on Dec. 3, calling himself “a negotiator like you folks,” one of many Jewish stereotypes the Manhattan real-estate mogul dropped throughout his speech.

    “Is there anyone in this room who doesn’t negotiate deals?” he joked. “Probably more than any room I’ve ever spoken.”

    “I have black guys counting my money. … I hate it,” Trump told John R. O’Donnell, the former president of Trump Plaza Hotel & Casino, according O’Donnell’s account in his 1991 book “Trumped!” “The only guys I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes all day.”

    Trump, according to O’Donnell, went on to say, “‘Laziness is a trait in blacks. It really is, I believe that.”

    In an interview with Playboy in 1999, Trump remarked that “[t]he stuff O’Donnell wrote about me is probably true. The guy’s a f—-g loser. A f—-g loser. I brought the guy in to work for me; it turns out he didn’t know that much about what he was doing. I think I met the guy two or three times total. And this guy goes off and writes a book about me, like he knows me!”

    “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people,” Trump said at his campaign announcement. “But I speak to border guards and they tell us what we’re getting. And it only makes common sense. It only makes common sense. They’re sending us not the right people. It’s coming from more than Mexico. It’s coming from all over South and Latin America, and it’s coming probably— probably— from the Middle East. But we don’t know. Because we have no protection and we have no competence, we don’t know what’s happening. And it’s got to stop and it’s got to stop fast.”

    Speaking to Time magazine for a profile published in January 1989, Trump was asked to give an estimate of his total wealth.

    “Who the f knows? I mean, really, who knows how much the Japs will pay for Manhattan property these days?” he asked in response, using a racial slur for the Japanese.

    In a New York magazine profile published in November 1992, a year after Trump divorced his first wife, Ivana, Trump was quoted dispensing his wisdom about how to handle the fairer sex.

    “You have to treat ’em like shit,” Trump said in the article to friend Philip Johnson, who responded, “You’d make a good mafioso.”

    Trump’s response: “One of the greatest.”

  87. @Jenos Idanian:

    Before giving someone the social death penalty, be goddamned sure about it. And stop using accusations of racism as a way to shut people up.

    Rather by definition this is nonsense: I am, and others, are accusing Trump of racism. Not only is that not resulting in “the social death penalty” he is about to be nominated by one of our two major parties as their presidential candidate.

    And I hate to tell you, but Michael Richards’ career was hardly on fire when that video went public–and even so, angrily yelling racial slurs at people tends not to be a great career move, especially that word.

    Are Gibson and Richards really your best examples of this supposed injustice?

  88. @An Interested Party: Ah, but you see, that is just Trump being Trump! The real victim in all of this PC nonsense is Mel Gibson.

  89. An Interested Party says:

    Perfect examples of certain people being grifted, as I previously wrote about

    At one recent meeting with Trump, evangelical leaders noted how he often flashes a signature hand gesture, with a thumb out and a finger point to the sky, as he enters and exits rallies. “You see athletes do it all the time and it’s their chance to point to the sky, to thank God for their success,” said Pastor Mark Burns, CEO of a Christian television network based in South Carolina. “Trump does this all of the time, too. He’s giving reverence to the man upstairs.”

    “Even with Mr. Trump’s billions of dollars, he too still submits himself to God,” said Burns, who has become a top Trump surrogate and a staple on the campaign trail, frequently introducing the candidate at rallies. “We should all chip in to help him out. You know, even a billionaire needs some cash flow.”

    Jesus H. Christ…

  90. grumpy realist says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Since when has Trump indicated that he has any respect for women at all?

    He wants them a) on their knees b) housewives like his Dear Old Mother, or c) gorgeous and adoring. Read his comments about getting rid of his first wife. At the same time that he says he respects her, he complains about her “bringing her work home with her.” He didn’t think enough about her to remain faithful to her, did he?

    Like every narcissist, as soon as the attention of other people isn’t constantly focused on him, he throws a fit.

    Trump is unable to deal with older women with power. Or women who don’t try to get ahead based on their sex appeal but on their intelligence and ability instead. Look how he has reacted to Carly F., Elizabeth Warren, and Hillary Clinton. Given his comments and attitudes, how do you think he will react to Angela Merkel?

  91. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: At what point did I say that Gibson or Richardson did not deserve what happened to them? I find it enlightening that they are now poison, but others who committed far more heinous deeds are more readily forgiven, but I at no point intended them as an example of injustice — only the severity of their fate.

    But then you’re in academia, and as we all hear all the time, college campuses are astonishing hotbeds of racism and sexism and rape culture and all sorts of horrible, horrible things, so it’s understandable that you might not realize the rest of the country isn’t like that.

  92. Jenos Idanian says:

    @grumpy realist: Since when has Trump indicated that he has any respect for women at all?

    You’re showing a selection bias. “Sexism” is too narrow a term for Trump. A better question would be “since when has Trump indicated he has any respect for anyone at all?”

    Is Trump prejudiced? Absolutely. But what is the criteria for his prejudice? The available evidence indicates it’s “people who aren’t Donald Trump.”

    Yes, he’s said bad things about his political opponents. And your choice of the “victims” is entertaining — especially Elizabeth Warren, the woman who advanced her career through ethnic fraud (falsely claiming Native American heritage) and denouncing “predatory capitalism” while practicing it herself

    Trump, in his business dealings, has a better record for treating his female employees better than Hillary. But Hillary says the right things, and that’s all that matters, not how she actually acts.

    I will repeat: Trump doesn’t have a problem with people based on race, sex, creed, national origin, orientation, or whatever. He has a problem with people in general. He’s very non-discriminatory in that way. He sees everyone as inferior, based on them not being Donald Trump.

    He has a huge ego, and a huge streak of narcissism, like pretty much every other politician. He just doesn’t try to hide it, like nearly all the others do. He seems to think that he doesn’t need to in order to succeed, and that he actually is helped by being such a blatant Trump supremacist.

    And so far, it seems he’s right about that.

  93. Jenos Idanian says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: Even Pat Buchanan, as noted above, sees Trump as a white nationalist out to protect white males.

    Pat Buchanan’s still alive?

    (Checks Wikipedia)

    Huh… pity.

  94. Kylopod says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    Elizabeth Warren, the woman who advanced her career through ethnic fraud (falsely claiming Native American heritage)

    Yet another baseless slander.

    While a teacher at the University of Texas, she listed herself as “white.” But between 1986 and 1995, she listed herself as a minority in the Association of American Law Schools Directory of Faculty; the University of Pennsylvania in a 2005 “minority equity report” also listed her as one of the minority professors who had taught at its law school.

    The head of the committee that brought Warren to Harvard Law School said talk of Native American ties was not a factor in recruiting her to the prestigious institution. Reported the Boston Heraldin April in its first story on Warren’s ancestry claim: “Harvard Law professor Charles Fried, a former U.S. Solicitor General who served under Ronald Reagan, sat on the appointing committee that recommended Warren for hire in 1995. He said he didn’t recall her Native American heritage ever coming up during the hiring process.

    “‘It simply played no role in the appointments process. It was not mentioned and I didn’t mention it to the faculty,’ he said.”

    He repeated himself this week, telling the Herald: “In spite of conclusive evidence to the contrary, the story continues to circulate that Elizabeth Warren enjoyed some kind of affirmative action leg-up in her hiring as a full professor by the Harvard Law School. The innuendo is false.”

    “I can state categorically that the subject of her Native American ancestry never once was mentioned,” he added.

    That view was echoed by Law School Professor Laurence H. Tribe, who voted to tenure Warren and was also involved in recruiting her.

    “Elizabeth Warren’s heritage had absolutely no role in the decision to recruit her to Harvard Law School,” he told the Crimson. “Our decision was entirely based on her extraordinary expertise and legendary teaching ability. This whole dispute is fabricated out of whole cloth and has no connection to reality.”

    It’s true that Warren has so far been unable to corroborate her claim to have Native American ancestry, and the evidence that has been brought forth has been dubious (see the article for details). But there’s no evidence that she made the story up; like many other Americans, she carries family lore of a Native American background. It’s extremely common, and it’s unfair to accuse Warren or anyone else who has such stories of fraud.

    But a lack of Native ancestry despite the family stories she’s heard all her life would also be consistent with one of the most common genealogical myths in the United States.

    “Many more Americans believe they have Native ancestry than actually do (we always suspected this, but can now confirm it through genetic testing),” said Smolenyak in an email. “In fact, in terms of wide-spread ancestral myths, this is one of the top two (the other being those who think their names were changed at Ellis Island). And someone who hails from Oklahoma would be even more prone to accept a tale of Native heritage than most.”

    She added: “There’s also a tendency to accept what our relatives (especially our elders) tell us.”

    As for Warren, “I can’t confirm or refute Cherokee heritage without extensive research,” she said. “All I can say is that Ms. Warren’s scenario is a wildly common one — minus the public scrutiny, of course.”

    On this basis, that Warren has accepted some questionable (though not wholly disproven) family legends, you accuse her of “ethnic fraud.” I would advise you to take your own advice from before: “Before giving someone the social death penalty, be goddamned sure about it.”

  95. An Interested Party says:

    Trump doesn’t have a problem with people based on race, sex, creed, national origin, orientation, or whatever. He has a problem with people in general.

    Oh, so he’s just a misanthrope…yeah, there’s somebody we need in the White House with his little fingers on the nuclear button…

    He has a huge ego, and a huge streak of narcissism, like pretty much every other politician.

    Ahh, so he’s no better than any other politician…that defeats the argument that he should be supported because he isn’t a politician…

  96. KM says:

    @Jenos :

    He says bad things about particular women. He also says bad things about particular men, and he actually has a decent record of how he treats women in his employ.

    He says bad things about illegal aliens. He also employs a lot of legal aliens. He’s even been attacked for employing legal aliens in some cases, instead of Americans.

    And what are those bad things? Direct references to stereotypes about them. If you use in an insult based on a sexist idea, you are in fact being sexist. Insulting Megan Kelly’s femaleness when putting her down is sexist – “bimbo” isn’t exactly an ambiguous term. You are referring to the fallacy that one must be visibly racist/sexist/bigoted 100% of the time to qualify for the title; that some can be totally racially offensive to that one guy but he’s got black friends so he’s cool. It’s completely self-serving BS for people who don’t want to be tagged as racist but want to act that way. I’m going to cite Jeff Foxworthy’s definition of redneck here since it’s the same concept – substitute “sexist” or “racist” for “redneck” and see how it applies:

    To me, the definition of redneck is “a glorious absence of sophistication”. And it can be temporary or it can be permanent, but most of us are guilty of it, at least from time to time. Then, not long ago, I was reading this magazine article where somebody claimed that there was a shortage of sophisticated people in this country. Which I took to mean there was an abundance of people like me.

    Right now, we are seeing a glorious absence of manners and politeness that some asshats want to call anti-PC free speech. Free speech has never meant freedom from criticism; what Trumpkins want is for no one to call them those socially stigmatizing terms because it makes them look bad. They are literally objecting to having their feelings hurt while they gleefully say “F-U I’m going to make as many people cry as possible!!!”

  97. Jenos Idanian says:

    @An Interested Party: Ahh, so he’s no better than any other politician…that defeats the argument that he should be supported because he isn’t a politician…

    Take a physicist to the edge of a very high cliff and tell him you’re going to throw him off the cliff. He can tell you how long the fall will take, at what speed he will be moving when he hits, at what point he will reach that speed, how long it will take him to reach that speed, where he will land, and all sorts of other details about his death plunge. Does his knowing these things indicate that he wants to be hurled to his death?

    I have an understanding of Trump’s appeal. That does not mean I find him appealing, or think he’s a good person. The reason I currently intend to vote for him is that I think that Hillary is worse.

    And my challenging the assumptions that Trump is a racist, a sexist, a xenophobe, or whatever are not my saying that he is not a horrible person. It’s me saying he’s not that kind of horrible person.

    If you want to stop Trump, you first need to understand him — and the people who support him. And trying to tag him with inaccurate labels actually hurts any attempts to stop him. You call him sexist, he says he isn’t and cites evidence against it, you get all wrapped up in your semantic arguments about what is considered sexist, and Trump notes that you’re having to invent new definitions for words just to make your case.

    And while you’re making your semantic arguments, he goes off and scores a whole bunch of new supporters.

    Every failed attack on him gets him that much closer to the White House. How big a landslide do you want to give him?

  98. An Interested Party says:

    And trying to tag him with inaccurate labels actually hurts any attempts to stop him. You call him sexist, he says he isn’t and cites evidence against it, you get all wrapped up in your semantic arguments about what is considered sexist, and Trump notes that you’re having to invent new definitions for words just to make your case.

    Actually, it is you who is trying to twist Trump’s own words to claim that he isn’t what he clearly presents himself to be…

    Every failed attack on him gets him that much closer to the White House.

    Those were attacks, if you could call some of them that, during the primaries when many of his opponents were afraid to attack him head on…the general election will be a very different matter…

    How big a landslide do you want to give him?

    No worries there as he’s not going to win…

  99. KM says:

    @Jenos:

    And trying to tag him with inaccurate labels actually hurts any attempts to stop him.

    And here is the crux of the matter. They are not inaccurate as he meet the technical and practical dictionary definitions. Frankly, he’s loud and proud of it; what is the point in bragging about not being PC if you are not being un-PC? It’s the connotation he’s objecting to – the social death sentence you called it earlier. Trump and his followers simply cannot stand that the system they’ve used for so long to castigate others socially is now being turned against them. They’re ANGRY that they are on the outs now when just a few years ago they could mock women, gays and minorities with the majority of the room staying silent (if not agreeing with them). They’re perfectly fine with the behavior (demand to be allowed to do it!!) but don’t you dare call them something that might make them look less in public.

    Every failed attack on him gets him that much closer to the White House. How big a landslide do you want to give him?

    Again, this assumes there are more people who favor his brash un-PCness more then they dislike… well, his brash un-PCness. There aren’t nearly as many as you think. A swath of Republicans are not happy with his behavior and will sit this one out. If (God forbid) he does win, it will be a squeak by. No landslide in sight.

  100. Pch101 says:

    @KM:

    They’re ANGRY that they are on the outs now when just a few years ago they could mock women, gays and minorities with the majority of the room staying silent (if not agreeing with them).

    The US used to have Jim Crow, legalized sexism, and immigration rules that prioritized white people. Obviously, many white folks didn’t have a problem with institutionalized affirmative action for white guys.

    During the not-so-good-old-days, there was no need for politicians to run on platforms to implement such policies, since those policies were already the status quo. For many, Trump is essentially the candidate of nostalgia; they feel entitled to advantages that they did not earn.

  101. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian: “I have an understanding of Trump’s appeal. That does not mean I find him appealing, or think he’s a good person.”

    Yes, Little Jenos, we know, just like you only posted 65 trillion messages declaring your adoration of George Zimmerman because Doug wasn’t posting enough about it.

    I realize that self-awareness is something you avoid at all costs, but even you can’t be fooled by this.

  102. Blue Galangal says:

    @wr: No, they’ll get to blame Obama for the foreseeable future.

  103. anjin-san says:

    @wr:

    65 trillion messages declaring your adoration of George Zimmerman

    Aw, come on now. You know that Jenos is just a guy who doesn’t like to see another guy get a raw deal. With the exciting life he leads, he probably does not even remember who Zimmermannn is. It was just a brief chapter in his ongoing battle for truth, justice, and the American way…

  104. anjin-san says:

    @Kylopod:

    she carries family lore of a Native American background. It’s extremely common

    Extremely. Several people I have known pretty much forever grew up on those kinds of stories, only to find out it ain’t so when they had DNA testing done.

  105. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Jenos Idanian: I got no dog in this fight. Frankly, if Trump wins, it will simply show (again) the validity of von Clauswicz’s (sp?) maxim that “nations get the governments they deserve.” What I am awestruck by is that your assertion that he’s the best choice. Get real! This is a guy who has proven that

    He can’t make money in real estate (his earliest bankruptcy was Trump Properties)

    He can’t sell steaks

    He can’t sell bottled water

    He can’t sell suits (or ties, dress shirts, or overcoats either)

    He can’t sell airplane trips

    He can’t sell education to credulous people that even the University of Phoenix can prey on

    He can’t even make money selling GAMBLING for gosh sakes!

    I understand HDS as well as the next guy, but bleep HOW DUMB ARE YOU?

  106. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @An Interested Party: With all due respect to Pastor Mark Burns, who probably doesn’t know any better and doesn’t realize the sign was stolen, “a thumb out and a finger point to the sky,” is “hang ten” as in surfer dudes from the 60s.

    Jeez…

  107. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Jenos Idanian:

    You think you’re better than me, for example.

    Not a high bar to jump in this case.

    (I may have start clicking you again, you’re bringing out the bad person in me.)

  108. Jenos Idanian says:

    I see the Usual Gang Of Idiots has shown up and deployed their regular arsenal of lies and personal attacks (that Our Hosts don’t deem a sufficient violation of the site’s rules to merit notice). With that, I don’t see any particular value in attempting to continue this discussion.

  109. An Interested Party says:

    I see the Usual Gang Of Idiots has shown up and deployed their regular arsenal of lies and personal attacks (that Our Hosts don’t deem a sufficient violation of the site’s rules to merit notice).

    What were the lies? Meanwhile, your continued whining gets you nothing but a trip to the Conservative Victimhood Tour…I’m sure you’ll enjoy the show as Donald Trump is the headliner…

  110. Kylopod says:

    @anjin-san: A while back 9 African American celebrities with family traditions of Native American roots had their DNA tested, and only 2 of them came up positive.

    http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/tech/science/genetics/2006-02-01-dna-african-americans_x.htm

  111. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian: ” With that, I don’t see any particular value in attempting to continue this discussion.”

    Oh noes — now that Jenos has had his butt kicked on every one of his BS points, he’s resorting to the ultimate, no-fail weapon of every right-winger — massive self-pity. How can we win against that mighty tool?

    (By which I mean the tactic, not its user… although take it as you will.)