“GOP Establishment Is Beginning To Panic”: Are Republican Voters Going To Come To Their Senses About Donald Trump?
The metaphor most often used about Donald Trump’s candidacy these days is that he’s “defying gravity,” which implies that while a real candidate can rise and then stay high all the way to the nomination, a candidate like Trump is supposed to bounce up and then fall back down to earth. But even as Trump is no longer enjoying the blanket coverage that he did a month or two ago, he’s still leading the Republican field.
Meanwhile, the candidate in second place, Ben Carson, is every bit Trump’s equal when it comes to policy ignorance, appalling statements, and the potential for a disastrous general election. The establishment’s early choice, Jeb Bush, has cratered, while its second choice, Marco Rubio, is creeping up slowly, but so far seems to be generating much more interest from funders and strategists than from actual voters.
So as Byron York reports today, the GOP establishment is beginning to panic, about Trump in particular:
This weekend was an inflection point in the Republican presidential race — a moment in which some significant part of the GOP establishment came out of denial and realized Donald Trump might well become their party’s nominee.
“The Republican establishment, for the first time, is saying, off the record, this guy can win,” noted Joe Scarborough on MSNBC Monday morning. “I’ve heard that from everybody. I don’t hear anybody saying he can’t win the nomination anymore.”
That doesn’t mean Republicans have made their peace with a Trump victory. On the contrary — some are preparing to do whatever it takes to bring him down. Which could lead to an extraordinary scenario in which GOP stalwarts go to war to destroy their own party’s likely nominee.
The trouble is that they don’t have much of a war plan, partly because “the establishment” is far less organized and unified than you might think, and partly because there are only so many tools at their disposal. There’s talk of a large TV ad campaign against Trump, built on “the political insiders’ unshakable faith that negative ads work.” You can also see that faith in this interview with longtime GOP strategist Mike Murphy, who’s running Jeb Bush’s “Right to Rise” Super PAC. Murphy’s argument for why Jeb is still the candidate to beat, despite the fact that his support has fallen to single digits and he’s now in fourth or fifth place in most polls, is essentially that Jeb will win because unlike the other candidates, he has a lot of money to run ads.
Ads can work, in the right context (though they have a short half-life; their effect tends to fade quickly). But they’re not a guarantee of anything, particularly when you have a candidate who has performed as poorly as Jeb, whose latest genius campaign maneuver is getting into an argument with Trump about whether his brother was actually president when the September 11 attacks happened. And the truth is that while Jeb may have raised the most money, some other candidates aren’t doing too badly either, particularly Carson and Ted Cruz.
In any case, the theory underlying not just Jeb’s candidacy but also Rubio’s is that eventually, the voters will come around to someone reasonable. They may need to be pushed in the right direction, but they can’t stick with the likes of Trump and Carson forever. The lower-tier candidates will drop out, the voters will coalesce around a smaller number of alternatives, and the choice will become clear, at which point one of the sane candidates will win.
Which could well happen. But by now, we should be wary of assuming anything about this race. How many people expected Trump to do as well as he has for as long as he has? The establishment and his opponents have tried a series of arguments against Trump, none of which have worked. He’s not a real conservative. He’s erratic. He’s ignorant. He’s killing us with Hispanics. If he was the nominee, we’d lose in a landslide.
All of which is true, but so far it hasn’t mattered. Trump is still leading, as he has from almost the moment he got into the race. As NBC News said this morning, “Donald Trump and Ben Carson are only getting STRONGER as we head into next week’s third GOP debate.” Nobody supporting Trump is unfamiliar with him; it’s getting less and less likely that an opponent will be able to say, “Did you know this about Trump?” and watch his support ebb away. They know who and what he is, and that’s why they’re behind him.
Trump is now putting together an actual campaign organization, with things like ballot-access specialists and ground operatives, which he didn’t have before. As Ron Brownstein points out, “Trump is cementing a strong blue-collar base, while the white-collar voters relatively more resistant to him have yet to unify around any single alternative.” The longer that unification takes, the better position Trump will be in; it isn’t hard to imagine him winning one early state after another and building up an unstoppable momentum.
Those who have been observing politics for a long time — whether you’re talking about journalists or the insiders now trying to figure out how to stop Trump — still have trouble wrapping their heads around the idea that he could really win. They now acknowledge that it’s possible, but it still seems crazy. Which it certainly is. But it’s looking like the establishment is going to have to do more than wait for primary voters to come to their senses if they want to stop him.
By: Paul Waldman, Senior Writer, The American Prospect; Contributor, The Plum Line Blog, The Washington Post, October 20, 2015
“White Supremacists Are Glad Boehner’s Leaving”: Didn’t Focus Enough On “The Replacement Of Whites By Non-Whites”
White supremacist leaders took to social media to celebrate the resignation of House Speaker John Boehner on Friday morning, a “cuckservative” whose tenure didn’t focus enough on “the replacement of whites by non-whites through immigration and higher birthrates.”
And one prominent white supremacist consider it a big loss for a Republican establishment they believe is “outmoded”—and an even bigger win for the appeal of “instinctive, unconscious (for) white Americans” they say Donald Trump provides.
“Whites are objectively more useful to the country than blacks or Hispanics in terms of crime rates, welfare dependency, labor-force productivity, etc. This is obviously true but everyone is too terrified to say so,” Jared Taylor, the President of the New Century Foundation, told The Daily Beast.
“Mr. Boehner never talked about these things, but he should have. “
The New Century Foundation is a self-described “white separatist” organization, which publishes a journal a “race realism” journal called American Renaissance. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, “most would describe (Taylor) as crudely white supremacist.”
Taylor believes the “replacement of whites by non-whites” is “the greatest long-term threat to conservatives.”
“Non-whites are like hens’ teeth in the Republican Party, but Republicans are too stupid to realize that an increasingly non-white America will be increasingly hostile to everything they claim to care about,” he said.
“The irony is that nothing conservatives profess to love will survive without whites.”
Many white supremacists pointed to what they perceived to be Boehner’s “weakness” on immigration, and his unwillingness to join those in his party that are insistent on building a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border.
They believe the Speaker’s border policy makes him a textbook “cuckservative,” which, as The Daily Beast’s Matt Lewis defined the term, is a “newfangled slur that combines the word ‘cuckold’ (which has both sexual and racial overtones) with the word ‘conservative.’”
“Boehner is generally weak on the immigration question. Thus, he’s lost his base of power,” said Richard B. Spencer, the head of the National Policy Institute, a white separatist think tank. In the past, Spencer has argued for a “new society, an ethno-state that would be a gathering point for all Europeans.“
“White Americans recognize (in an instinctive, unarticulated way) that taxes and budgets are meaningless in the face of White dispossession. It’s only issues of immigration and demographics that really matter,” he told The Daily Beast.
That’s why, Spencer believes, Donald Trump is gaining in the polls among those who share his beliefs.
“Today, the Republican Party is haunted by the specter of White dispossession and ethno-politics,” he said. “This is what the Trump phenomenon is really about, and this is why Trump is loathed by establishment conservatives (FOX, the GOP, the ‘conservative movement’) and why he appeals—on an instinctive, unconscious level—to White Americans.”
Jason Jones, who runs the Twitter account “End Cultural Marxism,” also intimated that Boehner wasn’t conservative enough for him and his 17,000-plus followers on social media.
“Boehner is a pro-immigration cuckservative. (I’m) glad he’s resigning. Both legal and illegal immigration are driving down American wages. It’s the No. 1 issue of our age,” said Jones.
When asked if he agreed with a fellow white supremacist, who wrote that Boehner “served his own special anti-White purpose,” he replied “yes.” Jones had retweeted the quote.
“European-descended people (whites) have interests too. Boehner did not represent our interests,” said Jones.
By midday, however, white supremacists like Taylor and Spencer had already resigned themselves to a new House Speaker who likely won’t speak for their values.
“Diversity is a source of conflict, not a strength. The idea that diversity is a strength is so obviously stupid that only very smart people can convince themselves of it,” said Taylor. “His replacement should talk about (these issues), but we can be certain that he will not.”
Spencer is equally disillusioned with those rumored to be the next Speaker—like Reps. Kevin McCarthy or Paul Ryan. But he says he sees a bright future for sect of white separatists like him that he believes to be burgeoning within the GOP.
“I’m not particularly impressed with the putatively more ‘conservative’ Republicans who are in position to take Boehner’s place. Indeed, they seem just as much products of the past as the current Speaker,” said Spencer. “In the end, politics is a lagging indicator of social change. And the Right of the future is just now taking shape.”
By: Ben Carson, The Daily Beast, September 25, 2015
“From Deep Inside The Fold”: Donald Trump Isn’t A Republican Traitor; He’s Giving Primary Voters Exactly What They Want
As panic sets in among Republicans at the prospect of Donald Trump either winning the GOP nomination, dividing the right by bolting the party to run as an independent, or merely trashing the rest of the field without restraint for the next six months before imploding, a narrative is taking hold among conservatives that’s equal parts self-protective and self-pitying. Trump, in this telling, isn’t really a Republican at all. He’s some extra-partisan saboteur who’s looking to blow up the GOP for his own purposes.
It’s true that Trump’s issue matrix (very far right on immigration, more centrist or pragmatic on entitlements and taxes, hawkish on foreign policy while denouncing the Iraq debacle without hedging) is not one that’s typically embraced by Republican presidential contenders. Yet conservatives are being too easy on themselves when they treat Trump as some force of nature that came out of nowhere or an anti-Republican conspiracy hatched in cahoots with the Clintons.
Trump may not precisely endorse the constellation of policies favored by either the GOP establishment or its reformist wing. But he’s not an ideological apostate arbitrarily endorsing idiosyncratic positions with no plausible connection to the conservative movement. On the contrary, he’s pushing a program that amounts to a distinctively Republican heresy.
Let’s start with immigration. It’s easy for members of the Republican establishment to see Trump’s position as anathema on this issue because they tend to oppose immigration restrictions — because they’re cosmopolitan elites, because they think the party desperately needs Hispanic votes to remain competitive, and because they’re beholden to a donor class that overwhelmingly favors allowing low-wage workers into the country.
But a party is nothing without voters, and the GOP’s overwhelmingly white and disproportionately rural voters — the actual foot soldiers of the party — take a polar opposite view on the issue. It was their revolt that sank immigration reform after the 2012 election, and it’s their support that is buoying Trump’s campaign. The establishment might not like it, but the fact is that Trump is never more in line with Republican voters than when he rails against undocumented immigrants and their ”anchor babies.”
Trump is exploiting another tension between the GOP elite and the grassroots on issues of tax cuts and government spending on entitlements. The Republican establishment is relatively consistent in its hostility to big government, preferring to cut taxes along with spending, with the latter ideally accomplished by such reforms as partial privatization of Social Security and the transformation of Medicaid into a program that hands out block grants.
The Republican base is far less consistent. It wants to cut taxes, and it likes speeches that rail against government spending. But when it comes to making real-world spending cuts, GOP voters (who tend to be older than Democrats and therefore more dependent on government programs that aid the elderly) agree with the person who famously (and absurdly) declared, ”Keep your government hands off my Medicare!” The grassroots want a free lunch, in other words, which is one important reason why the federal budget deficit has soared under every Republican president since Ronald Reagan.
Add in a growing willingness on the right to see the rich pay more in taxes, and Trump’s seemingly off-sides positioning begins to make sense in Republican terms. Yes, the mix of support for tax cuts and hikes, spending cuts and entitlement protections that one finds in the GOP base is contradictory, even incoherent. But it’s where conservative voters are, and Trump is the one candidate promising to give them exactly what they want.
Then there’s Trump’s blustery approach to foreign policy and trade relations: ”Elect me,” he seems to be saying, ”and I’ll be the toughest negotiator you’ve ever seen. I’ll get my way by sheer force of indefatigable will.” But of course, the Republican toughness fetish set in a long time before Trump. Ever since the Sept. 11 attacks and George W. Bush’s cowboy swagger and “Dead or Alive” threats to Osama bin Laden, the GOP has been obsessed with projecting strength — and assuming that the U.S. is bound to get its way if only the president unapologetically drives the hardest bargain at every moment. Trump is merely proving to be marginally more convincing than his rivals on this score because he’s been cultivating an omniconfident image in the public eye for decades.
Finally, we have Trump’s campaign slogan: ”Make America Great Again!” Calling the country ”great” is as American as apple pie, of course, but it was given new force in the late 1990s by the second-generation neocons, who championed an ideology they called National Greatness Conservatism. By now, nothing could be more commonplace than for a Republican to praise America’s super-duper, better-than-everyone-else exceptionalism.
Trump’s only modest innovation is to add the word ”again,” which grows out of the discontent with Barack Obama that’s laced through every speech Ted Cruz has ever given. Turn on right-wing talk radio any day of the year and you’ll hear hosts railing against American decline, which (as Charles Krauthammer put it during Obama’s first term) is a deliberate ”choice” that the current president is actively, even enthusiastically, pursuing. The amazing thing is that no one else thought to grab (and trademark) this GOP cliché for a campaign slogan before now.
Donald Trump might scramble the pieces of the Republican coalition and emphasize different policies than the party’s leadership would prefer, but he’s not a traitor to the GOP. He’s a heretic — one whose heterodoxy comes from deep inside the Republican fold.
By: Damon Linker, The Week, September 1, 2015
“Is Donald Trump Leading A Proto-Fascist Movement?”: Trump’s Political Message Is Uncut Xenophobia If Not Outright Racism
With the increasingly unsettling success of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, I am beginning to wonder: Does America have a fascism problem?
That may sound like an inflammatory question, but the point isn’t to say Trump is the next coming of Hitler. So what do I mean by fascism? Robert Paxton, in an excellent book about the subject, summed it up this way:
A form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion. [The Anatomy of Fascism]
The first half of the definition fits the Trump movement pretty well. His slogan “Make America Great Again” isn’t too far from the average political bromide, but its intention is much different than, say, Reagan’s “Morning in America.” Reagan did deal in his fair share of veiled race-baiting, but Trump straight-up rants about how non-white foreigners are ruining the country. From claiming unauthorized Mexican immigrants are drug dealers and “rapists,” to saying he wants to deport 11 million people, to arguing that China is “killing us” on trade, Trump’s political message is uncut xenophobia if not outright racism — all of which is coupled with how he, as a very masculine tough guy who will never back down, is going to fix everything. Just watch him give the bum’s rush to the most famous Hispanic journalist in the country!
This has been an enormous political success, with hundreds of thousands of people enthusiastically flocking to the Trump banner (just look at the people in this picture). With the exception of Bernie Sanders, Trump is now drawing bigger crowds than any other candidate. That mass basis is a key foundation of fascism — without the delirious crowds, the fascist demagogue is little more than a deranged street preacher. Many of those supporters are out-and-proud white nationalists, as documented in a fascinating New Yorker investigation.
So we’ve got the victim complex, the incipient personality cult, the mass nationalist support, and the obsession with purifying the polity (like this Trump fan arguing that the government should pay a $50 bounty to murder people crossing the border).
However, on the second half of the definition, Trump is clearly not there. Paxton demonstrates that nowhere did fascists come to power by themselves; instead they relied on support from elite conservatives who feared left-wing populist movements. But today, there is not much sign that the Republican establishment is ready to team up with Trump, and neither is there a socialist party on the verge of electoral victory. On the contrary, the GOP brass has clearly been trying to get rid of Trump, and the most left-wing challenger in the presidential race is a moderate social democrat who is far behind the centrist front-runner.
Trump has also not proposed any wars of aggression, or the abolition of democratic principles. Cleansing wars of conquest and a scorn for democracy were both signature fascist ideas.
But I also think it’s fair to call Trumpism a proto-fascist movement, not in line with Hitler, but with the likes of Benito Mussolini, who was at the forefront of European fascism. Before the Nazis, he was regarded as a somewhat clownish dictator with an unusual degree of mass support. He was a racist, authoritarian warmonger, but nowhere close to the genocidal maniac that Hitler was.
Who’s to say where we’d be under different conditions? If the American economy were as bad as it is in the eurozone, and if Bernie Sanders was cruising to easy victory in the Democratic primary, loudly promising confiscatory tax rates, Trump might well be a genuinely terrifying figure.
By: Ryan Cooper, The Week, August 28, 2015
“Papers Please”: Remember What Happened The Last Time A Republican President Had A ‘Round Up Of Illegal’ Immigrants?
Ed Kilgore is right to be…um…”skeptical” that Peggy Noonan has tapped into some great Latino love for Donald Trump. She found one Dominican who is angry at illegal immigrants. Noonan bought his story because that’s what she wants to believe.
But I’ll give you one good reason why most brown people (Latino as well as other nationalities) in this country are terrified of what Donald Trump is saying he would do. It’s because some of them (and a few of us) remember what happened the last time a Republican president decided to round up a bunch of illegal immigrants and ship them home. We remember because it wasn’t that long ago.
Here’s what happened when ICE raided Howard Industries in Laurel, MS in 2008.
ICE´s approach humiliated all Latino workers in the plant with their Racial Profiling. Witnesses said ICE provided all White and Black workers Blue Armbands. All the Latino workers were put in line and forced to prove their legal status. ICE, in their uniforms and wearing side arms, caused ALL Latino workers to shiver in fear as they went through this ritual. The exits were sealed. Some Latino workers were sprayed with Mace.
Here’s how an ACLU press release (link no longer available) described what happened.
“We are deeply concerned by reports that workers at the factory where the raid occurred were segregated by race or ethnicity and interrogated, the factory was locked down for several hours, workers were denied access to counsel, and ICE failed to inform family members and lawyers following the raid where the workers were being jailed,” said Monica Ramirez, a staff attorney with the ACLU Immigrants’ Rights Project who has traveled to Mississippi to meet with family members and lawyers about the government’s actions.
So you see, brown people know that if Trump’s plan to “deport ’em all” was ever implemented, they’re all likely to be subjected to “papers please” interrogations – regardless of their legal status. It hasn’t been that long since that is exactly what happened in this country.
By: Nancy LeTourneau, Political Animal Blog, The Washington Monthly, August 29, 2015