"Do or Do not. There is no try."

“Trump On His Supporters Attacking Protesters”: ‘That’s What We Need More Of’

Two days after a 78-year-old man sucker-punched a protester at one of Donald Trump’s rallies, the Republican front-runner appeared to defend such assaults as “very, very appropriate” and the sort of thing “we need a little bit more of.”

Asked today if he was “playing a character” when he said he wanted to “punch a protester in the face” at a Las Vegas rally last month, Trump argued that it’s the protesters at his rallies who are truly violent.

“We’ve had a couple that were really violent. And the particular one when I said, [I’d] like to bang him. That was — a very vicious — you know, he is a guy who was swinging very loud and then started swinging at the audience. And you know what? The audience swung back. And I thought it was very, very appropriate. He was swinging, he was hitting people and the audience hit back. And that’s what we need a little bit more of. Now, I’m not talking about just a protester. This was a guy who was — should not have been allowed to do what he did. And frankly, if you want to know the truth, the police were very, very restrained. The police have been amazing. But the police were very, very restrained.”

There has not been a single documented case of protesters initiating violence against Trump supporters, according to Time. And at the Las Vegas rally that Trump cites, multiple security personnel told Politico that the protester threw no punches and that Trump was “over-exaggerating.”

At the GOP debate in Miami Thursday night, CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Trump if he believed that he had “done anything to create a tone” that encouraged violence at his rallies.

“I hope not. I truly hope not,” the GOP front-runner said, before creating a tone that encouraged violence at his rallies. “We have some protesters who are bad dudes, they have done bad things. They are swinging, they are really dangerous … And if they’ve got to be taken out, to be honest, I mean, we have to run something.”

Trump’s praise of “swinging back” stands in stark contrast with the newfound civility with which he’s treated his rivals in recent days. The Donald’s performance in the last GOP debate was widely interpreted as a self-conscious pivot toward a general-election audience. The former reality star chose not to address the other candidates by disparaging nicknames, and delivered his message of nationalistic grievance in a calm, steady voice. The mogul even resisted the temptation to obliquely reference the size of his penis.

But, apparently, Trump thinks full-throated praise of mob violence is not out of step with a pivot to the center.


By: Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, New York Magazine, March 11, 2016

March 12, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, GOP Primary Debates, Mob Violence | , , , , | 3 Comments

“The Cure For The Common Trump”: Take One Cruz And Call Me In The Morning

It is time for Marco Rubio, John Kasich and their supporters to take a bitter pill. It won’t go down easy. But it is the only thing that gives the GOP a chance at curing the nasty infection that is The Trump after Tuesday’s election results.

The medicine is controversial. There are risks involved. There are serious but unavoidable side effects. But it does make a fine pairing with a cup of tea and a serving of delegate math, since the infection is still just a plurality and not a majority.

The pill is called Ted Cruz.

Now, now. Calm down. I see you, friends (establishment types or elites or moderate Republicans) shaking your heads and pursing your lips. May I suggest, before turning your head away, to please look again at your infection, The Trump. It’s looking like it might go gangrenous. It’s started asking good people to lower themselves by raising their hands and taking a pledge, to swear loyalty – the kind of gesture that has traditionally been reserved in this country not for mortals, but for the great symbols of our collective freedom, such as our flag and our Constitution.

What I’m saying to you is that the infection is scary. Like, really scary. If you don’t treat it now, you might die, okay?

The Republican party and the conservative movement – fractured as it is, it’s still important – might die. Take. The. Pill.

I’m not going to sugar coat it. You’re not a child (even if The Trump calls you and others like you “babies”). You are also old enough, and smart enough, to know that your own behavior got you here. You were reckless. You got into bed with people who weren’t good for the party.

Oh, sure, they seemed like a good idea at the time – so rich and powerful, right? Big insurance, big pharmaceutical manufacturers, big Wall Street. Of course you swooned. Of course you let them in. You let them whisper sweet nothings in your ear, and followed their advice, thinking that a little crony capitalism between lovers is only natural. Who would really notice that your promises to cut spending, simplify taxes, reduce regulations and strengthen national security would not be kept?

Meanwhile, you mocked the people who were trying to change the party to be more populist – a move that we now know was the beginning of the wave of the future. But you chose the wrong partners, and now you have The Trump. And it requires what you may consider to be an unpleasant and painful treatment. Bad medicine.

Again, perhaps context will help: Compared to The Trump, the populism of the tea party looks like the sniffles. And you had a chance, let’s not forget, to slow down and deal with the sniffles. Recognize them. Make peace with them. Heal together. But instead you scorned them. You laughed at them. You ignored and tried to delegitimize them. So isn’t it rather poetic justice that the cure to your Trump infection just may be a large, hot cup of tea party?

And besides, there could be some positive side effects that you haven’t even considered! A dose of Cruz may also soothe that tea party headache that you were never able to get rid of. Your conscience might clear up, too, as you get some distance from your crony capitalist exes. So, please. Consider taking one Cruz and calling me in the morning.


By: Jean Card, Thomas Jefferson Street Blog, U. S. News and World Report, March 9, 2016

March 10, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Establishment Republicans, GOP Primary Debates, Ted Cruz | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

“It’s Not Too Late To Stop The GOP Apocalypse”: Republicans Are Sleepwalking Toward Catastrophe

These are, as the Chinese curse goes, interesting times. In a Republican presidential debate, the leading candidate defends the size of his penis and attacks the Constitution, asserting that he will order the U.S. military to commit war crimes. A few days earlier the same candidate said on national television that he had to “do research” on the KKK, David Duke, and white supremacism before he could take a position. During the week, the frontrunner threatened Jeff Bezos, owner of The Washington Post, because the Post had dared write articles he thought critical. “And believe me, if I become president,” Trump said, “oh, do they have problems. They’re going to have such problems.”

Welcome to Donald Trump’s world. Trump isn’t the first ridiculous character to run for president—Al Sharpton ran for the Democratic nomination in 2004—nor the first openly bigoted candidate—George Wallace ran for president three times. But Trump is the first ridiculous, openly bigoted candidate who stands a very good chance to win a major party’s nomination.

How did this happen? This was supposed to be the cycle with a great field of Republican candidates, experienced governors, two Cuban-American senators, a world famous African-American brain surgeon, a superstar female business leader. And yes, a reality television star billionaire who lived on Fifth Avenue and claimed to speak for the working men and women of America. The Democrats were mired in the past with two refugees from the 1960s, one an obscure democratic socialist from a tiny state who speaks fondly of a top marginal tax rate of 90 percent.With only 23 percent of voters believing the country was headed in the right direction, this election was to be a glorious march to a sweeping Republican victory. It all looked so easy, so sure.

But here we are in March and the leading Republican candidate is not only blasting Mexicans as “rapists,” researching the KKK, and treating the Constitution like it was an item on a menu you might or might not order depending on your mood; he is getting crushed by the socialist Larry David look-alike. You have to work at that.

Of course this sort of crazy confluence of events and unintended consequences has indeed happened before, and Barbara Tuchman described it beautifully in her classic Guns of August. The 1962 Pulitzer Prize winner describes how the civilized world blundered into World War I, that most savage of wars that no one seemed to have wanted and everyone was powerless to stop. In what was hailed as a moment of great renewal, a new century of golden opportunity quickly degenerated into the slaughterhouse of the Somme. That same toxic blend of miscalculation, greed, and arrogance that led to that war have all played out in the Republican primary.

It’s everyone’s fault and no one’s fault. There were some who welcomed Trump onto the presidential scene, confident that he could help scold an out-of-touch establishment slow to grasp the problems of a troubled America. In a July 2015 Politico piece, National Review editor Rich Lowry wrote that Trump had hit “on an important truth that typical politicians either don’t know or simply fear to speak. “When Mexico sends its people,” Trump said, “they’re not sending their best.” That’s obviously true,” wrote Lowry, who compared him to “Herman Cain squared—an early-nominating-season phenomenon with a massive media megaphone.”

By January, Lowry’s magazine was dedicating an entire issue to the urgency of stopping the threat of Trump, who “would destroy the conservative movement.” And I was just as wrong, if not more so. I wrote that facing a loss in Iowa, Trump’s ego would tilt him toward leaving the stage before being proven a loser. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

For various reasons, the Republican candidates have enabled Trump’s rise, slow to launch a concerted attack, largely giving him a clear path. Each candidate seemed more obsessed with this currently popular but insane notion of winning a “lane” rather than winning a race, while Trump was focused on winning a race. The civilized world raised a vast army and entrusted it to Jeb Bush’s Super PAC, Right to Rise. Instead of fighting the barbarians, it decided to fight other elements of the civilized word. Advantage, Barbarians.

So here we are. It takes 1,237 delegates to secure the Republican nomination. There seems little chance that any candidate other than Trump has a realistic shot at hitting that number before the convention. Logic dictates that the remaining candidates should focus on holding Trump as far below 1,237 as possible, with the goal of pushing the convention to a second ballot. While some speculate a second ballot might be a scenario for a new candidate like Mitt Romney or Paul Ryan to enter the race, that strikes me as unlikely. The far more plausible outcome would find two candidates joining together to form a ticket, pooling delegates to get over 1,237.

There are many—including, strangely, Ted Cruz—who attack this convention possibility as being one that would thwart “the will of the people,” to use a phrase that seems popular. This is utter nonsense. There are rules for securing the nomination, and as long as the rules are adhered to, the game has been played fairly. In 1976, the great conservative Ronald Reagan took his fight to the convention and came within one delegation (Mississippi’s) of defeating a sitting Republican president, Jerry Ford. Surely if a convention strategy is good enough to challenge a Republican president, it’s good enough to challenge a major Clinton donor like Donald Trump.

As the process moves into a slate of winner-take-all states, the key to the convention strategy—call it the Reagan Strategy, not the brokered-convention strategy—is for Rubio and Kasich to win their home states. But in what strikes me as a bizarre move, Ted Cruz is moving resources to Florida and attacking Marco Rubio on the air. Why? Does Cruz think he can win Florida? It seems the longest of shots. Much more likely is that he helps hand the state to Donald Trump. That will all but finish any chance Cruz has of becoming the Republican nominee.

So the madness and miscalculation apparently continues. The Republican Party is lurching toward the Somme, where death and destruction will replace hopes for a November victory. Dig your trench. Get your gas mask. The boys aren’t going to be home by Christmas.


By: Stuart Stevens, The Daily Beast, March 8, 2016

March 9, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Establishment Republicans, GOP Primary Debates | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Forced To Show His Hand”: Marco Rubio; By ‘NeverTrump,’ I Only Mean ‘I’m Never Voting For Donald Trump In The Republican Primary’

Marco Rubio has rebranded his presidential campaign as the “NeverTrump” candidacy, trying to appeal to conservatives who regard the current front-runner as a dangerous authoritarian they could never support, even if nominated. But it’s clear that Rubio does not subscribe to the “NeverTrump” analysis. At Thursday night’s debate, he conceded he would vote for whomever the party nominates, even Trump. Asked about it again on a radio interview, Rubio reaffirmed his position. “For me, I’m never voting for Donald Trump in the Republican primary … that’s the point that I was making,” he explained. So that means Rubio can count on at least one vote for himself in Florida’s March 15 primary.

Obviously, the (completely justified) passion behind the NeverTrump movement is useful for Rubio’s political ambitions. But it’s only useful up until such time as the party selects a nominee. If the nominee is Trump, Rubio will need to fall in line to have a career in Republican politics. And if Rubio manages to pull the nomination out of some contested-convention scenario, he’ll also need to patch things up with Trump so his voters turn out.

But by admitting he’s not really with “NeverTrump,” Rubio undercuts his appeal to Republican elites. The point of that campaign is to tell the party Establishment not to make its peace with Trump. A Trump nomination, they are saying, will split the party in two and cause a large schismatic faction to either stay home or back a splinter candidacy. That threat is designed to stop, or at least slow, the trickle of Establishment surrender to the front-runner. But that tactic only works if the NeverTrumpers can make the threat credible. Some of them will follow through, but a lot of them — especially the ones whose careers are most closely tied to partisan politics — are bluffing. Rubio has been forced to show his hand.


By: Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, New York Magazine, March 4, 2016

March 7, 2016 Posted by | Establishment Republicans, GOP Primary Debates, Marco Rubio | , , , , | 3 Comments

“So Long As Party Loyalty Reigns, ‘Never Trump’ Is Just Noise”: Attacks On The GOP Frontrunner Are Little More Than Theater

Oddly enough, two of the most important and memorable moments from last night’s Republican debate came at the beginning and the end. Early on, as we discussed this morning, Donald Trump defended himself from Marco Rubio’s personal attacks by making an oblique reference to his genitals. It represented yet another new low in Republican politics.

But nearly two hours later, Fox News’ Bret Baier asked literally the final question of the event: “It has been a long time since our first debate, seven months ago in Cleveland. A lot has transpired since then, obviously, including an RNC pledge that all of you signed agreeing to support the party’s nominee and not to launch an independent run. Tonight, in 30 seconds, can you definitively say you will support the Republican nominee, even if that nominee is Donald J. Trump?” And then they answered:

Marco Rubio: “I’ll support the Republican nominee. I’ll support Donald if he’s the Republican nominee.”

Ted Cruz: “Yes, because I gave my word that I would.”

John Kasich: “[If Trump] ends up as the nominee – sometimes, he makes it a little bit hard – but, you know, I will support whoever is the Republican nominee for president.”

It was a striking moment. Rubio, Cruz, and to a lesser extent Kasich, had just spent the previous two hours – indeed, much of the last several months – making clear that they don’t want to see Trump anywhere near the Oval Office.

In fact, the Republican frontrunner’s rivals are in need of a thesaurus after nearly running out of attacks. We’ve been told that Trump’s a “con man,” a “fraud,” and a “lunatic,” who’s “unqualified” and “unfit” to lead.

And yet, when push comes to shove, Trump has an “R” after his name – and for the Republican presidential field, that’s ultimately all that matters. If voting for the Republican nominee means making an actual “lunatic” the leader of the free world, according to the GOP’s 2016 field, so be it.

NBC News’ First Read crew explained this well: “They were stunning responses [at the end of the debate], because they undercut the furious #NeverTrump movement we’ve seen over the past week. If you’re going to accuse Trump of being a con artist, a buffoon, or a threat to the country, how can you so easily say you’d support him as your party’s presidential nominee?”

Exactly. For all the handwringing about Trump being a danger to the party, to the economy, to national security, and possibly to our democracy, the moment leading Republicans say, “I’m prepared to vote for him anyway,” the implicit message to voters is unmistakable: “Trump isn’t really that bad.”

There’s simply no way for voters to reconcile the mixed message. If Trump were as bad as his GOP critics say, they’d vow to oppose his candidacy at all costs. Instead, most of them, including each of the remaining Republican presidential candidates, are saying the opposite.

The entire #NeverTrump campaign was suddenly deflated by the very people who stood to benefit from it. The end-of-the-debate positions signaled to voters that the intensity of their attacks on the GOP frontrunner are little more than theater – because they all stand ready to elect Trump anyway if it’s his name on the ballot.

Postscript: The Rubio campaign, which is quite literally selling #NeverTrump kitsch on its website, tried to make the case in the spin room last night the senator’s vow didn’t really count because the question raised “a hypothetical” that Team Rubio believes “won’t happen.”

Just so we’re clear, Rubio said during the debate, on camera, to a national audience, “I’ll support Donald if he’s the Republican nominee.” There’s simply no getting around that.


By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, March 4, 2016

March 6, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, GOP Primary Debates, GOP Voters | , , , , , | Leave a comment

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