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“Donald Trump, The Hater Is Now A Loser”: Can He Survive Becoming His Most Famous And Frequently Used Epithet?

In Iowa, the hater became a loser.

In the first contest of the Republican nomination, Donald Trump, the man who predicated his entire campaign on his ability to win everything and everywhere, suffered a devastating Iowa defeat to Sen. Ted Cruz. He now faces a second major problem: the surging Sen. Marco Rubio, who finished third, is now the clear establishment favorite, and poses a real threat to Trump in next week’s New Hampshire primary.

Absent policy expertise, his bluster about achieving foreign and domestic “wins” constituted the entire sustaining force of his campaign. As he once said on Twitter, quoting the golfer Walter Hagen, “No one remembers who came in second.” It was a triumphant attitude based on polling leads that continually defied expectations and a successful career in real estate that he elevated to mythological proportions.

Trump was unstoppable, he continually insisted, and faced only an endless string of victories that were all but assured.

That all changed Monday night as a visibly-deflated Trump gave brief remarks to supporters in Iowa. Absent was the swagger of Trump events past: “I think we’re going to be proclaiming victory, I hope,” Trump said of the New Hampshire primary.

It was perhaps his most magnanimous speech of the campaign. He congratulated Cruz on the win in Iowa and repeated over and over again that he loved the people of Iowa.

“I think I might come here and buy a farm,” Trump said, as he closed his speech. To put that in perspective, back in October he insisted to the people that if he lost the Hawkeye State he would “never speak to you people again.”

Polling conducted in the days leading up to the Iowa caucuses showed Trump with the lead over Cruz—but the defining question was whether political amateur Trump had the organization in the Hawkeye State to turn out his supporters. Early entrance polling showed that 4 in 10 Republicans had never attended a caucus before, and veteran Republicans in the state expected a record turnout that would boost Trump.

The businessman has also gone after Cruz with a vengeance—while they had once held a joint campaign event, the bromance ended in recent months, as Trump raised questions about Cruz’s eligibility to be president and criticized him for taking an unreported loan from Goldman Sachs, his wife’s then-employer, to finance his 2012 Senate campaign.

Cruz’s victory defied the odds, proving that his much-vaunted ground game in the first presidential contest was the key to victory.

Over 12,000 volunteers worked for Cruz, both from within Iowa and from nearly three dozen other states. At the event Cruz held for his Iowa supporters Monday evening, women line danced as they celebrated a substantial margin of victory.

Volunteers from across the country braved accommodations in college dorms—with the moniker “Camp Cruz”—to go door-knocking and make phone calls. “Let’s put it this way: It was not a four-star hotel,” said JoAnn Fleming, the co-chair of the “Texas Strike Force” that brought volunteers from out of state to support the Texas senator.

“You can spend money on an air campaign but there’s nothing like dedicated volunteers that will spend their own money to go thousands of miles… That’s something money can’t buy,” Fleming said.

Cruz opened his victory speech with a nod to his Christian faith he’s continually referenced since the start of the campaign. “Let me first of all say, to God be the glory,” he said as the crowd roared.

And he wasn’t shy about invoking Psalm 30, which is about David’s soul being lifted up from Sheol, to describe the final months of President Obama’s time in office.

“While Americans will continue to suffer under a president who’s set an agenda that’s causing millions to hurt across this country, I want to remind you of the promise of scripture,” he said. “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”

Cruz’s speech lasted for quite some time, but attendess seemed to stay in high spirits through the 30-minute-plus talk. As he talked about his 18-hour days on the trail, a fan in the crowd yelled “You’re not tired!”

Cruz smiled. “We’re not tired at all.”

His backers couldn’t help but gloat that Trump had, at long last, been vanquished. “He’s not gonna win everywhere. It’s already over. He may win in some places, but he’s not going to win everywhere,” said Ken Cuccinelli, a Cruz surrogate and the former attorney general of Virginia.

After tonight’s victory, Cruz is the first Republican to survive a head-to-head confrontation with Trump: Other GOP challengers—Ben Carson and Jeb Bush—wilted away after Trump mocked them. Cruz survived and triumphed.

In typical Trump fashion, the mogul had broken all the rules of campaigning—making fun of Carson’s story about a purported childhood stabbing attempt, and mocking Iowa voters as his grip on the polls slipped a little late last year.

“How stupid are the people of Iowa?” Trump asked. “How stupid are the people of the country to believe this crap?”

Just months ago, Trump was considered a political punchline—pundits predicted that Republican primary voters would soon get over their infatuation with the buffoonish businessman after the “Summer of Trump.”

But the seemingly invincible billionaire rode through controversy after controversy—instead of melting away, he has taken advantage of his celebrity status to dominate news cycles. He lost the lead in Iowa just to regain it again and again.

Trump resilience continued to confound political observers. He made countless comments that would have destroyed the candidacies of other politicians: He characterized Mexican immigrants as “rapists” at his campaign launch event; promised to ban all Muslims from entering the United States; disparaged former prisoner of war Sen. John McCain, saying he liked “people who weren’t captured”; doxxed Sen. Lindsey Graham’s cellphone number; and said of newscaster Megyn Kelly’s debate questions that “you could see there was blood coming out of her eyes… blood coming out of her wherever.” All of these statements were seen as campaign-ending gaffes.

But for months, despite the predictions of pollsters and pundits, it never hurt his numbers. He rode in to Iowa as the man to beat, the guy poised to run the table against all his Republican opponents and secure the biggest primary victory of any candidate in modern times.

Instead Trump barely cleared second place in a remarkable defeat. And while it may be too soon to officially declare that the Trump Train has finally gone off the rails, the man who has led the Republican field since early last summer suddenly finds himself in a profoundly difficult battle to regain momentum before New Hampshire.

Trump has withstood mocking from the media and dismissive insults from his opponents. The question now is whether he can survive becoming his most famous and frequently used epithet: loser.

 

By: Tim Mak and Betsy Woodruff, The Daily Beast, February 1, 2016

February 3, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, GOP Primaries, Iowa Caucuses | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“What If Trump Tries To Ban Santa?”: An Unmade Hypothetical, But Frighteningly Plausible Trumpian Idea

Reporter: Is it true that you have argued for a ban on Santa Claus crossing American borders on Christmas Eve?

Trump: Americans are afraid and rightly so. They are even afraid of Santa Claus. Who is this guy anyway? And where has he been? He is a citizen of what country? We just don’t know. Is he a tourist? Do we give visas to workers from the North Pole? Until we figure out what the heck is going on, we can’t let this guy cross our border into America. And another thing—even if we built a wall 50 feet high on the Canadian or Mexican border, this guy could fly right over it. He has to be stopped.

Have you always felt this way about Santa?

Don’t get me wrong. I love Santa. And he loves me. Has for many years. He’s huge. In fact, he’s so huge that he should try to mix in a salad every once in a while. I mean who knows what kinds of diseases he’s bringing into the country. High blood pressure. Diabetes. Obesity.  What kind of a role model is that for our children? Let’s stop all this political correctness and call out the Fat Boy for what he really is. He makes Chris Christie look like Tiny Tim.

You’ve argued for banning Muslims from coming to America, even as tourists. You’re not suggesting that Santa Claus is a Muslim, are you?

We don’t know where he’s from. Have you ever seen his birth certificate? There’s just something about this guy that’s so creepy. He lives with elves, for God’s sake. Now there’s nothing wrong with elves. Elves love me. I get a lot of them jobs in the off season. And then there’s this Ho, Ho, Ho business. I am accused of disrespecting women. Where are those critics when this guy is flying around calling everybody a Ho?

But, wait, isn’t Santa Claus another name for St. Nicholas, a Christian saint?

That’s what the media would have you think. How many years now has the American media reaped millions—billions—with Santa this and Santa that? Think about it. Who has done more to secularize Christmas than Santa Claus? Who has turned Americans more into greedy, needy socialists than Santa? His Christmas is nothing more than a welfare program designed to redistribute wealth in this country. Santa is the ultimate insider. It’s time to shake things up in this country.

But lots of your opponents think Santa represents family values.

Yes, but where did he come from? He came from Europe. That makes him a socialist. And where were the terrorists who shot up Paris from? They were from Europe. There is something going on with that guy. And what’s up with that sack? Do you know how many automatic weapons he could fit into that sack? Does anyone stop the guy at the border—who knows what country he just came from—and ask him to open that sack for inspection?

So how should we celebrate Christmas without Santa?

Give yourself a present by voting for me. When I’m president, this country will be great again. We won’t need some Tub of Lard loser to make us happy. We’ll have all the jobs we need. The elves will have jobs. The elves can help us build a wall to secure our border. And Santa can pay for it. One thing about elves, though. They just walk under the turnstiles onto the subway platforms. Huge security risk.

But how will we celebrate Christmas?

You’re not hearing me.  But that’s so typical.  And one more thing:  until we know what’s going on in New Jersey, there will be no more dancing allowed there.  Because I saw a video of New Jersey Muslims—and there are thousands in New Jersey—dancing after 9/11.  People are saying that I made that up, but look at this video—thousands and thousands of people dancing in New Jersey.

With all respect, sir, that looks like a Springsteen concert.

Yeah, but look…Bruce is wearing a Santa hat. Oh, and Bruce loves me. He really does. Has since “Born to Run.”

 

By: Roy Peter Clark, The Daily Beast, December 20, 2015

December 24, 2015 Posted by | Christmas, Donald Trump, Santa Claus | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Not The Worldview Of Most Americans”: Donald Trump Ushers In A New Era Of Pitchfork Populism

Donald Trump became the driving force in U.S. politics by giving voice to anger, fear and resentment that were already there, just below the surface, waiting for their moment and messenger.

At present, Trump’s target is any believer in Islam who seeks to enter the United States. Back in June, he launched his campaign with invective toward any Latino immigrant living in this country without documents. He attacks President Obama less for his policies than for his identity — not for what the president does but for who he is. Trump has made himself the champion of a fading, embattled “us” in a life-or-death struggle against a swarming, threatening “them.”

The blustery billionaire’s “us” is nowhere near a majority of the U.S. electorate, but it might be enough to win him the Republican nomination for president. And even if he falls short, the forces he has loosed will not easily be tamped down.

Trump’s rally Monday in Mount Pleasant, S.C., was a lesson in what his campaign is really about. Just hours earlier, he had issued a statement saying all Muslims should be barred entry to the United States in light of the San Bernardino, Calif., terrorist rampage. The subtext was clear: All Muslims are potential terrorists. We have to keep them out.

Some commentators pronounced, for the umpteenth time, that “Trump has finally gone too far.” But the Mount Pleasant crowd apparently thought otherwise.

“I wrote something today that I think is very very salient, very important and probably not politically correct, but I don’t care,” Trump said. Then he read his no-Muslims statement and the crowd responded with a huge, raucous ovation.

And Muslims were not his only target at that rally. He railed at the journalists covering the event, pointing them out at the back of the room and calling them “scum” for supposedly never showing how big his crowds are. He also focused the crowd’s attention on Black Lives Matter protesters in the back of the room, declaring that they should be ejected but treated gently.

Trump’s audience in Mount Pleasant appeared to be overwhelmingly white. If it mirrored his support base in the polls, it was also older and less educated than the Republican electorate as a whole. A vastly wealthy tycoon who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth and lives in a Manhattan penthouse has somehow become the unlikely spokesman for a segment of voters who feel most threatened by what the nation has become.

Demographic change means that whites will no longer be the majority by the middle of the century. When you call the electric company to pay a bill, you’re asked to push as a button “ para continuar en español .” Incomes are stagnant except for those at the very top; manufacturing jobs are gone; and if you don’t have a college degree, you’re trapped on the wrong side of the wall between middle-class comfort and lower-class misery.

To add insult to injury, serving his second term as president is a black man who was educated at Ivy League schools and whose father was a Muslim. For Trump’s supporters, it is hard to imagine a more perfect target for fear and loathing.

The people at Trump’s rallies do not necessarily believe he will do all the things he promises. Is it really possible to round up and deport 11 million undocumented immigrants? Will Mexico really pay for building an impenetrable wall along the border? Is it legally or practically feasible to identify and turn back every Muslim seeking entry to the country? Is a pledge to “bomb the s—” out of the Islamic State any different from what Obama is already doing or any more likely to prevent another terrorist attack?

It’s not that Trump will do the impossible, it’s that he might do something .

Trump gives unfiltered voice to the anger and frustration some Americans feel. When he says he refuses to be “politically correct,” what he means is that he rejects the traditional constraints of public discourse. He doesn’t chastise his supporters for racism, nativism or religious bigotry; instead, he validates such views, bringing them out of the closet where they had been hiding.

Whatever happens to Trump’s candidacy, he has exposed a kind of rage that we haven’t seen in many years. His pitchfork populism is not the worldview of most Americans, to be sure. But it is likely to remain a significant political force — even if the Republican establishment somehow quashes the Trump rebellion.

 

By: Eugene Robinson, Opinion Writer, The Washington Post, December 10, 2015

December 14, 2015 Posted by | Donald Trump, Fearmongering, GOP Voters, Muslims | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Trump Is Latest Version Of Long-Held Republican Strategy”: Trumpism Is Embedded In The Republican Party’s DNA

Is Donald Trump so different from Ted Cruz? From Ben Carson?

The Republican establishment is in a panic over the billionaire real estate mogul, whose poll numbers continue to rise despite (or because of) his racist and Islamophobic rhetoric, his lack of interest in the workings of government and his disdain for the boundaries of normal political discourse. Prominent Republicans are said to be mulling whether and when to try to trip Trump, opening a path for a different candidate.

Given the outlines of the GOP presidential contest so far, that would leave either Cruz, the senator from Texas, or Carson, the retired neurosurgeon, to take the lead. (Or perhaps Marco Rubio could edge in as the front-runner.) Currently, according to a Real Clear Politics average of polls, Trump has the allegiance of 30 percent of Republican voters, while Cruz draws 15.6 and Carson and Rubio are tied at 13.6.

Still, is Cruz so much more acceptable? The senator would trample the Constitution to end birthright citizenship and has insisted that Sharia law, a system of Islamic codes, is an “enormous problem” in the United States. Carson, for his part, has ruled Muslims unfit for the Oval Office, in blatant violation of the U.S. Constitution.

That means at least 59 percent of Republicans support a candidate who bitterly disparages President Obama, who would trample the Constitution to discriminate against minority groups and who indulges birtherism — as Trump, Carson and Cruz have done. That’s what the GOP establishment ought to be worried about: its voters.

Of course, prominent Republican figures have pandered to and nurtured those racially tinged grievances in working-class white voters for more than half a century. It’s disingenuous of them to now pretend shock — horreur! — at Trump, who simply refuses to speak the coded language that party elders prefer. His racism and xenophobia are unvarnished, unsophisticated, unveiled.

But Trumpism is embedded in the Republican Party’s DNA, the cornerstone of its modern structure. Desperate to peel working-class whites away from their allegiance to the Democratic Party, associated since Franklin Roosevelt with the interests of the common man, the GOP played to the social and cultural fears and prejudices of less-educated whites with a Southern strategy honed by the late Lee Atwater, once a prominent Republican operative.

As Atwater put it: “By 1968 you can’t say (N-word) –that hurts you, backfires. So you say stuff like, uh, forced busing, states’ rights, and all that stuff, and you’re getting so abstract. Now, you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is, blacks get hurt worse than whites. … ‘We want to cut this,’ is much more abstract than even the busing thing, uh, and a hell of a lot more abstract than (N-word, N-word.)”

Over the years, the Republican Party has refined and broadened that strategy. And it has been used by every Republican presidential candidate since Barry Goldwater, from Richard Nixon (“law and order”) to the sainted Ronald Reagan (states’ rights) to even the genteel George H.W. Bush (Willie Horton), cultivating the loyalty of working-class whites while simultaneously alienating black and brown voters. With the rise of a gay rights movement, homophobia has also become an honored tenet of that strategy.

When the nation elected its first black president in 2008, disaffected working-class whites became ever more resentful, many of them channeling their rage into a tea party movement that pledged to “take back” the country. How did the Republican establishment respond to that? By running from immigration reform, by indulging the birther movement, by disparaging Obama at every turn as a radical who would ruin the country and a weak-kneed coward who would give in to terrorists.

It worked. While a whopping 66 percent of Trump’s supporters believe Obama is a Muslim, a solid 54 percent of Republicans overall think the same thing, polls show. And 54 percent of Republicans also believe no Muslim should be elected president.

So the establishment wants to get rid of Trump? He may leave the race, but Trumpism is likely to linger for a long time.

 

By: Cynthia Tucker Haynes, Pulitzer Prize Winner for Commentary in 2007; The National Memo, December 12, 2015

December 14, 2015 Posted by | Donald Trump, Establishment Republicans, GOP Presidential Candidates | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“An Avatar Of White Primacy”: Rudy Giuliani, Once Heroic, Now Simply Foolish

Amazing. Just … amazing.

Here we are, six years later, six years of mom jeans and golf dates and taking the girls for ice cream. And yet, some of us are still hung up on the perceived “otherness,” the “not like us”-ness, of Barack Obama.

The latest is Rudy Giuliani, speaking last week in New York at a fundraiser for Wisconsin governor Scott Walker. “I do not believe,” said Giuliani, “and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America. He doesn’t love you. And he doesn’t love me. He wasn’t brought up the way you were brought up and I was brought up, through love of this country.”

In the entirely predictable firestorm that followed, Giuliani has tried out various defenses. He told The New York Times his remarks could not possibly be racist because the president had a white mother. It is a claim of such staggering obtuseness as to defy deconstruction and to which the only sensible response is to scream “Arghh!” while banging one’s head against a wall.

In an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal, Giuliani wrote that he “didn’t intend to question President Obama’s motives or the content of his heart,” a lie easily refuted. Quote: “I do not believe that the president loves America.” End quote.

The Giuliani defense tour also pulled in to Fox “News,” where Giuliani claimed that while Obama frequently criticizes America, he expresses no love of country. But in the very first speech most Americans ever heard Obama give — at the 2004 Democratic Convention — he sang arias of American exceptionalism, noting that “in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.” Since then, Obama has missed no opportunity to praise what he has called “the greatest country on Earth.”

Nor is Obama the only president to criticize America. Yet somehow, when Jimmy Carter cited a “crisis of the American spirit” in which “too many of us now tend to worship self-indulgence and consumption,” his country love went unquestioned.

There’s a simple reason Giuliani is having such trouble defending what he said. What he said is indefensible. It was cloddish and, more than that, it was ugly.

The man once dubbed “America’s mayor” for his stirring response to the September 11 attacks now seems, on matters of race, at least, more like “America’s Batty Uncle.” Remember, this is the same Giuliani who, in a discussion of police violence in black neighborhoods, told Michael Eric Dyson, “The white police officers wouldn’t be there if you weren’t killing each other.”

Dyson is an author and academic. He is not known to have killed anyone.

Six years ago, there was wistful talk of a “post-racial America.” But today, we find ourselves in the most-racial America since the O.J. Simpson debacle. It’s not just income inequality, voter suppression and the killing of unarmed black boys. It’s also the ongoing inability of too many people to see African-Americans as part of the larger, American “us.”

Most of them no longer say it with racial slurs, but they say it just the same. They say it with birther lies and innuendo of terrorist ties. They say it by saying “subhuman mongrel.” They say it by questioning Obama’s faith. They say it as Rudy Giuliani said it last week. They say it because they have neither the guts to say nor the self-awareness to understand what’s really bothering them:

How did this bleeping N-word become president of the United States?

The day the towers fell, Giuliani seemed a heroic man. But he has since made himself a foolish and contemptible one, an avatar of white primacy struggling to contend with its own looming obsolescence.

And the question once famously put to Joe McCarthy seems to apply: “Have you no sense of decency, sir?”

But what’s the point in asking? The answer is painfully clear.

 

By: Leonard Pitts, Jr., Columnist for The Miami Herald; The National Memo, February 25, 2015

March 1, 2015 Posted by | American Exceptionalism, Racism, Rudy Giuliani | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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