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“The Genie Is Already Out Of The Bottle”: Sorry, Wishful Thinkers; Trump Will Almost Certainly Still Be The GOP Nominee

Donald Trump is having a disastrous month. After a very brief honeymoon following his securing the delegates necessary to win the GOP nomination outright, Trump did the opposite of pivoting to center. Instead, he doubled down on hateful racist rhetoric against Muslims, Hispanics, Elizabeth Warren and anyone else on his target list, while revoking press credentials from major newspapers. In the wake of the Orlando nightclub shooting he couldn’t even manage to put Democrats effectively on the defensive because the narcissist in him couldn’t help but praise himself instead of showing any real sympathy for the victims. He’s so eager for the media spotlight that he wasn’t even smart enough to lay low for a few days when Clinton suffered a bump of bad news over her emails.

Donald Trump, in short, isn’t just unfit to be President. He’s unfit to wage a modern presidential campaign.

That last bit is what is particularly disconcerting to Republican leaders who were trying to make peace with Trump as the nominee. Instead, there is now a renewed push to remove Trump from the ticket at the Convention, even though it would require an unprecedented shifting of party rules and overturning of democratic outcomes. In the minds of some in the GOP, though, it’s a damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t problem: scuttling Trump would create an internal civil war and likely lead to bloodbath in November, but at least the party might salvage its image in future elections. Leaving Trump as the nominee would reduce internal tensions, but the party would likely still be demolished in the election and suffer decades of recriminations from women and minority voters in the bargain.

There are also those who believe (or hope) that Trump is actively seeking a way out the campaign himself: that he’s short of money and doesn’t really want the job, so he is actively self-sabotaging so that there is no way he will become president. Under this theory, Trump’s opponents need only offer him a sweet enough deal and he will find an excuse to remove himself before the convention.

The problem is that both of these underestimate Trump’s power within the GOP and his own narcissism. The reality remains that the GOP primary election proved that there is very little constituency left for a more subtly bigoted GOP that serves up supply-side ideology on behalf of the wealthy while expecting middle- and working-class Americans to suffer their own economic exploitation with pride on behalf of Burkeian principles. There are very few who want or believe in that version of the Republican Party anymore. Removing Trump as the nominee would guarantee him leading his flock to sabotage the GOP up and down the ballot with utterly disastrous consequences. Nor does the GOP have much hope of of mitigating Trump’s influence on women and minorities: the genie is already out of the bottle, and in Trump’s wake dozens more candidates like him will use his more openly xenophobic, economic populist approach to win GOP primaries all across the country.

As for Trump making a convenient exit himself? Unlikely. While the Donald does hate to lose, he can always go all the way into November, get a thumping from Clinton, and claim that the GOP establishment stabbed him in the back and denied him a chance at victory. He can then spend the rest of his life as a kingpin of sorts, conning his devoted Alt Right flock in any number of schemes to increase his wealth and influence. If he exits now, on the other hand, he’ll fade into a lesser version of Sarah Palin.

No matter how poorly Trump fares in the next month, he’s still almost certain to be the nominee. And there’s not much of anything the GOP can do about it.

 

By: David Atkins, Political Animal Blog, The Washington Monthly, June 18, 2016

June 18, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, GOP Establishment, Republican National Convention | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

“Donald Trump’s Catastrophic Ignorance”: Falling Flat On His Face Because He Doesn’t Know What He’s Talking About

The general election has begun, and Donald Trump is clearly trying to pivot to the center. As my colleague Jeff Spross points out, he’s backed away from his monstrously rich-tilted tax plan, suggested more government borrowing might be in order, and raised the possibility of increasing the minimum wage.

It’s very clearly an attempt to win middle- and working-class votes for the general election. Looking past his outrageous bigotry, there’s just one problem with this strategy: Trump’s spectacular policy ignorance. It’s going to be hard to capture the center when one has only the vaguest idea of what that even means.

As the various fact-checking crews never tire of pointing out, Trump is constantly making one outrageously false statement after another. Many of them are just simple lies about how rich he is, whether or not his steaks exist, how well he’s doing in the polls, and so forth. But many other times it’s Trump genuinely trying to opine about some issue, and falling flat on his face because he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

There was the time that Marco Rubio landed a rare clean hit on him during the primary debates by demonstrating clearly that Trump has no plan whatsoever to replace ObamaCare, or on another occasion when it was stone obvious that he has no idea how the old Cuba embargo worked, or what the newly opened relationship entails.

President Trump renames Obamacare to ‘Trumpcare.’ ‘it’s good now, I fixed it.’ Trump declares

— raandy (@randygdub) August 26, 2015

More recently, Trump said several times that Puerto Rico (suffering a serious debt crisis) should simply declare bankruptcy. That’s a good idea except that it’s illegal, which is actually the subject of a proposal being fiercely debated in Congress. That’s the entire problem in the first place. He’s not just ignorant, he can’t even be bothered to pay attention to the most basic content of what’s happening in Washington.

More alarmingly, he also suggested on Thursday that should the U.S. ever run into any debt problems, he would just force creditors to accept a reduction in the value of their bonds (or “haircut”). This means at least partial sovereign default. As U.S. debt is the foundation of the global financial system, this would quite literally threaten economic Armageddon — and clearly comes from a misapplication of business logic to government policy, as Matt Yglesias notes. Trump made his money by borrowing a lot, investing in rapidly appreciating real estate, cashing out the equity, then declaring bankruptcy if there was a crash later, as economist Hyman Minksy detailed at the time.

That’s a sensible if parasitic approach to business. But it’s no way to run a nation. Government policy creates the underlying economic framework that allows businessmen to take risks like Trump did building up his fortune. U.S. government debt, as the world’s safest economic asset, is a key part of that framework. Treating it like a corporate junk bond would make it massively more risky than previously thought, creating a financial shockwave that would reverberate through the entire world and cause a global economic panic.

More to the point, there’s no reason to do such a thing. Businesses borrow because it’s one way to get money. But governments can create infinite money out of thin air. With the world’s reserve currency, the U.S. government is most concerned with workers, infrastructure, raw materials, and inflation, not using bonds to make a quick buck.

There’s probably a limit to how much this sort of alarming bungling will hurt Trump. He seems to vaguely understand that people like higher wages and welfare programs like Social Security and Medicare, which will do him some good, and it must be admitted that a great many voters don’t have the slightest clue about public policy.

Still, to the small extent that anyone trusts economic journalists and pundits anymore, this sort of thing will create a deluge of coverage portraying Trump as an incompetent maniac who’s going to obliterate everyone’s job. That’s going to make running to the middle a tough sell.

 

By: Ryan Cooper, The Week, May 9, 2016

May 10, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Economic Policy, Global Economy | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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