The Elephant in the Room

I’ve finished the daily chores for the day – gym, farmer’s market, supermarket. Now, I’m going to hunker down and watch politics ALL DAY. Woot!

After yesterday’s “grabbing women by the pussy” scandal, or Pussygate, Paul Ryan said that he wasn’t going to talk about the elephant in the room, while talking at a public event. Well, we are! I’ll be here all day with links and comments about the elephant with the comb-over.

I’ve heard that Pence is dropping out. Need to find out…

Billy Bush is done. He was lined up to take over for Matt Lauer on the Today Show. Nobody likes kiss-up toadies.

They say there are at least two more tapes out there.

Rudy is limping. His career is over, too.

103 thoughts on “The Elephant in the Room

  1. Whatever Pence does, he will have to make a reference to the fact that he’s prayed over the decision. He has to do this for cred with the evangelicals. If he drops out – though I’d be surprised if he did – I bet he will attribute it to God’s guidance.

  2. I, on the other hand, am avoiding all videos for at least the next 24 hours. My 12 year old googled the Trump video tape and was seriously shocked. He is also a political junkie like you.

    I just followed FB post down a squirrel hole to a young woman teacher in Phoenix who is a Trump supporter (and whose views have been not at all changed by the tape). I was pretty horrified by the page, which is public — not by the Trump support, but by the vulgarity. I have to remember that if I ever have millennial/younger employees to tell them to keep their FB pages private. I’m surprised that school districts don’t send out a directive requiring private FB pages of their employees (but, maybe they don’t know better).

  3. Every time I turn on the radio, somebody reminds me of the idea of Donald Trump having control of nuclear weapons. This was frightening me on its own. The radio isn’t helping.

  4. Two people, each campaigning on the view that the other is wholly unfit for the Presidency. I think they are both right. Very discouraging campaign, wake me when it’s over.

    1. Trump supporters (or at least Trump tolerators) keep saying that and it’s fucknuttery of the first order. The Republic Party has, collectively, decided that it would rather destroy itself than compromise. Clinton has run a very different campaign from that which Trump has run and if people see her as unfit for the presidency it’s because they have different policy goals, not based on manifestly obvious failings of temperament and experience.

      1. Do you find that calling people fucknuts makes them more prone to listen to you, or less? Can you point me to objective criteria which would demonstrate who is and who is not a fucknut? Because I know a lot of people who are well-read, well-educated, with high incomes, loving spouses, successful children, and many friends, who agree with dave s. How can an outside observer determine that dave s. is the fucknut and not MH?

      2. It felt necessary to say. I didn’t say Dave was fucknuts, I said he was engaging in fucknuttery. I assume even the people with horrible political beliefs have good points, so I think the distinction is important. Person-first language.

        As for how to tell who is right, Trump’s detractors are pointing to things he himself has said openly while he knew he was being recorded. Clinton’s are arguing about things that happened years ago and that they have not been able to prove despite putting more effort into it than any positive, political goal they might have.

      3. MH said: “Trump supporters (or at least Trump tolerators) keep saying that and it’s fucknuttery of the first order.”

        I am not voting for either of them and I agree that HRC has failed to demonstrate her aptitude for high office–I think she only looks good this year on the background of Donald Trump. With her management of classified material, she’s either malicious or dangerously inept, and probably some mixture of the two. When she’s president, we can all look forward to lots of episodes of her “forgetting” things and “losing” things.

        I didn’t follow her career as Secretary of State very closely, but the Russian reset episode was cringe-worthy.

        Was there no actual Russian specialist or Russian native speaker to run that by before presenting it to the Russian Foreign Minister? Plus, I have to say that based on my long experience dealing with Russians, I give it a roughly 95% chance that the Russian Foreign Minister would have thought the whole thing hokey and stupid even had the word “reset” been correctly translated into Russian. It was a big cultural understanding fail.

        She also managed to botch her management of the Clinton attempt at healthcare reform.

        Politics aside, it’s really hard to point to point to anything in the real world and say–there’s a Hillary Clinton success!

        Also, both Trump and Clinton are really, really old for this compared to the historical US norm for presidents.

      4. You can be well-read and be a fucknut. You can have a loving spouse and be a fucknut. You can make a lot of money and be a fucknut. My in-laws are all of these things and are fucknuts of the highest order. Nice people, but really, total and complete unrepentant fucknuts. Would I ever tell them that? Of course not. I’m sure they think I’m fucknuts too, but my sense of self is sturdy enough that their other’s poor opinions of me don’t send me into a self-righteous tizzy.

        Hillary is and always has been a boring technocrat. Her strength is in governing, not in campaigning, and I expect that her term in office will be slightly above average in comparison to other modern presidents. It’s the prospect that she’ll do exactly what she has said she’ll do that really drives conservatives up the wall: take office, implement left-center incrementalist policies, and have a fair amount of success at it. Ho-hum. I guess they can always cling to their fever dream that she’ll come to their houses to personally steal their guns.

      5. Amy, look at it this way: if Trump is elected, you won’t have to miss Russia any more. Russia will be coming to you!

      6. Wendy said:

        “Amy, look at it this way: if Trump is elected, you won’t have to miss Russia any more. Russia will be coming to you!”

        There is that.

        I don’t think he’s going to win, though–I think that over the next month, there’s going to be a parade of women with stories about Trump’s handsiness.

        If I were a reporter, I think I would start right now with the contestants from those beauty pageants that Trump was always organizing and hanging around. If there’s anything to Trump’s self-report, that should turn up a story or two (or three or four or whatever).

      7. Hmm, I may be the last existentialist living. I don’t perceive myself as having essential qualities other than those that are expressed phenomenally. So if someone says I did something stupid, that doesn’t strike me as different from saying that I am stupid. But maybe other people experience a self that remains latent and is never made manifest.

      8. Maybe I’m not being clear. It’s not a question of unitary intelligence. If someone said, “You do very well on standardized tests, but you frequently act in counterproductive ways in your personal relationships,” that to me would be the same as saying “You are smart at tests, but stupid in dealing with people.” There’s no difference between doing and being, because there is no y81 being who doesn’t do.

      9. Then maybe I wasn’t clear. I think that supporting Trump indicates general political fucknuttery, but I’m willing to allow that many people can support Trump while, for example, performing very well at whatever job they do.

  5. On a lighter topic, I just found this report of actual men’s locker room talk:

    “Actual men’s locker room talk:
    “Who’s your orthopedist?..”
    “..finally up to 3 miles…”
    “..taking the kids to Lion King…””

    That’s from John Bussey of the Wall Street Journal.

      1. “My doctors says I should take naproxen instead of ibuprofen, but I can’t remember why.”

        It does last longer and it does seem especially good for joint stuff.

      2. I switched from prescription ibuprofen to prescription naproxen for dysmenorrhea, and I find that I can take much less naproxen with much better results than ibuprofen. But it sounds like YMMV.

    1. “Locker room” is just a euphemism for “all male.” I have had plenty (and listened to even more) crude conversations about women and sex in all male gatherings–many of which included a number of WSJ readers–but I don’t think any of them occurred in a locker room as such.

      1. That’s evading the issue. Crude conversations about sex are relatively common. I’ve heard lots of them also. Bragging about what is blatantly sexual assault is something I’ve never heard and also something that really fully described by “crude.”

      2. Exactly, MH. No one minds that Trump said the word “pussy.” We care that he thinks it’s ok to grab women sexually without their consent. And although I don’t love mansplaining, I am kind of gratified by the numbers of men, including MH, my husband, lots of my co-workers, my “next husband” John Oliver, Chris Kluwe, etc., who find this talk repulsive.

        Chris Kluwe’s Vox piece was good. He does have a way with words:
        “We talk about what country might make a good safe haven if a Russian-backed presidential candidate whose foreign policy agenda can best be described as “gross negligence mixed with a spicy dash of treason” were to have control of our nation’s nuclear arsenal, and whether his stubby little baby fingers are strong enough to push in the launch codes on sturdy military-grade hardware.”

      3. I think some people do mind about the word itself, maybe more than the content of what was actually said. There is a sense that it is terribly offensive. I’ve been trying to read the Fox News site a bit, for the last couple of weeks, and I have not seen the phrase “grab them by the p****” included, even with the asterisks. They talk about “grabbing,” but I think the phrase itself is what has such power. Maybe it’s there, but it wasn’t in every story the way it was on other news sites. I’m guessing they are either uncomfortable with the word itself, or trying to downplay it a little.

        Some of Trump’s defenders are bristling at calling this “bragging about sexual assault.” How about “bragging about molestation,” then?

        I’ve been staying off of Facebook, but after I read that Vox piece I almost pulled that precise quote that Wendy has.

    1. You know, believe it or not, I give any Howard Stern Show comments a bit of a pass.I think that people who go on Stern are kind of under pressure to perform crudeness verging on rape-iness. The problem for Trump is that his comments are backed up by first-hand accounts of experiences with him barging in on contestants in their dressing rooms.

      1. He just happens to own a business or two that allows him to go gawk at half-naked female employees in the dressing room.

        What are the odds?

  6. Billy Bush is done. He was lined up to take over for Matt Lauer on the Today Show. Nobody likes kiss-up toadies.

    I guess I should watch more TV. I had no idea Billy Bush had made the transition from whatever Access Hollywood does to sort-of journalism.

    1. Hillary adores kiss up toadies. Look at the emails to her from Sid Vicious, from Huma. She has a court of kiss up toadies. Look, I agree that Trump is vile and not what I ever wanted in a President. This doesn’t mean I am blind to Hillary’s faults, and they are many. The kiss up toadies problem is one of the things I am worried about, I think she won’t get advice she doesn’t want to hear, and then we are all in the soup. Both parties have failed us badly, in giving us nominees

  7. I mean, I don’t like Hillary all that much and I voted for Bernie in the primary. But Hillary is a normal politician with normal, if unique, strengths and weaknesses. Trump is a threat to democracy as it exists. There isn’t anything even remotely comparable about the two.

    1. He’ll start fiddling around with the nuclear football when he gets bored, but then his aides will distract him by telling him that the Swedish Bikini Team wants to meet him and voila–crisis averted!

    2. I don’t think he is going to get elected, but if he does get elected, I hope his aides make sure to pack snacks, a tablet with games, and a new toy or two for times when he’s going to need distraction.

      1. I’m not sure he’s that benign. This is the man who took away health insurance from a relative’s sick child because he was angry at him. He’s not a particularly nice person. I don’t think he’s that distractible, either.

  8. He seems to have a laser like focus on any and every slight no matter how long ago and no matter how, well, slight. Imagine if it were Angela Merkel instead of Rosie O’Donnell. Can’t wait until he calls Merkel or Theresa Mays a “fat pig” or tweets about her sex tape at 3 am.

    He also seems to be hinting at picking a potentially nuclear fight with China. That’s just so stupid and dangerous it’s hard to even comprehend it.

  9. I mean, this is on top of his blatant white nationalism, complete disregard for the constitution or norms of American governance, and his open advocacy for war crimes.

    The guy has been endorsed by the KKK, the American Nazi Party, Putin, North Korea, and Hezbollah. But…really, he’s just the same as Hillary.

  10. B.I.,

    Just a few years ago, the Clintons and Trump were playing patty cake. WJC was playing golf with Trump, the Clintons attended his wedding, Trump donated to HRC’s political campaign, etc.

    If Trump is Satan, the Clintons have been in bed with him for a long time.

    1. If you’re slamming the Democratic candidate for being willing to associate the Republican candidate, what about the many (still well over 1/2) of Republican office holders endorsing him?

      1. MH,

        The Clintons (as NY people) presumably know Trump a lot better than the North Dakota Republican delegation.

      2. When the Clintons knew Trump, he wasn’t saying this stuff publicly. Apparently, he only said it while standing next cousins of Republican presidents.

      3. MH said,

        “When the Clintons knew Trump, he wasn’t saying this stuff publicly.”

        I think Trump says whatever he needs to close the deal, and once he’s closed it, he doesn’t remember his side of the deal anymore.

        Hence, I think that even if he were to win, the internet Nazis would be in for a lot of disappointments, just like everybody else who has ever trusted Trump (ex-wives, banks, investors, etc.).

      4. It’s not just “internet Nazis” who have that problem. It’s the clear majority of Republican voters.

      5. MH said,

        “It’s not just “internet Nazis” who have that problem. It’s the clear majority of Republican voters.”

        Sure. And he’s going to lose and everybody who pushed him hard (Limbaugh, Hannity, etc.) is going to find themselves with a lot of ‘splaining to do about their role in making Trump happen. I know I’ve got a list.

        And while we’re at it, let’s not forget the media people who gave Trump literally billions of dollars in free contributions via air time:

        He got multiple times as much free air time as any Republican rival. And not just twice as much–in that chart, it’s roughly six times as much as Ted Cruz.

      6. Sure. And he’s going to lose and everybody who pushed him hard (Limbaugh, Hannity, etc.) is going to find themselves with a lot of ‘splaining to do about their role in making Trump happen. I know I’ve got a list.

        Good luck. I have my doubts that a minority of a party can hold a majority accountable.

      7. MH said,

        “Good luck. I have my doubts that a minority of a party can hold a majority accountable.”

        A big loss tends to focus the mind.

      8. Your lips to God’s ear on the big loss, but there will be two competing narratives being focused in two different sets of minds. Some will be saying (correctly) that the Republican loss was because they nominated a uniquely horrible candidate who highlighted the worst in their party. Some will be saying that the loss was because Paul Ryan and others didn’t back that horrible candidate. So far, the evidence is pretty clear that everywhere but Utah the latter outnumber the former in Republican voters.

      9. For example, my own senator (Toomey) won’t say whether or not he will vote for Trump. If he loses (polls indicate a tie), nobody is going to care much about his opinion on the future of the Republican party. If he wins and Trump losses, the Trump people (Trump got 57% of the vote in the PA primary) aren’t likely to be very happy with him for not endorsing Trump and, unlike the independents who Toomey is trying to woo by not endorsing Trump, they vote in Republican primaries.

  11. This makes no sense. Moving in the same social circles as Trump isn’t really the same as being in bed with him politically, considering the bed involves nuking China, rounding up and and deporting all brown people, and building a wall on the Mexican border.

    1. B.I.,

      “This makes no sense. Moving in the same social circles as Trump isn’t really the same as being in bed with him politically, considering the bed involves nuking China, rounding up and and deporting all brown people, and building a wall on the Mexican border.”

      Sure it does–if Trump were actually a complete raving fascist loon, wouldn’t they have noticed?

      Birds of a feather flock together, and the Clintons being around Trump tells you a lot both about Clinton and Trump. It is clear, for example, that WJC and DT share a lot of common ground in how they approach women–you don’t have as many accusers of physical harassment as Bill Clinton has without there being some fire to go along with all that smoke. WJC may have gotten more cautious in his old age, but the MO is recognizably similar to Trump’s to anybody who remembers the 90s (hence Gloria Steinem’s infamous “one free grope” rule).

      If the shoe were on the other foot (say, if Paul Ryan and David Duke attended the same church or were members of the same country club), I think you’d see this more clearly.

  12. I mean, I really STILL can’t get over that we have a candidate endorsed by ACTUAL Nazis, ACTUAL terrorists, and at least 1/3 of the Axis of Evil, and someone he’s still not worse than Hillary (Hitlery? Shrillery? Killery?) Clinton.

    1. He is more dreadful, in my view. Dreadful-er. Doesn’t mean she’s not dreadful, even if less dreadful. ‘not worse than’ is a low bar to clear, if it’s Trump to whom you are comparing.

  13. I’d be quite sure that Trump spoke to Bill Clinton the same way he spoke to Billy Bush, when they were on the golf course “talking pussy” (which Democrats think is fabulous when a Democrat does it). What do people imagine Bill Clinton sounds like when he is “talking pussy”?

    “I met this girl with really fabulous credentials last night. I listened attentively and respectfully while she explained her post-structuralist analysis of patriarchal structures of domination. Later, she introduced me to some new French essays by Luce Irigaray; her interpretation really excited me due to her unbelievable hermeneutic technique.”

    1. Once again, I object to calling this “talking pussy”. It’s talking assault. It is very, very easy to talk crudely about sex without claiming to assault somebody. If you’re sure Trump spoke that way to Bill Clinton, maybe Ted Cruz was right about “New York values”.

      1. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Trump talked that way to Clinton–after all by that time, Trump would have known that Clinton has been accused of sexual harassment, unsolicited groping, and rape by different women. So, it would not have been unreasonable to see WJC as a kindred soul.

        If you can’t brag to WJC about grabbing women by the crotch, who can you brag to?

        (I wouldn’t however, be surprised if WJC himself was much less forthright about the non-consensuality of his behavior.)

      2. When asked what he and Bill Clinton talked about when golfing, Vernon Jordan said,“We talk pussy.” But, yes, we don’t know if the unwelcome groping part was there. I always thought that answer was total genius on Jordan’s part, since it made followup questions about politics and influence peddling impossible for his interlocutors.

      1. Right. I think the preponderance of evidence points towards Bill Clinton probably being a sexual predator. However, I’m not voting for Bill Clinton, I’m voting for Hillary, who as far as we know has never sexually assaulted anyone. If she had, I’m sure it would have come out by now.

        Secondly, Trump is not just a horrible person. There are horrible people who still do good in the world. Trump is a horrible person in ways that would impact his ability to be president, and on top of it has horrible ideas and horrible policies. Bill Clinton, for all his icky sexual behavior, was an ok president whose sexual behavior was not reflective of his desire to start a nuclear war, commit ethnic cleansing, alienate all our allies, or to treat women as a class as chattel. The same cannot be said for Trump.

      2. You mean, Bill Clinton would have said, “Come on, Don, putting your hands between a girl’s legs as a way of saying hello is appropriate, but grabbing her crotch, now that’s going too far! I’m getting out of the cart if you talk that way.” Come on.

        I’m not voting for Trump. I don’t like Trump. I also don’t like hypocrisy, which pretty much prevents my ever getting too enthusiastic about any political faction.

      3. Just pointing out the image didn’t show what the title said.

        As a matter of fact, when I had the chance to vote for Bill Clinton, I voted Dole. Looking in terms of character, it looks like free Democrats have improved while the Republicans have fallen of the bottom of the scale.

      4. B.I. said,

        “Bill Clinton, for all his icky sexual behavior, was an ok president whose sexual behavior was not reflective of his desire to start a nuclear war, commit ethnic cleansing, alienate all our allies, or to treat women as a class as chattel. The same cannot be said for Trump.”

        Don’t worry–Trump will want something different next week.

      1. MH said,

        “Plus creeping on a ten-year-old girl.”

        I’m not sure how to score that one versus his saying that if Ivanka wasn’t his daughter, he’d date her.

      2. I am really hoping this is not the case, but I’m wondering what is the likelihood of his having molested Ivanka. On the one hand, he’s enough of a narcissist I’m hoping he’d see his daughter as an extension of him and leave her alone. On the other, he clearly sees all women as sexual objects, and he’s enough of a narcissist he might be sexually attracted to a pretty girl who he sees as an extension of himself. *shudder*

        Also, there’s this. Watch from 2:20 onwards.

      3. B.I.,

        That was quite the clip.

        He’s charming and sweet and gracious for the first 2+ minutes, and then his daughter comes on and OOPS.

  14. I understand people choosing between the candidates on policy grounds — it’s clear that Hillary would implement different policies than Trump. But I’m flabbergasted by people who equate the characters and capabilities of the two. Trump appears to have no impulse control, no attention span, no regard for the dignity of women, minorities, immigrants, utter selfishness at a personal, public and business level, no ability to learn and incorporate new information, a willingness to lie without compulsion, and no moral compass.

      1. But it’s not Trump, who is the problem for the Republican party, but his supporters. Are they going to come back to the Republican party and whatever its core values are (free trade and smaller government, maybe? I hope racism isn’t a core value)? That’s the problem the non-Trump Republicans keep facing: without the Trump supporters they are too small a party to win an election.

    1. Back in the summer, Josh Marshall (I think it was him) wrote that for Trump, other people are either enemies or property. That about sums it up.

      1. Doug said,

        “Back in the summer, Josh Marshall (I think it was him) wrote that for Trump, other people are either enemies or property. That about sums it up.”

        That sounds about right.

  15. Ha, I just realized the title of this post is a Hamilton reference.

    “The truth is in your face when you hear the British cannons go BOOM!”

  16. On reflection, I do have to push back at the “Bill isn’t running for president” talk.

    On the one hand, yes, that is the electoral reality that HRC isn’t going to be treated as responsible for WJC’s habit of pouncing on unsuspecting women.

    That’s fair. However, I do have to remind everybody that (much more so than any than any other presidential couple in memory), HRC and WJC do function very much as a political unit. Back when WJC was initially running, it was actually one of their explicit selling points, that voters would get “two for the price of one.”

    1992 was a long time ago, so maybe things have changed? Well, probably not so much, given that HRC’s State Department employees were on the alert for FOB (“friends of Bill”) among Haiti earthquake donors and vendors and eager to give them concierge service.

    So, like it or not, WJC is not going to be spending his wife’s presidency baking cookies and gardening with school children.

    I also have to push back a little bit on everybody’s memories of WJC as a “good president.” I am happy to give him credit for whatever good foreign policy stuff happened during his presidency (as that tends to be an area where a president has a very free hand), however please bear in mind that WJC got hogtied domestically very early in his presidency by the Republican Revolution of 1994.

    “As a result of a 54-seat swing in membership from Democrats to Republicans, the Republican Party gained a majority of seats in the United States House of Representatives for the first time since 1952 and a majority of votes for the first time since 1946. It was also the largest seat gain for the Republican Party since 1946.”,_1994

    WJC gave Republicans a place in Congress that they hadn’t had since before he was born.

    As of 1995, Time (I believe) had a cover story with a title something like, the amazing shrinking presidency featuring Clinton. I can’t seem to find the cover, but here’s the article that probably came with it:,8599,3632,00.html

    Clinton is quoting there saying, “”I am relevant. The Constitution gives me relevance,” which demonstrates that he wasn’t feeling very relevant at that point.

    A few months later, Monica Lewinsky was in the White House and the rest is history…

    Such were the 90s.

    1. Everybody here remembers the 90s. I also remember that every time this came up during the 90s, it rebounded into positives for Hillary Clinton. And, just in general, it keeps the media attention focused on the issue of sexual harassment/assault, which can in no way help Trump. On the side hand, you have to link HRC to WJC to actions that happened 20 to 40 years ago and that (with one exception) have never been firmly established. On the other, you reports that are very credible because they match exactly with Trump’s self-confessed behavior.

      1. Hillary is remarkably fortunate in her opponent. I like the Times letter to Trump: ‘Libel is to protect a reputation from damage. Yours cannot be damaged’…

      2. “Firmly established”? You mean, people are sitting around saying, “Gee, I wonder if Bill Clinton ever gropes or makes unwanted physical overtures to women. There’s really no way of knowing and no credible evidence that would enable a reasonable person to answer that question”? Come on.

      3. I don’t know what people go around thinking, but I would guess that most people who aren’t trying to justify something unjustifiable like voting for Trump don’t think about it much at all. I certainly wouldn’t bet that WJC didn’t do that at any point in his life at even odds. But despite decades of work in which various people have spent literal fortunes trying prove things about Bill Clinton, as far as I’ve heard they’ve come up with nothing substantiated but Lewinsky. On the other hand, Trump’s accusers are backed up very nicely with Trumps own openly recorded words. Nobody even needs Ken Starr to give them immunity for recording the evidence.

        Speaking of which fortunates, when Scaife died, a couple of his kids started suing to try to find out what happened to all the money he spent on this kind of stuff. They’re arguing his advisors improperly spent $450 million on various media efforts. I don’t know what it would come to if you add the stuff that even his kids consider “properly spent”. It’s as effective as the estate tax, but much more amusing.

      4. MH said,

        “And, just in general, it keeps the media attention focused on the issue of sexual harassment/assault, which can in no way help Trump.”

        Has anything I’ve said the last couple days demonstrated even the slightest scintilla of a desire to help Trump?

        I’m just calling them as I see them.

      5. MH said,

        “But despite decades of work in which various people have spent literal fortunes trying prove things about Bill Clinton, as far as I’ve heard they’ve come up with nothing substantiated but Lewinsky.”

        Well, there was actual DNA evidence for Lewinsky.

        WJC would still be denying it to this day if not for that. Before the blue dress, the Clinton White House had been floating the idea that Lewinsky was a delusional stalker.

        Also, you’re off by at least one with WJC’s count–he did confess to having a fling with Gennifer Flowers, although she says it was a 12-year relationship.

        Flowers had tapes, too.

        I’m not surprised that Bill Clinton (a very careful lawyer) has not confessed to the actually criminal stuff, just consensual extramarital relationships. What’s astonishing is how loose-lipped Trump has been.

      6. Whether you want to help him or not, it’s Trump’s chosen strategy for winning. Or was for three days. I’m not sure if he’s dropped it or people just stopped reporting it.

  17. MH said,

    “Whether you want to help him or not, it’s Trump’s chosen strategy for winning.”

    It is, as you pointed out, a terrible strategy, because it keeps people thinking about Trump’s misdeeds.

    I don’t care what Trump’s strategy is. For the sake of my party, I want him to lose and lose big. Also, I’m thinking that the old Republican tradition of “pay your dues and wait your turn” deserves a second look.

    1. “He’s going to have lose really big to avoid your party having an internal war.”

      Although there are fairly normal Trump people in real life, I suspect that a lot of Trump’s big internet fans are very, very young guys who haven’t seen a lot of political cycles (may not even be voting age, actually) and whose primary contribution to Trump is online activity.

      Also, for all the online passion, Trump kind of forgot/neglected to do the normal political stuff–like have field offices:

      There’s not going to be a big internal war because Trump has virtually no organization–he has a huge online presence and big rallies, but no foot soldiers.

      Also, normally, losers in presidential races do not have a big role afterward. (Gore has been exceptional, and even he is kind of a nobody at this point.) While I would love to see Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh walk the plank for their role this year, I don’t see either of them cherishing their memories of the lost cause.

      Given Trump’s past history of party changes, it would also surprise me a lot if he stayed Republican for the next five years.

      He’s only been registered as a Republican this time for the last four years.

      I kind of wonder why nobody in the primaries used the obvious dirt on Trump that has come out this month, but I suppose that being seen to run a dirty campaign is politically dangerous (especially in a field of 17). Anybody who was seen to go dirty on Trump would suffer, no matter how obviously true or well-documented the accusation. Which is why it would be nice if the press would actually do its job…And it wasn’t like nobody knew–my sis was mentioning Howard Stern tapes during the primary, and she’s not even very political. (I didn’t ask at the time what was on the tapes, as I had a ballpark idea what a conversation between Howard Stern and Trump would sound like.)

  18. I posted my comment in the wrong place, but the problem is that some substantial group of people who vote in the Republican primaries like Trump, with all his ugliness (including the “obvious” dirt, which was going to be the new last straw last week, but turned out not to be). How many last straws have there been? off the top of my head, I can count vulgar comments about Megyn Kelly, mocking a disabled reporter, demeaning McCain’s war record, accusing Cruz’s dad of Kennedy assassination. and now the grab and grope scandal. None of them had an effect with his core support, and the Republicans can’t win without his core support.

    What happens when Trump is gone (and I think he will be, if we succeed and he loses). Maybe he was a cult leader and his cult support will find other choice.

    1. That’s what I was thinking about also. It doesn’t matter if Trump fades away. Everybody knows that you can win the Republican primary if you run a campaign full of open racism and sexism and that you can do this even while ignoring or insulting everything that passes as “conservative.”

      1. MH,

        Oh, but a lot of that was justified because Trump was a “winner.” You can tell he’s a winner, because he says so…

        He’s been selling the idea that he’s going to put blue states into play. He’s actually putting red states into play, but he has been pretty magnificent at convincing his ardent followers that he is winning.

        Who are you going to believe, Trump or your lying eyes?

        On the one hand, I don’t blame people for being trusting (I know some very nice people IRL that have gotten on the Trump Train), but on the other hand, there’s at least some responsibility on the part of voters to do at least a little vetting of their own with regard to figuring out if a candidate is likely to follow through on their promises. Trump is, of all the candidates I’ve ever seen over the last quarter century, probably the least likely to keep any promises or behave with any sort of internal consistency. Anybody who has followed his career for more than five minutes knows that.

        But I have to say that part of what’s driving the current situation is that Republican voters are used to every Republican milquetoast presidential candidate getting treated as if he were Hitler (even Mitt Romney got that treatment), so when a guy finally shows up acting like Mussolini and that’s accurately reported, they don’t believe it, because they’ve already heard “wolf” cried too many times.

        I just can’t even bother discussing Trump’s “policies” (if you can call them that) because of the astronomical improbability that he will bother to try to enact them, especially since he hasn’t bothered to learn anything about how the US Government functions and he hasn’t yet figured out that he would need to make nice with Repbulicans in Congress. I’ve never seen a Republican presidential candidate who spends so much of his time threatening Republican members of congress.

    2. And to continue my point, not only have they learned you can win a Republican primary while ignoring both decency and anything that might be called “conservative”, they also know that if you do win, only a minority of the Republicans leaders and elected officials will do anything at all to try to enforce either decency or “conservatism.” On Nov 9th, I think the problems will be there whether or not Trump is.

    3. Don’t forget the obvious anti-Semitic and Nazi stuff, like the 6-pointed star, the international banking conspiracy, holocaust jokes, using SS Officer stock footage for the US army, etc. I always thought being openly pro-Nazi was a line one couldn’t cross in mainstream politics, but Trump is showing that’s not the case either.

      1. B.I. said:

        “Don’t forget the obvious anti-Semitic and Nazi stuff, like the 6-pointed star, the international banking conspiracy, holocaust jokes, using SS Officer stock footage for the US army, etc. I always thought being openly pro-Nazi was a line one couldn’t cross in mainstream politics, but Trump is showing that’s not the case either.”

        I’m a little behind with the thread, but I’ve been lately connecting some dots that might shed some light on this.

        Trump’s online Twitter fan presence is in large part a Russian operation.

        “Broadly speaking, Trump has two categories of support on Twitter. Alt-right trolls, and Russian bot accounts pretending to be patriotic Americans.”

        “It is not that Donald Trump does not have widespread support. He does; even at his current polling lows, his support includes millions of Americans. It is, rather, that Trump’s supporters are incredibly unlikely to use Twitter.”

        “There are two types of bot. Firstly, there are the purely automated accounts. These and only these are the types of bot referred to in the BBC study (which, again, did not track the most popular hashtag, #TrumpWon).

        “The second type of “Bot” is a human being who is working for the Russian government in a troll farm in St. Petersburg, pretending to be somebody he isn’t – like an American mother in Florida (@StaceyBrewer18, temporarily known as “Mom For Trump” on twitter).”

        So, while I’m quite happy to blame Trump himself for Trump’s activities, what this does suggest is that horrible online Twitter activity by Trump fans is not necessarily being done by actual Americans.



        Bearing in mind a few data points (a lot of Trump twitter supporters are Russian fakes, Russian intelligence has a grand old tradition of disinformation, Russian anti-semitism and racism (Russians don’t do PC), Russia’s not so clandestine war of harassment against US diplomats, and the extreme and unprecedented degree of harassment US Trump opponents–including very conservative ones–are reporting), I have to think that at least some fraction of the extreme harassment that Trump opponents are reporting is being done by Russians (or at least orchestrated from within Russia).

        Furthermore, Trump as a guy is very much driven by Twitter (witness his late-night tweeting extravaganzas), so it’s quite possible that he is being driven in certain directions by his offshore Twitter “fans.” Did I just say that he’s a Manchurian candidate? Yep.

  19. It’s funny the NR is complaining about that, because they are the worst offenders of crying wolf. Jonah Goldberg wrote a book literally comparing Hillary Clinton to Hitler (Liberal Fascism), and they’ve spent the past 8 years comparing Obama to Hitler, Hillary to Hitler, and even Bernie Sanders to Hitler (!) To their credit they’ve been pointing out the fascist tendencies of Orange Mussolini (maybe now Orange Hitler) for over a year, but it’s virtually meaningless. If anything the left has been more restrained in comparing mainstream Republicans like McCain or Romney to Hitler than the right has been doing the reverse.

  20. And, in examining the potential of the national Republican party (to be remembered — there are lots of local levels at which Republicans are still strong), we have to consider the steadily changing demographics of the country. Mitt Romney would have won in 2004, if his success in the demographics was the same as it was in 2012, but in 2012, his winning percents didn’t make up to an popular or electoral win, The demographics continue to trend unfavorably for the Republican core. As of 2015, the majority of children born in the US were at least partially non-white. As of 2016, about 60% are non-hispanic white, census predictions suggest that the entire country will be majority minority by 2040 or so.

    Now, the changing demographics would be expected, given past history, to be accompanied by a decrease in the economic marginalization of minorities that results in their automatic identification with the Democratic party. After the loss in 2012, the Republicans commissioned analyses that acknowledged the demographic changes and a path for success. They had to attract non-white populations that shared their values.

    But, the base support of Trump made that less likely now and into the future. The party as a whole has undermined any trust that minorities will ever be included in the Republican party. As a case study, consider Indian-Americans (South Asians). Indian-Americans are the economically most advantaged minority in the US (average income 88K, 70% college educated); They are generally socially conservative. But, they are not white, not Christian (only 18% are) and they are not Republican (65% Democratic, and 80+percent not Trump). This election, the behavior of the Republican base, of the accommodators in the party (from Ryan to McCain to McConnell), and Trump himself, has undermined any trust that non-christian brown people will ever be included.

    And, calling mexicans rapists and arguing that an American born judge of Mexican descent is biased because of his race doesn’t bode well for attracting the growing Hispanic population, either (even though it is Christian).

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