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I Was Wrong About Trump

Last July I wrote [1] that Donald Trump was merely a “blip,” a novelty candidate who couldn’t do much better than 17 percent in the polls. He would swiftly go the way of Herman Cain.

In August, I still didn’t believe the Trump hype. The 2016 race, I predicted [2], would see an early surge for a religious right candidate, followed by the inevitable nomination of the establishment favorite, probably Jeb Bush. After the Iowa caucuses, I was sure my scenario was playing out, only with Rubio in place Bush [3].

I was as wrong about Trump’s popularity as it’s possible to get. But I got a few things right, and it’s worth accounting for how I could miss the big story while getting much of the background right.

The simplest answer, if an incomplete one, is that Trump filled exactly the space I expected to be taken by the establishment’s candidate. The race has indeed come down to the front-runner and the candidate with the most appeal to the religious right (Cruz). Only the front-runner isn’t the establishment’s man, it’s Trump.

One mistake I made at the outset, in my July story, was to discount the value of Trump’s celebrity and command of the media relative to Jeb Bush’s super PAC millions. Earned media beat paid media hands down. But something more fundamental accounts for Trump’s success and Bush’s failure, a change in the Republican electorate that I willfully overlooked.

Evidence of that change was plain for all to see: Republican voters who once had seemingly prioritized electability were now prioritizing outsiderdom. The Tea Party had illustrated this as far back as 2010. In Delaware, a state not known as a hotbed of right-wing activity, Republican voters that year sacrificed a chance to win a U.S. Senate seat with the moderate Rep. Mike Castle and instead nominated a right-leaning minor media figure who had never held elective office: Christine O’Donnell. She was only the most telling of several weak outsider candidates the Tea Party propelled to victory in Republican contests and then defeat in November, that year and in subsequent cycles. The Tea Party did, of course, also notch up several victories with outsider candidates: with Rand Paul and Mike Lee in 2010, for example, and with Ted Cruz in 2012. All of these Tea Party Republicans, winners and losers, beat establishment shoo-ins. Republican voters seemed less concerned about winning or losing than about nominating someone who would take on the GOP’s insiders as well as the Democrats.

But those were mostly midterm elections, at any rate congressional or state elections, and surely the presidential nomination was another matter entirely. Grassroots activists might swing the outcome of an off-year primary or a state convention, but presidential primaries brought out your unexcitable, pragmatic, bread-and-butter Republicans, the ones who had nominated Ford in ’76, Dole in ’96, and who did, in fact, nominate Mitt Romney in 2012.

The party seemed to follow a pattern from 1968 onwards of always nominating the most familiar name, usually the previous cycle’s runner-up: Nixon, Ford, Reagan, Bush I, Dole, Bush II, McCain, and Romney. And the only nominees since World War II who weren’t favored by the party’s elite, Goldwater in 1964 and Reagan in 1980, were only partial exceptions to the GOP’s establishmentarian bent. Goldwater had paid his dues as head of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, and the conditions of the 1964 election made that year’s nomination a rather dubious prize for whoever might win it. Reagan, meanwhile, had been governor of California and only won the nomination in 1980 after having been rebuffed in 1976 and 1968.

Romney’s cruise to the nomination in 2012 fit exactly the model I expected—the one I went badly wrong with by applying to the 2016 race. I should have paid closer attention to something that had surprised me in 2012, something that in retrospect was an obvious harbinger of Trump: Newt Gingrich’s victory in that year’s South Carolina primary. That was significant because South Carolina, despite its reputation for being a right-wing state, had in fact been an establishment bulwark [4] in past cycles. To be sure, John McCain, whose insurgent candidacy in 2000 was styled as more reformist and progressive than George W. Bush’s, was opposed by right-leaning Republican voters as well as establishmentarian ones in that year’s South Carolina contest. But South Carolina had also blocked Pat Buchanan in 1996, and for all the vaunted strength of the religious right in the Palmetto State, Christian conservatives like Mike Huckabee always lost South Carolina, even when they won Iowa.

Gingrich’s victory, however, showed that by 2012, South Carolina voters were not interested in robotically voting for the most supposedly electable candidate—the establishment’s pick and the last cycle’s runner-up. And if I’d really paid attention, I would have noticed that whoever the voters supporting Gingrich were, they were not the kind of religious right voters whose behavior elsewhere–in Iowa, for example—might be predictable. South Carolina in 2012 previewed a 2016 cycle in which neither electability nor ideological purity would be voters’ top priority. (Gingrich is viewed by many progressives as the living embodiment of conservatism, but on the right Gingrich has long been seen as a wildly heterodox figure. Gingrich is fervently but informally backing Trump [5] this year.)

If Gingrich was a surprise in South Carolina four years ago, bigger surprises over the last two years should have been as much of a wake-up call as I, or anyone else, needed. In 2014, Republican primary voters in Virginia toppled the House majority leader, Rep. Eric Cantor, and nominated a right-leaning economics professor with no political experience in his place. Cantor, along with Reps. Kevin McCarthy and Paul Ryan [6], was touted by insider Republicans and the conservative establishment in DC as a “Young Gun”—the future of the Republican Party. But actual Republican voters opted for an alternate future. And last year, the rising tide of insurgency in the GOP took down an even bigger gun—if not a young one—the House speaker himself, John Boehner. After Boehner’s resignation, Paul Ryan picked up the gavel with some reluctance [7]. Many mainstream journalists and establishment conservatives in the media have suggested that Ryan [8] could be the GOP’s nominee this summer in a contested convention. I suspect Ryan can read the writing on the wall better than that: his fate will be the same as his predecessor’s and the same as his fellow young gun’s if he gets on the wrong side of the outsider wave.

Cantor’s fall and Boehner’s resignation showed that the establishment, whose fearsome power I overestimated in my predictions about Bush and Rubio, had already been crippled before Trump arrived on the scene. The Tea Party had shown, too, that from Delaware to Utah to Kentucky to Texas, Republican voters were as hostile toward their party’s establishment as they were toward Democrats. Maybe more so, in the case of places where hopeless candidates like O’Donnell were nominated, giving establishment Republicans a black eye but guaranteeing the Democrats a Senate seat. The Trump phenomenon expresses much the same priority among Republican voters: better to lose with Trump, a plurality of Republicans are saying, than win with Bush or Rubio. (And a fortiori, better to win or lose with Trump than lose with Bush or Rubio.)

My theory from August that the runner-up in this year’s contest would be the religious right’s champion has been half-correct. Cruz is indeed the second-place candidate in terms of votes and delegates, and Cruz has been winning those voters who are most religious—though Trump has proved to have plenty of pull with evangelicals himself. But in August I highlighted the differences between the religious right and other conservative voters. Cruz, by contrast, has become the candidate of movement conservatives, the religious right, and, however reluctantly, the Republican establishment itself, yet all of that is still not enough to beat Trump. I had thought that the split between the religious right and Goldwater-Reagan conservatives explained their failure to beat the establishment in years past. But even together with the establishment, they can’t overcome the outsider insurgency and the Donald.

But that leads me to reaffirm my analysis from July, when I got Trump and Bush so spectacularly wrong. Because what I did get right I was even more right about than I knew. Namely:

none of the factions—the libertarians, the religious right, the Tea Party—have much life in them. After all the sound and fury of the Obama years, no quarter of the right has generated ideas or leaders that compellingly appeal even to other Republicans, let alone to anyone outside the party. … The various factions’ policies aren’t generating any excitement, which leaves room for an outsize, outrageous personality, in this case Trump, to grab attention.

Trump succeeds because of more than outsize personality, of course. He attracts some support from everyone who thinks that Conservatism, Inc. and the GOP establishment are self-serving frauds—everyone who feels betrayed by the party and its ideological publicists. Working-class whites know that the Republican Party isn’t their party. Christian conservatives who in the past have supported Mike Huckabee and Ben Carson also know that the GOP won’t deliver for them. Moderates have been steadily alienated from the GOP by movement conservatives, yet hard-right immigration opponents feel marginalized by the party as well. Paleoconservatives and antiwar conservatives have been excommunicated on more than one occasion by the same establishment that’s now losing control to Trump. They can only applaud what Trump’s doing, even if Trump himself is no Pat Buchanan or Ron Paul.

Conservative Republicans™ somehow maneuvered themselves into a position of being too hardline for moderates and non-ideologues, but not hardline or ideological enough for the right. Trump, on the other hand, appeals both to the hard right and to voters whose economic interests would, in decades past, have classed them as moderates of the center-left—lunch-pail voters [9].

What’s even more remarkable is that movement conservatives, who have been given plenty of warning, ever since 2006, that their formula is exhausted, keep doing the same thing over and over again: they’ll dodge right, in a way that right-wingers find unsatisfactory but that moderates find appalling; then they’ll weave back to the center, in a way that doesn’t fool centrists and only angers the right. Immigration—which was another of George W. Bush’s stumbling blocks [10], lest we forget—has been the issue that symbolized movement-conservative Republicanism’s futility most poignantly. It’s not even clear that most GOP voters agree [11] with Trump’s rhetorical hard-line on immigration—they just like it better than the two-faced talk of the average Republican politician [12].

Trump has a plethora of weaknesses, as general election polls amply demonstrate. But just look what he’s up against within the Republican Party: that’s why he’s winning. I should have recognized that last summer, but I thought voters would never break their habit of preferring “electable” candidates. It turns out that voters have much more capacity to learn and adapt—even if only by trial and error—than Republican elites do.

39 Comments (Open | Close)

39 Comments To "I Was Wrong About Trump"

#1 Comment By Tish On March 26, 2016 @ 5:17 am

For someone who was so wrong just a few months ago, you sure got it right this time… As i was reading your words, it seemed u were writing about me…Outside or Bust… If the elites betray the many many Trump Supporters ..May they go down in flames, never to be seen again…

#2 Comment By bacon On March 26, 2016 @ 7:31 am

Observers of American politics mostly focus on who wins and why and don’t quite know what to make of the tendency in the last few years of some Republicans, more and more lately, to put forward candidates unlikely to win even when electable alternatives are available. Here’s a possible explanation. Losing at the state or national level doesn’t directly affect voters lives much. Politicians on both sides of the aisle want to make voters happy and because the economy almost always does better under Democrats, Republicans can offer candidates whose willingness to pander to the nut cases in the base makes them feel good without worrying about consequences. Democrats have plenty of divisive elements, but in general aren’t as passionate about their differences. I’ve heard many stories about wild-eyed liberal fanatics, but 50+ years into being a Democrat I have yet to meet one. And because Republicans have been much better at gerrymandering they usually prevail at the state level.

So maybe it’s this simple – What Republican factions are doing is like acting crazy from time to time in school. It isn’t a useful long term strategy but it’s fun while it’s happening and kept under a certain level seems not to have much downside. The trick will be to pick that certain level.

#3 Comment By John On March 26, 2016 @ 10:34 am

The other thing you don’t seem to understand is that Hillary is in the same camp as the Republican establishment. As a Rand Paul supporter, Trump voters are not stupid.

Both republicans and democrats understand that increasing the supply of more illegal immigrants lowers the price of their wages (especially blacks and legal Hispanics). Even Republican and democrat STEM employees finally understand that H1-B workers have nothing to do with talent and everything to do with increasing the labor supply and lowering their wages.

Both republicans and democrats are fed up sending their kids to fight and die in foreign wars against enemies that are not a direct threat to our country. And then allow immigration of our enemies from the failed states we destroyed to terrorize us.

Domestically, for example, the Republicans should own the solutions to fixing health care (Make health care policies tax deductible, Allowing Health Savings Accounts, Purchasing insurance across state lines, Allowing fraternal organizations, churches, labor unions and other private groups to offer health insurance policies so that these large groups are able to compete with the large corporations in benefits and price while not linking your health insurance to your employer, etc.). And while Republican politicians pay lip service to these solutions, do nothing about it, forcing the electorate toward socialized medicine that by now everyone knows does not work.

The Republican establishment preaches capitalism but practices an economic system of crony capitalism. Crony capitalism is far more damaging than either socialism or fascism because it gives the facade of capitalism with the damaging outcomes of both socialism and fascism.
All for the benefit of the establishment politicians, their rich donors, and the corporations, military industrial complex, and think tanks and that employ those few politicians that lose reelection.

A flawed Trump gives us some hope these things will change, because no other Republican, or Democrat does.

So Hillary promises to keep the flow of illegal immigrants coming while Trump promises to stop it. Trump promises to take the poor and lower middle class off the tax rolls, while Hillary still plans to tax them. Hillary voted for the Iraq war because it was the politically correct while Trump says the war was a big fat mistake. Hillary pushes us to over through Gaddafi, allows our ambassador to be killed and then lies about the cause. The Clinton administration promoted and passed NAFTA, while Trump says these trade deals are destroying our jobs while we have record numbers not working. Trumps favor-ability ratings will keep on rising like they have in the past year.

For these reasons and more, if Trump can survive the Republican primary, he’ll crush Hillary and win in a landslide.

#4 Comment By Geoff Guth On March 26, 2016 @ 11:41 am

On the question of Gingrich, recall that he tried running on a populist message against Romney. Remember the “When Mitt Romney Came to Town” video about all the layoffs and outsourcing that would follow whenever Bain bought up a company?

For whatever reason, that message didn’t play as well in 2012, even though Romney is pretty much the poster child for vulture capitalism, far more so than any of the 2016 candidates, except perhaps Fiorina. Perhaps the problem was Gingrich. Or perhaps the time wasn’t yet ripe for a populist wave.

But that’s another tea leaf that didn’t get read at the time. I don’t recall anyone looking at Gingrich’s campaign as anything but a one-off bit of jiu-jitsu turning Rooney’s business experience into a negative. In hindsight, Trump may have been watching that strategy carefully.

#5 Comment By TZX4 On March 26, 2016 @ 11:54 am

All the GOP factions have been pupptes, with the plutocracy pulling their strings. At long last the tangled web the plutocracy has woven to deceive is coming apart. For decades the whole Right Wing ideology has been a facade for the agenda of concentration of as much wealth and power as is possible in as few hands as possible.
The curtain has been pulled aside, and Mr. Trump is the little dog Toto blowing the whole deception to bits.

#6 Comment By Conserving What? On March 26, 2016 @ 12:23 pm

This is not about the Tea Party in any way whatsoever. The Tea Party remains a fringe group. People who consider themselves Republicans have principled reasons for being Republicans, but they obviously don’t all share the same principles. They would never consider voting Democratic, but they will not support a candidate who doesn’t support at least some of the issues they care about. They will just stay home. And why not, when the “mainstream” Republican candidates mouth the same platitudes but essentially ignore their concerns.

The GOP “establishment” pays lip service to conservative ideas, but is in practice indistinguishable from the Democratic establishment, and GOP voters know it. They intend to destroy the Republican establishment and Conservatism, Inc., if necessary by losing enough elections that the “establishment” loses influence and power.

Trump may be all the bad things he is called, but he alone speaks to the issues that trouble a lot of Republicans. Is he “electable”? Probably not, but neither is any Republican.

Trump is sort of the Un-Romney, who was a “mainstream” candidate who was rejected by a lot of Republican voters; they simply stayed home. And he lost big-time.

#7 Comment By Liam On March 26, 2016 @ 12:27 pm

One way to make sense of this is to realize that the GOP-Conservative Establishment ceased to be a governing organism at the national level around 2006, a casualty of not one but two majorly botched war, arguably even three (not even the Democrats have managed that within memory), but remains in deep denial about this. The national-level organism is something like Imperial Spain in the latter 17th century or the Ottoman Empire in the 19th – a skeleton that is a massive but paralyzed host for parasitic activity (in this case, the infotainment/lobbying/media/national security industries that are the living guts of the current organism.

I don’t see change happening any time soon.

#8 Comment By Chick Dante On March 26, 2016 @ 1:55 pm

Obama Derangement Syndrome, the plethora of hate filled dog-whistles and chimeras that were touted by right wing talk radio and tv pundits at Fox News and which substituted for any cogent ideas about how to make life better, is coming back to bite the GOP. The fact that Trump has no cogent ideas either suddenly doesn’t seem like a disqualifier.

Once Trump wins the nomination, the GOP frontrunner will lead the charge by a single idea that will sound just like the old one: “Hillary Derangement Syndrome.” Already, the principal talking point is “She should be in jail” though no one has explained to me what for. Instead, they blanch and turn away because the source for this talking point hasn’t yet come up with a rejoinder. Talking points are not substitutes for what comes next, i.e. governing.

So far a I can tell, Trump just wants to be elected the way he just wanted Ratings when he was on The Apprentice. I give him all the credit in the world for recognizing that there is very little difference especially in a Party where actual ideas rarely seem to matter near as much as just being ardent in opposition to something or better yet, somone.

#9 Comment By Ken Hoop On March 26, 2016 @ 4:30 pm

Libya was a violation of international law but then
“winners” don’t become Karadzics, Chick Dante.

#10 Comment By Fran Macadam On March 26, 2016 @ 7:29 pm

The perception problem of the punditocracy is the same myopia identified by liberal Thomas Frank – that besides the 1% who have mightily benefited financially from the 2008 collapse, there is the both-party Yuppie component who have also done fairly well. They are the well-off 10% upper income cohort who benefit from or at least aren’t harmed by the policies of the 1%. They don’t see things as so bad, outside a preference to see their particular mates at the tiller of the establishment ship of state, steady as she goes (towards an iceberg, mind you) with only minor course corrections. In other words, these are not the working and beleaguered middle classes outside the Beltway and its similarly isolated social enclaves. In our modern era of plugged in communications, people are often stunningly unaware of what their neighbors and countrymen are going through, to a degree that wouldn’t have been possible in the past. Instead of looking at or talking to others physically – or even being aware of them – they are plugged into a bubble, twiddling their mobile devices.

No wonder so few actually “get” what so many are going through – the continuing slide in wages and living standards in the precariat outside their self-styled “meritocracy.”

#11 Comment By Dan On March 26, 2016 @ 7:56 pm

Chick dante.

Obama and trump supporter here.

There are millions of us. we don’t approve of trumps bluster and many soundbite mistakes he makes. We support him for his positions on free trade, globalism, retsrained immigration, anti imperial wars and anti world police.

#12 Comment By webster On March 26, 2016 @ 8:10 pm

So, your were wrong but now we should listen cause your’e right this time? That mock trump children’s book on Jimmy Kimmel Live perhaps applies here: ‘Winners Aren’t Losers’

#13 Comment By Clint On March 26, 2016 @ 8:34 pm

When Trump turns his guns on Hillary Clinton, she will have to defend her Wall Street Donors and Speech Money,The Clinton Foundation Money, The FBI investigation on Emails, Benghazi, Her Iraq Vote, Her role In Bimbo Eruptions enabling Bubba’s sex abusing….

#14 Comment By Stroppy On March 26, 2016 @ 8:50 pm

“Trump may be all the bad things he is called, but he alone speaks to the issues that trouble a lot of Republicans. Is he “electable”? Probably not, but neither is any Republican. “

That’s not true. Kasich beats Clinton consistently at the national level (Monmouth, Quinnipiac, Bloomberg, Fox polls, per RCP).


(Find the “general election” rows)

Rand Paul did too for a while last year, which was why the Clintons’ crack smear machine was gearing up to deal with him.

#15 Comment By Rambler89 On March 26, 2016 @ 10:32 pm

(This didn’t show up the first time I posted it. My apologies if it appears twice.)

The Tea Party movement didn’t fail when it first arose. What failed (again) was the religious right, after it became the establishment’s tool for co-opting the Tea Party (with the enthusiastic co-operation of the left-wing media).

The Tea Party that values country, law, and reason over superstition is up in arms for Trump. (So are religious conservatives who are too foggy to realize that their religion would never have been in bed with the Republican power structure unless it despised country, law, and reason.) Even many who have no illusions about him think it’s payback time for the Republican establishment, and perhaps the last chance to save the country.

Don’t kick yourself for not predicting Trump’s media pull. He didn’t “earn” it in the normal way. The left-wing media didn’t give him non-stop coverage because they thought he he was newsworthy in himself. They did it because they thought he was just a wacko bombinating in a vacuum, off whom they could score easy points while using him to reinforce their belief that all non-leftists are wackos just like Trump.

The media, like the Republican establishment, are so insulated from reality that their move backfired: they didn’t realize that, wacko or not, he was the only person speaking to critical issues. So they unwittingly gave him the publicity he needed to make sure his message got across to everyone.

One might have predicted in a general way that Institutional Ignorance, grown great enough, would give birth to National Farce. But predicting in detail the unfolding of that crazy situation would have required more than human perspicuity.

#16 Comment By unknown knowns On March 26, 2016 @ 11:15 pm

“When Trump turns his guns on Hillary Clinton, she will have to defend her Wall Street Donors and Speech Money,The Clinton Foundation Money, The FBI investigation on Emails, Benghazi, Her Iraq Vote, Her role In Bimbo Eruptions enabling Bubba’s sex abusing….”

Great stuff. Great stuff. But face it – this election is going to be first and last a race to the bottom. Trumpzilla vs The Slime Machine. An epic face-off between two of the vilest people ever to vie for the highest office in the land. And the average American will take the same interest in any chance substantive debate that the average pornographer takes in the part where the doctor and his buxom patient discuss her symptoms.

#17 Comment By cka2nd On March 26, 2016 @ 11:45 pm

Conserving What? says: “People who consider themselves Republicans have principled reasons for being Republicans, but they obviously don’t all share the same principles. They would never consider voting Democratic, but they will not support a candidate who doesn’t support at least some of the issues they care about.”

If my long-time Democrat and generally liberal mother can consider voting for Congressman Walter Jones because he has learned his lessons about foreign intervention, I’m betting that there are some principled Republicans who can vote for the occasional Democrat. For instance, given a choice between Clinton and Trump, more than a few neo-cons will vote for Hilary. Given a choice between Sanders and Cruz or Sanders and Kasich, I bet some economic nationalists will vote for Sanders.

#18 Comment By Mike On March 26, 2016 @ 11:58 pm

Last July, I thought Trump was another attention seeker without a chance but after watching his announcement, I thought he was saying a lot of things people liked to hear. Liberal Democrats are pretty monolithic these days. Republicans keep shooting themselves in the foot by trying to debate their way through the primaries.

#19 Comment By cka2nd On March 27, 2016 @ 12:03 am

To Liam, don’t forget Katrina. When black folks can laugh at jokes about the KKK being moved to actually help black people by the failure of the federal government, that says something about the quality of GOP governance.

Fran, spot on about “the both-party Yuppie component who have also done fairly well.” This is the portion of the petit bourgeoisie that is still doing okay – all those people I see on House Hunters who can work from home, I guess – and are absolutely convinced that getting advanced degrees and choosing a “Profession” is proof of their righteousness. But they’re not just segregated by living on-line. Housing prices mean they are also economically and physically – and racially – segregated. It’s amazing how long it takes the most mainstream of Washington-based journalists – see PBS’ Washington Week – to notice that great swathes of the country are economically distressed. It’s like they have to be poleaxed by some giant news story before it even enters their field of view.

#20 Comment By Mark F. On March 27, 2016 @ 12:12 am

“For these reasons and more, if Trump can survive the Republican primary, he’ll crush Hillary and win in a landslide.”

I doubt it. Trump is even more unpopular than Clinton, and he is sinking in the polls against her. It will be a landslide, but not a Trump landslide.

#21 Comment By antimule On March 27, 2016 @ 12:52 am

Maybe it is also about the economy. Trump is the only one who promises bringing the jobs back from China to struggling poor whites. Not that he can ever deliver, but many don’t care.

#22 Comment By robcrawford On March 27, 2016 @ 4:03 am

I prefer the drunk driving analogy: the GOP has been tilting towards nuts for at least the last 4 presidential election cycles, and all you need is one event for them to get the nomination. Trump is that event. Good luck driving.

#23 Comment By JR On March 27, 2016 @ 5:57 am

While no group is a monolith in politics, the GOP has traditionally been far cozier with Big Business than the Democrats. This is why I hold them more to blame when they used epic social issues as a bait-and-switch tactic to consolidate power.

As this ruse worked, to remain competitive, the Democrats were politically “leveraged” to follow suit. I’m not saying they were victims, but they were acting in the spirit of, “it seemed like a good idea at the time.” What this article’s mea culpa amounts to is that Thomas Frank was essentially correct in his, “What’s the Matter with Kansas?” thesis; and a goodly portion of what he had to say, coupled with the painful realities of actual current policy, has finally hit home in the “critical mass” sense.

It appears the GOP will end up paying a far higher price than it ever imagined when it started down this road of pimping “values” issues… to say nothing of George W. Bush’s Middle East “Vietnam II.”

#24 Comment By Clint On March 27, 2016 @ 8:13 am

She tried to pass health care reform. Biggest disaster I ever saw in Washington. Biggest I ever saw. And that’s saying a lot. She wanted us to go into Iraq and then into Libya. Look at that mess. Worst decision in foreign policy history. Worst. NAFTA, prisons, welfare reform. You know that story about King Midas? Where he touches something and it turns to gold? Hillary’s the opposite. Everything she touches blows up. She’s a disaster.

It appears Trump will expose Hillary Clinton as a Yesterday Candidate, who’s a loser.

It will be interesting to see if the Mainstream Media can prop her up, as they have Barack Obama.

#25 Comment By Uh, Clem On March 27, 2016 @ 9:16 am

“Trump is even more unpopular than Clinton”

I don’t know the whether that’s true, but you’re looking at it the right way. It’s a matter of unpopularity and of the strength of the anti-establishment mood. For the moment.

Is the “racist, fascist, authoritarian and short fingered vulgarian” less popular than the Establishment dynast already known to be corrupt, incompetent, and a “congenital liar”? Will his disgusted primary opponents be less motivated to support him in the fall than her disgusted primary opponents will be to support her?

But the dynamics don’t stop changing.

By November the initial revulsion and anger voters feel over these choices will have ebbed, as they always do. As people sober up and consider the reality of their vote, the big question becomes an old familiar one: are voters generally happy with the status quo, which favors the Establishment candidate, or generally unhappy, which favors insurgents?

#26 Comment By Clint On March 28, 2016 @ 5:19 am

Meanwhile The Mainstream Media continues it’s attempts to orchestrate a Hillary Clinton Presidency, just as it orchestrated an Obama Presidency.

you either don’t understand how firmly in the Clinton camp even mainstream media organizations are, or you don’t pay any attention to domestic politics at all. Most of us knew what to expect from the media after seeing months of purportedly objective “panels” on CNN and MSNBC comprised entirely of Clinton surrogates or neutral reporters; watching media outlets fail to cover even a single second of election-night speeches by Sanders; and cringing as every major media organization continued counting “super-delegates” as though these were earned and confirmed “votes,” despite a DNC directive to not tally them until the summertime.

Most importantly, most of us knew what to expect after the national media had ignored entirely Sanders’ strong performances in, demographically speaking, the “middle half” of U.S. states — that is, those states ranked 13th through 38th in terms of their white population.


#27 Comment By Harry Heller On March 28, 2016 @ 7:20 am

Th election will be closer than many think. Hillary will win by a small margin. Senate will flip to Democrats, 52-48; GOP keeps a slightly smaller House.

2018 will be another midterm GOP “wave”, possibly of titanic proportions. We’ll retake the Senate at least 55-45, and increase in the House (back to today). Then in 2020, Republicans will take everything.

What will they do with it? End immigration and thus give themselves a political future? I don’t know.

#28 Comment By Nick Valentine On March 28, 2016 @ 7:57 am

This article goes right to the heart of why I support Trump.

It isn’t that I love Trump so much as I despise the GOP.

And they’ve earned every bit of my scorn.

#29 Comment By redbull On March 28, 2016 @ 12:43 pm


Not sure how it can be said the gop has been more cozy with big business. Obamacare would’ve never passed without the insurance companies in cahoots with the democrats as they killed Clintons health care law in the 90’s. Unfair free trade (TPP) has flourished under POTUS and Congress from both parties for the past 20 years.

While agreed the gop has done nothing on social issues they say they would it’s a little disingenuous when people say the gop uses social issues as a “distraction” or or “bait”. It is the left that always pushes the next big frontier on social issues. Things are quiet then gay marriage, now trans-gender rights, etc, etc. What are conservatives supposed to do? Give up when they don’t believe in the social change the left pushes?

It reminds me of when the kid who’s picked on punches the bully back and people blame the victim for punching the bully.

#30 Comment By EliteCommInc. On March 28, 2016 @ 2:33 pm

“It reminds me of when the kid who’s picked on punches the bully back and people blame the victim for punching the bully.”

I think this comment is accurate and that has made evaluating Mr. Trump more difficult, not impossible, just problematic. Nothing so curious and someone using gutter tactics to argue that the target is a less than desirable because they are morally deficient.

#31 Comment By Nicolas On March 28, 2016 @ 3:03 pm

You ignored Mencken’s dictum by overestimating the intelligence of the American people.

#32 Comment By Christopher Manion On March 28, 2016 @ 3:07 pm

Last July a local old-timer drover her seasoned pickup to our rural hillside to cut up some downed trees for firewood.

She works hard – put four daughters through Christian school – and talk turned to how hard it was to get good help on her small farm, domestic or foreign, legal or illegal.

Then suddenly: “How do ya alike that there Trump? He’s got ’em skeered, aint’ he?”

That’s when I knew he wasn’t going away.

#33 Comment By LouisM On March 28, 2016 @ 7:08 pm

Trump may be a deal maker but that is only a fraction of the reason that people should vote for Trump. The biggest reason is Trump’s personality would kick the entrenched interests of the Bill Clinton (Hillary), George Bush/Cheney and Obama Administrations out the door. The US can muddle through world affairs but I don’t think this nation can survive the tentacles of those insane corrupt administrations remaining in the corridors of power (covertly).

#34 Comment By EliteCommInc. On March 28, 2016 @ 7:22 pm

“Then suddenly: “How do ya alike that there Trump? He’s got ’em skeered, aint’ he?”

That’s when I knew he wasn’t going away.”


if he does, I only have one other option. Which is where we are for conservatives that’s it. If Mr. Trump bails or Sen. Cruz loses the picks are the picks. I think Sec. Clinton’s record upon examination is sufficient to make her vulnerable to any candidate, but engaging in some form of switch during the convention would make that case harder to make.

#35 Comment By Myron Hudson On March 28, 2016 @ 8:05 pm

Good write up and comments but one thing is missing, which was brought up numerous times on this site. Despite what the MSM pundits said, this was not the deepest bench the GOP has produced in a long time. In fact, all of the other candidates were awful, exception being Rand Paul who lost his way courting donors. The weakness of that field was not Trump’s doing, but it was a huge (forgive me) factor.

#36 Comment By Gerald Arcuri On March 29, 2016 @ 9:27 pm

Donald Trump’s political ascendancy fooled a lot of us. Until we started looking more closely at the culture that incubated him. It is true that the electorate is tired of the establishment. And it is also true that a choice between Trump and Clinton is akin to choosing between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. But, I am looking forward to the eventual debates berween these two frauds. Nothing will give me more pleasure than to see Hillary get the tongue-lashing she so thoroughly deserves, and no candidate running should be able to deliver it better than T. Rump.

#37 Comment By Shannon On April 11, 2016 @ 9:37 am

I didn’t drink the cool-aid as did all the obamaites, Trump has his faults but even with faults he is still better than the best establishment candidate out there. I don’t see him doing any worse than any of those the establishment wants to stick us with. Besides, we are at the bottom of the dung heap already, we really can’t do worse than what we already have in office!

#38 Comment By Mikayla H. On February 28, 2017 @ 11:47 pm

This post was interesting to me. As a college student and newly turned 19 year old, I was able to vote in this last election. At the beginning of this race, I didn’t believe Trump would get any following. I thought it was a joke. Slowly but surely, Trump became a popular candidate, surpassing all of the others, with ease. I never understood why that was. This post opened my eyes a little bit to that. People like myself, an extreme conservative, want change to happen, and we nominate people whom we think will make that change. But what’s been happening is, we give these people the floor, and they have no new ideas, no ways to fix the issues that we’ve been complaining about. Though this isn’t the case for all, it is the case for many. I’m a college student, a millennial. I know the reputation that we as a generation have put on ourselves. After this election, I’ve come to the conclusion that we as a people need to come up with new ideas and new ways to fix these issues, rather than complain about them so much. It takes a lot of work, but the reason these candidates aren’t winning the affection of the people is because we’ve divided ourselves over issues that we should be united in. I’m not saying that we need to compromise, compromise, compromise. However, once we begin to create our own ideas, do our part as citizens like voting, writing our representatives, praying for our leaders, etc., then I truly believe we can unite as a party.

#39 Comment By Fran Macadam On November 6, 2017 @ 7:10 pm

And the penultimate thing you got wrong – electability!