Election 2016

Fear & Loathing: The Secret of Donald Trump's Success

Regardless of if and when he stumbles, Trump may have already set the tone for the 2016 race.

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Writing at CNN, Gloria Borger lays out a succinct explanation for Donald Trump's continued, even possibly growing, success with voters:

More important—and here's the key to Donald Trump's kingdom—voters believe the political system, including (and maybe most of all) the President, have completely and utterly failed to get a handle on, or even appear to have a strategy for, security. And why would anybody blame anyone for thinking that? Sixty-eight percent say America's response to ISIS has not been tough enough, and a slightly smaller number say that when we do take action (in Iraq and Syria,) we fail. And that's not just among Republicans: Majorities in both parties say the United States has been ineffective in its response to the terror threat. This is not a new storyline.

So this particular election-year story has all of the following: Disaffected and frustrated voters. Ineffective president. A level of public fear that has been rising steadily for at least a handful of years. Throw in anger at the collapsing political system, the establishment and the media, and Trump appears onstage like a vision emerging out of the clouds: the dark knight of our politics.

The CNN/ORC poll Borger mentions was taken between November 27 and December 1. It also found a slight majority (53 percent) of Americans want U.S. troops on the ground in Syria and Iraq, which is mind-boggling. The respondents were essentially split on the larger question of whether things were going well for them, with half in the yes and half in the no categories.

That Americans are restive and pissed-off isn't news, of course. The entire 21st century has been a shit show for various international, economic, and other reasons. The feeling that the wheels have indeed come off many public and private institutions is palpable and the continued inability of government at various levels to achieve much or regain trust is a major and ongoing problem.

Alone among the presidential candidates, Trump is not only absolutely willing to play on people's fears and anxieties, he is insulated from any taint of being part of the system. This may be the biggest thing separating him from Ted Cruz, whose supporters acknowledge is merely a "toned-down" version of The Donald. Trump didn't shut down the government (which was broadly unpopular); he isn't part of the government (yet).

Borger again:

He's an experienced opportunist. He knows full well that he has stepped into a leadership vacuum that exists in American politics, and has been around for some time: Why should the American public have any respect at all for its institutions when they have been failing? When Congress can't legislate, or even behave? When the President—elected with such high hopes—fails to inspire or connect or even explain strategy? When others running for president often look like they're made of the same torn fabric, just with different holes?

Full Borger piece here.

I'm still confident that, per historical precedent, Trump will fade in 2016, though if he makes an independent run, he'd still be a factor in the general election. More important, he may have already effectively set the tone for the 2016 campaign. Fear and loathing on the campaign trail is no longer just a book title. Even among the almost-certain Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, we see anxiety about America's place in the world and the need for a strong hand at the top. She's flip-flopped on free trade and is only slightly less dumb-sounding than Trump when yapping about policing the Internet and free speech. She remains a strong hawk and resists acknowledging foreign policy blunders such as the Libya invasion.

As I've noted before, lack of confidence in government may seem like a sign that libertarian values are ascendant. But distrust of and anger with government also predictably—if counterintuitively—leads to call for more government intervention into virtually all aspects of life. Ironically, one of the best ways to reduce the size, scope, and spending of government is for it to demonstrate competency in its core functions.

But until that happens, expect Trump and Trump Lite to still pack some punch.

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  1. …and is only slightly less dumb-sounding than Trump when yapping about policing the Internet and free speech.

    Wrong. They’re both dumber-sounding. It’s an ouroboros of crap.

    1. ouroboros of crap

      There’s a film trilogy that covered this subject in excruciating detail. I guess that is the tone of this election.
      I’m going to go puke up a scone now.

      1. If you can gaze upon the demented visage of Clinton or the gaping maw of Trump and not experience a twinge of Cronenbergian body-horror, you are made of stern stuff indeed.

        1. I liked “Naked Lunch” A LOT.

  2. You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, and that’s sufficient for most purposes.

  3. …and Trump appears onstage like a vision emerging out of the clouds: the dark knight of our politics.

    He may not be the president we need but he’s the one America deserves.

  4. But distrust of and anger with government also predictably?if counterintuitively?leads to call for more government intervention into virtually all aspects of life.

    Something about doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results…

  5. Trump will fade in 2016

    I sadly disagree, partially because of the power of his personality, and partially because there is no one who seems capable of replacing him, which is pathetic.

    The last paragraph should have been titled: “melancholy and the infinite sadness.”

    1. Meh. I agree with Nick. It’s a long ride until November 2016 and shit happens as it always does.

      Melancholy and the infinite sadness = peak despair

      Hopefully, the white knight of libertarianism will ride forward on his steed….. nevermind.

    2. You misspelled “Mellon Collie”.

      Holy shit was that a shitshow of a double album. It had like two good songs on the whole thing.

      1. Molten lab?wait, are we still doing that?

      2. Holy shit was that a shitshow of a double album

        Practically all double albums are shitshows in one way or another. The bands that make them don’t seem to realize that half their songs are typically left on the cutting room floor for a reason.

        1. Physical Graffiti and The Wall being two notable exceptions.

          1. Quadrophenia, and The River as well.

            1. Songs In The Key of Life is pretty much unbelievable from beginning to end

    3. The media could, perhaps, stop providing him wall-to-wall coverage 24 hours a day, 7 days a week?

      1. how would htey do that? If it’s not Trump himself saying something, it’s others talking about whatever Trump said.

      2. the unbiased media covers trump cuz he makes the GOP look insane. there may be more to trump doing things to benefit hilLIARy than just a theory.

  6. A better interpretation – “Trump: Dragging The Overton Window Our Way”

    Through his crude bluster, he has moved the debate to the right and into territories and subjects people actually care about. I rarely agree with his complete statements, but I do like that he is forcing other politicians to move out of their typical bullshit rhetoric.

    http://thezman.com/wordpress/?p=5963

    1. That’s something I’ve started to feel about him. For a long time it seemed the Dems had a lock on getting extremist views out their so even the most moderate opponents looked like the fringes of society. Trumps really upsetting the whole board. The students on campus demanding safe spaces away from white people are going to stop looking like normal kids being kids as this progresses and its going to kill their movement.

    2. That analysis appeals to me. We often opine about leaders being “out of touch” with the general population. Well, here’s your answer fishbulb.

    3. “Our way” meaning “fascist way”.

      1. Our way being not a debate with Hillary on how much (not if) new spending and gun control we need.

    4. this is a very good point.

  7. “Ironically, one of the best ways to reduce the size, scope, and spending of government is for it to demonstrate competency in its core functions.”

    Nick writes as if this is a fact. At best, it is an hypothesis untethered to the reality of American political life. To wit, when was the last time that:

    (1) the federal government spent less money in a given fiscal year than the prior fiscal year?

    (2) the federal government abolished more regulations than it added to the federal register in a given year?

    (3) the federal government abrogated more statutes than it enacted?

    1. Nick’s assertion makes no sense. Why on earth would the government being effective at its core functions cause people to want less of it? Reality is the exact opposite of that. The only hope for people rejecting big government is for the government’s failure at its core competencies to cause people to realize the price they are paying for expecting it to solve every problem.

      I honestly can’t imagine how anyone could think government competence is the path to smaller government.

      1. Many on the left support national healthcare because “the Europeans can do, so can we”. The same for gun control. Civilized countries have free healthcare and no guns – yada, yada, yada. If a government proves marginally competent then the demands for it to do more invariable fallows.

        1. We all should have VA care!!

          1. Which we will, once we’re all drafted, as we should be. Hey, so many other countries have it! And then you’ll be allowedrequired to keep & carry guns too, while having every round of ammo acc’ted for. Except for those who opt for civilian service, which will take care of educ’n & labor problems too. No unemployment, & no underemployment either, because the bureaucrats will be expert at placing you in the job you’re suited for, since the employer won’t need to make $ by your work.

            1. I am thinking of more than a few countries in Latin America that are complete shitshows of incompetence, corruption’ and nepotism and yet the people there keep voting for even more government.

        2. Apparently Europe now also has the National Front, the Sweden Democrats, Jobbik and UKIP.

          If the Europeans can do it, so can we!

      2. A better case for most govt programs is that their aim is to perpetuate whatever problem they are ostensibly trying to address. Let’s use welfare, mostly because it’s easy. If no one needed welfare of any sort, that’s a lot payroll that suddenly becomes expendable. That’s a lot of lost influence buying disguised as campaign contributions. That’s a lot of lost pandering about you care and your opponent does not.

        1. Exactly this.

        2. or just keep moving the goalposts

      3. Government is only competent at justifying its own existence.

      4. But distrust of and anger with government also predictably?if counterintuitively?leads to call for more government intervention into virtually all aspects of life. Ironically, one of the best ways to reduce the size, scope, and spending of government is for it to demonstrate competency in its core functions.

        The state screws up, the call for more state intervention goes up.

        The state is competent, the call for more state intervention goes up.

        So serfdom is inevitable it seems.

        1. well, yeah. it’s what most people want.

        2. That’s why the Constitution (tried, at least) to limit Congress’s powers to what was written in Article 1, Section 8.
          Unfortunately, they left too much “wiggle room” which let egotistical judges, who gained basic control, allow for massive expansion.
          It, actually started with the Eleventh Amendment, not for what it said but for what it eliminated from Article 3, Section 2. (http://www.usconstitution.net/xconst_A3Sec2.html)

  8. Yes, I’ve been trying to explain this to leftoids – I agree that Trump is a Bad Person, but I suggest that he’s exploiting the leadership failures of…the leadership. I also added that there’s an anti-media backlash.

    Plus a crying-wolf factor, because if everybody who disagrees with the establishment’s retarded positions is a racist bigot fascist, then nobody is. Trump is a real wolf – an opportunist who attacks the Bill of Rights – but how can they believe the media when they say this? “Hey, this time there’s a really bigoted and scary politician, unlike all those other times when we were just blowing smoke up your ass.”

    But to lefties, Trump’s popularity just confirms that voters are just uneducated racists, and the thing to do is double down on the very policies which make him so appealing.

    1. So they think if they just fap hard enough to the thought of their own righteousness, and mock the concerns Trump is exploiting, then he’ll go away – or maybe they don’t even think ahead that far.

  9. What’s truly amazing is how people are pants-shitting over something that has an infinitesimally small chance of affecting them (terrorism, etc) and aren’t even paying attention to the shit that does affect them (Obamacare, the horrible economy, NSA spying, etc), and reacting to that instead.

    People really are fucking stupid. But…that is incredibly obvious day after day after day.

    1. People really are fucking stupid. But…that is incredibly obvious day after day after day.

      I know it, and yet I am still constantly surprised by it.

      1. Bread and circuses, CJ. Bread and circuses. The politicians really know how to rile up the crowd.

        1. Perhaps our scamming powers will help us when we get annexed by the Vegan Hegemony.

    2. There is more to something being important than the chances it affects you. What were an individual black person’s chances of lynched in 1925 Georgia? Pretty small. But that doesn’t make lynchings not a big deal.

      Even your NSA example I think proves this point. What are the chances anymore at NSA is actually going to listen to your phone calls and it affecting you even if they did? Very small. Yet, the NSA thing is a very big deal.

    3. Of those things, NSA too has extremely little chance of affecting them. even if NSA spies on them personally, the chance of becoming aware that NSA is spying on you is slim, and if you don’t realize it, it’s not affecting your life.

      1. Seems I agree w John here even before I read him!

    4. but they DO care about things like O-care or the NSA or the economy, but news is also driven by the events of the day. Political news remains very much a horse race type affair rather than an issues-based thing. We have the make-news of daily polls with who’s up/down/sideways, who is gaining/losing/trending, etc. Whatever issues come to light are based on what happened that day or week. This time, it’s the CA attack. People dying in what seems a random event is more attention-grabbing than “someone else” having a health insurance problem.

      1. IOW, Epi is right.

    5. Yeah, but his initial popularity grew out of something that does affect them, even if it is the abstract of the rule of law being ignored – illegal aliens and their continued, even encouraged, presence, despite being unlawful.

  10. Gloria Borger’s famous ambush of Ron Paul, accusing him of racism
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SIFM_3bWLrQ
    was, I believe, really driven by her NeoCon aversion to his policies.
    When the RJC excluded him from the 2012 debate they hosted it was obscene suppression of non-interventionist viewpoint.
    Likewise, the submerged part of Borgers anti-Trump iceberg may be his Declaration of Independence: Telling that same RJC, “You cannot control me because I don’t need your money.”
    If Trump is the least likely candidate in both parties to start a new MidEast war that is a policy-based reason to support him.
    His unrehearsed zaniness causes pants-shitting in a way that politicians’ safe, focus group tested, donor driven drivel does not. But as president he CANNOT exclude Muslims while he CAN reject the next war the AIPAC crowd tees up.
    You can’t beat something with nothing. With all Trump’s warts, Nick, I don’t hear you supporting a better option.

    1. I’m a little concerned about some of the stuff he’ll try and get passed. The man is a real RHINO, and his populism could give a lot of republicans in the house and senate a chance to pass all the statist crap they haven’t been able to get the support for up until this point.

      1. Statist crap: who better to bring a skeptical attitude toward the nanny state than a successful businessman?
        Global intervention: even if you were right (though I believe you are wrong) about The Donald supporting statist crap, ought your being a little concerned about that be offset by decreased likelihood of $trillion global interventionism.
        Along with zinging zany attention-getters, he has delivered sorely overdue pronouncements absent from the cautious politicians’ speeches, like: Better the Rooskis sink into MidEast quagmire than us.

        1. “Statist crap: who better to bring a skeptical attitude toward the nanny state than a successful businessman?”

          Someone who isn’t a crony. “Successful businessmen” don’t go to bankruptcy court that often.

          1. Spoken like someone who has no idea why bankruptcy laws exist.

    2. “If Trump is the least likely candidate in both parties to start a new MidEast war that is a policy-based reason to support him.”

      He’s obviously not, and it isn’t.

      1. @HappyGilmore: Other than Rand Paul, who do you think is less likely to start a new war than Trump? Surely not Rubio or Jeb? For all his loose talk, when building architects (or, future war architects like Cheney) put faulty blueprints on his desk, his business success indicates he can see through and reject them. His freedom from puppet strings like NeoCon donor money gives him liberty to exercise independent judgment.
        As to the 2nd point, please note my use of a tiny two letter word: “if”.
        If X is the least likely candidate to start a new MidEast war then isn’t that a policy-based reason to support X?
        You say “it isn’t” but elementary logic says otherwise. Care to rethink?
        Finally, if it’s The Donald vs. Hillary then it’s a no-brainer that he would be the LESS likely candidate to start a new MidEast war.

        1. Nothing there said anything other than, “Is so!”

          1. Not really, Gilmore. For example, Trump’s history of evaluating blueprints and rejecting flawed ones (as should have happend to Cheney’s 2003 blueprint) is more than “Is so!”
            Who do you prefer? A photogenic puppet pol like Rubio, who’s never run a candy store? Sanctimonious Sanctorum? Folksy Shucksy Huckabee? How about Chris Christie APOLOGIZING to Shelly Adleson and the rest of the non-Trumpers bringing “will lick your ass hole for cash” signs on their pilgrimage his Vegas Republican auditions?
            So 1. business experience and 2. not beholden to donors are substantive reasons I gave you above and beyond “Is so!”

            1. Trump’s business-sense is reflected in the fact that he’d be richer if he simply put his inheritance in an index fund, and went on a permanent vacation. He’s also not self-funding his campaign.

              You have nothing.

              1. better than self-funding. He has the mainstream media and hater pols generating all this publicity for FREE

              2. Doesn’t his not funding his own campaign show good biz sense?

                1. yes, whether the details are what is claimed (he’s not beholden to anyone!) or whether they’re the opposite entirely (he’s not wasting his money!), its all still somehow affirmation of empty claims about the guy’s relative competence or proclivity towards foreign-interventions.

                  He’s a loudmouth moron, and so are most of his supporters. They’ll project whatever they want onto him while screeching, “STILL BETTER THAN X” when rebutted.

                  1. You’re the one in all caps rage mode.
                    That you can’t beat something with nothing is an immutable fact. Only because you’ve got no alternative to The Donald is it uncomfortable for you to hear that fact. Not that it’s being “screeched.”
                    Moron? Your establishment bias brought us “W” — now there was a moron.

                    1. Yes, yes, everyone not cheerleading for The Donald are sheeple-slaves of The Establishment. You’re very clever and the “NO ALTERNATIVE” argument is very compelling. I’ll be right behind you after you jump off the cliff.

              3. The “not self funding” article by POLITICO – not exactly an unbiased source – actually says what he means when he says he is self-funding.
                He is getting no money from the big donors, who expect something in return, and he is using financial legerdemain to ensure he doesn’t take unnecessary losses, through being able to use contributions from small donors to repay loans his corporations have made to his campaign.
                OK, now yo can go to the ad hominems, because…
                You got nothing!

        2. For all his loose talk, when building architects (or, future war architects like Cheney) put faulty blueprints on his desk, his business success indicates he can see through and reject them.

          I take it you’ve never been to Atlantic City.

          1. I take it you’ve never been to Atlantic City.

            No shit, right?

            Trump is a fucking crony. He’s no genius business man. He’s a self-promoter and a crony.

            1. curiously, he was upfront about that from the start. He clearly said “this is how the sausage gets made because I’ve paid for it” and no one said a thing. Does that make him likely to change such a system? Don’t know. But it is interesting that one guy seeking office spoke to the heart of the problem and the response was a collective yawn.

              1. “Does that make him likely to change such a system? Don’t know.”

                Anyone with a working mind can see the answer is ‘no’.

          2. I take it you’ve never been fist fucked. Your cryptic reference to Atlantic City means what?
            Trump has well developed business judgment. Who’s your alternative? Rubio? Fiorina has high level business experience but she’s too hawkish.

        3. Good point. This God’s Own Powerlust campaign has a strong reek of military-industrial complex. I recommend Neil Stephenson’s “The Interface” to all the literati out there. Denmark is definitely rotten…

    3. I voted for Ron Paul when he got two nominations–which used to be commonin These States. I never liked his willingness to send men with guns to force women to reproduce, but all else was OK by me. I have seen looters accuse everyone except CPUSA and the Symbionese Liberation Army of racism and am unimpressed. The smears are laid on so thick that I looked up the newsletter years ago and was unimpressed with the claims, though I did not memorize the “offending” content. Paul is less of a collectivist than any republican I can think of and sets a good example for the mystics in congress. He was viciously attacked by all socialists, communists, democrats and econazis in Texas at election time ands any who consider looters honest are welcome to buy into the insinuations of racial collectivism–but at least read the actual text they never mention.

    4. You are wrong.
      Legislation says the President can exclude any individual, or group, he/she so desires for reasons of “national security”.
      The courts cannot extend our Constitutional protections to those, who are not citizens and outside the country.

  11. “Majorities in both parties say the United States has been ineffective in its response to the terror threat… Alone among the presidential candidates, Trump is not only absolutely willing to play on people’s fears and anxieties, he is insulated from any taint of being part of the system”

    ….so…… ergo, we need a blustering, shallow, bombastic, obnoxious, beady-eyed, thoughtless cretin to deliver on any any potential ‘better’ National Security policy?

    Does not compute.

    I don’t buy this idea that “americans feel threatened” (mass shooters be damned) and think we need Uberjerk to protect us from the Moozies.

    If anything, i think Americans are Pissed Off, and want someone who’ll bitchslap the planet. Its not “Fear and anxiety”. Its anger and frustration with pandering pussies who pretend to care about ‘our values’ as an excuse to avoid any risk-taking or to make difficult decisions.

    For all the ‘right notes’ Obama hit in his speech on Sunday, it was really just re-listing “all the shit he’s already done”. There was nothing new. No new goal articulated, no new strategic approach, no change to relationships… just slapping a fresh coat of paint on his same old “little bit of this & that”.

    I think even people like me who aren’t so much interested in “fighting ISIS” as getting out of the ME region and letting their sectarian civil war burn itself out feel similarly. There is demand to ‘shit or get off the pot. And Trump will shit all over the place.

    1. I agree with you. Americans aren’t terrorized; they’re fucking pissed at the overall level of incompetence. I wonder if the larger part of that anger is just the incredible obfuscation and doublespeak both parties use in discussions.

      1. The one thing people want from “Leaders” is clear-decision-making.

        Even if its the *wrong* decision, the reason people are given the job of Chief-Something-Something is to “Make a Call”. People want clarity of purpose and force of will.

        Not making any call, pretending the choices are different, obfuscating what the issue is… all produces dissatisfaction.

        Trump’s ‘winning formula’ for pissed off GOP’ers is his Declarative Assurance. Its his big, hairy brass balls-ness. So what if the actual policies are complete shit? He will change his ideas on a dime and pretend he never thought differently. And he will be completely shameless about doing so.

        He has zero actual substance, but he has all the ‘missing qualities’ people want from a Presidential character. God forbid he had any actual ‘ideas’.

        1. My in-laws love him, but I think they’re fully aware he’s a clown. They are educated upper middle-class who vote GOP. They just want the GOP burned to the ground and he’s the man to do it. So, I wouldn’t underestimated the desire to destroy the village to save the village instinct, and, possibly they’re right.

          1. I think your in laws are pretty typical. What people like Nick doesn’t understand is that people don’t like Trump so much as they hate people like Nick.

          2. “My in-laws love him, but I think they’re fully aware he’s a clown. ‘

            Yes. This is what critics of Trump don’t understand. The media thinks calling him a clown over and over again is supposed to *hurt*. But all they’re doing is giving him free airtime and expanding his appeal.

            If anything has made Trump’s success, it is widespread loathing of the “establishment media and establishment politicians”. And the establishment is mostly still in complete denial.

            1. So, GILMORE understands that media criticism of Trump is why so many are attracted to him, while heaping unending invective, himself.
              What makes you think your ad hominems don’t make you the subject of widespread loathing, or that it worries the media any more than it does you?

        2. He also shows no sign at all in believing in limited government.

          1. He also shows no sign at all in believing in limited government anything at all other than himself.

            FIFY

            1. All I care about is the limited government part. He’s useless clown for my purposes, as I view runaway government spending and power and the curtailment of civil liberties as far, far, far more dangerous than Mexicans, terrorists, abortion, whatever.

              1. ” I view runaway government spending and power and the curtailment of civil liberties as far, far, far more dangerous than Mexicans, terrorists, abortion, whatever.”

                People are pissed because we’re getting runaway government spending and power and the curtailment of civil liberties, along with Mexicans, terrorists, abortion and whatever in larger doses every day.

                1. True. Bad, badder, badderrific. I suspect that a lot of Americans are at last getting tired of being perpetually scammed.

                  1. But what people, who support Trump are hoping for is, because he isn’t steeped in the tradition of government being the answer, as are all the others, on both sides, that he may, very well act to limit, or shrink, government.
                    It may be a forlorn hope, but it is better than riding into battle behind one of the others

    2. ….so…… ergo, we need a blustering, shallow, bombastic, obnoxious, beady-eyed, thoughtless cretin to deliver on any any potential ‘better’ National Security policy?

      That would seem to be the opinion of many H&R commenters.

    3. Gilmore that is one of the best things I have read on here in a long time. You are exactly right.

  12. assholes are like opinions on why donald trump is popular: everyone’s got one

  13. I guess my response is: “Define stumble.”

    Trump appears to have hacked the political process by denying the consensus enforcers the apologies they need to tame him.

    Think about it: The only tool the media establishment has to use against those who stray off message is forced contrition. It literally is their only tool, especially when the discourse is as strident as it curently is. Trump realizes this, and knows all he has to do is double down on every dumb thing he says. Supporters (who don’t give a shit about veracity) cheer, the establishment media shrugs its shoulders and moves on to the next ridiculous proposal. Trump’s momentum continues.

    I honestly can’t see any event which would change this formulation. The GOP is quite fucked at this point, damned if they keep him, damned if he bolts third-party.

    It’s a mess. A beautiful, frightening mess, and it shows no signs of resolving any time soon.

  14. Why do they want US troops on the ground, when Russians get better results?

    1. Depends on the “results” you’re aiming for. If your goal is to empower Shias and their allies at the expense of Sunnis – then yes, that’s about right.

  15. There’s only 1 good reason for US intervention in Syria now, & that’s to get Assad to be more dependent on the US than on Hezbolla. But since the Russians seem more competent & goal-directed than the USA, the chance of that result is slim.

    1. The Russians are not more competent than America. They are not succeeding.

  16. Scalzi on Trump

    http://whatever.scalzi.com/201…..ald-trump/

    Fundamentally Donald Trump doesn’t give a shit about anyone other than Donald Trump, and while this is obvious to anyone who knows anything about Trump for the last thirty years, it’s still apparently confusing to a number of people, who like to offer up various conspiracy theories for his continued existence in the race. He’s a plant by the Democrats to make the Republicans look bad! He’s a plant by the GOP to make the rest of the field look more moderate by comparison!

    Well, no, and no. In the former case, the modern GOP doesn’t need any help; in the latter case, one need only look at the current other two front runners ? Cruz and Carson ? to see what nonsense that is.

    1. Additionally:

      The GOP’s problem is that Trump is the distillation of every political strategy they’ve honed over the last several decades, and particularly ramped up over the last two. Lionizing the “political outsider”? Check! Fawning over billionaires? Check! Ratcheting up political rhetoric so that everyone who opposes you is the enemy and sick and awful? Check! Scaring the crap out of not-young white conservative Christians with the image of lawless racial and religious minorities? Check! Valorizing the tribalism of white conservative Christianity over the rule of law and the Constitution of the United States? Check!

      1. Scalzi’s ignoring just why the GOP is going to get even more powerful after this election. What drove them to the GOP, anyway?

        As fucked up as the right can be, the left is totally insane now.

        1. Did you miss this sentence?: “Ratcheting up political rhetoric so that everyone who opposes you is the enemy and sick and awful?”

          1. Self-awareness is a virtue of the past.

            1. It seems to be a definite liability in politics, anyway. But seriously, if you want to persuade people to your way of thinking, the last thing you should do is insult them and presume that they act because of the worst motives you can imagine.

              1. i dont think persuading people is the goal

        2. the left is totally insane now.

          When your response to people slaughtered by terrorists is to worry about the weather, I would say you have parted ways with reality.

          1. That’s the big problem with these socialistic movements, not wanting to accept or even acknowledge reality. They all do it, whether they’re socialist-lite, commies, or Nazis.

        3. “the left is totally insane now.”

          The Right-at least the ‘grassroots’ portion of it-is game to match them.

          1. I don’t agree. They’re having some irrational reactions on several fronts, but it’s more about wrongheadedness than a psychotic break with reality. I’m a libertarian, so this isn’t about taking sides–I’m distressed at how openly hostile so many on the left are to facts, even those ground into their faces.

            I get bias and have some myself, but this is getting nuts. And before you say it, Trump is an entertainment phenomenon–I doubt seriously that he has any chance at the nomination.

            1. 1) Have you seen what passes for ‘righteous’ with most conservaderps regarding immigration and such? Psychotic break absolutely fits it. They went psychotic during the Bush years. They’re doing it again.

              2) Trump isn’t just an entertainment phenomena. He’s an outlet for racist conservatives to get their powertrip on. A less articulate Buchanan. Jeremy Corbyn wasn’t supposed to win either.

    2. That is about right. The only advantage Trump offers is that he might do the right thing for the wrong reasons. While still bad, a narcissistic politian is better than a selfless one dedicated to a bad ideology.

      1. Thanks for the fascist take John. So valued around these parts.

  17. She’s flip-flopped on free trade

    Let’s not pretend she was ever for free trade. She flip-flopped on a particular trade agreement.

  18. ANOTHER Rubio-Cruz-Clinton-pushing beltway soft machine rant against outsiders? Who owns controlling stock in Reason these days–with money to burn on payroll deadweight?

    1. Who owns controlling stock in reason? Yeah, that’s it. It’s the STOCK, people!11!!

      You are a dipshit.

      1. Obviously, the only reason anyone could possibly dislike Trump is if they’re being paid off to do so. Obviously.

      2. Oooo. We have a high-IQ republican infiltrator here. Greetings, Gnosse.

    2. Who owns controlling stock in Reason these days-

      His name is Fist of Etiquette.

      1. I think you mean Eugene.

    3. Nonprofits rarely to almost never issue stock. I would be very surprised indeed if Reason, Inc. did.

      1. It’s too bad. I was hoping to invest so that i could get a piece of that sweet, sweet web-a-thon action.

  19. The salient point in Borger’s argument is what has always been the salient point: the leadership vacuum. In the absence of the real thing, people will gravitate toward the nearest imitation.

  20. Hey, when are we going to have another Trump article? Posting is obligatory, right? I just wanted to check.

  21. A couple months ago, the progs had advanced the Western culture-war ball to near the red-zone when it came to accommodating Islamo-stupidity via political correctness and the like.

    Now people talk about having Islamoclowns around at all – such to say the ball has been moved back across the goal line and put the progs on defense – something progs are not used to these days.

    So long as Trump’s inanities put prog-stupidity on the defensive, something nobody else in the body politic can figure out how to do, Trump will enjoy support.

    1. Yep – If he does nothing but move the debate back to where it ought to be, and maybe throw the nomination to Cruz, he’s done some fine work. I am enjoying the hell out of watching him take a wrecking ball to the liberal china shop.

  22. What a load of bs from Borger. If GOP voters are so po’d at Obama, they have plenty of other choices with hard line views, like Graham, Christie, Huckabee and more. But they picked Trump, didn’t they Nick. And what separates Trump from the others? His xenophobia and conspiracy theories.

    So what’s behind Trump’s success? He speaks quite clearly to the GOP base. And they love it.

    1. And add to that his fascist leanings.

      1. On this date in 2007, a Democrat crypto-fascist candidate named Hillary led the poll numbers with 40% of a 9-person field, a far higher polling number than Trump. Who won that election?

        1. I like to call him “Block Insane Yomamma.”

          1. I like to call him Milquetoast, but your name has a sort of poetry about it.

            1. One
              Big
              Ass
              Mistake
              America

  23. “It also found a slight majority (53 percent) of Americans want U.S. troops on the ground in Syria and Iraq, which is mind-boggling.”

    The fact that Nick seriously considers this mind-boggling is exactly why he shouldn’t be writing for Reason or much else.

  24. Trump supporters are not ‘scared’ or ‘fearful’ or ‘disaffected’. They are excited about using the guns they just purchased or expect to get for xmas. And by the way they don’t care if it’s muslims or race (“blacks killing whites”) or immigrants (“ship ’em home!”) or sex or disabled. Trump just found a little more traction with muslims because of current events. I am really annoyed with this ‘fear’ sympathy propaganda when in fact just interviewing these people shows they are spoiling for a fight and we got some itchy fingers out there.

    1. You are one awesome mind reader. I bet you never lose at poker.

      1. It’s not mind-reading. You don’t have to be John to listen to what these ‘people’ are saying.

  25. Salafist ‘Aid Workers’ Recruit Refugees In Germany

    “The absolutist nature of Salafism contradicts significant parts of the German constitutional order. Specifically, Salafism rejects the democratic principles of separation of state and religion, popular sovereignty, religious and sexual self-determination, gender equality and the fundamental right to physical integrity… The movement also has an affinity for violence.” ? Germany’s domestic intelligence agency.

    ======================

    Is It Time To Make Saudi Arabia Pay For Underwriting International Terrorism?

  26. part of me still wonders if trump is serious, or actually rooting for Clinton.

    the most absurd things he is saying hold a few things in common
    1 they do represent that part of the GOP that is useful for primaries, but largely ignored in general elections
    2 they get ignored in the general, because that part of the GOP is the favorite punching bad for the left. they are the go to “at least we don’t believe that”‘s that get tossed out when the left does not want to acknowledge a fault of their own.
    3 they seem out of place with past statements he has made. as recently as 2012, he is on record for mandatory 3 day waiting periods, and bans on assault “weapons”, but now he wants to make fully auto weapons available to all?

    it seems more and more likely that trump will hand the election to Clinton. either he goes independent, and strips away the GOP’s useful idiots, he wins the nomination, and most people in the middle will say hell no, or… at the very least… he spends the rest of the primary season making the whole GOP brand look bad.

    1. making the whole GOP brand look bad.

      Reagan was very effective against the Soviets because they thought he was “crazy”. Also “reckless”. As in – “don’t push him too far – he is nuts.”

      If you think that isn’t part of the calculation……

      I’d like to see Trump President. Because I’m part of the faction that believes we have a significant population at war with us. And they are doing what they have since the beginning 1400 years ago. If they can’t raise a horde they can do distributed warfare.

      1. Kinda makes you think about why Europeans put so much effort into driving Muslims out of their territory.

      2. When Reagan was running for office, the LP in Austin was infiltrated by communist anarchists who pushed an agenda of surrendering to the Soviet Empire–exactly like the Democrats. It was not a pretty sight.

    2. I had to look it up. Salafist is another word for suicide vest model, mohammedan, moslem, islamist, jihadist and ISIS. That Tyler Durden fellow is a good one to watch for flash crash financial information.

  27. Let’s not forget that in 1976 Ford got the nomination because “so many Americans had considered Reagan to be a man of such extreme views that thoughts of him as a potential president had seemed absurd”

    Read more: http://www.presidentprofiles.c…..z3trddpqjI

    Today’s wingnut is tomorrow’s legend.

  28. As long as vidiots are unaware of the libertarian party, Trump will lead because all of the other republicans are more ignorant, dangerous, superstitious and anti-freedom than he is. The Democrats are now indistinguishable from the communist parties that stank all over the world up until 1992. It is a simple process of uninformed Nixon-subsidized elimination that keeps him in and the libertarians out. Q.E.D.

  29. BTW, have you seen the latest poll from SC, which polled both before and after The Donald’s Muslim remarks?
    Before: Trump – 30%
    After: Trump – 38%

    Oops!

  30. I don’t give a fig about ISIS. We should withdraw from the middle east and let the rag heads kill each other, right up until they piss off Israel enough to nuke them all. If the US left, we’d be forgotten within 6 months as the various factions set about killing each other.

    1. That’s what we did to Afghanistan, after we helped them toss out the Soviets, and it led, directly to 9/11/01.
      Unfortunately, leaving them to their own devices doesn’t guarantee we will be left alone. There have been enough other muslim attacks on our interests, worldwide, to make them a threat that needs to be dealt with, in some manner or fashion.
      You can’t negotiate with a group, whose fall-back position is that we must all die, so some sort of military intervention is called for – how much, and where/when is the big question.
      We’ve kind of seen, over the last seven years, what hasn’t been effective, but what will be is still unknown.

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  32. Why not declare teevee watching a racial feature or maybe a religion? That way the GOP and Dems could have the Thought Police round up all smaller parties, infested with book-readers, as oppressors of an abused majority. We could name the race Vidiot-Americans.

  33. Trump Perot running as an independent would throw up enough chaff to blot the libertarian party campaign right off the Nixon-subsidies-financed radar telescreens. It would be karmic to see the most libertarian and least mystical of God’s Own Piss-in-a-Dixie-cup Pure-Blood National Socialist candidates so repay the gratuitous abuse for which he was singled out by Reason tarbrushers. Please have Nick announce that Reason is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Tea Party so we can get some damage-control distancing into play.

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