Donald Trump

The Say-Anything Campaign

Donald Trump has blown apart the boundaries of acceptable American political speech

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Before this insane presidential campaign, American political observers knew one thing to be certain: Words have consequences.

Mitt Romney famously lost the presidency in 2012 after saying—at a private, surreptitiously recorded fundraiser—that "47 percent of the people" will vote to re-elect Barack Obama "no matter what," because "47 percent of Americans pay no income tax." (Thomas Piketty may be popular in the United States, but economic determinism is still a political non-starter here.) Then-president Gerald Ford never recovered from his bizarre assertion during a 1976 debate with Jimmy Carter that "there is no Soviet domination of Eastern Europe and there never will be." Howard Dean sank his underdog presidential hopes in 2004 not even with a word, but a scream.

Donald Trump hasn't just proved an exception to this rule, he's picked up the rulebook, set it on fire, and shot it into space. In the past week alone, the Republican front-runner has asserted that Islam hates America, called for sending 30,000 U.S. troops to fight ISIS, and suggested that a reporter who several witnesses saw being manhandled by Trump's campaign manager "made the story up." And that was just last Thursday.

Since then, as they usually do, things have ratcheted up to the point where Thursday seems like a distant, more innocent age. On Sunday, the billionaire populist said that he has "instructed" his people to look into paying the legal fees for a supporter who sucker-punched an unsuspecting black protestor at a recent rally. He also tweeted a warning to Democratic contender Bernie Sanders to "Be careful," or else "my supporters will go to your [rallies]." Given the mounting levels of violence perpetrated by Trump fans, and occasionally encouraged by Trump himself, such talk can reasonably be interpreted as a threat.

America hasn't seen this level of violence-haunted political anxiety since Ronald Reagan survived an assassination attempt in 1981. With the Republican nomination process heading for a possible brokered national convention, analysts are making nervous comparisons to 1968, that blood-stained year of convention violence, race riots, political murder, and war.

So it might not seem the most appropriate moment to welcome the shattering of political consensus. Yet amidst the considerable darkness, even while the country slowly sucks itself into the authoritarian black hole of a Trump vs. Hillary Clinton race, there are reasons to celebrate the removal of the strict boundaries around what is considered to be acceptable American discourse.

Start with the ritual, bipartisan preference for war to confront the world's thorniest problems. The two "establishment" politicians still in the presidential race—Clinton and Ohio Gov. John Kasich—are unapologetically interventionist, with Clinton absurdly defending the U.S.-led overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi as "smart power at its best," and Kasich advocating regime change in Syria and North Korea, in addition to a "massive" land war against ISIS. This type of fantastical, unconstrained rhetorical belligerence has been a minimum requirement for any legitimate GOP presidential contender since 9/11.

Until Donald Trump. While the casino owner has advocated policies that make even the most hardened warmongers shudder—killing the family members of suspected terrorists, threatening unlawful orders on military personnel, and seizing oil production from Iraqis—he has also stated flatly that the Iraq War was a "big, fat mistake" that "destabilized the Middle East." Instead of ritually venerating the Bush administration's heroic record after Sept. 11, Trump shot holes in it, pointing out (a bit rudely, perhaps) that the attacks did happen on Bush's watch, and that his national security team "lied" while making the case for war. Not only did Trump utter these heresies, he did so in South Carolina, a heavily military state where the 43rd president is still very popular. One week later, after what might be the last-ever round of pundit predictions that this time Trump really went too far, the GOP novice breezed to a 10-point victory in South Carolina.

But it's not just Trump this campaign season breaking the "Overton window," as the narrow field of acceptable political discourse is often referred to (as coined by policy analyst Joseph Overton). Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) won the early caucus state of Iowa despite campaigning against the economically dubious but locally popular federal mandate for ethanol production, something no major-party candidate had ever managed before. Bernie Sanders has made the word "socialism" viable in a mainstream American political context for the first time since the 1950s, and argued for a number of policies—from marijuana legalization to a $15 minimum wage to single-payer health care—long considered to be political suicide.

In fact, as typically happens in American politics, the boundaries of permissible policy ideas were broken by the people first, the politicians last. As recently as November 2010, the idea of a state legalizing marijuana for recreational use sent the entire political class into a round of uncontrollable giggling. Not in Bible Belt Mississippi, mind you, but stoner California. Now, adults can legally smoke pot in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Colorado, and the District of Columbia, with many more states looking to join the parade.

As Americans embrace the empowerment of decentralized technology, and reject traditional partisan tribes, all politics have become noticeably more volatile, especially wherever there's a broad gap between the people and their supposed political betters. Those gaps have produced overnight phenomena that always catch pundits by surprise: The Tea Party revolt against big-government conservatism, the Occupy Wall Street revolt against liberal bank bailouts, the ballot-initiative backlash against the bipartisan Drug War, the cultural (and later, legal) rejection of discrimination against homosexuals, and now a populist uprising against the very notion of you can't say that.

The bad news is that now, some people will say (and much worse: do) some truly awful things. But the good news is that the country's elites actually have to defend and justify their positions rather than lazily depend on conformity and the status quo.

For the moment, the desperate Republican establishment hopes it can hold off the Trump takeover in part by pointing out that, for example, he cusses like an unpresidential boob. But that approach may amount to fighting yesterday's war. "I think it's better," the candidate said last week, "than any ad I've ever taken [for] myself."

COPYRIGHT 2016 LE MONDE

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  1. Fuck the boundaries of conventional discourse. Republicans have been portrayed as racists and greedy people willing to push grandmas wheelchair off a cliff for years. Decorum is gone.

    1. “…and greedy people willing to push grandmas wheelchair off a cliff for years.”

      Yeah, I’d forgot that commercial. That’s just as hateful as anything Trump says with less grounding in the truth.

      1. But only Trump is responsible for the coarsening of political discourse.

        1. WTF,

          WTF indeed, WTF. Beyond his crudeness, the PC violation is to take exquisite care to not offend anyone unless it is a non handicapped white male. Trumps anti PC stance has been ridiculed as “BS; he’s just rude and crude and wants to excuse that.” This may or may not be true, since it claims to state Trumps’ thoughts.

          To me his many rudeness’s are all wonderful if they give pundits any handle to discuss PC and its peril. Especially since so many are now proudly PC; so many that the fascistic nonsense we see in some colleges creeping into our public spaces. So even if he’s just excusing his crudeness, much like an “invisible, perhaps unclean hand that may have been God knows where” his self excusing does us a service. Thank you, Sir!

          This wouldn’t be important except that it is becoming a social norm for more Americans every day. Irrationality on the march with the spread of PC is a big issue for me. Thus I want Trump to trumpet his deep thoughts on his “device” day and night. Let the PC heads explode (metaphorically, Big Brother at Homeland Security).

    2. Meanwhile Hillary has demonstrated a willingness to violate every other boundary, like oaths of office, NatSec procedures, the melding of the personal finances and political favoritism…

      Yet all we hear about is Trump.

      1. I just read that the NSA is really ticked off that Sid Blumenthal was emailing entire paragraphs taken from tippy-top secret documents.

        People keep saying that Hillary is going to skate on all this, but I don’t think so. Everyone in the NSA and FBI is not a Democratic partisan. If she doesn’t get indicted, there will be leaks, public protests, maybe even resignations.

      2. ThomasD-This is my concern, and disgust, too. Not a big Trump fan, but for Pete’s sake, there are SO many other shenanigans that the public need be made aware of!!

  2. I would merely point out that well over half of the Libertarian Agenda is beyond the boundaries of political discourse. The idea that the drug war should be ended, that economic rights are equal to traditional “civil rights”, that the government shouldn’t be funding schools or building roads are all just as much outside of the boundaries of political discourse as anything Trump has said. Since they are outside the boundaries of political discourse, critics are able to dismiss libertarian ideas out of hand without giving them a proper hearing.

    If it is the case that Trump is blowing beyond the boundaries of political discourse, Libertarians should welcome it even if they don’t agree with Trump’s message. If Trump can blow those boundaries and still remain popular, Libertarians can too.

    1. I half agree – although I do wonder whether it is possible to go outside such boundaries by appealing to people’s reason and logic. Trump is doing so based largely on appealing to fear and hatred.

      I mean, maybe there’s a similarly splashy emotional argument for libertarianism, but I haven’t seen it yet out of a libertarian public figure.

      1. It is not about emotion. It is about the media and the two party’s power to control what is acceptable discourse. If Trump were to win it would be the end of the media and political class’ control over the political dialog. It would show once and for all voters no longer care what the media or political class think. That would make the usual “that is crazy” response to libertarians ineffective. It would create a tremendous opportunity for Libertarians to finally be heard. Whether they could capitalize on that is another question. One thing is for sure, the media and political class’ no longer having the ability to marginalize ideas they don’t like out of the political dialog would be a very good thing for Libertarians.

        1. It is about emotion. All politics is about emotion. If some idea can be encapsulated in a thirty second remark that gets people to say “Hell yeah!” then it has a fighting chance. If some idea requires people to sit down and think, it will fail. That is why Trump is riding high and libertarians will forever remain on the sidelines.

          1. Then Libertarian ideas are forever irrelevant and Utopian. What is the point of a political philosophy no one is ever going to adopt? I don’t think that is true. If you do, I can’t prove you wrong, but I can’t understand why you would continue to be a Libertarian. The whole exercise would seem pretty pointless.

            Beyond that, how can you say that the public would never support such ideas when the fact is they have never been giving a fair hearing? Even if you think it won’t matter, you never know and I would think finding out would be a good thing.

            1. That’s the great libertarian conundrum: How do people who do not desire power over others gain the power to reduce the power of those who seek power over others?

              1. Learn to encapsulate your ideas so they have emotional depth. In as few words as possible.

                Prohibition IS Death

                1. Pot, Mexicans and sodomy – the three pillars of the libertarian program.

                  There – short and concise!

                2. This 100%

                  Modern mass politics (and mass marketing) is emotional because science (see Darwin, Freud, James, Le Bon, etc) provided us with the knowledge of how human beings allow ourselves to be manipulated precisely because we ARE social animals. Some folks figured out how to develop the techniques to make it work (see Lippmann, Bernays, Gallup, etc).

                  Those who see the personal benefit of using that manipulation have advanced those techniques to further their goals. Those who don’t see/want that sort of mass society (and I put both right-libertarians and left-syndicalists like Chomsky in the same category) have mostly just resorted to previous superstition. Railing against the existence and proven success of those techniques while abjuring the use of those techniques to undermine and fight the ‘massification’.

                  The knowledge exists. It works because humans are animals. So you can either use those techniques to help your beliefs succeed. Or you can watch your beliefs become extinct while others use the techniques.

            2. John: Who cares about principles if those principles are unpopular?

              Disgusting.

              1. Try reading that again. I said nothing like that. The point is that if political ideas are never going to be adopted or appealing to people such that they will be adopted, then you no longer hold political ideas. You hold religious ideas.

                Love your neighbor is a fabulous concept. It is however a concept that will never be reality. So a political platform based on “love your neighbor” is not a political platform, because political platforms are by definition about things that can actually happen.

                So the question is, is Libertarianism something closer to “love they neighbor” and just pie in the sky ideals that while valid are not something that will ever happen or are they actual platforms that people will find appealing and can be adopted some day. I think it is the latter. Sarcasmic seemed to think of it as the former.

                Nothing about what I am saying is meant to mean abandon principles if they are unpopular. You completely missed my point.

                1. Try reading that again. I said nothing like that. The point is that if political ideas are never going to be adopted or appealing to people such that they will be adopted, then you no longer hold political ideas. You hold religious ideas.

                  No, asshat, it’s called principle.

                  1. Explain the difference between a religious idea and a “principle”? If you admit up front your principles are never going to be appealing to people or be adopted, how are they different than religious ideals?

                    Before you start calling people asshats, you might try and think a little harder about what you believe.

            3. Then libertarian ideas are forever irrelevant.

        2. Trump is NOT the media candidate?! This is supposed to be a serious statement? Trump is the fucking deginition of the media candidate. He’s not the pundit candidate is what you meant to say.

      2. maybe there’s a similarly splashy emotional argument for libertarianism, but I haven’t seen it yet out of a libertarian public figure.

        Do you want someone telling you what to do?

        Start there.

        1. Response:
          I don’t need someone telling me what to do.
          Its all those other idiots.

          1. Fair enough…each person trying to shrug the load off of his or her back onto someone else still has the same end result.

            1. Too many words. Make it greater.

      3. maybe there’s a similarly splashy emotional argument for libertarianism, but I haven’t seen it yet out of a libertarian public figure.

        It depends on the issue. Take NSA surveillance for example. Remember during the first debate when Rand Paul made some well reasoned arguments against mass surveillance based on the 4th amendment, and “Chrispy Cremes” Christy responded with an appeal to emotion: “I hugged 9/11 victims*, blah blah blah…” My wife pointed out that the way Rand should have framed his argument was something along the lines of “We don’t want to live in a country where the government listens in on ours and our children’s phone calls… The founding fathers would be appalled at this state of affairs… etc. etc.” Appeal to emotion (“think of the children!”) and further appeal to emotion by invoking the “founding fathers.” None of the “4th amendment… personal freedoms” stuff. That shit doesn’t sell, unfortunately. The problem is that libertarians tend to be very poor at appealing to people’s emotions. We tend to be too analytical and logical for politics.

        *As if they hadn’t suffered enough.

        1. Bingo^^^. Libertarians are usually principled, logic-bound reasoners. We generally bother to find out what the story is.

          This makes us very different from most people. Liberals are emotional thinkers and don’t respond to arguments of principle. Facts are secondary and are usually cherry picked to fit an agenda. And most centrists (the average Joe) need bumper sticker slogans to receive an idea. After 20 seconds or so they glaze over.

    2. If one is looking for a silver lining, it is this. Trump has shown that you can speak
      your mind and be politically incorrect and NOT suffer for it at the ballot box.

      It is the fact that he NEVER shows remorse or apologizes or recognizes that his
      opponents have a point, that allows him to do this.

      On some issues, I think this is great. But, it is sad that he can say something on
      camera with millions of witnesses and then the next day claim he didn’t say it and
      have no repercussions. Making fun of a disable journalist is just one example where
      I think he crossed a line and somehow did not have to pay for it.

      1. “can say something on camera with millions of witnesses and then the next day claim he didn’t say it and
        have no repercussions”
        Isn’t that what happens with demoncraps, on a constant basis?

    3. that economic rights are equal to traditional “civil rights”

      Neither Libertarians nor libertarians believe any such thing, and a distinction is sharply drawn at Reason with the former very much subservient to the latter. Right-libertarians tend to tilt the balance the other way.

    4. It’s true that the radical libertarian agenda is beyond the pale, but in moderation?the idea that the drug war should be reduced, that gov’t should spend less on schools or roads, that economic liberty should be accorded greater weight than now?it’s not.

  3. A riot is an ungly thing… undt, I tink, that it is chust about time ve had vun.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ihE36phavz8

  4. Trump is on the right what Obama was on the left (both bleeding into the middle). Both spurred a cult following that defies logical thinking or really any thinking on the part of their adherents. They can say anything or nothing at all. It doesn’t matter. Obama broke the Clinton hold on the Democrats, and Trump is breaking the GOP establishment’s control of the Republican Party.

    And while on the surface these don’t sound like negatives, do we really think the country was better off with Obama and his mindless followers than with Hillary? Do we think the country will be better off with a clueless con man and his mindless followers succeeding him?

    1. I don’t think you can compare him to Obama because Obama was a true believer who managed to convince the majority of the country he was some kind of pragmatist. I don’t think even Trump’s most loyal followers think he is a true believer in any ideology. They are almost certainly right about that.

      1. He’s a true believer in himself, same as Obama.

        1. And every other national politician. You don’t think Cruz or Hillary are not true believers in themselves?

          1. Obama and Trump more than others, yes.

            1. I think you are very naive in thinking that.

    2. The kind of things that Obama says though only
      sound out of bounds to a small percentage of
      people and Obama can seem “smooth” to most
      people. Just that some can see through it.
      I think with Trump that most people think he
      is out of bounds but some just don’t care. And
      most I think, do not think he is smooth, but
      rather, find him abrasive. Again, some like that.

  5. It isn’t just that Trump can get away with saying things people couldn’t get away with saying before. It’s also that Trump is thriving specifically because he says things people wouldn’t say before.

    “All politics have become noticeably more volatile, especially wherever there’s a broad gap between the people and their supposed political betters.”

    I maintain that Trump supporters are traditional Democrats (the blue collar, white, middle class, especially) who are sick of being demonized for being blue collar, white, and middle class by social justice warriors, gay rights activists, Black Lives Matter, illegal immigrant interests, environmentalists, and others. These are traditional Democrats who have been demonized by the elites in their traditional party!

    That is the means by which the Overton window is being shattered. Every time elites try to make out like Trump should be ashamed for saying something unacceptable, Trump’s supporters love him all the more for defying the same elitists who seem to assume that average Americans should be ashamed of themselves for being average Americans.

    Another way to look at is that the Overton window is still there–it’s just shifting dramatically. The elites and the media have dictated the boundaries of acceptability for so long, they’ve come to imagine that what is acceptable is for them to decide. Maybe the Overton window is still there. Maybe elitism is just becoming increasingly unacceptable to average people.

    1. Ken,

      I keep emailing with Republican journalists about Trump. And none of them seem to understand how much contempt the country holds for Washington and politicians in general. They go on and on about how Trump can’t be trusted and how he vile he is thinking that will convince people not to vote for him. What they don’t and seem to refuse to understand is that to the country outside of Washington DC, every politician is a loathsome, lying scumbag. So calling Trump one in no way distinguishes the other choices.

      Tarran yesterday said the GOP is like a failing company. Most GOP politicians have no idea what their supporters are actually like and actually want. They are like management at a failing company who can’t understand why the public no longer wants their product or how their product is defective and think spending more on advertising is the key to turning things around. I think that is a pretty apt analogy.

      1. If you look at the swelling numbers of people participating in the primaries and the fact that white, blue collar, middle class voters have been the Democrats’ bread and butter for generations, and the fact that Trump supporters don’t seem to care as much about traditional Republican holy cows, I think we might conclude that the reason there is such a large constituency for Trump among the white, blue collar middle class is because they’ve been demonized and abandoned by the elites in the Democratic Party. When Democrat elites (environmentalists, gay rights activists, social justice warriors, illegal immigrant activists, et. al.) blast Republicans for being white, not having a college degree, being Catholic, etc., they may not realize it, but they’re demonizing their own core constituency, too. The Democrat elites have spent so much time convincing everybody that they’re the party of gays, illegal immigrants, Muslims, blacks, and environmentalists, but they never stopped to think what would happen if their core constituency started believing that. Is there any room in the Democratic Party for a blue collar Irish-American anymore?

        1. The Democratic Party keeps going more and more insane and kicking more and more people out. Remember, the Republicans were towards the isolationist end of things until the Neocons got kicked out of the Democratic Party after Vietnam. The SOCONs were mostly Democratic until they got kicked out in the last 70s. Now the rest of the working class is being kicked out. And I don’t think it is all white. A lot of black and Hispanic voters are listening to Trump because they feel like the Democratic party has betrayed them.

          It is a bit ironic. The Democratic Party is the one that keeps getting more dogmatic and kicking people out of the party, yet it is causing the GOP to split apart. It is kind of like Europe with the Democratic Party playing the role of Syria and the Republican Party that of Germany.

          1. And the Democrats won’t even notice what’s happening until they lose because of their elitism.

            The Republican establishment should be jumping for joy. This influx could keep them in charge for a generation, and best of all? These people aren’t dogmatic like the Tea Party was. They don’t want the government shut down over spending. They just don’t want to be demonized by the elite anymore.

            1. They should be. Honestly, I think a lot of movement conservatives have convinced themselves that the GOP is their private playground. And there has been a symbiotic and frankly corrupt relationship between the GOP and the conservative movement and media. The GOP pretends to be conservative and gets use of the conservative brand and in return the conservative movement gets to pretend it runs the party and gets all kinds of access while also overlooking and excusing the fact that the GOP politicians are often anything but conservative.

              The last 30 years have been a disaster for the cause of small government at the federal level. They have however been a golden age for conservative journalists and activists. They all got together and partied for a weekend at CPAC last month down at the national harbor. It was very clear life as a “conservative’ is pretty damned good these days.

              The reason why they all hate Trump is that he doesn’t pretend to be a conservative and his winning the nomination puts an end to their cozy arrangement. If Trump wins, Republican politicians will realize they no longer have to pretend to be conservative or pay homage to conservative journalists and activists.

              1. Your story makes sense, but it doesn’t have to lead to a Trump victory or be good to the country.

                Adding big government white voters to the GOP and forcing the GOP to become mirror-image of the Democrats, but for white people may not be a good idea.

                Remember the other insurgent is Cruz, and he’s not doing too poorly considering the media’s lack of interest in him. Assume Cruz loses, but Trump goes big government in the general. (Which he will – expect attacks on banksters etc. in 5-4-3-2-1.)

                Your thesis is the GOP can meld these two. It probably cannot.

                Now, maybe Trump’s version of the GOP is more popular. Maybe. We’ll see.

                1. I’ll make an analogy Trump can appreciate:

                  Trump’s Democratic white voters abandoned by the Democrats are like Sunni refugees from Syria fleeing Assad.

                  Just because they are fleeing an enemy doesn’t mean they are friends or natural supporters.

      2. My parents and their social group (upper middle class retirees) all don’t seem to understand this. I’ve repeatedly explained it, and told them this is why I have shifted from being a conservative to a libertarian, but they just don’t want to hear it. They grew up with such a different view of things (both born in California, mom grew up in Hawaii, dad grew up in CA) that it’s astonishing. They have kept faith in politicians long past the point I got sick of it. And maybe that’s a character flaw of mine for not having patience, compassion, and understanding. But the reality is that many people don’t get this at all, even people who have lived for the majority of their lives in flyover country.

        1. For a lot of people, too, political affiliation is like being culturally Catholic and a Red Sox fan. If you’re Irish and you’re from Boston, guess what? You probably don’t identify as Mormon or an Orioles’ fan–and you’re probably not about to register as a Libertarian.

          I just try to focus on ideas with my folks. Sometimes it’s better to not even use the word “libertarian”.

      3. What they don’t and seem to refuse to understand is that to the country outside of Washington DC, every politician is a loathsome, lying scumbag. So calling Trump one in no way distinguishes the other choices.

        Your fallacy is? Two wrongs make a right.

        What you (and every Trump supporter with this idiotic line of thinking) fail to understand is that you say that Trump is no different from the thing you supposedly hate… yet these people continue to support him, even though they admit he’s just like the thing they hate. Rallying behind Trump, even though he’s a lying scumbag, because he’s not one of those lying scumbags is outright stupidity.

        1. Your fallacy is? Two wrongs make a right.

          No. I am not saying that. I am saying that saying Trump is loathsome is not going to convince anyone to vote for your guy when the public thinks your guy is just as loathsome. It is not about two wrongs making a right. The point is not that Trump is right. The point is that both Trump and his opponents are wrong and therefore the public considers the whole thing a wash.

          1. That is still not a reason to support him.

            1. So what? You have missed my point entirely.

  6. On TV few recall the Trump character was originally scripted by Paddy Chayevsky

  7. This should be a huge opportunity for libertarians to win hearts and minds. If libertarianism has something to do with the idea that everyday people are better at making choices for themselves than elites are at making choices on their behalf, then our message is tailor made to appeal to disaffected anti-elitists.

    The way to appeal to these people is not to smear them as brownshirts (like happened last week on this site) or to paint them as racists (as happened as recently as yesterday on this site–because of books some conservative pundits are citing as prophetic?). If we’re going to appeal to these people, we need to strangle whatever elitism we have in our own hearts.

    That doesn’t mean we need to become racists, go anti-free trade, bash illegal immigrants, or abandon any of our principles. But if people are responding to Trump because he defies conventional elitist condemnations, then we won’t win with these people by admonishing them like we’re elitists, too. When you’re on a first date with a really nice girl who’s highly allergic to elitist condemnations, maybe denouncing her as a racist or brownshirt isn’t the way into her heart.

    1. This should be a huge opportunity for libertarians to win hearts and minds. If libertarianism has something to do with the idea that everyday people are better at making choices for themselves than elites are at making choices on their behalf, then our message is tailor made to appeal to disaffected anti-elitists

      That all sounds real nice, but Trump voters aren’t asking to make choices for themselves, they’re asking for a expert negotiator to make great deals for them and someone that will hire all the “greatest people”(Carl Ichan?) to negotiate. In other words, an elitist

      1. Yes, but this is the same demographic (disaffected, blue collar, whites) to which Reagan sold economic growth, a path to citizenship for illegal aliens, slashing tax rates on the wealthy, and a culture of opportunity.

        We shouldn’t condemn that constituency for buying what the only guy that’s bothering to stoop to sell to them is peddling. And the fact is that we have a lot to offer these people. If they’re starving for lack of economic opportunity, well libertarians can sell them that.

        Let’s start talking more about what makes economies grow, what creates jobs, and what makes standards of living rise. Let’s start talking less about how everybody’s racist, homophobic, and stupid.

        1. Okay, you’re basically saying libertarians should stop taking sides in the culture wars. I agree with that since it has nothing to do with being a libertarian.

          1. Maybe it’s a question of emphasis. The articles I mentioned around here trashing Trump supporters probably didn’t do us any good.

            We should never confuse the battlefield for the enemy. Trump is the enemy. Elitists are the enemy. We want to defeat the enemy.

            Trump supporters aren’t the enemy; they’re the battlefield. We don’t want to defeat the battlefield. We want to capture as much of the battlefield as possible.

            When McDonalds wants to sell more breakfast sandwiches, they don’t call their competitors’ customers a bunch of racist brownshirts, and there’s a reason for that. They want to win the hearts of their competitors’ customers. So instead of condemning their potential customers, they use advertising strategies that are conducive to winning their hearts.

            1. Elitists are the enemy

              Says who? You?

              1. Ken fails to recognize that the (political) elites would not be elite if not for the support of the booboisie in this democracy of ours. The rather terrible elite are merely a symptom of a larger problem.

                1. You don’t think Trump’s support is a symptom of anti-elitism?

                  I’m starting to think you may be Tulpa.

                  1. I’m not sure if this was directed at me or not, but I can assure you that I’m not Tulpa. I’m just a college student trying (perhaps in vain) to promote capitalism and liberty.

                    1. You promote capitalism and liberty by suggesting elites should make our choices for us?

                      Can you give me an example of how this works?

                      Should elites make decisions for us about marijuana? Because that’s what I call the Drug War.

                      Should elites make decisions for us about whether we’re responsible enough to take out a home loan, whether we drink sugary soft drinks, whether we buy things made in foreign countries, whether we make huge sacrifices in our standard of living to fight global warming?

                      Give me an example of the elites making choices on our behalf that’s conducive to liberty and capitalism.

              2. Yes, me. I said it right here in this subthread:

                “If libertarianism has something to do with the idea that everyday people are better at making choices for themselves than elites are at making choices on their behalf, then our message is tailor made to appeal to disaffected anti-elitists.”

                Elitism is antiethical to libertarianism.

                Certainly before we get a society where people demand the freedom to make choices for themselves, we’ll need a society in which people trust their own qualitative judgments. Elitists try to destroy that self-confidence because it keeps elitists in their place–where they belong.

                1. In no way am I arguing that I or any elite knows what is best for every individual in this country. In fact, I abhor taking a top-down central planning approach to anything. I prefer an organic environment where each individual is free to act in any manner that does not violate the rights of others. Trump supporters are free to live their life as they please. However, as they are seeing their previous way of life begin to fade, they are not choosing to adapt, they are calling upon the state for a handout. Of course, this handout comes at the expense of the rest of the country. Opposing the expansion and coercion of the state on the lives of its citizens does not make me an elitist but rather the opposite.

                2. Elitism is antiethical to libertarianism.

                  Bull fucking shit. Without rehashing the thick vs. thin debate, libertarianism speaks of two things: self-ownership and the NAP. Now, self-ownership entails that I have the ability to make choices for myself, but it doesn’t entail that I would, say, make better choices for my health than the Head of Internal Medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine. We’ve tried puerile, throw-the-experts-out and let Joe Sixpack run everything populism before; it was called the Cultural Revolution, and it was a shitshow. (Not to mention that the mean IQ of Chang Sixpack is a full 2 points more than Joe.) If anything libertarianism entails meritocracy, where burdensome and envy-driven regulations are swept aside so that men and women of demonstrated ability are allowed to achieve and advance in society using their full capabilities provided they engage in honest, hard work in concert with ingenuity. This was the entire message of The Fountainhead.

                  No, Ken, the crap you’re talking about is more properly aligned with this shit.

                  1. Depends on how you define “elitism” Mulatto. If your definition of “elitism” is listen to doctors and engineers about their subjects, then no it is not. If your definition of “elitism” is “experts know what is better for people than people themselves” then yes it is antithetical.

                    The reason why taking away someone’s freedom is wrong is because it substitutes your will and judgement for theirs. It seems to me that you have to believe that everyone knows what is best for them in the ultimate better than anyone else.

                    1. The reason why taking away someone’s freedom is wrong is because it substitutes your will and judgement for theirs.

                      Of course, that isn’t being questioned.

                      It seems to me that you have to believe that everyone knows what is best for them in the ultimate better than anyone else.

                      Or you could just believe people have the right to make stupid choices and deal with the consequences.

                    2. Or you could just believe people have the right to make stupid choices and deal with the consequences.

                      Sure. But I think you need to have some humility about what is “stupid”. They are stupid choices to you. Since you don’t live in the other person’s head, you really can’t say anything other than that. And even if they are stupid, stepping in and making the decision for them isn’t going to do any good, since you can’t make every decision for them and wouldn’t want to if you could.

                      That, however, is at the individual level. If you don’t believe in the concept of collective wisdom and the idea that society if left to its own devices will self correct, I don’t see how you can believe in freedom. I am very much with Hayek on that. I know everyone reads The Road to Serfdom and it is an important book. I wish that more people would read The Constitution of Liberty. There, Hayek really lays out the practical and moral case for freedom. Too many people start with the assumption that freedom is good without really understanding why. Hayek explains why.

                    3. Recognizing that I have no right to tell another what choices to make does not entail believing that that other is making wise choices. I am not pro liberty because I believe it always produces the best result; I am pro liberty because respect for other people’s self determination is the cornerstone of morality. I am not my brother’s keeper; my brother should never be subjected to having a keeper.

                    4. I am not my brother’s keeper; my brother should never be subjected to having a keeper.

                      I agree. But the question is why is that true? You assume it is true but it doesn’t necessarily have to be true. So why do you think it is true other than because you like it?

                      For me at least, I think it is true because I can never know what is best for someone else better than they can. I might think I do but I can never say for sure that I am right. Since my brother knows what it best for him better than I do and always will (assume he is not a child or incompetent), I have no moral right to claim to be his keeper.

                    5. I am not pro liberty because I believe it always produces the best result; I am pro liberty because respect for other people’s self determination is the cornerstone of morality. I am not my brother’s keeper; my brother should never be subjected to having a keeper.

                      Well said, jarflax. I’d add that my brother doesn’t keep me either.

                    6. And even if they are stupid, stepping in and making the decision for them isn’t going to do any good, since you can’t make every decision for them and wouldn’t want to if you could.

                      Again, who said I want that? The corollary is, of course, that stupid people won’t be able to second guess the decisions men of talent make for themselves, either. And since they had no hand in the decision, the men of talent owe nothing to the stupid.

                      If you don’t believe in the concept of collective wisdom and the idea that society if left to its own devices will self correct, I don’t see how you can believe in freedom.

                      Who said I don’t believe in spontaneous order? What I’m saying is that part of that self-correction process is the ability for men of talent to arise from society without undue burden. I’m not buying Ken’s argument that libertarianism means tall poppies get cut down. Again, anti-anti-elitism doesn’t necessarily mean you believe elites should run everything, but it does mean one should begrudge the natural order of things that men of talent are rewarded in the marketplace and in greater society with increased money and influence.

                    7. I don’t disagree with you. HM. I said upfront. There is nothing wrong with “elitism” as long as you define it to mean “give those who have earned it the respect and authority over their subjects they deserve”. Where elitism becomes a problem is where it leaves the practical realm and enters into the moral realm. As a practical matter, an engineer knows or should know how to build a bridge better than I do and should be listened to over me. And as long as we are talking about bridges, that is fine. When we say someone is ethically superior and thus should be able to rule my life more than I do, then we have a problem. The engineer can tell me how to build the bridge. He cannot, however, tell me if I should build the bridge.

                    8. When we say someone is ethically superior and thus should be able to rule my life more than I do, then we have a problem. The engineer can tell me how to build the bridge. He cannot, however, tell me if I should build the bridge.

                      Yes, we’re just talking past each other about the same thing.

                    9. “It seems to me that you have to believe that everyone knows what is best for them in the ultimate better than anyone else.”

                      Certainly in terms of their own qualitative preferences.

                      An uneducated coal minder in Kentucky has more authority on his own personal preferences than any scientist at M.I.T. ever can.

                      When a scientists tells me how much we’ll have to sacrifice in GDP per capita before we start seeing an impact on global warming, that scientist may very well be speaking with great authority.

                      Tell me I should willingly give up my standard of living because he’s a scientist, and somebody’s lost the plot. No one has any authority on other people’s personal preferences. That’s one of the reasons why markets are so much better than government. Markets are more democratic than representative democracy! People can represent themselves in a market–and their personal preferences are represented in a market (in real time!) more precisely than they can be gauged through any other means.

                  2. “Without rehashing the thick vs. thin debate, libertarianism speaks of two things: self-ownership and the NAP. “

                    You’re actually not in charge of what libertarianism is and isn’t and neither are your favorite political philosophers. Elitist libertarianism is an oxymoron,

                    Libertarianism has a lot to do with free markets. When 350 million individuals (of average intelligence) represent themselves in a market, they make better choices for themselves then elites can make on their behalf–no matter how well educated, smart, and democratically elected those elites may be.

                    There are a number of reasons. Suffice it to say that 1) uneducated hillbillies can make better qualitative judgements for themselves than the elites are capable of making for them and 2) when 175 million relatively uneducated people of below average intelligence are free to make choices for themselves, the quantitative outcome is superior to when the well educated and smart make their choices for them.

                    If you think the outcomes are better when the elite are making our decisions for us, then you don’t have a leg to stand on. You are wrong. Both qualitatively and quantitatively, you are wrong. I assure you, the problem with central planning isn’t that the central planners aren’t properly motivated, educated, or smart enough. The problem is that making better choices for other people from each of their unique perspectives is impossible. If you think otherwise, then you are wrong.

                3. Elitism is antiethical to libertarianism.

                  Elitism is absolutely central to Randians. It is why they tend to plutocracy. It is why they have no problem with any manipulation as long as it is economic instead of political. It is why they define ‘non-aggression’ in the narrowest possible terms so the only violation of it that can occur is a gun in your face. It is why they can easily ignore most cronyism out there and have no interest in exerting themselves too much to uncover anything but the most obvious examples.

                  And I suspect that anarchos are kind of the same – except more useless because their elitism manifests only in books and theories and has nothing to do with reality. Maybe Gnostic elitism.

                  1. I think there has been a culture that has arisen out of certain strains of anarcho-capitalism that has emerged on the internet, especially, that . . . has tended to reinforce itself.

                    There is a sense in both Objectivism and that strain of anarcho-capitalism that the world can’t be more libertarian until people become rational (in the Objectivist case) or adhere to certain maxims in the case of anarcho-capitalism.

                    I reject that entirely.

                    The dynamics that drive freedom are so powerful. The benefits existed before our pre-homo sapiens ancestors stood up on two feet and perceived them. If the standard of living in places like China is better than it was before as people incrementally enjoyed more freedom–without any understanding of or knowledge about anarcho-capitalist principles–then why talk about adherence to some maxim as a precondition?

                    Market forces laid the USSR low–regardless of whether the elites or anybody else believed in them. Market forces are people making choices. The people don’t need to be rational, smart, elite, or aware of philosophical maxims for markets to work their magic. One of the amazing things about markets is that make large groups of stupid people behave as if they were smart. The more free we are to make choices for ourselves, the better off we are–and markets work their magic when Marxists participate in markets, too.

                    The rain falls on the good and the evil alike.

      2. “…they’re asking for a expert negotiator to make great deals for them and someone that will hire all the “greatest people”…”

        No. They are not voting for Trump because of any abiding faith in his ability to do much of anything in particular. They are voting for him because it is the surest way to deny all the other usual suspects from holding that office.

        He is basically seen the political version of an area denial weapon.

    2. Ken, I disagree. After having engaged with some of his supporters on Breitbart, I can confirm that many of them harbor paranoid white nationalist like feelings and a general hostility towards free enterprise. These are not people to embrace but to condemn. They are as impervious to logic and reason as the left, perhaps worse.

      1. You…you…you….elitist!!!!!!

      2. They are as impervious to logic and reason as the left, perhaps worse.

        So quit using logic to get to them.

        Run your own life

      3. I’m not sure how much the commenters on Breitbart are truly representative of the white, blue collar, middle class.

        And maybe that isn’t the forum we want to wade into first.

        1. Well, do you have any better place to understand what Trump supporters are actually thinking? I figured Breitbart, now nothing more than a new edition of Trump magazine, would at the very least give me insight into the mindset of a not insignificant number of his supporters.

          1. I’m talking about millions of white, blue collar Americans all over the country. Maybe not all of them are ripe to join the LP. Maybe focus on the ones you meet. Many of us have friends and family who fit the bill. They’re the receptionist at work. They may go to your church. You wouldn’t treat these people like Breitbart commenters in person–Breitbart commenters wouldn’t treat you like that in person either.

            The less elitist you treat these people, the more they’ll respond to what you say. The less you condemn them for being racist brownshirts for liking Trump, the more they’ll listen to what you say. Talking to Breitbart commenters, regardless, is bashing your head against a wall.

            That works for staff at Reason, too. They shouldn’t expect to have influence with these people if they’re condemning them for what Donald says or does out of the other side of their mouths.

            1. Yes and no. While I don’t think it’s right to automatically assume that every Trump supporter is a racist or Brownshirt, that does not mean that none of his supporters are. At some point, you cannot deny reality and refuse to recognize the wretched authoritarianism of some supporters.
              As to the point of not acting like an “elitist,” what does that even mean? Is pointing out to a Trump supporter that his conception of how trade works is completely wrong elitist? Is it elitist to believe that you should not use violence against your political opponents? Is it elitist to question the motivation behind their call to end all immigration into our country?

              1. Libertarians have something to offer racists (the not too radical ones).

                Freedom of association.

                An end to “special” classes.

      4. They are as impervious to logic and reason as the left, perhaps worse

        I fail to see how Trumpettes are on politically on the left or right. From what I’ve seen it’s a mash-up of people pissed off that they aren’t getting ahead economically and are reaching out to “expert deal-maker” Trump to fix their problem. The “paranoid white nationalist like feelings” stem from economic angst as usual is the case.

        They sure as hell haven’t figured out it’s the government and the cronies that feed off of it that are the cause for their economic woes. Maybe they learn after Trump fails miserably to put a chicken in their pot?

        1. Well they certainly blame the government but they blame them for allowing free(ish) trade and immigration, both legal and illegal. Libertarians are often denounced as “isolationists” but it’s really the Trump supporters who want to seal off our borders from both foreigners and foreign goods.

          1. Libertarians are often denounced as “isolationists” but it’s really the Trump supporters who want to seal off our borders from both foreigners and foreign goods

            I agree, but I still think this is a reaction to stagnate wages and a bleak economic outlook. Prospects for the “average joe” haven’t been good for a few years now, contrary to what DC and the media would like people to think

            1. I agree with you but the answer is to permanently reduce tax rates across the board, reduce union power, end corporate subsidies and welfare, slash burdensome regulations, and significantly cut federal spending, not blame brown people and wail against free trade.

            2. Which I’m assuming you would largely agree with. The question is how do we take advantage of this anti-DC attitude and promote our ideas.

            3. It has been lousy. And the political class is too crooked to explain the truth as to why. The reason isn’t so much foreign trade as it is our insane tax and regulation system. I don’t think playing hardball with the Chinese is the catastrophic idea that people on here think it is. It is, however, not going to do much good.

              If you want to actually help with the problem, you change the tax system to allow US companies to invest their foreign profits back in the US without having to pay taxes on them and you drastically cut the environmental and other federal regulations. The regulatory part everyone knows. The tax part is less well known and just as bad or worse. Because of our draconian tax system, American workers never benefit from US companies success abroad. All the money they make overseas stays there because if they bring it back to the US, they have to pay taxes on it. This effectively makes international trade a one way street. Companies come here and make money and send the money back home. US companies go overseas and make money and the money stays there.

              And politicians wonder why the country has so soured on free trade. Gee, how could that be?

    3. That doesn’t mean we need to become racists, go anti-free trade, bash illegal immigrants, or abandon any of our principles.

      Yes, it does. That’s been made pretty clear around here.

      1. The only way as a libertarian to embrace Trump supporters is to renounce libertarianism.

        1. I suppose that depends on the meaning of “embrace”

        2. Again:

          Libertarians have something to offer racists (the not too radical ones).

          Freedom of association.

          An end to “special” classes.

          1. While I support the right of a person to believe whatever they want no matter how wrong or wretched it is, throwing our arms out wide and welcoming Stormfront members into libertarianism would be harmful to our larger, long term goals of free minds and free markets. Racists should be dismissed and scorned but their rights should be protected by libertarians.

            1. (the not too radical ones)

              You are not thinking big tent politics.

              1. I’m guessing the GOP wishes their tent was a little smaller right now.

          2. We have something to offer anyone. What’s your point?

            My point is that most people have their minds set on certain solutions, and won’t/can’t be swayed by a political candidate arguing for a different solution. We have solutions for working class folk who feel threatened by foreign labor and businesses. But if it does not include building a wall and penalizing outsourcing, they don’t consider it a real solution.

            1. We have solutions for working class folk who feel threatened by foreign labor and businesses.

              What are they? Because I’m a libertarian (or more accurately a classical liberal) and I’ll be damned if I can see what modern libertarianism offers to anyone at/near the bottom of the ladder.

              1. And I’m not talking about theories in a book. I’m talking about actual things that will happen in the real world really quickly when a libertarian proposal is implemented.

                1. I’m not sure if you’ll see this but free trade overwhelmingly benefits the bottom 10% in our country. In fact, I would say the best anti-poverty program would be increased free trade.

                  1. It may be – but they seem to disagree with you on that. If Trump supporters were seeing a net benefit from the freest trade environment in history (and it really ain’t close either), then he would have no supporters. They do exist. I trust that they know their own situation better than a theory can and better than I can.

                    Maybe the true bottom 10% are better off – their living costs may be reduced by cheaper imports and perhaps their income is entirely a fixed-income or some other dependency from govt. But libertarians can never appeal to someone whose entire income stream is from govt – people already in the safety net in that case – since we mostly advocate getting rid of the safety net and not whatever caused them to fall into the safety net.

                    Somewhere above that 10%(?), something is going seriously wrong. Maybe living costs are benefited by trade – but incomes are harmed or job stability is harmed or competition from illegals or hit with ageism at 40/50 when its too late to go back to school because education costs are now based on loans (which are based on career income claims that even if true apply to 20 year olds not 50 year olds).

                    I’m libertarian. But something has clearly happened over the last 30 years or so – and us repeating century-old mantras and theories as if reality isn’t happening doesn’t do us any good.

    4. I submit to you that Reagan Democrats want big government, but for them, not for just the illegals and the gays, etc.

      They are not going to become libertarians.

      Its more likely that libertarians can convince the small government refugees that are forced to flee the new GOP that emerges.

    1. For the LULZ?

      1. For the salty language.

  8. I could definitely see some unhinged lefty making a real run at offing Trump.

    1. Yes, absolutely. I’m sure the Secret Service on Trump detail are pretty nervous.

  9. “His primary rules were: never allow the public to cool off; never admit a fault or wrong; never concede that there may be some good in your enemy; never leave room for alternatives; never accept blame; concentrate on one enemy at a time and blame him for everything that goes wrong; people will believe a big lie sooner than a little one; and if you repeat it frequently enough people will sooner or later believe it.”

    1. That all sounds very familiar…

  10. Well this was a nice piece of news. Now if only there was a third party on the all 50 ballots who could espouse the liberal social and conservative economic priorities of the majority of voters. Two bad there isn’t a publication that could really shine a light on such a party. But yeah another Trump article is what this site needs.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/el…..cus-group/

    1. Bob,

      We are not living well enough for God to reward us with the sight of those assholes going hat in hand asking to join the Libertarian Party. Yet, I think it is likely too late to get a third party on the ballot. And the Libertarian Party is the only party on the right, other than the GOP, which is going to be on all the ballots.

  11. Well this was a nice piece of news. Now if only there was a third party on the all 50 ballots who could espouse the liberal social and conservative economic priorities of the majority of voters. Two bad there isn’t a publication that could really shine a light on such a party. But yeah another Trump article is what this site needs.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/el…..cus-group/

  12. Trump is an unconstrained man in a constrained world. We all have constraints of some sort in what we say, the need to be polite, rational, coherent to avoid being shamed, ridiculed, shown to be wrong, ignorant, hypocritical – Trump doesn’t, he has no filter between what pops up in his head and what falls out of his mouth. He’ll say one day he made his entire $8 billion telling that idiot Einstein 2+2=5 and the next he made his entire $10 billion dollar investing in those jackass Wright brothers automobiles. Point out all the things wrong with those statements, he just walks off and says he made his $12 billion showing that hack Mozart how to play baseball. Everybody applauds and cheers the magnificent bastard. So he exaggerates and tells a few fibs now and then, who doesn’t?

    We’d all like to be Trump – say whatever we want whenever we want to whoever we want with no consequences. The only way we could say that is if we were really drunk, then we’d tell the boss how stupid he is, the wife what a fat pig she is, the neighbor what an asshole he is, the cashier what a stupid loser she is – but then we’d have to sober up and face the consequences.

    Trump is just like us if we had enough fuck-you money to stay shit-faced drunk all the time – do we really want a President that’s just like us when we’re shit-faced drunk? Seriously?

    1. Yes? is the right answer yes?

    2. Compared to Hillary? Yes.

      As an added bonus, four years of Trump might provide a temporary recognition of what the presidency actually is. It wouldn’t last, of course, but it might teach a few attentive 20somethings a lesson they’ll carry with them for the rest of their lives. It’s all about marginal gains.

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  14. Which is more frightening? Trump or Welch syndicated in French. People, the end is nigh.

  15. No room in the libertarian fold for racists?

    Libertarians have something to offer racists (the not too radical ones).

    Freedom of association.

    An end to “special” classes.

  16. I’m not too worried about what’s going to happen, I keep a needle and a spoon and a lit candle nearby.

    Now, I know what you’re thinking and you’re wrong – let me explain.

    The candle I practice keeping my hand over the flame as long as possible to build up my self-discipline, the needle is a mild muscle relaxer, the spoon is a long-handled, small-bowled ice cream spoon. When the time comes, I shoot the muscle relaxer into my face and I slip the spoon up behind the eyeball and into the ol’ prefrontal cortex there and I just start stirring around a little bit.

    Now, there’s going to be two thoughts in my head – one is “what if I stir too much and don’t know when to stop?” and the other “damn this feels good, I don’t want to stop”. And that’s where the candle comes in – when the second thought starts becoming stronger than the first you gotta have the self-discipline to take out the spoon. You want to stop all the thinking about shit it doesn’t do you any good to be thinking about but you still want to know enough to wipe the drool off your chin occasionally.

    See? I know I can go to my happy place any time I want, as long as I have my spoon I am in control of my own happiness.

      1. I can’t see the candle.

        1. The secret IS not minding.

    1. So you will be in your basement room with a needle and a spoon?

      And another girl to take your pain away?

  17. LIGHT THE TRUMPTARD SIGNAL!

  18. I am surprised that free market and pricing system advocates don’t seem to see what Trump is actually doing. His racism and dog-whistling and such is a signal. The exact same signalling that Michael Spence wrote about re degrees/credentials/jobs that won him a Nobel Prize.

    Trumps words have burned all possible retreat – much like Cortes sank his fleet. He cannot now, if elected, do what the establishment has done for decades. He cannot credibly sell out immigration by granting amnesty to ‘rapists’. He cannot credibly sell out manufacturing and blue-collar jobs by negotiating crappy crony ‘free trade’ deals that mostly benefit white-collar Wall St. His words are succeeding not because ‘words have no consequences’. He is succeeding because words DO have consequences. Its just that his words are signals that aren’t intended for the establishment.

    The more the establishment attacks him, the higher the price Trump is paying for that signalling – which makes the signal itself more credible. And the more a libertarian dingbat attacks him on the basis of ‘words have no consequences’, the wider the gulf created between blue-collar voters that are looking for SOMEONE who will actually keep their promises for the first time in decades and any libertarian connection to those voters.

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  20. Libertarians should be patient and have out their fishing nets, but not for Trumpkin.

  21. Given the mounting levels of violence perpetrated by Trump fans

    Matt: Did you intend to link this to a story, e.g. Slate’s?

    The “mounting levels of violence” by Trump supporters consists of a single BLM protester who, after flipping the bird while being escorted out of a rally he crashed, received a punch from an old fart. The rest is Michelle Fields getting her arm grabbed and the time that a Secret Service officer choke-slammed a reporter who swore at him (I’m sure you pilloried Jack Lew when that happened). The Trump team notably cancelled a major rally to stave off potential violence when it became clear that Sanders supporters had gathered in force to confront Trump supporters.

    The leftist violence at Trump’s own rallies in that same period includes a Sanders supporter who rushed the stage to get to Trump. What would your reaction be if a 22-year-old Trump supporter rushed the stage to get to Clinton or Sanders?

    I hear plenty of rhetoric from the usual suspects, but where’s this mounting GOP populist violence, Matt? Maybe you’d like to compare this “mounting levels of violence perpetrated by Trump fans” to what we witnessed in the 1960s at civil rights rallies? Or the levels of violence and open intimidation that college students endure every day and have for decades?

    Then again, maybe not.

  22. Unfortunately about the only place you can hear intelligent and hardcore criticism of US policies is RT.Com. And the establishment is – and eventually Trump would be if elected – itching to shut that down. My question: will women still expect to speak in polite tones or can we engage in all the FRIGGIN FUN too??

  23. Speaking as someone who supported both Ron Paul and Rand Paul, I’m appalled, but not really surprised, that Jesse Benton is even worse than I thought he was:

    “Donald Trump is our nominee, and Republicans can and must embrace this reality,” Jesse Benton, the pro-Trump group’s chief strategist, wrote in an email. “The naysayers and contrarians need to stop tearing our party down. There is a burgeoning movement around Donald Trump, bringing new people and energy into the GOP, expanding our electoral map and, most importantly, beating Hillary Clinton with independents.”

    Great America PAC is ramping up its efforts, even as Trump continues to make opposition to outside political groups a centerpiece of his candidacy. The organization recently announced that it had tapped Benton, a veteran Republican operative who has worked for Mitch McConnell and Ron and Rand Paul, and Eric Beach, a GOP fundraiser.

    http://www.politico.com/blogs/…..buy-220965

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  25. What was it that nobody ever went broke doing?

  26. Maybe everyone should start saying truths out loud. Or how about the GOP–the “conservative party.”

    And what should they say if they would like in the future to not be trounced by another Donald?

    “We are going to reduce entitlements. Because one man should not work for another. Oh yes–we love Ayn Rand.”

    “Abortion? We are against it. We are against 6 month term abortion. 3 month term abortion. And 1 month term. As a matter of fact the only time we are willing to consider it is if the mother’s life is in danger–then it is her choice. Until then it isn’t. Because she now holds another beating heart inside of her. That starts at 30 days.”

    “We believe in a flat tax–for everyone. The rich shouldn’t pay more than the poor in percentage. Because we don’t believe in ‘each according to need.”

    “We don’t support gay marriage.”

    “We do support ‘In God We Trust.'”

    “Every illegal alien should be deported. No we can’t get all 11 million. We figure one million the first year–and that’s a great start.”

    “Islam is evil. And they aren’t welcome here. Period.”

    Say that GOP. Just try it once and see what happens. Oh wait a minute–Donald already mostly did. And even if he wasn’t 100% in conservative line at least he answers simply yes and no. We know where he stands. And unfortunately we know where the GOP stands too.

    Charles Hurst. Author of THE SECOND FALL. The novel of apocalyptic America. And creator of THE RUNNINGWOLF EZINE

    1. Horseshit. Trump doesn’t answer “yes or no” he answers “yes and no”. Yes and no to state only healthcare. Yes and no to foreign military adventures. Yes and no to higher taxes on the rich. This guy’s positions mutate faster than the flu virus and are usually more dangerous.

  27. Supposedly, Trump can say anything and not pay a price for it. Let him say that Social Security should be privatized, or that military spending should be cut, or that drugs should be legalized. His polling would be at 2% inside of an hour after making such statements. His following doesn’t follow him because they think that he will save them from the evil machinations of the establishment. They want him to solidify the establishment and stop all changes. No new immigrants (the wall), no new jobs (tariffs on foreign goods to protect established industries), no changes to entitlement programs, no new anything.

    He already has the highest negatives of any candidate, including even Hillary. Betting markets have him as a 2 to 1 underdog against Hillary. He does even worse against Sanders, the senile socialist. Trump is despised by the vast majority of people in the US. His “Teflon Don” image is purely a media concoction. Were he to suggest that foreigners were not a threat or that regulations should be eliminated, that Americans should fend for themselves and create new businesses he would be toast. You would see real violence against him. He wouldn’t be able to walk the streets without rocks, bottles and bullets flying his way.

    1. you need to wake up..he told fox news..they was going to make 40 million bucks on the debates, he wanted them to donate 5 million to wounded vets, they so no, be boycotted the debate and held his own fund raiser for them on CNN..he wants a wall to keep drugs out, Dems are leaving their party and joining Trump, the dems voting numbers are down and Trumps keep going up

  28. Is this an English translation of the French article at Le Monde? Welch is bilingual?

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  30. Did Reason jump on the Cruz band wagon?, theres a lot of twisted info in this article, Muslims have been protesting Trump at his rallies and the media for some reason is protecting them

  31. I see absolutely no tie-in to John Cusack here.

  32. How come whenever I read Matt Welch I think I’m actually reading the New York Times Op-Ed page……?
    Weird.

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