Donald Trump

Donald Trump's Win in New York Means the GOP Primary Is About to Get Very, Very Weird

The Republican primary race we are witnessing now has little contemporary precedent. That is part of what makes this race so unsettling and unpredictable.

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Donald Trump's outsized win in New York's GOP primary sends the Republican presidential race hurtling toward a very weird place.

At this point only Trump can possibly secure the 1,237 committed delegates necessary to win the GOP nomination at the party convention in July; it is now mathematically impossible for Ted Cruz to do so prior to the convention.

But it is also now quite possible that Trump will instead end up just shy of that decisive number. And that has some strange implications for how the nominee could ultimately be decided and what the reaction might be. 

Right now, the GOP nomination looks like a very complicated overall strategy game driven by a series of state-level mini-games. There are still a handful of primaries between now and June 7, and Trump is going to try to win as many delegates as possible in all of them. That's what he did last night in New York, where he won 90 of 95 possible delegates, putting him at 845 delegates total. Several more states have primaries next Tuesday, and the ground looks favorable to Trump.

In theory, if Trump comes out of the primaries with anything less than 1,237 delegates, then he would fail to secure the nomination on the first vote at the convention, and the convention would become open, with delegates who were bound to Trump on the first vote free to vote for someone else, like Ted Cruz, who has been working to ensure that as many delegates as possible are friendly to his campaign.

But what if Trump fails to hit that threshold, yet comes very, very close—winning, something in the range of, say, 1175 or 1200 delegates? In that case, then Trump and his campaign would almost certainly use the time between the final primary day in June and the convention in July to attempt to cajole enough unbound delegates—convention voters who are not required to vote for anyone on the first ballot—to cast their votes for Trump.

In particular, Trump would likely turn to Pennsylvania, which has 54 unbound delegates. If Trump can convince enough of those delegates to put him over the threshold before the convention, then he wins on the first vote—even without having secured 1,237 bound delegates through the primary process. Trump, who is likely to win decisively in the state, could argue with some plausibility that those delegates should go his way. As Steve Kornacki noted on MSNBC last night, most of those delegates are already saying they will side with the candidate who wins their state.

But Pennsylvania isn't the only place with delegates that could be courted to put Trump over the finish line. Outside of Pennsylvania, there are more than 100 additional unbound delegates up for grabs in places like North Dakota and Wyoming—but also American Samoa and Guam.

It is possible to imagine, then, that negotiations with delegates from these places held after the end of primary voting could end up ultimately deciding the nominee.

But that is not the only possibility. What if Trump, after some negotiation, is not able to win over the delegate majority that is necessary to win the nomination on the convention's initial vote?

It's unclear how this would play out, and what the implications would be should Trump—who leads in the GOP primary popular vote as well as delegate count—get very close to a majority, and yet still not quite win the nomination.

Both Ted Cruz and John Kasich are now working towards winning on a second ballot. And if Trump doesn't get to 1,237 on the first vote, then he would lose the advantage, which is why his campaign is insisting that there will not be a second ballot. 

If there were, the convention would be open, and delegates would be free to vote as they see fit. Trump has inspired a deep antipathy even amongst Republicans, and many would be pleased to see him lose on a second or third ballot. In every technical sense, a win like this would be totally legitimate.

Yet there's little question that it would also be incredibly contentious. Trump has spent the last few weeks griping about the primary process and, in doing so, made it fairly clear that he will declare an outcome along those lines to be unfair and, essentially, illegitimate. He has already hinted darkly at the possibility of unrest at the convention should things not go his way.

Furthermore, many GOP primary voters appear to believe that Trump should win regardless of whether he achieves the necessary delegate threshold. In New York for example, 70 percent of Republican primary voters said in a CBS News poll that if no one secures the nomination before the convention, it should go to the candidate with the most votes.

As Politico reports, this is why many observers believe that Trump actually needs somewhat less than 1,237 delegates—likely somewhere in the range of 1150-1200—in order to effectively secure the nomination.

Yet given how the strength of feelings about Trump, an outcome like this would also be contentious, or at least deeply frustrating for a great many Republicans.

Part of the problem here is that there is no modern playbook for this sort of situation: The last time the GOP chose its nominee via a multi-ballot floor fight at the convention was in 1948, when New York Gov. Thomas Dewey won on the third ballot. Delegate votes these days are essentially ceremonial, with the outcomes decided in advance.

That's the norm, anyway, but the path the GOP nomination is on may well take us far beyond that, to a place where the usual norms that govern the primary process not only do not apply but do not exist. Yes, there are rules in place to govern these sorts of events, but the rules only go so far. The primary process, like most politics, is governed as much by a fuzzy sense of shared expectations and precedents as by firm rules and regulations. And the GOP primary race we are witnessing now has little contemporary precedent. That is part of what makes this race so unsettling and unpredictable. It is a journey into the political unknown, and while that makes it difficult to predict just what the ultimate outcome will be, it means that whatever happens, it's more than likely to be weird. 

NEXT: Elizabeth Warren Whines About Ted Cruz Whining About Running for President

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  1. About to?

  2. The last time the GOP chose its nominee via a multi-ballot floor fight at the convention was in 1948, when New York Gov. Thomas Dewey won on the third ballot.

    And then he went on to beat Truman, didn’t he?

    1. Dewey was president for less time than Al Gore was.

      1. How can you be president for less than 0 time units?

        1. Depends on how you want to order imaginary numbers.

          1. There is no ordering of complex numbers to decide between.

            Assume 0 < i;
            = 0i < ii;
            = 0 < -1;

            Assume 0 i;
            = 0^4 i^4;
            = 0 1;

            It’s gibberish.

            1. Wow, the squirrels did not like my less-thans and greater-thans…

              /edit button

              1. Exactly. Inequalities have no meaning once you get off the real axis.

  3. Where can I get my “Keep GOP Primary Seasons Weird” shirt?

    1. Austin or Little Elm, Tx.

  4. If the establishment steals the nomination from Trump it will be the end of the GOP. Millions of voters will never forgive this betrayal

    1. Hahaha. They may not forgive it, but they’ll forget it within a month. Voters have the memory of a domestic dog.

      “I think Master just smacked me for no reason, but it was probably something I did. I’m sure this time he’ll scratch my head instead!”

    2. And give the country to the demorats for the next hundred years??

      1. Exactly!

        ::Scratches MJG’s head::

    3. You are assuming that the end of the GOP isn’t already a foregone conclusion.

      Further you are assuming that their rejection of Trump won’t get them even more voters in the future than it loses them today. Remember, Outside of a fairly small minority of republican voters Trump is deeply unpopular in this country, somehow even less popular than Hillary.

      1. There’s always the theory that he’s working with Hillary to secure her victory in November. He’d make a great Fed chair or SCOTUS justice, don’t you think?

        1. The only great thing he would make is a corpse… (too much?)

          1. Not nearly enough. Maybe a moldy corpse.

    4. Wait, do you think Trump has loyalty? He’s just “the other”. NOMINATING trump will not kill the GOP… but it will severely injure it.

    5. Ever watch Friday the 13th? Jason or Freddy or whoever always comes back.

    6. Trump has spent the last few weeks griping about the primary process and, in doing so, made it fairly clear that he will declare an outcome along those lines to be unfair and, essentially, illegitimate.

      If the establishment steals the nomination from Trump it will be the end of the GOP. Millions of voters will never forgive this betrayal.

      Spoken like a true progressive. Fairness is a matter of outcome, not of the process that leads to any particular outcome, and any outcome I don’t like is unfair.

      Look, a basketball game between me and Michael Jordan is fair if we’re both folowing the same rules and the fact that he’s going to kill me isn’t because the game isn’t fair, it’s because he’s a much better basketball player than me. How unfair is it to demand that a “fair” game be one we both have an equal chance of winning and thereby deny him the benefit of his awesome basketball-playing talents? As unfair as demanding that half the math and science awards go to women, 12% of Oscars go to blacks, 5% of Olympic gold medals go to gays, 35% of bikini model jobs go to the obese? There are rules, everybody knows the rules, you follow the rules, that’s fair. Shut the fuck up with your whining about how the race wasn’t fair because somebody else ran faster than you.

    7. If Trump wins the nomination it will be the end of the GOP.

    8. The end of the GOP for any purpose but democracy theater was coming anyway. Let the Dems convert 10 million illegals into voters, and the Repubs would never win a presidential race again, leaving all the power of the federal government under one party rule for ever and ever. Game over.

      1. Well, the newspaper said so.

        1. That was meant as a response to a different comment. Would it kill Nick to get us a fucking edit button?

      2. Which is another reason open borders is complete cuntshit.

  5. “It is a journey into the political unknown, and while that makes it difficult to predict just what the ultimate outcome will be, it means that whatever happens, it’s more than likely to be weird.”

    “Mommy, I don’t like this ride, I’m feeling sick and I want to get off!”

    “Stop hating on democracy, honey.”

  6. So, they discovered hubris last week, and, I dunno. I think we’ll really learn a lot from it.

    -.-

    1. It’s only because they are flaunting their white privilege, you know.

      1. OR they got caught and this is their fallback cover story…? Probably not…

    2. Wow. I don’t think we’ve ever had one of these here before… What do you call something that is the opposite of a nut-punch?

    3. Interesting story.

    4. Sounds like superheros. Did they wear costumes?

  7. I was just in Cleveland this past weekend to look at wedding venues and saw how the city was getting ready for the convention. I pray that full scale riot breaks out in the Quicken Loans Arena. Also, my fiance is from an affluent suburb in Cleveland but yet seen all of these Bernie signs on the front lawns. It’s nuts because you can tell these people have lots of money but yet want to vote for a guy who main purpose is to take away their fruits of labor hard and give it to others who aren’t as productive.

    1. Liberal guilt.

      1. Also, resentment over those more prosperous than themselves. They don’t realize there will be nobody left to speak up for them when they tax all the more-wealthy people into poverty.

        1. I think this is closer. Most of the well-off Bernie supporters think “the rich” is someone else like, you know, the Kockh brothers.

      2. Had a conversation with a new hire at my company who said he was a Berne supporter. I said Kenneth you are probably gonna make $200 k this year and you want to vote for someone who wants to tax you at a 75% rate and give your money to someone who works part time at an easy job ? He asked if I really thought he could make that much his first year ?

        I have never seen someone undergo a political conversion so quickly. I fully expect to see a Ted Cruz. The Lion bumper sticker on his truck tomorrow.

        Funny how people’s opinion of productive people changes once they become one .

        1. Wait until Kenneth finds out that he can make $5,000 a week working from home with this One Easy Trick!

          1. Kenneth is going to have to turn a LOT more tricks than that to make $5k per week. Rough tricks at that. Warty rough.

            1. It’s expensive working your way, ahem, up…from the basement.

    2. Everyone is good with government taking from the rich, because they don’t realize that to the government rich means anyone with a job.

  8. What if Trump, after some negotiation, is not able to win over the delegate majority that is necessary to win the nomination on the convention’s initial vote?

    Then Trump is shown the door and his voters are told to fuck off.

    I really don’t see what is so difficult for his voters to understand, aside from their general incomprehension at anything more complicated than a Sudoku puzzle. The party has an interest in nominating a candidate who can win the general, not the candidate who earns the greatest share of votes. That candidate may be one and the same, but in Trump’s case not only does he not have a plurality of votes, he he would blow out the general election in favor of Clinton. Right now, over two thirds of the GOP is voting against Trump. Why is the party obligated to entertain the incoherent clamor of Trump’s third rather than listen to the objections of the majority of the party advocating against him? And it’s still not clear to me that Trump’s supporters are party regulars.

    Look, I get the objections to the “establishment,” and I am not a Cruz partisan. I no longer had a dog in this fight after Paul dropped out. But this inability to recognize when your candidate is a toxic loser with no chance against even the left’s toxic loser is bewildering. Your candidate is not going to win the general. It’s foregone. If you want a Clinton presidency, then go vote for Clinton and spare us the moral indignation that your loser candidate lost to her.

    1. Lost to Cruz, rather, or whoever the party nominates.

    2. By this time I think it’s 6 of one and 1/2 a dozen of the other.

      Nominating Trump means alienating so many voters that Clinton will probably win.

      *Not* nominating Trump means alienating so many of *his* voters that Clinton will probably win.

      My only consolation is that I don’t have a very good track record of predicting elections, so I could be way off base here.

      1. I get that. I’m not advocating for the GOP so much as I am against Clinton. A blowout to Clinton gives her the legitimacy of a mandate because it proves that her opposition is so disorganized and unlikable, her progressive cronyism must be the only tenable political stance. Any other candidate than Trump has a shot of winning the presidency, or at the least helps preserve Congress and hopefully political stalemate for another 4-8 years.

        1. In 2012, Obama won the electoral count 332-206.

          Name a set of states with 126 electoral votes that voted for Obama in 2012 that you think will switch to Republican for Ted Cruz.

          1. Sorry, 64 electoral votes.

            1. Would NY alone make the difference?

      2. You have to also consider how many people will vote for whatever Republican simply because Hillary is on the ballot.

      3. Which was their plan all along.

    3. But this inability to recognize when your candidate is a toxic loser with no chance against even the left’s toxic loser is bewildering. Your candidate is not going to win the general.

      Pretty much the argument against Reagan in 1980.

      1. You want us to believe Reagan was less than or equal in popularity as Trump? Got a link?

      1. It’s not. It lead the local news this morning.

        I’m still going swimming.

        1. YOU KNOW WHAT ELSE LED THE LOCAL NEWS?!!

    1. Good thing Fonzie wasn’t around.

  9. It is possible to imagine, then, that negotiations with delegates from these places held after the end of primary voting could end up ultimately deciding the nominee.

    And the losers will complain just like football fans complaining that a missed 57-yard field goal is what “cost them” the game, as if the rest of the competition was irrelevant.

  10. The sad thing about it, is this. If Rand Paul would have been the front runner all of this time, the left would have demonized him as being el de facto Hitler and Anti-Christ all rolled into one, exactly as they are doing with Trump. It would be no different at all. And the GOP establishment would join right in. Just saying.

    1. Exactly. You really haven’t made it as a Republican politician until someone in the major media compares you to Hitler. Its their move.

      The really sad thing is that Ron Paul was just four years too early. I really think had he run his campaign this year, he might be doing what Trump is now. People desperately want someone who is outside the political norm and seems to actually give a damn about the country and believe what they say. Sanders is doing well because he seems to actually believe what he says. Trump is doing well because his supporters think he cares about the country. Paul could have had both going for him. As much as I like Rand, he just never had the ability to connect the way his father could.

      As a side note, you think the beltway conservatives are losing their minds over Trump, imagine what they would have done over Paul. I think some of the people at National Review might have had to gotten some clinical treatment.

      1. Maybe, but it seems like a lot of people who support Trump do so because of his rhetoric on trade and immigration (in addition to his bombastic style). Ron Paul wasn’t against free trade in principle and probably wouldn’t advocate a wall with Mexico. I don’t think he would entertain a blanket ban on Muslims entering the country either. When I tell people who support Trump that he praised TARP, the auto bailouts, and Obama’s stimulus, they really don’t care that much. It seems like it’s basically just the idea of foreigners making them poorer and less safe that gets them excited rather than the limited government strain that Ron Paul was all about.

        1. Paul was always for a secure border. And what Paul lacked in bombast on trade and immigration, he would have made up for on taxes, the deficit and the economy, which would have resonated just as well. Trump’s pitch on immigration and trade went over so well because the Republicans had ceded the field on those issues. But those are not the only messages the Republicans have walked away from and are important to voters. The debt and the endless printing of money and endless taxation are just as big of issues. Trump just didn’t choose to take those on.

          A Paul surge would have been different than a Trump one. it would have been more idealistic and looked more like the Sanders surge. But it would have been real.

          1. Commenters online who support Trump (which isn’t very representative, but it’s the best I’ve got) excoriate Cruz for not being tough enough on immigration and for a couple votes he made. Since Ron Paul didn’t vote, we can’t know what would have happened, but it’s not clear that talking about securing the border and enforcing current laws (like Cruz even does) would have been enough. Plus, I think Ron Paul supports the idea of increasing visa caps to allow more immigrants in. That would have sunk him. His support for free trade in principle also probably would have been a deal breaker.

            Rhetoric on taxes and the deficit are all well and good, but I don’t think that’s what really gets Trump supporters excited. If I remember correctly, after it was revealed Trump was open to the idea of single payer healthcare, Republican polls also experienced a jump in amiability toward single payer healthcare (likely among people who supported Trump–because of his style and likely because of his hard stances on immigration and trade).

            So I don’t think the people who currently support Trump would have gotten behind a Paul candidacy nearly as enthusiastically, if at all.

            Maybe we’ll just have to agree to disagree.

            1. No one is paying attention to the single payer healthcare and all that. They are only hearing Trump on immigration, trade and him telling the establishment to fuck off. Everything else is just noise. His supporters don’t care about anything else.

              And there doesn’t have to be a perfect overlap between the Trump supporters and a Paul surge for a Paul surge to have happened. A lot of people who are supporting Cruz or who are not supporting anyone this time around would have supported Paul. And a good number of Trump supporters who support him because they just want to see things shaken up would have supported Paul. It would have been a different movement but a powerful one none the less. And it likely wouldn’t’ have totally taken the wind out of Trump’s sails. That of course brings the delicious thought of the Republicans watching the nomination fight come down to Paul and Trump.

          2. Ron Paul vs. Bernie Sanders…I would have liked to see that campaign.

        2. True, but a lot of them are supporting Trump because they see him as NOT the establishment. Same with Bernie. I have heard more and more Bernie supporters say they will vote for Trump if Bernie isn’t the Dem nominee. They don’t so much like Bernie, they hate Hillary and the establishment and don’t like Republicans either. They actually, unlike most conservatives, realize that Trump really is not a conservative or even a republican. If they don’t get their free pony via Bernie, they just want to burn it all to the ground.

          1. I know some Bernie supporters who say that too. Who knows what will happen. If I could predict these things I would be rich. But I don’t buy for a minute that Trump has no chance in November against Hillary. I think that is wishful thinking on people’s part.

            1. I think he’ll beat her. His supporters are very enthusiastic. Hillary supporters, I’m not even sure they’re really alive. I think she dug up corpses and put them in chairs for her audiences.

              1. i am not even convinced she will be the nominee. Her health looks worse every day. I wouldn’t be surprised if the woman dropped over dead before August.

              2. Nah…he can’t carry women and minorities.

        3. Dey tuk ur jobsss!

      2. I like the sentiment, but Ron Paul wasn’t militaristic enough to win. Trump will bomb people, let me tell you. Even if he’s not a full blown neocon, is skeptical of NATO and wants to make Japan, Korea and Germany pay for us guarding them.

        1. So even though you admit you have no objective reason to believe that, you assure me it is true. Sorry if I find your case a bit unconvincing. It seems like you think anyone you don’t like will bomb people and since you don’t like Trump he must be going to bomb people. I don’t see any other logic going on in your contention.

    2. Same with Cruz. At the very least, Trump has been a useful lightning rod.

      1. I was watching Kennedy for a few minutes a couple of nights ago. She was interviewing this guy and he was saying he’s leaning towards Hillary because he wasn’t sure about Bernie’s socialism and all. Then he made sure to throw in the obligatory ‘Cruz and Trump are the anti-christ!’. He actually said that. Really? What the fuck does he think Hillary is? A fucking saint? I don’t know how Kennedy stopped herself from saying something like that. Instead she politely said ‘I wouldn’t vote for any of them’. Fair enough.

        1. They know that Hillary is crooked but she’s their crooked politician.

    3. It’s all bullshit. When Romney gave his bullshit ass speech about the direction of the Republican Party a couple of months ago, my progressive friends were applauding his efforts. When I pointed out that 3-4 years ago, they made it like he was the 5th Horseman of the Apocalypse who would put blacks back in slavery and put the gays in concentration camps, they got quiet.

      It’s all fucking nonsense. If there was one good thing about the Trump campaign, he showed that you don’t have to play the media’s or the Left’s game and if you tell them to fuck off, it won’t destroy your campaign.

      1. In the primary. Absent a drastic turnaround, Trump is facing long odds in the general, even against another historically unpopular candidate in Clinton.

        1. Of course, most everyone thought that Trump had no chance in the primary either.

  11. That is part of what makes this race so unsettling and unpredictable. It is a journey into the political unknown, and while that makes it difficult to predict just what the ultimate outcome will be, it means that whatever happens, it’s more than likely to be weird.

    Unpredictable sure. But what exactly is “unsettling” about it? They are going to pick a nominee. They always do. I seriously doubt Peter is going to vote for the guy who gets nominated no matter who it is. So why would he find this so “unsettling”? That is just a really strange word to use.

    1. It’s unsettling because the Democratic party machine can get behind their candidate… WHYCOME THE REPUBLICANS KANT?!

      1. Unless you’re confusing ‘getting behind your candidate’ with nominating the person who wins votes. The DNC would have no issue with nominating Hillary even if Berntard won every single vote. It’s Hillary’s turn. Lucky for the DNC, voters are probably seeing past the ‘free pony’ show of the ‘Democratic’ socialist. That their only other option is an international thug is just sad.

        1. The DNC would have no issue with nominating Hillary even if Berntard won every single vote.

          THAT’S GETTING BEHIND THEIR CANDIDATE!

      2. STEVE SMITH GET BEHIND CANDIDATE!

    2. Agreed. It’s like he needs a safe space.

      Personally, I think it’s kind of entertaining

      1. I find it very entertaining. And considering the sorry state of our politics and government, I think some unpredictability and going into the unknown can’t hurt and is likely to do us some good. One thing is for sure, the way the things have been done hasn’t worked in a very long time.

    3. Peter, as a reporter, reports on politics. When strange and unpredictable things start happening in the world of politics, it can be unsettling to someone that has to try to write about it. It can be extra unsettling for someone that has to try to make predictions about it.

      1. I suppose but I don’t understand why you would feel that way. Do sports writers find upsets “unsettling” because it makes it harder to predict and write about sports? Not that I have ever seen.

        I think Peter just finds uncontrolled and unpredictable change unsettling, even if it is happening in an organization he isn’t a member of and doesn’t support. I find that way of thinking very strange.

        1. Let’s say you’re a lawyer. Now let’s say the legislature in your state approves several new completely arbitrary drug laws. Let’s also say that they leave it up to the judges on whether or not the laws will be applied in any particular case. Would you not be a bit unsettled if you found yourself having to defend someone who just violated one of the new laws?

          1. Peter isn’t the lawyer in that analogy. He isn’t practicing politics. He is just writing about them. So in your analogy he would be a journalist covering the legal beat. And if all you do is write about the law, the law becoming unpredictable is not necessarily bad from your professional view. In fact, it is actually good since stability and predictability are boring and don’t move copy.

            Peter just has a strange aversion to uncontrolled change. That doesn’t make him a bad person. It is just a very unlibertarian personality trait.

        2. I suppose but I don’t understand why you would feel that way. Do sports writers find upsets “unsettling” because it makes it harder to predict and write about sports? Not that I have ever seen.

          Actually they do. When a team that “isn’t supposed to win” finds itself in the finals, sports reporters get noticeably unsettled. “Who are these interlopers, and why are they here?!”

        3. Remember 1994, John? Remember how “unsettled” reporters got when the Democrats lost control of congress for the first time in 40 years, and all of these strangers were sitting at the bar?

    4. What’s unsettling is that the right wing media mind control machine couldn’t force a consensus on their sheep this time.

      1. The entire thing has caused me to loath the right wing media as much as I do the left wing media. They are all just assholes who only care about how important a politician makes them look and feel. That is it. None of them have any principles or are in any way worthy of the soap box they have been given.

  12. Good, this country has been a bit short on weirdness lately.

    1. Who the fuck cares about Nebraska? What does this have to do with Trump? I have to get worked up about Trump!

      *removes belt, hangs self*

    2. I eagerly await the workaround using the feds that members of our industrious Cop-American community come up with.

      1. I’m pretty sure the courts accept the cop’s “I didn’t know it was(n’t) the law” excuse

  13. Trump actually sounds better than any of them on foreign policy when it comes to intervention. But then listen to him talk about how he’s going to make ‘Murika the biggest and scariest military power evuh, it’s gonna be yuuugggeee and no one will mess with us’. This sounds like more cronyism with the military industrial complex to me.

    Then there’s Trump’s disturbing trade policies. His campaign guy is saying stuff like they’re going to force Apple to make those iPhones here in Murika. It’s just simple minded pandering. So you make iPhones in Murika and you bring back all of these great jobs. So now you have unionized people putting together your iWidgets for $30 per hour. Apple now has 2 options. They automate almost all of these jobs so that they can still sell a phone for the low low price of only $800 US, or they sell the phone for $3000. Now I’ve actually seen this sort of protectionism in practice. Go to Brazil and buy an iPhone. You’ll get the picture.

    1. Saying “I am going to rebuild the military so that people don’t screw with us and I don’t have to use it” is a hell of a lot better than saying “I am going to use the military all over the world while at the same time embracing my fiscal conservative and never bother to fully fund it”, which is what both the Democrats and Republicans, sans Trump, seem to be saying.

      And the trade stuff is overblown. First, if a trade war is the end of the world, why wouldn’t the Chinese agree to a few concessions to avoid one? Are they suicidal? Second, I understand the value of free trade but I think people forget the insidious affects of fiat currencies. If we still had the gold standard, trade surpluses and deficits would not be an issue, because they would never last long. Eventually the country with the deficit would run out of currency and the accounts would balance out. But with fiat currency, you just print or borrow more money and the surplus can go on way longer than is good.

      1. Saying “I am going to rebuild the military so that people don’t screw with us and I don’t have to use it” is a hell of a lot better than saying “I am going to use the military all over the world

        Not arguing with that, John. I do think Trump sounds more reasonable on foreign policy than all the others. Too bad he can’t talk about doing much else that a libertarian could get behind. The building a wall and going back to a protectionist trade policy is just over the top non-sense. If he just said ‘I’m going to enforce our existing immigration law’, I don’t have an issue with that. If he just said his main objectives were the economy and jobs, and cutting taxes, I’m all for that too. But that’s not the case.

        1. Free trade isn’t working out the way the economists claimed it would. People are not being absorbed back into the economy at lower wages but still better off thanks to cheap consumer goods the way they were supposed to be. It is just not happening.

          Yes, that is not strictly the result of free trade. It is the result of a lot of things that are making what people call “free trade” not really free at all. But most of the things that are causing that are not going to go away any time soon. We are not going to stop other countries from engaging in short sighted policies that screw their domestic market for short term gains in exports. We are not getting rid of the regulatory state any time soon. Worse, we are not going back to any sort of static value based currency. There is no point in pretending we are. We need to rethink what we are doing. Its not working.

          1. The Free Market isn’t working because we have too many regulations and too much crony capitalism, therefore we need more government intervention in the marketplace and higher taxes until the environment is perfect for having a free market.

            1. WE have to deal with the situation we have. When the cronies are manipulating the system to corrupt it, it does no good to pretend they are not. If you have the magic wand that will get the world to go back on the Gold standard and get rid of the regulatory state, I would very much encourage you to use it. Since I don’t have such a thing and don’t know who does, I have to pick from the best of the available bad options.

              If you think there is a better bad option, please give it. But just screaming “But free trade”!!, which is all you are doing, isn’t helpful.

              1. Let’s increase government power, then.
                It’s a viable solution.

                1. Lets try and undo some of the harms in a way that is politically possible. And sorry cavalier, but the “government power” horse has left the barn. Every one of these free trade agreements you claim to be sacred contain all kinds of undemocratic and appalling government powers. Yet you still support them and are having a cow over someone saying we should walk away from them because “FREE TRADE” as if the words have some magical power to make a shit sandwich into a steak.

                  1. Every one of these free trade agreements you claim to be sacred contain all kinds of undemocratic and appalling government powers.

                    Thousand page “Free Trade Agreements” are abominations of governmental overreach. All we need is to unilaterally drop all trade barriers and tariffs and gov’t subsidies for domestic firms and not worry about how other governments are screwing over their citizens.

      2. The problem with expanding the military for its own sake is that eventually someone looks at all the new toys and says “Hey, we paid a lot of money for these, maybe we oughta use ’em!” The military is already more than big enough for people to not want to screw with us (with the exception of a few crazy wanna-be martyrs).

        1. That is actually not true. Generals love to build big armies but they view them as personal toys and are loath to use them for anything. It is one case where the careerism and empire building in the military works in the country’s favor. No general ever built an army wanting to break it in a war. They build the army to feel important and have a big empire not to actually go to war. Wars are messy and unpredictable.

          1. First of all, what General ever got to decide whether to go to war? They can advise, but the final decision is above their pay grade.

            Second, do you really think Generals are content to watch their army march around on a parade field and have no interest is going out and proving that their army can do what they designed it to do (win wars)?

            1. Second, do you really think Generals are content to watch their army march around on a parade field and have no interest is going out and proving that their army can do what they designed it to do (win wars)?

              Yes. As counter intuitive as that is, yes. If there is a war, they all want to go fight it. But they are the last people to advocate for a war. It is just not what they do.

              As far as politicians, the actual state of the military and its ability to fight a war has never to my knowledge influenced their thinking about going to war one way or another. We went to war in Korea with an army that was totally unprepared. Obama continues to commit the military without any regard to the long term effects this is having on readiness. Politicians don’t think that deeply. They always assume the military can do it no matter what.

              1. They always assume the military can do it no matter what.

                And the reason they always assume that is because we’ve spent so much money on it and we certainly have the most powerful military in the world. When was the last time Mexico started a war?

                1. No. That is not true. We were not spending hardly any money on the military when we went to war in Korea. Ted Cruz is all about cutting military spending. Yet, he still is very much committed to going back into a ground war in the middle east.

                  1. The US may not have been spending much on the military prior to Korea, but it was still spending more than anyone else and still had a lot of hardware left over from WWII. But even if I give you that example I can counter it every other US-involved conflict in living memory except maybe Afghanistan, which you could argue was not adventurism. I can also counter with examples of all the other countries out there that don’t spend much and only get involved in little local territory disputes and internal conflicts. They don’t go adventuring because they don’t have anything to go adventuring with.

                    So you seriously rejecting the idea that a country’s military spending correlates with its military adventurism?

                    1. Yes I am. It doesn’t. Sure spending goes up after we start. But spending more in no way makes it more less likely we go in the first place. Spending does not cause the adventurism.

                    2. Okay, John. I guess I’ll believe your baseless assertions over my lying eyes.

    2. Yeah, we get all of these nice things because of our trade surplus, but we are buying them by either printing money or borrowing it. The trade surplus is in that sense no different than the budget deficit, just another example of the central bankers putting off reality hoping they never have to face it. Sorry, we eventually will. Yeah, some protectionism would hurt us in the form of having to buy more expensive goods. It would however get us to stop printing and borrowing money to finance our surplus. Yes, the best way to stop that is to stop printing and borrowing money. But since that is not an option right now, maybe a little protectionism is the best of bad options.

      1. How about a little (more) socialism, too? Until conditions such are perfect, we should just keep increasing the level of government intervention in the economy, for the good of all. Forget Trump, we should be voting for Sanders!

        1. Like I said above, just get on your unicorn and ride to Washington and use that wand you have to put us back on the Gold standard. Otherwise, you are just pissing in the wind. It makes you feel better sure, but it doesn’t change anything.

          The system has been corrupted. And your solution is to just continue with what we are doing because apparently more of the same is the answer.

          1. And your solution is to make the system even more corrupt.

            1. No it wouldn’t. How is not letting other countries screw us making it more corrupt? You know what is corrupt? Us trade representatives ignoring the practices of other countries because their cronies benefit from them. And you somehow think doing something about that is corruption. War really is peace I guess.

              Is isn’t free trade when one side won’t play. It is called getting fucked.

              1. Is isn’t free trade when one side won’t play.

                What is your definition of someone “not playing”?

              2. How is not letting other countries screw us making it more corrupt?

                Because you are giving more power to an admittedly corrupt FedGov. Not a good idea. Protectionism is Crony Capitalism. It is the Fed Government picking winners and losers. It is the Fed Government picking GM and its employees over FedEx and it’s employees.

              3. A second wrong doesn’t make a right, John. It just makes things worse.

                Yes, we are printing money to buy all this stuff from China, and yes that is a bad thing. But if the currency tanks we end up with all the stuff and China ends up with a bunch of useless paper. Their practices have inherent risks for them as well. If we decide to take the route of protectionism then we’re just going to make things worse. Eventually their unfree trade will come back to bite them harder than it will bite us, and hopefully they’ll learn something from that. Until then, the best way to protect ourselves is to trade freely with everyone, not shut down or reduce our best source of value.

                1. Some guy,

                  Their practices have a lot of risks. At the same time, the US industries that would have been competitive in a free market but were not thanks to this bullshit are still gone and they won’t come back. Yeah, China will pay a huge price for this. The problem is so will we. And there likely won’t be any fixing it, at least in the short or medium term.

                  You guys are never going to see this way. And I think it is a reasonable position to just claim freedom as the justification. I don’t agree with that,b ut its reasonable. What is not reasonable is the claim that the US is better off for having the current system, because it isn’t. And no amount of appealing to the magic words of free trade is going to change that.

                  1. It’s not appealing to magic words; it’s arguing for the best solution. Automatically ceding the argument for liberty is automatically losing the reality of liberty.

          2. I don’t think there is anything preventing people from using gold and silver for payment now, except perhaps taxesome (capital gains taxes, etc.). There may be regulations on the transfer of precious metals that would make coining your own money unviable. There is a company called Shire Silver, I think that puts threads of silver in a credit card like casing.

  14. “That’s the norm, anyway.”

    I find myself repeatedly hearing and reading journalists and pundits comments that are steeped in analysis based on an understanding of normal. All of them have failed to predict the ascendancy of Trump. Yet we see and hear them week after week predicting this or that outcome based on not what is happening but on what should happen, according to the obviously failed model of politics they have in their heads.

    Reason writers seem to be squarlely in the mix of pundits that don’t know a thing about what they are writing about. They should stick to reporting only what happens and then commenting accordingly about the past. Predicting the future isn’t their strong suit.

    1. I can’t support Trump because of lots of reasons. All of those have to do with his policies. But I refuse to even say anything bad about the guy in my normal social circles, including online. I’m not joining in the personal crucification of this guy, as most of it consists of a bunch of self-righteous hypocrisy and social signaling. Hey look at me, Trump is Hitler, I’m one of the cool kids! I’m just like you! *barf*

  15. The fact that the public is talking about super delegates, brokered conventions, sky high unfavorable ratings etc. makes me tent my fingers and say, “Excellent”.

  16. The only thing that’s getting me through this political season is this:

    People are stupid. Always have been, always will be. Panicky, dangerous, herd animals, most of them. We aren’t really seeing anything new here. Just more . . . blatant and transparent.

    And, frankly, if this all leads to a complete political shake-up, with one or both major parties getting fragged, I’m fine with that. They are both leading us down the road to hell. The only thing that could get worse is the velocity, and, who knows, maybe something will emerge from their rotting corpses that will be an improvement.

    1. Dude, beer is getting me through this. I suggest drinking a lot of it.

      1. I’ve noticed that when I go in to Total Wine these days, its like Norm walking into Cheers.

        “R C!”

        “How ya doin’, man? We got your usual order out by the loading dock on a pallet, the way you like it.”

        Etc.

        1. OMG! Total Wine is coming to Boston!

    2. And, frankly, if this all leads to a complete political shake-up, with one or both major parties getting fragged, I’m fine with that. They are both leading us down the road to hell.

      Already a long ways down the Road to Serfdom. Establishment Republicans just drive a little slower.

  17. the GOP Primary Is About to Get Very, Very Weird

    has it really been boring and sedate up until now?

    i got the impression it had taken on “Officially Weird”-status back when first Trump took the lead last summer, crossed the “Very” line sometime around the November “Ben Carson Contemplates the Pyramids”-phase….and achieved “Double Very” when major newspapers started running headlines about Trump’s “Hand Size”

    You’re going to need a bigger Weird for this.

    1. The entire country has gotten weird. There is a committed national socialist who talks with pride about how he worked for the Soviets when he was young that damn near won the Democratic nomination.

      The country has had it with the entire political class. They don’t fully understand why things are broke or agree on how to fix it, but they do understand things are broke and know who to hold responsible for it. Worse, we have an intellectual and media class that is completely insular, decadent, stupid and corrupt and thus unable to articulate to the public what is wrong and how best to fix it. I think the weird has only just started.

    2. Remember when you and I had a minor disagreement about what the press would throw at trump as he inched closer to the primary victory?

      Did no one think a major American Daily printing a fake edition of itself wasn’t upping the definition of “Weird”?

      1. Remember when you and I had a minor disagreement about what the press would throw at trump as he inched closer to the primary victory?

        Vaguely. I think my position was, ““Racist” is going to run out of gas at some point

        Did no one think a major American Daily printing a fake edition of itself wasn’t upping the definition of “Weird”?

        not sure what you’re referring to?

        1. Some paper in Boston put out a fake “future” edition with stories about life under President Trump.

        2. Vaguely. I think my position was, “”Racist” is going to run out of gas at some point”

          My point was it’s not going to be jumping up and down and yelling “Trump is a big meanie”, that there will be shit your nor anyone else has thought of.

          not sure what you’re referring to?

          The Boston Globe ran a fake front page about a Trump presidency.

          Again, not so much concerned with what’s being said about Trump, but the lengths educated people will go to say it.

  18. It all comes down to how Trumpy the Trump delegates are. If they are truly Trump supporters, they will stick with him through multiple rounds of voting, and the other candidates will eventually cave in for positions of power in the Trump Administration. (Don’t bank on a Clinton victory, she’s a weak candidate, regardless of what the polls say now.)

    If the Trump delegates contain a lot of party regulars who are only holding their noses and voting Trump to comply with the law on the first ballot, then the nomination is open to anyone and Kasich likely wins. Trump will pout, but he won’t be on 50 state ballots on the Republican nominee line.

    All of which could have been avoided. Why exactly did the Republican leadership decide to torpedo their likely nominee so far in advance? On virtually every issue he toes the party line — pro life, pro second amendment, cut taxes, against illegal immigration, etc. Is it just his crass style that embarrasses them, and they want to signal to their media and business friends that they’re not like that? Or do they really prefer Clinton’s more neoconish foreign policy?

    1. Its a combination of his crass style, the fact that he isn’t paying off the usual, useless “consultants”, and the fact that he doesn’t owe any of them anything. Their advisors hate him, they don’t have any hooks in him. He’s the worst possible nominee if you are an insider.

      1. Its a combination of his crass style, the fact that he isn’t paying off the usual, useless “consultants”, and the fact that he doesn’t owe any of them anything.

        I’m sure those are all factors, but three larger and more obvious factors are:

        1. His “toeing of the party line” on “virtually every issue” is obviously just a pose — on most of the issues he’s held the exact opposite position in recent memory.

        2. He is even less qualified for the position than Barack Obama was. And look how badly Obama fucked up.

        3. A supermajority of Americans hate his guts.

        1. And yet, he isn’t doing any worse in the polls than Cruz. And Republicans care so much about the party line they last nominated Mitt Romney, the guy who signed the prototype for Obamacare into law.

          Yeah, the Republicans are all about towing that Republican lion.

          Do you realize how ridiculous Republican appeals to ideological purity sound to anyone outside the party? Or anyone who has a memory of the world before 2013?

          1. And yet, he isn’t doing any worse in the polls than Cruz

            If your only concern is “winning”, John, you should be voting for Hillary Clinton. She has the best chance of winning out of all of the candidates, is a marginally less-incompetent leader than Trump, and isn’t any more leftist than he is.

          2. And yet, he isn’t doing any worse in the polls than Cruz.

            That’s some awfully generous rounding you’re giving the polls there. RCP average has Cruz down 2 points, Trump down 9 to Clinton.

            Cruz has the same 54% disapproval rating as Clinton; Trump is up above 64%.

            I certainly would concede that both are disliked and both would start as underdogs to Clinton. But not to the same extent.

    2. I think that if Trump gets within say a hundred delegates of a majority, enough delegates will decide to vote for him to put him over the top just to avoid a convention blood bath. In the end, the never Trump crowd has never been that large. It is mostly self important journalists and political operatives pissed that Trump won’t pay them homage. I don’t think they are serious or have anything like enough strength to keep Trump from the nomination if he gets close to a majority. IF he is two or three hundred delegates short, that is a different story. But if he is 70 or a hundred? He will win and probably on the first ballot.

  19. In New York for example, 70 percent of Republican primary voters said in a CBS News poll that if no one secures the nomination before the convention, it should go to the candidate with the most votes.

    Oh noes! The New York Republicans might stay home from the polls, and then Hillary will win the state!

    1. That or maybe their opinion is representative of a lot of other Republicans in other states. There is always that possibility? I know it is crazy to think that fucking your own voters might not be the way to win elections, but its just so crazy it might work. You know?

      1. That or maybe their opinion is representative of a lot of other Republicans in other states.

        So here’s an idea: poll the Republicans in the states that *matter* and tell us what *they* think.

        I know it is crazy to think that fucking your own voters might not be the way to win elections

        There is no path forward for the Republicans that does not involve nominating someone loathed by the majority of the party. They’re picking between three pieces of shit.

  20. Don’t you people have work you’re supposed to be doing?

  21. Oh good. Because I was worried that the Republican race wasn’t already weird.

  22. If Cruz can build enough support among “Trump’s” delegates, why bother with the first ballot? Simply vote as a majority to change the rules to free up the delegates to vote as they wish, and then proceed with a ballot to nominate Cruz. There’s no point in going through the unnecessary motions of the first ballot.

    1. Vote as a majority of what? Delegates do not have the authority to change the rules on the fly.

      1. Uh, sure they do. They don’t have to adopt the rules proposed to them.

  23. Meh…I don’t know if Trump really wants to win. Didn’t he recently disband his election apparatus in Florida?

    He wants to lose but claim he was cheated out of the nomination so that he doesn’t look like a loser

  24. The Republican primary race we are witnessing now has little contemporary precedent. That is part of what makes this race so unsettling and unpredictable exciting and hopeful.

    Finally, a candidate that doesn’t reflexively drop his shorts and bend over whenever the Progressive Theocracy shrieks it’s litany of Racist Sexist Homophobe! A candidate that consistently opens the Overton WIndows. That at least allows the possibility of a pushback against the apparatchiks.

    Trump is our last best hope for victory.

  25. “…with delegates who were bound to Trump on the first vote free to vote for someone else…”

    It is even more complicated than that. Yes, some states release the delegates after the first vote, but others do not do so until the third vote.

  26. He has already hinted darkly at the possibility of unrest at the convention should things not go his way.

    There’s no shortage of things to criticize the guy for, pick a real one. I can’t see how a sober person would regard that as a threat, so much as it is a prediction, correct or incorrect, of what would happen if it was openly perceived that there was some sort of electoral malfeasance at the convention.

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