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Posts tagged as “Republican Party”

First take/variations

The Trump-less Republican presidential debate last night went not so very different from those before it, though some of the barbs aimed at the missing candidate actually rose a degree of wit.

Like the previous debates, it probably changed little as regards the standing of the candidates. A raw political calculation, Trump probably lost nothing from skipping it; his absence loomed over the proceedings, and nowhere did the lack of a Trump response somewhere probably cost him votes.

In fact, since the topics were almost all retreads of previous debates, that would be true of the other candidates as well. That's partly true because nearly all the questions, apart from those sometimes aimed at needling specific candidates, came mostly in their comfort zone of foreign affairs (bomb 'em), immigration and taxes. Subjects that had to do with the well-being of Americans were, with rare exception, skipped by moderators and candidates alike.

That makes the Republican debates a lot different from the Democratic. But there may be some solid reasons for that, pointed to a recent (released Tuesday) ABC/Washington Post poll.

The front end of the poll was standard horse race stuff, in line with other recent polls (an indicator its results probably are in the right ballpark). Maybe the most interesting datum in that part is the 64% expectation among Republicans and Republican-leaners that Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee.

Further back in the report, there is this:

A challenge for the GOP, looking ahead, is the extent to which leaned Republicans differ from the rest of the public on many such measures. While 54 percent of leaned Republicans are looking chiefly for an outsider, among all other Americans, 75 percent prefer a candidate with experience in how the political system works. While 50 percent of leaned Republicans say immigrants mainly weaken U.S. society, 66 percent of others say they mainly strengthen it. And there’s a vast 45-point difference in views on whether the country’s on the wrong track.
Leaned Republicans also are 27 points more apt than others to see government as part of the problem; twice as likely to be angry about it; 17 points more likely to see America’s best days as behind it; and 15 points more apt to say their own values are losing ground in society today.
Economic worry is the only one of these [subject areas] in which significant differences aren’t evident. On the others, whichever Republican wins the nomination, there’ll be substantial work ahead in reconciling world views within the GOP with those beyond it.

So when you hear that "Americans" want an outsider for president, that "the country" is becoming anti-immigrant and are pessimistic about the future, remember that this represents the views of a growing majority among Republicans and Republican leaners, but not the country as a whole. As a result, once Republicans hit the general election and have to deal with the world outside their bubble, they will as the poll said face "substantial work ahead." -rs

Welcome, Donald


Much is heard these days about Democrats welcoming Donald Trump to the 2016 presidential primaries, hoping he’ll really screw things up for Republicans. Much is also heard from many GOPers along the lines of “What the hell is Donald Trump doing screwing up our primaries?” My lone voice says, “Welcome, Donald Trump. What took you so long?”

I’ve been waiting for that most able representative of the worst in American politics to get beyond “threatening to run” to the real thing for a long, long time. I’m not saying he’ll actually do it - because he won’t. He’d have to eventually publish too much of his financial holdings to ever fully and officially qualify for the nomination. That he’ll never do.

No, it’s 99.44% certain Trump won’t be on your November, 2016, ballot. It’s also just as sure he’ll be center stage for many more months. If you’re surprised by his verbosity and dominance thus far, you shouldn’t be. The Republican candidate garden has been cross-pollinating this political weed for years. Trump is that weed taken to the extreme.

As the original Tea Party began devouring the Republican elephant more than 10 years ago, it regurgitated pre-Trump ancestors. Bachman, Gohmert, King, Issa, Mo Brooks, Don Young, Jeff Denham, Dana Rohrabacher, Duncan Hunter, Ted Yoho, Tim Huelskamp, Steve Scalise, Kevin Kramer, Mark Sanford, Jeff Duncan, Kristi Noem, Raul Labrador, Marsha Blackburn, Sam Johnson, Jeb Hensarling, Joe Barton and a couple dozen more. These spawn began devouring anything moderate in the national GOP about 2004. Dozens of level-headed, knowledgeable and acceptable Republicans were eaten alive at the polls by supporters of these nuts, or the good people just quit after trying to deal with the lies, the intransigence and nasty politics.

Though Trump has been playing around in the Republican gene pool for some years, before that he was a Democrat doing the same thing on a much quieter level. He’s old, very tarnished goods. He didn’t spring full-throated to his present undeserved prominence. The above list of much-lesser, politically-challenged earthworms preceded him, breaking up the anti-intellectual ground and sprinkling it with verbal B.S. so Trump’s most recent incarnation could be hardier stock.

The soil that grew a Donald Trump now covers the GOP garden. It’s from this diseased earth the crazies have sprung. The ones condemning nearly everything governmental. The insane voices in Texas, for example, frothing at the mouth about “secret tunnels and holding cells under empty Walmart stores” where “President Obama plans to confine them” after a long-planned military exercise starting this week. Obama taking absolute dictatorial control so there’ll be no 2016 presidential elections.” Martial law. Armed U.S. Army soldiers gunning down unarmed civilians.

Nourished by verbal excrement of Limbaugh, Beck, Savage, Ingraham and too many others to name - loons who’d normally be left to solitary mutterings are being fed tainted diets of lies and half-truths with which to weave conspiracies and whole worlds of ignorant fantasies. With superb monetary largesse from the Kochs, the NRA, Heritage Foundation, Birch Society, Faux Neus and self-serving political voices, they cling to any word that appears to justify and nourish their demented existence.

Donald Trump is the wall Republicans need to smash into before possibly bouncing back to more moderate positions - something acceptable to us normal folk. Like purging a contaminated water supply, Trump might be the impetus for thinking GOPers to finally act to retake control of what’s left of their party and do some thorough housecleaning. Because it’s now just the party of the old. Of white males. Of vanishing support. Of dwindling numbers at the polls.

One other thing about Trump and the current defective crop of GOP candidates. These “candidates” are not supported by a lot of people who, if their guy loses, will say “Oh, well” and get on someone else’s bandwagon. No, Sir. These are people who will either stay home come election day or will willingly subvert, by any means, the guy who beat their guy. They represent the zealotry of what passes for modern-day Republicanism. “Coming together” is unacceptable to zealots.

The Republican party may take a shellacking at the polls in 2016. Not everywhere. But enough to further diminish the already decreasing size of its share of the electoral pie. Not because of a Clinton or a Sanders. But because more and more folks, who usually frequent that part of the ballot, are coming to realize those running their party are as ignorant and impotent as trickle-down economics.

Trump’s embarrassing use of the Republican brand to further his own fortunes may sound the clarion call for smarter, more reasonable people to step up in and take control. This country NEEDS a healthy GOP! Soon! Donald’s as unfit as it comes in his “candidacy.” Were it not for his demented outlook on nearly everything, he’d be a cartoon character. But he ain’t funny.

Trump could be the wake-up call the GOP needs to be viable again. His racist, war-mongering, exhibitionist rhetoric may be his own undoing. Damn, I hope so!