Saturday, December 12, 2015

On 'Making America Great Again'

In a Chuck Todd interview with Trump he asked him so when was America not great. It was a crafty question.

Trump gave the pandering answer-he just loved the Reagan years. That's a good answer for someone who isn't really a Republican running in the Republican primary.

But then Todd uncovered a video of Trump in the 80s fulminating against Japan and Mexico, etc. and how 'We're getting killed in these trade deals.' You know the whole world is pushing us around.

So he didn't really see the Reagan years a utopia either-America was already not as great as it had been by 1987.

In trying to figure out who Trump really is and what his views are, this makes clear that nativism as been a big part of his makeup for a long time. Also, his desire to run for President-he claimed that he was considered by Bush Senior for Vice President at one point.

So he has wanted to run for President for a long time and has been full of xenophobic concerns  for a long time. Yet on the other hand on many issues he sounds quite moderate or even liberal.

Even his huge budget busting tax cuts for the rich seem less about belief than a sop to Steven Moore and Grover Norquist to take out the sting of the those who claimed he's really a liberal. But in his time he was for stuff like a sharp wealth tax and single payer.

By the way that's what a moderate is in America-someone who wants to ban all Latino immigration but also wants single payer.

I mean there are a large number of Americans period-across party lines-who agree with both these positions.

And honestly, with all the talk of him being a Nazi or fascist, he's not really at that level.

According to some experts on fascism he''s maybe 'an apartheid liberal' or right wing populist. That is he has no plans to change the current structure of the US government. It's true you wonder what would happen if he really were President.

But I suspect that if he tried to do something truly crazy the US military and court system would put him down.

Trump doesn''t have the coalition to really do anything like that-unlike even Marine La Pen who just had some real victories for her party last weekend.

"To put it bluntly, Trump isn’t Hitler, not because Trump’s views aren’t as personally odious as Hitler’s were but because Trump doesn’t live in Hitler’s Germany and, to be blunt about it, he doesn’t have Hitler’s balls. The Adolf Hitler who took power in 1933 was a man who’d previously taken politics seriously enough to lead an armed revolution against the state and be imprisoned for it. His party already had a paramilitary wing (the SA) of organized, uniformed thugs who seriously thought of themselves as a rival to the existing military. He rose to power in a country that saw itself as a desperate underdog, having lost a major war and been forced to make massive reparation payments that crippled the economy."

"None of this describes Donald Trump. It’s impossible to imagine the effete reality-show billionaire at the head of a Beer Hall Putsch or going to prison as a martyr for his cause. His supporters are violent, frightening, boorish mobs but they’re nothing at all like an army, not even the ersatz army the SA were. And despite how ugly things have gotten in the United States during the War on Terror we are still comfortably the world’s wealthiest superpower; Weimar Germany would be lucky to have our problems."

"No, as disgusted as I am that a leading candidate for president can mouth fascist slogans and trumpet fascist ideals in 2015, I don’t seriously believe the America is Germany in 1933 or Trump is Adolf Hitler."

HT: Greg

And are Trump's views really on the level of Hitler or his he just a garden variety of xenophobe? If you want to know when American was great in Trump's mind, I think it was actually the time when a lot of Americans remember it as great-the early postwar years.

Many liberals believe those years were great too-prior to the rise of the GOP and the attack on the welfare state. But a xenophobe like Trump looks back and remembers that we didn't used to have immigration.

This is something worth remembering. What Trump is proposing with a pause in Muslim immigration-was American law for almost 40 years-1925 to 1964. During this entire time, the xenophobes had won. Not just Muslims but no one could get in.

Immigration had always raised hackles and after the huge crush of eastern European immigrants in the early 20th century the xenophobes of the day were saying 'That's enough.'

Of course they added the Communist menace as a very important rationale. Remember how in the late 1930s we turned our backs on the Jewish refugees from Hitler's Germany as the worry was raised that they were all Communists or anarchists.

I think ironically most Americans remember America as being greater in the postwar period. Wages were rising and employment was very high. Yes today it's technically very high but so many of the new jobs are in the low paying service sector.

But Trump is in line with a certain xenophobia that makes the-wrong-correlation that where we stopped being so great was when we started letting all these immigrants in-particularly Latino, etc.

If you notice when I discuss Trump I get very cagey about this desire to make him some kind of earth shattering outlier. No, he speaks to the racists in the GOP but not in the normal GOP dog whistle.

The media was fine with the dog whistle but the bullhorn they object to. I actually am happy about the bullhorn.

My hope remains a Trump-or Ted Cruz-candidacy and if not then at least a brokered campaign or a long drawn out fight. I do see Nate Silver's point that the GOP establishment will never accept him as the nominee but if they do manage to somehow keep him off the ballot by dirty tricks this will so anger the base that it would also be a nightmare for the party in the general.

I notice that Nate now is comparing this year's GOP primary to 1924. That is the best comparison and Tom Brown can attest I've mentioned 1924 weeks ago-if not months.

"It could get worse, GOP! 1924 Dem. convention: • Took 103 ballots • Dominated by KKK • Dems lost general elex by 25%

There are a few other historical antecedents-certainly 1964; though Goldwater lost the election but won the argument as that was the start of the Southern Strategy that would help the GOP win 5 of the next 6 elections. 

I see this election as largely the nadir of the SS. Goldwater was the start and Trump will mark it's end as a workable Presidential strategy-which doesn't mean that it won't continue to be used at the Congressional and state level. 

But 1924 is the best comparison. 

P.S. By the way, everyone is now saying that Trump is not funny anymore. Hillary is saying that too-though I wonder if she really means it. But in any case I still find it funny. 

Time will tell. Maybe I'm wrong and Trump not only wins the GOP primary-which I hope-but wins the general-which I find very remote. 

But I don't see that. As I assume this is the case I find it funny. See, I find guys like Rubio or Chris Christie much scarier than Trump because they can actually win a general. That's how W could win-he could con the media and a large part of the not so discerning public. 

There are a lot of people for whom you have to draw a picture for them to get anything. And Trump is that picture. 

So others can be scared of Trump. I'm still enjoying it. If he makes it to the general, I mean, HRC has so much ammo, I mean where to start?

P.S.S. Ok, while I genuinely find Trump's high jinks funny, what isn't so funny is when even Democrats start sounding Trumpian.

Or when Democrats vote with the GOP to ban refugees. I guess the difference is Trump is something happening to the Republican party but Loretta Sanchez shows us something happening to the country. 


  1. "but wins the general-which I find very remote"

    Somedbody on Hardball brought up an interesting point: Trump seems to be able to get away with rewriting history and changing his opinions like few others can. It's possible, that he could actually swing to the center in a general, and people would give him a pass on what he said six months prior. If he truly develops a cult of personality, I could see the bulk of his core supporters staying on board for a 180 degree turn back towards the center... and I could see the low-info center buy it too.

    Don't underestimate him! He's painting the press to be vile scum... so when one gets in his face and says "But last month you said..." He can claim "No, you're twisting things. That quote was taken out of context. Get this scum from the press out of here!"... and it might work. Lol.

    1. That'll be one reason why it'll be great if the UK bans him: it's a fact that will be difficult for him to gloss over in a debate. Hillary can tick of a list of countries that "must have all misunderstood you."

      I try never to underestimate the American public's ability to be brain dead. Clearly they're easily mesmerized by reality TV, and Trump is a master of that medium. They also seem to love conspiracy theories, fundamentalist preachers, health frauds and to believe creationism by a large margin over evolution. 25% of them think the moon landings were a hoax. I wouldn't put much "faith" in that crowd to do the right thing.

      Look at France: How did La Pen do so well? Wasn't it necessarily the case that some La Pen voter were only a short time ago voting Socialist or center right?

    2. La Pen though has a whole party coalition behind her that she's built up over time.

      See that's the difference I'm not worrying about Hillary in the general. She can handle him.

      The public is brain dead but they notice really obvious stuff like what Trump does.

      The GOP can win with dog whistle racism but it will be much tougher with bullhorn racism

    3. "The GOP can win with dog whistle racism but it will be much tougher with bullhorn racism"

      With Trump I think the racist crap will stop once he secures a nomination. This isn't really who Trump is in my opinion. Yes he's loud mouthed and bombastic but nothing in his considerable past suggests this is the real Donald, as far as I can tell.

      It has gotten to the point with Trump where he almost has to be kayfabe.

      This man has a pretty long track record of how he has treated people and how he has operated in his businesses. You don't get to where he has acting in a way that is consistent with how he is "talking" now.

      Whether he has been put up to it or if he is just taking it upon himself to be the parody of the ignorant white American doesn't really matter. The point is that the people he is attracting CAN be taken for this type of ride.

    4. Yes Greg. I've sensed that a lot of what Trump is saying he knows is baloney. It's like he's parodying these people and they don't see it. LOL

  2. Yes, I agree he could move to the Center. He's not even really conservative on a lot of issues as I noted in my piece.

    But I still don't think he has as a good a shot in the general as Rubio or Christie, etc.

    Nate Silver did say the general should be a tossup but that assumes the nominee is not Trump or Cruz. If it's one of them then then the chances of Hillary winning are more like 75%.

    I'm prepared to take my chances.

    1. Another thing on the positive side is that the minority groups he goes after will be less inclined to give him a pass. I don't think he's going to be winning over a big percent of Muslim or Latino voters no matter what he says later on at this point.

      Plus if he swings too far center, he might lose a few of the more extremist pundits: like Coulter for example. It's pretty clear her thing is white nationalism now... it'll be hard for her to do a 180 on that.

  3. The trouble is that by moving from dog whistle racism to bullhorn racism it will cost him.

    He may well go back on some stuff then but right now his support among Latinos is half of what Romney's-very paltry total-of 28%.

    No way can you win a general election with 13% Latino support.

    1. Looks like we were simultaneously typing out the same thing.

  4. But what you and I said is the thing. I could imagine even some Latino voters buying the presenation of a Jeb or a Rubio-enough to make it close.

    W got as much as 40% of the Latino vote. With Trump it's too obvious

  5. I see a lot of people of only noticing captain obvious stuff. If they see that they pounce. But if you''re a little tricky about it they'r'e easy to trick