Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Rationale Changes but the Theory Never Does

There's always the new Trump has gone too far moment. Last week, Lawrence O'Donnell and other Very Serious Pundits declared that the Muslim ban was it. That's just it. Trump is gone.

Now his numbers have actually soared to untold heights. The two latest national polls have him at 40 percent or close enough to it. Now I guess 40 percent will be his new top-remember when it was 25 percent? And this is in a 14 person race.

There are an awful lot of people who need to come to their senses. There was an interesting piece in Politico by Jake Tapper yesterday night about the demand by some media pundits that they simply refuse to cover Trump at all.

"The working premise behind the Trump ban seems to be that journalists should avoid stories that have a potential to make things “worse” (i.e., increase Trump support) and instead produce stories that have a potential to make things “better” (i.e., a decrease in Trump support). But a journalist’s primary duty isn’t to produce stories that push history in the “correct” direction—whatever that is—or to self-censor anything that might possibly encourage a “bad” outcome. Sometimes newsgathering stimulates a happy result, but it’s not the only way to judge the worthiness of a story.

Read more:

I have to find I have a real problem with the very idea that it's up to the media to pick and choose which candidates are acceptable. I think that's up to the democratic process. I wish the media would spend as much time being accurate as worrying about making sure the right candidates win.

Listen, I get it that the media finds Trump's bullhorn racism off putting but they have themselves to blame. For years they turned a blind eye to the GOP's dog whistle racism. That in their mind was respectable-just a matter of partisan he said she said. You know 'Democrats say it's racist.' Now suddenly they want to categorically declare 'This is racist' but their failure on dog whistle racism set this up. Pious words and gestures aren't going to end it now. Maybe they can learn something going forward when the Trump phenomenon is done.

Perhaps as a companion piece with the media desire to see Trump's poll numbers fall they keep declaring that Trump is just a boomlet that will be over any day now. Josh Marshall considers the question of whether Trump can win:

"Nate Cohn has a good piece in the Times today looking at the reasons why Donald Trump probably won't be the nominee. And there are very solid arguments ranging from recent history - Newt Gingrich was killing it right now in 2012 - to various more granular arguments about the polls. I confess I've struggled with this question a lot - not anything about Trump himself but the predictive question, can he win and do I think he will win? In general, I've got a decent record of predicting these things. And that's mainly because, like a good pilot, when you're in bad or uncertain conditions, you need to watch your instruments rather than what you see out the window or what you feel."

Maybe these more granular arguments about polls make ia a good piece-but comparing Trump to Newt is absurd. Trump simply hasn't been a boomlet. It's six months. New Gingrich was up in the polls for a few weeks.

Meanwhile Nate Silver is claiming that it's just that Trump is getting more media coverage. Right he's still just in the discovery phase now.

Remember when Nate was telling us that it's because no one is paying attention and then the polls showed they are paying attention and he said that predicts nothing? I notice that Harry Enten, Nate's buddy at FiveThirtyEight talks a lot of there being no precedent for Trump.

But precedent tells us what happened in the future not what might happen in the future. And there is some precedent for Trump-Barry Goldwater.

Now they media is hanging their hats on Rush Limbaugh criticizing Trump for talking about Cruz's unpopularity in the Senate. Mark Levine also criticized Trump for this.

Rush did later qualify that he's not knocking Trump. Of course, Cruz is just as objectionable to the Establishment as Trump.

This is the one thing that Trump has said that has led to some criticism by the Right wing talk radio hosts-though not across the board.

But Trump's base is not quite the same as Cruz's. Cruz is the movement conservatives. Trump's base is different. I don't know that this bothers them so much. For this reason, I don't place so much credence to this argument by Paul Waldman:

"James Downie makes a good point: Ted Cruz may well be the only credible GOP presidential candidate who really understands what makes the right tick. And nominating him would be good for the country:

"If he were to be the nominee, it would be good news for the Democrats in the short term and the country in the long term. His ideologically extreme positions would hand Hillary Clinton an edge in what the fundamentals still suggest is otherwise likely to be a close election. And a Cruz loss would be most likely to end the myth on the far right that “Republicans lose presidential elections when they don’t run far enough to the right.”

"Hard to see them arguing after a massive Cruz loss that Republicans should have nominated a real conservative, but these days, you never know."

I get the argument but my thought is that the GOP is kind of in another 1964 moment. This idea that if Trump loses the general then the 'Didn't run far enough to the Right' argument will still be in play misses the fact that there is a realignment going on in the GOP as we speak.

I don't know exactly what it will end up looking like but I predict no matter what happens for the rest of the primary and even the general, the GOP in January 2017 will be a new and different animal than it was for the last 42 years-going back to Goldwater's rise.
I suspect the party will splinter and that a faction may well try to launch a Trump party. But the idea that the GOP will just go back to normal after the election-that cow has already left the barn. 
P.S, Just 26 minutes to the-rather pointless-Kid's Table debate. They are wondering if Trump and Cruz go at it tonight. My guess is probably not. Trump should probably hit the Establishment guys-and the one Establishment girl, Carly. 
Cruz is smart with the hugging closer theory. 

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