A Philosopher's Blog

Trumping Along

Posted in Philosophy, Politics by Michael LaBossiere on January 28, 2016

Despite the predictions of many pundits, presidential candidate Donald Trump still leads the Republican pack as of the end of January.  As should be expected, Trump’s remarks have resulted in criticism from the left. Somewhat unexpectedly, he has also been condemned by many conservatives. The National Review, a bastion of conservative thought, devoted an entire issue to harsh condemnation of Trump. This is certainly a fascinating situation and will no doubt become a chapter in many future political science textbooks.

That Trump is doing well should itself not be surprising. As I have argued in previous essays, he is the logical result of the strategies and tactics of the Republican Party. The Republican establishment has been feeding the beast; they should not be shocked that it has grown large. They crafted the ideal political ecosystem for Trump; they should not be dismayed that he has dominated this niche. As in so many horror stories, perhaps they realize they have created a monster and now they are endeavoring to destroy it.

It is not entirely clear what the “(un)friendly fire” of fellow Republicans is supposed to accomplish. One possibility is that the establishment hopes that these attacks will knock Trump down and allow a candidate more appealing to the establishment to win the nomination. Trump, many pundits claim, would lose in the general election and the Republicans certainly wish to win. However, Trump should not be counted out—he has repeatedly proven the pundits wrong and he might be, oddly enough, the best chance for a Republican victory in 2016.

The United States electorate has changed in recent years and Trump seems to be able to appeal very strongly to certain elements of this population. Bernie Sanders has also been able to appeal very strongly to other elements—and perhaps some of the same. As such, the Republican establishment might wish to reconsider their view of Trump’s chances relative to the other candidates.

That said, while Trump has done quite well in the polls, this is rather different from doing well in the actually trench work of politics. Doing well in the polls is rather like being a popular actor or athlete—this does not require a broad organization and a nationwide political machine. Trump is certainly a media star—quite literally. Soon, however, the “ground game” begins and the received opinion is this is where organization and political chops are decisive. Critics have pointed out, sweating just a bit, that Trump does not seem to have much of a ground game and certainly has little political chop building experience. Doing well in this ground game is analogous to doing well in a war; it remains to be seen if Trump can transition from reality TV star to political general.

As a counter to this, it can be argued that Trump could simply ride on his popularity and this would offset any weaknesses he has in regards to his organization and political chops. After all, highly motivated voters could simply get things done for him.

A second possibility is that at least some of the critics of Trump are motivated by more than concerns about pragmatic politics: they have a moral concern about Trump’s words and actions. Some of the concern is based on the assertion that Trump is not a true conservative. These concerns are well-founded: Trump is certainly not a social conservative and, while wealthy, he does not seem to have a strong commitment to classic conservative ideology. Other aspects of the concern are based on Trumps character and style; he is often regarded as a vulgar populist.

Those who oppose Trump on these grounds would presumably not be swayed by evidence that Trump could do well in the general election—if he is an awful candidate, he would presumably be worse as president. This election could be a very interesting test of party loyalty (and Hillary loathing). Some Republicans have said that they will not vote for Trump and most of these have made it clear they will not vote for a Democrat. As such, the Democrat might win in virtue of Republican voters not voting. After all, a Republican who does not vote is almost as good as a vote for the Democrat. As such, it is not surprising that a popular conspiracy theory speculates that Trump is an agent of the Clintons.

 

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  1. ajmacdonaldjr said, on January 28, 2016 at 8:19 pm

    Trump is the LAST NAIL in the coffin for the GOP. That should be OBVIOUS to anyone.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on January 29, 2016 at 4:00 pm

      Trump can still win it all. Voter apathy will lead to a very low turnout, so victory will go to the most enthusiastic minority. Trump just needs to get enough to win the electoral college-not even a majority of the few who actually bother to vote.

  2. Glen Wallace said, on January 28, 2016 at 8:51 pm

    If Bloomberg decides to run, there is the possibility that he will take enough votes away from Sanders to pave the way to a Trump victory. Therefore the possibility should be considered for a need to amend the constitution to allow for a 3rd, or more, presidential term. While Obama may not want a third term as president, he may be convinced to run if he is convinced that it would be the only way to prevent a Trump victory. Presumably if Obama does run again, Bloomberg would not and thus give Obama a much greater chance of for victory than Sanders. While most would assume that Republicans would not support amending the constitution and pave a way for another Obama term, given the mainstream Republican opposition to Trump, that may not be a safe assumption.

    • nailheadtom said, on January 28, 2016 at 10:16 pm

      Geez, now you’re looking ahead to an election 5 years into the future? And what about Mrs. Obama, she’s already being considered as presidential material. It’s all kabuki theatre anyway, the schnooks wandering around on the fruited plain are just members of the audience. Casting that sacred vote is just as influential on the future as wearing a Bronco’s jersey for the next two weeks. Better to spend that half-hour needed to punch a hole in a ballot mixing up some brownies.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on January 29, 2016 at 4:02 pm

      I don’t think even Trump could get Obama to stick around for another 4 years. Also, the two-term rule seems like a good idea, despite its origin story.

    • ronster12012 said, on February 4, 2016 at 8:13 am

      Glen

      Why the panic at the prospect of a Trump win to the extent of constitutional change, or a third party run?To this complete outsider he looks like the only candidate that isn’t owned by the jews/big business/ warmongers/ banksters ….or perhaps that is the actual reason for the panic?

      Don’t Americans care about their politicians being owned?

  3. TJB said, on January 29, 2016 at 11:13 am

    Yes, I believe the GOP as we know it is disappearing. Mike doesn’t see it, but Trump is a creation of Obama.

    The Dems went tribal under Obama, so it was only a matter of time before the GOP responded.

    Just as Obama put together a tribal coalition of blacks, Hispanics, millennials, etc. and demonized middle and lower class whites (remember the “bitter clingers”?), Trump is putting together a tribal coalition of working class whites and blacks, and so far he has demonized illegal immigrants and Muslims.

    Personally, I have despised the tribal politics of the Dems, and if the GOP goes tribal, too, they will have sunk to the Dem’s level.

    • Michael LaBossiere said, on January 29, 2016 at 4:02 pm

      Truly Obama is the source of all evils.

      • TJB said, on January 29, 2016 at 4:28 pm

        Check your privilege. Nobody cares what a while male thinks.

  4. TJB said, on January 29, 2016 at 11:18 am

    I lay this kind of tribalism at Obama’s feet, too.

    Former NBA star and now TNT NBA analyst Charles Barkley appeared on the Wednesday broadcast of the “Dan Patrick Show” on NBC Sports.

    Barkley told host Dan Patrick that he feels ESPN is “framing the narrative” of Super Bowl 50 into “black versus white, good versus evil” since the matchup’s starting quarterbacks are Peyton Manning and Cam Newton.

    “ESPN has already started their crap about black versus white, good versus evil and I know a lot of those fools over there got radio talk shows,” he said. “It really annoys the hell out of me. We really just can’t appreciate the greatness of Peyton [Manning]. And clearly, Cam is on the track to become one of the greatest players ever. You can already see them framing the narrative ‘black versus white, good versus evil.’”

    The NBA Hall of Fame player also added he would not be a fan of how his fellow former Auburn star celebrates and enjoys himself on the field.

    “Let me tell you something, as much as I love Cam Newton, if I played against him, I would put a hit on him, no question,’’ Barkley stated. “They rub it in pretty good.”

    http://www.breitbart.com/video/2016/01/28/barkley-espn-turning-super-bowl-50-into-a-black-versus-white-race-battle/

  5. Glen Wallace said, on February 22, 2016 at 2:42 pm

    I’m now leaning towards the belief that Hillary has already been appointed by the powers that be to be the next POTUS, and Trump has been assigned the role, by those same powers, of a rallying figure for the opposition. Therefore, Trump, as planned, will be the Republican nominee and his radical fascist rantings will rally the left leaning electorate to a high turnout and near unanimous support for Hillary to, if nothing else, stop the megalomaniac, egomaniac Trump from becoming President. It’s working for me to the point where I would vote for Hillary instead of, as I have in the last couple presidential elections, the socialist workers party candidate.

    Why I am I so opposed to Trump? I would respond with another question: Why do his supporters believe anything he has to say. Trump’s track record is that of a very self centered individual who only serves himself, while the office of the president is supposed to be a role of civil service to the country. How do his supporters know he isn’t just saying whatever he thinks they want to hear to get what he wants? If he thinks people want to hear something politically incorrect, that’s what he will do, regardless of what is on his mind, but everyone will assume he is bravely speaking his mind. But it seems from his past history, the only thing on Trump’s mind is what he can do or say to help himself.

    As for Trump’s immigrant deportation plan I’ll just post here a short essay I already wrote elsewhere on that matter: A mass deportation of all the undocumented immigrants, as Trump has vowed to do if elected President, would likely be a humanitarian disaster. Already, an estimated half of all undocumented aliens detained by ICE are housed in private prisons. Additionally hundreds of those detainees were wrongly detained even though they were legal US citizens. In one case, a US citizen named Hector Veloz was detained by ICE for over a year, all the while Veloz did everything he could, including presenting his birth certificate to the immigration courts. Additionally, widespread reports of abuses of those detainees, regardless of their legal status, has also been reported. If Trumps plans were implemented, I believe we would be seeing a modern day Trail of Tears for the undocumented and wrongfully deported US citizens. But Trump’s plan would be a huge windfall for the private prisons, who would no doubt milk such a deportation for all its worth — including delaying the deportation process and hold inmates longer than necessary in order to keep our public dollars flowing that are tied to those inmates remaining in those private prisons.

    • ronster12012 said, on February 22, 2016 at 7:41 pm

      Glen

      What happens if Trump’s role in this play(if your contention that that is what it is)then turns into real support? They will have created a monster… And even if he is just playing a part in a charade, he has let many cats out of many bags…how does that help TPTB if they lose control of the narrative?

      ………………………………………………………………………………………….
      “Why I am I so opposed to Trump? I would respond with another question: Why do his supporters believe anything he has to say. Trump’s track record is that of a very self centered individual who only serves himself, while the office of the president is supposed to be a role of civil service to the country. How do his supporters know he isn’t just saying whatever he thinks they want to hear to get what he wants? If he thinks people want to hear something politically incorrect, that’s what he will do, regardless of what is on his mind, but everyone will assume he is bravely speaking his mind. But it seems from his past history, the only thing on Trump’s mind is what he can do or say to help himself.”
      ……………………………………………………………………………………………

      Couldn’t all the above be applied to Hillary? And she is a totally owned creature as well as a warmonger. Perhaps you can point out where and by whom Trump is owned.

      This is the reason he is so opposed by your elites, he isn’t owned by them. He probably isn’t blackmailable either or else skeletons would have been long since exposed. Who knows what is being held over the other candidates?

      ……………………………………………………………………………………………..
      “As for Trump’s immigrant deportation plan I’ll just post here a short essay I already wrote elsewhere on that matter: A mass deportation of all the undocumented immigrants, as Trump has vowed to do if elected President, would likely be a humanitarian disaster. ”
      ………………………………………………………………………………………………

      I can see where your confusion comes from, your failing to distinguish between legal and illegal immigrants. They are two different things and can be treated differently.At least was is the case in all countries till recently. It was a simple matter…come legally, fine, come illegally and you get deported. And it is still normal and acceptable that non white countries countries have a right to determine who come in and who stays out. In white countries however, it has come to be seen as an illegitimate concept that we have a right to determine who and in what numbers enters our societies.

      As you say you normally vote for SWP candidates, who presumably would allow unlimited illegal immigrants to overwhelm your country. How does this help the American working class that the SWP supposedly supports? Or are they unworthy of support?

      • ronster12012 said, on February 23, 2016 at 4:46 am

        Glen

        i just came across this article about how Hillary refused to give a straight answer to the question of whether she ever has or would lie to the American people.

        http://freebeacon.com/politics/hillary-clinton-refuses-has-not-will-not-lie-american-people/

        So do you support her after that? i would have thought that any candidate anywhere in the world refusing to rule out lying to the electorate would be enough to finish them on the spot….perhaps americans like to be lied to?

        And Zerohedge has a longish piece on six of the Hildabeast’s biggest blunders…ethics demand that you really should vote for Trump, at the very least he is not as morally repugnant as her lol

        • WTP said, on February 23, 2016 at 11:09 am

          So do you support her after that? i would have thought that any candidate anywhere in the world refusing to rule out lying to the electorate would be enough to finish them on the spot….perhaps americans like to be lied to?

          He supports the Socialist Workers’ Party, a descendant of the Communist League of America. Hillary is a paragon of virtue by comparison.

          • ronster12012 said, on February 23, 2016 at 11:31 am

            WTP

            I often see socialists talking as if they occupied some higher moral ground…..when in reality the main result of their ideology is a pile of dead bodies 100million+(USSR+PRC). Why is that so?

            They often don’t want to actually debate anyone who disagrees with their views either. Perhaps it is because it is more pseudo religion than anything else?

            • WTP said, on February 23, 2016 at 11:55 am

              It’s part of what drives them to make the ISIS is not Islamic!!11!!! arguments. The pattern fits their “Socialism is not communism” BS. Which of course, is true in the beginning. It’s the failures of socialism leading to the need to reach for more and more control, to a greater degree and amplification, and thus they fail before reaching full communism in all but the most screwed up societies. In the latter of course (NK, China, Pol Pot Cambodia, Stalin’s USSR, others) you get the full monty and the larger killing fields.

            • WTP said, on February 23, 2016 at 12:03 pm

              Also, re “They often don’t want to actually debate anyone who disagrees with their views either.” Of course not. Thus they must demonize all who disagree with them. They’re taking the high road, you see (sniff, sniff). This is what also is driving the special snowflake/microagression/etc. movement. Moral preening puts them above the level of common, uneducated…well we used to say “the great unwashed” but given the way they’ve even politicized proper hygiene as an oppressive western patriarchal construct, but I digress…scum who dare to have different ideas, thus they don’t need to deal with ideas that challenge their beliefs. Such opposing ideas are immediately discredited from the get-go.

            • Michael LaBossiere said, on February 23, 2016 at 3:45 pm

              Stalin’s “socialism” is rather different from Sander’s socialism, just like the Republic of China is rather different from our republic of the United States.

            • WTP said, on February 23, 2016 at 4:52 pm

              Stalin’s “socialism” is rather different from Sander’s socialism, just like the Republic of China is rather different from our republic of the United States.

              Yeah, just like the RoC is rather different from the US. Yeah, just like that.

              OK, a bit over the top…but not in comparison…And as I said at 11:55 above, The pattern fits their “Socialism is not communism” BS. .

        • Michael LaBossiere said, on February 23, 2016 at 3:43 pm

          Given her political acumen, I expected a better handling of such an easy question. Also, she would certainly lie.

      • Michael LaBossiere said, on February 23, 2016 at 3:42 pm

        True, Trump could actually win. But, many establishment Republicans have publicly stated they will simply not vote for president if it is Trump vs Hillary.


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