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Trump times… May 10, 2016

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

There’s a most interesting analysis from the ever excellent Jamelle Bouie on Slate which suggests that Trump may have real structural and other problems facing him in respect of winning the Presidential election even before the first debate between him and (one presumes) Clinton. In regard to women voters, Hispanic voters, black American voters and others Trump has massive disapproval ratings. The example of Florida is given.

Florida, for example, is critical. Republicans can’t win without it. To flip the state, Trump has to outperform Romney with Latino voters—there just aren’t enough non-Hispanic whites to make up the difference. How does Trump fare among Latinos?
Eighty-seven percent of all Latino voters have a negative view of Trump, according to a new Latino Decisions national survey. In Florida, it’s 84 percent. In other Latino heavy swing states like Colorado and Nevada, it’s 91 percent and 87 percent, respectively. If Trump loses 87 percent of Latino voters nationwide (and nothing else changes from 2012), the Democrats add North Carolina to their 2012 haul as well as 8 million more popular votes.

But in a way, and assuming that Bouie’s conclusion that Trump is hugely unlikely to win, is correct, there’s a deeper issue. Trump may just be the first of many such candidates. ‘Self-made’ politicians, million and billionaires, using populist rhetoric and in many respects distorting or fraying the political structure as they weave through them. Nor is he entirely anomalous. Berlusconi (???) is not a million miles from him. There are others too even closer to home though none that has reached the heady heights of Trump.

What strikes me most about Trump is how he manages to blend nothing in with his rhetoric. And I mean nothing quite literally. His policy platforms are tissue paper thin, and yet those who support him don’t care. His rhetoric is the main thing – ‘you’ll win big, you’ll be so sick of winning’ etc, etc.

And yet it succeeds – or has succeeded. Perhaps in an American conservative milieu riven between libertarians, social and religious conservatives and neo-liberals of one stripe or another that was near enough inevitable (check out this view from inside the Republican party which notes some of the distinct groups within them – ). The Republican’s party seeming indifference to its own base – near enough contempt for it, had already led to one rupture with the appearance of the Tea Party. But Trump is a different phenomenon from the Tea Party (indeed notable is how low profile the TP is in all this) even if some of its enthusiasms are represented by him. But he’s not of the TP exactly – hence his apostasy on certain issues. But their intransigence isn’t alien to his bluster. Anything but. It is simply that he has overridden their concerns as he has the concerns of the Republican establishment and so on.

In a way the question as to whether Trump is a fascist is beside the point. What he represents is a structural deformation in US politics, one perhaps that encompasses the entirety of the spectrum from left to right where the centre of gravity has tilted ever more rightwards but again in such a way as to lose significant portions of the base.

Perhaps that is why he can win in the seeming house of cards that is the Republican party, that edifice seems rickety at best, but not further afield.

And perhaps not even there. It is striking to see so many Republicans publicly turning their backs on Trump. I’m trying to think of a similar dynamic in recent years and I can’t. Whether Romney, McCain or Dole there weren’t these sort of fissures, this sort of dissidence. It’s genuinely remarkable. If only a few percent of Republicans – if their votes run to libertarian candidates, or other third parties, or they just sit on their hands, that too will weigh upon the outcome.


1. CL - May 10, 2016

” But the Trump campaign has already changed US and world politics — and it will make an even deeper imprint in the next six months of campaigning.
Themes and ideas that were on the fringes have now entered the political mainstream, and they will not disappear if and when Mr Trump loses.”

“Trump would likely need to win around 65 percent of the white vote to prevail. The only election in recent times when any nominee pulled off such a feat was in 1984, when President Ronald Reagan won in a landslide….
The game changers: Pennsylvania (20 electoral votes), Michigan (16 electoral votes) and Wisconsin (10 electoral votes)
Victory in any two of these three states would give Trump a real chance of taking the White House. They are at the heart of his claim that he can expand the electoral map.”


WorldbyStorm - May 10, 2016

In a divided Republican party can he possibly achieve what Reagan did with a party effectively as one behind him?


CL - May 10, 2016

“Six months from Election Day, the presidential races between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in the three most crucial states, Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania, are too close to call,” Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac Poll, said in a statement, also noting that Trump at this point is doing better in Pennsylvania than the GOP nominees in 2008 and 2012.”


2. Phil - May 10, 2016

The thing about anti-political populists – people like Berlusconi or Boris Johnson – is that when they’ve got power they do nothing with it; all they want is the money, the adulation and the (wholly negative) power not to be told what to do. It makes them the ideal candidates for people who genuinely hate politics – elect your man, cheer him when he blames everything on the Commies, laugh at him when he looks stupid, gossip about his love life/tax-dodging/etc. If political citizenship looks too much like hard work, try citizenship as fandom!

In some ways Trump fits right into that mould. In others, I’m not so sure. There’s a real anger there, both on the platform and in the base he’s rallying – and, while his policy platform is thin, those few policies he has put his name to are, pretty much without exception, both outlandish and terrifying. I don’t think evocations of Fascism are at all excessive.


WorldbyStorm - May 10, 2016

+100. That’s a fantastic point Phil. They do nothing. Nothing at all.


3. dmoc - May 10, 2016

I’m not so sure. Too many BAU types write him off because they have a psychological need to believe in BAU.

I wonder what would happen to T’s negatives if he picks this Hispanic woman as VP, for example?

On the subject of negatives, Hillary has T beat. Other analysis suggests that her negs are higher than his. Many lefties won’t vote for her. I know of some who will vote 3rd party (“wasting your vote”, haha) instead of voting for that monstrous woman.


Back in January when things were far more fluid (and a T prez much less likely) J.M. Greer predicted his victory in November. Greer’s been on a huge class-kick with his posts since January – a more knowledgeable man writing within the USA you will not find. Beginning with this post, he takes apart the USA’s identity politics, to focus on class divisions (this is a rare thing here).

Trump does have support in the black and latino communities; this gets white-washed by the MSM coverage, who want to play the “T and his supporters are racists” card. No, not as high as the Dems, but higher than many other GOP candidates. Anyway, class:


QUOTE: The centerpiece of most of these insults, when they’re not simply petulant schoolboy taunts aimed at Trump’s physical appearance, is the claim that he’s stupid. This is hardly surprising, as a lot of people on the leftward end of American culture love to use the kind of demeaning language that attributes idiocy to those who disagree with them. Thus it probably needs to be pointed out here that Trump is anything but stupid. He’s extraordinarily clever, and one measure of his cleverness is the way that he’s been able to lure so many of his opponents into behaving in ways that strengthen his appeal to the voters that matter most to his campaign…

So that’s the first thing that has to be set aside to make sense of the Trump phenomenon. The second is going to be rather more challenging for many of my readers: the notion that the only divisions in American society that matter are those that have some basis in biology. Skin color, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability—these are the lines of division in society that Americans like to talk about, whatever their attitudes to the people who fall on one side or another of those lines. …

Are the lines of division just named important? Of course they are. Discriminatory treatment on the basis of those factors is a pervasive presence in American life today. The facts remain that there are other lines of division in American society that lack that anchor in biology, that some of these are at least as pervasive in American life as those listed above—and that some of the most important of these are taboo topics, subjects that most people in the US today will not talk about.

Here’s a relevant example. It so happens that you can determine a huge amount about the economic and social prospects of people in America today by asking one remarkably simple question: how do they get most of their income? Broadly speaking—there are exceptions, which I’ll get to in a moment—it’s from one of four sources: returns on investment, a monthly salary, an hourly wage, or a government welfare check. People who get most of their income from one of those four things have a great many interests in common, so much so that it’s meaningful to speak of the American people as divided into an investment class, a salary class, a wage class, and a welfare class….

….these classes aren’t identical to the divisions that Americans like to talk about. That is, there are plenty of people with light-colored skin in the welfare class, and plenty of people with darker skin in the wage class. Things tend to become a good deal more lily-white in the two wealthier classes, though even there you do find people of color. In the same way, women, gay people, disabled people, and so on are found in all four classes, and how they’re treated depends a great deal on which of these classes they’re in. If you’re a disabled person, for example, your chances of getting meaningful accommodations to help you deal with your disability are by and large considerably higher if you bring home a salary than they are if you work for a wage.

the wage class? Over the last half century, the wage class has been destroyed.

In 1966 an American family with one breadwinner working full time at an hourly wage could count on having a home, a car, three square meals a day, and the other ordinary necessities of life, with some left over for the occasional luxury. In 2016, an American family with one breadwinner working full time at an hourly wage is as likely as not to end up living on the street, and a vast number of people who would happily work full time even under those conditions can find only part-time or temporary work when they can find any jobs at all. The catastrophic impoverishment and immiseration of the American wage class is one of the most massive political facts of our time—and it’s also one of the most unmentionable. Next to nobody is willing to talk about it, or even admit that it happened.

The destruction of the wage class was largely accomplished by way of two major shifts in American economic life. The first was the dismantling of the American industrial economy and its replacement by Third World sweatshops; the second was mass immigration from Third World countries. Both of these measures are ways of driving down wages—not, please note, salaries, returns on investment, or welfare payments—by slashing the number of wage-paying jobs, on the one hand, while boosting the number of people competing for them on the other. Both, in turn, were actively encouraged by government policies and, despite plenty of empty rhetoric on one or the other side of the Congressional aisle, both of them had, for all practical purposes, bipartisan support from the political establishment.


WorldbyStorm - May 10, 2016

I think there’s a lot of truth in what you and indeed Greer say. But it is early days yet. Trump still seems oddly shaky. That could, as you say change. But it has to change a lot. John Dickerson was saying on Slate that one major advantage he had was so many Republican candidates. When it came down to it there was no way a solid anti-Trump approach could coalesce around any single candidate because they were whittled away so rapidly.

Anyhow, I can only hope he doesn’t win, the sheer deceitfulness of his approach is stunning.


4. sonofstan - May 10, 2016

I spent a fair bit of last week in the company of Americans in Europe, so completely untypical, and heard again the thing they used to do in the Bush years and apologise for their compatriots. And I thought, well that’s no good, because if the trump voter hears you telling some European how ashamed you are of him, he’s hardly going to go ‘ohmigod, Bernie, yes!’

Because ultimately, the consequences of a Trump presidency for the class of Americans that I was talking to will be limited to being embarrassed in front of their foreign friends. Trump won’t take away their educational advantage, tax their trust funds, or even mess with their liberal rights much. the people who will suffer, and continue to suffer, will be the people who have suffered under every president since Reagan, republican or democrat.

Liked by 2 people

5. gendjinn - May 10, 2016

This election is Clinton’s to win. Demographics, opponent, symbolism.

If the Dems don’t win the presidential, it would be as unlikely event as someone as dumb as GWB beating say a Gore or a Kerry.

C’mon, Clinton’s got this.



CL - May 10, 2016

“Trump has a better chance of cameoing in another “Home Alone” movie with Macaulay Culkin — or playing in the NBA Finals — than winning the Republican nomination.”)


gendjinn - May 11, 2016

My paradox is that I cannot conceive of a way the Dems could blow this election with the structural advantages they have over the GOP and the tactical advantages over Trump.

It would be criminal malpractice of GUBU proportions for the Dems to lose this one.

And yet I’m naggingly worried that blowing those advantages is precisely what they will do.


Oh god I hope I’m wrong!


CL - May 11, 2016

“There are lots and lots and lots of ways for Clinton — or any Democratic nominee — to get to 270 electoral votes. There are very few ways for Trump — or any Republican nominee — to get there.”


gendjinn - May 11, 2016

So that piece was insightful thinking about 5 to 10 years ago. It’s that out of date and it’s not taking into consideration the fact that independents are no longer temporarily embarrassed Reps/Dems, they are now a group of people that overwhelmingly despise both parties.

All the models keep assuming you can lump the INDs into GOP or Dem leaners, and then that will how they will vote.

This election is a very weird one, with a lot of powerful culture forces raging across the political landscape. More like Greece, Spain in the last few years than any election in the US I’ve seen or read about since WW2.


CL - May 11, 2016

So who will the independents vote for if not for Trump or Clinton?


6. oconnorlysaght - May 11, 2016

But there are ways for him to do it.


7. Gewerkschaftler - May 11, 2016

Trump will lose. Brexit won’t happen.

But my main problem with Trump is that he has given War, Walmart & Wall St. Woman space to win while entirely ignoring Sander’s constituency. She will turn on them after the election.

Believe me, a Clinton presidency will not be pretty.


sonofstan - May 11, 2016

Yes. I imagine for many Americans it’ll feel as bad as it did for French leftists voting for Chirac for fear of LePen


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