Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Something to Know - 16 March

Mike Luckovich

It really is getting difficult to find anything positive about the Republican Party.   The front runner for president is a vulgar bore who can be scary if you take him seriously.  The rest of the pack, even though they have dwindled from 16 or 18 down to three now are lousy choices anyway.   The GOP has evolved into a big mess.  In my mind, they are going to lose big - even worse than when Goldwater ran against Lyndon Johnson.   The Republican National Committee is going to wind up doing something that will piss off Trump, and he will run off and do his own thing.   Protection of the Republican brand on the ballot for all those others running in November will be of prime importance to them.   What will kill Trump and the Republicans is that voters will turn up to vote against them.   

Donald Trump and the Super Tuesday II View from Mar-a-Lago
BY AMY DAVIDSON (the New Yorker Magazine)

"Sit down, everybody, please," Donald Trump said, midway through his victory speech on the night of Super Tuesday II. "I mean, this is Mar-a-Lago. We give you seats. You don't have to stand." And, indeed, the ballroom at Mar-a-Lago, the private club in Palm Beach, Florida, where Trump lives part time, and which he markets constantly, was outfitted with a few hundred gold-colored chairs. An injunction to sit down calmly would be a rare thing at a Trump rally, where, lately, some people have seemed more prepared to throw furniture than to sit on it. But, while some candidates attract their most revved-up crowds on election nights, using the suspense and tension of waiting for the results to build energy, Trump has, for the past few races, been treating these events as post-game press conferences. On Tuesday, his son Eric played the role of a bizarro Riley Curry, laughing and clapping as his father spoke. Although the event was still billed as a press conference, Trump dispensed with the part in which the press gets to ask questions. Instead, he gave what amounted to a recap of the latest episode in a hit series about the collapse of the Republican Party.

"This was an amazing evening," Trump said. "Florida was so amazing." For him, it was: he won forty-six per cent of the vote, to twenty-seven per cent for Marco Rubio and seventeen per cent for Ted Cruz—that is, more than the sum of their two totals. In the four other states that voted on Tuesday, Rubio was in the single digits, and, speaking from his home state, which he had just lost, he announced that he was suspending his campaign. Trump also won Illinois and North Carolina. Into the morning, Missouri remained too close to call, with Trump and Cruz each at about forty-one per cent. John Kasich kept his place by winning his home state, Ohio, with forty-seven per cent to Trump's thirty-six per cent. Kasich's explicit goal is to garner just enough delegates for him to be a respectable compromise candidate at a contested Republican National Convention, should Trump fail to get an outright majority.

There will, no doubt, be a good deal of excitement about Kasich—a straw, other than Cruz, for Trump's Republican opponents to grasp at. Trump didn't seem to care. He acted as if the Party were already his. He mentioned the endorsements he got from Chris Christie ("that was so incredible"), Sarah Palin ("she was incredible"), and Ben Carson ("wonderful man"), as well as phone conversations he had with Paul Ryan ("tremendous call") and Mitch McConnell, who has publicly said that he advised Trump to condemn violence at his rallies ("great conversation"). He was going to make America rich and great again ("and we need the rich in order to make the great, I'm sorry to tell you"). He'd win. "Everybody's writing about it, all over Europe; all over the world there's talking about it," Trump said of his electoral success, without mentioning that it's being written of as a farce—a moment of fearful frenzy.

The mistake people had made, according to Trump, was to assume that he was running "to have fun," rather than to win. "I mean, I'm having a good time," he said. "You know, I'm having a very nice time. But you know what? I'm working very hard, and there is great anger; believe me, there is great anger." It is a mistake to think of Trump as a man without any ideology—he's earned his reputation for nativism and bigotry—but a toxic mix of fun and anger is a defining characteristic of his campaign. "Is there anything more fun than a Trump rally?" is a question he regularly asks crowds, often as a protester is being dragged away.

"So we started and something happened called Paris. Paris happened"—the Paris terror attacks, which Trump, as with so many things, has reduced to brand-name shorthand. He went on, "And Paris was a disaster. There have been many disasters, but it was Paris. This whole run took on a whole new meaning—not just borders, not just good trade deals. . . . And the meaning was very simple: we need protection in our country, and that's going to happen. And all of a sudden the poll numbers shot up." Frightening words and images generally made his numbers go up, in his telling, even when the scary thing was, ostensibly, his own campaign. After being the target of more negative advertising than anybody, he said—"by the way, mostly false; I wouldn't say a hundred per cent, but maybe ninety per cent"—his numbers had gone up, too. That is not a hundred per cent true, either, but he is the prohibitive front-runner.

There were no Trump steaks or other products on display, as at a previous press conference, but this one did have the Trumpian touch of a long story about golf, which was also a story about negative advertising. There he was, at the WGC-Cadillac Championship at the Trump National Doral golf course, hanging out with the winner, Adam Scott—"this handsome kid from Australia"—and several "top executives," surrounded by television screens on which negative ads about him kept playing, as Trump tried to distract his guests, saying "Isn't the grass beautiful? Look, look—don't watch.' " Then, during the award ceremony, there was suddenly a commercial break, and two negative ads played: "I said nooo!"—Trump mimed covering his eyes, to more laughter and applause. "Oh, what a day that was, what a disaster, what a disaster."


Donald Trump aids and abets violence.

- An American Story

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