Monday, May 9, 2016

Something to Know - 9 May

Stuart Carlson

The trend in columnists and pundits is that the GeeOpie has taken over the action and that the Republican Party is in peril.   This column by Charles Blow from the NY Times is an example.   I will be out on the high seas again (San Diego to Vancouver, and points in between, and will return around the end of May.   My daughter-in-law may interject a few of her postings on this space in the interim.

The Opinion Pages | OP-ED COLUMNIST

G.O.P. Has Only Itself to Blame

Charles M. Blow MAY 9, 2016

The Republican Party is trapped between a rock and huckster.

Now that all of their other presidential candidates have dropped out of the race, Donald Trump is the last demagogue standing. He is their presumptive nominee. Their party belongs to him. It's a YUUGE … disaster.

Now the few remaining serious folks in that party have to make a decision: support this man who, if current trends in polling hold, is likely to lose the general election by an overwhelming margin (and likely do even more damage to the party brand and hurt the chances of down-ballot candidates), or they can … wait, they don't really have another option other than to sit out this cycle and pretend that their party hasn't gone stark raving mad.

The House speaker, Paul Ryan, told CNN last week that he is "just not ready" to support Trump.

Jeb Bush posted on Facebook, "I will not vote for Donald Trump." His brother and father are both refusing to endorse Trump.

Mitt Romney, the Republicans' last presidential nominee, has also said that he won't support Trump.

Lindsey Graham said last week that he "cannot in good conscience" support Trump.

Many prominent Republicans have also indicated that they will skip the party's convention.

CNN reported last week that Erick Erickson, a conservative blogger, radio host and leader of the #NeverTrump movement, has "had a number of conversations about laying the groundwork for a third-party candidate to oppose Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton in the general election."

"If the delegates ratify this madness in Cleveland, many of us will look elsewhere for a credible candidate to oppose both Trump and Clinton," Erickson told CNN.

If you didn't already believe that whoever wins the Democratic nomination would be a huge favorite to win in November, a third-party conservative candidate would seal the deal.

But please, shed not a single tear for this conservative calamity. They brought it on themselves. They allowed their unhinged contempt for — and in some cases, even hatred of — Obama to drive them insane, into the arms of a walking absurdity who catered to their rage.

Now, that man — simultaneously an unbelievable joke and an undeniable threat — is on the verge of ripping the party, and indeed the country, apart (even as he insists that he's "very much a unifier").

It's not that Trump's chances of winning in November are particularly good. According to The Upshot, "If today's general election polling holds true, Hillary Clinton will easily defeat Donald Trump."

The Los Angeles Times put it in even starker terms: "To reach the 270 electoral votes it takes, the businessman and reality TV star will have to carry a number of states that have not voted Republican in well over a generation, while prevailing in several battlegrounds where, polls show, he starts behind."

No, the threat is not that he will necessarily win, but that he will further poison our national dialogue in the six months between now and Election Day, and the off chance that maybe, just maybe, a September surprise could turn his sliver of a chance into an actual victory.

This what-if, worst-case possibility that America might do the unimaginable — and elect Trump to our highest office — is severely unsettling.

Even the president, speaking of Trump at a press conference on Friday, had to impress upon everyone how serious it is that the country is flirting with disaster: "I just want to emphasize the degree to which we are in serious times and this is a really serious job. This is not entertainment. This is not a reality show. This is a contest for the presidency of the United States. "

Sure, there are some prominent Republicans tucking their tails, biting their tongues and swallowing hard as they begrudgingly announce their support for the presumptive Republican nominee.

But they no doubt see what the Pew Research Center reported last month: "Unfavorable opinions of the G.O.P. are now as high as at any point since 1992." They know that Trump will send that number sinking, as if tied to a brick.

Trump has used a toxic mix of bullying and bluster, xenophobia and nationalism, misogyny and racism, to appeal to the darker nature of the Republican Party and secure his place as the unlikeliest presidential nominee in recent American history.

That paved his path, coupled with what Jim Clifton, chairman and C.E.O. at Gallup, called earlier this year "a staggering" three-fourths of Americans believing "corruption is 'widespread' in the U.S. government." As Clifton emphasized: "Not incompetence, but corruption."

There is real pain in America, and where you sit along the ideological spectrum dictates whom you see as your Satan and whom as your savior. It appears that enough Republican voters have opted for the combo package, for which the party is likely to pay a hefty price.

Congratulations, Republicans, you've hitched yourselves to the madman-driven carriage, and it's heading for the cliff.


Donald Trump aids and abets violence.

- An American Story

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