Better With My Memories and Dreams (And Without You)

Though I found Trump’s acceptance speech underwhelming, it was nonetheless probably one of the best “serious” speeches he ever gave. So naturally, he spent the next day talking about Ted Cruz’s father and JFK. It’s almost as though he resents the teleprompter so much that he has to “get his revenge” afterwards. Which is fine for me, since I want to keep as much of the intransigents as intransigent as possible. Also, he said that he might start a SuperPAC to get revenge on Cruz and Kasich.

Some people have wondered, or at least mock-wondered, precisely why it is that despite being in a general election with an uphill climb, that he keeps going after party members whose help he actually needs. Kasich’s lack of support, for example, is tying up resources in a state that he needs. So many people predicted that once he had the nomination he would normalize and moderate, but it just hasn’t happened. They predicted he would become a more traditional Republican candidate, but that hasn’t happened, either. He knocks Cruz and tries to befriend Bernie Sanders. He and the RNC attack the Democratic Vice Presidential nominee for being too moderate.

What’s going on?

There are several interrelated issues here. But the most surprising is the continued attacks on Cruz, Kasich, and company. There have been a number of theories put forward.

  1. He’s secretly a Clinton plant out to destroy the Republican Party. “Trump as a Clinton plant” has had currency among some on the right for some time now. People still ask the question “If he was a Clinton plant, what would he do differently?” But for the most part, the key “proof” of this theory (his tendency to blow up whenever Hillary Clinton gets bad publicity) has a more credible alternative explanation: He hates anyone but him getting attention, even if it’s his rival getting negative attention.
    He’s just super-duper petty. Well, I think there is some truth to this. But this only gets us part of the way there. It’s not like Clinton is being nice to him. And yet he spends remarkably little time on her.
  2. It’s a matter of principle. He knows Hillary Clinton will go after him, but people like Cruz shouldn’t because they’re on the same team. This might make sense, except that Donald Trump isn’t a team player. You get what you give. I’m sure he sees it this way, but it is not an argument that especially works.
  3. It’s tactical: Before he can charge forward, he needs a secure flank. There was an argument for this up until recently, but it’s become sort of clear that he’s not going to have a secure flank. So if he’s committing to getting everyone in line behind him, he’ll be doing that until November.
  4. It’s tactical: Everyone hates Republicans and so he’s coming out of this looking good. Here, too, there was an argument for it once upon a time but its time has passed. By any reasonable measure, John Kasich and Mitt Romney are more popular or at least less unpopular than he is among the general population. At some point, the perceived lack of unity actually has a cascading effect, making it harder for people outside to support a guy whose party is so reluctant to. There’s a reason Hillary Clinton is hammering on this. It’s not to Trump’s benefit.
  5. He’s really a liberal who hates Republicans more than Democrats. I think there actually is some truth to this one, if you squint your eyes and cock your head. It’s not that he has strong feelings about Republicans and Democrats in the ideological sense, but there are people he considers “his people” and people he doesn’t. The people he likes and who he thinks should like him lean to the left. I can actually sort of relate to this, in a way. My friendships have always drawn disproportionately to the left. I suspect this is true of a lot of Republicans, but most manage to compartmentalize their personal selves and professional selves. Trump has no need. His professional self is his personal brand. I do think this explains another political idiosyncraticity, which is Trump’s illusions of flipping deep blue states. He thinks he can win states like California and New York because he likes them and they should like him. He’ll go to Ohio and Indiana, but only grudgingly. He couldn’t even stay in Ohio for his own nomination convention.

My own theory has not gotten as much play, and it is this: He’s the auto mechanic who won’t stop talking about what a star he was on the high school football team.

He likes talking about the Republicans he has defeated because he won. He is bored going after Hillary Clinton because he is losing. This ends when and if he cracks open a durable lead against Hillary Clinton. But right now there are few polls he can cite where he is ahead. He has gone from the guy who never stops citing polls to the guy who talks about the polls and election results of battles already won. He likes criticizing Cruz because, at the end of the day, he can say that he beat him. He knows that he will never lose to him. Cruz is the ultimate safe target, as is Kasich. (Which aside from thriftiness is, by the way, why he will not actually start a PAC to defeat them in 2020). He loves talking about his victories, which is a part of why he kept talking about Jeb Bush since long after he dropped out of the race, and why the main point during his acceptance speech where he went off-script it was to talk about how many votes he got.

It’s not just Trump, though. His staunchest supporters really like it. For some of the same reasons. (And for some of the same reasons that a lot of High Republicans follow British politics more closely. Hey, we’re winning over there!). Quite a bit of it is personal, though. They all took a lot of crap in the primaries by being told they were going to lose and they won. Their loudest denigrations were from opposing Republican supporters while a lot of Democrats liked him like Donald Trump likes funny fat people. It’s hard to blame them for wanting to lord it over on the rest of us.

Also, we’re the more proximate enemy and they really don’t like us. This goes beyond the frustrations of a lack of cooperation. They dislike us almost as much as they dislike mainstream Democrats, which is quite a bit. It veers from the personal to the professional, though. They’ve come to the determination that they have no particular reason to be mend bridges at this juncture. Those that are going to get on board have, and the rest are going to be quarantined. They’re better off without us. Besides, we’re actually getting in the way of the voters they really want, and need both to replace us and go on to victory. In the same way that we sought to replace some of them with theoretical voters they were repelling, they see the same addition-by-subtraction by replacing us with voters we theoretically repel.

Their affection for Bernie Sanders supporters has mostly been genuine (as genuine as any such thing can be, involving Trump). On the Kaine announcement, the RNC pointing out Kaine’s relative moderation as a betrayal of their base wasn’t just spit-stirring, but actually a part of a novel strategy. They think they can win them over. They are viewed as natural allies. A Trumper recently described to me his support for Donald Trump as “trade, immigration, and fewer wars.” Bernie Sanders represents two out of the three. It’s not terribly unlike how Republicans have traditionally looked at the Jewish as natural allies despite all available evidence. It’s also likely to be about as unsuccessful. But it’s one of the few plays they have, and one that would solve multiple issues (replacing us, getting to 51%, and the Trump coalition’s age problems).

For all of the bad moves it seems to me like they’re making, though, I can’t think of very many good ones that they aren’t making. I worry about the future but I look at the numbers and the challenges, and I don’t see how they win this time around. On the other hand, I don’t see how Hillary Clinton is polling at only 45%.

PostScript

As I wrote this, of course, Trump turned on Bernie:

So on to Plan W?


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50 thoughts on “Better With My Memories and Dreams (And Without You)

  1. This is good stuff Will. I think it’s mostly pettiness and dominance politics as Josh Marshall has written about. It’s less about tactics because this is just who he is. He comes down hard because that is all he knows and aims at anybody who isn’t on his side. He never apologizes or admits contradictions. He just paves all that over with bluster. Just plow ahead loud and proud. Yeah that is a tactic but he’s been doing it in public for so long it is who is now.

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  2. I’ll go with a different option:

    6. He’s convinced that tacking to the GOP middle will end in a loss, just like the last two cycles, so the only hope to win – pragmatically as well as consistently with his own (megalomaniacal) temperament – is to garner support from the unaligned, rejectionist, angry, anti-establishment voters inhabiting all major isms. Winning this way would allow him to have no outstanding chits to fill, which is not only the main plank of his platform but something he’s psychologically allergic to seems to me, while (from his pov) improving the odds of winning from unpossible to likely.

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    • This is kind of a variation of #4, and I don’t think it quite pans out for the same reasons. At best, it’s an idea that simply overlooks that he actually does need Kasich’s help (and Kasich isn’t especially unpopular). Now, as I go on to say later in the post, I do think there is a conscious desire to reach out to Berner types at the expense of party folks who have rejected him, and I think that does make its own sort of sense. But I don’t think the Kasich thing, or even the Cruz thing, is really strategic.

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      • But I don’t think the Kasich thing, or even the Cruz thing, is really strategic.

        I don’t know, actually. I generally hate trying to climb in another person’s mind, but I think evaluating the strategery of those types of moves along conventional axes is a mistake, since – and this is the point I was trying to get to upthread – Trump’s conception of “strategic” will be circumscribed by his own temperament and vision of the world. IOW, I think that from HIS pov pandering to the GOP establishment to garner support from Kasich (for example) effectively dooms his run. He’s not only incapable of playing “team ball” at that level, but I think he thinks such a move would be a disaster. It’d be a repeat of previous cycles.

        Of course all that is just speculation, but it’s consistent with his apparent refusal to make what all the political-strategery insiders as well as common-sense-popcorn eaters viewed as the politically savvy post-presumptive-nominee move: tack to the GOP and general electorate middle. His decision-process strikes me not so much as a refusal (implying that it was an open option) as something that makes no sense to him (tactically, pragmatically or temperamentally).

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        • The “master plan” thesis would make a lot more sense if there weren’t other indications that this is a gut-run campaign. I don’t know which voters precisely might carry Donald Trump to the White House, but I’m pretty sure they are not going to live in New York, New Jersey, California, and other states that he has made a priority.

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            • I think he has instincts. Obviously, not terrible ones or he wouldn’t have gotten this far. I think the plan, to the extent that there is one, is constantly adjusting to where his instincts take him.

              I also think his instincts get clouded by the needs of instant gratification.

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              • Whether he’s temperamentally suited to be the president is a different question than if he’s temperamentally suited to win the GOP primary. Or win the general, for that matter.

                He’s loose, no doubt. I’m not sure that’s a demerit (in a democracy) if people think our society is overly tight along a handful of important and clearly identifiable metrics.

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          • Fair enough and good point Will, I hadn’t thought of the call lag time.

            That said, I don’t think Kaine was a good choice, as he doesn’t shore up any areas. So, I agree with you there, no bounce. But boy howdy does she need to change the numbers direction.

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            • Get back with me in about a week and a half and we’ll see where the poll numbers are.

              VP picks almost never add, they just sometimes take away. Kaine wasn’t my first choice (Vilsack), but he’s better than most on the list and better than the last three picks in this situation (Palin, Lieberman, and Quayle).

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                • As I commented elsewhere the other day, HRC’s announcement speech went over really well with the NeverTrumpers on my feed. I think some who were on the fence between a null vote (Johnson, write-in, staying home) and HRC may be leaning a bit more towards HRC.

                  But Twitter isn’t representative, of course.

                  So I’m not expecting a bump.

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        • but I figured she would get a bounce from Kaine being announced.

          Aaron, I take you mean a “officially name the VP candidate” bounce, yes? I mean, who is Tim Kaine gonna bounce? (Elizabeth Warren woulda given her a post-announcement bounce, no doubt, if that’s what she was looking for). I was a Hillary supporter at the beginning of ’08 and I can’t say naming Timmeh was accompanied by any starbursts or sent any tingles up my spine… (TMI?)

          If Kaine helps her, it’s gonna be a really smooth, long, almost imperceptible curve. Probably less steeply downward than without him.

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      • Hillary’s track record is that her percent support only declines over the cycle of the election. Which ain’t nothin. I also think Trump’s in a great position against this particular candidate, especially since he hasn’t actually campaigned against her yet, while she (or her PACs) clearly have.

        Odds wise I think he’s in a good position right now. 3:2 against? Which is a good thing only if you bought the Trump line when he was a 7:1 longshot. One of the betting market sites has him at 30% right now, with (in my view) a LOT more upside potential than H. Clinton.

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  3. It’s not that he has strong feelings about Republicans and Democrats in the ideological sense,

    Agreed.

    but there are people he considers “his people” and people he doesn’t. The people he likes and who he thinks should like him lean to the left.

    For those of your interlocutors who are pushing #5, i.e. those who mean it seriously, not simply in the Redstate etc. sense that anybody the poster disagrees with on anything beyond tactics is a “liberal”, who do they/you think [Trump] “thinks should like him”, and why would those people lean left? His whole self-mythology that “he built that” fits the “heroic entrepreneur” meme nicely, which has had pretty heavy GOP valence for at least the last eight years, and fair GOP valence going back to at least the Eighties.

    I mean, those who follow Russell Kirk’s first canon (transcendent order) sure aren’t going to be Trumpkins (though it is quite astonishing to me, and this as somebody who really, really dislikes Evangelicals, how quickly they have fallen in line with fairly few exceptions), but I don’t see that it follows from a rejection of Kirkean (or Burkean, if there are actually are any of those left) conservatism that the rejector is then on the left. I’ll skirt Godwin here and say that those who would like Trump (say in his less-overtly-political days, e.g. pre-2008) are in fact drawing from much of the same pool as small-f fascism. Compare Trumpian aesthetics to those of H*, Mussolini, D’Annunzio, Dolfuss, etc., and then compare to the aesthetics of a more little-i integralist rightwinger like Franco, Salazar, or Vargas.

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      • What sense is that, then, in which the people who would/should like him, at least in his reality, would tend toward the left? Not trolling, very serious question. Anybody have access to e.g. Nielsen’s crosstabs on the audience for “The Apprentice”? Internal demographics on customers at his various resorts? Fans of the New Jersey Generals, beauty pageants, random boxing promotions, etc.?

        Those on the political left (e.g. the Clintons) who used to include him in their event – do you think they always thought he was a buffoon and were just being calculating: better not to antagonize? The comparison that comes to mind in Sharpton, who has gotten far more serious treatment that his buffoonery justifies, but people think, probably correctly, that he swings votes, and better inside the tent etc. It would be interesting to read something written by a New York Democratic insider after Trump left the tent but before he became a serious threat (say 2007)

        To cut against my own point, the only two people I know (out of an admittedly left-leaning set of friends and acquaintances, but I do know a few Republicans :) whom I know to have watched “The Apprentice” are indeed left leaning (an odd pair who would consider themselves political and are embarrassed to have shopped at Hobby Lobby, but who have no problem patronizing Adelson properties); I don’t think – to your point – that they interpreted it as a political act in any way.

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        • His social coterie, for most of his life. The high life in Manhattan and the Big Apple. Roy Cohn aside until recently I think most of the people around him were of the left. I think that’s part of the reason he used to rag on Reagan.

          Like I say in the OP, this actually applies to me as well. In different ways, of course.

          Even it liberals at large really don’t like him, I still think that’s his mindset and why he thinks he can win New York and California. He feels a connection, whether reciprocated or not.

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          • I find myself agreeing with this theory more as I read.

            If you were to actually break Trump’s reality down, and figure out who he interacts with, and in what way, you’ll see it…hasn’t changed in his run for president. And that simple fact seems to be explain a lot of oddities.

            For example, the media consist of one set of people who puff him up, who he loves, and one set that keeps asking questions about lawsuits that he ignores…and this currently trips him up because even the right-wing media will ask non-puff questions of a presidential candidate. Think about that surreal Scotland/Brexit interview.

            Likewise, Trump’s friends are people that like to pretend they’re the super-rich, although they are actually one rung down. The 1%, not the 0.1%. And it’s a bunch of actual, honest-to-God, big city elitist liberals…and conservatives, and the difference between them is almost nothing. The Democrats make noises about inclusion and lack of sexism, don’t actually care about it and probably don’t pay their staff enough. The Republicans make noises about gun rights and don’t care about that, and pretend to be rural while living in large cities.

            Everyone is vaguely libertarian a bit, they want lower taxes and the drugs they like should be legal, at least for them. (Not legal for the poors, although I’m sure they have a more polite way to say it.) How rich you are is *very* important. What people think about you is *very* important.

            Yes, his friends might have drifted more Republican in recent years, but the party doesn’t actually matter. It never mattered.

            Think about it: In this era of Republicans constantly talking about how horrible the Democrats are…has Trump actually done that? I mean, it’s a weird omission, right? That this guy willing to attack anyone, the super-populist, hasn’t gone after the Democrats in general, the people the Republicans have been told they should hate for decades? Specific Democrats, yes, but has he attacked the goals of the party itself?

            I don’t think Trump even thinks in *terms* of the parties, or policies, or anything political at all. Or, at least, not if he can help it, although the RNC has started forcing his hand.

            But wait, you say. If Trump doesn’t care about that, what the hell is going on with his hard-right-in-specific-ways platform?

            And then I point to Trump interacts with the public: He’s a con man who makes a bunch of promises, saying whatever he needs to say to close the deal.

            The thing is…I think the man doesn’t understand the actual public at all. He understand how to operate a *con*, but the problem is, you can’t fool all the people all the time…

            …and I don’t mean that as some sort of trite expression, I mean that cons have to be designed to fool specific people, and it’s impossible to fool a large percentage of people very long. Trump has designed his con around a specific group of people.

            Except he didn’t design it, I suspect he basically stumbled into it. The best conmen operate by instinct.

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            • Oh, and this explains why he’ll say random, non-Repbulican things in interviews, and then have to explain them away later…because he has a big ego, and there are two different things: *Him*, and *the con*, and they aren’t the same thing, and he’s basically used to the people that he cons not really paying attention to the media cover of him, or at least not past the ‘billionaire businessman Donald Trump’.

              I.e., why the hell does a *newspaper* want him to just state a position on abortion? How is that supposed to work? He’s not supposed to have a *position*, he’s supposed to be able to sorta *try out* positions with the people he’s conning, and then pick the one they respond to best. Maybe even a slightly different one depending on the crowd.

              And this was sorta obvious to start with. Donald Trump is a *real estate developer*, it’s where he’s made almost all his money despite constantly trying in other areas. And real estate developers are all ‘con men’, every one of them…but in quotes because it’s not exactly what people think as con men.

              Real estate developers are successful *entirely* based on how well they can convince rich people to give them money, because they structure the projects where they make money even if the thing fails.

              Now, some of them do consistently have successful projects, and thus no one thinks of them as ‘con man’, but their *success* actually has nothing to do with the project’s success, just how well they convince people *of* their project’s future success. Trump, meanwhile, has all his projects fail…but, again, that has nothing to do with how well he has succeeded as a real estate developer. (And caused him to entirely fail at everything else.)

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              • One thing conservatives have noted is how he often states things in such a way that sound more like “what a liberal thinks a conservative believes on subject X” instead of the more common position.

                This is sometimes to his benefit. He discovered the value of a guttural “Build the wall!” yell better than most of the actual border hawks. But his expressions on abortion were… more of an iffy performance on a Touring test.

                This fed the “Trump is actually a liberal (pretending to be a conservative)” though can just as easily be explained as someone who comes from a not-conservative background with little actual ideology just kind of trying to feel his way through and hit the sell points.

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                • This fed the “Trump is actually a liberal (pretending to be a conservative)” though can just as easily be explained as someone who comes from a not-conservative background with little actual ideology just kind of trying to feel his way through and hit the sell points.

                  Exactly. He’s not really an expert on his audience, and has to feel around to figure them out…which works fine in a one-to-one setting, and to some extent with crowds…but fails pretty badly when he has to state a position to the press when he hasn’t already figured it out.

                  He does sometimes seem to be falling back on ‘What have I hear liberals say conservatives think?’, although I’m not sure ‘liberals’ is really the word there…it’s just as likely he’s channeling some elitist conservative upper-class people.

                  But even if he could somehow present this to all audiences before having to answer question, his con won’t actually work. As I said, the problem with cons is that they have to be audience tailored….although, to a large extent, the victims tend to be *self-filtering*. Aka, the people who fell for Trump Universe’s con were the people who showed up there in the first place. You can just spread the con widely and con the people who fall for it, and everyone else congratulates themselves for not falling for it.

                  Which presents a rather obvious problem in politics, because that’s not how politics works. People don’t see Trump promising them fame and fortune, know it’s a scam, and walk on by. They vote *the other way*. Or just not vote…but the Republicans were already in a pretty bad place, they can’t afford to have previous Republican voters not vote!

                  Additionally, the partisan divide has…uh, saved us? Man, that’s a weird thought, but it’s true. Because now it is very hard to come up with political cons that will fool people on the left and the right at the same time, because the world-views are often very different. (Someone will point at some hypothetical Bernie supporters moving to Trump, but I literally do not believe they exist. They are the PUMAs of this election, the tiniest fraction of people that exist mostly because other people want them to exist, and those other people desperately search to find people saying they are those people.)

                  Hell, Trump hasn’t really even managed to fool a majority of the right, they’re just behind him because he’s a Republican. A lot of them seem to be behind him while *knowing* what he’s saying is a con, in fact, they use that to *justify* it. ‘Oh, he’s lying about the Muslim ban’.

                  Which is something I don’t think he understand at all. Trump seems entirely unaware we see him for the con man he is…hell, I’m not even sure if he knows there’s anything to see. There’s a certain type of con man who has no idea of truth as it relates to themselves. When they promise something, or say they think a certain way, it’s *true*, 100%, they could pass a magic truth serum…and if it’s not true tomorrow, or when they’re talking to someone else, whatever.

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                  • Well, yes and no.

                    The right is correct that Trump often seems unfamiliar with the tropes and world view of the right. (1)
                    This, by conservatives, gets shorthanded to ‘what liberals think conservatives think’, even though, as I said, it’s just as likely that mostly- non-political upper-class Republicans think about the ‘Republican base and their ideas’ in mostly the same way and *that* is where Trump is getting it from.

                    The upper-class Republicans *and* Democrats, at least the ones who *started* as upper-class, do not really function in the same world as the rest of their party, and see most of the ‘important issues’ we’re fighting over as completely irrelevant. They both tend to be much more ‘libertarian’ than their party’s base. That’s the universe Trump *actually* lives in.

                    I mean, technically speaking, it’s the universe that Bush and Romney lived in, also, but they also were *taught* conservativism as children and interacted with conservatives. It’s an interesting fact that, as Republicans have become more and more the party of the rich, they’ve had to resort more and more to rich conservative *families* to make sure that the knowledge of how to interact and speak like the middle class wasn’t lost.

                    That’s not to imply this is, in any way, ‘fake’. Yes, there was a bit of rural fakeness to Bush, but both Bush and Romney were actually taught the beliefs and virtues of conservativism and really believe it. I’m just saying they learned that from their families, and family friends. (And that’s not to imply they’re all born rich either. John McCain, for example, wasn’t.)

                    …and then we got Trump, a complete fake. Who knows *none* of that stuff, and didn’t learn it from anyone, and has such a huge ego he didn’t even get it from his *advisers*.

                    Of course, most Republicans would like to pretend that all Republicans are on board with their world-frame, so likes to make the assumption that it must be the *liberal* framing that Trump is operating in.

                    1) He is equally unfamiliar, somewhat hilariously, with Christianity. Not just the particular right-wing warped version, but *any* version at all! Not only does he not know how to pronounce Bible verses, but he often verges into the literally blasphemous, like his claim he doesn’t need to ask God for forgiveness. That…is not something he should be saying as a political candidate. He’s even worse at faking Christianity than conservativism, in fact. He’s so bad at faking it that it actually didn’t *work*, and the religious right is splitting itself in pieces because a large section of them are, in fact, Republican operatives and support the Republican no matter what, and the rest are like ‘Wait a second. Is this guy even a Christian at all?’

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          • Trump still has a bit of the outsider about him. He grew up in comfortable wealth but he grew up in Jamaica Estates, Queens and not in the silk stocking district of the Upper East Side.

            I have a feeling that Trump still wants to be part of the born and bred Manhattan rich.

            His father got rich by building lower to middle class rental apartments en masse. Trump’s projects are all about trying to attract wealth and prestige.

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    • Sorry, I realize that I opened up the “Fascism is really left wing – what does the S in NSDAP stand for?” can of worms, which even has a bit of defensibility in the early Italian context (Mussolini’s rise in PSI, Fascism’s early embrace of Futurism, c.f. Marinetti, etc.).

      I do suppose it’s possible, Manhattan demographics being what they were, that a majority of
      Trump’s direct customers back when he was not just a branding machine, might have been well left of the US political center of the time. I rather doubt that they were left of the Greater NYC political center, though.

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  4. My own theory has not gotten as much play, and it is this: He’s the auto mechanic who won’t stop talking about what a star he was on the high school football team.

    That’s excellent.

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  5. Yeah I don’t think that he really has a strategy. Strategies are composed by campaigns and at the moment Trump’s campaign appears to be functioning like a room full of bumper cars (except some of the cars catch on fire when they crash into each other). I am pretty sure the way they keep twitching and flailing around is a pretty good indication that there isn’t a master plan at all; just a bunch of courtiers frantically following after wherever Trump goes post hoc producing damage control or justifications.

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  6. There is a number.

    I suppose the formula is something like this:

    A + (B/Z)

    A is the number of Significant Events in the USA. Stuff like riots in cities, police officers killed in particularly horrible ways, terrorist attacks (or events that present similarly to terrorist attacks.

    B is the number of these things that happen in Europe.

    Z is some number that I don’t know what it is but it’s probably between 2 and 5 given that crazy stuff that happens in Europe is important… but it’s not *AS* important as the stuff that happens on US soil.

    If that number hits some number (let’s call it “T”), then Trump will win the election. If that number is lower than T, Hillary will win.

    There is very little that either Hillary or Trump can do to meaningfully affect this number… they can nudge it up or down a little bit with a bad gaffe here or there (or a particularly good gaffe) but they can’t double it or halve it or anything like that. Just nudge it up or nudge it down.

    I suppose that we could also add something about how the entire formula should be multiplied by M (where M might be .9 or so or as high as 1.1) based on how the Media covers events… but, at the end of the day, it’s that particular number that will be the threshold.

    For what it’s worth, I don’t think we’ve crossed that threshold yet.
    I also don’t think that it’s unthinkable that we will. It’s very, very, *VERY* thinkable.

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        • I caught Kaine’s debut speech today and I was a little surprised.
          -I was expecting a Pence clone but Kaine came off pretty happy and rather comfortable with Hillary. This was just one showing so who knows if it’s predictive but the vibe and chemistry was good.
          -The themes were positivity, pro-America with shades of “happy warrior”. If they stick to those themes I would consider them a pretty much perfect foil to the apocalyptic tone Trump has adopted.
          -I cannot begin to guess how Kaine would fair in a debate with Pence. I just have no idea.
          -It’s interesting to me that HRC has chosen a Veep who’s personally pro-life but firmly accepts pro-choice policies. I approve heartily since, while I disagree with Kaine, I find it highly respectable that he is willing to recognize that his opinions shouldn’t have the force of the law behind them on this matter. Also this kicks the complaints by pro-lifers that the Dems are dogmatically unfair to pro-life people square in the balls. (probably doesn’t matter for electoral reasons).
          -Kaine’s really centrist. Hillary isn’t tacking left for her Veep choice, that’s for sure. I wouldn’t say she’s tacking right but I think she’s making a play for all the marbles in the centrist section of the electorate and if she succeeds Trump will lose in a blow out.
          -I could be getting all this through partisan blinders so it could be imaginary.

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      • If the world is not on fire, we need a straightforward normal and corrupt-within-acceptable-parameters president. Sure, Hillary isn’t perfect but Trump is nuts.

        If the world is on fire, we will need a strong man to lead us. To protect us. To tell our enemies to go to hell and if they don’t back down we will send them there.

        My formula is an attempt to quantify (however poorly) the amount of kindling we have stacked up around us.

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    • I’m not criticizing your formula. I think it is correct.

      But there must be something interesting to be said about there not being a third component (C/W) where C is events that happen in the Middle East and Southeast Asia, where the majority of “events” actually take place.

      There are things bubbling in my head about this, but I have a gut feeling that there is something important there that we (Americans) are missing.

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      • I’m not sure that those events will make people say “We need a strongman” more than they say “We need someone who is willing to bomb the ever-living shit out of those people.”

        As such, I don’t think that that number will make people favor Trump over Clinton.

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