Understanding The Trump Phenomena

Some people out there are starting to figure it out. Even some politicians – like Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE):

…I would humbly suggest that before another person in this body – or in the national media – stands up to scold the American people about how they could possibly entertain voting for candidate x or y, perhaps we should look in the mirror at why so many of our people are running to demagoguing leaders.

Do senators really not understand why this is happening? I think it’s obvious why: Because they get so little actual leadership out of this town – out of either end of Pennsylvania Avenue, or out of either political party.

Make no mistake: There were some genuinely dreadful things said on the national stage yesterday. But they were almost totally predictable. Did anyone here really not see this coming? And why is it that these words are attractive to some? Why do they find so many followers? Because they are comforting to people who are scared. They are food to a people who are starved for real leadership.

Sunday night was a drought. Monday night was a flood. Neither are what the people need – or what they, at their best, want. But don’t be surprised that a people who are being misled by a political class in denial about the nature of this fight comes then quickly to desire very different, much more muscular words and utopian pledges.

This town’s conversations are so often completely disconnected from the people…

Senator Sasse does not mention Donald Trump, but he’s clearly talking about Trump and his supporters – and, in my view, completely understanding the secret to Trump’s success: Trump is at least addressing the real issues which concern the American people. This is not to say that Trump is addressing them correctly – but when everyone else is talking in circles and doing nothing but ignoring what the American people think, the one person who does talk directly to them will gain support.

Our terms of debate up until the arrival of Trump The Politician were entirely scripted by the liberal Ruling Class of our nation. We were forbidden to say certain things – indeed, even to entertain certain thoughts contravening the Liberal Narrative was considered bad form. The biggest worry the GOP Establishment had (and still has, because they still haven’t figured it out) was to come out on the wrong side of the liberal Ruling Class. I read today that, essentially, all we on the right have been permitted to say is how we’ll advance liberalism differently from the liberals, themselves. Take the immigration debate – boiled down, all we were allowed to say is how we’d still get to amnesty and citizenship for the illegal immigrants. We weren’t permitted to talk of deportation even if all we wanted was deportation of criminal elements. We weren’t permitted to talk of border security even if all we wanted was to save the lives of Americans and foreigners being victimized by criminal gangs along the border. To talk up such issues was, per the liberal Ruling Class, racist and as the GOP Establishment believes everything the liberal Ruling Class says, this was a formula for political defeat.

Trouble is, deporting criminal aliens and making sure that only those we want are allowed to come in aren’t racist opinions. They are just plain common sense – and the American people in large majority understands this. And when no one would advocate for the common sense position of securing the border and expelling criminals, it infuriated the American people. All Trump had to do was say he wanted to deport criminals and secure the border and, presto!, millions of people were instantly hanging on his every word – and were (and are) willing to defend him come what may against the very Ruling Class which says we must not discuss such things.

The upper reaches of our liberals don’t understand America, or Americans. Safely protected by government and quasi-government jobs, educated at elite universities where they never had their views challenged, living in areas where everyone agrees with them (and the few who don’t keep their mouths shut for fear of losing jobs and social standing), they just can’t imagine anyone having a reasonable disagreement with them. Controlling, as they do, the media, it is easy for them to just not see The Other in their own nation. But out there where people are not protected from the ravages of a failing economy, collapsing schools and destroyed public morals, hundreds of millions grow increasingly impatient with a Ruling Class that is clearly disconnected from reality.

Sasse is right that Trump is not the answer we’re looking for – but he’s the only one providing any sort of answer to public questions. Trump will continue to rise high in politics as long as no one else talks to the people – he could even get elected President next November. Trump will not just lose the primary nor just lose the general election – he’ll have to beaten, and he’ll only be beaten by someone who fearlessly tells the truth to the American people, pays heed to their concerns and promises concrete actions to address those concerns. And if we Republicans don’t find a way to beat him in the primary, I doubt that Hillary will in the general. Hillary is precisely the liberal Ruling Class which simply does not understand what the people want or think – and doubly so because people like her think that the people can be endlessly manipulated by slick, political machines. They can, for a while – such served her husband well for 8 years of his Presidency…but the mask if off, now, and no one other than mindless Democrats would ever dream of awarding Hillary the powers of the Presidency. Trump might well end up having her for lunch, if he gets the nomination – but, so, too, could any other GOPer who is willing to show a bit of respect for the American people and promise to do, well, American things.

Americans are generous to a fault, but they wish to be no one’s door mat. Americans understand fully that their nation has had her flaws and sins – but they love America, anyway, and really do consider the United States not just one nation among many, but the best nation, ever. Americans know they are the descendants of immigrants and are willing to let anyone in – but only if they become Americans in thought and deed; no problem with celebrating some aspect of the Old Country (St Patrick’s day, eg), but a big problem with importing the pathologies of the Old Country (killing each other over religious differences, eg). Americans wish to war with no one – but if war there must be, then Americans want complete, crushing and absolute victory. Americans are the most tolerant people in the world – but will never buy a false notion of tolerance which means that tiny minorities get a veto over long-established traditions of American life (Merry Christmas, folks).

The rise of Trump is the result of American fury over a Ruling Class which is blind to reality – and people are getting sick to death of it, and doubly so when it is easy to see that the Ruling Class (including the GOP part of it) is shoveling bull at us in an attempt to just keep us quiet so they can get on with their corrupt deals. Trump will continue to rise high until someone comes along to speak to the American people and fight for them better than Trump can. It is really just as simple as that.

UPDATE: It’s not just me – Victor Davis Hanson has an excellent piece along the same lines.

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37 thoughts on “Understanding The Trump Phenomena

  1. Amazona December 10, 2015 / 2:21 am

    I think the Trump Phenomenon is summed up with “They are food to a people who are starved for real leadership.”

    Trump IS a demagogue, and history tells us demagogues rise to power when and where there is a vacuum in leadership. I cringe at the thought of him being President and officially representing this country—we already have a petulant manchild/clown as president, and I hate to think we might replace him with another, even if the second has somewhat more acceptable political leanings.

    We also already have a president who has the idea that HE knows best, HE is always right, HE should be the one to make the decisions, HE is supremely confident in his innate superiority. Again, I would like a change from this, not just doubling down.

    There is confidence, and there is arrogance, and I think Trump makes it pretty clear where he falls on that spectrum.

    I’ve come to realize I would never be quite comfortable with a President Trump, because he is so reckless, so volatile, I would never know what to expect next. Much of his persona reminds me of an impish little boy daring to be bad, pushing the envelope because it is fun to get people wound up. OK for a celebrity, a Personality, not so much for a world leader/Commander in Chief.

    I understand why he has at least some appeal, though the magnitude of that appeal is constantly a surprise. I also admit, part of my problem with Trump is MY ego—–I have a certain pride in being part of a movement I think of as one that does not base its political decisions on emotion, and having Trump become the representative of that movement would knock that presumption into a cocked hat, because I see no reason to support him other than emotion, the other side of the coin of support for Hillary.

    I see a Trump/Clinton matchup as a fanclub rumble, rowdy and dirty and raucous, with the adults sitting back and watching and trying to sort out which would be the least disastrous.

  2. Amazona December 10, 2015 / 2:38 am

    You say, of Trump, “…he’s the only one providing any sort of answer to public questions.” I see him more as voicing those questions in a way that can’t be ignored, but providing incomplete, poorly thought-out, semi-answers.

    It is possible that he does have answers, and that they are thought out and even rational. But he can’t articulate them in a way that raises them above prattle. “I’ll just build a fence and make Mexico pay for it!” “I’ll just impose a religious test and stop letting Muslims into the country!” “I wouldn’t be so stinking rich if I wasn’t the most amazing man in the world and I can do anything!”

    I think people would less swoony over Trump if they would read his words instead of getting caught up in the emotion of the moment when he touches on one sore spot after another and gets the crowd going. He would like to appoint his radically, as in VERY radically, Leftist sister to the Supreme Court. He thinks his daughter is so great, “if she weren’t my daughter I would be dating her”. (Eeeeuuuuuwwww!!) Reading his speeches is an exercise in frustration, as he leaves words, even whole phrases, out, shifts topics in mid-sentence, and is basically incoherent. Hearing him, his loyal fans fill in the gaps so his sentences seem to make sense, but they don’t. Halfway through a sentence some other shiny idea gets his attention and he is off in that direction, leaving the first thought hanging. His apologists say this is because he is just so freaking brilliant his mouth can’t keep up with this mind. I think it is a symptom of an undisciplined mind.

  3. Shawny Lee December 10, 2015 / 6:50 am

    You’re looking at people who have done their level best to turn the sinking ship. Who worked hard, recognized, supported and trusted candidates who were serious, intelligent, articulate, people of good character with leadership skills and conservative values, You know, the exact same kind you wish were leading trump in the polls. Yes, the people get it and they’ve done exactly that…..time and again..Recognized them, supported them, believed in them, trusted them to keep their promises…… the exact same kind with good intentions who failed them for lack of courage once in office. Good people who folded, compromised under the pressure brought to bare by not only the Democrats and media, but by the store bought, corrupt leadership in their own party. Then the people saw what happened when even a man deserving of respect who had consistently and courageously spoken up for the people and for this country, who talked about the rule of law, sound economic practices and a balanced budget, the Constitution and liberty (whether you agreed with him or not) run for president, Ron Paul. And watched, even with all of the support he had be literally ground down and spit out, even by conservatives, no, especially by conservatives. What kind of man would even run?
    The people recognize how late the hour is and how little room there is left for compromise or cowardice. They are fearful for their future, their families and the fate of their nation and they feel angry and betrayed so their decisions are quite likely to be emotional, but not necessarily irrational. If Trump does even half of what he has said the people will be safer. If he never gets elected at all, he has already done us a great service in marginalizing and ridiculing the mainstream media, loudly pronouncing that the emperor has no clothes (and no clue), put the Progressives on the defensive,and made the establishment GOP wet their tennies. ,

  4. Cluster December 10, 2015 / 8:33 am

    I have to agree with Shawny. I think the vast majority of people in fly over country are fed up with the status quo politician and their many broken promises. There was a good article over at the Federalist the other day that speaks to this issue, here’s an excerpt:

    It is no accident that President Obama’s America has given rise to Donald Trump. It is an America that is more tribalist, where people feel more racially and religiously divided; more politically correct, where people feel less free to speak their minds; and it is an America where trust in the nation’s elites, whose skills are credentialed but unproven, are at historic lows………And Trump is a perfect personality to exploit these divides, offering the promise of an authoritarian who represents the people in place of an authoritarian who represented the elites.

    Amazona is also correct pointing out that Obama and Trump share many similar “authoritarian” qualities. I still strongly believe that this race will come down to Cruz and Rubio, or at least I hope it does, but I will vote for Trump if I have to. I will admit it is amusing watching the progressive media obsess over Trump though.

    http://thefederalist.com/2015/12/08/welcome-to-barack-obamas-america/

  5. Cluster December 10, 2015 / 8:53 am

    Is there a chance Trump gets out of the race in January and endorses Cruz?

    • Shawny Lee December 10, 2015 / 9:48 am

      Unless Cruz starts ramping up his game and boldly stepping up with some of what Trump is conveying that people need to hear, closing that 20 point gap with solid plans of his own then Trump isn’t going to have much choice but to stay in the race as the solid front runner. Cruz has been remarkably silent lately and maybe he is wisely seeing which way the political cyclone is moving so he can stay the hell out of it’s way. Or maybe he is playing his cards cautiously hoping to be drafted as V.P. if Trump wins the nomination. Now that would be the nightmare ticket for all of this countries enemies both foreign and domestic.

      • Cluster December 10, 2015 / 10:53 am

        I appreciate your passion for wanting to “break up” the Washington establishment, but I think Cruz would be your better bet. Trump has staked out some very non conservative positions in the not too distant past and my concern is that if elected, his inner liberal will come out. Cruz has been very consistent and he is the true anti establishment candidate.

      • Shawny Lee December 10, 2015 / 11:20 am

        Reply to Cluster: The only passion I have is for this country and trying to undo some of the great damage which has been done over the last 8 years. I didn’t say Cruz would not be the better bet.to do that. I said if he wants to win the nomination he’s going to have to step up his game because no one is giving Trump any reason to get out of the race as of yet no matter who we think would be better.

    • Retired Spook December 10, 2015 / 10:31 am

      Is there a chance Trump gets out of the race in January and endorses Cruz?

      As Amazona can attest, I posed that theory in a private email several months ago, and I still don’t think it’s out of the realm of possibility. In fact, I’m kind of hoping that’s the way it plays out.

      This whole post, including the comments, is an excellent analysis of the Trump phenomenon from a thinking person’s perspective. But the Trump phenomenon itself also illustrates just how many NON-thinking people there are in this country. That a guy who speaks at a 5th grade level has achieved the level of support that he has is really a look at the psyche of a substantial portion of the population. Amazona already touched on it, but Trump reminds me of an old Ann Landers quote: “the trouble with talking too fast is you may say something you haven’t thought of yet.”

      • Shawny Lee December 10, 2015 / 10:55 am

        I think that’s a bit of an injustice to the many who simply prefer not being talked down to or lied to or accused of being things they are not because their views differ. You know, the majority of,working class Americans not indoctrinated in our progressive colleges who would appreciate somebody, anybody to listen and act on their concerns, stand up for them once in a while instead of dictating their existence and making their choices for them.

      • Cluster December 10, 2015 / 11:02 am

        Great quote from Ann Landers. Trump is as narcissistic as Obama is and when he is out of the news cycle for a day or two, he says outrageous things and the liberal media plays right into it. Morning Joe on MSNBC has been absolutely obsessed and apoplectic over Trumps recent ban of Muslims, but that is simply free air time for Trump, and he loves it. We do need a more cerebral candidate for now, and for the future. If we don’t win the WH in 2016 and Hillary is elected, this country is F**KED. Excuse my French, and yes pun intended.

      • Amazona December 11, 2015 / 5:43 pm

        Shawny, there is a huge gap between merely articulating the anger and concerns of many and actually being qualified to be president.

        i am sure you have received giddy emails quoting someone who said something bold or important, with the statement “This guy should be president!” My response is, no he shouldn’t, not if his only qualification is that what he says strikes people as important. I recently took a little test to see where I stand in agreement with various candidates. I was within 3 points of complete agreement with Trump, so that means I have been saying pretty much the same things he has been saying—–but I am in no way qualified to be president.

        Stepping up and saying what needs to be said is very important and calls for a lot of respect. Being willing to be targeted, ridiculed, attacked for saying what needs to be said and what most public figures are afraid to say is noble. I don’t discount that, and I am glad to have a loud and persistent public voice willing to do that.

        It’s just that to be a good president means having more than that kind of courage. It calls for a high moral character, something that has never been associated with Donald Trump. It calls for consistency, and for a mature and rational response to criticism, neither of which have been characteristics of Trump.

        There are some qualities I think are essential for being president of the United States, and they include discretion and discipline. Donald Trump strikes me as being completely lacking in discretion. He is crude and disgusting at times, and gleefully so. When you say a woman is “bleeding from the eyes—and other places”—you are a pig. When you say it as a potential presidential candidate, about a potential presidential opponent, you are not just a pig, you are a reckless pig who should not be allowed to represent our nation. I could easily see Trump feeling dissed by Angela Merkel and making this kind of comment.

        And he strikes me as extremely undisciplined. He’s a runaway train, who when someone comments on his recklessness doubles down by being even more reckless, who when accused of being insulting just piles on the insults.

        Yeah, he is saying a lot of the right things, and maybe some people think they finally have a voice. But when people hear the negatives about him and don’t let that bother them, they are no different than the Hillary supporters who don’t care about the things she does—it’s just two sides of the same coin, which is Identity Politics.

        And a lot of people are saying much the same things that Trump is saying, they are just saying them in calm and reasonable tones, not braying them at full volume mixed in with outrageous comments designed to get maximum reactions.

  6. Amazona December 10, 2015 / 10:44 am

    I agree with everything you both said. Shawny, you gave an excellent outline of what has led us to this point, and created the perfect environment for a Trump.

    Well, I don’t think Rand Paul was “ground down and spit out” by conservatives, as much as simply passed by, by a large and talented group of people. I love Paul, and admire him greatly, but there is some elusive quality that is or is not there when it comes to standing out in a crowd, especially a crowd with someone who will elbow the next guy out of the spotlight (Christie) or be so outrageous he sucks up a lot of the oxygen in the room (Trump), especially in an environment like the debate environment where so much depended on capturing the attention of the moderators and having center state enough to have an impact. Paul had two main things working against him, this go-round: The fact that he got stuck in the middle of such a large and impressive group of potential candidates (think of a horse stuck in the middle of the pack in a horse race, unable to break out) and his somewhat, if not completely, isolationist views. I don’t think he got kicked around so much as just left behind. I would say the same of Fiorina. Compared to what the GOP brought to the table in the last 15 years, these two are superstars. But in this year’s contingent, they had to have a little more oomph to stand out in a very strong field.

    I also think Paul is better, for the nation, in the Senate, where he can scold and filibuster and, to use a phrase I hate only because it was hijacked by the Left and used so wrongly, speak truth to power. Because really, in a country run the way this one is supposed to be run, the real power is in Congress, not the White House.

    Cruz must have been doing more than just sitting back watching Trump blaze a trail in Iowa, because he has overtaken Trump and left him in his dust—not miles behind, but behind. That tells me that when he reaches out, people listen. He hasn’t done this on the national stage yet because, let’s face it, on the national stage at this point there is nothing much to gain and everything to lose. I think he is being brilliant, using his money wisely and where it counts, working one state at a time in a very disciplined manner, building up his support. If he takes Iowa, he accomplishes by winning that one state as much as he would have, in national rankings, by campaigning in the entire country. People will take notice. It’s how you win a war: You focus on one objective at a time, take it and then move on. It’s kind of the difference between a laser and a light bulb.

    Trump, on the other hand, is one of those spotlights like they used in WW II to look for enemy planes. He is much brighter than the others, but with a much broader beam, and he is here and there and then over there, dramatically swooping around and lighting up a lot more but in the end I think less effective.

    • Amazona December 10, 2015 / 10:46 am

      Spook, you came in while I was typing, so I need to include you in the people with whom I agree, regarding analysis and opinions of the Trump Phenomenon.

      Love the Ann Landers quote, by the way.

    • Shawny Lee December 10, 2015 / 11:07 am

      Thanks Amazona, I think the political pendulum is going to have to swing much farther right this time because of how very left this administration has taken it. The response isn’t all that surprising. I don’t think Rand Paul was challenged much at all. It was his daddy Ron I was talking about and they are very different people. Had it not been so, I think Rand would have had a great deal more support.

      • Amazona December 11, 2015 / 5:23 pm

        Sorry, I was thinking current potential candidates so I focused on Rand instead of Ron. I still don’t agree that Ron Paul was treated so badly. He was not accepted as a viable candidate, but I didn’t think he was “ground down and spit out”. I think it was his isolationist positions that took him out of serious contention and kind of canceled out a lot of his other qualifications.

        I think current events have proved him wrong on his isolationist point of view, as in the world today where people can fly around the world in a day, can come to the United States within hours from anywhere in the world, and with us having the equivalent of no real borders at all we can’t just take the position that what is going on in the rest of the world doesn’t have anything to do with us.

        I am the opposite of Ron Paul on international intervention. I think we need a highly trained military big enough and strong enough to pose a threat to any nation anywhere in the world, and I think we need to use that might to rein in tyranny and abuse when it happens in places like the Sudan. If a nation like Russia chooses to have a dictator, then more power to them, but if there is a situation in which people are being subjected to genocide, slavery, etc. then I think intervention to protect people establishes us as a nation that can be counted on. We were that nation until the early 70s and since then we have become so weak and impotent, and so enabling of human rights violations by making it clear that we won’t do anything unless it benefits us directly, we now have no moral imperative at all.

        The underlying reason for thinking some international intervention is good is because those interventions would be on-the-job training for our military, more effective than simply going to military bases and practicing hypotheticals. It would also give our young military personnel personal experiences with different cultures and expose them to realities we don’t have here, which I think would strengthen our population as these people take what they have learned into their own communities and families after they leave military service. I think this would mean having a military which would be even more imposing than what we have now, with real-life experience. Protecting volunteer medical stations from the janjaweed, making sure aid is not stolen by tribal leaders, imposing third-party martial law when one element is trying to commit genocide, these are noble goals which at the same time let our military personnel experience conflict, combat and decision-making short of being in a full-fledged war with highly trained opponents.

  7. Retired Spook December 10, 2015 / 10:57 am

    My daughter and I had a lengthy conversation about Trump while we were visiting over Thanksgiving. She is to the left of us, if for no other reason than she and her husband have lived in the bright blue cyst that is Lawrence, KS, for the last 25 years, but our conversation mirrored this discussion.

    • M. Noonan December 10, 2015 / 10:07 pm

      No doubt the GOP leadership is in a panic over Trump, but the couldn’t carry out such a strategy because getting a Third Party candidate seriously on the ballot is something they’d have to start doing right now – and with buckets and buckets of money and talent being used to get it done. This is why I don’t worry when Trump says he might go Third Party if the whole GOP thing doesn’t work out for him – unless he quits the GOP race in the next couple of weeks, he simply won’t have the time to get the organization in place to get himself on the ballot for next November…and that is without taking into consideration that a lot of States have a “sore loser” provision…if you enter a party primary and then try to go Third Party if you lose, you won’t be put on the ballot.

      The GOP establishment really thought that Jeb would do it – or, failing him, someone like Christie or Kasich would catch enough fire to pick it up after the pack of non-Establishment types destroyed each other. Right now, the Establishment’s Great Latino Hope appears to be Marco Rubio…who the Establishment doesn’t like, at all. For all the heartache about Rubio’s “Gang of 8”, the reality is that Rubio is a TEA Party stalwart. He’s vastly more conservative than, for instance, Donald Trump. I understand that immigration is an important issue for many and Trump is speaking for them (I heard a group of liberals today bemoaning the fact that we’re letting in more Muslims when we couldn’t even keep the San Bernardino shooter out) – but it really isn’t the be-all and end-all of existence. If someone wants conservatism, they’ll get more of it from Rubio than they’ll ever get from Trump. But, leaving that aside, Rubio is now the Establishment’s hope – because Trump has shifted the terms of debate and now to be in favor of anything short of mass deportation is to be “liberal” on immigration (long term, this shift in terms works to our advantage). The thing is, though, is that the Establishment may have to settle on Ted Cruz (whom they hate even more than they hate Rubio) because he might be the only non-Trump left standing after South Carolina (and Cruz is being excruciatingly careful not to offend Trump or his supporters for precisely this reason).

      Its going to be interesting – even heard a new-rumor that some GOPers are preparing for the possibility of a brokered convention (this would happen if Cruz, Rubio and Trump just keep winning bits and pieces with no one getting the lion’s share on board). It could happen – because no one is prepared to just roll over any more (the Democrats melt down will start in 2017 if Hillary loses…the far left and the regular left of that party will start to tear each other to pieces).

      But I wouldn’t worry about conspiracies to undo Trump – he won’t be undone by such. If political gamesmanship is seen as the Establishment’s best hope, then they are already done. Sure, if Trump is the nominee then a lot of GOP Establishment types will start talking up Hillary…no different from the Rockefeller Republicans turning on Goldwater in ’64…but they don’t matter that much because they don’t control that many actual votes…and Trump (or Cruz, or Rubio) is going to be able to speak to large segments of the population who don’t normally vote GOP…and contrasted with Hillary, the people will listen to them, regardless of what the Ruling Class says.

      • Shawny Lee December 11, 2015 / 7:06 pm

        I think you’re probably right, at least I hope so. But as for whether or not they are that desperate with all those marbles in play and all of that crony corruption being covered for……it certainly sounded plausible that underhanded dealings could be in the works against any candidate not willing to maintain the status quo. Thanks for the very thoughtful response.

      • M. Noonan December 12, 2015 / 1:38 am

        It could get really interesting – I read today about a GOP convention rule which has it that if you don’t win an outright majority of votes in 8 primary States, you can’t even be nominated at the convention. So much for any thought of nominating someone like Romney from the floor in a desperate bid to stop Trump at the convention! The thing is, the only candidate I see as being sure of winning outright majorities in 8 or more States is Ted Cruz – Alabama, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota all might go for Cruz in a big way. That is 11 States – Cruz would only need to do well in 8 of them to do the trick. Where are Trump’s 8 States? Where are Rubio’s? Remember – absolute majority, not just coming in first. I can see a dozen States where Trump comes in first – and a dozen where Rubio comes in first. Can’t see 8 for either of them, if the race is still Trump/Cruz/Rubio. Imagine what a nightmare it would be if, say, Trump scores 40% of all primary votes, lacks a first-ballot majority and hasn’t even locked up 8 States via majority!

        But suppose each of them manages 8 States – and they roughly split the delegates equally: who gives in? Who signs off his delegates to one of the other so that person can get nominated? What deals get made? It could be the most stupendous political event in American history since Lincoln was nominated.

  8. Amazona December 11, 2015 / 5:47 pm

    Anyone else notice that when the discourse shifted from buzzword topics easily “debated” by quoting Leftist sources and became about actual government, Stuart disappeared? When he was included in conversations, Rusty suddenly popped up, and I think another troll was on the blog for a short time before being removed. When Rusty and fellow troll Whoever were cut short, Stuart disappeared along with them.

    Coincidence?

    • Retired Spook December 12, 2015 / 9:29 am

      Shawny, I listened to the audio and read the accompanying article a couple times, and I see his refusal to comment as a positive. The media is trying to get Cruz into a pissing match with Trump, and he’s not accommodating them. Good for him. Cruz is a careful and talented wordsmith. Contrast that to someone like Lindsay Graham who said we can make America great again by telling Donald Trump to go to hell. IMO, Cruz is one of the few adults in the room.

      • Amazona December 12, 2015 / 10:40 am

        I also checked up on this, reading the transcript of the exchange as well as listening to it, and arrived at my own conclusions:
        (1) Cruz did not challenge or question the judgment of either Carson or Trump
        (2) Cruz recognized a gotcha effort and sidestepped it quite neatly
        (3) The press decided to go ahead as if he had been sucked in by the gotcha question and presented it as if Cruz HAD made negative statements about Carson and Trump
        (4) The media have seen this as a chance to slam Trump by claiming a fellow Republican said he has bad judgment and at the same time smear Cruz by painting him as having said something negative about Trump

      • Shawny Lee December 12, 2015 / 2:53 pm

        I found nothing at all wrong with what Cruz said. It thought it actually gave a glimpse of his strategy which seemed well thought out and respectful to his fellow candidates. What I would expect. That he does not allow anyone else to control or spin his message is a big plus in my view (and a necessity in this political landscape).. It thought he could have confidently elaborated on his comments..

    • Amazona December 12, 2015 / 11:34 am

      Shawny, I went to your link and found it to be stridently anti-Cruz. I waded through a lot of the comments till it just got too disgusting to continue. He “owns” what he said and what he meant, and has no obligation to “own” distorted interpretations of what he said invented by people who hate him. And yes, I mean HATE.

      My bottom line is that Trump devotees are part of a personality cult. Shades of people swooning (literally) over Obama—People shriek “I LOVE you!” during Trump speeches and he hollers back “I love you more!” It’s a feeding frenzy of hyper-emotion on both sides.

      What I, and many others, see as a major strength of Cruz—his level-headed handling of the emotional content of the race, his thoughtfulness and calm demeanor—–are presented by the Trumpets as proof that he is sly, conniving, weak, cowardly, etc. One person just repeatedly squeals that Cruz is “GARBAGE !” (His all-caps, not mine.)

      I repeat—-watching the fanboy adulation of Trump as a person, and the over-the-top vitriol heaped on Cruz as a person, both irrelevant to their qualifications or policy positions, is creepy.

      • Shawny Lee December 12, 2015 / 3:06 pm

        That’s the only place I found the full audio of Cruz in his own words to post. I paid about as much attention to the anti Cruz rhetoric there as I do the anti Trump rhetoric here. Something Cruz himself is smart enough to avoid. We’d better get on the same page with who it is we need to defeat or I think we’ve already lost the war.

      • Amazona December 12, 2015 / 3:25 pm

        I think we are on the same page regarding knowing who we need to defeat. The question is not who do we need to defeat but how to make it happen, and the concerns about Trump are twofold: One is that if he is nominated he will then undergo a series of ego-based meltdowns that sink his campaign and let the Dems win, and the other is that if elected he will start to return to the Leftist line he has taken all along, till he decided to run as a conservative.

        I am not about “defeating” Trump nearly as much as I am about having a rational and educated public make a decision that is not based on being part of a fan club but on hard cold facts. As I said about Mitt Romney, I don’t want to date our candidate, I want to hire him, and I am concerned that if Trump gets the nomination, and bumps a more qualified person out of the running, he will then come off the rails even more than he has so far, as he will have the twin goads of playing to adoring crowds and not having to worry about winning over the Right because he knows we will vote for him anyway.

        Look at the damage the manufactured and wholly fictional “WAR ON WOMENNNNN!!!!” did in the last presidential election cycle, and that was based on nothing more malignant than not supporting abortion and saying that states should be able to decide things like this, not the feds. I can just imagine what would happen to the female vote when the comments Trump has made, such as Hillary “bleeding from the eyes—-and other places” to deride her are replayed over and over again.

        Believe it or not, I AM looking ahead to what we have to win in November 2016, not just at “defeating” one man right now. With Trump as an opponent, all Hillary will have to do will be to calm down, stop screeching, and posture as the grownup in the race, cite Trump’s prior support for her, link him to Crony Capitalism (easy to do given his admission to supporting candidates to gain access and political leverage for his enterprises) and be the Not Trump. I think having Cruz as an opponent would mean she would have to fight to try to win, while up against Trump all she would have to do would be to try not to lose because he will do a lot of her work for her.

        In a Hillary/Trump race, Hillary would be in the odd position of arguing many conservative positions regarding the Constitution, such as the First Amendment regarding freedom of worship, while Trump thunders on about a religious litmus test to be able to enter the country.

        He does have an ardent core of supporters, but for one thing they are turning people off even if Trump is not, through their vicious rhetoric against anyone who does not agree with them. It is like seeing the race card played all over again, to insult and denigrate the opposition, just using other insults instead of “racist”. But he does not have enough support to win the race if nominated, and he would have to gain a lot of ground, and I don’t think that would happen if he runs the same loud emotion-based loose cannon campaign he has been running, courting adulation instead of building a strong political base, especially if Hillary positions herself as the adult in the race.

      • Amazona December 12, 2015 / 3:37 pm

        Shawny, are you truly comparing the analysis of weaknesses in the Trump campaign with the hate-filled anti-Cruz rhetoric on that link of yours? Really? Do you really think what we see as elements of Trump’s psyche and that of his followers as equal in any way to calling someone GARBAGE !! and the personal attacks on Cruz?

      • Amazona December 12, 2015 / 8:38 pm

        Cluster, this supports my contention that when Cruz is campaigning, as he no doubt is in Iowa, he is connecting with people and winning support. I understand the feeling that he needs to step up his game to overtake Trump, but it appears that he HAS stepped up his game in Iowa, and I am heartened by the result.

  9. Amazona December 12, 2015 / 10:52 am

    OT, but as the gun control thread is closed, and closed on several questions from me to Stuart about his positions on gun control, I still want to post this quote. No, I’m not going to back and find the link.

    “James Comey, Jr, the head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, doesn’t know that every gun sold in the United States from a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL), whether at a storefront, in a gun show, or “online,” can only be transferred after the purchaser fills out an ATF Form 4473 and has their information submitted for an FBI NICS background check.

    This is why I get headaches.”

    The quote was about the cluelessness of the current director of the FBI, who doesn’t even know his own agency does the background checks once ATF Form 4473 is submitted.

    I cite it to address the ongoing blather about “gun show loopholes” and the need for a “universal background check”. Gun shows require background checks, all states require background checks, the background check forms are created by a federal agency and the checks themselves are done by another federal agency. That is, this is a national requirement. As I don’t know what the much ballyhooed universal background check is, or how it would be different, though it sounds as if it might include questions on criminal history on Mars, what we have is pretty comprehensive, and no matter what form or forms anyone is required to submit to buy a gun some questions can be answered with lies, the only answers that can be verified are those backed up with actual accessible written records, and because the system is run by human beings there will be mistakes made.

    Does it work? Yes. Maybe not every single time, but yes. My late husband and I were near the gun department in Bass Pro when several policemen came up the stairs and arrested a man who had been looking at guns. His background check form, when run through data bases by the FBI, showed that he was a felon and had an outstanding warrant. He was not only prevented from buying a gun, he was captured and taken back to jail.

    I dare not mention any other time the background check has worked because anything else would trundle into that dreaded “anecdotal” territory that gets lurker trolls incensed.

    • Shawny Lee December 12, 2015 / 3:48 pm

      What we have is comprehensive when it is followed and it’s followed in all the retail stores. Having been to the gun shows, the dealers represented there all follow the required background checks but deals are also done in the parking lot and weapons are traded on a handshake. That’s not just at gun shows, it’s just that gun shows bring together folks interested in buying and selling all kinds of weapons. I read one time a couple of years back about a city gun turn-in/ buy-back event where potential buyers stood outside the building making offers to folks for their guns while they were waiting in line to go in. Right outside city hall with no background checks or documentation. I don’t even believe in registration as ownership should not be a crime and there are laws to prosecute those who commit crimes with their guns. But there is a “gun show loophole” just like there are private sales and trades that take place all the time, now with even greater frequency because law abiding gun owners have been threatened and demonized, made criminals by new regulations.. Universal background checks won’t resolve that. Here in Washington state, they passed a law that it’s illegal to even loan or give your weapon to a friend for safekeeping or hunting or any reason without filing transfer paperwork for it and waiting for days. It’s certainly comprehensive but ridiculous and more important unenforcible. Law enforcement here, including some good friends of mine, thought it was some kind of joke and came out publicly saying they wouldn’t enforce it. I’m guessing most criminals don’t buy their guns at Bass Pro.

      • Amazona December 12, 2015 / 6:28 pm

        You are right, Shawny, when you say ” I’m guessing most criminals don’t buy their guns at Bass Pro.” That is the point of objections to more complicated background check questionnaires.

        For one thing, the kind of law you discuss, mandating paperwork even for loaned guns, is a de facto registration gambit, and it means that any time someone inherits guns, even old family heirlooms, those guns become part of a registry because paperwork has been filed on them when the will was probated.

        A criminal is by definition someone who breaks the law, so it is obvious to clear-thinking people that criminals will have ways to acquire guns that are outside any laws in place. “Red Eye” once did a skit where there were various scenarios in which people were threatened by armed bad guys and all they had to do was point to the picture of a gun with a slash through it, a “No Guns” sign, and the bad guys looked sheepish and went away.

        I still dispute the “gun show loophole” statement as the kind of off-the-books transaction you are talking about is not limited to gun shows, and in fact puts Federal Firearms Licenses at risk. This is the kind of thing that would be so easy to use to set up stings to find FFL holders willing to break the law, and that is a tough enough license to get and could never be regained if lost because of something like entering into illegal transactions. Yes, there are private party transactions, and there is no way the gun restriction recommendations of the anti-gun fanatics would ever be able to control that. I would bet that the vast majority of these are through ads and word of mouth, and not “gun show” arrangements transacted off-premises, because of the very high risk to any FFL holder. Gun show traders are already feeling under fire and tend to monitor themselves and each other because of the constant harassment by anti-gun hysterics. I suppose gun owners could troll the gun show looking for buyers and enter into private transactions with them. Actually, there is a very good chance I will buy guns this way(private transactions, not trolling gun shows) to avoid having Big Brother know what I own. I just don’t think of this as a “loophole” so much as an admission that there can never be any law that covers every single possible thing, and we shouldn’t even try to accomplish that.

        I still don’t know the difference between a “universal background check” and what we have now, or how a different kind of background check could be more effective without opening up protected health and mental health files.

  10. Shawny Lee December 12, 2015 / 8:57 pm

    …”or how a different kind of background check could be more effective without opening up protected health and mental health files.”

    Now they have all those protected health and mental health files through Obamacare, as they already had through the V.A. and have begun back door regulation and confiscation of weapons, mostly Veterans at this point which is really pissy. Now if they’ve ever been prescribed anti-depressants even for short term anxiety or depression going years back, it’s being used as justification to deny them ownership.
    Now they are moving to, and in some places as you said, denying lawfully owned weapons to be passed down to family in a will, that’s without due process or compensation, the confiscation of items of value from an estate. You know, theft. About 8 years ago my husband sold a custom .50 cal that he had used for competitions worth about 9 grand after he had a stroke and couldn’t handle it any more and most of the rest of his expensive collection was also sold, cash, no documentation to friends licensed to carry and trained to handle them.
    As long as they’re trying to make criminals out of law abiding gun owners, those law abiding gun owners should tell them to stick it until they get the point. One thing we know is that no matter how many restrictive laws and regulations are put into place, that isn’t about saving lives or protecting people, that it will never be enough until there is are no rights and all the guns are confiscated. We’ve already let them go too far before drawing the line.
    I appreciate your thoughtful response.

    • Amazona December 13, 2015 / 11:41 am

      Shawny, you are right when you say ” One thing we know is that no matter how many restrictive laws and regulations are put into place, that isn’t about saving lives or protecting people, that it will never be enough until there is are no rights and all the guns are confiscated. We’ve already let them go too far before drawing the line.”

      The Left is run by people who are really really smart when it comes to figuring out how to get what they want. There is the public avenue of pushing for public opinion, which translates into votes, accomplished through propaganda but mostly through getting to our youth by taking over the educational process, because they know as the twig is bent so grows the tree. Every dictator in modern times has known how important it is to get hold of the minds of children to mold them into the proper Leftist shape. There is the incremental slide into tyranny by having our processes ignored and getting laws enacted that have not gone through the legislative process, which we see now in the combination of the unprecedented expansion of legislative power and the development of federal agencies as a fourth branch of government, political appointees making laws. And there is the back door approach, such as the one we see regarding documenting all gun transfers.

      Anyone who does not see this as a means to identify all gun owners, and therefore the location of all guns, is either willfully blind or profoundly stupid. Any law requiring documentation of any transfer of any weapon is a major component of this agenda, as this is necessary to document firearms that are not accounted for in any other way.

      The Left is patient, with long-term goals and long-term plans. If they can implement mandatory reporting of transfer of firearms through inheritance, in just two or three generations they can have a data base of most weapons owned by law abiding citizens, those purchased with background checks and those predating this record-keeping. This, and the back-door controls such as regulating (nearly out of existence) production and sales of components of ammunition production, will have a long-range impact on the ability of Americans to privately own functional firearms.

      I’m not saying that today’s Dem politicians are planning raids to confiscate citizens’ weapons. However, today’s Dem politicians are not the same Dem politicians of, say, President Kennedy’ era, having moved so far to the Left they would not have been tolerated by the old Democratic Party. Today’s Dems are fine with having the President decide which laws are to be enforced and which should be ignored, they are fine with him making new laws, they are fine with having political appointees like Arne Duncan big-footing Leftist social agendas into education.

      Remember the comment about coming in the back door to enact Leftist agendas? Duncan is a perfect example of this. As the Secretary of Education, he has not only pushed hard to nationalize education, to “reform” (or worse, “transform”) education in this country in a way, Common Core, that perhaps only coincidentally puts all of a child’s school records into a permanent national database, including biometric data, he has used his position to push for what he calls “social justice”. Well, we know that this is a cloaking term for wealth redistribution.

      He told educators at the University of Virginia “Great teaching is about so much more than education; it is a daily fight for social justice.” In another speech he said “The fight for quality education is about so much more than education. It’s a fight for social justice.” Duncan worked with Congressman Fattah from Pennsylvania and Congressman Honda from California to create “The Equity and Excellence Commission. Fattah explained this Commission as being (emphasis mine) “established by Secretary Arne Duncan” with the claim that it ”…will begin to close the gap in resource distribution between rich and poor.” and presents ”…a big and bold new vision on the federal role in education by recommending transformations in school funding structures.”

      Hmmm. “Transformation”. Where have we heard that before? Just when did it become constitutional to have the feds take over education, and just when did it become constitutional to use education as a stalking horse for implementing radical Leftist “transformations” of our nation?

      We can’t just dismiss these incremental incursions into expansions of federal size, scope and power just because we don’t think the Democratic Party of 2015 is plotting to take over the nation and make it (officially) a dictatorship. All we have to do is look at the progress made in this direction since, say, 1960, and the Left’s success in getting approval from the left side of the political aisle in this country, to see both the direction the Left is taking this country and its ability to gradually turn up the heat so many of the American frogs find it comfortable and don’t realize how close they are to boiling. The temperature has been cranked up pretty significantly in the past eight years, and we still have Lefties loving it, praising it, and wanting more.

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