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No, Donald Trump Isn’t Going To ‘Pivot’

Donald Trump Shrug

Kevin Drum has some thoughts for political reporters and pundits who keep anticipating that we’ll surely eventually see a ‘pivot’ by President Trump away from the bombastic, irresponsible rube who tweets out nonsense that he sees on Fox News Channel or reads in a Breitbart article, insults long-standing American allies such as Great Britain and Germany, and generally stumbles his way through the first 100 days of his Presidency:

There’s a piece of me that hardly blames reporters for replaying the “pivot” narrative over and over. Let’s face it: It defies human understanding that an easily bored 8-year-old has been elected president of the United States. But he has—and every week he promises to be good. Maybe he even tries. Who knows?

For something like 50 or 60 consecutive weeks, the Trump entourage has been insisting that the boss is going to pivot and start being presidential real soon now. How long before everyone understands it’s not going to happen?

Drum is right, of course. The idea that Trump is going to change how he’s acting is something, that I suppose, makes sense because to an outside observer it seems apparent that this course of action cannot continue without eventually having some seriously negative consequences, not just for Trump personally or politically but for the nation as a whole and by extension the rest of the world. Obviously, they argue, someone who has been a supposedly serious businessman since graduating from Wharton Business School in the early 1970s and spent two years of his life running for President will eventually realize that he’s engaging in self-destructive behavior and that his Presidency will end up being one of history’s epic failures if he continues on this course. The problem with that hypothesis is that the people advancing it are making assumptions about Trump and the people around him that the twenty-one months that have elapsed since he announced his candidacy have shown us simply aren’t true.

At the top of the list, of course, is the fact that Trump has proven that he’s not going he’s not going to change and that every effort that anyone close to him to make him change will ultimately fail. Trump’s behavior as President is, in reality, not exceedingly different from the way that he has acted since he first became a public figure in the 1980s. Perhaps this is something that people who weren’t constantly exposed to him don’t realize, but as someone who grew up in the New York tri-state area, it’s something I’ve noted from the very beginning. For better or worse, living in that part of the country meant that Trump was constantly part of the news in some way, whether it was because he was either arguing with or buddying up to New York City Mayors like Ed Koch or Rudy Giuliani or because of his involvement in the USFL and its New York area team the New Jersey Generals. Slowly, but surely there was Trump branded stuff all over the city, and his name was in the news constantly, and not just on the celebrity pages, and the rest was history. Throughout all of this, and continuing on through the 1990s and 2000s, when Trump enjoyed a resurgence in popularity thanks to the relative success of his shows The Apprentice and Celebrity Apprentice, Donald Trump remained the same person he was in the 1980s. The only difference this time is that he now had a Twitter account and his interest had turned to politics, which is something he’d only flirted with in the past. Now that he’s in his 70s, it’s simply unrealistic to expect that he’s going to change the way he acts. A leopard doesn’t change its spots, and Donald Trump isn’t going to stop being a bombastic, irrational jerk who speaks without thinking and doesn’t care who he offends. The fact that his words now actually matter since he is President of the United States clearly doesn’t matter to him.

Even if you weren’t aware of the old Donald Trump, though, it should be apparent by now that expecting Donald Trump to change for anything other than a short period of time is expecting the impossible. From the moment he entered the race until now, there have been various points where people who comment on politics for a living say that Trump would surely pivot away from the outrage and toward a saner approach. It happened after the Megyn Kelly incident when he offended women around the country, after he called Mexican immigrants rapists and criminals, after he attacked a Federal Judge who was born in Indiana as being ‘Mexican’ because of his adverse rulings in the Trump University fraud case, after he mocked a disabled New York Times reporter who disputed his claims about seeing Muslims celebrating the collapse of the Twin Towers on September 11th, after he attacked a Gold Star mother and father who spoke out against him at the Democratic National Convention, and at all the other times over the past two years or more when he has done or said something outrageous. Sometimes, we would see Trump pulling back and behaving more like a normal candidate and politician, but it never lasts for long. Inevitably, he returns to his old form and returns to his habit of using Twitter to make outrageous claims that end up eating up countless news cycles. The most recent example of that, of course, are the claims he made two weeks ago about President Obama allegedly ordering the wiretapping of the Trump campaign’s phones at Trump Tower, none of which his Administration has been able to supply anything approaching evidence to support.

This is the way Donald Trump is, and it’s the way he’s going to be for the entirety of his Presidency. Obviously, that doesn’t bode well for the country, but the American people who voted for him knew what they were getting when they voted for him so they can hardly complain now that they have it. The only problem is that the rest of us, and the world beyond American voters, are going to be joined with them in paying the price for putting a man like this in the White House. As I put it on Inauguration Day, I believe that ultimately we’ll survive Donald Trump just as we’ve survived everything else. It’s going to be a bumpy ride, though, and it’s not likely to be an easy journey.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. HarvardLaw92 says:

    This is the way Donald Trump is, and it’s the way he’s going to be for the entirety of his Presidency. Obviously, that doesn’t bode well for the country,

    Indeed. Trump today is the exact same Trump from the 1980s. He’s the exact same person he was the first time that I met him. He’s absolutely not going to change a single thing. Barring impeachment, which is singularly unlikely even if the Republicans decided to pursue it, what you’re seeing now is what you’ll be seeing three years and some change from now.

    In fact, given what I know about this person, I’d argue that as the opposition gets louder (and it will), he will entrench himself that much further into this reactionary, pugilistic way of doing business.

    That doesn’t bode well for the country, no, but it bodes worse for the Republican Party.

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  2. CSK says:

    I can see him digging in if the opposition gets louder and stronger. But what happens if he loses his base? I used to think this was not possible, since they have so much invested in him emotionally and psychologically, but there appear to be rumblings over at Breitbart (at least among the readers), a rising chorus of discontent that a) the wall isn’t being built, b) Hillary’s not in jail, c) Obamacare hasn’t been totally revoked, and d) that several million Muslims and Mexicans haven’t been evicted.

    Trump wants to go around the country holding rallies and letting the love of the faithful wash over him in a great tsunami of adoration. What happens when the tide recedes?

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  3. Slugger says:

    Human beings find it hard to change. Sometimes a great personal crisis can stimulate a change, but often people double down on their previous positions. Mr. Trump has just achieved a great victory; surely the Presidency of the United States is one of the biggest prizes one can ever dream of. He ain’t gonna change. A guy with a somewhat pessimistic but not unreasonable view of humanity said that a leopard can not change his spots.

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  4. Liberal Capitalist says:

    He is what he is. What he is not is a statesman. Nor is he a successful businessman.

    We have a grifter in charge, due to a weak GOP field, and GOP voters that wanted a dramatic change.

    What will define our country is if we will hold him to his campaign statements / promises, and call him out on his deviations.

    It is the only way that the loyal 28% will ever realize how they have been fooled and taken.

    Our challenge: when every media outlet except Fox News and their like is now fake news, how will we deal with this?

    The budget has shown us: Up is down, white is black, good is bad.

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  5. CSK says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    What do you think he’ll do if he loses the 28%? I don’t think he’ll ever lose all of them. But say his approval rate gets down to the teens. Could his ego stand that? Would he bail?

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  6. al-Ameda says:

    For something like 50 or 60 consecutive weeks, the Trump entourage has been insisting that the boss is going to pivot and start being presidential real soon now. How long before everyone understands it’s not going to happen?

    Now, I’m not a seasoned political reporter, or a person with extensive knowledge of Trump as he has operated for nearly 40 years in the New York City/East Coast world of real estate development. I know only what I’ve seen of him on television and read of him in various news accounts over the years.

    However, what I saw and what I’ve read was more than enough for me to have formed a strong opinion that he was a brash, preening, and vindictive man – a real estate developer-salesman-conman become celebrity.

    During the campaign I never understood people who said – either in defense of him, or in resignation – that once he became president he would start to ‘act presidential’, that the office would change him. Please, this is who he fundamentally is, he’s not going to change.

    Republicans have to be hoping that they can jam through their national “Back To Zero” “Deconstruction” agenda before it gets a lot worse.

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  7. Mr. Bluster says:

    Politics, where fat, bald, disagreeable men, unable to be candidates themselves, teach a president how to act on a public stage.
    Jimmy Breslin October 17, 1930-March 19, 2017 RIP

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  8. gVOR08 says:

    People don’t change. Those of us in our seventies really don’t change. (Well, deteriorate sometimes.) Many of us learn, but only if that was part of the package all along.

    There is a presumption of normalcy granted to Republicans. That presumption saved their bacon in Iran/Contra as half the country and much of the supposedly liberal MSM just didn’t believe Republicans would do anything that ridiculous. It will take a lot of stuff for many of the MSM to realize Trump isn’t going to turn out to be a brash H. W. Bush.

    There is also a built in presumption that successful people are smart and competent. It’s hard for people to realize that many successful people get there on hard work and self absorption and in Trump’s case a hell of a lot of luck, especially in the birth lottery. Also he isn’t near as successful as the Trumpskyites believe.

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  9. michael reynolds says:

    Fiction writing 101: stay true to character. If you have a choice between a plot point and character, you choose character*, because acting out of character is immediately seen by the reader as exceedingly unlikely, and then you’ve broken trust with the reader. Always stay true to character.

    That’s how real life is, too. People can grow, they can discover new iterations of themselves, but people do not fundamentally change.

    Trump isn’t refusing to change, he’s not capable of it. This is it.

    *Using that word as in ‘a character’ not as in ‘he had sterling character.’

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  10. CSK says:

    @Mr. Bluster:

    Breslin once had a great crack about Trump, something to the effect that the only reporters who took his calls were those dumb enough to have phones on their desks. Breslin’s advice, if Trump called you, was to hang up on him.

    Rest in peace, Jimmy.

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  11. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @CSK:

    What do you think he’ll do if he loses the 28%? I don’t think he’ll ever lose all of them. But say his approval rate gets down to the teens. Could his ego stand that? Would he bail?

    Asking conjecture? OK, here’s my .02:

    Could his ego stand that? No.

    Would he bail? No

    And that becomes problematic.

    Unless he commits a severe crime (unlike the current crime of ignoring the Emoluments Clause) the GOP will not take any action to impeach, as we have seen that the GOP has completely rolled over and given up on any pretext of conservatism. However, they will not support him either, fearing votes will be lost. As a result, Trump will become isolated with his direct advisors providing all his news and data.

    We have seen this before. The movie “Downfall” did a great job documenting the collapse of a fascist.

    And the Downfall / Trump parodies just write themselves:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DByC0Y2qETE

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  12. CSK says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    So in essence Trump will just retreat into a literal and metaphorical bunker, like Captain Queeg with a bowl of strawberries, while Bannon/Ivanka/Jared/Conway sort of run things while backstabbing each other?

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  13. Gustopher says:

    What people don’t seem to realize is that this is Trump on his best behavior.

    I think those hoping he will pivot will get their wish. He will pivot, just to even worse behavior. He’ll stop trying to win over Americans who voted against him, and go all in for those who supported him. He’s not good at winning people over who voted against him, but just imagine how bad he will be when he stops trying.

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  14. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @al-Ameda:

    a person with extensive knowledge of Trump as he has operated for nearly 40 years in the New York City/East Coast world of real estate development.

    You kind of have to have that background to really understand what drives this person. In his heart, he’s still the not good enough kid who was (and is) embarrassed to have originated in Queens. He spent a decent sized portion of his childhood looking across the East River and thinking “that’s where I really belong”.

    In his mind, his true place was in Manhattan society (and specifically of the Union Club, Upper East Side, vacations in Palm Beach, “we’ve been rich since the dawn of time” variety). So, as soon as he could, he headed for Manhattan, convinced that he’d be welcomed as a member of the club.

    What he encountered, instead, should have been utter predictable. Entre into that world is a matter of birth, and no amount of money can overcome that barrier. They, generally speaking, laughed, then slammed the door in his face. He’s never gotten over it. IMO everything that he has done since has been an attempt to either show them why they were wrong to rebuff him or pretend that the slight didn’t bother him (it did).

    Even Mar-A-Lago, IMO, is more of the same. He purchased the largest (and frankly most gaudy) home in Palm Beach, thinking things might be more relaxed down there and he could begin to worm his way in. (Keep in mind that it was initially purchased with the intent of it being his private home. It didn’t become what it is now until after closing, when it became clear that he couldn’t personally afford the upkeep on the place.)

    No joy. Doors stayed slammed, so he resorted instead to surrounding himself with nouveau riche individuals who were just like him – hedge funders, etc.

    It’s a grown up version of a five year old’s “well I didn’t want to go to your stupid party anyway” tantrum. His entire adult life has been variations on that same theme. This is no different.

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  15. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @CSK:

    So in essence Trump will just retreat into a literal and metaphorical bunker, like Captain Queeg with a bowl of strawberries…

    That was what came to me weeks ago, and I posted it in a previous OTB comment. Not many are familiar with Bogart’s Queeg, but that is a great example of a well intending person well over their head, and unable to deal with it

    For those unfamiliar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-95QqBXLG2I

    Like I said, conjecture.

    However, when Trump start to talk wiretapping, Queeg is nearly prescient in his delivery.

    Now we know why a president should have some knowledge of the Constitution and US History, and would greatly help if they had held any public office.

    Lacking all this, we have what we have.

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  16. al-Ameda says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Even Mar-A-Lago, IMO, is more of the same. He purchased the largest (and frankly most gaudy) home in Palm Beach, thinking things might be more relaxed down there and he could begin to worm his way in. (Keep in mind that it was initially purchased with the intent of it being his private home. It didn’t become what it is now until his finances hit the skids and it became clear that he couldn’t personally afford the upkeep on the place.)

    Thanks for the background. It all makes a lot of sense: years of resentment, the Manhattan monied establishment brushes him off, an intense desire to get even.

    And Mar-A-Lago?
    It completely epitomizes Rich Trash Culture, there is nothing stately about it. The kind of place a “Scarface” type of capo would acquire and furnish to show everyone just how fabulous he is. That’s Trump. To him, it says to the world: “Look at me, I’m rich, I’m smart, and by the way, did you know that I’m rich and smart?” To me it’s a guy a who says: “Okay, NOW will you go out with me?”

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  17. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Even Mar-A-Lago, IMO, is more of the same. He purchased the largest (and frankly most gaudy) home in Palm Beach, thinking things might be more relaxed down there and he could begin to worm his way in. (Keep in mind that it was initially purchased with the intent of it being his private home. It didn’t become what it is now until his finances hit the skids and it became clear that he couldn’t personally afford the upkeep on the place.)

    No joy. Doors stayed slammed, so he resorted instead to surrounding himself with nouveau riche individuals who were just like him – hedge funders, etc.

    It’s a grown up version of a five year old’s “well I didn’t want to go to your stupid party anyway” tantrum.

    From what I had read on the history of that purchase, you are right that he purchased it to become his home, but the folks that ran the town in Palm Beach were none-too-pleased with his plans to sub-divide the property to make additional lots and homes, thereby allowing him to recover his costs.

    As a result, he decided to open up the golf course to memberships that would include Jews and Blacks, something that was a slap-in-the-face to Palm Springs elite

    Had that been his initial intent, I would have applauded, but to do so with only spiteful intent… well, that’s the five year old gone wild.

    http://www.vanityfair.com/style/2016/12/how-donald-trump-beat-palm-beach-society-and-won-the-fight-for-mar-a-lago

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  18. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    He purchased it in the mid-80s with the intent of it being a private home. When his finances hit the rocks in the early 90s, he offered to subdivide the property in an attempt to placate his bankers, who were quite intent on seizing it otherwise. The bottom line was he was desperate to hang on to it in some fashion.

    The city council, predictably, hit the roof and shut down that option, so it became a private club instead.

    B&T’s current policies I’m not certain of. Membership in Everglades has been closed (i.e no new members, no matter who you are) since the 1920s. Those memberships are handed down within the family lines of the original 500 members (but yea, AFAIK there are still no black or Jewish members).

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  19. CSK says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    And of course once he realized he’d never be able to crash Old New York Society–a hopeless quest even for those considerably less innately trashy than Trump–he decided to make himself the King of the Tabloids.

    That’ll show ’em.

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  20. michael reynolds says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    You know, for a lawyer you’re good at getting human behavior.

    Grisham started out as a lawyer. Just sayin’. . . second career?

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  21. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I think any attorney who’s done his time in litigation / trial law gets to be good at reading people.

    What I do now is pretty much entirely about words on pages, parsing meanings and stretching them just to their breaking point for the benefit of the client’s interests. Prior to that, however, I spent several years as an AUSA, immersed in trial law, and I can say that trials – jury trials in particular – are not about the law. They’re about people – which attorney does the jury emotionally bond with? Who do they want to blame for the harm they’re evaluating? In that arena, you have to quickly learn how to read people or you fail.

    Unfortunately, I’m just not that creative / imaginative. In another life I might have been a CPA lol. Grisham has that gift; I don’t.

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  22. Mikey says:

    @al-Ameda:

    And Mar-A-Lago?
    It completely epitomizes Rich Trash Culture, there is nothing stately about it. The kind of place a “Scarface” type of capo would acquire and furnish to show everyone just how fabulous he is.

    And now it has the bonus of being the kind of place the rubes look at and say “There’s a guy who’s MADE IT.”

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  23. CSK says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Trump might make an interesting protagonist for a novel, possibly something in the vein of Willie Stark inAll the King’s Men–with the very big difference that Stark starts out as an idealistic lawyer and morphs into a corrupt swine. I find it impossible to believe that Trump was anything ever but what he was and is: an intellectually impoverished amoral con man and buffoon with no guiding principle but his own self-aggrandizement.

    The difficulty might lie in making him sufficiently interesting to carry an entire novel. There’s no there there.

    The only truly interesting thing Trump ever said was when he remarked that he avoided introspection (not the word he used) because he feared if he looked too deeply into himself, he might not like what he saw.

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  24. grumpy realist says:

    @Mikey: And Trump, until the day he dies and no matter what he does, will still be the Brooklyn urchin with his nose pressed against the window while everyone who counts holds the birthday party without him.

    Trump will go down in history as the stupid jerk who trashed America, supported by a minority of dimwitted supporters and a Republican party that didn’t have the balls to stand up to him and thought they could use him.

    Just as Trump’s dimwitted supporters who rely on stuff like Meals on Wheels and Medicare enlargements are now saying “hey, wait, we never thought he would do that!”

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  25. Hal_10000 says:

    Why would he change? Being an ignorant boorish ass got him a few billion, 60 million votes and the White House. What incentive does a man who is richer than Croesus and now the most powerful human on Earth have to change? During the entire election, I said that expecting Trump to change once he got the nomination, or once he won the election or once he moved into the White House was like expecting your abusive bum of a husband to change once the kids come along. He is who he is.

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  26. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    As a result, he decided to open up the golf course to memberships that would include Jews and Blacks, something that was a slap-in-the-face to Palm Springs elite

    I meant to mention earlier – there is no golf course at Mar-A-Lago. It’s become some sort of wacky social club for people who couldn’t get into B&T (which is right across the road, and actually on the ocean). He did open it up to blacks & Jews though.

    For Trump golf, you actually have to head to West Palm, to his wonderful course bordering the Palm Beach County Detention Center, 50’s tract homes & a mail sorting facility (ISYN …). That course says all that needs to be said about Donald Trump.

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  27. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Hal_10000:

    What incentive does a man who is richer than Croesus

    He’s not. He’s just gotten very good over the years at looking like he is. Let’s leave it at that.

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  28. Hal_10000 says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    Granted. I think he does massively overstate his wealth. But it’s probably still a few hundred million, just in property alone.

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  29. Liberal Capitalist says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    I meant to mention earlier – there is no golf course at Mar-A-Lago.

    Yep. The article that I included from Vanity Fair talked about how he traded the lawsuit against Palm Springs and the airport noise for some scrubland next to the airport.

    Take that land, add $40 Million, and BAM … Trump International Golf Course!

    http://www.maralagoclub.com/Default.aspx?p=dynamicmodule&pageid=100008&ssid=100030&vnf=1

    He’s learned to leverage his litigiousness, but now that’s a tool that he can’t put to use… and you can tell.

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  30. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Hal_10000:

    I can’t really get any more specific. I wish I could, believe me. I’m already pushing the boundaries as it is. It’s smoke and mirrors.

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  31. Mikey says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Just as Trump’s dimwitted supporters who rely on stuff like Meals on Wheels and Medicare enlargements are now saying “hey, wait, we never thought he would do that!”

    “I never thought leopards would eat MY face!” sobs woman who voted for Leopards Eating People’s Faces Party.

    https://twitter.com/cavalorn/status/654934442549620736?lang=en

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  32. Argon says:

    @HarvardLaw92:

    That doesn’t bode well for the country, no, but it bodes worse for the Republican Party.

    In the long run, perhaps. But, a GOP candidate could murder someone on the streets in broad daylight and still get 80% of the Republican vote in the general election as long as they were anti-abortion. The Republicans still hold most of the states and the US House is gerrymandered pretty tightly. It’s absolutely critical to wrest control of the state governments from solid GOP control before the next census triggers redistricting.

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  33. Just 'nutha ign'int cracker says:

    @HarvardLaw92: I suspect that anyone who really stops to thoughtfully consider the leaked tax return probably can connect the dots well enough. Hal is just sort of a pseudo apologist for Trump these days.

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  34. DrDaveT says:

    @CSK:

    The difficulty might lie in making him sufficiently interesting to carry an entire novel. There’s no there there.

    It worked for Theodore Dreiser in An American Tragedy… There does seem to be a market for POV novels with sociopathic protagonists.

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  35. DrDaveT says:

    @Just ‘nutha ign’int cracker:

    Hal is just sort of a pseudo apologist for Trump these days.

    Hardly. He was exactly right about the stupid and incorrect “Trump cancels Meals on Wheels!” nonsense. He was also exactly right that Trump opponents (1) do not need to make stuff up about him, and (2) MUST not make stuff up about him, if they really want to distinguish their allegedly reality-based position from Trump’s.

    I disagree with Hal about a lot, but he nailed that one.

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  36. Jim Brown 32 says:

    A commenter in another Trump thread actually posted a good article about Trump’s rich Libertarian donors and their reliance on Project Smith and social media analytics provided by a partner “big data” company. Links like that was one of the reasons I use to come here more often before this place became a higher IQ version of HuffPo.

    At any rate, the gist of the link is that Trump’s “platform” is pretty much “Candidate Smith” modeled by the Project Smith initiative to a tee. One of the interviewees commented that Trump was nothing more than a Bot parroting scripted lines of position and persuasion based off the analytics model their data company has created. This model was designed to not only identify likely voters–but create them through the messaging patterns which capitalized of human fears, biases, aspirations, etc.

    To me, this explains pretty much everything–except what the Libertarian shadow backer desire as their end game. They hate Conservatives but are linked at the hip with them. Probably inseparably so at this point because the pursuit of the “birds in the bush” (tribal/white nationalists who were under the polling radar) as caused their Team to lose almost every other faction that could have been an ally. The only wild card they can play at this point is to recruit the “Sanders Left”.

    So No, there is no Pivot to make. The model their data scientists have created to guide his messaging has worked so far–there is no reason to abandon it. So it looks like after the all the Liberal hand wringing and explaining away about the election–the real reason Trump won was incredibly simple. He had access to better data and models for the demographic he needed to target. The good news is that Democrats can do the same. Im interested to see if they do, and, what the updated model and Democratic “Candidate Smith” sounds like.

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  37. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    what the Libertarian shadow backer desire as their end game

    That one is easy. A return to the gilded age.

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  38. MBunge says:

    So, if HarvardLaw92 and the rest of you possess such such a profound and precise understanding of Trump’s character, how were all so terribly wrong about…well, everything concerning him for the last 20 months or so? If you are experts on Donald Trump then you must be complete idiots about the rest of the world.

    And I forget, which came first again? Trump’s allegations of wiretapping with no evidence to support them or the endless neo-McCarthyite allegations of Trump-Russia collusion with no evidence to support them?

    Mike

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  39. Mikey says:

    @MBunge:

    how were all so terribly wrong about…well, everything concerning him for the last 20 months or so

    You really aren’t capable of making an argument that doesn’t include a ludicrous strawman.

    We’ve all held for months that he’s a petulant, narcissistic man-child, utterly unsuited to the office, a con man who fooled millions of people into voting for him and is now proceeding to do all the things we predicted he’d do once he took office.

    “Wrong about everything?” Bullshit. The only thing we were wrong about were his chances of winning, and we were only about 70K votes shy out of ~123 million.

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  40. SC_Birdflyte says:

    I don’t always enjoy being contrarian, but in the survival of nations, failure definitely IS an option. Those who think our survival is guaranteed might wish to ask the ambassadors of the Byzantine and Austro-Hungarian Empires for their input.

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  41. michael reynolds says:

    @MBunge:

    What are you even talking about? Trump has been exactly what we said he’d be. Down to every last bizarre, irrational, petulant, in-over-his-head behavior.

    You’re the one who has been wrong about everything. I’ve never been more right about anything, ever. It’s unsettling how easily predictable all this was, because it just highlights the utter stupidity of Trump voters.

    Mexico will pay for the wall? Nope, taxpayers will.

    Trump Care will cover everyone for less? Nope, it’ll knock 24 million off coverage.

    He’ll hire the best people? Really? Ben Carson? An HHS secretary who was already under a corruption investigation? Mike Flynn? Hundreds of empty sub-cabinet positions?

    Destroying ISIS by. . . doing exactly what Obama was already doing?

    Reining in the Chinese by trading acceptance of the One China policy in exchange for trademark protections for the Trump brand?

    Where is that trillion dollar infrastructure package, Mike? Seen it anywhere? Because there is no bill, there is nothing in his budget. . . where’d it go? Did it go where all of Trump’s promises go? In the nearest gold-handled crapper?

    His health and tax and EPA policies actually target his own voters. I get richer, they die. That’s what he’s doing, and that’s exactly what we said he’d do.

    Meanwhile the whole world is laughing at us. Our prestige is plummeting. Our diplomacy is dead. We’ve alienated our strongest allies – Britain, Germany, Australia. At the same time, Trump is still so far up Putin’s ass he can taste the borscht.

    When do you wake up, dude?

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  42. DrDaveT says:

    the endless neo-McCarthyite allegations of obvious prima facie case for Trump-Russia collusion with no evidence a clear smoking gun (unlike Benghazi!!!) to support them?

    FTFY.

    Seriously, dude — if you think “Intelligence agencies agree that it was Russia, the leaked info was clearly timed to hurt Hillary’s election chances, and Trump has acted repeatedly and publicly to support Russia and Russian interests, both before and after the election” is “no evidence”, you need to get your money back for all of those years of education. (And yes, I do understand the distinction between ‘evidence’ and ‘proof’ — do you?)

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  43. al-Alameda says:

    @MBunge:

    And I forget, which came first again? Trump’s allegations of wiretapping with no evidence to support them or the endless neo-McCarthyite allegations of Trump-Russia collusion with no evidence to support them?

    I know it seems prosaic and hopelessly uninteresting to Trump supporters who want to get on with “deconstruction” of the federal government, but, what about the very simple possibility that he or his acolytes had knowledge of Russian efforts to influence the election?
    A couple of points:
    (1) Trump’s very own unfounded allegation that former President Obama had Trump/Trump Tower under surveillance is a touch more ‘McCarthyite’ than say, (2) fact-based inferences that Trump and/or members of his campaign and advisory staff (people like Flynn, Manafort, and Trump himself) have various business interests in Russia, and in the months during the campaign, had communications with various Russian officials. As you know, Trump’s own remarks on the subject of Russian leaks and hacking of the DNC beg answers to obvious very serious questions.

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  44. MarkedMan says:

    I’ve been thinking about Marion Barry a lot lately. For those who are too young to remember, Marion Barry was the Mayor of Washington DC who oversaw a collapse of both the city finances and services with an extremely corrupt and ineffectual administration. Then he was literally caught on tape smoking crack with a hooker, and so did manage to lose his reelection, which was held as he was heading off to start his prison sentence. However, even in that election he carried Ward 8, his base. And at the next election, he ran again and won.

    Many, many people felt that the fact that his policies were failures, that the city collapsed financially under his tenure, that so much corruption was so obvious and that HE HAD LITERALLY JUST GOTTEN OUT OF PRISON FOR SMOKING CRACK WITH A HOOKER would mean he would be defeated easily.

    Months ago I started comparing Barry supporters to Trump supporters, and I think this holds even truer now. And perhaps more importantly, we who oppose Trump are very comparable to those who opposed Barry. We simply cannot believe anyone, knowing what a doofus this clown is, could ever vote for him. But they did. And Trump, no matter how badly he trashes the country, has a very good chance of getting reelected, IMO.

    I can’t claim that I understand what happened with Barry, but I have a theory. The opposition thought that his supporters were low-information types (probably true) and therefore were unaware of just how corrupt and harmful Barry was, and they could turn them against Barry if they just shouted about all the horrible things he had done which led to terrible problems for everyone, most especially Barry’s supporters. But I don’t think they were unaware. I think that a very significant percentage was motivated to pull the lever for Barry by the huge lot of people who they felt (probably correctly) held them in contempt, and who were lecturing and berating them and treating them like they were stupid. And in the end voting for Barry/Trump let them stick a finger in the eye of all those a**holes who thought they were better.

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  45. grumpy realist says:

    @MarkedMan: Stupidity should hurt. It’s the only way that certain people learn.

    And a lot of people have chips on their shoulders insisting that their ignorance is just as good as someone else’s wisdom.

    I guess a lot of Americans are going to have to learn this the hard way. Idiocracy, indeed.

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  46. Pch101 says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Stupidity should hurt. It’s the only way that certain people learn.

    Many people, particularly the dumb ones, are unable to see the linkage between actions and their related consequences. So they won’t learn, no matter how badly they are hurt.

    You’ll end up with a bunch of rednecks who blame their losses on Obama, the Democrats and minorities. The GOP believes that the only things that can really hurt them are tax increases, and they act accordingly.

    I suspect what will hurt Trump with some elements of his base will be his failure to bring back certain jobs as promised. But the bigotry, foreign policy gaffes, and the general displays of ineptitude won’t trouble them.

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  47. MarkedMan says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Stupidity should hurt

    I get your point, but for a lot of Barry voters I think it wasn’t relevant. Their lives were difficult for any number of reasons, and I suspect that deep down they didn’t think Barry nor his opponent could really help them (and they may have been right). So it came down to a choice between voting for someone who ‘got’ them and seemed to respect them, or voting for someone who they saw as condescending and yelling.

    If they believed their lives would get better with their vote for Barry then the fact that it didn’t might have taught a lesson. But if their motivation was to cause distress to people who they felt belittled by, well, it worked. 100%

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  48. DrDaveT says:

    @MarkedMan:

    I’ve been thinking about Marion Barry a lot lately.

    I’m sorry. It’s a pretty good analogy, though.

    I lived in the DC area during the Barry years. His base, in the poorest (Anacostia) section of the poorest quarter (Southeast) of DC, saw him as a former civil rights leader who fought for poor blacks against The Man. He made a point of wearing clothes with an ‘African’ cut and some kinte cloth trim (e.g. here), and essentially portrayed himself as the only thing standing in the way of White Folk having everyone in Ward 8 evicted and/or arrested.

    The saddest thing is that, as corrupt and incompetent and sleazy as Barry was/is, Trump will probably be even worse for his constituents, and do even more collateral damage to everyone else.

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  49. Kylopod says:

    @MarkedMan:

    And Trump, no matter how badly he trashes the country, has a very good chance of getting reelected, IMO.

    I’ve been on this kick in several threads recently, so you may have heard my tune already. I’m not going to gauge Trump’s exact chances of being reelected; it’s too early to tell. But I cringe whenever I hear people act as though they’re watching his political demise as we speak. It’s like they didn’t learn anything from seeing how we got to this place. We already saw him caught on tape boasting about sexual assault.

    And while I largely agree with your psychoanalysis of the prototypical Trump voter, I’d add that a crucial element to his electoral college victory was simple, base partisanship. Republicans would vote for anyone with an R after their name, even if Trump wasn’t their ideal. He won 90% of the GOP vote, just 3% short of what Romney got four years earlier. I don’t buy the explanation that it was due to Hillary’s unpopularity balancing things out; if that were true, we’d have seen unprecedented support for third-party candidates. But we didn’t. The total percentage of all the third-party candidates combined was less than Ross Perot got even during his second presidential run in 1996, when neither of the major-party candidates were unpopular. No, the real story is partisanship. Make no mistake, the vast majority of Republicans will find ways to rationalize their support for Trump long after Hillary’s gone. It’s part of the “Yes, but…” game I’ve talked about in other threads. “Yes, Trump is awful, but….” Even the so-called NeverTrumpers are increasingly sounding like that these days.

    Partisanship is the one element that doesn’t fit into your analogy with DC politics, a one-party city where the Democratic primary is essentially the election. (Even in that comeback election you described, Barry got just 56% of the vote, which is incredibly low for a Democrat in DC.) The FU factor is an important aspect to Trump’s rise (in many ways, his victory in the primaries was a more notable development than his EC win), but it wouldn’t have amounted to anything without a compliant GOP to get behind him once he achieved that feat.

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  50. grumpy realist says:
  51. CSK says:

    FWIW, according to the Gallup Poll, Trump’s approval rating has gone further under water, to 37%. On the flip side, 58% of the public disapproves of the job he’s doing.

    And Comey just said that the FBI has no information to support Trump’s allegations that Obama wiretapped him.

    In both cases, the Trumpkins are screeching “:fake news.”

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  52. Trump is the caudillo/coronel – he even has the same obsession with his adult children(A famous Brazilian coronel managed to name a CITY with the name of his deceased son). His policies, his styles and his supporters are strikingly similar.

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  53. the Q says:

    Marked Man, Marion Barry won because he had by far the best campaign slogan:

    “No more hookers or blow, just good government”

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  54. the Q says:

    Andre Kenji de Sousa….is there a Brazilian term for “wife daughter?” since Ivanka sure seems to be Donald’s “wife daughter”

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  55. An Interested Party says:

    And I forget, which came first again? Trump’s allegations of wiretapping with no evidence to support them or the endless neo-McCarthyite allegations of Trump-Russia collusion with no evidence to support them?

    All well and good except for the twin facts that the FBI has dismissed the former while investigating the latter…your lips must be so tired from kissing Donald’s derrière…

    And Trump, no matter how badly he trashes the country, has a very good chance of getting reelected, IMO.

    Uh huh…assuming he even serves his first full term…

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