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June 21, 2016


Come the convention, the delegates appear to have three choices:

1) Business as usual: vote as their primaries dictate.

2) Change the rules to "vote their consciences," or even just abstain on the first ballot (after which they are free anyway). Since Trump didn't bother to get involved in the selection of actual delegates, that's it for him. Since Cruz did get involved, he has a lot more sympathetic delegates than he has pledged delegates, and so is likely to be the favorite as an alternative.

3) Change the rules to free the delegates. Have the party elected officials persuade (browbeat. bribe, whatever) enough delegates to nominate someone who might actually be electable (i.e. not Cruz).

The problem is that 1) is shaping up to be a disaster. Not just in the Presidential contest, but for everyone down-ballot. Because those folks can either embrace Trump (thus tarnishing themselves with the majority of the voting population who dislikes Trump), or avoid embracing Trump (thus alienating Trump's supporters).

But 2) and 3) have the same downside when it comes to alienating Trump supporters. No matter what the down-ballot folks do (and even if they weren't even at the convention), the Trump supporters may turn out to "punish" the GOP by voting for anyone else but.

And 3) has the additional downside of pissing off Cruz' supporters. Who, perhaps not unreasonably, think their guy should get the nod. No matter than he is barely less toxic with the general voting public.

I think that a lot (even if perhaps not enough) of the delegates are sufficiently horrified by the idea of Trump as a candidate that they would love for it not to happen. But the alternatives are hardly attractive. A lot of the Trump supporters seem to share his enthusiasm for punishing anyone who thwarts them. Which could well apply (at least in their minds) to any GOP candidate.

In short, there are no good options.

Another reason why trying to give someone else the GOP nomination (as opposed to a 3rd party run) is - who is going to accept?

There is no good option for the GOP leadership / establishment here. They are stuck with Trump because that is who their primary voters gave them, which is also why they can't switch to someone else.

I suppose if they are worried that running Trump in the general election will tarnish the GOP brand "forever," then that might be a reason to try to oust him. But the GOP has recovered from worse.

They should do what they seem to be doing - avoiding mentioning Trump at all costs, trying to support down ballot GOPers as best they can, etc.

On Doc Sci's question - Trump's current supporters will support him regardless of his true financial situation. It is easily rationalized away as "it doesn't matter, he's sticking it to the liberals!" or "$200 million is still a hell of a lot of $$!" Or any number of other things his supporters like about him more than his wealth.

The only way Trump is not on the ballot in November is if he takes himself off of it. Which he might do.

Even if they could ditch Trump, would there be time to recover from his mistakes? It takes time to build a campaign staff, develop fundraising pitches, build out a field organization, tap a donor network, get that entire team of thousands to gel. And right now, the Republicans are out of time; too much has been wasted with nothing to show for it (a field org with 30 people!). No one who understands this would be eager to be Clinton's sacrificial lamb.

What has become increasingly clear to me—and, yes, it probably should've been indisputable far earlier—over the past several election cycles is just how tribal politics are in this country, and how few seem to admit it about themselves.

In other words: Trump is going to lose because of the way the electoral college works. But the overwhelming majority of conservatives will vote for him, despite the fact that he has disavowed the majority of theoretically bedrock conservative believes, because he's the GOP candidate and that's just the way it goes. A small percentage of the more moderate conservatives will either stay home or vote third party but will not switch to Clinton, even if they know in their heart of hearts that she'll be a more or less run of the mill middle of the road pol, as opposed to the nightmare Trump would be.

I don't think Trump having no money will cause many Trump voters to abandon him. Probably not many Trump delegates, either... at least if you only count ones actually somewhat loyal to Trump.

I'm pretty certain that a convention coup would be political suicide (and maybe actual literal suicide?). Not that the alternative of actually giving Trump the nom is looking much better. But "use the aftermath of a Trump loss to lock Trump and anyone else out from doing that sort of thing again" may well be the best option for the GOP establishment now. I wonder if the Republicans will have super-delegates (or something of the sort) in 2020.

other scott: ... he has disavowed the majority of theoretically bedrock conservative beliefs ...

I don't think so.

Caterwaul about "the deficit" while proposing huge tax cuts for the rich? Check. Deport illegal immigrants, but don't abridge ISIS converts' access to guns? Check. Deny global warming? Check. Profess piety while married to your 3rd wife? Check. Need I go on?

I understand I may be insulting liberals who still want to call themselves conservative (hi, wj!) by arguing that He, Trump is a bog-standard garden-variety conservative of the post-Gerald-Ford type except dumber and more vulgar. For that, I apologize.

Also, I apologize in advance if scott or anyone else can offer a substantial list of substantive differences between He, Trump and the modern-day self-styled "conservatives".


I've often thought about collecting art forgeries, but I suspect that, say, a genuine Van Meegeren forgery would be more than I could afford. Maybe somebody can start forging forgeries.

Trump's their guy and they're going to continue to fall in line and back him against the evil Hitlery - as scott says. plus, they have no choice now; anything else blows up the party.

hah hah

Trump is SO far behind in fundraising and organization, that replacing him with another candidate will only be a marginal step backwards.

But all the stuff about enraged Trumpetts, if it looks like Trump was forced out? Probably true.

I think it may be more productive at this point to consider Trump's candidacy a massive grifting operation, funneling campaign funds into Trump pockets (he's paying himself a SALARY, fercryingoutloud!)

Now he just needs to nail down the nomination, not bother with any significant fundraising so that he can get those "free" Federal campaign dollars to pay off his campaign debt to himself, and not bother with any of the campaign stuff that costs money or effort.


In fact, van Meegeren's work became so valuable that his son forged more -- but not as well as his father had done.

ISTM, as a non-Republican, that the wisest GOP strategy is to just let Trump run, while putting intense effort and money into down-ballot races.

Even if you (the GOP) lose the Senate you probably keep the House, and you keep the party together for 2018-2020. That has to be better than pulling down the pillars by trying to push Trump out. What difference does the margin in the Presidential race make, anyway?

I don't think Trump having no money will cause many Trump voters to abandon him. Probably not many Trump delegates, either... at least if you only count ones actually somewhat loyal to Trump.

But that's the thing. Trump paid no attention to the process of selecting the actual delegates. So there are very few of them who are personally committed to him. Unlike, say, Cruz.

The rules (or, in some cases, the laws of their state) can require them to vote for him on the first ballot. But that's all. And the rules are not set in stone.

I read something to the effect that delegates that do not vote as they are supposed to can?/could?/would? be replaced by alternates.

Not sure if there are enough alternates, and whether the "state delegation leaders" would find out in time to do the replacement.

As for the laws binding delegates, it would be interesting to see how that is fought out in the courts. I strongly suspect (like the laws binding 'electors') that those laws are uninforceable.

BTW, the GOP *does* have superdelegates, but they're called something different.

Tony, one of the unfortunate things about our current political environment is that some words have lost their meaning. So much of what today gets labeled "conservative" is actually reactionary. Certainly it is nothing Burke would recognize.

Similarly, a lot of what gets called "liberal" (especially by self-styled "conservatives") is nothing of the kind. Heck, some of the stuff that gets denounced as socialism is barely even liberal.**

A conservative approach to a problem is to make the smallest change that will deal with it. It's not to just refuse to act, or even deny that a problem exists.

Not that there are never cases where there really isn't a problem. But a blanket refusal to accept that there are any problems (other than where something, anything, has changed), just to avoid change? Sorry, but sticking your head in the sand is not the behavior of a real conservative.

So no. I'm not "a liberal who wants to call himself a conservative." I'm a conservative who actually knows what the term means. ;-)

** To take an obvious example, consider Obamacare. It made small changes to our existing health care system. Small -- which is part of why liberals were less than delighted; they wanted a bigger change, to single payer. (Although, if you consider that single payer is arguably a small change of just expanding Medicare to a greater range of ages, even that would not exactly be a radical change....

ISTM, as a non-Republican, that the wisest GOP strategy is to just let Trump run, while putting intense effort and money into down-ballot races.

There's just one problem there. Those down-ballot races depend, in many cases, on get-out-the-vote efforts. Which are normally funded by the National Committee using funds raised by the Presidential candidate. And the (presumptive) Republican candidate isn't raising that money.

That's part of why Republican politicians are worried about Trump's impact on other races. It's not just the problem of embracing his craziness itself.

hey, is that Thomas Crown formerly of RedState?

And no, Trump supporters will continue to support him even if it turns out he's completely broke.

Trump's appeal is not based on normal standards of competence.

Trump seems to be in such a state of freefall that I wonder if he won't quit by the convention, or if the Republican convention leaders won't feel they have no choice but to give him the boot.

A recent poll gave him a 72% disapproval rating.
He isn't raising much money, but he is paying himself a salary. That's how he ran his casinos into the ground--paid himself first while underfunding the business. He keeps being rude to people he needs. He's pretty obviously a grifter,

My concern about the Republicans dumping him is that the corporate media will promote whoever they pick as a return to normal. But lunatic grifters are normal for the Republicans. The HOuse is full of them. Heck so is the Senate. The only thing that makes Trump different is his blatancy. He doesn't do the dog whistle thing. He yells into a megaphone.

As for not being a real conservative? As wj points out, it is hard to say what a conservative is. So I suggest that the Republican leaders who say hs is not a conservative just mean that he is not like them.

But mostly he is like them.As far as issues I am not aware that he wants to turn Medicare into a voucher program, and I don;t remember if he supports "right to work for less " laws, but he is a hater, he is a gun nut, he does substitute ranting for for foreign policy,and he has no interest in addressing in an intelligent and competent way any of our nation's real problems...so I think he is very much a typical Republican politician.

i so hope Lewendowski (sp?) turns out to have been skimming off the campaign. what are they going to do, pretend to be upright financial stewards?

Does it count as "skimming" if you spend big bucks on:
- paying yourself a salary
- billing your campaign for stuff using companies which you own (putting more money in your own pocket)
- hiring family members to work on your campaign

Maybe. Maybe not. But it sure doesn't look like you are really interested in actually winning office. So why would a donor be interested in giving you money . . . which is just going to go into your pocket? Why not just cut you a check and skip the overhead? Since it's increasingly obvious that you're not going to end up in office anyway.

Trump said he would finance his campaign himself. He didn't say the campaign would finance him.


It's actually a rather inspired scam. Trump lends his campaign money. The campaign "spends" it, plus whatever donations happen to come in without effort on its part, buying from Trump companies. Having won the nomination, Trump takes the government money for the campaign, rather than raise his own. And spends it on Trump companies as well. (Your tax dollars at work.) Trump either pays back his loans, with interest of course, or writes them off on his taxes as bad debts.

The campaign goes down in flames (avoiding the need to waste time actually doing the job of being President. And Trump has not only gotten to be the center of attention for a year, he's also made a profit on the deal. Not to mention the business (or scam) opportunities represented by his legion of new fans.

Who says this guy doesn't know how to fleece the marks? (I mean "succeed in business".)

Does it count as "skimming" if you spend big bucks on: ...

and what if the money goes to a newly-incorporated and possibly fictional company that resides in a residential house a few minute's drive from Lewandowski's home:


fleas upon fleas

Does the Trump nomination contravene the Iron Law of Institutions?

In what I believe conservatives refer to as executive overreach, he's going to force department store employees to say "Merry Christmas!.


Even in the summertime.

And, while they are pulling a gun on transvestites in the Macys' ladies room for screaming "Allah Akbar" from the third stall down.

Or maybe Michelle Bachmann of the Executive Council will take a break from the eyeliner counter and stare them down with that 500 megawatt your-brights-are-on Death look she has spend hours in front of the mirror cultivating.

Like God Himself has crawled between her thighs and is speaking in tongues into that megaphone she calls her funda mentalist.

See, it cracks me up that we ... the world ... fairly normal people .... collectively scratch our heads in blog posts about what exactly is up with this crew of malign comedians. Are they or aren't they? Who do they hate more at this very minute?

And then a day or two into the comment thread, the least probable string of news items comes to light and all of us do a Johnny Carson take into the camera as the marmoset pees on our ties and we cut to the commercial and hope Buddy Hackett is ready in the Green Room.

If this Republican Presidential campaign could be described an investigation of a string of grisly mass murders wherein the victims show signs of having been tickled near to distraction before being hacked to death by machetes, and that latter hacking came as a relief to them, it might come close to this reality show script.

The Republican Party and its most recent manifestation unfolding like a poisonous technicolor flower in our faces is the most dangerous organization on the face of the Earth.

Violence is all they will understand, from their lowliest gummint dogcatcher all the way to whichever of these malign clowns ever reaches the White House, and all of the Republican media and political operatives and vermin corporate money filth in between.

They are killers.

But let's have a good time while we're at it.

Ya might want to read "Dark Money" by Jane Mayer.

The only reason the Koch Brothers have backed off from funding Trump (which I don't believe) is that they don't think he's an efficient enough murderer to take the rei(g)ns.


Thumbs up! their asses!


He can win. Don't think he can't. He's the perfect reflection of pigf*ck America, until they vomit up something worse, and they will.

Maybe the Koch brothers have backed off funding him because they figure he's a loose cannon (true) who won't stay bought (also likely true).

I seem to recall reading that the definition of an "honest politician" is one who stays bought. Seems unlikely to fit Trump.

make sure to instruct your Sekrit Ninja Strike Force to be on the lookout during the GOP convention. Cruz could try to swoop down from the rafters and snatch the nomination.

I don't think Trump supporters would bail just because he has no money, but they might bail if they find out he's using their money for his own benefit. Kind if depends on what is meant by "financing his own campaign". Evidently Trump means, you give him money and he uses it to finance his lifestyle while campaigning.

Of curse that isn;t really different than any other Republican politician. They all get money and use it to keep up their lifestyle as politicians and members of the oligarchy. Its just that, as usual, Trump is too direct and blatant about it.

I read an article about his upcomein speech about Hillary.

Apparently Trump is going to frame his grifting as self-funding in contrast with Hillary who he will frame as bought and paid for ( and there is some truth in that).

I think that will satisfy the base.


Pretty good brief summary

Wonkie, that might satisfy the base. But will it satisfy anyone who might be considering writing him a big check? I'm thinking probably not.

this Twitter thread offers an interesting take on Trump's strategy.

I don't think Trump supporters would bail just because he has no money, but they might bail if they find out he's using their money for his own benefit.

Any sentient human with an ounce of sober judgment realizes that Ben Carson's campaign was one big grift. The money rolled in nonetheless.

But will it satisfy anyone who might be considering writing him a big check?

Why not? Corporate big wigs feather their nests prodigiously from the wallets of customers and shareholders. It's like a big in-joke.

The only reason they might hesitate to fork over some crumbs is they're jealous.

I think even corporate big wigs aren't willing to fund a sure loser, especially if they are getting (I assume) signals from GOP "establishment" figures that failing to fund Trump (as opposed to the GOP generally and other GOP candidates) will not result in them losing access on the Hill.

OTOH if there is a Trump surge where it looks like he might have a chance, then the money will probably roll in.

wj, would you mind if I copied and pasted your June 22, 2016 at 02:22 AM comment to every social media or internet comment section I can manage to get onto? It's such a nice summary of what Trump is really about.

I like the last sentence of this:


HSH, go for it.

scott (the other one):

Politics has become more tribal mostly because the GOP has. This is a Republican disease to which Dems are responding. Both sides do *not* do it.

reading back to wj's earlier comment: "Tony, one of the unfortunate things about our current political environment is that some words have lost their meaning. "

You really should have put a "literally" in there. Just...because.

Regarding that fictional ad agency:


"Thar's GRIFTIN'S in them thar shills" --Yosemite Donald

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