Thursday, May 5, 2016

Last Call For The Trump Chumps

Politico's Nick Gass calls out the major pundits who (unlike yours truly, I might add) completely dismissed Donald Trump as a threat last year and gave him no chance of winning the nomination, predicting time and again that Trump would lose.

The list of failed pundits is impressive: both Five Thirty Eight's Nate Silver and Harry Enten, CNN's Stuart Stevens, Bloomberg's Jon Bernstein, NY Times Nate Cohn, and conservative columnists Ross Douthat and of course, Bloody Bill Kristol, were all wrong again.

What Gass doesn't talk about is why these pundits were wrong, and that's the real story.

You see, what all these super-smart white guys missed, or more likely refused to see, is the seething racism that has driven the GOP in the Age of Obama.  What Trump offered was, simply, vengeance against those people who elected Obama in 2008.

Deport the Muslims, deport the Mexicans, get the jobs back, stick it to China, build the wall, all this was done to make white guys feel like they should be back on top again, where they belong.  It's not "nationalism", Trump absolutely wants America to be the top dog again in the military world, and has time and again talked about using force all the way up to nuclear weapons to deal with ISIS. Likewise, it's not "populism" either as he all but ignored the hot button Republican social wedge issues like gay marriage, abortion, and transphobia.

No, where the pundits missed everything was refusing to acknowledge Trump's combination white supremacy/prosperity gospel ticket, where Trump was literally The Rich White Guy Who Can Solve Our Problems and they all ignored the racism dripping from Trump's words from day one.  Those of us who immediately pegged Trump's real slogan as "Make America White Again" knew exactly what was going on, but the pundit corps had to tie themselves in knots trying to justify Trump's appeal without calling him a racist.

You take the racism out of Trump's pitch, he's just the Caddyshack version of Mitt Romney. And Mitt Romney is a loser.  That's why they all predicted his demise, because who wants to admit that tens of millions of Americans are racist assholes in 2016 who are super cool with "Hey let's deport people for being Hispanic or Muslim"?

So they invented reasons on paper why Trump was winning, the plaintive bleating about "working class America" which was all nonsense, for example.  It had to be something other than race, otherwise you'd basically be accusing the Republican party of being a bunch of racists.

Hey guess what, America? The Republican party is a bunch of racists, and Donald Trump neatly proves that theory.

So let's stop pretending otherwise. Let's stop pretending that openly using the Southern Strategy in 2016 was somehow not the difference in giving Trump the nomination and dispatching his opponents, because Trump had the balls to actually say what the racist base of the GOP wanted him to say: that black folks and Muslims and Hispanic folks and LGBTQ folks and all of those people needed to be put in our respective places, with rich straight white guys on top of the food chain again, unopposed.

Trump was inevitable, as Dave von Ebers said on Wednesday:

The GOP was always going to disgorge someone out like Trump to vote for. And here he is, a couple of months out from being the President.  This is where the GOP nominee is here in 2016.

Police are trying to determine whether a notorious white supremacist left threatening leaflets on vehicles in a Sacramento neighborhood. 
The leaflets warned against “white genocide” — a white nationalist slogan — and threatened targeted violence against Muslims and Hispanics, reported the Sacramento Bee
The fliers urged “white resistance groups and lone wolves” to activate the “hundred little death camp policy” and begin slaughtering Muslims and Latinos in the U.S., Europe and Russia. 
“If you have not secured a body dump-site, do so now!” the leaflets warn. “Kidnap, rob, torture for information and execute all Muslims and Latinos. Leave no survivors.”

This is what the pundits didn't want to see when they "missed" Trump's rise.  Remember that.

Worst Kasich Scenario: The Aftermath

The Cincinnati Enquirer's Chrissie Thompson lays out the campaign epitaph of Ohio GOP Gov. John Kasich, who was the last man standing between Donald Trump and the Republican nomination in Cleveland in July.

When John Kasich first was deciding to run for president, he continually told advisers: “I don’t want to embarrass myself.”

Did he, or did he not? The question, and its impact on Kasich’s legacy, lingers now that Kasich has removed himself from the Republican race, leaving Donald Trump as the presumptive nominee.

You can point to how the Ohio governor entered as the 16th of 17 major GOP candidates and outlasted all but one. How he and his allies defeated or outlasted several opponents who outspent them by more than $100 million each. And how when he launched his campaign, his national GOP polling total was within the margin of error – statistically a zero. Yet by springtime, he consistently polled as the only Republican ahead of Democrat Hillary Clinton in general election matchups.

For a few hours, Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, Kasich had the one-on-one match with Trump he had always wanted. And the general election polls seemed to show the presidency, for decades an ultimate goal, was nearly within his grasp.

But look at it from the other side.

Kasich started fading from the national consciousness weeks ago. He only won one state, his native Ohio; only picked up nine delegates after that March 15 win; only won 153 delegates total, to Trump’s 1,053 and counting. He talked of fighting for the soul of the Republican Party, yet his backers comprised the GOP of yesteryear, without many current leaders in the mix. For the last couple of months, Kasich's only hope of becoming president was helping to keep Trump from winning the nomination outright, forcing a contested convention, where he hoped to lure delegates to his side.

While some clung to Kasich as the last hope for an inclusive, pragmatic Republican Party, calling Trump a demagogue and Ted Cruz an extremist, the collective Republican voting base shrugged. Kasich’s message failed to win them. So on Wednesday evening, he suspended his presidential campaign.

“The spirit, the essence of America, lies in the hearts and souls of us. You see, some missed this message. It wasn’t sexy. It wasn’t a great soundbite,” Kasich said. “As I suspend my campaign today, I have renewed faith, deeper faith, that the Lord will show me the way forward and fulfill the purpose of my life."

The fact that Kasich was considered in any way a moderate Republican shows just how awful the GOP clate of nominees were.  Kasich made it very clear he wanted to do to the nation what he has wanted to do to Ohio: eliminate the last vestiges of public unions, drive abortion clinics out of business with TRAP laws, slash spending for the most vulnerable citizens and most depressing, force the US into eliminating deficit spending with a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution that would effectively destroy the country's economy, starting with the safety net programs of Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare.

For this, he was considered a "moderate" Republican instead of a lunatic.

And yet for the GOP Kasich wasn't nearly awful enough to consider voting for.  Ironically, he would have fared the best in the general out of virtually all of the GOP nominees, arguably beating Clinton handily and giving Sanders by far his toughest opponent, but the GOP of Trump wanted nothing to do with him in the end.

So, Kasich will serve out his second term an simply wreck the Buckeye State instead as Ohio continues its descent into Red State madness and total Republican control instead.

That's Kasich's real legacy, and it's abhorrent.

Water Water Everywhere...

...but not a safe drop to drink in Flint, Michigan as President Obama visited the embattled city yesterday in order to let residents know that America will fix the problem.

Obama used his visit to the crisis-stricken city of 100,000 residents to promote the use of lead-removing faucet filters in an effort to bring some calm among residents distrustful of government.

“Although I understand the fear and concern that people have, and it is entirely legitimate, what the science tells us at this stage is you should not drink any of the water that is not filtered but if you get the filter and use it properly, that water can be consumed,” Obama said in a speech at Northwestern High School. “That’s information that I trust and I believe.”

But trust was in short supply among some Flint residents in the crowd of 1,100 that packed into Northwestern High School, many of whom booed Gov. Rick Snyder when he appeared before the president in an impromptu attempt to apologize for the public health crisis.

“When our filtered water smells like bleach, there’s no way possible it’s safe to drink,” said Lulu Brezzell, the mother of Amaryana Copeny, the 9-year-old girl known as “Little Miss Flint” who is credited with getting Obama to visit Flint. “There are so many more issues than just lead.”

Can you blame them?  Republicans made sure government doesn't work in state after state, of course people don't trust local and state governments anymore when they can't provide clean water and other basic necessities.

Obama said the Flint water crisis is the result of a limited government ideology that is as “corrosive” as the city’s river water that caused lead to leach from aging pipelines.

In a veiled shot at Republicans who run Michigan’s government and Congress, Obama said the lead-contaminated water is the product of “a corrosive attitude that exists in our politics and exists in too many levels of government.”

“That attitude is as corrosive to our democracy as the stuff that resulted in lead in your water,” Obama told Flint residents.

Obama made the comments during a speech in the city on Wednesday, a few hours after he drank filtered Flint water after a briefing by federal officials on the city’s lead-contaminated water.

The president’s hour-long speech was sometimes comedic but mostly sobering. While the commander-in-chief is popular in Flint, he was mostly greeted with silence from the crowd when he encouraged them to drink filtered water.

At one point during the speech, Obama requested a glass of filtered water. A few minutes later, after the water had not arrived, the president coughed and said: “I really did need a glass of water. This is not a stunt.”

The president vouched for the safety of certified filters and encouraged most city residents to start drinking filtered water instead of bottled water.

The reality is that months, if not years after President Obama is out of office, American cities like Flint will still have massive infrastructure problems because Republicans assure we cannot and will not spend the money needed to fix the problem.


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