April 27, 2016

"The Stop Trump movement is a flailing exercise in self-indulgence that cannot get its act together, let alone chart a path to victory."

"The movement’s most delusional champions imagined for a brief moment—around the time of the Wisconsin primary—that they could get things going for Texas Senator Ted Cruz, the only Republican contender who is less appealing than Trump. Cruz won Wisconsin, but then started on a losing streak that began with a miserable third-place finish in New York—behind not just Trump but also Ohio Governor John Kasich. Now Cruz has lost five more states.... The movement’s anointed one, Ted Cruz, was not just losing. In at least three of the states, the Texan was running behind Kasich.... The Republican Party is melting down, not because of Trump or because of the Stop Trump challenge but because the whole mess is so dispiriting."

Writes John Nichols in The Nation.

57 comments:

Chuck said...

If we have lost The Nation, then we have lost 0.0001% of the Republican vote.

There may be more transsexuals, than readers of The Nation.

Sebastian said...

"the whole mess is so dispiriting." True. But just wait until the Criminal and the Rapist are returned to the White House, the Senate goes Dem, and Loretta Lynch gets on SCOTUS. Thanks, GOP. Thanks, Donald.

Nyamujal said...

An old joke:
"What's the difference between a psychotic and neurotic?"
"A psychotic thinks 2+2=5, while a neurotic know it's 4 but hates it"
Trumpers and #nevertrumpers can be conveniently placed in those categories.

Franklin said...

I think Cruz naming his VP is a smart move - it makes it somewhat more likely that Trump will at least be asked by interviewers to name his own VP or possible VP choices, which will complicate primary voters' choice.

mikee said...

While the linked article is interesting, it is as nothing compared to the takedown of Trump supporters by Jeff Goldstein at his ProteinWisdom.com blog.

eric said...

Otherwise known as concern trolling.

The Nation doesn't care about the Republican Party and anything they write must be examined for an agenda.

Left Bank of the Charles said...

What happened in Wisconsin was just a cynical ploy on the part of the Cruz campaign to get voters who didn't like Cruz to vote for him anyway on the fraudulently-induced hope that would lead to someone else, who was never really on offer.

One must admire Kasich for this, he's called Cruz's bluff by stepping out of his way in Indiana. If Cruz loses there, his whole facade will crumble.

Trump will still have to deal for his majority at the convention but, with Cruz, Kasich, and Rubio camps to deal with and Trump only needing one of the three, it's the classic prisoner's dilemma - sell out to Trump before the other guy does.

Nonapod said...

I'm no fan of Trump, but at times I've found the #nevertrump movement to be as perplexing as the pro-Trump movement. If your goal is to win people over to your way of thinking, it helps not to appear so angry and absolutist.

Chuck said...

I do hope everybody will take the time to read the Nichols column.

His thesis is only tangentially about any "futility" of the NeverTrump campaign.

It is mostly a theme that is very quickly picking up steam on the Left; that Trump is no accident. And that you can pay no attention to any establishment "NeverTrump" types in the Republican Party. The Left's campaign is firing up on the new theme of, "Trump is the embodiment of what has been the unspoken truth(s) about Republicans for a very long time."

Which is why, for me, Trump is preferable to Hillary, but at the same time it is just as important to make Trump as un-Republican as possible. I could vote for him if I absolutely had to, but I never want to be associated with him. He just might put the Senate in peril.

campy said...

"The republican party is a flailing exercise in self-indulgence that cannot get its act together, let alone chart a path to victory."

Qwinn said...

Wait, so Cruz has no chance because Trump won 6 tightly clustered states in the northeast that would never vote for Trump in the general?

This is why folks outside of the northeast hate smug liberal northeast elites: because no one else matters in the slightest, to them. New York values indeed.

Henry said...

It is mostly a theme that is very quickly picking up steam on the Left; that Trump is no accident.

That is very much to the point. The follow-on is to dump every anti-republican meme onto the Trump candidacy and dump the Trump candidacy onto every republican. For liberal narrative makers Trump is a velcro scapegoat, long awaited and never to be let go.

On the other hand, Nichols' use of the Goldwater campaign as historical analogy (would that Republicans were so lucky) offers its own internal vindication.

Qwinn said...

Oh, and IMO Carly was a very smart pick. Hopefully Trump is forced to announce his choice soon. I suspect it will be very revealing.

Michael K said...

"There may be more transsexuals, than readers of The Nation."

And they all hate Trump. OMG ! He can't win !

This is the era we are in. We have to do the best we can. There were all those candidates. You might think that ONE would offer one of Trumps themes.

Not even one did. They were running for donors, not voters.

Virgil Hilts said...

At a lunch meeting I suggested (again) that Petraeus as a third party candidate would be a Godsend (he is teflon on the security stuff given HC's record).
Someone said -- "Petraeus couldn't be elected, he committed adultery."
There was a pause and then everyone just broke out laughing.

Laslo Spatula said...

Never mind the NeverTrumps.

The NeverLaBeouf Movement has begun.

I am Laslo.

JHapp said...

Does anybody know if there are special bathrooms for Nation readers?

Paco Wové said...

"The follow-on is to dump every anti-republican meme onto the (fill in blank) candidacy and dump the (fill in blank) candidacy onto every republican."

Kind of like every other presidential campaign of my lifetime, then.

Roughcoat said...


You might think that ONE would offer one of Trumps themes.

Nah. They were losers, the whole lot of them. Remember 2 years ago or thereabouts when the National Review was extolling the GOP's "deep bench"? It is to laugh.

Glenn Reynolds is so very right when he says that we have the worst political class in our history.

Sure, I'll vote for Trump. I hope he takes the gloves off and goes after Hillary with hammer and tongs. But I do fear that he will go soft and squishy like all GOP presidential candidates.

mockturtle said...

Does anybody know if there are special bathrooms for Nation readers?
If not, there certainly should be!

Apparently Cruz is picking Fiorina as his running mate. What will that achieve???

I'll bet Trump ends up with Kasich on the ticket and all will be quiet on the western front.

mockturtle said...

BTW, I liked Trump's foreign policy speech. He has shown himself as capable as any other candidate at reading a prepared speech off the prompters. And the ideology he presented was spot-on, IMO.

Big Mike said...

@Roughcoat, Carly Fiorina back in debate #2 showed Hillary Clinton how to handle Donald Trump. It isn't hard.

Henry said...

Paco Wové said..
Kind of like every other presidential campaign of my lifetime, then.

True, but Trump is a special opportunity.

Brando said...

This is a pretty dumb analysis. Who actually expected Ted Cruz--Tea Party evangelical--to do well in the Northeast? Hell, the fact he won Maine was surprising. The Cruz strategy all along was to deprive Trump of just enough delegates to prevent a first round ballot win. And he's on track to do that, unless Trump gets those sort of wins in Nebraska, Indiana, etc., and even then it'd be close.

The bigger issue is the "what then" question--if they go past a first ballot at the convention, Trump still has the advantage of arguing he did better in the primaries than anyone else. Cruz might be able to convince a lot of delegates that Trump would be a disaster, but then it's looking like no matter what the party has a disaster this fall. I don't think they have a way out of this.

Paco Wové said...

"This is a pretty dumb analysis."

As eric pointed out above, it's not analysis at all, it's concern trolling. It deserves no consideration at all. Zero. Ninguna.

gerry said...

Roughcoat wrote:
But I do fear that he will go soft and squishy like all GOP presidential candidates.

But Trump isn't really GOP, is he? That means there's REAL hope!

Richard Dolan said...

I think these years will be remembered as the time when the Rep party imploded and was forced to reinvent itself, as the Dems had to do after the disaster (from their perspective) of the years 1980-1992. Just like the Dems in the 80s, the current Reps have control of Congress and a solid position in the states, but in a national election they can't compete (even against a candidate as bad as Hillary!). The current primary -- you know, the one that began with the Rep's supposedly super-duper, really deep 'bench' -- hasn't turned out quite like the advances all told us it would.

The first part of the disaster for the Reps is about to happen since it seems quite likely that Trump will end up as the Rep nominee. As a potential national leader, Trump is an unfunny joke. His positions on policy issues are made for a world that does not exist, today's foreign policy speech being exhibit A. What was amazing about that speech is how counterfactual it was, given the business Trump is in. High end real estate projects, the kind of stuff Trump builds, have routinely been financed by groups from the Persian Gulf, or East Asia (HK and Singapore typically), which is also where many of the buyers for those $50-$100 MM condos are coming from (plus Russia, China and other places where people are looking to get money out of). That the financial world today is completely globalized is obvious to anyone having any dealings in that sector. Same in most industries, from the older ones like car manufacturing to newer versions (telecom, computers, internet, IT, big pharma, oil and gas, and on and on). As an economic strategy, Trump's version of Fortress America is absurd. Not to worry, since he doesn't put much store in any of it himself -- it's just what someone put in front of him to read today.

The only real issue is whether it would be a bigger disaster for the Reps if Trump actually won in Nov (my feeling is that it would be).

So, what will Rep Party version 2.0 look like? There's the 'reform conservative' approach that a number of think-tank types are trying to push -- Yural Levin comes to mind, but there are many others. Paul Ryan and the younger leaders in the Rep team seem to lean in that direction. All of those guys have little use from Trump. The old 'establishment' -- basically, Team Bush -- doesn't know what it wants, except that it knows it doesn't want another Bush. Rubio or someone like him may be able to take charge of that element. The hard-core conservatives, Team Cruz's never compromise crowd, will have a tough time putting together a version 2.0 that attracts anyone else -- that's where 'no compromise' tends to leave you, all alone. What the Trumpistas would like to see as version 2.0 is hard to imagine, since Team Trump is held together by personality not policy. Whatever that might be, the only thing for sure is that Rep Party version 2.0 won't look anything like granddad's GOP. Who knows whether the implosion and remaking of the Rep Party will bring with it a remaking of the Dem Party -- perhaps the final parting of the ways with whatever remains of its white working class element.

As one wit remarked, never let a crisis go to waste. For the Dems, it took 20 years -- from Clinton's 'the era of big government is over', to Obama's uber-lefty embrace of the opposite -- to get us to today's Dem party, where it is controversial (indeed, racist) even to say 'all lives matter.'

Interesting times.

Paco Wové said...

"the Rep's supposedly super-duper, really deep 'bench'"

This has been the most interesting thing so far about this election cycle. With all those potential candidates, you would think that one of those Real Republicans©™ would have been able to catch on with voters. But no. What's up with that?

Static Ping said...

About the "deep bench," the Republican Party did and does have a deep bench. There is a set of successful governors and some very notable senators, most of them young, pleasant, and competent. Under normal circumstances, this would be an embarrassment of riches with any of the likely candidates being a good choice. The problem is this is not a normal election. This is a crisis election and a backlash election and, more importantly, there is a crisis and backlash candidate running. The kung fu here is Trump used the deep bench against itself. There were too many candidates all of which had a decent chance to win under normal circumstances and by the time they realized that this was not normal circumstances they had given him the front runner status. Even now with the field consolidated into three candidates, the two non-Trump candidates still seem reluctant to unify their blocs. I am quite certain that if after New Hampshire or South Carolina that if the field was down to two or three candidates, Trump would be an afterthought at this point.

Of course, it does not help that the media is both overtly hostile to the Republican Party and rating whores that love Trump's over the top style.

In contrast, in the other party we have the old, previously failed candidate, ultra-corrupt wife of a popular ex-president, and the old socialist senator from an extremely safe seat in a tiny state. The other major options were an old blow-hard sitting Vice-President and an old first-term fabulist senator from another safe seat. All things being equal, the Republicans were and still are in the better position. All things are never equal.

Sammy Finkelman said...

Raw vote totals (these popular vote totals weighs primary states much more heavily than caucus states. I think it adds together votes cast in primary states q\with straw polls taken at caucuses.)

http://www.thegreenpapers.com/P16/R?utm_source=jolt&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Jolt04272016&utm_term=Jolt

Before the last five primaries yesterday, Tuesday, according to a Tuesday April 26,, 2016 Wall Street Journal editorial, Trump had received 37.9% of the (raw) popular vote, Cruz had received 27.9%, Marco Rubio had received 14.9% and John Kasich 13.7%. That leaves 5.6% for others.

Now Trump is at 39.65%, Cruz at 27.10%, Kasich at 14.40% and Rubio at 13.67%

AllenS said...

The Republicans do have a deep bench. However, none of them are presidential material.

Chuck said...

In other words, the broad general loathing and freakout over the Obama years has so crippled the electorate emotionally, that a freak like Trump became irresistible to about 37% of them.

I'm okay with that as a working theory.

AllenS said...

You have no working theories, Chuck.

Big Mike said...

Meanwhile over RedState, a conservative blog, Dan McLaughlin writes:

For all the bravado of Donald Trump’s online supporters, now that his sweep of the Northeast has put him in a potentially strong position to take the nomination, they are mostly spending the day…preparing to blame other people for Trump’s inevitable loss in November. You see, that’s going to be Trump’s coming general election message: it’s never his fault, or the fault of his supporters, that Trump is a terrible, doomed general election candidate – nothing is ever their fault, just the fault of shadowy conspiracies and “establishments”.

@Nichevo, have you been talking to Dan? Because it sure sounds like he's describing you. Only place where I'd quibble with the above analysis is that with Cruz is now mathematically eliminated from a first ballot nomination (Kasich was mathematically eliminated about a month ago!) The Donald is not in a "potentially strong position to take the nomination," he's at least 90% certain. Oh, and I think Hillary is so bad as a candidate that Trump is certainly not "doomed" in the general election. However winning the general election will be very different from winning the nomination and he has to show that he can make the pivot. Plus he's not going to sneak up on Hillary the way he snuck up on Walker and Rubio and Christie and Bush.

eric said...

Blogger Big Mike said...
Meanwhile over RedState, a conservative blog, Dan McLaughlin writes:

For all the bravado of Donald Trump’s online supporters, now that his sweep of the Northeast has put him in a potentially strong position to take the nomination, they are mostly spending the day…preparing to blame other people for Trump’s inevitable loss in November. You see, that’s going to be Trump’s coming general election message: it’s never his fault, or the fault of his supporters, that Trump is a terrible, doomed general election candidate – nothing is ever their fault, just the fault of shadowy conspiracies and “establishments”.


The nevertrump crowd is in a lose/lose position and they don't even know it.

1) Suppose they get their way and Hillary wins. They lose.
2) Suppose they don't get their way and Trump wins. They double lose, because now in future elections they can never make the argument again, "Hey, it's time to coalesce behind the Republican candidate."

Most of the people I hear who are Never Trump are the same people who, for years, have been telling me I need to suck it up and vote for the winner. Radio personalities like Michael Medved, NRO writers and talking heads, newspaper columnists like George Will, etc.

Well, no more.

Qwinn said...

Um, I preferred Cruz (or Walker) from the beginning and still do. I am also neverTrump in a big way. I was never one who said "suck it up and vote for the winner". I was the conservative who had that said to him every election since 1996.

AllenS said...

Not a problem, Qwinn, you have two choices -- don't vote, or vote for Hillary.

See how easy that was?

Tom said...

What he doesn't understand is that Never Trump is a statement of principles, not pragmatic politics. Even if Trump is the nominee, I promise, for the sake of my own self-respect, not to vote for him. (It's a given that I won't vote for any Dem, either.)

DavidD said...

I am with Quinn and Tom here.

I will not be responsible for a Trump administration. I'll vote Constitution Party for the top of the ticket if my choices otherwise are between Trump and not Trump.

DavidD said...

(Sorry for the misspelling, Qwinn. Mea culpa.)

Big Mike said...

@eric, I was never Never Trump, but I have to admit that I'd like to see the Republican nominee be someone who thinks before he speaks. Can Trump learn how to do that? I'd like to see the nominee be someone who can and will hire a person to do the nuts and bolts of getting elected in the general. Trump hired such a person, but seems to be shifting back to that idiot Lewandowski as his principal advisor.

@Tom, contemplate a Hillary Clinton presidency and ask whether there would be any respect for America in your heart or anywhere in the world after 4 years of her in the White House.

Sure wish Romney had had it in him to run hard and fight for the presidency four years ago. But he didn't.

Darrell said...

Quim is right.
Qwinn is wrong.

John A said...

I have a recurring nightmare - HC taking the Oath of Office in a snazzy orange jumpsuit and a bling GPS monitor.

Though even that seems preferable to going to Venezuela with BS.

So, if it comes to it, I'll lift a glass to the DTs.

Achilles said...

DavidD said...
"I am with Quinn and Tom here.

I will not be responsible for a Trump administration. I'll vote Constitution Party for the top of the ticket if my choices otherwise are between Trump and not Trump."

So we got to watch the nevertrumpers project their vision of what really lies deep in the evil twisted heart of Donald Trump for the last few months. A boring exercise of a dwindling number of people. They were so good at projection they made all the libs jealous.

Now we are down to disgusting displays of moral preening.

Grow up.

Roughcoat said...

Carly Fiorina back in debate #2 showed Hillary Clinton how to handle Donald Trump. It isn't hard.

It isn't hard if you're Carly Fiorina. But Hillary Clinton is no Carly Fiorina. It might be hard for Hillary. That's my hope. We'll see.

Big Mike said...

@Achilles, if you want the #NeverTrumpers to come around to your side, you are going about it the wrong way. Just sayin'

Drago said...

The choice is not Trump vs nonTrump.

The choice is Hillary vs Trump and every conservative/republican vote for anyone other than Trump is an operational vote for Hillary, regardless of protestations otherwise.

Even for "life long republican" chuck, who has managed to work in a "freak" attack against Trump but no criticism of Hillary.

Roughcoat said...

I was never one who said "suck it up and vote for the winner".

I was. I toed the line and voted for the establishment picks because they were winners. Except they weren't. They didn't win. So this time I'm voting for Trump.

Roughcoat said...

I will not be responsible for a Trump administration.

Oh, heck. I'll be responsible. I'll be the one.

Somebody's got to do it. Send me, Lord.

Achilles said...

Big Mike said...
"@Achilles, if you want the #NeverTrumpers to come around to your side, you are going about it the wrong way. Just sayin'"

My goal since the start of this campaign was to get Cruz in the white house. It should be the Cruz supporters goal too. This is less so today. He is eliminated from reaching 1237 and will come in second in votes and delegates. He should do the right thing and unify the party. We need the conservative and working class blocks together to win.

They are different from the nevertrumpers. The nevertrumpers are mostly jeb/Rubio supporters. I want them to go support the party of the oligarchy that wants open borders and entitlements and more government and to be honest with themselves.

rcocean said...

#Never trump = #Elect Hillary.

Its funny hearing the girly men over at National Review talk about their precious conservative "principles" which wont' let them support Trump.

It didn't stop them from supporting McCain in 2008, Romney in 2012, or Bush in 1992. Or supporting Gay marriage and illegal immigration.

Maybe they have principles, but they aren't Conservative.



Cacimbo Cacimbo said...

@ Chuck
@ Michael K

I believe Trump has the support of at least one transgender. Caitlyn Jenner has said she will support Trump if he is the nominee. And that was before Trump came out in support of using your bathroom of choice.

mockturtle said...

And poor Caitlyn has endured nothing but grief since her political conservatism was discovered. Briefly the darling of the progressives, now the object of their opprobrium. Face it: If you are black, Hispanic, gay, transgender or a woman of any kind, you'd damned well better be a liberal!

Phil 3:14 said...

"Its funny hearing the girly men over at National Review talk about their precious conservative "principles" which wont' let them support Trump."

Well if Trump wins congratulations; if he loses I assume you will accept that anger and bluster are not Presidential qualifications.

In the mean time ,yeah, I'll stick to those stupid "principles"

So Never Trump for me.

Phil 3:14 said...

PS. Does the "girly men" trash talk work for you, cause it's sure sounds small and ignorant.

Michael K said...

"@ Michael K

I believe Trump has the support of at least one transgender. "

It's a definition problem.

Cut bis cock off and I have no problem. Until then, they are transvestities.

Robert Cook said...

"I think Cruz naming his VP is a smart move - it makes it somewhat more likely that Trump will at least be asked by interviewers to name his own VP or possible VP choices, which will complicate primary voters' choice."

Does anyone really care about a candidate's choice of VP running mate? More pointedly, does anyone really care about Carly Fiorina?