Friday, December 11, 2015

Go The Donald, Go!, Birthers, Truthers, and Racists Love Ya!! (And Don't Forget the Misogynist)

UPDATE X:  The  Republi-cons have become "'The white man's party'".

Read the Washington Post, What social science tells us about racism in the Republican party.

UPDATE IX:  "It’s time we face the fact that he’s just channeling the bigotry of the Republican Party’s base."

Read Slate, Donald Trump Isn’t the Problem.

UPDATE VIII:  "In the past couple of years, the political influence of Frank Gaffney, who the Southern Poverty Law Center describes as 'one of America’s most notorious Islamophobes,' appeared to be on the wane. In 2011, he was banned from the Conservative Political Action Conference after claiming that the Muslim Brotherhood had infiltrated the group organizing the event. The next year, Gaffney, who was advising Michele Bachmann on foreign policy, concocted a theory that the Muslim Brotherhood had penetrated the State Department via Huma Abedin, Hillary Clinton’s aide. When five members of Congress, including Bachmann, asked for an investigation of the conspiracy, leaders of the Republican Party, including then–House Speaker John Boehner, forcefully rebuked them. (Soon Bachmann would leave Congress, depriving Gaffney of an important political collaborator.) The most recent Republican nominee for president, Mitt Romney, largely refused to countenance Gaffney-style anti-Sharia conspiracy theories. Chris Christie smacked them down as well.

Despite the efforts of Gaffney and his allies, 'Islamophobia was the dog that didn’t bark in the 2012 election,' says Matthew Duss, president of the Foundation for Middle East Peace and Slate contributor. 'But the rise of ISIS and all these spectacular, graphic attacks did what they’re designed to do, which is to provoke fear and to provoke hysteria and create fertile ground for these kind of wild claims about the Islamic threat.' It has given Gaffney, and the network of anti-Islam groups of which he is a central part, a new level of power and relevance.

The most tangible example of that is Donald Trump’s call for a ban on Muslim immigration, which he justified by citing figures from Gaffney’s think tank, the Center for Security Policy, about the supposed jihadist sympathies of American Muslims."

Read Slate, The Islamophobe Behind Trump’s Hate.

UPDATE VII:  "Even if candidates don’t talk about it, race will be among the most important factors in the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. The Democratic Party has the support of 56 percent of Latinos, 65 percent of Asian Americans and 80 percent of the black population, according to the Pew Research Center. The share that supports the Republican Party is disproportionately white.

For decades, those racial divisions have shaped how individual candidates expect to perform at the polls. If Republican candidates were as popular among minority voters as they are among white voters, winning elections would be much easier. And Democrats would dominate the polls today if they had maintained the support of the white electorate.

They didn't. Democrats began losing the support of white voters after World War II, particularly in the South. During the civil rights movement, white Southerners left the Democratic Party in droves."

Read the Washington Post, How racism explains Republicans’ rise in the South.

UPDATE VI:  "During the last two presidential nomination cycles, Republican candidates, at various points, have proposed requiring a loyalty oath for Muslims to serve in government; ruled out Muslims serving in their Cabinet; called sharia law ,a mortal threat to the survival of freedom in the United States'; raised alarms about the 'creeping attempt' to 'ease [sharia] law and the Muslim faith into our government'; warned of 'no go' zones where sharia law rules; described Muslim immigration as 'colonization' and warned that immigrants 'want to come and conquer us'; said there were only a 'handful' of 'reasonable, moderate followers of Islam'; described Islam as 'a religion that promotes the most murderous mayhem on the planet.'

All this is combined with a durable conviction among some Republicans that President Obama offers Muslims special favor and may be a Muslim himself. As well as an almost magical belief that saying the words 'radical Islamic terrorism' — like reciting an incantation — is a victory in the war against terrorism.

These beliefs have become pronounced during the Republican Party’s current populist turn, in which the blaming of outsiders is a sure applause line (and, in some campaigns, a substitute for ideas and policy). The current rejection of 'political correctness' has little to do with resisting oppressive campus speech codes; it has become a type of broad permission for the expression of properly repressed ethnic and religious resentments.

Read the Washington Post, Republicans’ fringe tone on Islam shows a sharp turn since 9/11.

UPDATE V:  "The Republicans already lost virtually the entire black vote (scoring just 4 percent and 6 percent of black voters the last two elections). Now, by pushing toward the nomination a candidate whose brilliant plan to 'make America great again' is to build a giant wall to keep out Mexican rapists, they're headed the same route with Hispanics. That's a steep fall for a party that won 44 percent of the Hispanic vote as recently as 2004.

Trump's supporters are people who are tired of being told they have to be part of some kind of coalition in order to have a political voice. They particularly hate being lectured about alienating minorities, especially by members of their own party. . .

Whether or not it's true that a Republican candidate can win the White House with a minus-51 percent net unfavorable rating among Hispanic voters (Trump's well-earned current number) is sort of beside the point. The point is that Trump clearly feels he can afford to flip off the Hispanic community and win with a whites-only strategy. And his supporters are loving the idea that he's trying.

The decision by huge masses of Republican voters to defy D.C.-thinkfluencer types like George Will and throw in with a carnival act like Trump is no small thing. For the first time in a generation, Republican voters are taking their destiny into their own hands.

In the elaborate con that is American electoral politics, the Republican voter has long been the easiest mark in the game, the biggest dope in the room. Everyone inside the Beltway knows this. The Republican voters themselves are the only ones who never saw it.

Elections are about a lot of things, but at the highest level, they're about money. The people who sponsor election campaigns, who pay the hundreds of millions of dollars to fund the candidates' charter jets and TV ads and 25-piece marching bands, those people have concrete needs.

They want tax breaks, federal contracts, regulatory relief, cheap financing, free security for shipping lanes, antitrust waivers and dozens of other things.

They mostly don't care about abortion or gay marriage or school vouchers or any of the social issues the rest of us spend our time arguing about. It's about money for them, and as far as that goes, the CEO class has had a brilliantly winning electoral strategy for a generation.

They donate heavily to both parties, essentially hiring two different sets of politicians to market their needs to the population. The Republicans give them everything that they want, while the Democrats only give them mostly everything.

They get everything from the Republicans because you don't have to make a single concession to a Republican voter.

All you have to do to secure a Republican vote is show lots of pictures of gay people kissing or black kids with their pants pulled down or Mexican babies at an emergency room. Then you push forward some dingbat like Michele Bachmann or Sarah Palin to reassure everyone that the Republican Party knows who the real Americans are. Call it the "Rove 1-2."

That's literally all it's taken to secure decades of Republican votes, a few patriotic words and a little over-the-pants rubbing. Policywise, a typical Republican voter never even asks a politician to go to second base.

While we always got free trade agreements and wars and bailouts and mass deregulation of industry and lots of other stuff the donors definitely wanted, we didn't get Roe v. Wade overturned or prayer in schools or balanced budgets or censorship of movies and video games or any of a dozen other things Republican voters said they wanted.

While it's certainly been fun laughing about the lunacies of people like Bachmann and John Ashcroft and Ted Cruz, who see the face of Jesus in every tree stump and believe the globalist left is planning to abolish golf courses and force country-dwellers to live in city apartments lit by energy-efficient light bulbs, the truth is that the voters they represented have been irrelevant for decades.

At least on the Democratic side there was that 5-10 percent of industry policy demands that voters occasionally rejected, putting a tiny dent in what otherwise has been a pretty smoothly running oligarchy.

Now that's over. Trump has pulled all of those previously irrelevant voters completely out of pocket. In a development that has to horrify the donors who run the GOP, the candidate Trump espouses some truly populist policy beliefs, including stern warnings about the dire consequences companies will face under a Trump presidency if they ship American jobs to Mexico and China.

All that energy the party devoted for decades telling middle American voters that protectionism was invented by Satan and Karl Marx during a poker game in Brussels in the mid-1840s, that just disappeared in a puff of smoke.

And all that money the Republican kingmakers funneled into Fox and Clear Channel over the years, making sure that their voters stayed focused on ACORN and immigrant-transmitted measles and the New Black Panthers (has anyone ever actually seen a New Black Panther? Ever?) instead of, say, the complete disappearance of the manufacturing sector or the mass theft of their retirement income, all of that's now backing up on them.

The party worked the cattle in their pen into such a dither that now they won't rest until they get the giant wall that real-life, as-seen-on-TV billionaire Donald Trump promises will save them from all those measles-infected rapists pouring over the border.

Not far under the surface of Trump's candidacy lurks a powerful current of Internet conspiracy theory that's a good two or three degrees loonier than even the most far-out Tea Party paranoia. Gone are the salad days when red-staters merely worried about Barack Obama inviting UN tanks to mass on the borders of Lubbock."

Read Rolling Stone, The Republicans Are Now Officially the Party of White Paranoia.  

UPDATE IV:  "Remember when the 2016 field of Republican presidential candidates was supposed to be so deep and talented? Then why is a reality TV clown beating all of them?"

Read the Washington Post, The most damning part of Donald Trump’s political rise, which notes "[t]here’s only so many ways that I can say that Trump reminds me of nothing so much as that old man at the deli talking to nobody in particular about how the country is going to hell and how it was better in the 'Mad Men' days when you could properly insult minorities and play grab-ass with the secretaries."

UPDATE III:  "In the late 1980s, journalist Martin Schram wrote a book about presidential politics in the television age called 'The Great American Video Game.' The Trump obsession shows just how prophetic Schram’s title was. Television is about ratings; Trump delivers ratings; therefore, Trump, whose speeches are 90 percent about Trump — his feelings, experiences, feuds, grudges and, of course, genius — is on television nonstop.

The Trumpification of the news is also a response within the media to the initial reaction of so many in the ranks to Trump. The widespread view was that his personal insults, his nasty remarks about Mexicans (whom he now says he “loves”) and his conversion of the political speech into a form of self-involved stand-up would doom his chances.

This was wrong because (1) Trump’s celebrity, built on the idea that a smart deal-maker can get anything done that he wants, gives him a base among those who don’t care much about politics, and (2) parts of the Republican Party are so fed up with their leadership that the more in-your-face Trump is, the happier they are.

The most concise explanation for the Trump phenomenon came from Erick Erickson, editor of the popular right-wing blog RedState, in an interview this month with the Atlantic’s Molly Ball. 'The Republican Party created Donald Trump,' Erickson said, 'because they made a lot of promises to their base and never kept them.' . .

Trump has certainly gotten further faster than any of his Republican opponents. But all the free television time he is getting cannot be justified by a claim that he is sitting atop some broad uprising akin to the Goldwater or Reagan rebellions. His visibility is the product of circular television logic: Celebrities bring audience share, and the resulting attention they get further enhances their fame.

Trump’s unique contribution has been to achieve a complete fusion of the culture of celebrity to politics. It brings to mind the mystery writer David Handler’s great line about 'the power of positive self-delusion.'

Read the Washington Post, The Trumpification of the news.

As noted before, the Republi-con Party created Franken-Trump/Trumpenstein (©

UPDATE II:  "Every sulfurous belch from the molten interior of the volcanic Trump phenomenon injures the chances of a Republican presidency. After Donald Trump finishes plastering a snarling face on conservatism, any Republican nominee will face a dauntingly steep climb to reach even the paltry numbers that doomed Mitt Romney.

It is perhaps quixotic to try to distract Trump’s supporters with facts, which their leader, who is no stickler for dignity, considers beneath him.  Still, consider [this] . . .

Some supporters simply find Trump entertainingly naughty. Others, however, have remarkable cognitive dissonance. They properly execrate Obama’s executive high-handedness that expresses progressivism’s traditional disdain for the separation of powers that often makes government action difficult. But these same Trumpkins simultaneously despise GOP congressional leaders because they do not somehow jettison the separation of powers and work conservatism’s unimpeded will from Capitol Hill.

For conservatives, this is the dispiriting irony: The administrative state’s intrusiveness (e.g., its regulatory burdens), irrationalities (e.g., the tax code’s toll on economic growth), incompetence (Amtrak, ethanol, etc.) and illegality (we see you, IRS) may benefit the principal architect of this state, the Democratic Party. This is because the other party’s talented critics of the administrative state are being drowned out by Trump’s recent discovery that Americans understandably disgusted by government can be beguiled by a summons to Caesarism.

Trump, who uses the first-person singular pronoun even more than the previous world-record holder (Obama), promises that constitutional arrangements need be no impediment to the leader’s savvy, 'management' brilliance and iron will. Trump supporters consider the presidency today an entry-level job because he is available to turn government into a triumph of the leader’s will. . .

In 2011, when Trump was a voluble 'birther' — you remember: Obama supposedly was not born in the United States, hence he is an illegitimate president — an interviewer asked if he had people 'searching in Hawaii' for facts. 'Absolutely,' Trump said. 'They can’t believe what they’re finding.' Trump reticence is rare, but he has never shared those findings. He now says, in effect: Oh, never mind. If in November 2016, the fragments of an ever smaller and more homogenous GOP might be picked up with tweezers, Trump, having taken his act elsewhere, will look back over his shoulder at the wreckage he wrought and say: Oh, never mind.

Read the Washington Post, The havoc that Trump wreaks — on his own party.

UPDATE:  "Wednesday was Women’s Equality Day, the anniversary of the 19th Amendment, which gave American women the right to vote 95 years ago.

And how have Republicans marked this egalitarian milestone? Why, with another bimbo eruption, of course."

Read the Washington Post, Republicans stay mostly silent in face of Trump’s bigotry and misogyny

"Long left out of a national conversation that focuses on dull things like budgets, legislation and foreign policy, now, at last, the birthers, truthers and trolls have a voice, too. "

Read the Washington Post, Donald Trump: Spokesman for birthers, truthers, and Internet trolls.

Read also Slate, Watch Trump Supporter Yell Out “White Power” During Alabama Rally, which notes that:

"Donald Trump gathered one of the largest crowds of his presidential campaign so far on Friday night when he held a rally in Mobile, Alabama in front of thousands of people. The numbers aren’t clear but the campaign switched locations twice to end up in a stadium that can hold up to 40,000 people. ABC News says the stadium was 'about half full' when Trump began speaking. The campaign said there were about 30,000 people. . .

[One supporter 'joked' about hunting illegal immigrants.]

As Trump spoke [another] man in the crowd could be heard yelling out 'white power!' A Daily Kos contributor said this was not an isolated incident and that the phrase was yelled out multiple times by members of the crowd throughout the event."

This after The Donald laughed off the news that two men beat a homeless Mexican man while saying "Donald Trump was right — all these illegals need to be deported."