Thursday, December 17, 2015

Franken-Trump/Trumpenstein's (© Next Act

UPDATE: So what gave rise to the Franken-Trump/Trumpenstein (©

"The American right has always contained a combative, nativist fringe, where radicals and kooks bend world events to fit their conspiracy theories. There were the John Birch Society newsletters of the 1970s and ’80s; the AM talk-radio shows of the ’90s; the world-government chat rooms and e-mail chain letters around the turn of the millennium; and the vibrant, frenzied blogosphere of amateur muckrakers of the mid-2000s. . .

But in the Obama era, the reach and power of this segment has increased dramatically. The fringe has swelled with new Web sites, radio stations, confabs, causes, pressure groups, celebrities and profit-making businesses noisily pitching themselves to the tea party. An entire right-wing media ecosystem has sprung up, where journalist-warriors flood social media with rumors of sharia law coming to suburbia and hype a fast-approaching 'race war' in America targeting whites. The Republican establishment — a loose coalition of party committees, moderate donors and business interests — once hoped to harness this tremendous new energy to recapture the White House. . .

Some Republicans have made their careers by mastering the new machinery of the movement. When a group of conservative elites quietly huddled with lawmakers one evening in 2013 to lay out their 'defund Obamacare' plan, Sen. Ted Cruz positioned himself as the public face of the campaign. It hardly mattered whether he believed that their government-shutdown would actually gut the health-care law; few, if any, of the architects did. ('I don’t think you could find a single person in that room who really believed the plan would work,' one of the meeting’s attendees confessed to me. Several days into the shutdown, a Cruz aide told me with jarring candor that the senator had stuck to the 'defund' rallying cry because 'a more complicated message' wouldn’t 'make for a good hashtag.') When the dust settled, Obamacare was still fully funded and GOP officials were panicking — but Cruz was a newly minted conservative superstar, and the organizations that backed him had raised millions of dollars. The senator’s staff did not respond to requests to comment for this story.

Skirmishes between the Grand Old Party and far-right populists are as old as lever-operated voting machines, and the old guard usually comes out on top. But in this era of democratized media and deregulated political money, the fringe owns a much greater share of the cash and the clout. Trump was among the first players to realize that. (His staff, too, did not respond to requests to comment for this story.)

The insight appears to have struck him during the run-up to the last presidential election, when his “birther” antics briefly propelled him to the top of pre-campaign polls. Trump, a masterful marketer, has taken care since then to make his right-wing cheering section look huge and wholly organic, habitually retweeting typo-laden messages of support from sycophantic accounts. But this year’s groundswell wasn’t totally spontaneous. Over the past four years, Trump has been laying its foundations with a careful campaign of cultivation. In this, he was far ahead of most of his presidential opponents."

Read the Washington Post, How Donald Trump courted the right-wing fringe to conquer the GOP.

This article is a must read for those who want to understand The Donald fervor.

"I’m telling you, folks, if you think Donald Trump’s demagoguery on immigration has created problems for Republicans, just wait until he unveils his next act. If we get a Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal, Trump may well roll out a whole new story about how Republicans and Democrats alike are conspiring with a shadowy cabal of international elites to help China and other foreign countries continue destroying the living standards of American workers."

Read the Washington Post, Donald Trump is just getting started, Republicans.