Trump Could Be Nominee and That’s Not Good

Donald TrumpAlan Abramowitz emailed Paul Krugman with nine reasons why he now thinks that Donald Trump just might become the Republican nominee for president. The details don’t much matter. Really it comes down to this: Trump is way ahead in the polls. The only “establishment” candidate likely to be able to catch him is Marco Rubio. No one really takes Ben Carson seriously — and for very good reason: he is a nutcase, and that becomes clearer and clearer every day. Other than the Christian nationalists, he has no base. So it really does look like a race between Trump and the even worse Ted Cruz.

Krugman noted this should come as no surprise. Why should the Republican establishment think that its base of voters would “be reasonable” about who they flock to. That very establishment has pushed a domestic policy of “death panels!” and a foreign policy of “Benghazi!” Thus, we have two kinds of Republican candidates: people who are crazy and people who pretend to be crazy to get elected. As Krugman said, “Primary voters are expected to respect that?” Actually, I think it is worse. How are primary voters even supposed to know the difference. From their perspective, the “establishment” candidates are just the ones who seem less authentic.

Ted CruzUnder normal circumstances, a Trump or Cruz Republican nominee would be a good thing for Democrats. But I can’t help remembering that a lot of liberals were pleased when the Republicans nominated Ronald Reagan in 1980. “The people will never elect a McCarthyite freak like that!” Well, they did. And in a landslide. Will the American people, in their good sense, elect Donald Trump or Ted Cruz? Under the right circumstances, absolutely. This is one of the reasons I’ve been saying for years that the best thing for the Democratic Party is if the Republican Party started acting like a normal political party and less like a revolutionary power.

Let’s look at the political science of it. I expect the economy to continue to improve for the next year. The Federal Reserve may screw that up, but I’m betting not. Given that, the Democrats have a huge advantage in winning the presidency. If the economy tanks, the election will be the Republicans to lose — pretty much regardless of who they nominate. But my great concern is how the Democrats could lose the 2016 election, even with an improving economy. Sadly, it wouldn’t be that hard.

Political scientist Lynn Vavreck explains what needs to happen in her book, The Message Matters: The Economy and Presidential Campaigns. Most presidential elections are about the economy. So if the 2016 election is about the economy and it is doing well, the Democrats win the election. I’ll bet a thousands dollars on that right now, and I am neither a rich nor a betting man. But if Trump or Cruz become the Republican nominee, they may not make the election about the economy. Obviously, what an election is about is not entirely up to the candidates. But they would both push immigration and terrorism. And if they could get the country to care about that and talk about that, they could win. It wouldn’t be a large win — it would be a squeaker. But it wouldn’t matter; it would still be a win.

Still, would that work? There is a second part of Vavreck’s analysis: the issue that Trump or Cruz would run on would have to be one that the Democrat would be vulnerable on. Let’s assume the Democrat is Clinton. I don’t see her all that vulnerable. Sure, when ten Republican candidates stand on a stage by themselves, they take it for granted that she’s been a terrible Secretary of State. But I don’t think that’s generally believed. If anything, most Americans think Clinton is a bit too much of a hawk.

The main thing is that a Trump or Cruz candidacy throws a random element into the campaign. Regardless who the Republicans nominate, I will be nervous for the next year.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

28 thoughts on “Trump Could Be Nominee and That’s Not Good

  1. I think it boils down to how hyped up the Democratic leaners are. If Clinton wins the nomination, what will shock me is how meh the Democratic leaners will be about her. This is a glass ceiling breaking candidate-the second in a row we will have nominated and possibly even elect. We should be over the moon on how we are being different, new and yes, exciting. But since it is Hillary Clinton, people are like “oh yuck.” *sigh*

      • If this becomes a turnout election? The lack of enthusiasm will be an issue. Maybe I am just pessimistic because I got bad news today.

        • I think that Trump being the nominee would greatly motivate liberal voters. I’m sorry about your bad news. But happy Thanksgiving!

            • Ah, no go on that. I’m with my younger sister who is pretty much a vegetarian. So we are doing a chicken. Christmas will be prime rib though!

              • I should suggest that to my sister-she usually makes a ham but she likes prime rib more. I am indifferent, I rarely eat much at holiday dinners. I have no idea why.

                • Ham is also quite good. Another thing I don’t like about turkey is that it just doesn’t seem very special.

                  Chicken with rice stuffing is excellent. We aren’t doing that today, because my sister is in charge. I just finished my last dish which is stuffed tomatoes. They seem to have come out quite well. But they may be over-cooked because my sister is having a problem with her chicken timing.

                  • The Sister in my family already bought the ham so we are stuck.

                    We played games-Monty Python’s Fluxx and Cards Against Humanity. It was fun and I was actually in a good mood when I got home and immediately passed out. I hope yours was as much fun and you are in a food coma.

                    • That sound great, I’m so envious! I miss playing smart/silly games with people. Given everyone I know’s stress level, we just can’t make it work anymore. That’s something to honestly be thankful for!

                    • Every Thanksgiving should include one game of Risk so that everyone can be thankful they don’t have to play that game any other day of the year.

                    • Usually we break out the CAH to get our mother to go home. She Disapproves of the game.

                      I would recommend it but your family may have issues with being sick, sick people.

                    • It all worked out well enough. And then we watched, The Secret of Kells — which wasn’t all that good, but I think I will get an article out of it.

                    • Eh, I enjoyed it about as much as Ferngully or the animated version of The Hobbit.

                    • Yeah. I liked the look of it. But the story was kind of boring. It reminded me of Ralph Bakshi, but without his wit and expansive vision.

                    • The one who appeared as a girl? I like the simplicity of that kind of animation over all.

                  • Although I must be a master at cooking turkey living in the #1 turkey-producing state (and master I am, today’s came out looking like something from a TV show) the real bane of holiday dinners is timing. Some things are OK to serve warm or reheat in the microwave, others are best right from the oven/stove. I always screw the timing up on something so one dish is perfect and the others aren’t fresh enough.

                    • You are right: the is the difficult part. My sister and I nailed it today. I think we had 9-10 hot dishes and managed them all perfectly. Although the fact that we had 9-10 hot dishes does show that we are insane.

    • The truth is that I had many nice things to say about Trump until he released his tax plan. Then it was clear that he was just another Republican who wants to take from the poor and give to the rich. But the main thing is that I respect democracy and I hope that everyone goes out and votes.

    • I’m not sure what Trump supporters expect to get from a Trump presidency. Most of what I hear is pretty vague (and frankly, fascistic): strength and someone to “take charge.” As much as I hate dysfunction in Washington, it doesn’t make me long for a dictator. Of course, I don’t know what Levi expects — or even if he is serious.

  2. Thread fail, I keep getting these. Maybe I should go back to “Safari” but it’s so clogged up with viruses from when I was getting illegal NBA streams last year to write game recaps the thing is quite broken.

    “Kells” is a mess. And I watched it because it had vocals from the guy I think is one of the greatest film actors of all time, Brendan Gleeson. I adore Gene Hackman, a similarly dumpy dude, but Gleeson’s range (quite possibly because of his lovely Irish voice) is larger than Hackman’s. When Hackman portrays a maniac, his tone starts to screech; I’m distanced from the maniac. When Gleeson plays a maniac, a noble priest, a racist cop, whatever, I’m in that character’s head.

    However; he’s an Irish super-patriot. Which is far less offensive than being a super-American patriot. But it’s still kinda dumb.

    “Kells” takes some mythical Irish bullshit and grafts gorgeous animation onto it, along with Gleeson’s voice, as though adding visual art and vocal craft could redeem that horribly disjointed story. It’s like reading a pilgrim’s tale by Chaucer with the middle removed. Surely it meant something once upon a time, but without the context it makes increasingly less sense.

    Gleeson is into this noble-Irish thing, so far as I can tell. He was in “The Guard,” which is a messed-up movie unless you consider his astounding performance. Almost every film he’s in is a messed-up movie unless you consider his amazing performance.

    Having my share of Irish background, and being aware how much of a burr up their ass both Irish moviegoers and American moviegoers who know their families’ history of discrimination can be potent things — I take Irish cultural pride with a serious grain of salt.

    Most my favorite authors are Irish. I think Gleeson’s in the Top Ten of all actors ever. The Pogues have made my existence worthwhile in a way few other musical acts can accomplish.

    “Kells” to me was trying to over-do Irish herirtage. “You don’t respect our legends, see it now.” It was a pretty boring legend in the second half. The animation was quite lovely but I found the story dull.

    What’s best to me about my American Irish heritage and about Irish artists isn’t making their stories into legends. It’s about making their stories into tales of survival and inspiration, with that vocally odd twist only the Irish can provide. The one that makes us other English speakers think our language should really only be spoken by Irish people. Cockneys make it pretty, Southern Americans make it lyrical, only the Irish make it transcendent. To me.

    And that’s what’s great about most Irish art/literature to me, and what fails with “Kells.” The best of Irish art doesn’t describe Celtic Mythic Site #101, it describes the Irish experience being pissed on by England and by America; that’s more important to who you are than some mystery monster lodged in a damn stone.

    But Gleeson is still one of the best actors ever.

    • As soon as I get a chance, I plan to discuss the Vikings in it. But you are right: it is a mess. There isn’t much point to the story. And it ends up being episodic, apparently because of production costs. I don’t think that Gleeson has mostly been in bad films. I very much liked Calvary. And also In Bruges. But you have a point: it’s easy to let his performance overwhelm you. I do wonder how much I would think of both those films without him.

      • Maybe the better take (sorry about the long Irish art rant, I was tired and half-blitzed) is that Gleeson shines best in films which give him room to define a character. You can’t do that in a film like “Kells” which has very complex animation that needs to be storyboarded out long before actors record their lines. He was almost missable in the “Harry Potter” movies, whose characters were pre-defined by the complex storyline.

        In the movies you mention, Gleeson’s characters are rather undefined by the scripts; he gets to make a performance through his line readings and interacting with others. He’s kind of like a chubbier Daniel Day-Lewis. Or even Brando in a way. I enjoy more laid-back performers like Clooney/Hepburn but there’s something pretty special about the super-intense mega-actors. And then the ones in between, the Helen Mirrens or Sam Jacksons who can go super-intense or just have fun.

        Acting is a magical skill invented by mystical wood gnomes and I don’t understand it.

        • I don’t think Gleeson is as limited as you imply. I just think that he’s best known for those kinds of parts. He’s kind of a regular guy in In Bruges. And the only Harry Potter film I’ve made it all the way through was largely because of him. But I must admit that I’m not that up on his films. As much as we may like him, he’s still a character actor and mostly gets small parts.

          I agree: acting is mysterious.

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