Tuesday, December 08, 2015

AND WHEN THE TRUMP MOMENT IS OVER, WE'LL ALL PRETEND IT NEVER HAPPENED

Public Policy Polling has a new survey of North Carolina Republicans that shows Donald Trump with his best number yet in the state -- 33% of GOP respondents back him in the state's primary, which is more than double the support of #2 Ted Cruz, who's at 16%.

Why is it happening? It sure looks as if it's happening because of rampant Islamophobia among the state's Republicans:
-67% of [Trump's] voters support a national database of Muslims in the United States, to only 14% opposed to it.

-62% believe his claims that thousands of Arabs cheered in New Jersey when the World Trade Center collapsed, to only 15% who don't believe that.

-51% want to see the Mosques in the country shut down, to only 16% against that.

-And only 24% of Trump supporters in the state even think Islam should be legal at all in the United States, to 44% who think it shouldn't be.

Although these ideas are certainly most commonly held by Trump supporters, they're not unique within the North Carolina GOP base:

-Overall 48% want a national database of Muslims to 33% who are opposed....

-Overall 42% think thousands of Arabs cheered in New Jersey on 9/11 to 26% who don't think that happened....

-Overall 35% want to shut down the mosques in the United States to 33% who are opposed.
But I remember what happened a few years ago when polls began to show that a lot of Republicans are Obama birthers: Pollsters insisted that the respondents didn't really mean what they were saying, and were just using the poll questions as a way of expressing a generalized frustration with Obama. I'm sure we'll be told soon that these polls are equally unreliable. Maybe they just represent a generalized anxiety! Surely they don't demonstrate that the respondents espouse the views they endorsed!

I'm sure we'll also be told, as David Brooks put it last week, that voters are just pondering a shiny pink-tinged rug of racism, and will ultimately decide they prefer the dull blue rug of common human decency. Or we'll be told, as we are regularly by Very Serious People, that Trump is surging in the polls (as, presumably, are his ideas as well) not because large numbers of Republicans actually agree with Trump (and his ideas), but because he gets so much media attention.

That's why we're supposed to be in denial now about the rise of Trump. If he actually starts winning contests, we'll be reminded that many Establishment Republicans denounced one or two of his most excessive statements, as did conservative pundits. At least one conservative has gone so far as to argue that President Obama is to blame for Trump's rise:
It is no accident that President Obama’s America has given rise to Donald Trump. It is an America that is more tribalist, where people feel more racially and religiously divided; more politically correct, where people feel less free to speak their minds; and it is an America where trust in the nation’s elites, whose skills are credentialed but unproven, are at historic lows.
(Funny, I could have sworn that we had a wee bit of tribalism in America when the Willie Horton ad helped propel George H.W. Bush to a come-from-behind victory over Michael Dukakis, or when the "Hands" ad helped Jesse Helms win reelection against a black Democrat, also after trailing in the polls, or when David Duke finished 2 percentage points behind the victor in the first round of voting for governor of Louisiana in 1991.)

Well, never mind. Trump is a pure product of the media, or is an unwanted mutant strain of conservatism, or is the result of an inevitable backlash against a divisive Democrat -- the one thing a lot of people can agree on is that he doesn't represent anything intrinsic to conservatism or the GOP.

Jonathan Chait writes:
As threatening as [Republicans] have found Trump’s candidacy, it has the convenient side effect of allowing them to define a general tendency in their party as a personal quirk associated with a buffoonish individual.... the Republican conviction [is] that the cancer he represents can be cleanly severed from the body.
Chait says that that's a delusion:
Parliamentary systems channel far-right nationalistic movements of the sort Trump is leading into splinter parties. The American winner-take-all system creates two blocs that absorb ... movements into the mainstream.... Unless Republican elites are willing to actually cleave the GOP in two -- and they have displayed no such inclination -- they are going to live with the reality that they are part of an entity that is substantially, if not entirely, a party of Trump.
But he's wrong if he thinks they won't be able to say that the Trump moment was a "quirk associated with a buffoonish individual." They will, and the experts will mostly agree. Once the Trump moment is over -- whether it's during the primaries or after the general election or, God help us, after he's actually spent time in the Oval Office -- they'll tell us he had nothing to do with the real GOP or conservative movement, and pundits will concur, citing media hype and the Internet and whatever else they'll scapegoat in order to shift blame away from an ever more ignorant and hate-filled conservative movement.

7 comments:

Victor said...

The conservatives and their GOP political arm are used to applying Teflon to its candidates.
And most importantly, to themselves.
And they get the MSM to buy their bullshit. Mainly because our MSM is cowardly, compliant, and complicit - as they are now, with Trump's candidacy.

To my point - remember Ronnie Reagan?
'Tree's cause pollution... ketchup is a vegetable, etc...'
And he started his '80 Presidential campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi - where if you don't know what happened there in the early 60's, you're probably either an idiot or a conservative (but I repeat myself).

And despite all of that, he got elected to two terms, and is now the greatest American conservative hero of the 20th Century. Probably only because their noted and real Fascist German, Italian, and Spanish hero's (and I'm not going to count the mid 20th Centuries South and Central American Fascists we Americans put in power) - they'd have loved if they were Americans - prior to RWR, were Liberal, according to that noted skoller (sic) Jonah Goldberg.

They bathed W in "Compassionate Conservative" waters, to make him more palatable to American voters.
And we know how that turned out.
And, despite his administrations incompetence and evil, conservatives only claimed to have stopped loving him after 8 years of him and Dick "Dr. Death" Cheney, only because their failure was too obvious for even Rush and FOX to cover.
And still, only a little while after Obama got elected, "Miss Him Yet" billboards went up.

So, with Trump, I expect that you, Steve, are right. At some point, it'll be time for the GOP politicians and their rabid base, to coat him and themselves in Teflon, and hope that these new extremes that they've reached, won't stick to them.

And you know what?
With the MSM's help, they won't.
I'd bet money on it.

Greg said...

in order to shift blame away from an ever more ignorant and hate-filled conservative movement.

They may be ignorant and hate-filled, but they're also valued consumers, and thus must be pandered to whenever possible.

Ten Bears said...

The flatulence you hear is the air going out of his ballon, wouldn't surprise me in the least if he were out of the news cycle within the week. Spectacular success breeds spectacular failure.

Steve M. said...

I'm pretty sure that's actual flatulence.

Redhand said...

Once the Trump moment is over -- whether it's during the primaries or after the general election or, God help us, after he's actually spent time in the Oval Office -- they'll tell us he had nothing to do with the real GOP or conservative movement, and pundits will concur, citing media hype and the Internet and whatever else they'll scapegoat in order to shift blame away from an ever more ignorant and hate-filled conservative movement.

Pure gold I say, maybe even platinum because of its prescience. We all just effing know this is how it will play once Trump is toast. He'll be just like W.: "The Donald who?" What-r-ya-talkin-about? And we can reliably predict that "the pundits will concur."

sdhays said...

This is why I cautiously hope Trump wins the nomination. He is breaking the media, and not in the way they like. They will have to decide if "both sidesism" is appropriate when one of the major party candidates is running on an explicitly fascist platform. Trump isn't the problem; his supporters are. The media simply won't accept this, so that's why they continue to write crap which essentially says "don't believe your lying eyes, this isn't the 'true' Republican Party". If Trump wins the nomination, I think their heads might explode.

Ten Bears said...

I still think he's Bill's Best Idea Eva.