Tuesday, December 15, 2015


Another excellent poll for Donald Trump:
Donald Trump has hit his highest level of support yet in a new Washington Post/ABC News poll of registered Republicans out Tuesday: 38 percent....

Trump's support is two-and-a-half times that of his nearest rival Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (15 percent)....
The Post's Dan Balz and Scott Clement write:
The results are the latest sign that Trump’s outspoken comments on immigration and terrorism continue to find an audience among rank-and-file Republicans in spite of sharp condemnation from Democrats, GOP leaders, some of Trump’s rivals and a chorus of world leaders.
"In spite of"? Try "because of." Maybe the favorable response of GOP voters to Trump's proposals isn't exclusively because the rest of us are so shocked by them, but our outrage is certainly a huge contributing factor.

I once thought that the mainstream press was going to warm to Trump and start portraying him as just a cuddly eccentric. It actually seemed to be happening for a while in the fall -- back in October, I wrote an angry post about favorable media coverage of Trump's daughter Ivanka and other women who work with him. It was clear that the Trump campaign was spoon-feeding these stories to the press in an effort to soften Trump's image.

But it didn't help Trump. October was when Ben Carson started seriously challenging him for the lead in Republican polls.

Maybe if everyone had decided to start treating Trump as a harmless flake he'd be struggling in the polls now.

Trump clearly recognized, or at least intuited, that he needed to go back to being an angry man whose words shock people if he wanted to stay at the top. So he's saying outrageous things again, and nearly all of us rise to the bait. Maybe his rivals in the race for the Republican nomination don't respond with any passion or force, but it's obvious that he's driving them nuts.

Who's the only rival who seems to be thriving? In Iowa at least, it's Ted Cruz -- the one guy who until recently wouldn't criticize Trump, and who even when criticizing him refers to him as "my friend." I had doubts about Cruz's be-nice-to-Trump strategy, but it's certainly working better than anyone else's strategy.

As for the rest of us? Maybe the way to deprive Trump of oxygen is not to stop covering him, but to cover even his outrageous statements the way the boring pronouncements and policy documents of the other candidates are covered. Trump declares that he wants to restrict Muslim entry into the U.S.? Put it on the equivalent of page A18, right next to the dull article about Jeb Bush's latest position paper on global trade. Write every story with no emotion. Ignore the outraged demonstrators. Ignore the chilling policy implications and the intimations of fascism.

But wouldn't that be burying important information on serious matters? Yes, but the press does that all the time. Doesn't every Republican candidate have a tax plan that's outrageously skewed in favor of the wealthy and that's guaranteed to add trillions to the national debt? Where do those get covered? Bury Trump's outrageous statements where you bury those stories. Those tax plans would hurt a lot of ordinary people too, but the press coverage of them is minimal and bloodless. Treat Trump's outrages the same way. When he tosses out bait, record the facts and move on. Keep it all as boring as the rest of your issue coverage.

Maybe that'll work.

Am I seriously proposing this? No, not really. But it might be the only approach that could bring Trump down.


mlbxxxxxx said...

Who would you rather be the GOP nominee? I think you are correct that Trump feeds off outrage and it strengthens him -- and it may be a winning strategy in the GOP primary but it surely won't be in the general election. If Trump wins the nomination, I think the etch-a-sketch moment will be epic because he will know that the outrageous talk that has propelled him thus far will not work in the general election. Will his base allow that etch-a-sketch moment to pass and Trump to become a more generally acceptable candidate? I'm guessing, no. That would fly in the face of everything that makes Trump special. Seems like kind of a catch 22 for Trump. His chosen path to the presidency -- probably the only one he could ever have -- is self-limiting because it's really only a dead-end path to the GOP nomination. If he decides to try to win the general without moderating his message, I guess we'd get to see just how dark the heart of America is. I'm betting he'd go down in an epic loss, though, which could itself be a useful tonic for our political process.

There are candidates among the republicans who I'd rather become president more than Trump -- though I'm not sure that their policy positions are really much better -- but there is not one I'd rather see as the GOP nominee more than Trump.

Palli said...

LAUGH HYSTERICALLY at Trump-to his face.
Here's what Brit David Mitchell says:

''That’s the strongest way of responding to him: to point at the shitting man and laugh. He can’t dismiss that as liberalism. He’s been a ridiculous figure for years. The most dangerous thing we can do now is stop finding him funny."