Wednesday, December 09, 2015


Chuck Todd believes it's part of his mission to preserve and defend the political status quo. That requires him to stick up for the Republican Party even as it becomes more extreme, and to insist that there's nothing wrong with the GOP that isn't also a problem in the Democratic Party, in a mirror-image way.

The rise of Donald Trump threatens Todd's narrative -- so last night, on NBC Nightly News, he talked about Trump as if he has little or nothing to do with the Republican Party. Here's a transcript of his discussion with Nightly News anchor Lester Holt:
LESTER HOLT: ... Chuck, first of all, today you said Trump has essentially hijacked the Republican Party. But he's not speaking to an empty room.


HOLT: A lot of people believe in what he is saying, and his poll numbers tend to go up after some of his more provocative statements. Will that be the case here?

TODD: Well, it could be, short term. Look, what he has done, though, is made it impossible for him to win a general election. Okay, he is not going to be able to attract other parts of what you need if he somehow got the Republican nomination. But look, he has created his own lane, if you will, of folks that are feeling insecure, folks -- and we've seen it, it sort of cuts across socioeconomic lines here a little bit, people without a college education who feel as if this country's changed on them, this country isn't the same -- and so at first Trump got their support by pointing to immigration, then he pointed to China, now he's pointing to Muslims, playing on this security fear. His support from these folks are real. These supporters, I think, have been brought into the political system by him. And the question is, will they be there when it counts for him in the primary? That's a question. But what happens to them if the Republican Party just throws Trump overboard? And that's why there's been such a tepid response.

Let me unpack that.

Earlier in the day, Todd said to MSNBC's Tamron Hall, "Donald Trump has hijacked the Republican Party, pure and simple." On one level, that's true -- the party was hoping to put on a presentable face going into the presidential election, and he's making that impossible.

But in another way, he hasn't "hijacked" anything -- he's just taken what Republicans say to one another on Fox, on talk radio, and in Breitbart comments sections and brought it out on the campaign trail without watering it down or translating it into euphemisms.

Todd asserts that Trump's nasty proposal could help him in the polls "short term." Why "short term"? I'm guessing this is the standard pundit line: Yeah, Trump's had the lead for five months, but hey, no one's voted yet, so Jeb could still win!

Now, let me talk about Todd's assertion that Trump "has created his own lane" of supporters who "have been brought into the political system by him." This assertion suggests that Trump's supporters simply weren't Republicans until now. It's based on the fact that Trump doesn't do quite as well in polls of habitual GOP voters as he does in polls that include people who aren't in the habit of voting. But the thing is, Trump still tops nearly every poll regardless of the sampled population, and when he's not first (for instance, in the recent Monmouth poll of Iowa), he's a strong second.

So people who've been Republican voters all along love him, too. And the ones who reject him prefer fellow wacko birds such as Ben Carson and Ted Cruz. Have they all "hijacked the party"?

Todd loves the notion that Trump's voters might follow him out of the party, because that means they're not real Republicans, and Todd's precious GOP can still be described as pure. But those voters have been Republicans. They sure aren't Democrats.

And I know that the new Suffolk UniversityUSA Today poll reports that 68% of Trump voters would vote for him if he ran third party, but the same poll says that if Trump stays in the GOP, Hillary Clinton beats him by only 4 points, 48%-44%. In other words, Trump loses by approximately the same margin as John McCain and Mitt Romney. So we can infer that a whole lot of McCain and Romney voters would have no trouble voting Trump in the fall if he's the Republican nominee. They're not fleeing Trump in horror because he's such an unacceptable Republican.

Trump may be offputting to a certain percentage of Republicans, but Trumpism didn't come from nowhere. It came from the right. It came from conservative, GOP-oriented media.


ʾIblīs said...

You have to do a lot of LSD to come to the conclusion that a blatant left wing hack like Chuck Todd is for the Republican Party. Only people who live in a Pravda bubble think anyone in the mainstream media supports the GOP taking the White House, and Chuck makes it rather obvious he's insanely partisan and absolutely loathes Trump. You must be one of those psychotics who believes anyone who disagrees with your narcissistic view of the world should be incarcerated in a mental facility like a true Stalinist would.

Dark Avenger said...

If you think that Chuck Toddler is Left-Wing, the. You should get off the meth or crack or whatever white powder is your drug of choice.

Victor said...

Haven't you heard?
"Crack is whack!"

Man, I almost feel sorry for this person...
Talk about a terminal case of "projection!"

BKT said...

Wow. Now that first comment is remote from reality.

I will grant that Chuck Todd is a "hack," but that dude is a bought-and-paid-for Establishment GOP tool. Which, in fairness, probably looks Left-wing to any extreme reactionary Right-wing crank, that is to say, the average base Republican voter.

But the mainstream media has been deep in the bag for corporate Republican interests for decades-- read Gene Lyons' "Fools For Scandal" or "Hunting of the President" written with Joe Conason sometime. Or just check our Bob Somerby's blog "The Daily Howler" to see how ridiculous the notion is that the media is actively trying to prevent a GOP presidency.

Unknown said...

" of those psychotics who believes anyone who disagrees with your narcissistic view of the world should be incarcerated in a mental facility..."

I think most rational folks have noticed how mentally disturbed political zealots project their disorders to those who understand and speak of it. And it's just one reason that right wing extremism dwarfs other terrorism as a US domestic risk.

Professor Chaos said...

The mainstream media needs to let go of this fantasy of reasonable Republican voters who are eventually going to "throw Trump overboard" in favor of a more moderate, sane candidate. Reasonable people have been purged from the GOP. The only candidate that seems to have a chance to beat Trump is Cruz who is every bit as nutty.

Ten Bears said...

Iblis is a bot. An automaton, a Turing Test for those of us who know about such. Somewhat like a random number generator, an "app" if you wish, cranking out word salad in a process not unlike a helicopter: a whole lot of parts that shouldn't have been fitted together all trying to fly apart.

Haven't seen this one in a while.

Tom Hilton said...

I would so love to see some Shane Ryan of the right publish an article saying it would be good for GOP to go down in flames this time. But it ain't gonna happen. In the end, nearly all of them will fall in line....because their hatred of liberals is stronger than any principals they might have.

Rand Careaga said...

Also, Iblis is a little ill-informed if he thinks that "Stalinists" made much use of mental wards. The USSR's punitive measures in the thirties and forties were rather more, ah, brusque than that.

Professor Fate said...

If memory serves Chuck is on record as saying that his job is not to call out public figures when they lie but rather to allow them to get their message out. I am not sure of his personal politics but he's more that willing to be a water carrier for the GOP - it's where the money is.

Feud Turgidson said...

It's one mark (among many) of Chuckles' essential unsuitability for the job of Vote 'Splainer to All the Enbeecees, that he fails, despite virtually unlimited chances, despite all the focus on Trump, and despite all the resources Cat hand, to think even just a moment on what we know about Narcissus: staring at his face in the water, as the face in the water stars back at him, each stare rewardomg amd reinforcing the staring.

I don't want Trump to 'go away': I want him there right beside the pool, playing kissy face with all Trump faces in the rippling water. There you are, you little Republican party bad boy; there you are, you naughty mainstream media; let's go to my room, do unspeakable things to defenseless creatures together, have a big flouncy fake break-up, then get together later secretly and do all over again. I want as many Americans, yes of voting age but even more not yet eligible, to witness the folly of all this, so maybe THEY can say, Never again.

We can't control or see into the future. In the future, Uncle Sam may wear flip flops, palm leaves, jackboots, whatever: WE won't be there to deal with it. I say, tell the kids to come inside a while, sit down to watch Teevee Trump, have a long talk afer where no one's trying to compel anyone, athen at least there's a chance. some good comes out of this before it gets really, long term, Dark Ages bad.

Unknown said...

What scares me the most about Trump's run is that lie perpetrated by Shuck and his fellow enablers, the lie promulgated daily, which is that Trump is ruining the chance that a responsible, "mainstream" candidate will be nominated. Every single candidate is just as bad if not worst than Trump. If the Mainslime Media did their jobs they would examine and report in detail the utterances and "policies" proposed by each candidate. But they'd rather parlay Trump's popularity into a campaign touting phantom "reasonable, responsible" Republicans. As if.

Luke Lea said...

The writer may be underestimating Trump's crossover appeal in the general election. Considering the tsunami of negative, even libelous media coverage he has gotten from day one, once Democrats and Independent blue collar voters, including a lot of blacks and Hispanics, take a close look at him in debate against Hillary, his numbers can only go up, not only when they are on the subject of foreign policy (Hillary was for Libya, e.g.) but above all on third world trade and immigration as they affect the future of jobs at good wages. Don't kid yourselves, he will be competitive (and probably more tempered than he is now).

swkellogg said...

Looks like ʾIblīs has been hitting the djinn.

Unknown said...

swkellogg - That may be the best comment I've read in weeks.
Well done, Sir. Simply outstanding