Thursday, October 13, 2016


I can barely keep up with the Donald Trump news. The New York Times identifies a woman who was mauled by Trump on a plane and another woman who was mauled by Trump in an elevator. The Palm Beach Post identifies another woman who says she was groped by Trump. A People magazine reporter says that Trump sexually assaulted her. A former Miss Washington says she was pawed by Trump. A former Miss Utah just gave an interview to the Today show in which she recounted a sexual assault by Trump. BuzzFeed and The Guardian identify women who say Trump walked in on them in their dressing rooms during beauty pageants. And CBS has a clip of Trump watching a 10-year-old on the escalator at Trump Tower and saying, "I am going to be dating her in 10 years."

Trump is a sick bastard -- but what the hell is wrong with the Republican Party? Couldn't the GOP have figured out that this guy is really bad news, and made more of an effort to prevent him from seizing the reins of the party?

Ross Douthat thinks the party didn't have much choice:
For the party to go full #NeverTrump after March would have required, in the best case, denying Trump the nomination even though he was likely to win a clear plurality of delegates. In the worst case, which the party faced once Trump dispatched Cruz and John Kasich in early May, it would have required stripping him of a nomination that he had won fairly under the Republican National Committee’s existing rules.

In the old days of smoke-filled rooms this would have been one thing, but in our age of mostly democratic primaries and “will of the people” expectations it would have been a nightmare. Chaos and protests and walkouts at the convention would have been only the beginning: ... Trump ... would have been on every cable channel railing against Paul Ryan and Reince Priebus and the Cruz-Kasich ticket from June till November, with the mainstream media egging him on delightedly and a large slice of the conservative media in his corner.

... His ire and his voters’ feelings of betrayal would have sent the official Republican ticket limping toward a likely November defeat, undercut every down-ballot Republican politician’s turnout effort, and extended the party’s civil war well into Hillary Clinton’s presidency.
But why couldn't the party have tried to head Trump off long before he was headed to a first-ballot victory at the convention? It was obvious last fall, well before the Iowa caucuses, that Trump might seriously win the nomination. I know nobody in the GOP wanted to believe that, but why wasn't there a "one percent doctrine" regarding Trump -- if there was a one percent chance Trump could win, the party needed to prevent that, because he's so awful? Shouldn't the party at least have done some digging into Trump's past, to prepare for what might come out if Trump won the nomination? And in that case, couldn't the party itself have leaked some of the information that's coming out now, to damage Trump before he could damage the party?

But I wonder how that would have worked out. Think of everything that's come out this week, and imagine it coming out sometime between the late fall of 2015 and Super Tuesday. The revelations really might have irreversibly tarnished Trump's reputation -- with everyone except Republican voters. The public might have known about Trump's sexual predation (and tax dodges, and business scandals) a year before the general election, yet he still might have won the Republican nomination.

Let's face it: Republican voters just don't believe any news that contradicts their worldview, especially if it comes from the hated "lamestream media" (but even Fox is suspect on the rare occasions when it contradicts what GOP voters want to believe). With regard to Trump's sexual behavior, it's not clear that the GOP base thinks that any harm was done. And that's not just because the base dimisses all of Trump's accusers as liars. (The hashtag #NextFakeTrumpVictim is trending on Twitter right now.) Consider this quote from the pope of conservatism, Rush Limbaugh:

If you don't even believe that lack of consent is what turns a sex act into a sex crime, and if you think raising the issue of consent is just introducing the jackbooted thuggery of "the rape police," then you very well might have voted for Trump even if all of this was known before the primary voting started.

So maybe the GOP establishment's failure to vet Trump (and, if necessary, leak embarrassing stories in order to damage him at the polls) didn't matter. Embarrassing stories might not have damaged him at the primary polls at all. The GOP could have been stuck with him anyway, with every non-base voter in America aware of his transgressions and most of us disgusted by them, while the base just shrugged them off.


Paul Montgomery said...

Who was going to cast the first stone on Trump being a creep? The 17 were all creepy in different ways, and they all hated women. You are assuming a GOP politician standing on the high moral ground that is not in evidence.

Victor said...

And we liberals and MSM were accused by conservatives of NOT VETTING Obama?

It is to laugh in their faces now!

I lived in NYC during t-RUMP's rise to daily coverage by... well, EVERYbody in the media.
I could have told them all of this shit, because I lived in the city from 1980 until 1992, and all of his adulterous affairs was covered. Ane sexual harassment and sexual assault were there, if you could even try to read between the lies.

And, as I said before, in the GOP, there are a lot of pots calling their KKKettle, black.
They're pissed, because he's shouting from any bullhorn he can access, what the conservatives have been dog-whistling and whispering for decades.

And, thanks to t-RUMP, he has proven what we liberals have been saying for decades about the GOP and "Christian" evangelicals:

That they're full of shit!

Yeah, some come for the faux morality.
But they stay their moral superiority lessons, and for the fear and hatred.

They aren't brothers and sister in Christ.
They're brothers and sisters bound together by fear, hatred and bigotry!

I worry about violence both ON Election Day, and AFTER..

t-RUMP has built it. They will come…

ransomweaver said...

I wonder if there is an "othering" of these women going on in the Trumpalo Mind: they are liberated (therefore "liberal") women so they are either making up slander or they deserved what they got.

Anonymous said...

Of course these guys have a problem with consent. Not only do they want to go back to when America was "great" but when white men ruled supreme, women didn't own anything including their bodies and big ole scarlet A's will be handed out like Stars of David back in the 30's.

I hope the republican part explodes, the Teajihadist and dtrump crazies can form their own party of crazy and the moderate and independent orphans from either party can come together and form the party of sane.

Anonymous said...

IMHO it would have been possible to nuke Trump way back at the beginning -- but who would the beneficiaries would have been? Rewind to then and it seems like Rubio could have been well positioned, taking over the role of Bill Clinton '92, the fresh face when no one else seems quite convincing. And the money boys wanted him; and had a whole plug-and-play campaign ready to go based on the Reagan Youth picking up the torch. Looking back, it seems like they could have pulled it off. Which raises the question: why didn't they do it?

Tom Hilton said...

I've been saying for years that conservatives are seriously unclear on the concept of consent. (See, e.g., all the wingnuts comparing gay relationships to sex with animals--which, obviously are incapable of consent.) Limbaugh is just saying it more explicitly than the others.

So yeah, I don't think it would have killed Trump in the primaries. Might have hurt him, some, with the people who didn't much like him anyway...but it wouldn't have mattered with his base.

mlbxxxxxx said...

I don't have much to say good about Scott Walker but you've got to give him his due. He understood, before Iowa, that the only way to stop Trump was to collapse the field to 1, or a very few, serious non-Trump contender(s). He called on other less-than-viable candidates to drop out when he did -- obviously none took his advice and so here we are.

That was the point that Trump could be stopped. It was clear that he had at least 1/3 of the party locked up. There was no way for 15 guys/gal to beat him since they would be splitting the rest of the vote. Trump likes to brag about beating 15-16 opponents but having that many splitting the non-Trump vote is what empowered him to take advantage of the winner-take-all/most delegate allocation that the GOP used.

It would be interesting to game out what might have happened if the GOP had allocated delegates like the Dems did. In that event, Trump would have ended with only about 40% of the delegates with the rest split. As non-Trumpers dropped out, their delegate counts might have been able to be picked up by the Trump opponent(s) remaining in the race or remained uncommitted making a so-called brokered convention more of a real possibility with a serious chance at undoing Trump since he would not have a clear majority of delegates.

As many have noted, the GOP created Trump, their own Frankenstein, but they also empowered him with the mechanics of their primary process. It is truly an indictment of the Democratic Party that they cannot compete with such an incompetent opponent. If we do make gains in the House/Senate, it will be because the GOP has imploded not because the Dems have an effective strategy. As Trump would say, Sad!

CF2K said...

Not to defend DLC electoral strategy, but I think the challenge with Trump is that he is, by the standards of Presidential races hitherto, insane. This is an unprecedented campaign, which I think is testified by Trump's mauling of Republican challengers. In that respect, I think the Clinton campaign's strategy is dead-on. The trick, as you say, is, indeed, to convert his negatives into Democratic gains.

Jimbo said...

People like Trump and Limbaugh are authoritarians. Their philosophy is to take what (or who) they want as their natural property. Many of their ancestors would have been slave-owners or sympathetic to slavery. The phrase "...and the consent of the governed"(Declaration of Independence) is just meaningless verbiage to not only these people but to most "conservatives" in this country. They do not like Democracy unless get to dictate what goes on in that democracy.

Knight of Nothing said...

In the primary, Trump was a collective action problem, and Republicans simply don't do collective action. If they could, they would have attacked him mercilessly for his policy ignorance and clownish persona. And oppo could have appeared on the heels of Trump's comments about Fiorina. It might have worked.

Then again, since Trump is the GOP and the GOP is Trump, you may be right.

Danp said...

I must admit, when I first saw the Access Hollywood tape, my thought was, "this won't change one mind." But Republicans didn't do any vetting. Russia, taxes, business failures, foundation? Maybe they need to rethink that 11th Commandment thing.

Jim Snyder said...

@Knights @Danp: "Republicans did no vetting"... the 16 clowns were incompetent. I heard repeatedly - early enough that Trump still could have been, uh, trumped - that none of the clowns had an oppo folder on Trump. Yeah, OK ... not many observers thought that Trump would be a serious contender, until he was. But how hard would it have been hard to dredge up a few scandals? The guy is a complete fraud. But not one of the clowns laid a finger on Trump. Not Jeb!, not Cruz, not Kasich.

Tangentially, many of us thought that the Access Hollywood tape would move the dial only a few points - 2 or 3 points at most. Philip Bump at WaPoop dissects the Wisconsin poll report to show that the effect in Wisconsin was YUUUGE:

So I don't get the premise that Trump couldn't have been damaged in the primary. People said that 23% was Trump's high-water mark, then they said 30%, then 40% ... and then he was the de facto nominee.

Suppose the Access Hollywood tape had dropped when Cruz and Kasich were still in the running... if it made a difference in Wisconsin, surely it would have given Cruz or Kasich traction, no?

Feud Turgidson said...

Over last winter, I kept saying women would win this for HRC. I didn't foresee it unfolding as the apocalypse we're witnessing, but this was at least generally predictable.

Current polling is odd: HRC soaring now at Meta-Margins Obama never reached, but the 4 of the 5 headline D female Senate newcomers are in close contests or lagging where HRC is bound to win? This engages 2 questions not big in elections since the dawn of modern polling:
1. Will being registered hold its historical solidity as predictor of actually voting?
2. Will the historical rate of voters who split their vote between top and down ballot hold?

Irrationally emboldened by this emerging massive vindication of my out-of-colon theory of this turning out to be The Women's Election, I now enhat myself in tin-lined big fur & predict this on those 2 questions:
1) an historic low correlation between pre-October 9, likely-voter polls & the actual vote result; &
2) historic high % of vote splitting among R voters; but
3) 2 will turn out not high enough to overcome 1; so
a. female D candidates will win at least 4 of Illinois, NC, NH, Penn & Nevada,
b. Feingold will win in Wisconsin by a greater margin than polls currently suggest,
c. Ds will have 50 or 51 Senate seats, bare control, &
d. Rs will lose 28 House seats, but Ds will only gain 26, leaving the House nominally 219 R, 214 D, & 2 other.

Damned if I can figure how the House will sort out the next Speaker. IMO it won't be Ryan regardless; he'll lose (unlikely) or decline to stand. Vox had a Prokop piece saying Speakers can't be chosen by plurality:
but the Constitution is not definitive on this, plus there's precedent: in 1855 the House seated a Speaker on plurality, in a House split among 108 (northern) Rs, 83 (southern) Ds & 43 (disparate) Know Nothings. The Ds & KNs united to block the Rs' choice for 2 months. Then the House 'agreed' to engavel the candidate with the largest plurality.

But there was a further catch: the Rs chosn to support a member elected as a Know Nothing who on being sworn moved over to caucus with the Rs. A parallel outcome in 2017 would seem to require an "other" or someone not even elected - which the Constitution allows for.

Knight of Nothing said...

@Jim Snyder - " the 16 clowns were incompetent." Haha, yes, that is true; I'd add "lazy and/or running a grift."

I just read in Bloomberg that Trump refused to be vetted *by his own campaign*, so that staff could prepare defenses against possible *ahem* problems in his past record. JEEZUS these people.

I imagine Paul Manafort is the 2nd happiest person the whole world right now.

Knight of Nothing said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Knight of Nothing said...

@mlbxxxxxx - what in dog's name are you blathering about? You do know that a large percentage of people would crawl through broken glass to vote for any Republican, right?

Your conclusion is purely magical thinking about the existence of a progressive/liberal supermajority. We live in a country with highly polarized politics. This race was always going to be close.

mlbxxxxxx said...

Knight: you do not understand my comment. I am talking about the primary. He never had much more than 40% in any primary but he was empowered by the size of the field and the way the GOP allocated delegates. I was referring to the point at which the Rs could have stopped Trump. My comment had nothing at all to do with a "progressive/liberal supermajority." Don't believe such a thing exists but it was irrelevant to my comment regardless.

KenRight said...

You can defend Trump from many perspectives on these, and I'm sure you've read some of these defenses already so I won't rehash them.
But I believe most are conceding too much ground.
A short brief on why almost all of these charges never would made or if made have much significance in a Russian, Chinese, South American, Japanese presidential election would suffice. The Atlantic couldn't resist inserting the grotesque Bill Cosby story in, as if Trump had put rohypanol in any hottie's cocktail.

Feud Turgidson said...

mlbxxxxx - Maybe he didn't get it because he's drunk.

I have another take (not drunk): I think you could be right, but it's also possible that, except for the odd authoritarian visitor here like KenReich, the way we look at things like this Hollywood Access tape is too different from the way under-emphatic wingnut knucklehead brains see things. I think it's possible that if one of the really well-funded well-supported Republican pretendes had released the oppo treasure trove early enough in the GOP primary season to make a difference, then it make just have fallen flat - or worse, worked on Trump like he was Pokemon. Which, to the alt-right and the disaffected base that tolerates them, he kind of is.

Knight of Nothing said...

@mlbxxxxx - re-read your last paragraph. You're saying that Dems are winning only due to Republican implosion. I'm disputing that point.

Jim Snyder said...

@Knight: "refused to be vetted". Yeah, that's been around for a while, but in view of the surprise, I guess the reports last spring didn't get much traction.

"JEEZUS" ... exactly. Political malfeasance.

@Feud: I am in awe of your command of the mother tongue. I wouldn't dare ...

In particular: "out-of-colon theory". When I was a pup, we used the acronym "POOMA".

"I now enhat myself in tin-lined big fur": wow ... as said, I bow to a master.

Bis! Bis! (I am sure I will regret saying this ...)

@Feud responding to mbxxxx: are you sure you haven't imbibed too many wingnut tears?!?

Over-indulgence in schadenfrodo can be hazardous to your health. Responsible drinkin', peeps!

I think I understand what you're saying, but chances are I'm giving myself too much credit. (Don't take this as criticism, but sometimes clarity can be a Good Thing).

Jes' sayin'.

@KenWhite: As I said 2-4 SteveM posts back, I think you're a Kremlin troll. Or a China doll. Or whatevs, sheeple.

But there's another possibility: you might be a twitterbot.

Evidence being: you never respond directly to posts directed at you; you use archaic words extracted from a dictionary (srsly, d00d, "canaille"?!? how absurdly pretentious, should you be human); your sentences are nearly always a complete FAIL, e.g.:

A short brief on why almost all of these charges never would made or if made have much significance in a Russian, Chinese, South American, Japanese presidential election would suffice.

From Heinlein's Job: "He appeared to be speaking English."

Do you REALLY think this is English?!?

It is "English as she is spoke" (reference available on request).

Your writing is English (ahem) spoke by an AI, with more emphasis on the 'A' than on the 'I'. (see previous reference)

Either you are ESL, and if you are an ESL, then very likely you are a Kremlin troll with an undergrad degree in English - your English is that fsckin' bad; else you are a bot.

Don't want to be thought a bot? Feel free to respond.

Srsly, d00d: you compare unfavorably to ELIZA if the metric is "colloquial English".

If you are human, and if you are not a Kremlin troll, then ...

... the gob, she is smacked.

Your English sux. I would be ashamed to write the incomprehensile sentences that you write. Never mind the content; nothing you write evinces either comprehension of English syntax or human intelligence. If you're human, jes' FYI: you write like a bot ... with all that implies.

Perhaps you're 13, and living in your parents' basement ... or could be that you are autistic or Auslanders (er, ah, I mean Aspergers), or ... sumpthin', heck, I have multiple challenged colleagues, albeit not as challenged as you seem to be ...

Feel free to tell us everything. We aren't psychologists, but lack of knowledge never stopped us from offering advice. As my Spousal Unit says, "Jim may not know anything about that topic, but he's sure to have an opinion."

You are clearly in need of psychiatric help. Or linguistic or syntactic help, at a minimum.

We are tanned, rested, and ready to help you sort through your linguistic challenges.

Otherwise please cease and desist. Your posts are not winning you points, if I might give you a clue. [proffers clue]

If you're a Russki grad in languages look up "fremdscham"...

... that's how we feel about your posts.

The word is Deutsch, if that's not obvious.

If you're a bot ...

... well ... never mind.

Jim Snyder said...

@KenWhite: To paraphrase 'enry 'iggins: Your English leaves me close to tears.

The alt-right crap, hey, I can ignore that sh*t. But your English?!?

Srsly, d00d, spring for a tutor. Or a better coder.

You're not foolin' anyone. The only question is whether you're a bot or a sub-standard graduate of a Russki academy.

Or a 13yo in your parents' basement.

Which is it?

Arjay said...

I am not clear on who it was that would've or could've headed Trump off. Just an opinion here, but the GOP has ceased to be a party of functioning, actual politicians. It is now a convocation of hired seat warmers whose purpose is to make sure taxes stay low on the rich. Their only quality that distinguishes them from, say, crash test dummies is a self-righteous fervor they claim has some relationship to Christianity. Plutocracy has made self-governance all but superfluous. Of course Trump's 16 opponents were dweebs -- what had they ever done? Actually wielding power requires some experience in governance. It's been a long time since the GOP actually presented a candidate that is capable of standing on his/her own. Their electoral success for a long time has relied on cranking on the base's amygdala and restricting Dem voters. Trump is a twisted clown but at least is driven, albeit by a need for attention and the opportunity to be surrounded by gropable women. The base was there for him to scoop up -- just another casino or beauty pageant for the taking (with junk bonds or foreign gelt or a good con). As a politically functioning entity, the GOP is rotten to the core. This really reminds me of the fall of the Soviet Union when the CPSU had reached sclerotic senility in its corruption. As they say, the best lack all conviction while the worst are full of passionate intensity -- or in this case, sociopathic narcissism.

Anonymous said...

Easy there Jim, I have a ten year old Autism/Asperger's Symptoms Disorder and his command of the language is far superior. (Yes, that's what they call it these days.)

I did some graduate work in AI, taught a little about it, have dabbled a bit in publishing "bots", and I don't think KennyBoy is the first to haunt these halls. If not though, I'd find it far the more likely a Mossad ESL troll with an undergrad degree in English. One no doubt paid better than you or I.

I'm still somewhat befuddled ore everyones' surprise, the logical outcome has been the readily apparent from the start. The only thing I can think of is there's some kind of Pavlovian conditioning that I overlooked. But then again, you all may well have been skillfully herded.

Caveat Emptor
Ten Bears

Jim Snyder said...

@RJ: mostly agree, but I suspect that at some level 'Publicans were looking for a winner. Politics is an experimental art... to indulge in a thought 'spearmint, had Marcus Rubius (an honorable man!) produced the 2005 Access Hollywood vid, and had Trump's numbers subsequently taken a nosedive, that would have demonstrated that Trump wouldn't be a winner in the general... and Trump wouldn't have been the nominee.

You seem to be looking for an obvious winner of the survival of the fittest contest... "the fittest". Please correct me if I'm wrong, but "survival of the fittest" is a subjective measure. It's not objective. Not in politics, anyway.

That's why vetting is so important.

Gary Hart, for example, might have been the most awesome politician evah, but he was knocked out by a single tactical strike.

Trump had beaucoup vulns. None of his primary opponents addressed any of those vulns.

It isn't a question of an obvious alternative, it's that had any of Trump's serious vulns been fingered, Trump wouldn't have been the nominee.

My two pesos.

Anonymous said...

Grandson. A ten year old Autism/Asperger's Symptoms Disorder Grandson.

Stupid smart phone.

Jim Snyder said...

@homeless/XBears: I apologize if my reference was inappropriate... not sure why, though ... perhaps 'splain? I mentioned Aspergers as a generic example of "social difficulties". Perhaps a(n unknowingly) cheap shot, but I wished to point out the disconnectedness of KenWhite's prose... a social, uh, suboptimality. KenWhite, whether [s]?he is a Kremlin troll or a bot or an asocial teen, writes ... hmm ... non-standard English. Almost unintelligible English. With a sprinkling of archaic words, which is a dead give-away of a dictionary/thesaurus lookup or an insecure teen or a non-native English speaker. Not yet sure which. I need more data, KenWhite: please continue to favor us with your crystal clear drops of pure essence! [/snark]

I like to think that KenWhite is a 22yo female bacc grad of a Russki academy who is desperately trying to satisfy bosses by exercising an inadequate knowledge of Murkin English lingo.

But Kremlin, Israeli, who knows? Russki seems more likely, if only because the Russkis have a YUUUGE presence in social media, and have invested heavily in psyops. I posted links roughly four SteveM posts back: wiki, NYT, and New Yorker.

AI ... Rob Pike did a credible USENET bot in the late 80s. If KenWhite is a bot, Rob Pike did a better bot 30 years ago. Jes' sayin'.

Re: "paid", "taught" ... sorry, I prefer not to get into bona fides. Big Data, and all that. (Hi, NSA!)

I do not understand your closing para (which starts with "I'm still somewhat befuddled".) I can guess, but guessing is a fool's game... and while "some say" I am a fool, I hope to hide my foolishness. :-)

Jim Snyder said...

@homeless: That's "goddam" smart phone, if I may be so bold ...

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