Monday, November 05, 2018


Most of you will regard this Maggie Haberman story as shameless suckuppery, but I think she's providing an accurate map of Republican voters' pleasure centers:
... Donald Trump Jr. ... has emerged as one of the G.O.P.’s most visible headliners in a challenging midterms climate for the party.

... Visits from President Trump have been a double-edged sword for Republican candidates in certain states, who want his backing but who fear blanket media coverage of his controversial statements.

A guest appearance by Donald Trump Jr. has become the next best thing for several candidates, some of whom he’s campaigned for repeatedly.... He is scheduled to headline six rallies in five states on Monday.

The G.O.P. base, with whom Mr. Trump was a family ambassador when his father campaigned in 2016, is almost as protective of Mr. Trump as they are of his father, seeing him as a looser version whom they can relate to, someone who does not carry himself like a celebrity.
Why? We think it's impossible to be more ignorant, conspiratorial, or polarizing than Donald Trump Sr., but Junior, in a less visible way, is Dad, only more so.
Mr. Trump [Jr.] has ... attacked news outlets with gusto and amplified conservative memes, including retweeting a conspiratorial thread about the murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. In recent days, he declared that Senator Angus King, independent from Maine, wants to “repopulate Maine with Syrian and Somalian refugees.” ...

David Axelrod, a former senior adviser to President Obama and an architect of Mr. Obama’s historic win in 2008, described the younger Mr. Trump as “hotheaded and even more unrestrained than his dad when it comes to mixing it up.”

“If Trump Sr. employs a dog whistle, Jr. favors a bullhorn, joyfully transmitting nutty conspiracy theories that even his dad might be hesitant to embrace,” Mr. Axelrod added.

... He focuses heavily on amplifying alternatives to established outlets that appeal to his father’s base of support, including some that traffic in misinformation, scrolling through his Twitter feed repeatedly to look at what is being said.
Junior seems to spend more time marinating in the fever swamps than his father, and more than any other Republican with a national profile. Junior doesn't just rely on a Fox News and a few dozen right-wing Twitter accounts, like Dad -- he goes out of his way to seek out extremely dubious information (and disinformation) sources. And while his father often seems to have fun goading his enemies, Junior doesn't seem to be enjoying himself -- he's in it for the grim triumphalism of (allegedly) owning the libs. He's boiled down the rage to its purest form.

Also, with his new ex-Fox News girlfriend, he must seem, to the deplorables, like a right-wing Kennedy, vigorous and in youthful trim.

You may laugh, but I'm not surprised that Haberman turns to the subject of Junior's possible future in electoral politics:
His fluency in the language of the Republican base, which comes more naturally to him than any other Trump family member besides the president, has prompted constant questions about whether he will run someday.

“People love to hear him. He’s good at his delivery,” said Representative Kevin McCarthy, Republican from California, “and he’s got the passion of what he’s fighting for, but he connects with the average person.”

... Jeff Roe, [a] Republican strategist and general consultant for a number of high-profile races this year ... said that Mr. Trump “has to find a place to live, and he has to find a place he’d enjoy, because he has to run for office.”
I wonder if that was a subtext when Ron DeSantis, Florida's Republican gubernatorial candidate, said at a rally last week that he'd like to persuade Junior and his brother Eric to relocate the Trump Organization to Palm Beach County. A state that could elect Rick Scott twice (and that might elect DeSantis) could absolutely embrace Donald Trump Jr. as a politician, despite Andrew Gillum's poll numbers.

As I've said here before, I think Junior absolutely has a political future if he wants one. I realize that you all believe Junior is going to prison. I don't. I don't believe Jared Kushner or anyone named Trump will go to prison as a result of Russiagate investigations. This is America -- we don't send the people in the C-suites to prison. The investigation (and possible future investigations by a Democratic House) might reveal serious wrongdoing by the Trump family, and might lead to an impeachment or (more likely) a weakened president going into 2020. But in America we only send mid-level people to prison -- think Abu Ghraib or Plamegate (not to mention the financial crisis, for which no one went to prison).

I think Junior might be more appealing to Republican voters if the evil Deep State sent him to the hoosegow, but I don't think it will happen.

The only question is whether he wants a political career.
Mr. Trump says he is asked questions about his own future “every day,” but if there’s a specific office he would be drawn to, he didn’t say. His supporters have mentioned possible runs for statewide office, almost certainly in red states where his father performed well.

“Right now, I’m focused on other things, but you never know. I love the intensity of campaigning,” he said. “I love aspects of the fight. I don’t know how much I would love aspects of the actual job yet.”
I don’t know how much he would love aspects of any actual job -- has he ever held one? What does he do for a living? What has he ever done? He might never run for office because he has no interest in work. That would be a lucky break for America.

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