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Old June 2nd, 2016, 09:46 AM   #1
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The Meaning of Mr. Trump

As is typical, Mead is a voice of reason...

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The Meaning of Mr. Trump

By Walter Russell Mead

The American Interest
Published on: May 23, 2016


What energizes the Trump phenomenon is the power of “NO!”: people who think the train is about to head off a cliff want to pull the emergency cord that stops the train even if they don’t know what happens next.

The punditocracy whipped itself up into a a hot frenzy over the weekend about Mr. Trump’s recent rise in the polls against Secretary Clinton, with the RCP average showing the presumptive Republican nominee with a statistically meaningless but eye-catching lead of 0.2 percent. But there is less here than meets the eye. Trump is benefitting from the normal phenomenon of GOP voters rallying around the standard bearer now that his nomination is all but certain. Clinton meanwhile is still mired in the contest with Sanders. Once the nomination fight is over, she should also get a bump.

We aren’t going to get into the horse race punditry here; the U.S. press burns through vast resources of energy and time over-reporting and over-analyzing every random twist in a grossly over-hyped presidential campaign season that now stretches out across two of every four years. The country would be much better off if both news writers and news readers paid less attention to the horse race and more attention to the events and trends that are reshaping the world—and that will have more impact on the next four years than the personality of the person elected to occupy the Oval Office.

As far as one can say anything sensible about the race at this point, it appears to look like this: Clinton is the putative favorite given Obama’s favorable job approval ratings, the state of the economy, and demographic trends that don’t seem to favor the Trump campaign. But there is a non-trivial chance that Trump’s non-conventional attacks can derail the Clinton campaign—much as the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth derailed the Kerry campaign in 2004.

Just as Kerry made his Vietnam service the cornerstone of his campaign (at a time when the shock of 9/11 still made Americans suspicious of candidates without very tough national security credentials), Secretary Clinton has made feminism the foundation of hers. The Swift Boat Veterans’ assault on Kerry’s war record was successful enough to undercut public confidence in the essential premise of his campaign. If Trump can make the charge that Clinton helped her husband vilify and marginalize the women who came forward to charge him with exploitative personal encounters, it’s just possible that her campaign could be holed below the waterline.

Team Clinton will have to think hard about how to respond. Trump looks like a vulnerable candidate—one with so many flaws that his candidacy must inevitably implode once he comes under serious scrutiny. But as he showed during the primary campaign, Trump isn’t subject to the normal rules. Between policy flip-flops, lack of knowledge and experience, business woes, ill-tempered outbursts, and scapegoating of minority groups who are likely to vote in November, he presents his opponents with an embarrassment of riches: there are so many attractive targets for negative ads that even Lee Atwater would be hard pressed to decide which to hit first.

But this apparent weakness and vulnerability conceals a strength: Trump is an unconventional candidate whose proposition to the electorate isn’t about particular policy stands, experience, credentials or even personal and political honesty. Trump is the purest expression of the politics of ‘NO!’ that I personally can recall. He’s the candidate for people who think the conventional wisdom of the American establishment is hopelessly out of touch with the real world. He’s the little boy saying that the emperor, or in this case, the aspiring empress, has no clothes. What energizes the Trump phenomenon is the very power of rejection: people who think the train is about to head off a cliff want to pull the emergency cord that stops the train even if they don’t know what happens next. To many of Trump supporters, Hillary Clinton looks like Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest: the enforcer of a fatally flawed status quo and the personification of bureaucratic power in a system gone rogue.

What makes Trump so appealing to so many voters is that the establishment does seem unusually clueless these days. The great American post-Cold War project of seeking peace and security through the construction of a New World Order based on liberal internationalism and American power doesn’t seem to be working very well, and it’s not hard to conclude that neither the neoconservatives nor the Obama-ites really know what they are doing. When it comes to the economy, it’s been clear since the financial crisis of 2008 that something is badly awry and that the economists, so dogmatic and opinionated and so bitterly divided into quarreling schools, aren’t sure how the system works anymore, and have no real ideas about how to make the world system work to the benefit of ordinary voters in the United States. With the PC crowd and the Obama administration hammering away at transgender bathroom rights as if this was the great moral cause of our time, and with campus Pure Thought advocates collapsing into self parody even as an epidemic of drug abuse and family breakdown relentlessly corrodes the foundations of American social cohesion, it’s hard to believe that the establishment has a solid grip on the moral principles and priorities a society like ours needs.

...


Continued here:

The Meaning of Mr. Trump - The American Interest
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Old June 2nd, 2016, 11:36 AM   #2
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Like I said some weeks ago. From the movie Brewster's Millions, Trump is the "NONE OF THE ABOVE" candidate.

And also to some degree the character Willie Stark from the book/movie "All The King's Men".
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Old June 2nd, 2016, 01:12 PM   #3
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what makes trump so appealing to so many voters is that the establishment does seem unusually clueless these days.


amen!
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Old June 2nd, 2016, 04:16 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by BubbaJones View Post
Like I said some weeks ago. From the movie Brewster's Millions, Trump is the "NONE OF THE ABOVE" candidate.

And also to some degree the character Willie Stark from the book/movie "All The King's Men".
I think your analysis is fairly accurate.

Although Trump, unlike Brewster it seems, appears to be serious about running for office while still trying to tap into a portion of the electorate that believes in, as Mead put it, "the power of 'NO'!"...all while not revealing very much detail about what he intends to do after that train screeches to a halt.
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Old June 2nd, 2016, 06:05 PM   #5
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Excellent analysis BD, thanks very much.
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Old June 2nd, 2016, 06:13 PM   #6
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Excellent analysis BD, thanks very much.
Well, the thanks should go to Mead, if you ask me.

He tends to be a low-toned voice of sanity amongst a shouting crowd of partisanship, if you ask me.
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Old June 2nd, 2016, 06:42 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by baloney_detector View Post
Well, the thanks should go to Mead, if you ask me.

He tends to be a low-toned voice of sanity amongst a shouting crowd of partisanship, if you ask me.
BD gives credit where credit is due and that makes him an honorable man.
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Old June 3rd, 2016, 04:43 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by baloney_detector View Post
Well, the thanks should go to Mead, if you ask me.

He tends to be a low-toned voice of sanity amongst a shouting crowd of partisanship, if you ask me.


Mead hits the target in many ways. So HOW did we get here? My best guess is the 2014 campaign and ultimate outcome and the fury by the Right due to all the promises made and all the promises broken. But there's another element that I don't understand--actually a couple of things: 1) Moderates and Independents. This country is teeming with moderates on both sides of the aisle. These voters are left with absolutely no choices in this election. Will they stay home or will they sell their souls, knowing the likely consequences? When I talk to my moderate GOP friends, they are leaning toward Trump because (as one said last week) "He (Trump) will probably choose GOOD people to advise him." In other words, we don't really need a wise president because everyone else will "spot" him?? That is frightening because I don't think Trump listens to anyone. He's definitely a one-man show.
2) Vote NO for politicians. See.......I don't get this and here's my logic. If I need heart surgery where do I go? To a heart surgeon. If I want to build a home, I go to an architect for a blueprint. If I want tax advice I go to a CPA. If I want to fly to Denver I want a licensed/trained pilot flying the plane. I think you get my point. So, if I want a president WHY wouldn't I want someone who a) well educated/post graduate degree b) has experience governing (lawmaker/gov) c) knows constitutional law d) experience with the military and/or foreign policy?
Any thoughts?
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Old June 3rd, 2016, 05:02 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by baloney_detector View Post
I think your analysis is fairly accurate.

Although Trump, unlike Brewster it seems, appears to be serious about running for office while still trying to tap into a portion of the electorate that believes in, as Mead put it, "the power of 'NO'!"...all while not revealing very much detail about what he intends to do after that train screeches to a halt.
There is a contingent on the right that has spent the last 7 1/2 years fomenting an almost unprecedented level of hatred for Obama. It's doesn't matter what's wrong in your life, from the price of gas to the fact your wife ran away and your dog died, its ALL Obama's faults !! They insist it isn't racism, but if he was white and his last name was Smith, they wouldn't be nearly as apoplectic about him as they are. He could cure cancer, end hunger and create world peace, and they'd still hate him for it. They'd complain that doctors, arms dealers and people working at children's charities were being put out of work.

So after years of complaining about Obama and "big government" they really have angered the electorate. It gave the republicans control of congress. But after nearly 2 years in control of congress, NOTHING HAS CHANGED. The budgets aren't balances, there hasn't been any serious attempt at immigration reform, they've voted to repeal Obamacare 50 times but haven't tried actually fix any of it's problems, and certainly haven't offered up an alternative.

So along comes Trump. He's an outsider, he certainly isn't afraid to say what ever pops into his head, even when he puts his foot in his mouth. His words have registered with a very angry electorate. Now the republicans really don't known what to do with him.

For years I've said if any candidate really spoke their minds, it almost wouldn't matter what their politics were. Seems I was right. Though oddly Bernie is pretty damned plain spoken himself. But he's not as bombastic and hyperbolic as Trump so he's not the media darling. He simply doesn't get the coverage. Trump is on Fox almost every single day. Trump trips over his own feet and gets half a days coverage. Bernie fills stadiums and convention centers to standing room only, and doesn't get a mention.

But yes, Trump is the anti-candidate. It's going to be interesting.
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Old June 3rd, 2016, 05:33 AM   #10
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Well, Trump is making so many many hate-filled enemies, there are bound to be a wackjob or two among them. So, instead of shooting up a campus or military base or church or shopping center, maybe he'll target Trump and remove the cancer from our midst for us.

I think maybe it's the first time I've ever WISHED for somebody to do something like that. But I do think he'll destroy the nation forever.
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