Taking President Trump seriously

I have a lot of friends on social media, and one of the consistent themes I have found is that almost nobody takes Donald Trump seriously. By this I mean that they have not really stopped to contemplate what a President Trump would mean. What would President Trump actually do? And how different would he be from the other Republicans candidates we have seen lately, including Mitt Romney?

Let me start this post with the following important disclaimer: I am NOT going to vote for Donald Trump for president. As a libertarian/conservative, I oppose a lot of what Trump stands for, and my conscience will not let me vote for another person who does not understand the basic principles of liberty.

But in the interests of being somewhat of a contrarian and perhaps even literally a devil’s advocate, I would like to propose that most people have not adequately thought through what Trump would be like as president. Most of our dear readers have certainly not considered that he is not that different from the other Republican candidates out there.

Let’s consider Trump vs. Mitt Romney. In favor of raising the minimum wage: both Trump and Romney. Repealing Obamacare: Trump and Romney. Against illegal immigration: Trump and Romney. Likely to do deals with Democrats to “get things done:” Trump and Romney. Want to get “tough on China:” Trump and Romney. Want common sense tax reform: Trump and Romney. Lower the corporate tax rate: Trump and Romney. I could go on, but my point is that when it comes to the actual issues Trump and Romney don’t disagree that much.

When it comes to demeanor and style and honesty, I think Trump and Romney are exact opposites, and I definitely prefer Romney’s demeanor and style to Trump’s.

So, the Mormon love for Romney and disdain for Trump has much more to do with style than policy substance.

I would be willing to bet that very few of our dear readers have actually visited the Trump for president web site and looked at his positions on the issues.

Friends, if you actually read what Trump says on his web site, his positions are not that different from Romney’s. Yes, he says Mexico will pay for the wall on the southern border, and Romney is serious enough not to make this ludicrous claim. But how many times did Mitt Romney say during his presidential campaigns that we need to “increase border security?” Mitt Romney was also in favor of building a wall. So, the difference between Romney and Trump on this issue is: Trump wants Mexico to pay.

On the other major issues listed on Trump’s web site, Romney and Trump mostly would agree on: 1)China policy 2)immigration reform 3)the VA 4)health care reform 5)tax reform 6)2nd amendment rights. Of the seven major issues listed on the Trump site, Romney and Trump would (mostly) agree on all of them.

Now before some of my dear readers break their computer keyboards, let me point out that Trump is deliberately vague about many of his policies and regularly contradicts himself. He is also dishonest and loose with the facts. You would be an idiot to believe that Trump will actually keep his word. In fact, it is very difficult to predict exactly what Trump will do as president. So, I will concede this point, and, by the way, this is one of the reasons I will not be voting for him.

I hate to break it to you, but most politicians are dishonest and loose with the facts. And you would be an idiot to believe that they will keep their words. When I look at the national politicians who represent me in Colorado, my primary thought is: they are liars mostly motivated to get campaign donations from lobbyists. So I can’t see that much space between Trump and Jeb Bush and Ted Cruz and most of the other people running for president. (Personal opinion: Mitt Romney was uniquely honest, which is one of the reasons I voted for him, but Mitt is not running for president in 2016).

But can you see that when it comes to actual policies promoted by the candidates there are more similarities than differences between Romney and Trump?

Let me point out another area of agreement that is not on Trump’s web site: Trump released his potential supreme court nominees, and conservative and libertarian types uniformly said it was an excellent list. A president Romney probably would have had a similar list. Again, Trump immediately walked back his list and kept open the possibility of appointing other people (see the whole deliberate vagueness and dishonesty paragraph above), but you must admit that when it comes to the federal courts Romney and Trump, on paper, agree more than they disagree.

Let me address foreign policy, which is an area with a lot of distance between Trump and Romney.

Romney mostly supported the establishment consensus that the United States should continue to be anxiously engaged in the Middle East and should see Russia as a threat. Romney supports NATO and the existing paradigm of the U.S. as the world’s dominant power. Trump questions all of this, and this is one of his greatest attributes in my opinion.

Trump asks five important questions about U.S. foreign policy. To summarize, they are: 1)Why must the US be the world’s policeman? 2)What is the purpose of NATO? 3)Why does the US pursue regime change? 4)Why does the U.S. treat Russia as an enemy? and 5)what is the purpose of our nuclear strategy? These are all good questions, and only Trump among major candidates is asking them.

My opinion is that the establishment is dangerously out of touch with how Americans feel about foreign policy. Trump proudly points out at his populist rallies that he opposed the Iraq war, and he always gets cheered by a mostly conservative audience. Americans are tired of paying for endless war without a clear end strategy, and Trump gets this.

This brings us to the greatest difference between Trump and Romney: Trump is a much, much better campaigner.

Before my friends destroy their computer keyboards yet again, I really encourage you to read Scott Adams’ blog. Scott Adams is the creator of Dilbert and a trained hypnotist. He has been arguing since August 2015 that Trump would win the Republican nomination and the presidency in a landslide. So far, Dilbert’s dad has been correct. Perhaps we should take seriously what he has to say?

Scott Adams’ argument is that people do not think as rationally as we think they do. (As an aside, the fact that Trump and Romney agree on most of the issues — but this reality is denied by otherwise intelligent Mormon intellectuals — is a clear sign to me Scott Adams is correct). Adams says that Trump is a master persuader in the way a hypnotist or a marketing genius is a master persuader. Just to use one example, think of how Trump came up with nicknames for his opponents that has completely defined them. Jeb Bush: “low energy.” Ted Cruz: “Lyin’ Ted.” Carly Fiorina: “Robotic.” Like it or not, these nicknames remain in our brains and begin to affect how we see these candidates.

I completely agree with Adams on this issue. Most of my friends seem to think Trump is an idiot. I think Trump is brilliant, at least when it comes to marketing. And this gives him a YUGE advantage over Hillary Clinton in the general election. Admit it, dear readers, even if you are not voting for Trump you are looking forward to him eviscerating Hillary during the debates.

I predict Trump will be the next president. And I predict he will do some good things (change our warmongering foreign policy, tax reform, protect the 2nd amendment, mostly good federal judicial appointments, repeal Obamacare) and some very bad things (raise the minimum wage, compromise too much with Congress, insult foreign leaders, unnecessarily provoke Mexico, spend too much money, not cut government enough). So it will be a mixed bag. Just like it would have been with any of the other candidates, including Mitt Romney.

This entry was posted in General by Geoff B.. Bookmark the permalink.

About Geoff B.

Geoff B graduated from Stanford University (class of 1985) and worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. He has held many callings in the Church, but his favorite calling is father and husband. Geoff is active in martial arts and loves hiking and skiing. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

60 thoughts on “Taking President Trump seriously

  1. The difference between Trump and other candidates is that there is no public service track record against which to judge his campaign rhetoric. His website, as you note, sets forth policies that are similar to other recent republican presidential candidates. But, his campaign has been reported as telling GOP insiders that much of his public persona is a big act and doesn’t necessarily reflect how he would govern. If this is true, why do we think that his website is more reliable?

    If he is elected, no one will be more pleased than me if he turns out to actually take those policies (well, most of those policies. He is completely dangerous, a menace to the world really, on the foreign trade position alone.) into his administration and take a stand. However, I’m not holding my breath. He strikes me as a fascist (used descriptively, not pejoratively) and someone that I don’t trust anywhere near the Bill of Rights. I hope that I’m wrong. I don’t think I am.

    Frankly, I’m at a loss to decide whether the Donald or Clinton would be worse.

  2. I am NeverTrumpNeverHillary. I have been a lifelong Republican, but my party has changed enough that their principles no longer align with mine. This cycle I will not change my registration, but I will vote Libertarian. I am not sure where my new political home will be; perhaps Libertarian, perhaps Constitution Party.

    I have little patience with the Trumpsters that insist I “must” vote for Trump to prevent a President Clinton, or to “save” the Supreme Court. I will not vote for either, but I would worry less about Clinton starting a nuclear war with China or North Korea. Trump is a bully. Historically, when bullies are placed in positions of power, they become dictators. For me, the cure is worse than the disease, but I cannot bring myself to vote for a woman that I feel has blood on her hands, either.

    We have needed more than 2 parties in this country for some time. Since I cannot vote for either Clinton or Trump, I will use my vote to try to elevate the Libertarian Party to over 15% participation, so their candidates can get on the stage for presidential debates, etc. I think having more than just 2 parties would help lessen the deadlock in Congress, where both sides seem to dig in & wait for the next cycle.

  3. The problem is the facts laid out in this article completely miss the point. It is not the areas in where the two (Romney and Trump) are similar that are important, it is the areas in which they are dissimilar that matter.

    For example, calling for a ban on Muslim immigration, even temporarily is unacceptable. Inciting, or at the last approving of, violence at political events is unacceptable. Even if I agreed with him on nearly everything else, these types of actions are deal breakers.

  4. “For example, calling for a ban on Muslim immigration, even temporarily is unacceptable. Inciting, or at the last approving of, violence at political events is unacceptable. Even if I agreed with him on nearly everything else, these types of actions are deal breakers.”

    Scott, good points.

  5. I think the problem comparing Romney’s policy to Trump policies are that Trump policies can change daily. Sure, Romney had a reputation of flipping on issues (abortion, gun control) but those happened over a long period of time and in the middle of the 2012 campaign.

    By contrast, Trump comes out with a tax plan that cuts taxes for the rich. But then in interviews he says taxes on the rich will go up when he is president. Or look at his positions on abortion that changed back and forth drastically during the past few months.

    So if you’re conservative, sure, you can cherry-pick from Trump’s many positions (they are all over the map) – but you are deluding yourself if you think he is committed to only the conservative positions he throws out there.

    And yes, I’d agree he’s a great marketer, but it has limits. He was able to market himself to the small segment of the population that votes in GOP primaries. Will the same stunts work with an electorate that is much younger and racially diverse, and growing more so by the day? What % of the Latino vote do you think he can win in November?

  6. “And yes, I’d agree he’s a great marketer, but it has limits. He was able to market himself to the small segment of the population that votes in GOP primaries. Will the same stunts work with an electorate that is much younger and racially diverse, and growing more so by the day? What % of the Latino vote do you think he can win in November?”

    You’d be surprised. Peggy Noonan did some interviewing of Latinos specifically about Trump. What she heard really surprised her. The summary: Latinos that are here legally like Trump, illegals don’t. The Latinos that like him tend to be legal with established businesses. In other words, they’ve paid the price to be successful in America and they don’t like free riders.

    If you did into the numbers, Trump is garnering more votes than Hillary and Romney did back in 2008 and 2012. Trump is tapping into widespread frustration among the electorate.

    An obligatory disclaimer: I’m not a Trump supporter. However, a lot of the criticism of Trump ceased being rational a long time ago and has veered into histrionic posturing. My position on the matter is rather simple. Trump is bad, but Hillary is evil. There is a profound difference between the two, and no amount of fantasy about third parties is going to change the stark reality that, barring death, jail, or discovering Trump with the dead body of a 17 year old girl, either Trump or Hillary will be taking the oath of office come January 2017. If it’s Hillary, then America is utterly gone, since she’s the most corrupt person in American politics since Aaron Burr. Not to mention, an unofficial criminal.

    Look, I get it. Trump is bad. I am not arguing that point. But “bad” doesn’t even come close to “evil”. Hillary is evil. Therefore, I will do what I have to do to ensure that Hillary isn’t elected. I would advise everyone else to do the same, or, I promise you, as someone that has observed the Clintons closely since 1992, we will supremely regret it.

  7. “Latinos that are here legally like Trump, illegals don’t.”

    The sum of your evidence for this is one conservative journalist’s interviews of a few people. Imagine I told you George Stephanopoulos interviewed a few members of X demographic, and a surprising amount supported Hillary. Would that change how you think about X demographic in the 2016 election?

    Polls show Trump has around a net negative -29 among Republican Latino voters. I’ll take data-driven evidence over anecdotal evidence in this arena. Would you want to wager with me over which candidate wins the higher % of Latino votes in 2016? I’d gladly put my money against your assertion that most Latino citizens support Trump.

    Bush aggressively courted the Latino vote in 2000 and 2004, and it (barely) worked for him both times. Romney did gave up on the Latino vote to pander to hardcore GOP primary voters, and he lost the general election. So I’m skeptical a GOP nominee can alienate this fast growing voting bloc and still win the general election. Especially since Cuban-Americans in FL are increasingly voting Democrat, and the state has 1 million Puerto Rican voters who aren’t thrilled with how the GOP is treating Puerto Rico’s bankruptcy issues.

  8. I will never vote for Trump. End of line.

    However, there are different ways of “taking him seriously” and too many people conflate them all.

    On policy and issues, I don’t take him seriously, because I don’t believe he believes or will do most (or all) of what he says.

    However, as a viable candidate, I do take him seriously. He just might win, and too many people refuse to take him seriously on this count. This scares me, because he just might win, and part of the reason he might win is because so few people took his chances of winning seriously.

  9. For my part, I don’t complain about Trump’s “policies”. The reason I think you can’t draw some kind of sensible equivalence between Romney and Trump is that one has genius or near-genius level intelligence and the other isn’t mentally fit for office. I’m sure there are lots of people of average intelligence in the US with similar policy preferences to Mitt Romney. But I don’t want any of them to be president. (*Especially* if they are serial adulterers, have been through multiple bankruptcies, cheat at golf, have zero grasp of economics, become obsessed with female news anchors, have the emotional maturity of a teenager, etc.)

    We may as well write a blog about how Judge Judy agrees with Antonin Scalia on the issues and would therefore be as good a justice as Scalia on the Supreme Court. But there’s more to consider than ideology! Judge Judy would actually make more sense than Trump, by the way, because she at least speaks above a third grade reading level and is qualified for the position in the traditional sense. But leagues better than Trump though she is, I still wouldn’t take her seriously as a SCOTUS pick.

    The bit about Trump being brilliant at marketing–he’s not. No one brilliant at marketing would start all the frivolous product lines he has. He has good instincts for getting attention, and has apparently learned the art of being persuasive (to some people) in a content-free way, but no one should be surprised at his political success. The public will jump at the opportunity to vote for someone similar to them. It’s just that people of mediocre or worse intelligence and competence, like Trump, rarely get this far. His success does *not* imply his competence, just like it didn’t imply Hugo Chavez’.

    As far as him “eviscerating” Hillary in the debates–he has literally never performed well in a debate, if we’re judging by any of the traditional criteria. When the conversation goes deeper than the headlines, he’s lost. Getting more cheers than and slinging more verbal poop at the other candidate–yeah, he’s got that locked up. Puffing out his chest more and appearing more self-assured, sure. And so lots of people will see him as the winner. But come on, we can’t fall for that.

  10. Tom S, cmon admit it, the real reason you don’t like Trump is that so many bad people will move to Canada if he is elected.

    I am already detecting lots of broken keyboards out there.

  11. “you would be an idiot to believe that they will keep their words”

    I might suggest that one would be “an idiot” to believe any US President is in a position to be able to keep their campaign promises. A US President is more powerful than any other player on the political chess board, but that means they are significantly less powerful than most pieces in the actual game of chess.

  12. I did vote for Mitt Romney — despite the flaws. I won’t be voting for Trump for some of the reasons you listed. However, I am still at peace with my vote for Mitt, because in the end, I felt like he would have treated the office of President with the dignity it deserves, and would have been willing to listen and work with people, and would have done the right thing in the end on most things. I don’t feel that way about Trump. I’m sure that’s not in any way good reasoning, but it makes sense in my head.

  13. Excellent point, Meg. Very few politicians keep their word, but most are nearly as open about their flexibility on their promises as the Donald.

    It bothers me tremendously that within the last 3 days he has pretty much renamed the GOP the “Worker’s Party”, and that within the last 24 hours, he has voiced that you have to be rich to be great. What?

    It’s not that I don’t take him seriously; I just can’t vote for him. I can’t do that to my kids & my grandkids.

  14. Ah, the decision we have before us… Hillary “the Machiavellian” Clinton for the liberals or Donald “Benito Mussolini” Trump for the business conservatives. But we all know that ideology in the absence of character is meaningless.

  15. I have to concede that the Jehovah’s witnesses have it right on this one. Christians can be more effective if they stay out of gadianton areas. Anyone that thinks you can legislate people into morality are the same ones that think God owes them the celestial kingdom if they simply get married in the temple.

  16. “I’d gladly put my money against your assertion that most Latino citizens support Trump.”

    Except that I never made this assertion. I didn’t say that “most Latino citizens support” him. I merely showcased the fact that Latinos, just like blacks, aren’t 100% monolithic voters. Some actually have independent thoughts on politics that isn’t tied to melanin.

    Trump’s numbers indicate that far more people support him that admit to it. It makes me recall the famous quote by Pauline Kael about how she was shocked that Nixon won 48 states in 1972. “But I don’t know anybody that voted for him!”

    We *may* see a similar thing this year. Not 48 states, but Trump is going to give Hillary a very very tough time, even in blue states where the Democratic Party has marginalized white males over the last few decades.

  17. I will make several predictions publicly and admit I am wrong if it doesn’t happen.

    *Trump will get more Latino support than Mitt Romney, who got 27 percent in 2008.


    *Trump will get more black support than Romney, who got only 5 percent of black votes. This poll shows Trump with 12 percent of the vote, which I think is closer to where he will poll: https://www.qu.edu/news-and-events/quinnipiac-university-poll/national/release-detail?ReleaseID=2324

    *Trump will get more Muslim support than you think. This poll shows a lot of Muslims support him: http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2016/03/03/shock-poll-donald-trump-earns-more-muslim-support-than-rest-of-gop-field-combined/

    I will also predict that Trump will win Utah, Idaho, Arizona and Wyoming, all states with high Mormon populations.

    Look folks, Trump is a celebrity, and a lot of people like him, even if most Mormon intellectuals do not. Most people like the way he speaks, even if it is like nails on a chalkboard to me and many other people who read this blog. I think a LOT of people are going to be surprised in November. Don’t say I didn’t tell you so.

    Reminder: I am NOT voting for Trump.

  18. I agree that Trump will win in Nnov. That said, my biggest concern on him is he is ambivalent at best in regards to the Constitution. Cruz spoke on jobs, freedom and security. Trump never speaks on freedom, only jobs and security. He makes deals wirgh few concrete principles, so freedoms are just bargaining chips. That is why he can flip flop on SCOTUS appointees, guns, abortion, 1st, 2nd, 4th, & 5th Amendments.

    I never had to worry about Mitt being Big Brother, or Emperor Napoleon. With the Trump worship having crowds pledging oaths and promoting violence, we could be seeing the rise of the next nationalist dictator and the end of the Republic and Constitution.

    I hope I am wrong, but it seems history again repeats.

  19. I still see Trump as Alec Baldwin in Glengary Glenn Ross. “Coffee’s for closers.” He’ll say anything to get what he wants, in the moment; nothing is set in stone, and he’ll turn on a dime. You’re a Loser (“sad, really”) until you cave, then all’s forgiven and you’re back on his Good side. Everything’s a negotiation.

    The only thing he’s been consistent about is the wall he’s going to get Mexico to build, and that’s probably what clinched him the nomination. No other candidate came close to his position on immigration; he won the no-amnesty crowd by default.

    Temperamentally, he’s Joe Biden. (Compare Trump’s debate performances to Joe Biden’s against Paul Ryan. Almost no substance to brag about, but his side ate up his unseemly, naked disdain for his opponent.) It’s a sad reflection on our political climate that this shtick is being so handsomely rewarded (on both sides) but if you’re going to go for the flaming clown car, go with the pros.

    I’ll never vote for Hillary. I’ll never vote for Trump in 2016 (I’m in California so it doesn’t matter who I vote for, HRC is going to win here), but if he somehow wins and doesn’t burn us all to the ground he’ll have a chance in 2020. I hope he picks a decent VP, and doesn’t opt for fan favorite Gary Busey.

  20. @MichaelTowns

    You wrote “The summary: Latinos that are here legally like Trump, illegals don’t.”

    I took that statement to mean a majority of Latinos like Trump, because you were pointing out how surprised I would be by how many Latinos like Trump without showing any data – just anecdotes. I asked if you would be persuaded by such anecdotal evidence if the situation was reversed and you chose to avoid that question.

    Since you don’t qualify your statement, it’s easy to refute. The majority of Latinos do not like Trump, as evidenced in all polls on the topic. Now, if you want to refine your statement to say “15% of Latinos like Trump” – it’d be closer to reflecting the evidence.

    Many people here seem oddly certain Trump will win. If they are so sure, I’d be happy to be bet them if they want to give me 3-1 odds.

    My point in all of this is, unless he improves his appeal to Latino voters, a fast growing share of the electorate, he will have a more difficult time winning in November.

  21. Personally I think Trump is a nut job who will say whatever will get him the most attention. He also seems to think that the President is actually Dictator. I will not be voting for him. I think he is doing so well because people find him entertaining like bad reality tv. He is good at grabbing attention and being obnoxious.

    I hate Hillary and do think that she is evil, but I am not sure if she would do more damage than Trump would. I don’t think she would instigate any new wars though. Conversely, I don’t think she really cares what happens to us so long as she gets what she wants. Honestly, I am still hoping she gets sent to prison, though that seems more unlikely every day.

    I will probably be voting Libertarian or Constitutional. I think both Trump and Clinton would be horrible. I dread either one of them in office.

  22. Stuart, I was relating interviews that Peggy Noonan had with a bunch of Latinos. Feel free to dismiss her summary as well as mine. I really don’t care.

  23. The video Geoff posted explores how Trump has been playing the game of beating everyone, garnering $2B or more in free advertising for himself by virtue of his outrageous statements, using pithy labels (e.g., Lyin’ Ted) to topple his challengers one by one, and declaring himself victorious. Even Hillary’s advertising gives Trump free press (aka, Love trumps Hate).

    The other thing the video points out is that Hillary is going for the “I’m an outsider” card and the “Let’s make history and elect the first woman president” card. But there is no way she can be more of an outsider than Trump. And by over-emphasizing the woman bit, she both alienates men and sets herself up for Trump to attack. Her jabs at Trump are too cerebral to constitute pithy alliterative slogans the masses might pick up and fling back in the face of the opposing candidate (as we saw happen with Ted Cruz).

    When it comes to experience, Hillary has extensive government experience. But that experience includes Benghazi and classified information on private e-mail servers. So while her credentials are impressive, they include a lot of the nasty stuff such high-level jobs tend to breed for even the best of folks.

    Trump’s experience is in reality TV. While that initially seems ludicrous, it means that he has years of experience in playing the American audience. When it comes to getting an audience where he wants, he is a master. This is a skill no other politician on the stump in 2016 can claim to match.

    It is unlikely that any third-party candidate will be able to win at this point. For those of us living in swing states (such as myself), it comes down to deciding whether Trump or Hillary earns the vote. Because even a “vote” of not voting (or the closely-related “vote” for a third party candidate) is effectively a vote against the candidate of the party that would normally get your vote.

    For what it’s worth, most Mormons are a tiny minority and don’t live in swing states, it doesn’t much matter what the Mormon vote would be in 2016. Or at least, I haven’t seen someone make a case for why the Mormon vote matters that overturns my current thoughts on the matter.

  24. Meg, thanks for watching the video and taking it seriously. Look, I thought Mitt Romney would win in 2012 for sure even though I was not a big supporter of his. And I was wrong. I could easily be wrong about Trump. I am rooting against both Hillary and Trump, but obviously one of them is almost certain to win.

    As for the bet mentioned by Stuart, I don’t believe in betting, but I will happily admit I was wrong if Trump loses. But I don’t think I will be wrong. Trump will be the next president, like it or not (and I don’t like it).

  25. “I hate Hillary and do think that she is evil, but I am not sure if she would do more damage than Trump would. I don’t think she would instigate any new wars though. ”

    akj, I have to disagree with you there. Hillary is easily the biggest war hawk to run for president since John McCain. She voted for the Iraq war, and was the architect of the disaster in Libya. She was the one who convinced Obama to get involved in Libya. She also wants war in Syria and fully supports the bombing and drone attacks in Yemen, Pakistan and elsewhere. There are reasons to support Hillary, but it is simply wrong to believe she wouldn’t start any new wars. She is the candidate MOST LIKELY to start new wars. Even the NY Times points this out: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/24/magazine/how-hillary-clinton-became-a-hawk.html?_r=0

  26. Geoff, I just watched the video. They did a great analysis and it explains much of the Trump phenomenon as well as what’s wrong with Hillary’s campaign. Turns out she’s an even worse campaigner than Mitt Romney. Thank goodness.

    At any rate, I don’t support Trump, but Geoff is dead right about Hillary’s propensity to start wars. The entire Libya intervention was unconstitutional as well, since the Obama administration never asked for authority from Congress to launch that war. Hillary was dead in the center of all of that, including the disturbing consequences of Benghazi.

    Plus, I really detest the idea that her current campaign can be distilled down to one thing: vote for me, because vagina.

  27. For me, the problem with the “but, Hillary is EVIL” thing is that to all appearances, it is Trump who aggressively hurts people just for kicks and giggles. That’s the essence of his reality TV career, and it’s the essence of his campaigning so far. If he doesn’t yet have a body count, it’s only because he has not yet held a position where he can fully and legally indulge his predilection for pain. It’s a different kind of evil than Hillary, who simply doesn’t care whether people get hurt or not so long as she gets what she wants–what Trump actually wants, is the suffering of those he believes “deserve it”. It’s the difference between narcissism and sadism.

    Also – I’m not sure whether anyone has really considered the scope of this, but Trumo has utterly eviscerated the conservative movement. Think about it, folks–is there any conservative institution, politician, publication, pundit or blog that enjoys more influence or respect today–whether across the political spectrum, or just on the right–than it did a year ago?

  28. I don’t have a WSJ subscription but your summary appears to get Noonan’s piece wrong. She didn’t interview Latinos as you claimed, it appears she just asked her Dominican friend who shared what he had heard. So she interviewed one person.


    There’s also no evidence to support that Latino citizens like Trump more than undocumented Latinos, as you say is found in Noonan’s piece.

    On both these points I’m open to be proven wrong, so please share any contrary evidence if you have it.

    Again, I think your piece of evidence is incredibly underwhelming and unsubstantiated. If you think that’s unfair, I asked you to describe how you’d feel if I gave similar evidence from a Clinton-staffer turned journalist. I’m curious if you think such evidence would be persuasive to you, as you seem to think Noonan’s anecdotes should be persuasive to others.

  29. Stuart, you seem to want to beat this drum incessantly. Let me fill you in something: I really don’t care that you think my “evidence” is “underwhelming”.

    Here is what the HuffPo quoted from the WSJ:

    “Something is going on, some tectonic plates are moving in interesting ways. My friend Cesar works the deli counter at my neighborhood grocery store. He is Dominican, an immigrant, early 50s, and listens most mornings to a local Hispanic radio station, La Mega, on 97.9 FM. Their morning show is the popular “El Vacilón de la Mañana,” and after the first GOP debate, Cesar told me, they opened the lines to call-ins, asking listeners (mostly Puerto Rican, Dominican, Mexican) for their impressions. More than half called in to say they were for Mr. Trump. Their praise, Cesar told me a few weeks ago, dumbfounded the hosts. I later spoke to one of them, who identified himself as D.J. New Era. He backed Cesar’s story. “We were very surprised,” at the Trump support, he said. Why? “It’s a Latin-based market!””

    From this, it’s obviously easy to *infer* that some Latinos like Trump. That is *all* I’ve said from the beginning. Got it? That’s it. I wasn’t turning in a thesis or writing a dissertation.

    What more do you want from me? An apology tour? Shall I rend my garments and dine on ashes? What do you want, Stuart?

  30. “From this, it’s obviously easy to *infer* that some Latinos like Trump. That is *all* I’ve said from the beginning. Got it?”

    Did you think that I (or anyone else) was asserting that not a single one of the millions of Latinos in this country like Donald Trump? It seems like you did because you prefaced your statement with “you’d be surprised.”

    You were responding to my question “What % of the Latino vote do you think Trump will get in November?” – you said that I would be surprised and I thought you were implying a larger number than all the polls are suggesting. But it turns out, you’re just saying more than zero like Trump. If I had understood that, I wouldn’t have disagreed at all, I would have just said “Having more than non-zero support does not, in fact, surprise”.

    You asked what I want – I want to engage in a civil, logical discussion related to the post above with anyone interesting in pursuing a similar type of discussion. No need for you to apologize or even continue responding to me if you’d rather not.

  31. If you’re sincerely interested in “civil, logical” discussion, then I exhort you to read the links and watch the video posted by Geoff, up above. You might learn something about why Trump has defied expectations, why he continues to defy expectations, and why he is *most likely* going to take Hillary behind the woodshed this November.

    After you’ve considered Geoff’s material, you may come back and engage in civil discourse, because then you’ll have been armed with some political analysis that goes beyond Huffington Post and the New York Times. Until then, I’m done with you, because you strike me as overly pedantic, and I don’t have time to deal with folks like that. Respectfully.

  32. I already chased down one of your pieces of “evidence” and reviewed it (I only went to HuffPo to avoid a paywall, not because I love HuffPo). I challenged your evidence, and now your pushing the goal posts to say I have to watch a 15 minute Youtube video before you can discuss the issues with me. If I watch that video and push back, maybe you’ll have a 45 minute documentary you’ll say I need to watch before I can question Geoff’s video.

    I’ve read and watched plenty about how Trump has defied expectations – I’m not doubting he has a very good chance to win the presidency.

    But Geoff’s video starts off with an unqualified assertion that Trump will win the presidency – as in there is no doubt about it. If I was interested in that level of certainty in things one cannot be certain about, I’d go to church on Sundays.

    Do you believe in markets? If so, why do you think PredictIt.org (where people put their money where their mouth is) show the betting markets favor the Democrats in winning the White House in 2016? Do you know of any other betting market where Trump is favored?

    Geoff’s video claims 100% certainty Trump will win. You are saying there’s a greater than 50% chance. You can make good money in the betting markets if you’re so certain about this, since most people putting real money on this disagree with you.

  33. Also, where did I mention NY Times? Or was that meant as a baseless insult? If that’s the kind of conservation you want, I think I’ll try to engage with others.

    By the way, I’m here on a conservative blog by my own volition. I could stay in a liberal echo chamber, but I’d rather not. I’m listening to the arguments the author (and you) are making. I’m open to evidence, but that doesn’t mean I am going to blindly accept it at face value. And I’ll gladly share things I do not like about Obama, Clinton, and Bernie’s policies and backgrounds, or complain about the Democratic party. I’m not interested in dogma or blindly following someone, I’m interested in the issues. If you think I’m not, you’re free to not continue this conversation.

  34. Stuart, dude, you made your point. Trolls are the people who keep on making the same point over and over again. Unless you have anything new to say, please don’t comment again. Thanks.

  35. “For what it’s worth, most Mormons are a tiny minority and don’t live in swing states, it doesn’t much matter what the Mormon vote would be in 2016. Or at least, I haven’t seen someone make a case for why the Mormon vote matters that overturns my current thoughts on the matter.”

    Assume that Mormons really don’t like Trump to the point that most stay home or vote third party. Now, lets assume that takes a lot of Mormon votes off the table, and those who vote Hillary are more consistent. Place that with the fact that U.S. Presidential elections depend on the electoral college where states are more important than popular vote. At this point something should click in your head why Mormon votes are important. In case that isn’t clear, there are at least four or five Western states where Mormon votes do matter, two of them a lot. From all indications, and the outcome is far from certain, Trump has turned those two states undecided purple and endangered the others where at least one is already purple. Lets assume that even one of the traditionally “red” states turns blue. Unless there is a significant “blue” state turning “red” because of Trump to even things out, it doesn’t matter if he wins Texas or Florida. The Mormon vote or no vote, following traditional delegate maps, will have decided the winner. Mormons have not always been reliable Republicans, and this year they are very much against both candidates. That is a recipe for taking them seriously.

  36. JimD, that’s what I was trying to get at when I said that Clinton probably wouldn’t instigate new wars. Not that she hasn’t been for whatever conflict, but that she wouldn’t make other countries think, “we better take them out before they do something horrible to us unexpectedly.” I don’t know that other countries’ political leaders pay any attention to our primaries, but Trump sees determined to piss everyone else off.

  37. What countries would think “we better take them out” if Trump is President that hasn’t already thought of doing that? Russia perhaps, but Obama has already caused Putin to sound the war drums. All other European nations are so peace-nick that I can’t imagine them doing much more than saying mean things. North Korea and Middle East countries will continue doing what they have always done: moan about Western civilization and saber rattle with terrorists doing most of the heavy lifting. China might be the only real new threat, but they have been a risk for some time. Trump might reveal the mask sooner than later more than change an already existing substrata of political feelings.

  38. Trump is going to get so many demcratic votes, it won’t matter if half of the republicans who would otherwise vote stay home on election day. He’s got near all the independents, all the Reagan democrats, most all the blue collar male dems, he’s got 30 to 50 % of black voters.

    I think people, especially dems, lie to pollsters. As Scott Adams points out, people don’t vote with their rational brain. They vote on emotion. Hillary is an emotional turn off. Trump is an expert puppet master, a machiavellian, a master persuader, the king of the deal.

    If Trump doesn’t win in a _landslide_ of both popular votes and electoral votes, it will only be because of massive democrat voter fraud.

    He’s been playing to the general election ever since it was down to him vs Cruz and Rubio.

    Trump has not destroyed the conservative movement, he’s destroyed the republican party. And as Scott Adams said “That’s one party down, one to go.”

  39. Hi jettboy,

    Could you be a bit more specific, indicating which states you think are purple instead of solid republican?

    Back in 2000 my husband created a game based on the electoral college. Some states just don’t have enough electoral votes to make a big difference.

    There’s a nice interactive map here:


    I’d be more than happy to be shown why the Mormon vote matters in 2016.

  40. The purple states are Colorado and Nevada. If you add them as “blue” and then tip Idaho, Utah, and Wyoming as “blue” along with them, then Ohio and Florida can turn “red” and the Democrats would still win. That is assuming that there will not be any “blue” states that turn “red” to even them out.

  41. While I’m loath to make any predictions, I do think part of Trump’s success in the primaries owes as much as anything to stupidity by the other candidates – most of whom didn’t take him seriously until it was too late. I also think a lot of it is due to unrealistic expectations of what politicians can do built up by short term thinking by candidates not to mention talk radio. As well as dismal communicators in charge of the Senate and House who couldn’t explain what they were doing or blocking. So to my mind, Trump’s success is as much a factor of the GOP’s relative collapse in terms of strategy and communications as anything. Throw in never grappling in all these years with the loses of ’06, ’08 or ’12 and it made it that much worse. (Seriously, the wins in ’10 were more a reaction to Obama than something positive about the GOP, but the GOP took it as an excuse not to look inward)

    It’s a discouraging time for us conservatives. I don’t think Trump can win but fear what he’ll do the party even if he loses. However Hilary is so unpopular that this will be an election of many people deciding who is worse.

  42. To add, this will definitely be an election about turnout. We have to expect HRC will do well with blacks. I can’t see her necessarily matching the numbers BHO got though. However Latino voters, as others mentioned, will be a big issue. Especially in terms of turnout. On the GOP side there will be a lot of people for Trump, but weakly so. I’d be shocked if Trump gets turnout numbers equal to Romney. Especially with how he’s alienating women. That said, Trump is continuing to control the news cycle and it’s embarrassing how Democrats are reacting to Trump. (Seriously, “Dangerous Donald”?)

  43. Trump is a salesman that is used to steamrolling over vendors, customers, people in the boardroom, etc. He grabs various data points and spits them out as facts to illustrate a point without any regard to the underlying reality.

    If you’ve been involved in sales and marketing, you know that Donald is the worst kind of salesman; but the one who gets results and tarnishes the business in the first place.

  44. C: “If you’ve been involved in sales and marketing, you know that Donald is the worst kind of salesman; but the one who gets results and tarnishes the business in the first place.”


    I have no idea what he’s going to do after he gets elected, but i fully believe he will be elected, with an overwhelming majority, if not a landslide.

  45. For those who think he’ll get elected consider this electoral map with the assumption Trump improves his polls by 5% in each state (rather than the more likely outcome he drops). I’m not saying he can’t win. The scary thing is how possible it is. But let’s be honest – it’ll be an uphill battle especially if he keeps alienating people with comments. Were the racial makeup of the electorate the same as in the 70’s he’d win. But it’s simply not and he’s pushing away the people he needs to win.

    My fears at this point are much more about what will be left of the party. If you’re a conservative this year can’t help but make you depressed. (Although a lot of the problems go back to Bush and the GOP never really coming to grips with what he left them starting in the ’06 election debacle)

  46. Clark, the republican party has been betraying conservatives for years. I think rank and file conservatives are mostly happy with the destruction of the republican party. I hope it can be either rebuilt with new leadership, or replaced.

    Instead of looking at a snapshot of polls, it would be benefiial to look at Trump’s trajectory. I think he’s going to do to Hillary/Sanders/Biden what he did to the other republican contenders.

    Trump’s powers of persuasion seem to work in spite of whatever the media says about him. He seems to have weapons-grade rhetoric. It’s like he’s a hypnotist. And that’s what Tony Robbins and Scott Adams says he is, a master hypnotist, uisng words to manipulate that segment of the population who are susceptible to verbal manipulation.

    But that is also what Bill Clinton and Barack Obama did, too. Bill had a natural “aw, shucks” method of persuasion, and Obama had a telepompter feeding him a professionally written script. Trump is his own script writer, and he makes it look like he’s coming up with it on the fly. but Adams points out that Trump pre-plans and does sophisticated A/B testing of lines at various rallies.

    I don’t think Trump is a conservative. We’re going to have to watch who he picks as his advisors and his administration team to see which way he is going to lean politically.

    Maybe he is something like “The Mule” from Asimov’s Foundation trilogy, someone with mental powers who throws a monkey wrench in the plans of those who control things behind the scenes.

  47. I’m only half white, I don’t look white, and I’m not male, and I’ve always been very aware of the ‘victim’-class privilege these facts have given me, especially during my childhood in the DC area, but also in Utah Valley.

    Among Mormons, and among upper- and solidly middle-class conservatives generally, ‘victim’-class politics has not reached the spectacular levels it has elsewhere, where being a white male is like a hate-crime (unless you are gay or trans). Indeed, all the most powerful men in the church are white (hetero) men. White men not losing their jobs just for being white is one of the reasons Mormons and other solidly middle-class conservative communities don’t understand Trump supporters (who I actually think are the real story and truly worth being taken seriously).

    ‘Victim’-class politics has co-opted the human tendency to desire absolution of guilt and so it defies rational analysis.
    For more: http://www.firstthings.com/article/2011/05/the-moral-economy-of-guilt

    Which is why investigating Trump on policy might be missing a big piece of the puzzle.

  48. From the above mentioned article,

    “Notwithstanding all claims about our living in a post-Christian world devoid of censorious public morality, we in fact live in a world that carries around an enormous and growing burden of guilt, and yearns to be free of it. … And that burden is ever looking for an opportunity to discharge itself. Indeed, it is impossible to exaggerate how many of the deeds of individual men and women can be traced back to the powerful and inextinguishable need of human beings to feel morally justified”

    Enter Trump and his push-back against politically-correct moralizers.

  49. “Maybe he is something like “The Mule” from Asimov’s Foundation trilogy, someone with mental powers who throws a monkey wrench in the plans of those who control things behind the scenes.”

    This is a *brilliant* and spot-on analogy.

  50. MT: as a Foundation fan, I made that connection on my own. But I admit that when I web-searched it, others had already posted that idea online.

  51. “Lyin’ Ted”, alone, would probably be enough to disqualify Trump from my vote. Even though Cruz was never my first pick, until he was the last one standing against Trump.

    I don’t think a comparison with Romney’s positions is meaningful, because I think Romney”s positions tell us something (however imperfectly) about Romney’s political thinking and I think Trump’s tell us nothing.

    And, on the one position you identify where they differ (neoisolationism) I’m with Romney, not Trump.

    But you’re right about one thing. It’s Trump’s character that is the real deal breaker for me. Trump is a pathological liar and narcissist and quite likely a sociopath. It’s clear that Trumpism is a personality cult revolving around Trump, not a political movement in any other sense. It reminds me of Ian Kershaw’s take on Hitler, which is that he turned a tiny, not very coherent, anticapitalist, nativist, but in other respects left-leaning political party (NSDAP) and turned into a mass movement personality cult. To the world’s immense sorrow.

  52. Personally I think it is pointless to compare Romney’s and Trump’s positions because I sincerely doubt that Trump has a clue what “his” positions are. I bet they were written by hired help to sound good to anyone who bothered to peruse his website, but Mr. Trump seems to have never heard of them himself, and regularly contradicts what his website says. That website is window dressing, something for Trumpettes to point to when someone asks what his opinion is on a particular topic, and I doubt Trump expects that any of his supporters will read it. After all, they are too busy yelling “Trump 2016!” and “Make America Great Again” to bother with reading policy statements.

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