More on That Bloomberg Story — “Trump’s Plan B”

… which could have been subtitled “Dead Andrew Breitbart’s Chosen Heir Sets Up His Own Shop (with some help from Donald Trump)”. Their vaunted voter-suppression tactics are, quite justifiably, getting the most attention right now, but the real story is that Steve Bannon and his fellow “alt right” racists are using the Trump campaign as a shell to grab customers frustrated with the GOP brand:

Almost every public and private metric suggests Trump is headed for a loss, possibly an epic one. His frustrated demeanor on the campaign trail suggests he knows it. Yet even as he nears the end of his presidential run, his team is sowing the seeds of a new enterprise with a direct marketing effort that they insist could still shock the world on Election Day.

Beginning last November, then ramping up in earnest when Trump became the Republican nominee, Kushner quietly built a sprawling digital fundraising database and social media campaign that’s become the locus of his father-in-law’s presidential bid. Trump’s top advisers won’t concede the possibility of defeat, but they’re candid about the value of what they’ve built even after the returns come in—and about Trump’s desire for influence regardless of outcome. “Trump is a builder,” says Bannon, in a rare interview. “And what he’s built is the underlying apparatus for a political movement that’s going to propel us to victory on Nov. 8 and dominate Republican politics after that.”

If Trump wants to strengthen his hold on his base, then his apocalyptic rhetoric on the stump begins to make more sense. Lately he’s sounded less like a candidate seeking to persuade moderates and swing voters and more like the far-right populist leaders who’ve risen throughout Europe. Most Republican Party officials ardently hope he’ll go away quietly if he loses. But given all that his campaign—and Kushner’s group especially—has been doing behind the scenes, it looks likelier that Trump and his lieutenants will stick around. They may emerge as a new media enterprise, an outsider political movement, or perhaps some combination of the two: an American UK Independence Party (UKIP) that will wage war on the Republican Party—or, rather, intensify the war that Trump and Bannon have already begun.

To outsiders, the Trump campaign often appears to be powered by little more than the candidate’s impulses and Twitter feed. But after Trump locked down the GOP nomination by winning Indiana’s primary, Kushner tapped Parscale, a political novice who built web pages for the Trump family’s business and charities, to begin an ambitious digital operation fashioned around a database they named Project Alamo. With Trump atop the GOP ticket, Kushner was eager to grow fast. “When we won the nomination, we decided we were going to do digital fundraising and really ramp this thing up to the next level,” says a senior official. Kushner, this official continued, “reached out to some Silicon Valley people who are kind of covert Trump fans and experts in digital marketing. They taught us about scaling. There’s really not that much of a difference between politics and regular marketing.”…

Regardless of whether this works or backfires, setting back GOP efforts to attract women and minorities even further, Trump won’t come away from the presidential election empty-handed. Although his operation lags previous campaigns in many areas (its ground game, television ad buys, money raised from large donors), it’s excelled at one thing: building an audience. Powered by Project Alamo and data supplied by the RNC and Cambridge Analytica, his team is spending $70 million a month, much of it to cultivate a universe of millions of fervent Trump supporters, many of them reached through Facebook. By Election Day, the campaign expects to have captured 12 million to 14 million e-mail addresses and contact information (including credit card numbers) for 2.5 million small-dollar donors, who together will have ponied up almost $275 million. “I wouldn’t have come aboard, even for Trump, if I hadn’t known they were building this massive Facebook and data engine,” says Bannon. “Facebook is what propelled Breitbart to a massive audience. We know its power.”…

Parscale was building his own list of Trump supporters, beyond the RNC’s reach. Cambridge Analytica’s statistical models isolated likely supporters whom Parscale bombarded with ads on Facebook, while the campaign bought up e-mail lists from the likes of Gingrich and Tea Party groups to prospect for others. Some of the ads linked directly to a payment page, others—with buttons marked “Stand with Trump” or “Support Trump”—to a sign-up page that asked for a name, address, and online contact information. While his team at Giles-Parscale designed the ads, Parscale invited a variety of companies to set up shop in San Antonio to help determine which social media ads were most effective. Those companies test ad variations against one another—the campaign has ultimately generated 100,000 distinct pieces of creative content—and then roll out the strongest performers to broader audiences. At the same time, Parscale made the vendors, tech companies with names such as Sprinklr and Kenshoo, compete Apprentice-style; those whose algorithms fared worst in drumming up donors lost their contracts. Each time Parscale returned to San Antonio from Trump Tower, he would find that some vendors had been booted from their offices.

Parscale’s department not only paid for itself but also was the largest source of campaign revenue. That endeared it to a candidate stingy with other parts of the budget. When Trump fired his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, Parscale’s responsibilities grew, then further still when Lewandowski’s replacement, Paul Manafort, flamed out. In June, Parscale, whose prior political experience was a Bexar County tax assessor’s race (his client lost), became Trump’s digital director and, in many ways, the linchpin of his unusual run…

The guys running Trump’s campaign — up to and including his son-in-law, Jared Kushner — have no more loyalty to the Republican party than a tapeworm does to its host. None of them could front a political operation (if only because, going by the photo accompanying the Bloomberg piece, the office style code is ‘predator chic’), but the Greedy Old Party in its current incarnation has a significant membership ripe for a new… outlet:

According to a source close to Trump, the idea of a Trump TV network originated during the Republican primaries as a threat Kushner issued to Roger Ailes when Trump’s inner circle was unhappy with the tenor of Fox News’s coverage. The warring factions eventually reconciled. But Trump became enamored by the power of his draw after five media companies expressed interest. “One thing Jared always tells Donald is that if the New York Times and cable news mattered, he would be at 1 percent in the polls,” says the source. “Trump supporters really don’t have a media outlet where they feel they’re represented—CNN has gone fully against Trump, MSNBC is assumed to be against Trump, and Fox is somewhere in the middle. What we found is that our people have organized incredibly well on the web. Reddit literally had to change their rules because it was becoming all Trump. Growing the digital footprint has really allowed us to take his message directly to the people.

It’s not clear how much of this digital audience will remain in Trump’s thrall if he loses. But the number should be substantial. “Trump will get 40 percent of the vote, and half that number at least will buy into his claim that the election was rigged and stolen from him,” says Steve Schmidt, John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign chief and an outspoken Trump critic. “That is more than enough people to support a multibillion-dollar media business and a powerful presence in American politics.”…

The “Trump campaign” is no longer about winning voters (if it ever was). It’s about market share:

A comfy home for the whole Basket of Deplorables — with an earned-media rollout on the front page of every mainstream political outlet. Mr. Charles P. Pierce, at Esquire:

[T]he story’s real news is how the overall Trump operation is built to last, which is the thing that ought to shake Republicans all the way down to the tassels on their loafers. Unless the whole thing is some kind of Potemkin fundraising scam, and I do not dismiss that possibility entirely, any hope that the Republican establishment has of hand-waving Trumpism into ancient history is clearly doomed…

As with all things Trump, the whole thing may just be an elaborate plan to turn your money into his money. Or, also as with all things Trump, the man himself may just lose interest in the whole thing and go on to some other doomed-to-fail new venture. (One of the country’s night terrors should be that this latter consideration also applies to the presidency, if he should win.) But, as the kidz say, read the whole thing. The stuff between the lines is real and it’s ominous.






91 replies
  1. 1
    The Sheriff's A Ni- says:

    Trump, Bannon, Mercer, and the alt-reich staging a bust-out of the Republican party. It couldn’t have happened to a nicer bunch of guys ‘n gals.

  2. 2
    DCrefugee says:

    They may emerge as a new media enterprise, an outsider political movement, or perhaps some combination of the two: an American UK Independence Party (UKIP) that will wage war on the Republican Party—or, rather, intensify the war that Trump and Bannon have already begun.

    It’s always about the grift…

    But what will they call this new political party? Nationalist Socialist is taken…

  3. 3
    Amir Khalid says:

    @DCrefugee:
    It’s not taken in America — yet.

  4. 4
    JGabriel says:

    Bloomberg via Anne Laurie @ Top:

    Beginning last November, then ramping up in earnest when Trump became the Republican nominee, Kushner quietly built a sprawling digital fundraising database and social media campaign that’s become the locus of his father-in-law’s presidential bid.

    That’s the same fundraising database the Trump campaign used to spam foreign officials and diplomats all over the world.

    Their incompetence mitigates and undermines my alarm at the volume (in both senses) of their e-mail recipients.

  5. 5
    Dmbeaster says:

    The way he shakes the Loser Label is exactly this – his own alt right media movement trumpeting his message. Hard to see how the GOP reconciles, because Trump and Bannon will first go to war against the non-Trump GOP. It is no more prepared to deal with that than it was during the primary.

    The one thing that will sorta unite them is non-stop Hillary hatred even after she wins.

  6. 6
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    They are in the full scale panic flail mode now. They don’t care who they hit and hurt in the process. In a rational organization, Rinse Prebus would not only be fired, he’d be permabanned from anywhere near the GOP for not showing some fucking huevos and calling a stop to this shit a year ago.

  7. 7
    Chris says:

    @DCrefugee:

    They could be the Very Silly Party to the GOP’s Slightly Silly Party.

  8. 8
    JGabriel says:

    @DCrefugee:

    But what will they call this new political party? Nationalist Socialist is taken…

    They’ll either call themselves the Nationalist Conservative Party, or, more likely, the TRUMP! party.

  9. 9
    Betty Cracker says:

    I’d be surprised if Trump were really interested in launching a big media company, but Kushner is already in that business with his newspaper and is apparently up to his eyeballs in this list-building scheme described in the Bloomberg piece. Maybe that’ll be his and Ivanka’s fiefdom now that Trump has made the family surname thoroughly toxic to decent people.

  10. 10
    Anne Laurie says:

    @DCrefugee: “Stormfront TRUMP”, to please both its base and its figurehead.

  11. 11

    It’s definitely a scary thought, but are they actually competent enough to pull it off? Or will it be another Palin channel?

  12. 12
    Calouste says:

    The GOP is again (the first time was with Fox news) going to have their nose rubbed in it that 27% is a great market share for a media corporation, but a rather lousy market share for a political party in a two-part system.

  13. 13
    Yutsano says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Seppuku or GTFO.

  14. 14
    Chris says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    If you’re trying to get the GOP under some kind of control and restore it to some kind of sanity, firing Prince Reebus isn’t going to do it.

    The people you’d really need to fire are… the voters.

    Also, the entire right wing media community.

    And, to be fair, most of the politicians.

    Let’s not forget the big donors either.

    Yeah, that’ll about do it. If it weren’t for the voters, the pundits, the politicians, and the donors, the GOP would fucking rock.

  15. 15
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Mingobat f/k/a Karen in GA: I think Palin channel is the logical thing. It’s all about lining up investors and fucking them over…a Drumpf specialty.

  16. 16
    MattF says:

    I’m thinking ‘Alien’. Predatory other-worldly creature buries egg inside living body, etc.

  17. 17
    MattF says:

    @DCrefugee: Um, ‘American’? Remember, they’re shameless.

  18. 18
    SenyorDave says:

    There are three possible outcomes to this election, IMO.
    1. Clinton wins big, gets 300+ electoral votes, popular vote by 6+. This would qualify as a big win these days since both parties start at 40%+., 2. Clinton wins narrowly, 3. Trump wins narrowly
    If #3 happens then Trump TV is dead in the water. If #1 happens then Trump is repudiated and Trump TV starts out in a hole. If #2 happens then Trump TV can peddle rigged election claims forever.
    IMO Trump and his people would rank their preferences as follows: #2, #3, #1

  19. 19
    Jeffro says:

    @Calouste:

    The GOP is again (the first time was with Fox news) going to have their nose rubbed in it that 27% is a great market share for a media corporation, but a rather lousy market share for a political party in a two-part system.

    Not only that, but my guess is that all of the various post-election moves by Trump & Co, coupled with additional disclosures, lawsuits, and assorted revelations are only going to deepen the divide here. We progressives are going to look at the “deplorable”s and won’t be able to help but say, “You guys almost gave this guy and his crew the keys to the kingdom”. Unbelievable.

    ETA reflecting on that a little further, Trump on his own is a bozo. Trump surrounded by Bannon, Bossie, Kushner, “Pepe” supporters, Christie, and Giuliani is a veritable crime syndicate in the Oval Office

  20. 20
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @SenyorDave: The most grift from #2, so, yes, that’s what they prefer.

  21. 21
    Jeffro says:

    Btw there is some article up (I think on the Post’s website) about the next celebrity presidential candidates…like, god help us, The Rock.

    I am not knee-jerk opposed to celebrities running for office but my god they ought to have half a brain and some sort of policy experience not to mention (if they are going to run for Congress, Senate, or president) they ought to have some experience in elected office and a fair amount of vetting (tax returns anyone?)

  22. 22
    Mike E says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: Palin’s “channel” attracts a certain starburst-craving male demo…blechh

  23. 23
    TS says:

    @SenyorDave: She’s probably not going to win in a blowout. Her probabilities of winning in swing states are headed down already. I hope she ekes out an inarguable win (inarguable by a normal person’s standards, anyway), but polls are showing a trend toward not being a blowout.

    This thing is not won.

  24. 24
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Jeffro: Vin Diesel has a shot at it if he runs as Groot.

  25. 25
    Fair Economist says:

    Polling is showing that the Republican party’s plan is working. Trump is losing, but the House is looking to stay Republican. That’s not a particularly bad outcome for the Republican party and there won’t be a great reckoning for Priebus et al. if that’s all that happens. Now if Trump actually keeps control of the party and whips the insanity to 11, **then** there may be a reckoning, but that’s in the future, if it indeed happens.

  26. 26
    Chris says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    He’d certainly get the environmentalist vote.

  27. 27
    catclub says:

    @DCrefugee:

    Nationalist Socialist is taken…

    Trump’s BFF – Breitbart Fascist Front

  28. 28
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Fair Economist: Well, short term. The long term damage that Drumpf is doing to them is another matter. The monster is off its leash, and eventually it will hunt down every RINO like McConnell and Ryan and destroy them.

  29. 29
    MCA1 says:

    My fondest hope for the post-election is that Bannon and the rest of the marauders who’ve signed on to the SS Trump scuttle the ship and take off with the loot after tying the previous pirate captain to the mast. Trump’s name will be mud, and will carry the stink of loss so heavily that he’s worthless going forward as long as they can find someone else to serve up their own bile to the rubes, so they’re not afraid to shiv him, which is likely what they’ve been planning all along. Think of the Shakespearean karmic justice of Trump left with nothing but a shredded brand and name, having been used and conned in the middle of what he thought was his crowning grift. I think my heart would explode from the sheer rush of schadenfreude.

    More practically, though, what’s the business/platform model for this new media network everyone’s talking about? There’s already no room on cable (a dying beast as it is), no cable system would take a flyer on this and pass through costs to the 50%+ of subscribers who would be up in arms, and advertisers would stay away in droves. And half the cable systems own competing networks. Besides, where’s the funding for this sort of full scale original broadcasting network out of nothing endeavor all at once coming from? We all know this bunch isn’t big on putting their own cash into the pot. There’s a number of reasons consolidation is happening in the media world, and a big one is cost.

    No. Digital or streaming by individual subscription is the only real avenue for a venture like this, and that has The Blaze Part 2, Fail Parade Bugaloo written all over it.

  30. 30
    Citizen_X says:

    Project Alamo

    The message being, “Kill as many Mexicans as you can, because if they win they’re going to kill us all?”

  31. 31
    catclub says:

    @Dmbeaster:

    his own alt right media movement trumpeting his message.

    I think Trump doing this would help the rest of the GOP call out the nutty right wing media for being in their own bubble, because they could start by strongly repudiating Trump version of it.

    Assumes they WANT to call out the nutty right wing media.

  32. 32
    Couldn't Stand the Weather says:

    Drumpf won’t invest a cent of his own money in Bannon’s TV network. He’ll demand creative control and a ridiculous CEO pay package. Then, he’ll quit in 6 months after lackluster ratings and his noted monumental incompetence force his departure.

    His golden parachute will bear a strong similarity to Roger Ailes’.

  33. 33
    Citizen_X says:

    @MCA1:

    the marauders who’ve signed on to the SS Trump

    I know this wouldn’t fit with your metaphor, but that should probably be “the Trump SS.”

  34. 34
    Chris T. says:

    @Anne Laurie: The StormTrumpers? Fortunately they can’t hit the side of a barn with a blaster…

  35. 35
    Lizzy L says:

    The monster is off its leash, and eventually it will hunt down every RINO like McConnell and Ryan and destroy them.

    This made me smile. Under normal circumstances I am not a vindictive person, but I want to see McConnell, Ryan, Rubio, etc. selling shoreline condos on the Florida coast for a living.

  36. 36
    Feebog says:

    @Fair Economist:

    The Republicans may hold the house, but that is not necessarily a good thing for Paul Ryan. Republicans currently hold 248 seats. If their margin is cut to around 225, it is very doubtful that Paulie will have the votes within his own caucus to be elected Speaker. Because most of those losses will have been more moderate Republicans, leaving the batshit insane wing with more leverage than ever. In that scenario, it is not unthinkable that a few of the moderates join the Dems and elect Nancy Pelosi Speaker rather than some nutter who will complete the job that Trump started.

  37. 37
    p.a. says:

    So alt-right Nazis are making nice with an Orthodox Jew and Christopaths to create a recruiting network based on a fake Christian, failed capitalist’s presidential run.

    This has Hallmark xMas special written all over it!

  38. 38
    MattF says:

    @Lizzy L: However, that’s not a long-term outcome, since the location of the shoreline is a moving target.

  39. 39
    MattF says:

    @p.a.: Happy Holidays!

  40. 40
    mdblanche says:

    The guys running Trump’s campaign — up to and including his son-in-law, Jared Kushner — have no more loyalty to the Republican party than a tapeworm does to its host.

    Less, actually. A tapeworm has to make sure not to kill its host. The Trump campaign is more of a parasitoid:

    A parasitoid is an organism that spends a significant portion of its life history attached to or within a single host organism in a relationship that is in essence parasitic; unlike a true parasite, however, it ultimately sterilizes or kills, and sometimes consumes, the host. Thus, parasitoids are similar to typical parasites except in the more dire prognosis for the host.

  41. 41
    MattF says:

    @Feebog: What if the House never gets its act together?

  42. 42
    Hoodie says:

    I could see Trump trying to create a third party in this manner. It won’t be able to win national elections, but it might take a few House seats. However, seems like it would be doomed by demographics. This is like a lot of Trump plays, it will ultimately be doomed because it is all brand and no substance. Trump’s political brand is built around resentment, but that resentment is specific to a customer base that is disappearing, just like the late 20th century cachet of Trump’s commercial brands evaporated because it arose from cultural memes (an amalgam of “greed is good” and the Playboy Mansion) that became dated like disco. He’s been harvesting the tail of that for the past 15 years, and this failed presidential run will likely use up what’s left. Trump is actually grifting grifters like Bannon, too, because he’s tying their movement to his personal brand, which ultimately will be associated with spectacular failure. The guy is seventy years old and will only become more pathetic as years go by and he takes his followers down with him, just like the morons who invested in his other ventures.

  43. 43
  44. 44
    Mike in NC says:

    The Nazis had their Organization Todt, so The Donald could rename his criminal outfit “Organization Trump”.

  45. 45
    geg6 says:

    @MCA1:

    Agree with this totally, too.

  46. 46
    redshirt says:

    @Villago Delenda Est: That’s what I got out of this. That when Trump loses big in November, he’s going to lead a movement that attacks the Republican Party from the right.

    Who knows if he’ll do it of course, but even the attempt will wreak some havoc on the RNC. And when they are hurting, America is a better place.

  47. 47
    agorabum says:

    While Trumpism itself is highly corrosive to our body politic, I wouldn’t mind them using this to split votes with the Republican party and help Dems win for a few cycles before it totally burns out.

  48. 48
    les says:

    @MattF:

    However, that’s [FL coast condo sales] not a long-term outcome, since the location of the shoreline is a moving target.

    Au contraire–given enough suckers, it’s a never ending scam. New coastline all the time. And some Trump supporters could be multiple time buyers–they ain’t bright. Just blame the rising waters on Obama/Clinton, they’ll move from drowned condo to dry condo just to stick it to the liberals.

  49. 49
    Calouste says:

    @Mike in NC: Or the True Republican United Movement Party.

  50. 50
    Coin operated says:

    From the article:

    Kushner quietly built a sprawling digital fundraising database and social media campaign that’s become the locus of his father-in-law’s presidential bid

    Trump Sr is done. This is about keeping the fortune going for Ivanka and her husband. That list he’s building is worth a mint, and it’s his company that owns it.

  51. 51
    low-tech cyclist says:

    Joshua Green, above:

    5. They’ve ID’d 13.5 million persuadable voters in 16 battleground states + say they think they can still win — but not by going positive.

    The Cook Political Report’s David Wasserman, a month ago:

    According to the Census, 40.2 million eligible whites weren’t registered to vote at all in 2012. That’s much larger than the 14.7 million whites who were registered who but didn’t turn out

    Wasserman looked, but could find no evidence of any surge in white working class registration. There’s really a pretty low ceiling for turning out more disaffected white voters than Romney did, at this point in the game.

  52. 52
    Brachiator says:

    … Almost every public and private metric suggests Trump is headed for a loss, possibly an epic one. His frustrated demeanor on the campaign trail suggests he knows it. Yet even as he nears the end of his presidential run, his team is sowing the seeds of a new enterprise with a direct marketing effort that they insist could still shock the world on Election Day.

    Trump faces the perfect dilemma, exquisitely suited to his personality and style:

    He hates to lose, but does not know how to win at the political game. Thank you, Baby Jesus.

    I really don’t care what Trump does after election day, nor do I think that it will matter much. The main thing is to keep him away from high political office. And that goes double for any political ambitions that his little rat children may have.

  53. 53
    Barbara says:

    The only thing I can take from this for certain is that Trump’s existing businesses were cratering even before he decided to run for president. I assume that they plan to monetize this endeavor by (1) selling access to the email list; (2) advertising all kinds of products (gold, anyone?); and maybe, just maybe, some kind of subscription service. It’s hard for me to see how mainstream advertisers would pick up on this. And I am still trying to understand how the grandson of Holocaust survivors would be so all in with a European style right wing political movement. He’s already worth hundreds of millions of dollars. The mind reels.

  54. 54

    I really wonder how this is going to end. The Republicans can’t go on like this for much longer. I can only think that some of them know this, but how they scrape these shitbags off them is something else altogether. I don’t know if they can. These people are their base now. It’s going to help them over the long haul (if there is a long haul for the party after this year) to lose these losers, but then what? Would they set up their own party? They sure as hell won’t go to the Democrats. I think that, whether or not they set up their own party, they’ll end up with the Republicans sooner or later. If the Republicans can’t get rid of them, they’ll stick with them, eating the party away from within until all the sane real conservatives flee. If they start their own party, it won’t go anywhere, and, I fear, in time, the seething mass of voters will be too tempting for the Republicans to lay off.

    What I really hope happens is that these assholes just get so angry and frustrated that they give up on politics and go stew in their bitterness, and let the two parties get back to doing what they need to. I don’t know how likely that is, but if the loss this year is bad enough, maybe they’ll just say, “Fuck it.” I hope so.

  55. 55
    Spider-Dan says:

    @MattF: Exactly; just think of the most shameless, over-the-top name and they’ll claim it.

    Party For America’s Future
    America First Party
    True Conservative Party
    American Patriots Party
    etc.

    That is, if Donnie can be restrained from simply calling it the Trump Party.

  56. 56
    sunny raines says:

    seems pretty clear that post election, the republican party does need to split in two: a conventional political party and a new fascist wingnut movement. The former is going to have an even harder time pretending to be with the latter post election, especially if trump loses. If (god-forbid) trump were to win, the establishment republicans would have to keep pretending to be with him (after the appropriate amount of bloodletting, like jettisoning the ever-craven lyin’ ryan.

  57. 57
    Spider-Dan says:

    @SenyorDave: Trump’s fellow grifters might rank a narrow win as second-best outcome, but make no mistake: Trump would rather win the Presidency (which is not the same thing as “be President”) than any other outcome, and it isn’t close.

    To wit, the reason why Trump TV would be dead in the water if Trump won is because it would be unnecessary and redundant; Fox News would molt and become a beautiful Trump TV butterfly in the event of a Trump win.

  58. 58
    Barbara says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (Formerly Mumphrey, et al.): As with Democrats by 1980, they need time in the wilderness. There is nothing like “keep losing” to concentrate the minds of even the truest believers, assuming they have stayed loyal to the Republican Party. And Trump is not a young man — that’s probably one thing that goes against his plans and schemes. Who would his successor be? I don’t see anyone around him who remotely fits the bill, including his sons. Even the European style right wing parties have actual parties behind them. Is Ivanka going to be the new Marine Le Pen? As an Orthodox Jew? Like I said, the mind kind of reels.

  59. 59
    Shell says:

    Or will it be another Palin channel?

    Glenn Beck is still loping along. But the set that he broadcasts from looks like his Grannys tea room. I assume Trump will be broadcasting from gilt chairs and red plush, like the Golden Age grifter he is.

  60. 60

    @sunny raines: This does make some sense, at least in the short run. The hangup here is that we have a political system that naturally breeds two parties. Three parties are inherently unstable in our system. Sooner or later, one of the parties will swallow up the smallest one. In this case, I think it would be the Republicans, and then we’d be right back where we began.

    I don’t like the word purge. I don’t like what it means. But a purge is the only thing that will let our free, open political society keep on keeping on. Some people are so poisonous to working self government that keeping them out of the political system is the only way to keep democracy going. Somehow we have to find a way to drive these people out of any political involvement–not physically, not violently, but by frustrating them so consistently that they just give up. I don’t know how to do this, though.

  61. 61

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (Formerly Mumphrey, et al.): But they control most of the states where they’re able to do a lot of damage. I don’t know how they do that.

  62. 62
    Spider-Dan says:

    @Feebog: I think the worst outcome for the GOP is a narrow House win. They won’t have any sort of consensus between the deplorables and the corporatists, and will rely on Democratic votes to pass anything. Unless Pelosi can become speaker with a Democratic plurality, she won’t be holding the conch; the optics are just too toxic for any Republican that votes for her. It would have to be either a Northeast Republican or a Dem like Steny Hoyer who hasn’t previously been a target of the Two Minutes Hate.

  63. 63

    @Barbara: The thing is, though, that the Democrats in 1980 were not beholden to a bunch of–I don’t even know what the left wing equivalent of these fascistic Trumpers would be; neo-Stalinists, maybe? There was nothing anything like what’s taken over the Republican base.

  64. 64
    germy says:

    @Spider-Dan: the parasitoid party.

  65. 65
    Chris says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (Formerly Mumphrey, et al.):

    The Republicans can’t go on like this for much longer.

    I can’t see how they don’t – mostly for the reasons you go on to say. Trump is what their base wants. He may turn off quite a few Republican voters, but the “establishment” people who realize that he’s a bad choice turn off at least as many of them. For better or for worse, Trumpism is the future of the party. I assume their next step is to try to smooth things over by dogwhistling – though even then the dogwhistle would have to be considerably louder than they’re used to to even begin to satisfy the Trumpists. The only thing I’m certain of is that the NeverTrumpists do not have what it takes to either reform their party or be their own party.

  66. 66

    @Iowa Old Lady: They do, but even in a lot of those states, they’re living on borrowed time. Arizona will be the next one to begin choosing Democrats statewide, then Georgia. Texas in maybe five or ten years. North Carolina is now where Virginia was about ten years ago, I think, and I’m happy to say that I think we (Virginia) are now lost to the Republicans, even though they gerrymandered themselves into the state house pretty well.

    But even in states like Alabama or Oklahoma that aren’t going to go blue in my lifetime, most likely, they’re going to know that they can’t win nationally. That’s going to begin to eat at them.

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    Unknown known (formerly known as Ecks, former formerly completely unknown) says:

    @Mingobat f/k/a Karen in GA: Trump is the charismatic figurehead and already 70. Old enough to make trouble for a few more years, but not forever.

  68. 68
    les says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (Formerly Mumphrey, et al.):

    The Republicans can’t go on like this for much longer. I can only think that some of them know this, but how they scrape these shitbags off them is something else altogether. I don’t know if they can. These people are their base now.

    And their only possible base–no other group is consumed enough with anger and fear to cheer while they steer all the goodies to the top. They have to have both the racist assholes and the talibangelicals. They might be able to flush Trump down the memory hole–they have some experience and plenty of cash–but if not, hard to see a way. Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of shitbags.

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    Spider-Dan says:

    Ultimately, I think there’s going to be some faction of the Democrats that’s going to break off and reform with the Republicans. Power abhors a vacuum.

    If the Republicans kick out the religious right, they can end the War on Gays, at which point the white gay corporatists (think Peter Thiel, but with human decency) who are currently Dems because they want basic civil rights, but also really like their money could possibly be splintered off. It seems to me that ending the war on gays (which will definitely be lost by the right eventually, regardless) is an easier sell to plutocrats who don’t really care anyway than trying to win over minorities or women.

    Kick out the religious right and the GOP can possibly win the rich white gay vote, stop automatically-losing the rest of the gay vote, keep the corporatists, and shore up the libertarians. Seems like the best option.

  70. 70
    CarolDuhart2 says:

    Look to California as to how things could shake out. There, the GOP has some local power, but not statewide. I see the same thing happening on a national level. Some state and local places would be GOP, but Congress and the Presidency would be Dem. Nothing is going to stop the rise of the brown tide, or even worse for Republicans, urbanization. What has already begun to turn Georgia, Arizona, and North Carolina is going to increasingly happen as more and more states are filled with transplants and immigrants looking for cheaper business and personal housing.

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    retiredeng says:

    @Citizen_X: Ahem. We lost the Alamo.

  72. 72
    retiredeng says:

    @Lizzy L: Not me. I want ’em selling pencils on street corners.

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    Barbara says:

    @Smedley Darlington Prunebanks (Formerly Mumphrey, et al.): Democrats weren’t beholden but they were experiencing a fracturing of their traditional bases of support because of the civil rights legislation, magnified 100 times by the craven opportunism of the Republican Party to maximize power by appealing to racial antagonism of many whites. I have to say that I don’t really care what happens to the Republican Party. They can go back to being the “Hey let’s slow down a bit” party when it comes to social and entitlement legislation and taxes, but I have had it with the racial dogwhistling and the utter servitude to billionaires and pretending that the two are somehow part of an overall cohesive strategy that is based on rewarding the merit of its supporters. I suspect that there are many current Democrats who would vote for a “hey let’s slow down a bit” party but who want nothing to do with what the Republican Party has become. But overall, it’s not as if they are really hurting because they control the House and a lot of states. So they can resolve their own problems. In any event, they would never listen to someone like me anyway.

  74. 74
    catclub says:

    @sunny raines:

    seems pretty clear that post election, the republican party does need to split in two: a conventional political party and a new fascist wingnut movement.

    Louisiana Senate race is jungle primary on Nov 8 and and then runoff of top two. The above could make that race very interesting.
    At least one candidate is claiming to be the true Trump conservative. Not sure if that will be a winning move.

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    mdblanche says:

    @Spider-Dan: I don’t think the rich white gay vote is big enough to solve the GOP’s problems.

    @retiredeng: ¿Quién es “we”, gringo?

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    different-church-lady says:

    @Dmbeaster:

    …Trump and Bannon will first go to war against the non-Trump GOP each other.

    They might not even wait until after election day.

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    Spider-Dan says:

    @mdblanche: I was looking it it more from the rich white gay donations standpoint.

    Just because the GOP is imploding, that doesn’t mean money won’t still control our politics.

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    Death Panel Truck says:

    @Spider-Dan:

    Trump would rather win the Presidency (which is not the same thing as “be President”) than any other outcome, and it isn’t close.

    Trump does not want to be president. He did this as a “fuck you” to Obama (I think he thinks he’s running against him more than Hillary.) I wouldn’t be surprised if he took the oath of office and resigned the next day. Presidentin’ is hard work, he’s not up to it, and he knows it.

    He’d be happy to unleash the godawful Mike Pence on us instead.

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    Barbara says:

    @different-church-lady: Maybe they will reenact a modern political party version of the Pardoner’s Tale:

    The Pardoner’s Tale relates how three drunken men set out in search of death after their friend has been killed by the plague. On their way they encounter an extremely old man who directs them to an oak tree at the end of the lane and tells them that he had last seen death there. The men hurry to the spot and instead find eight bushels of gold. They decide to keep the treasure for themselves. However they grow greedy and kill themselves through trickery.

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    gorram says:

    @DCrefugee: The America Party, obviously. Because that’s who they think of themselves as, the real true Americans. Everything else is window-dressing, vote-begging, and donor-swaying.

  81. 81
    Seanly says:

    Parscale looks like a Nazi biker dressed up for court, maybe fighting his TPR after the cops found the baby living amongst his meth lab. I suppose his shirt collar is buttoned to hide his Nazi neck tats?
    I f’king hate Nazis. These Pepe-meming jerks can call themselves whatever the f’ck they want, but there nothing but a bunch of jerk-off racist douchebags. The mainstreaming of these asshats is the worst aspect of Trump’s grift.
    One of our friends must’ve hit the right set of filters – he keeps getting calls from the Trump campaign. This is in Idaho which I am sure Trump will carry. I don’t know if he’s voting, but he certainly wouldn’t vote for Trump. I think my friend registered Republican so he could vote in their closed primaries and vote for saner ones (I think they’re all insane and don’t think that idea works).

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    gorram says:

    @Spider-Dan: 538 polled on this. *insert obligatory disclaimer about LGBT people being hard to poll because of a) terrible sample sizing often b) self proclamations being like a Thing in LGBT politics*

    Even White LGBT people prefer Clinton to Trump on a scale that’s hard to find other demographic slices of White Americans to match. Oddly, LGBT people of color are more similar to LGBT White people in modestly approving of Clinton (50-60% approval) and abysmal approval ratings for Trump (<20%). There's subtle indications that there's a few LGBT people who are on the Trump side of this, and they're also overwhelmingly the White guys in the broader LGBT community, it seems like they defectors have already defected at this point, even with Mike Pence and such being a part of the GOP "big tent".

    The somewhat tepid approval ratings for Clinton – across racial and gender lines for LGBT people – actually I think speaks to how the LGBT community in general is displeased with the Democratic Party. While Democratic nominations paved the way for Hollingsworth v Perry and United States v Windsor, they took a long time, demonstrate a certain level of fecklessness among Blue dog types in legislative seats, and hint at the limited interest in LGBT rights outside of marriage equality among a sizable chunk of the Democratic Party.

    Sure, stranger things have happened than the Republicans versing stance on (various) minorities rights, but it seems that if LGBT voters in general were going to break, they would break left. Think Sanders not Trump. Clinton, to her credit, has not helped with this with her comments on the Reagans and HIV/AIDS among other foot in mouth moments (which, again to her credit, is something that happens to all people with enough of a spotlight on them).

    The focus in this cycle on racism and sexism is understandable, and clearly has residual resonance even to people who don’t necessarily experience those forms of bigotry (or who experience them but view others as equally or intersectionally or otherwise relevant). That said, it has led to a lot of LGBT people, in my experience, seeming to view this as a potential year for a protest vote, conscience vote, or without a need to vote. While some of that means better returns for Trump, I think most of the answers to “who are you voting for if not Clinton?” are either “no one” or third party. Those aren’t very kind conditions to either the anti-Trump or pro-Trump wings of the GOP making inroads with LGBT people.

  83. 83
    philadelphialawyer says:

    All these numbers sound like bullshit to me. They have a sucker list of geriatric white men that pretty much coincides with the already existing sucker lists of the alt right, the Paul-ards, the Gold Bugs, and so on, and probably overlaps quite a bit with those possessed by the more traditional GOP-right wing entities too. Big deal. THEY say its worth eleventy trillion dollars. Good for them.

    To the extent that there are new, Trump-exclusive suckers on the list, a lot of them will be feeling disappointed and then disillusioned after Trump loses, and after whatever half assed effort he makes to “contest” the election goes nowhere. And perhaps many of these rubes are really one-offs. Without Trump actually running for President, they might not be so willing to part with their money so easily.

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    Spider-Dan says:

    @gorram: Well, that polling is consistent with the current version of the GOP, which is rabidly homophobic. But my hypothesis is that if you remove the religious right from the GOP and they stop demonizing LGBT voters, the rest of their platform is not necessarily at odds with the interests of LGBT whites (in the upper-middle-class and above, economically). And specifically for the Wall Street/Silicon Valley gay white donor base, it seems to me that a secular Republican Party would align pretty well with their (personal) interests.

    That isn’t to say that gay white liberals would immediately cast everyone else into the gutter the moment their own issues are resolved; I don’t doubt the sincerity of belief and empathy from my LGBT fellow progressives. But I think there’s a not-insignificant number of high-income gay white men who are currently with the Democratic Party because the GOP is outwardly hostile to them, and would care a lot about their own money if they weren’t the case.

  85. 85
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @gorram:

    The America Party, obviously. Because that’s who they think of themselves as, the real true Americans. Everything else is window-dressing, vote-begging, and donor-swaying.

    Or, taking a cue from Nigel Farage & Co., they might call it USIP.

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    jharp says:

    Sounds to me like Trump’s trying to resurrect the Klan by using Facebook and calling it something else.

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    Tokyokie says:

    @different-church-lady: My thought reading that piece was that if der Trumpenführer thinks that Bannon or Kushner or anybody else is taking too big a cut of his grifting action (and he’ll think his not getting ALL of it is too much for somebody else), the lawsuits will be flying like crows in a Hitchcock movie, and that the promise of the perpetual grift will end with the lawyers claiming most of it.

  88. 88
    gorram says:

    @Spider-Dan: You’re presuming that both the religious right is alienable as a GOP voting bloc and that there aren’t other (comparatively) secular blocs within their coalition that don’t also hate LGBT people. The importance of Ted Cruz’s endorsement/non-endorsement casts some aspersions of the first of those. Donald Trump himself is a bit of a walking billboard for the other half of that.

    You’re right that there’s a lot of White LGBT people in the right tax brackets and that can do that math. My point is, they already have and already are in the GOP camp. They can’t get more of us without getting to at least the place of the Democratic Party, and it seems unlikely that they could get there anytime soon. They’ve basically spent the entire last election season defending their right to call people slurs – including, yes, LGBT-related ones.

    There’s also the question of feasibility in this strategy. LGBT people are more likely to be people of color than White, compared to the population at large, and that’s an intersection you’re not suggesting they might make inroads with. You’ve been a bit more hesitant on women, which makes sense since it’s more of a gender gap than distinctive voting pattern. Likewise however, LGBT people are more likely to be women or non-binary people than men, again compared to the larger population. There’s a very specific slice of the LGBT community – in terms of race, gender, and what’s more class – that you’re treating as “the LGBT vote” and what’s more acting as though they’re behaving in a way that polling suggests they’re pretty resistant to.

    I get your point that you’re talking about potential future alignments, and maybe that will be born out, but we’ve been here before and that’s been yet to materialize. The only group that fits the type of political swing historically to my mind are Irish-Americans (and to a lesser extent, White Catholics as a whole, but I don’t know how much of that is actually a result of Irish-American politics?). It’s notable that we’re the only White-classed ethnic group in the country that votes predominantly for Democrats, although Trump may have changed that. That’s of course a century after Ireland was partially decolonized and we were reclassed as White People For Serious® so count me skeptical that overnight most cisgender White gay guys are going to be voting Republican by 2024.

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    Spider-Dan says:

    @gorram: I guess I’d say of the disadvantaged groups currently being demonized by the GOP, well-off LGBT whites a) have the biggest donor clout (by a sizable margin) and b) seem to have the least structural roadblocks to acceptance within a realigned GOP.

    Obviously, a) is really important for a future corporatist conservative party. But let me explain b) a bit further: if you can marginalize the anti-gay theocratic faction in the same way that they were marginalized prior to Reagan, I think that rich people have more common interests (e.g. “reduced property values” from new arrivals) than uncommon interests. Structurally, it’s easier to assimilate already-rich gays than it is to try to enrich non-LGBT minorities. I’d make an argument for expanded GOP inroads with women – especially since I wouldn’t think access to abortion is a major issue in the LGBT community – but their problems with women extend far beyond kicking out the forced birthers (e.g. grab them by the wherever).

    So it seems to me that something similar to a Harding/Coolidge-era straight-plutocrat GOP is most feasible, and would best be accomplished by bringing “Log Cabin Democrats” into the fold.

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    Keith G says:

    “No battle plan survives first contact with the enemy”…..is as true for the bad guys as it is with the good. Fuck Trump and his dead enders. They can make there plans, but as pointed out in some of the commentary above, they will have problems. The Clinton has shown a knack for dealing with Donald. There will be blood. I do not see this Democratic leadership going passive and taking the punches without returning with some highly effective fire.

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    gorram says:

    @Spider-Dan: I’ve tried to be polite so far in this conversation but considering one of the biggest fights among pro-choice people recently has been about the inclusion of trans men among those who need abortion access and related care… I’m going to hazard a guess you don’t have your ear to the ground when it comes to LGBT politics.

    Sorry to put it that way, but I don’t think you understand the in-community pitch of the log cabin GOP was that we have to play the field. Everything post-Reagan has challenged that – that reliably voting blue yields returns blatantly nowadays while “shopping” doesn’t. FOr that matter, the Democrats have softened on the economic views you see driving wealthy LGBT people into the GOP’s arms. Here’s a thought: Peter Thiel’s not an early adopter. He’s late.

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