Trump Surrogate To Trump Supporters: You’ve Been Had

Remember how the Trump phenomenon is a referendum on the decades old bait-and-switch scam practiced by the Republican Party?  You know, how every election the rubes get promised an end to abortion, teh gheys prayed-away, Obamacare repealed,  the Kenyan Mooslim Usurper hounded out of town — and especially how they were going to get their country back from all those folks of the wrong hue, speaking the wrong language and flooding across the border with canteloupes for calves?  And how after every election all that never happened and it was back to business as usual and Washington’s just a sack of skunks with a reek you can smell in Topeka?

I bet you remember too how Trump rolled the whole rotten corpse of your granddaddy’s GOP and all its deal-making, C.R.E.A.M.ed leaders traitors by speaking the unspeakable and vowing to do what none of the weaklings and failures would or could dare to imagine.  Round up the invaders and ship them — toddlers and abuelos alike — through the yuuuuge, classy gate in that yuuuge and beautiful wall?

Well, guess what Trump-rubes.  You’re being rolled.  Again.


Here’s Trump-surrogate and GOP congressman Chris Collins blowing the gaffe:

Collins said he believed the wall Trump promised to build along the US-Mexico border would be more an idea than a physical wall. “I have called it a virtual wall. Maybe we will be building a wall over some aspects of it; I don’t know….

“I call it a rhetorical deportation of 12 million people,” Collins said.

He then gestured toward a door in his Capitol Hill office.

“They go out that door, they go in that room, they get their work papers, Social Security number, then they come in that door, and they’ve got legal work status but are not citizens of the United States,” Collins said. “So there was a virtual deportation as they left that door for processing and came in this door.”

Collins added: “We’re not going to put them on a bus, and we’re not going to drive them across the border.”

And there you have it folks.*  Trump is, as ever, a fraud.  His prominent supporters know it.  His opponents know it.  The only question is when his voters figure it out, should, FSM-forbit, the scalp ferret and its pedestal ever take up residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

*Please note that, of course, I’m not saying it’s a bad thing that a prominent Republican acknowledges that there isn’t going to be a terrifying episode of ethnic cleansing here in these United States.  I’m just drawing attention to the fact that, in what should surprise no one, the con is strong in this candidate and this party.

Image: Georges de la Tour, The Cheat with the Ace of Clubsc. 1634 or before

This’ll Hurt

First — thanks again to Anne Laurie and the whole crowd for all the kind thoughts thrown my way on my Guggenheim news.  I’ll post on the sweet/bittersweet backstory to that when I get back to the computer that has the photograph I need.  Here, I’ll just say that yup: it’s been a good week, and that there is no gift I value more right now than that of time.


That said, on to the fun stuff:  cheering the discomfiture of our foes (while regretting the collateral damage) — and hoping against hope that this kind of news will, in not-too-long-a-time, have the right effect.

What news, you ask?


The Boss took no prisoners in explaining his decision:
To my mind, it’s an attempt by people who cannot stand the progress our country has made in recognizing the human rights of all of our citizens to overturn that progress. Right now, there are many groups, businesses, and individuals in North Carolina working to oppose and overcome these negative developments. Taking all of this into account, I feel that this is a time for me and the band to show solidarity for those freedom fighters. As a result, and with deepest apologies to our dedicated fans in Greensboro, we have canceled our show scheduled for Sunday, April 10th. Some things are more important than a rock show and this fight against prejudice and bigotry — which is happening as I write — is one of them.

It does suck for NC Springsteen fans — many-t0-most of whom I’d bet loathe this law as much as Bruuuuuuuuce does.  But public and bitter consequences are the only way I see of driving the point home.  The legislative assault on civil rights led by Republicans all over the country is exactly the kind of crap up with which we will not put.

So, to celebrate Mr. Springsteen — and to give just a little salve to our North Carolina pro-E-Street-anti-bigotry cohort, here’s a little something from 1978:


Image:  Antonio de Pereda, Allegory, c. 1654

Late-Night Cranky Old Dem Open Thread

Bernie Sanders won three caucuses over the weekend — just as was predicted — and added 53 delegates to his tally, per Bloomberg Politics. Yay Senator Sanders!

(Of course, because Democrats tend to award delegates proportionally, Hillary Clinton added 40 delegates even though she lost all three races.)

The hardcore #BernieBros are not the type to win graciously, alas. Via Dengre’s twitter feed, Shane Ryan, Paste Magazine:

Recent online chatter would have you believe that the “Bernie or Bust” movement is populated by those who don’t care about the consequences that might befall poor people, women, and minorities in the event of a massive progressive desertion that hands the presidency to Donald Trump or Ted Cruz…

But there’s a very deep irony in the fact that the supporters of the status quo candidate, Hillary Clinton, have the audacity to accuse progressives of ignoring the under-privileged. The reason we support Bernie Sanders is because we care about those people, and we are those people—otherwise, we’d be neoliberal Democrats or Republicans. Clinton’s white, middle-to-upper-middle class foot soldiers have, by the very nature of their support, essentially written off the bottom half of American society. They’ve outed themselves as members of a privileged class who cherish conservative economic policy for the way it protects and bolsters their kind, but who happen to endorse liberal social views—most likely because they were born in a blue part of the country. Denying that privilege, and weaponizing it against Sanders supporters who actually give a shit about the sprawling, growing underclass of America, is a dirty trick that would make Karl Rove proud…

Read more

CAP and the Republican primary

I just want to highlight two tweets I saw since Cole dropped his truth bomb:

And a question as to why Rubio is not dropping out:

The anti-Trump agenda is ensnared in a massive collective action problem. The anti-Trump movement is better off if Rubio drops out. However, the problem is simple for a party that really does not believe in collective action problems solved through societal actions and instead believes or at least publicly spouts off that everything can be modeled on the basis of individual rational behavior to get optimal societal results. There is a stable equilibrium that is extraordinarily negative for the anti-Trumpers where everyone is asking the other individuals to impale themselves on the barbwire so that they can use the body as a bridge to get into Trump’s trenches.

Let’s just look at Rubio for his incentive structure. Right now, he has shitty chances. The betting market has him at 8% chance of nomination and probably an implied 4% to 5% chance of the White House. Those odds suck, especially compared to his odds in December. However they are better than his 2020 odds. He has gone 1 and done in the Senate. He has indicated he actually hates the process of governing so a run for Governor in 2018 and then a summer long camp-out in South Carolina in 2019 is unlikely. If he loses now he becomes 2012 Rick Santorum without a natural base of dedicated supporters and a similar humiliating loss.

8% odds suck. They are much better than his 2020 or his 2024 odds.

So why would he get out?

Applying that same logic to all to Kasich and Cruz, and their odds suck now, but they are better than they would be in 2020.

And given that the promises that are made in March of 2016 are highly contingent promises that Trump can first be beaten and then Clinton can be beaten plus the promiser has few strong constraints in his actions after Election Day, the promises made to move someone out are not particularly valuable nor credible.

The traditional solution to a collective action problem is to have an external entity be able to move people off of stable but negative equilibriums and compensate losers from the much larger net social gains. The RNC is not a strong governing entity and Republicans don’t do collective action problems well anyways…

So pass the popcorn.

Today’s Smart Read…

…comes from Thomas Edsall at The New York Times

He answers his question “Why Trump Now?” by looking at the material reasons for working-class white disaffection, not just with the post-civil-rights Democratic Party, but with the cabal to whom that group turned in increasing numbers from 1968 forward.  He writes:

The share of the gross national product going to labor as opposed to the share going to capital fell from 68.8 percent in 1970 to 60.7 percent by 2013, according to Loukas Karabarbounis, an economics professor at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.

Even more devastating, the number of manufacturing jobs dropped by 36 percent, from 19.3 million in 1979 to 12.3 million in 2015, while the population increased by 43 percent, from 225 million to 321 million.

The postwar boom, when measured by the purchasing power of the average paycheck, continued into the early 1970s and then abruptly stopped (see the accompanying chart).

In other words, the economic basis for voter anger has been building over forty years. Starting in 2000, two related developments added to worsening conditions for the middle and working classes…


Read the whole thing.

If you’re too busy the TL:DR of those two developments are the interrelated facts that from the year 2ooo, upward mobility reversed itself, with more people falling into the middle class and poverty and fewer making it up the ladder — and the impact of China and its increasing integration into a world-wide free-trade regimen.  Edsall’s reporting on the China development — with its accompanying misreading by free-trade elites — is particularly sharp.

Add to that, as Edsall does, the TARP bailout after the elite-engineered collapse of 2007-8 and the Citizens United decision and you have specific and plausible reasons for Republican working class voters (and everyone else, of course) to see their chosen political leaders as shills and swindlers:

By opening the door to the creation of SuperPACs and giving Wall Street and other major financial sectors new ways to buy political outcomes, the courts gave the impression, to say the least, that they favored establishment interests over those of the less well off.

Edsall’s conclusion?

The tragedy of the 2016 campaign is that Trump has mobilized a constituency with legitimate grievances on a fool’s errand.

The crux for this year is exactly that:  Lots of Americans have been screwed — systematically, with comprehensive effect — for decades.  The material losses they – we — have suffered are real.  The responses Trump offers, such as they are, may be hopelessly at odds with any actual redress of those wrongs.  But any campaign (are you listening, Hillary?) that ignores the fact that two generations of Americans now have seen the basic expectations of life reversed is going to have hard time winning, just by pointing out that Trump’s bloviating won’t help either.

Image: David Vinckbooms, Distribution of Loaves to the Poor, first half of the 17th century.

Open Thread: Could Be Worse, You Could Be A Republican

The above tweet made me curious enough to check the source. Allahpundit’s very first line:

I can’t shake the nagging suspicion that not only isn’t this guy [Trump] conservative, he doesn’t much respect conservatism either when you come right down to it…

… Some voters, as Shapiro says, don’t care about conservatism in the first place; either they’ve been centrists for years or they’ve drifted towards nationalism in frustration with the GOP. But others probably do still identify as conservative yet have no problem identifying Trump that way too because their definition of conservatism is thin and consists in great part of opposition to the left…

… The true risk to Trump in lumping conservatives in with Beltway Republicans is that it makes the right’s incentive to go third-party stronger if he ends up as nominee. If conservatives are part of the problem that a Trump-led GOP is trying to overcome, why would they stick around and support him in the general? Better for that 20 percent of the party to go indie and vote for Romney or whoever, even at the expense of electing a Democrat, since it would force nationalists to recognize that they can’t win without conservatives any more than conservatives can win without them…

I keep thinking of the punchline to the ancient joke about an overbearing bully confusing Raisinettes and rabbit pellets: See — you’re getting smarter already!

Apart from schadenfreude, what’s on the agenda as we start the (long for some) weekend?

So Near And Yet Shofar

Because I could(n’t resist):



Posted by Blaine Cooper on Sunday, January 17, 2016

Just to ram the point home: if I were those guys I’d think long and hard about the story of Nadab and Abihu. False prophets do not usually achieve happy endings. A sheepish withdrawal is by far their best outcome…which would let them get back (continue) to fleece their flock.

But I’ll say this: those big horns are not that easy to blow. Kudos for that at least.