Skip The Middle, Go Straight To The Top

The grift is on and in glorious prime-time, kids.

Trump pulled the stunt once before, demanding that CNN donate the proceeds from its September Republican presidential debate to a charity. The network didn’t publicly comment on the request and Trump ultimately participated in the debate.

Trump again floated the idea of the network donating money to charity in exchange for his participation during a campaign rally in Georgia.

“How about I tell CNN that I’m not gonna do the next debate?” Trump said to his audience, as quoted by USA Today. “I won’t do the debate unless they pay me $5 million, all of which money goes to the Wounded Warriors or to vets.”

He may not be the game show host this city deserves, but he is the game show host that this city needs, ya see.

Open Thread: The Wingnut Wurlitzer Falls Into the Pit It Has Dug

Any time during the last forty years, a New York reporter looking for a few quick column inches could check whatever atrocity property developer and short-fingered vulgarian Donald Trump had most recently become involved with. Any time in the last twenty years, a national entertainment reporter could always examine Trump’s latest “reality show”, studded with wanna-be celebrities and sociopaths, for going-to-hell-in-a-handbasket filler. Mocking rich jerks with ambitions of seriousness has been a trope since long before the classical Greeks codified the “look at this putz, he thinks he can buy respect” playbook.

Then generally inoffensive reporter McKay Coppins wrote up a Buzzfeed interview mocking Trump’s presidential “ambitions”, it took off on The Nets, and the intersection of wounded plutocracy and the well-honed rightwing media machine produced… a monster. Per Mr. Coppins, at the Washington Post:

… Trump’s dominance in this year’s presidential primary race has often been described as a mysterious natural phenomenon: the Donald riding a wild, unpredictable tsunami of conservative populist anger that just now happens to be crashing down on the Republican establishment. But in fact, Trump spent years methodically building and buying support for himself in a vast, right-wing counter-establishment — one that exists entirely outside the old party infrastructure and is quickly becoming just as powerful.

These forces have asserted themselves repeatedly in the fight over the future of the Republican Party. But Trump came to understand their power earlier than most. When no one was watching, he was assuming command of this Fringe Establishment, building an army of activists and avatars that he would eventually deploy in his scorched-earth assault on the GOP’s old guard, on his rivals in the primary field — and, as an early test case in the winter of 2014, on me…

… An entire right-wing media ecosystem has sprung up, where journalist-warriors flood social media with rumors of sharia law coming to suburbia and hype a fast-approaching “race war” in America targeting whites. The Republican establishment — a loose coalition of party committees, moderate donors and business interests — once hoped to harness this tremendous new energy to recapture the White House.

Instead, the Fringe Establishment is the one doing the harnessing… Read more

Tuesday Evening Open Thread: Another Ramp-Up in the Repub Clown Contest

Hey, remember Liz Mair’s cunning plan? Maybe she was a Trump operative all along!


Apart from pointing & laughing, what’s on the agenda for the evening?

Open Thread: Trump’s Fans Go Full Brownshirt

At last, an experiment to answer the plaint, “How come those #BLM protestors aren’t disrupting Trump rallies?” Per NYMag, “Black Lives Matter Protester Tackled by Crowd at Trump Rally in Alabama“:

CNN reports that a black protester who tried to disrupt Donald Trump’s campaign rally in Alabama Saturday was involved in an altercation with several crowd members. The man was shouting “black lives matter” and wearing a shirt adorned with the same statement, and members of the crowd apparently took it upon themselves to intervene. The Montgomery Advertiser notes that he was one of three protesters who had entered the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex about 35 minutes into Trump’s speech in an attempt to disrupt it.

According to the Advertiser, event staff asked the protesters to stop, and two then did while the third continued to protest. An anonymous Trump staffer said that “the guy was being disruptive. He was doing the Black Lives Matter thing and saying other phrases that were really firing up the crowd around him. He was throwing his hands around almost punching.” But according to CNN, the protester was shoved and tackled by several people — all of whom were white — and also punched by at least one man and kicked by one woman while he was on the ground. Security officers eventually escorted the man out of the rally, and at least one attendee can be heard chanting “all lives matter” in response. The anonymous Trump staff member insisted the protester’s removal was a safety issue, because “the guy was intentionally antagonizing the crowd.”

The man did not need medical attention. No arrests were made but three people were reportedly asked to leave the rally after the altercation, though it’s not clear if they were protesters or attendees. As the protest happened, Trump responded by ridiculing the protester and saying “get him the hell out of here.”… Trump also differentiated himself from Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who Trump says allowed (Black Lives Matter) protesters to take over one of his rallies because Sanders was too politically correct. Trump then assured the crowd that would never happen at one of his rallies…

Gotta say, for wanna-be thugs, these guys seem to be on the same tactical level as a bunch of fourth graders — lots of posing-in-front-of-the-bathroom-mirror MMA-on-the-tv stances, shouting slogans, flailing, a sneaky kick or poke once the professionals swarm the protestor. A suicide bomber wouldn’t even need to set off his vest to take out these noble defenders of FREEDUMB!!! — one look at an actual physical threat and they’d trample each other, shitting themselves in terror.

Interview with protestor Mercutio Southall here.

Open Thread: “Establishment” GOP Has A Cunning Plan…

Nate Cohn, in the NYTimes, says “The G.O.P. Establishment Has a Big New Hampshire Problem“:

The last two Republican presidential primary contests have followed the same script: A conservative candidate wins in Iowa, a relative moderate wins in New Hampshire, and the latter — with broader appeal and all of the establishment’s resources — outlasts the former in a protracted fight for the nomination.

But so far this cycle, New Hampshire’s voters aren’t playing along. Donald Trump has led every poll in New Hampshire since June. Candidates like Marco Rubio and Jeb Bush have struggled to get out of the single digits.

The weakness of mainstream candidates in New Hampshire poses a big challenge for the party’s beleaguered establishment. If a candidate acceptable to the party can’t win New Hampshire or Iowa, the G.O.P. will face a bleak choice: undertake the daunting and expensive task of mounting a come-from-behind effort, or grudgingly acquiesce to a candidate it really doesn’t want, like Ted Cruz, but who may be better than someone it can never accept, like Mr. Trump….

How is Mr. Trump doing so well? He’s drawing on many moderate and secular voters who haven’t supported the anti-establishment but usually religious candidates who have fared well in Iowa. The same pattern emerges in national polls, which often show Mr. Trump faring best among self-described moderates…

No worries, reports the Wall Street Journal — “GOP Operative Plans ‘Guerrilla Campaign’ Against Donald Trump“:

The Republican establishment, increasingly alarmed by the enduring strength of Donald Trump’s presidential bid, is ratcheting up efforts to knock him out of the race, including the first attempt to unite donors from rival camps into a single anti-Trump force.

A well-connected GOP operative is planning a “guerrilla campaign” backed by secret donors to “defeat and destroy” the celebrity businessman’s candidacy, according to a memo reviewed by The Wall Street Journal

… The sense of urgency has mounted in part because Mr. Trump continues at or near the top of GOP polls, even after many predicted that the Paris terror attacks would lead voters to turn to a more seasoned candidate.

The most concerted effort is Trump Card LLC, the self-styled guerrilla campaign being launched by Liz Mair, the former online communications director of the Republican National Committee.

“In the absence of our efforts, Trump is exceedingly unlikely to implode or be forced out of the race,” according to the Trump Card memo. “The stark reality is that unless something dramatic and unconventional is done, Trump will be the Republican nominee and Hillary Clinton will become president.”

Opposition research, grass-roots organizing and donor outreach has been going on for weeks, Ms. Mair said, while declining to name any backers. “It’s loosely organized and highly confidential,” she said. “I certainly know donors who are very happy that their fingerprints will be kept off things.”…

Ms. Mair, who has ties to the libertarian movement and the GOP establishment, said that donors backing Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Mr. Kasich and Mr. Bush are interested, and that some worry that going public could hurt their candidate…

…[P]ossible tactics include fake pro-Trump ads that show him supporting socialized medicine, seizing property through eminent domain and taking other positions that stray from GOP orthodoxy; using a Trump impersonator to show him insulting people; and attacking his business record in “stark, nasty terms.”

The goal, according to the memo, isn’t to convert Mr. Trump’s supporters into backing other candidates, but to dissuade them from voting altogether, especially in New Hampshire’s influential first-in-the-nation primary…

My emphases. If you have a dim memory of reading about Liz Mair in the not-too-distant past, she was the hip young digital strategist hastily sin-binned by Scott Walker’s campaign for WrongThink:

… “In other news, I see Iowa is once again embarrassing itself, and the GOP, this morning. Thanks, guys,” Mair wrote of a January event hosted by conservative Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), according to the Associated Press. “The sooner we remove Iowa’s front-running status, the better off American politics and policy will be.”…

So, she’s not in the business to be loved, obviously. Whether she and her “donors” can actually do much to kneecap Donald “Il Douche” Trump… well, The Hairpiece would certainly be a high-value trophy for an oppo-research firm with no ethics, assuming that last clause isn’t redundant.