Open Thread: “The Year the Trump Laughter Died”

Matt Taibbi, in Rolling Stone:

Trump seemed like a perfect foil in particular for Jeb Bush, a hesitating, gelatinous aristocrat who lacked the cocksure brainlessness the previous Bush used to sell himself as a “regular guy.” In an era when Republican voters were more distrustful than ever of the Same Old Politics, stiff, birthright-bearing Jeb was exactly the wrong candidate for the party elders to back.

And they seemed to realize it, too. Once the Republican race got going, the party appeared too disorganized and fractured to throw its institutional weight behind anyone. This left a comically enormous cast of hopefuls to duke it out in the equivalent of a schoolyard rock fight. And without the gravitas of party and media support, the candidates on the Republican side turned out to be just a bunch of chattering, defenseless, fourth-rate flesh-bags, exquisitely vulnerable to any strong personality. The entrance of Trump into the race on June 16th therefore offered the potential of an entertaining car wreck of awesome proportions…

The ancient report that he used to keep a book of Hitler’s speeches by his bedside notwithstanding, it’s very likely that Donald Trump never in his life thought seriously about things like nativism, fascism, eugenics, or any kind of ideology at all. This was not someone who likely ever dreamed of cattle cars and rivers of blood. Trump is a narcissist, not a demagogue; his pathology is himself, not politics… But shortly after Trump jumped into the race, he stumbled onto a secret: whenever he blurted out forbidden thoughts about race, ethnicity or gender, he was showered with the attention he always craved.

It was a bizarre marriage, but it made sense from from a clinical point of view. Attention is attention. Patient with narcissistic personality disorder discovers massive source of narcissistic supply, so he sets about securing its regular delivery…

Trump made the Republican field look weak by blurting straight-out what they would only say in code (Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and Chris Christie all parroted Romney’s pathetic “free stuff” line this year, for instance). This part of Trump’s act has to thrill Democrats, since he’s stealing away from Republicans the illusion of centrism. Future Republican nominees will have a tough time remembering how in the world George W. Bush ever won 44% of the Hispanic vote, as he did in 2004.

But Trump’s act isn’t all about race. He’s also scoring points by mining the same mainstream frustrations over language-policing and political correctness that made Sam Kinison and Andrew Dice Clay famous…

All comedy is about misunderstandings. A little town gets word that a government inspector is coming, so it mistakenly rolls out the red carpet for a visiting drunk on a gambling spree.

2015 was the same kind of mistaken-identity tale. The Silent Majority has been waiting 50 years for a prophet, but this year it settled for a billionaire loudmouth with a comb-over and a personality disorder. Like all comedies, this one is bound to end with an explosion of unintended consequences. What we won’t know until 2016 is whether this joke will end up being on all of us — or just those of us who waited too long to take Trump’s accidental war seriously.

Tuesday Morning Open Thread: If Ya Can’t Beat ‘Em…

This sounds to me like the old horror-movie trope “No, now I’ve got you trapped, right where I want you” — but I’m not sure which side is speaking. From the Politico article:

Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, which has faced doubts about its ability to translate enthusiasm into votes, in the past few weeks quietly signed an agreement allowing it to use the Republican National Committee’s massive voter file, POLITICO has learned.

The list-sharing agreement, which reveals a new level of cooperation between the GOP and its surprise front-runner, could be highly beneficial to both sides.

For the Trump campaign, it means access to a database containing a trove of information on more than 200 million Americans, which can be used to power a get-out-the-vote effort. And for the RNC, it means that any information Trump collects from his supporters, many of whom are not traditional Republicans, will be fed back into the database for future use by the party and its candidates…

All the grubby details at the link, but for those of us not enthralled by #moneyball-style dissections of number crunching, it does seem as though both parties are liable to end up with a lot less than they’re hoping to gain… and, Murphy the Trickster God willing, there would seem to be potential for data-leakage monkey-mischief…
Apart from wishing (further) confusion to our enemies, what’s on the agenda for the day?

My greatest post of the year

Unquestionably this nugget.

[…] By Halloween the only way you still hear about Trump is if he takes his National Front fan base and runs third party.


I guess that in the future everyone gets to be Dick Morris for fifteen minutes. Aside from Dick Morris of course, who has to be Dick Morris all the time. And Bill Kristol.

Do you have any least greatest hits of 2015 that you want to share? I could use some company.

Open thread.

Open Thread: Trust Fox News to Ask, and the Trump Campaign to Answer…

Hand-picked-by-Fox-News correspondent Hugh Hewitt cunningly asked The Donald about the “nuclear triad” during the last GOP debate, and it was clear that Trump wasn’t sure whether the phrase referred to foreign affairs or American’s Next Great Bake-Off. Now, of course, all the Repubs are strutting for the cameras, explaining how they will triad anybody so much as side-eyes Heartland America(tm), no lie. Which is not at all what the busy little minds in Ailes’ shop had in mind, oh my however could one cast such aspersions on their asparagus?…

(… also, notice they sent the “chick” out to take the heat, she said…)

Open Thread: Visual Proof