Why would Trump go?

The post-convention Dump Trump movement among Republican operatives and strategerists is growing and getting louder. Politico has the scoop:

Republican insiders in key battleground states have a message for The Donald: Get out.
That’s according to The POLITICO Caucus — a panel of activists, strategists and operatives in 11 swing states. The majority of GOP insiders, 70 percent, said they want Trump to drop out of the race and be replaced by another Republican candidate — with many citing Trump’s drag on Republicans in down-ballot races.

I have two big questions. The first is a bit of taunting —“Why the hell could you not organize an orgy at the Bunny Ranch in January?”

Secondly, why the hell would Trump agree? A Dump and Replace Trump movement has severe mechanical limitations. Ballots will start to be printed in the next couple of weeks so there is a hard time constraint on any Trump Replacement movement. More importantly, any Dump and Replace Trump action has two major players who have to agree and a hostile player who has a say. A successful Dump Trump action needs the “establishment” Republican Party to agree to the action (they’re as an institution is either there or close to it) as well as Donald J. Trump to agree to be replaced.

The Republican insider argument is that Trump will cost them the White House, will cost them the Senate and will significantly reduce (best case scenario) the current GOP majority in the House. That means Trump will cost them the Supreme Court median vote. All of those are probably true and they are high salience to Movement Conservatives.

Does Donald J. Trump and his voters care deeply about any of those items except for the White House?

No!

He does not care about the House, he does not care about the Senate. He does not care about policy outcomes. He has a very limited shadow of the future and a very narrow give a fuck space that barely intersects with Republican insider give a damn space.

What is the gain for Trump to step aside? His brand is underwater as his name is currently toxic. If he is to step aside, his brand (and his ego) won’t recover quickly. His best chance of re-establishing his brand (and his ego) is to double down and win. If he wins the White House in November even if there are 98 Democrats in the Senate and 431 Democrats in the House, he won, and the Republican establishment are full of losers. His brand would take off and he could make odd speeches at golf courses while Mike Pence attempts to govern.

If he steps aside, the party insiders are better off, but his brand is shit and his ego is bruised as he would be the loser genuflecting to the wills of the loses that he beat in the primary process.

What can the Republican Party insiders offer to Trump that is worth enough to Trump to make it worthwhile for him to step aside?

Until I see a good answer to that question, I am assuming that the Dump Trump movement is merely a stage of grief and not an actual strategy.



Dumb idea of the week

And this is not even directly related to Trump.

my first response is to ask if Ryan Lizza guzzles anti-freeze for breakfast as this is breathtakingly stupid.

Let’s make a few assumptions that I think are verifiable within reality.

a) Hillary Clinton has in all projection systems been favored to win the White House at all points to varying degrees (except the 538 click-bait now-cast)
b) A Republican appointed or de facto appointed Supreme Court median judge produces significantly different policy and political outcomes than a median Supreme Court justice that represents a typical Democratic nominee.
c) The Clinton campaign is better run than the Trump campaign.

Now let’s make a few more slightly shakier assumptions.

d) The Democratic coalition has good reason to believe it is a dominant Presidential level coalition ( 5 out 6 most recent elections had Dem popular vote pluralities etc)
e) The Republican coalition is a maxed out coalition with significant headwinds due to higher death and lower replacement rates of their core voters compared to Democratic core voting blocks.
f) The Donald is a dumpster fire which excerbates E

In football analytics terms, Clinton is ahead and she can win with a good, productive 8 minute offense of low variance but efficient plays. There is little reason for the Clinton campaign to adopt high variance vertical shots down the field to score when she is already up 9 with a better quarterback and a better defense. Scoring point is nice but running time off the clock and winning field position works almost as well. Interceptions and fumbles would dramatically drop win probability compared to a counterfactual of boring productive plays.

Promising to nominate a typical Republican judge as the median SCOTUS vote in order to try to capture 2% to 5% of the core Republican vote is a high variance play for a Democratic nominee. It could be worth it if the nominee was down 9 points with three months left. But that is not the case. Promising to nominate a Kennedy clone or more likely a Roberts clone may or may not get any Republican votes as a Trump Administration would nominate at least a Roberts if not an Alito clone anyways while it would cause a lot of trouble on the left flank. That could be acceptable if the left flank was legitimately faced with a “this sucks but it is the only chance to avoid the true suckage of four years of Trump” choice but that is not the choice out there.

Therefore this is the stupidest thing I’ve read this week.



Oh God I could do better than that

I’m working on a new twitter persona, a centrist parody, but I’m starting to wonder if I’ll never keep up with No Labels on that front:



It’s Barbaric, But Hey, It’s Home

Apparently Aladdin and Princess Jasmine are terrorist masterminds, who knew?

 

I’m gonna go ahead and bet that factoring in Democrats that we end up with that fabulous TWENTY-SEVEN PERCENT of all American voters will agree to anything thing yet again, yadda yadda America has a dangerous military Genie deficit SO LET’S BOMB AGRABAH AND GET THAT JAFAR DUDE YEEEHAAAAAA.

On the other hand, Iago is pretty suspicious for a parrot…

EDIT: Full PPP poll results in PDF form here. Far scarier than bombing a fictional country is the very real problem that having 46% of your voters wanting a national database of Muslims presents, assholes.

EDIT 2: Yep, 19% of Democrats also want to bomb a fictional Disney sultanate.



Pussyfooting Around

The Powerthirst Party has to get its two-minute hate on, and nobody does it better than Stu Varney’s bad cop/insane cop routine on FOX.

STUART VARNEY (HOST): Let’s get right to the president’s speech last night on terrorism, and bring in Lt. Col. Ralph Peters. Alright, Ralph, I have a question for you. I know you watched last night. I want to know, what were you saying to the TV as the president was speaking? What was your commentary as the president’s speech unfolded?

RALPH PETERS: Well, first of all he keeps speaking about “we can’t give in to our fears.” You know, “don’t be afraid.” Look, Mr. President we’re not afraid we’re angry, we’re pissed off, we’re furious. We want you to react, we want you to do something. You’re afraid. I mean this guy is such a total pussy, its stunning. And, you know, we want — we the people, the American people, whom he does not know in any intimate sort of manner, we want action. We want action against Islamic State and then — then, when the president is telling us he is going to destroy ISIS. This is a president who has done more harm to American police departments than he has done to Islamic State. This is a president who restrains our military. He uses it not to defeat ISIS, but for political purposes for political cover. This is a president who doesn’t want to hurt our enemies. This is a president who cares more about thugs in Guantanamo, or thugs in Ferguson, Missouri, than he does about law-abiding American citizens and their right to live in safety and peace.

VARNEY: I can tell you are super angry, and I asked you what your reaction was, but I have got to call you — you can’t use language like that on the program, OK? I’m sorry.

PETERS: I’m sorry.

VARNEY: OK, accept that. Now, moving on…

Varney of course waits for Peters to get done with his rant before scolding him, because he’s polite, you see.  Not that he was going to correct Peters’s content that Obama “cares more about thugs” in Gitmo or Ferguson, just that unfortunate language was the only problem.

By the way, if “I can tell that you’re super angry” isn’t the motto of FOX, it needs to be.



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.



Gitmo Closure, Redux

I want Steve M. to be wrong here about Dems chickening out on accepting Syrian refugees, but given the repeated history of Dem cowardice on closing Gitmo, I don’t think he is.

And if this can’t be legally blocked by governors, the courts, or a Republican Congress, I’m predicting raw George Wallace-style resistance by the governments of the Southern states especially — or, perhaps, confrontations involving angry True Patriots with AR-15s. As I’ve said before, I lived through busing in Boston. I know how ugly this sort of thing can get if at least some of the people holding government power reject the rule of law.

We’ve been through this sort of thing before in the Obama years. The president wanted to close Guantanamo, send some of the detainees to stateside penal facilities, and conduct trials in New York City. The backlash was fierce, and no one had his back — and please recall that this was in 2009 and early 2010, when his party had large majorities in Congress. (The mayor of New York, Mike Bloomberg, who’d endorsed Obama in 2008, ultimately stabbed him in the back on this.)

When Obama’s opponents have an ideal opportunity to prey on voters’ fears, they’ll do it, relentlessly. So this is going to be a losing battle for the White House.

I don’t doubt President Obama will find a way to get something done on this, but it’s not going to be pretty.  Maggie Hassan in New Hampshire didn’t hesitate to crap out, presumably to help her Senate chances next year, even though the State Department has taken in refugees since 9/11 without problems.

So what happens?  Hearings?  Legislation tacked on to must-pass bills?  I’m not sure, but what I’m not seeing is Democrats in Congress backing the President’s position on this.  And that makes me think it’s possible that this turns into trying to close Gitmo all over again.

But betting on Democrats not named Obama to have moral courage in the face of rampant Islamophobia has already been a loser for the last seven years.  You’ll forgive me if I think it’s not a solid bet this time around, either.

[UPDATE] If this poll that Greg Sargent brings up is any indication, it’s that Islamophobic assholery in the US hasn’t changed too much in 14 years.

A major new poll from the Public Religion Research Institute suggests these GOP lawmakers and candidates may be reading the mood of the overall public — and GOP voters in particular — with dispiriting accuracy.

The poll finds that Americans overall agree by 56-41 that the values of Islam are at odds with American values and the American way of life. Meanwhile, Americans are almost perfectly split on the value of immigration: 47 percent say immigrants strengthen the country with hard work and talent, while a depressingly high 46 percent say they are a burden on the U.S. because they take jobs, housing and health care. The CEO of PRRI tells religion writer Sarah Posner that the findings show an “increased xenophobic streak” among the American public overall.

So yeah, this is not going to be a good time for refugees.