February 22nd, 2016

Path to the GOP nomination—path to truth

I’ve noticed that all of a sudden post-SC primary there are a ton of “Trump is inevitable” posts and articles. There are also a few “no, he’s not!” pieces, too, but the former predominate.

The whole thing is odd, but I suppose that’s what sells. Frighten people or please them, depending on their attitude towards Trump, but make it sound like you know what you’re talking about and can see into the future in a campaign season notable for the fact that “unprecedented” actually seems applicable here.

So I am not going to say what’s going to happen. I simply will say that Trump keeps getting a third of the vote, and that for a while there have been two other leading candidates (Cruz and Rubio) who split the non-Trump vote of 2/3 evenly enough between them that even if Kasich and Carson drop out, or fade to even lower numbers than their currect 7% (as sometimes happens when candidates stay in the race despite waning-to-nonexistent prospects), the results may end up with no candidate over 50% in any primary, and even with a brokered convention.

We just don’t know, It’s not just the unusual nature of the Trump candidacy, which has so many people in what passes as his own party—the GOP—saying they can’t stand him and will never vote for him. It’s the strange evenness of the rival candidates Cruz and Rubio (who are already somewhat unusual as two prominent Hispanic GOP senators) that makes it difficult for either to get traction against Trump, although each of them beats him in two-way polls.

“Strange” doesn’t even begin to cut it. And it’s frustrating for those of us who most definitely do not trust or agree with much of what Trump says, and who also believe (I am basing this on polls of all kinds) that he is the weakest GOP candidate in the general and that his nomination would probably lead to the election of Hillary Clinton.

It has also been very frustrating to me to watch Cruz and Rubio tear each other apart. Their real enemy is Trump, and if they don’t see it they ought to. In the thread about the SC primary there was a long long discussion in the comments section that is well worth reading, and soon I may write a post about some of the issues discussed there. For those of you who didn’t follow the discussion I’m referring to, it begins around here with a comment by “Bob_CA” and continues for many many comments back and forth between Bob and me. Please read all his comments and all of mine; other people chime in, too.

The main issue there was how to decide what’s true and what’s false about a politician. Hard task. During a political campaign the mud flies fast and furious. Then blogs and periodicals that are for this candidate and against that one (not to mention such larger disagreements as liberal or conservative) will amplify the stories that reflect badly on the enemy, and even sometimes lie and certainly distort, while doing the opposite for their favored one.

It’s not just one candidate who does this, it’s the whole wretched business of politics. To ask candidates to stop doing this is like asking the sun not to shine (or perhaps, to ask night not to fall).

The task of the reader and the voter is to sort through it as best he/she can, and I don’t make light of that task, because it takes time and is seemingly endless. It a version of the same undertaking, by the way, that led me to my political change so many years ago. I followed the story trying to get to the truth, knowing that truth is knowable but that my goal is to get as near to it as I can.

That process led me to my political transformation, which was absolutely not what I thought would happen when I started on that journey merely out of curiosity, sparked by the terrible events of 9/11. But that’s where that pursuit led me—to this blog, dear readers. I’m still trying to get as close as I can to the truth, knowing I can never really reach it in the absolute sense.

27 Responses to “Path to the GOP nomination—path to truth”

  1. Old Steve Says:

    Keep up the search for truth, you are helping all of us during your search with your blog. A lurking fan.

  2. Cornhead Says:

    If the Cruz and Rubio people were smart, they would launch a daily attack on Trump.

  3. K-E Says:

    Since 9/11 led to your transformation, wondering what you think of today’s news where R. Guiliani says that he is friends with Trump and discussed his campaign with him several times a week (I think). Guiliani was probably one of the best mayors NY ever had, did an outstanding job as prosecutor and was a true patriot on 9/11. I find this support intriguing and notable.

    As for attacking Trump, one thing I think I finally realized today: for some, Trump’s business tactics are exactly why they want him as president. They don’t see the story Neo posted about Scotland to be a bad thing. They see it as a good thing. How? Trump gets what he wants. And if he is on your side, he will work hard to win for you. I see no signs in Trump that he is interested in turning the government on the little guy (like Obama), but is more interested in turning the government on the big guys (trade deals, illegal immigration and visa problems, military, ISIS, etc.). He is about winning, not about targeting ‘the little guy.’ Just winning.

  4. neo-neocon Says:

    K-E:

    I wonder if you actually read that story about Scotland, or my pieces (including others I wrote that I didn’t link to here).

    Let me be perfectly clear: Trump did NOT get what he wanted in Scotland. He built a golf course. Phase II never happened. It provided at most 10% of the jobs he had promised it would bring Scotland, and now most people there hate his guts (I have researched this, and I’m not making it up—don’t have time to give you the links now). He never got the Open he wanted there. His project had to be curtailed. He lost every court case there after getting the initial go-ahead based on the promises he made—-promises that did not pan out. He lost against Forbes, for example. He lost a later court case to try to stop a wind farm near his project. He lost and lost and lost.

    But I see that with many people (seems like you might be one of them?), the Trump-generated myth goes on.

    Oh, and re Giuliani—no surprise there. Why would anyone be surprised? Trump knows him well, has probably contributed to him over the years, and in 2008 Trump talked Giuliani’s candidacy up big time before he quit. In fact, I watched a video (or read an interview; can’t remember which) a while back where in 2008 Trump says the race in 2008 will come down to Giuliani vs. Hillary (no prognosticator he), and that he’ll have a hard time choosing between them because they’re both so wonderful and such great people.

    Don’t have time to find it now, but it is most definitely there.

  5. blert Says:

    The smears are running hot and heavy – – MOSTLY from the MSM talking heads.

    The only fellows that get the ‘light touch’ are down the ticket.

    Trump and Cruz are smeared constantly – – the latter particularly so.

    If there is any fellow that’s particularly cutesy it’s Marco Rubio.

    There is LITTLE doubt that Fox News is in the tank for Rubio.

    So Ted Cruz is denied ANY free air time.

    Whereas, the rest of the field is getting constant mention — including deluded Kasich.

    He’s so deluded that he can’t figure out that the GOPe has already selected charming Rubio.

    As for the Fall… how pay tell can Kasich create ANY daylight between himself and Rodham-Clinton ?

    Don’t feel ashamed. No-one else can figure that one out, either.

    &&&&&

    Carson is a worthy man — worthless on the ticket.

    VP need to be pit bulls — especially in the media circus.

    Put a fork in him, he’s done.

    &&&&&&&&&

    What’s the talk now?

    Where will Jeb! Super PAC money go ?

    Will the GOPe DARE take on Trump ?

    I see them accepting Trump as the lesser of two threats to their wallets.

    It’s all hands on deck to stop the ONLY fellow that I can fully endorse: Ted Cruz.

    Near as I can tell, his dirty tricks consist of reminding the voters what Rubio voted on ( if and when he voted ) and his double talk WRT the Gang of Eight.

    Rubio’s latest spin on ICE was pathetic.

    It’s wounded his candidacy in my eyes.

    My preference has shifted from Cruz, Rubio to Cruz, Trump.

    Immigration is THE issue of this election, and Rubio is a PROBLEM… NOT the solution.

    &&&&&&&

    Folks, the MSM is blacking out Ted Cruz.

    The only counter-punch is to hit the streets.

  6. Steve D Says:

    Trump’s only won open primaries so far. Likely, a lot of Democrats are crossing over and voting for him.

    Cruz and Rubio do see that Trump is the main enemy. So far it seems they think they need to get rid of each other first before they take on Trump. If they could score a quick knock out, it might work but that’s not likely anymore.

  7. K-E Says:

    Neo,

    Don’t think it matters if I read the Scotland piece or not. Now you tell me he lost. Okay, then the courts worked. Not sure what else to say there. I’m just pointing out how two different types of people perceive Trump. You perceive his qualities as negative and as a ‘bully.’ Others (including myself) perceive it differently.

    It sort of dawned on me over the weeks as I’ve been reading (or half-reading, since I’m actually a pretty busy person and can’t take everything in that you write, unfortunately) on your blog why I feel what I do about Trump. Finally figured out how to differentiate it.

  8. neo-neocon Says:

    K-E:

    Well then, I guess you don’t care that your perceptions are based on a false narrative. No need to read or learn what really happened.

    That’s really interesting.

    As Jonathan Swift wrote, “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing he was never reasoned into.”

    And let me reiterate: Trump didn’t just lose in court. He lost in the court of public opinion. He never was able to build the resort he wanted to build. He never got the prize he was looking for, the Open. He earned the enmity of the Scottish people who felt betrayed. He also acted like an elitist sonofabitch in the bargain, and got little for his pains.

    Perhaps you’d be interested in reading this even if you don’t want to read my post:

    The Republican Presidential candidate’s much-hyped Aberdeenshire golf course has been a loss-maker since it opened in 2012. He has also made similar threats of pulling investment after losing fights against local residents and failing to block plans for a local wind farm…

    The first project on the coastal Menie estate started almost a decade ago with plans to invest $1.5 (£1.02) billion, numbers that were repeated by former Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond in 2009, to build a five star hotel, a golf course and 1,500 houses. Mr Trump also said he would create 6,000 jobs.

    There are currently 150 people directly employed on the Menie golf resort. That number doesn’t include anyone employed on a contractual basis as the resort was being built, according to Trump International Golf Links, Scotland…

    According to documents from UK public database Companies House, the Menie estate golf course has made multi-million pound losses over the last three years. The estate made a loss of £1.3 million in 2014, a loss of £1.8 million in 2013 and a further loss of £1.7 million in 2012.

    “The Menie estate has been valued at £30 million – and it has lost millions since it opened in 2012,” Mr Baxter said.

    There’s plenty more where that came from. And his Scotland venture (as well as Atlantic City, which more people know about in this country) is by no means the only failure.

    See this.

    See this.

    See this.

    There are many more.

  9. parker Says:

    Cruz is the only real threat to what he calls the Washington Cartel. He is the only candidate with a record that backs up his rhetoric. There can be no question that he is a steadfast conservative. Thus, the msm (which includes Fox) and the big government parasites have to destroy his character and his message.

    Rubio, IMO, is conservative for the most part, but I would hold my nose in the ballot box based on his part in the Gang of 8. He will be the nominee because the gope believes he can be co-opted, and he is the most photogenic for the general election.

    Trump is trump, totally unreliable and dangerous as POTUS or dog catcher. He does not give a rat’s ass about the border crash, reigning in the beltway, or his simplistic blather about trade and tariffs. And the ‘little guy’? Oh please, in trumptopia the ‘little guys’ are illegals cleaning the toilets and making the beds at the casino or people to run over roughshod to provide limo parking or a uncluttered view from the 18th hole.

  10. parker Says:

    Cruz and Rubio are competing to be the last candidate facing down Trump. Its politics as bloodsport. They have to wrestle for that position.

  11. sdferr Says:

    Tweets Donald Trump: “I hear the Rickets family, who own the Chicago Cubs, are secretly spending $’s against me. They better be careful, they have a lot to hide!”

    Quips in response Sen. Ben Sasse [tweets], thinking of Obama’s uses of the instrumentalities of government against his political enemies: “Yeah, we should definitely put @realDonaldTrump in charge of the FBI and the IRS. #WhatWouldNixonDo”

  12. neo-neocon Says:

    sdferr:

    I have written several times (don’t have time to do links right now) that Trump tries to threaten and intimidate people (as well as insult them) as a matter of course. These are his favorite weapons for all offenses against the great Donald Trump, and those offenses include doing things like challenge the myths he’s created around himself (the amount of his wealth, for example). He sues people, but many of those lawsuits are frivolous, designed to frighten and harass them rather than to win. He considers putting them through the time and expense of defending a frivolous lawsuit to be well worth it, and it also discourages others (he hopes) and frightens them into silence or praise.

    Well worth it.

    He does all of this, and has for decades, as a private citizen. I can only imagine (and shudder) to think what he would do with the greatest amount of power in the world, the presidency. It should frighten anyone who believes in liberty, and yet many of his supporters who say they believe in liberty don’t seem to care one whit, or they applaud his audacity.

    It is beyond troubling.

  13. sdferr Says:

    Beyond troubling it is indeed, as is reflected (I believe) in the man’s horrible polling negatives. People may not be so utterly stupid after all, at least by that measure.

  14. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    “It has also been very frustrating to me to watch Cruz and Rubio tear each other apart. Their real enemy is Trump, and if they don’t see it they ought to.” neo

    I can’t entirely agree because I suspect that, if push comes to shove, the GOPe would much rather see Trump nominated than Cruz. It is Cruz who is their real enemy. And, since Trump’s support will ultimately be ephemeral, it is the Left and the GOPe who are Cruz’s real enemies.

    Election of Rubio simply slows down our March to the Collective, whereas election of Cruz is potentially, an existential threat to the established order.

    It’s obvious that some within the GOPe must already be considering ways to reach a future ‘accommodation’ with a Pres. Trump, a man who above all, values “making the deal”. If a ‘deal’ requires allowing Trump ‘to rule’ as a de facto ‘king’, they’ll happily act as his supportive ‘nobles’.

    But unlike Trump, with Cruz there are no deals possible with a man whose principles are antithetical to the established order.

  15. Steve D Says:

    ‘People may not be so utterly stupid after all, at least by that measure.’

    I only wish it was stupidity that made people support Trump. It would be much easier to combat if it was. Not lack of intelligence but the refusal to think, not blindness but the refusal to observe. It’s in the head not the senses but mostly it’s a lack of wisdom.

    First and foremost, one must be willing to take an argument square on, not beat around the edges. Don’t tell me you perceive things different than I, explain why you are correct and I am not. Explain to why I should vote for man like Trump to use his corruption in my favor (doesn’t that make me corrupt?)

  16. sdferr Says:

    A decent man knows to keep his hands off of other people’s property. He needn’t be tempted with possession of the ring of Gyges to prove he can constrain himself. A man who uses the instrumentalities of government as a private citizen to attempt to seize the belongings of others cannot be supposed to refuse to use those instrumentalities once in possession of the direction of them as a function of his political office. To make such a character into the President of the United States would be the epitome of stupidity, is the point.

  17. geokstr Says:

    parker Says:
    “Cruz and Rubio are competing to be the last candidate facing down Trump. Its politics as bloodsport. They have to wrestle for that position.”

    As I’ve said before, if Trump was not in this race, nearly all of his supporters would gravitate to Cruz as the one the Establishment hates most, and the one with immigration views closest to Trump’s. As such, he would be the prohibitive favorite in both the primaries and the general.

    A waste of the best opportunity conservatives have had since Reagan to begin the “fundamental re-transformation” of this nation back towards the republic it was designed to be. If Trump’s campaign had been deliberately set up to derail that opportunity, how different would it be than how it looks now?

  18. Steve D Says:

    Calling them stupid lets them off the hook. To answer Trump’s unethical behavior with ‘But he wins’ most especially encourages further unethical behavior.

    To make such a character into the President of the United States would be the epitome of immorality, is my point.

  19. sdferr Says:

    Yes, that’s true also. So we judge that such people as would support an immoral man are immoral, as well as stupid, since their actions will surely hold a high likelihood to injure themselves along with others. Gleefully, no less, are they so stupid. And to what extent will these injuries come? In the current turbulent state of international relations, possibly to the worst extent we know or have known: a world at war.

  20. neo-neocon Says:

    geokstr:

    I said that back in early August. Conservatives who support Trump instead of Cruz are proving they never meant what they said all those years when they were sighing, “Oh, if only we had a smart, articulate person who could articulate conservative principles, that person would be the one who we would support. And don’t talk to me about ‘electability’!”

    Pretty ironic, eh? Now some of those same people say, “Well, Trump’s not a conservative, but I don’t care because I like the way he gives the finger to the establishment and besides, he’s electable!” (when in fact the latter is almost certainly not true).

  21. neo-neocon Says:

    Geoffrey Britain:

    That’s not the “they” I was talking about. The “they” in my sentence (“their real enemy”) is the two immediately preceding. In other words, Cruz and Rubio’s real enemy.

  22. Ann Says:

    “Ted Cruz asked his communications director Rick Tyler to resign Monday after Tyler distributed a video that falsely depicted Marco Rubio dismissing the Bible.”

    How much damage, if any, is this going to do to the Cruz campaign?

  23. geokstr Says:

    neo-neocon Says:
    “geokstr:
    I said that back in early August.”

    And as I said few weeks back, we’re long lost twins of different parents – except for that ballet stuff, but I do love watching long, athletic legs in graceful motion engaged in any activity at all.

    😉

  24. Yankee Says:

    Some observations:

    1. Neither Cruz nor Rubio has any incentive to leave the race at this point. They’re doing well enough to think they could win, and while one of them could benefit if the other dropped out, it’s too early to do so. This may change in six weeks or so.

    2. Rubio’s term as Senator ends in January 2017, and he’s not running for re-election (and can’t, under Florida law). Unlike Cruz, who can return to his Senate seat, this may hurt his options.

    3. While both Cruz and Rubio have their good points, they both have significant weaknesses. I will not detail them here, so as not to derail the thread.

    4. If either Cruz or Rubio eventually gets the nomination, how do they appeal to Trump supporters?

    5. Not only has The National Review come out against Trump, but just recently Jon Gabriel, editor-in-chief of ricochet.com has stated that the Republican National Committee should cut Trump loose. Holy crackers!

    6. I’m not a member of ricochet.com, but I check that website often. Read the post yourself, and then all the various comments, and judge for yourself:

    https://ricochet.com/time-for-the-rnc-to-cut-trump-loose/

    7. Nevertheless, Trump does have support from conservative pundits, ranging from Pat Buchanan, Ann Coulter, John Derbyshire, Mark Steyn, and Howie Carr (WRKO, a really big deal in New England). I’m sure there are others I don’t know about.

    8. The Democratic nominee, whether it’s Hillary, Bernie, or some other, can be beaten in November. One just has to try.

    9. Maybe it’s just not their year, for all the other varied candidates. Maybe events are showing that nationalism, populism, and anti-immigration are the way to go.

  25. Richard Aubrey Says:

    Instapundit lists a piece by K.C. Johnson, solid-gold chronicler of the Duke lacrosse rape hoax, up through the subsequent lawsuits.
    Insty says this sort of thing is where the burn-it-all down sentiment comes from.
    You don’t have to like it to understand why it’s out there.
    And you don’t have to like it to be unable to see an alternative.

  26. Bob Says:

    Instead of tearing each other apart or going after Trump, Cruz and Rubio should be going after the Democrats including Hilary, Obama, Sanders, etc. This will encourage Trump to go after the Democrats too. If some criticism of rival Republican candidates is necessary (say in self defense) it should be civil and brief. But it should be followed by a well thought out criticism of the Democrats on topics such as the utter lack of economic growth under Obama and Hilary, the flooding of our labor market that is driving down wages and creating stiff competition for good jobs, the disastrous spread of nuclear weapons in the Middle East and the Far East, etc. The Republican candidates should also recognize that the Democrats have a monopoly in the media, Hollywood and the education system and will use that advantage to promote a circular firing squad among the Republicans. But by focusing their criticisms on the Democrats and proposing common sense remedies the top tier Republicans will shift the voters attention toward the real issues that affect ordinary Americans.

  27. geokstr Says:

    parker Says:
    “Cruz and Rubio are competing to be the last candidate facing down Trump. Its politics as bloodsport. They have to wrestle for that position.”

    Cruz is at a YUUUGE disadvantage. Should the remaining fringe candidates, Carson and Kasich, drop out, a decent % of Carson’s votes might go to Cruz. but nearly all Kasich’s support would go to Rubio, and he’s already got Jeb’s supporters.

    The problem for Cruz is that Trump has pretty much cemented in the 33% of Republicans that, if they were reasonably sane, would already be his, and he can’t go anywhere without them. His only hope is to stop Trump, and even then, many of Trump’s voters have been conditioned to reflexively hate Cruz by Trump himself.

    Rubio has the far easier path in that he only has to attack Cruz until Kasich quits. With his votes, he will quickly be in solid second place.

    So now both Trump and Rubio will rightly see Cruz as their biggest threat and both will continue to focus their attacks on him, and it will almost all be personal since he’s pretty squeaky clean politically.

    Unfortunately, unless something big and unexpected occurs, I see a brokered convention with the Establishment screwing it’s base, which is much bigger and more powerful than ever – again.

    The result could be open revolt.

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Previously a lifelong Democrat, born in New York and living in New England, surrounded by liberals on all sides, I've found myself slowly but surely leaving the fold and becoming that dread thing: a neocon.
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