February 26th, 2016

Debate 2/25: Well, well, well—that was quite a slugfest

[NOTE: I didn’t watch the debate in real time (had a family event) but I watched much of it later, plus a few clips.]

Donald Trump has already said that it doesn’t matter what he does because his fans will still support him even if he stands “in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot[s] somebody.” So the first thing I have to say is that he didn’t shoot anyone last night, and it’s probable that few fans will desert him for his performance. The real question, as always with Trump, is how many more fans can he attract?

But leaving that aside, last night’s debate was very different from its predecessors. Now that the size of the field has shrunk to a manageable number, the individuals to focus on are more clearly than ever the trio of Trump, Rubio, and Cruz. Last night for a change Trump was the target, and the tag team was Rubio and Cruz. Rubio had more emphasis on process and Cruz content, but both of them attacked him on both. Just to refresh your memory:

Content is just what it sounds like: the subject matter about which two people (let’s say, a married couple) are arguing. “Did you do the dishes last night?” Process is everything else—for example, the emotion with which something is said, the type of vocabulary used, tone, repetition, body language, and the unspoken subtext.

Some of the most confusing disputes are the ones where one person begins an argument on the content level and the other person introduces a process rebuttal at some point.

In these debates, process has always dominated Donald Trump’s style to a degree far greater than we’ve ever seen in a politician. In fact, no one even comes close. Some content does manage to come out of his mouth, but even Trump’s content statements are repetitive, generic, and sketchy. His process presentation is also repetitive, consisting almost entirely of insults and bragging, followed by more insults and bragging, and all of it with a pugnacious attitude that his admirers read as tough and strong.

Until last night, Cruz and Rubio had stuck so very doggedly to content that they’ve looked wonky and dull in comparison to the street-fighting Trump. Last night they both put their process gloves on and gave Trump the business, particularly Rubio. But they didn’t neglect content, either, which is quite a feat—to pay conscious and planful attention to both content and process simultaneously. Last evening also highlighted the fact that both men are incredibly smart and quick, as well as knowledgeable about a host of issues on which Donald Trump appears appallingly ignorant.

Cruz was himself last night: brilliant, composed, on target—and to many people (I’m not one of them) somehow personally off-putting. Rubio was not quite the Rubio we’ve come to know. Sometimes in previous debates he has seemed earnest, knowledgeable, and eager, yet young and not especially aggressive, perhaps even a bit weak and naive. Tonight, he was the one who attacked Trump on both content and process, almost relentlessly, sometimes mocking him and sometimes zinging him, but always on the offensive. It was far more effective than any attack on Trump previously, almost as though Rubio was channeling his own previous tormentor, Chris Christie.

For those of us who have long thought Trump needed to be confronted with his own abysmal record and his own tendency to repeat himself and insult everyone in sight, it was gratifying to see. So you’d think I’d be happy, right? Part of me was; but the debate was also painful to watch. Why painful? Because they could have been doing this right along, and haven’t. It has been extremely frustrating all these months to watch Trump sail by while the others attacked each other instead. Now, when it’s almost Super Tuesday, they decide to finally do what they did last night?

I know why they didn’t beforehand; at least I’m pretty sure I know. They each wanted to be the last man standing. They thought Trump’s own behavior would inevitably bury him. At the beginning of the campaign season, who could have predicted that Rubio and Cruz would split the non-Trump vote between them so evenly? At the start, who could have predicted that Trump support would grow into an Obama-like cult? Still, both trends were already crystal clear by several debates ago.

I also watched some of the Fox coverage and commentary afterward. It struck me that I’ve have reached some sort of tipping point where their voices have become like chalk on a blackboard. Last night more than ever it seemed to me that not only were their comments superficial, but their voices had an oddly chipper, happy quality, as though we are all playing an awfully fun game, the lightest and airiest of entertainments.

70 Responses to “Debate 2/25: Well, well, well—that was quite a slugfest”

  1. Cornhead Says:

    These attacks should have been brought out months ago.

    I like neo’s comment about Trump’s people are an Obama-like cult. It would be nice if a Fox shill for Trump would say the same thing.

  2. wendy Says:

    Fox is in the hole for Trump. I can’t even watch shows I used to look forward to watching anymore. The hosts get as testy as Donald, when you bring up anything ABOUT Donald, that they don’t like. I wrote to them, and have been adamant, that I am done watching TrumpTV. I know they want the ratings, but they are sounding just like MSNBC. It’s pretty bad when the “news” becomes a pep rally.

  3. Bob Says:

    I think in the next debate the GOP has to focus on the struggling economy, the Middle East disaster Obama and Hilary have created, the plight of minorities in Democratic controlled inner cities, how mass immigration has kept wages stagnant, school choice, etc. CNN, which is part of the Democrats media monopoly, hammered the GOP candidates for not supporting open borders for much of the debate in order to secure the Latino vote. With the Democrats running the Republican debates Reince Preibus should at least demand equal time for conservative questions.

  4. F Says:

    Good analysis, Neo. I like the comment about nails on a chalk board — me too. And Hannity might as well be paid by the Trump campaign, so constantly does he give the man air time. As fraught as the thought is with possibility for abuse, I am ready to accept the idea of limiting US campaigns to 30 days. Of course that idea would be foiled by news programs that shill for a particular candidate — Hannity for Trump and CNN & MSNBC for Hillary — before the campaign actually kicks off. Hmmm: come to think of it, I’m ready to limit US TV news to 30 days a year. (/sarc)

  5. Janetoo Says:

    It’s almost as if they want Trump to win just to see him fail miserably at that wall.

  6. ArtfldgrsGhost Says:

    Last night the candidates did what the establishment elite wanted them to do… i guess we will see them on a few key commitees now… after all, if they DON’T do what the elite in establishment want that control the strings, then what happens to them going forwards? they dont get on commitees, they dont get to chair anything, people will isolate and all that… they will make them miserable as has been done to many others that we are not watching. Trump is not elite because earning money does not make a queens lad a manhattan power broker. you dont get into the social register cause you have money, you get in cause you have the right connections. Trump is hated ALL around because he is not part of the poor, the middle, or the elite… he is the kind of riche that the rich elite hate, brash, uncooperative, big mouthed, and who forced his way into the party, without their help, permission, and their working against him.

    THATS what he is liked for…
    that he can open his mouth about benghazi or such and spill whatever as he is not worried about the elite cutting off his future by their process… a process that goes back to mr deeds goes to washington and a thing we ignore. after all, us poor peopoe fantasize sometimes of winning a lottery and being part of the hoity toity, but that dont happen…

    You can see it by whom they marry
    even trump violates that by not marrying into that system the way otehrs have.. .though he does and has family members married into successful real estate, but NOT the elite…

    Marc Mezvinsky, is a hedge fund manager from another political family (chelsea clinton)

    Peter S. Kaufman is an American investment banker and private equity investor. He is the President and Head of Restructuring and Distressed M&A – Christine pelosi

    you will find the power elite marry bankers of the power elite… and political elite…

    but who did trump marry? who did his daugher marry? daugher became jewish to marry a real estate man (like dad)… Dad married her mom who was a model and a foreign daughter of wealth, but not power. [and she was married before trump, to guess? a real estate man]

    when i dated a social register deb i learned all this… that we would not be accepted because of my lineage and lack… not hers… that the power brokers of elite is banking and politics…

    real estate men are at the behest of bankers…. so there is a power above them.

    just cause you have money and you go to the parties and drink and are cordial, doesnt mean your part of the group or have their status… not at all…but the poor and middle class would never like the idea that no matter how much they succeed, they will always be like Egbert Floud and never like Earl of Burnstead (see ruggles of red gap staring charles laughton)

    sometimes what you see is not what you think you see, and that whats under the surface counts in ways you are blind to

  7. expat Says:

    I didn’t see the Fox stuff, but CNN gave Trump an enormous amount of time after the debate to tell us how great he is. I think Trump should be taxed for the free air time.

  8. Eric Says:

    “At the start, who could have predicted that Trump support would grow into an Obama-like cult?”

    Not “predicted” whole, but the factors were apparent.

    In an activist game that was missing an activist-style campaign among the traditional GOP candidates, the market inefficiency was obvious. It was there for the taking. As you’ve pointed out in previous posts with your prognostication from October 2012 and the protesting by radio hosts like Levin and Limbaugh, the groundwork was laid for an activist campaign on the GOP side.

    It only remained to be seen whether the factors would be focused.

    That piece was not predictable because the vast majority of mainstream conservatives that the GOP depends upon for participatory political elements reject Marxist-method activism out of hand. So, the opening was left unfilled until the Trump campaign picked up the practical invitation and exploited the obvious market inefficiency with an anti-GOPe campaign staffed by anti-conservative alt-Right activists.

    Once the activist style of the Trump campaign was apparent, then the “growth” part was predictable. The “growth” is a product of applied activist method. It’s not spontaneous. Activism is sociology weaponized or, if you prefer, industrialized.

    Moreover, the alt-Right activists augment their strategy by drawing from the zeitgeist that’s permeated by the Left due largely to the same conservative abdication of the activist game, in this case, the frame-setting Narrative contest for the zeitgeist. American society, including traditional GOP constituencies, is marinated in a Left-molded social cultural/political frame. The Left-mimicking alt-Right activists of the Trump campaign, in addition to drilling into Right-side discontent, riff from the Left-established anti-Right, anti-GOP frame in order to attack mainstream conservatives and the GOP.

    The clearest example is the Iraq issue where the Trump campaign picked up from the GOP’s incredible strategic error of responding to the Kelly hypothetical last May by attempting to skirt the Iraq controversy with an effective stipulation of the false narrative of OIF rather than the obvious politically correct action of vigorously re-litigating the Iraq issue to set the record straight.

    The GOP response to the Kelly hypothetical was a simple fitness test that the GOP failed spectacularly.

    The GOP candidates’ fearful confession that the Iraq mission was a “mistake” – as though they’re POWs that have been broken by torture – when gifted with the opportunity to re-litigate the decision for OIF has been a clear signal of fundamental character weakness.

    The Trump-front activist attack on the Iraq issue re-purposes the GOP candidates’ self-highlighting of the fundamental character weakness of the GOP.

    If conservatives and GOP are unable to muster an effective re-litigation of the Iraq issue even when faced with a demonstrably false narrative of the defining and course-setting application of American leadership of the post-Cold War – and American leadership under Republican presidency – despite possessing a straightforward set of law, policy, and facts to set the record straight, that’s a clear demonstration of GOP unfitness to lead the nation.

    Conservatives and the GOP don’t even have the excuse of claiming surprise that the activist method adapted by the Trump campaign is an imported social process, since the activist method was developed, tested, refined, and established by the Left in this market in competition directly against conservatives and the GOP.

    It’s simply a variation of a well established market-tested social process. Trump-front alt-Right activists have moved to “grow…an Obama-like cult” with an adaptation of the same activist method that was used to grow the “Obama-like cult”. Yet conservatives and the GOP, despite ample experience with the success of Left activist method, eg, the “Obama-like cult”, act surprised by the Left-mimicking activist-produced success of the Trump campaign.

    In terms of prediction, the only unknown was whether any GOP candidate would adopt activism in earnest to exploit the market inefficiency due to conservatives’ self-defeating rejection of activism.

    Once the Trump campaign exploited the market inefficiency, the “growth into an Obama-like cult” was predictable precisely because of the precedent contained in that statement.

    The activist game is the only social cultural/political game there is. The general will of We The People is a function of activism. Activism is a method, not an ideology. It works for anyone for any cause. And against anyone for any cause.

  9. ArtfldgrsGhost Says:

    I forgot to point out that its these people who decide who we vote for. and they dont like that trump has trumped their choices… even Obama was part of the group of power bankers who put him up… (and people wonder where the rothschildes conspiracy theories come from).

    Just take a look… Goldman Sachs is one of the largest donators to cruz… but not to Trump… they also give to the Clintons and so on… whom their children marry into to maintian this position

    the one thing they hate more than anything else is to become powerless… they hate losing control of outcomes… they are the bigger dealers who cheat the public and give everyone in business a bad name!!!! they are the kind that have their money in buffets berskshire, so he buys 100% of bnsf rail, and Obama and Steyer block keystone, making the billionaire inside power class (not all billionaires are part of this, the russian billionaires are not, the chinese have their own caste)… much wealthier as the stock went fro 100,000 a share, to 200,000 a share on that power brokered inside deal against not only the investors in america, but a whole country called Canada

    THATS the power brokers, and they dont like that somehow, some way, trump hs gone directly to the people, and they are working to get rid of this poseur to their caste, this outsider, this hated crude queens boy who thinks he can be a part of their sand box.. when he cant.. EVER…

    its like the old days where no one marries an actor, cause that is such a dirty job… well, real estate is the dirty area of power, and of course, is below that. even Trump HATES having to deal with these other two classes and has to deal against them (and wins despite them).

    wouldnt you hate to have to grease the people you dont like cause you want to have permits, and want to not be attacked for hiring practes the elite force all to comply with or go out of business uncompetitively, or how they get the IRS to harrase by auditing, or denying status, and on and on.

    [one day, if someone asks, i will explain why so many wealth wives have charities… but lets say that a big business has to pay taxes, but gets a tax right off for a charity. if their wives run the charity, they can take the tax money, dontate it, and she can take it back in salary and perks by running it through a second system… not to mention the positive perks to the public for doing this in taxes… i can explain a lot more i learned from the social deb, but i guess the poor who are so successful are the ones with the answers, as they are the ones that are so angry against the USAs french court of distracted power people]

  10. mf Says:

    Please read the following about our government today and why we are fooled into believing we have a say in it.
    A broad overview:

    The ruling class elite is scared (please read all links):
    The Post-Constitutional Election, Pt. 7: When Elites Meet

    There is little question that we the people need to take back our government. Jefferson calls the people “the safest depository of the ultimate powers of government.”

    Where does Trump come in? It looks like he is building a coalition that will replace the Republican elite. It is being built around 2 issues as of the moment. Illegal immigration and fighting for America’s interests around the world. Other issues may be added later.

    We don’t really know what he will do in office but I hope we will find out because Trump IMO will be the nominee and I’ll take a chance on Trump before I would ever vote for Clinton.

    Trump may also be all that was said about him in the Diana West piece linked above. I really don’t know. It may be time to really think outside the box. It may be it is all we have left.

  11. Cornhead Says:

    CNN is setting up Trump to be the nominee so Clinton will win in November.

    Cumo looked like Hannity last night.#shill

  12. Cornhead Says:

    Slight bit of hope today and that is based upon the fact that the primaries are state by state. If Ted can win TX, Marco FL and John Ohio, then Trump might be stopped.

    Rubio did a great job and I anticipated that it would have been from Cruz. But maybe too little and too late. It is clear the MSM won’t vet Trump now because they want Hillary. Fox is blind and want Trump because he is NYC.

  13. CV Says:

    It’s appalling that CNN gave Trump so much additional air time after that debate. I know they want him to be the nominee against Hillary, but really. Rubio was great, very articulate and quick-witted. He also deserves props for his self-mocking yet sly barbs about how Trump was “repeating himself.” Also enjoyed Carson’s plea, “can someone please attack me?” He is a good man and worthy candidate but he and Kasich really need to go now. Please. It’s the patriotic thing to do. And I second the comments about Fox News. They deserve much of the blame for creating the Trump monster, and there are enough of them cheerleading for him that it’s a real turnoff. Will probably still tune in to The Five (mainly for Perino and Gutfeld) and Brent Baier at 6 (mainly for Krauthammer and overall strong reporting). But the rest are dead to me 🙂

  14. K-E Says:

    I watched about 40 minutes. Saw some good stuff from Cruz. I hope he wins TX and stays in. Rubio needs to drop out. He is not going to win Florida, so what state can he win???

    As for losing Trump losing voters, I doubt it will affect him much. Just like his Iraq War and Bush stuff from last time didn’t really hurt. In fact, I read yesterday that half of Bush’s supporters went to Trump. Seems weird, but this will be true when Kasich and Carson eventually drop out.

    As we all know, when people start to perceive someone as a ‘winner,’ they want to vote for the winner. You may think Trump should be punished for what was revealed in the debate last night, but I am guessing it won’t hurt him much at all. He will do just fine next week.

  15. Nick Says:

    There was a line in Rounders to the effect that a shark doesn’t jump in and help the guppies, even if he’s not feeding. A candidate’s priority in a debate is to present himself as well as he can. If that requires going after another candidate, so be it. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t.

  16. Harold Says:

    Good debate. Rubio and Cruz have finally figured out how to attack Trump. Probably too late though.

    Rubio used the technique Christie used on him (the repetition thing) to good effect. Apparently it is difficult to defend against.

    Voting for Trump in the general will be like voting for Nixon. Better then the Democrat but certainly not someone interested in implementing the conservative agenda. Reagan looks more and more to be sui generis.

  17. JohnGalt47 Says:

    I liked the “chalk on a blackboard” line. Been trying to pin down why Fox anchors have become harder for me to watch. They are trying to be too neutral. Same way with many of the radio talk show hosts.

  18. holmes Says:

    Fox is disgusting and you nailed it- they are playing a little game with the country that they profit from. It reminds me of the baseball reporter played by Robert Duvall in “The Natural.” “Whether you’re the hero or the goat, I’ll have my story.” And says that when his career is done, he’ll still be around. That is the cynicism of these outlets.

    It is sad too that the selfishness and vanity of the candidates led to this and enabled Trump. Cruz the most blatant of all in embracing Trump in hoping he would profit from his inevitable collapse which never came.

    Lawyers like Cruz because he is brilliant. But he just stepped out of a law career yesterday and began running for President the moment he took the Senate. Much like someone else we know.

    Still, the rest of this campaign will be about taking out Trump and that dooms him for the general for certain. (He was mostly doomed already with so many people unwilling to vote for him, but he also started gaining steam. I think the momentum will be blunted but not in time for the primary now. Still, NRO had a little gaming of what happens with delegates. It could still, possibly, go to a brokered convention. If Trump wins Ohio and Florida, it’s mostly over though.

    So many sins in this election which should have been a layup for us over the corrupt Clinton. My silver lining is this: Gridlock and an electoral backlash to Hillary in the next election. It’s a Forever War, and it’s a missed opportunity for us, but given that we could have had Pinochet II, perhaps not the worst outcome after all.

  19. beldar Says:

    Let me first state that my personal preference for the nominee would be Cruz, but that I would have absolutely no problem casting a vote for Trump if and when he wins the nomination.

    I find it interesting that many on the supposed right who are virulently anti-“GOP elite” are also virulently anti-Trump to the point you declare you’d vote for Hillary or Sanders over Trump.

    You do realize that everyone on this blog is an elite. Whoever gets elected president won’t affect your life in any way other than making you pay a little more or less in taxes or slightly increase/decrease the very small risk you or a loved one is killed in an Islamic terrorist attack. Hell, for most of you, the outcome of the Yale-Harvard basketball game tonight will have more of an impact on your life and well-being than the outcome of the 2016 election.

    My opinion is that one of the VISCERAL reasons most of you Cruz supporters can’t stand Trump is because he really does appeal to the stupid RUBES that vote Republican that you’ve been trying to distance yourself your whole life. I get it–that’s what I feel too. Especially those of you who were liberals at one time–you know what you thought of the typical Republican, the easily influenced hayseed from flyover country.

    That’s why you have the otherwise unconscionable urge to cast a vote for Clinton or Sanders, because at least then you’d be voting in a similar fashion to your true peers, not the folks who drive pickup trucks, watch car races, and drink canned beer. I doubt anyone on this site has drank beer from a can for several decades, if ever, myself included.

  20. Oldflyer Says:

    This primary season has re-enforced the concerns I had after the Obama campaigns. There is a significant percentage of people on each end of the spectrum that cares little for hard information. They look to personality, and perhaps notoriety, and will not be swayed.

    I suspect that most of the other candidates thought that Trump would implode, so they refrained from rattling his cage early on. Possibly, their mistake was not recognizing the phenomenon I mentioned in the previous paragraph. Now, they have the picture, and I hope it isn’t too late.

    If I could finish reading all of Mr Ghost’s screeds, maybe I would have some understanding of what he is trying to convey. I suspect it would not be edifying. I will repeat what I have said previously; Trump is simply not some “up from the streets” nouveau riche outlier. Rubio said he inherited $200M. Checking on line reveals estimates ranging from 40 to 200. He attended quality prep schools, and elite Universities. If he is an outsider, it is because of his unfortunate personality.

    Conspiracy theories are rampant. For whoever it was that said the elites tell us who to vote for, I demur. It would be interesting to know how many who rail against the political establishment actually participate by contributing their time and money to the candidates they favor.

  21. Irv Says:

    It is my contention that Cruz is the only person who can possibly beat Trump for the following reasons. Rubio is the moderate choice and it is the moderates that Republicans believe have betrayed them for the last 4 years. Trump’s support is made up almost exclusively anti-moderate. Cruz’s support is both anti-moderate and confirmed conservatives. If Cruz drops out his support goes to Trump as the only anti-moderate left and Trump wins the nomination but maybe not the election.

    If Rubio drops out his supporters would go to Cruz. The moderates would have to go with him as the only Republican left. And, as a bonus, they could take credit for finally doing what their supporters wanted (elected) them to do the last 4 years. Since few Republicans really trust Trump to govern like a conservative, even a moderate one, both the anti-Trump and the anti-establishment vote would consolidate behind Cruz. So in this case Cruz would win both the nomination and the election.

    This scenario starts with Cruz winning big in Texas…without that the nominating process is over and Trump wins running away. I seriously doubt he could beat Hillary and even if he could we still wouldn’t have conservative policies or a conservative Supreme Court.

  22. expat Says:

    Hot Air is reporting on Trump’s latest “deal.” Huckabee’s daughter is joining his campaign, and Huckabee said that Trump shouldn’t have to release his tax returns.

  23. expat Says:

    CNN is now reporting that Christie is now endorsing Trump.

  24. CV Says:


    I am stunned and frankly just lost a lot of respect for Christie.

  25. carl in atlanta Says:

    Dittos re the “chalk on a blackboard” effect, especially when it’s Fox & Friends. My wife asked me earlier this week why I’ve been switching over to Maria Bartiromo’s show early mornings and Charles Payne’s early evenings (until 6:40 PM Eastern when I sometimes switch over to Brett Baier’s panel), and this may be why, even though I didn’t realize it until Neo put that handle on it..

    Yes, yes, those other shows are both on Fox Business, but IMO they actually do a pretty good job with the regular news and political beats as well. I’ve been boycotting CNBC ever since that disaster of a debate they hosted in Boulder and can’t make myself watch CNN.

  26. Richard Saunders Says:

    I can only hope and pray that no independents, undecideds, or crossovers were watching that abysmal “debate,” because if they were, we just lost the election. Very few of them are going to vote for a fourth-grader.

    “He called you a pushy-pants!”
    “Did not!”
    “Did too!”
    “Did not!”
    “Did too!”

    As usual, the only adult on the platform was Ben Carson. I have come to believe that he stays in because he hopes (I think in vain) that there are a lot of grownups out there who will vote for him.

    Of course, the questioners played right into it. I’m very disappointed in Hugh Hewitt, who should have known better, at least for his first question. He may have been forced into that — he had a real pained look on his face. Later, he started improving and asking substantive questions.

    The RNC should never approve this type of debate, certainly from now on. Five (or fewer) people, sitting in chairs. Only a few subjects. Everybody gets asked the same open-ended questions. Long or no time limits. No crosstalk. I think Trump would have been gone long ago if he had been asked, forex, “Mr. Trump, what is your position on farm subsidies?”

    “They’re great! I’m great! Farmers are great! I love farmers, farmers love me. Everybody loves me! Because I’m great! There’s probably food coming here from Mexico. That has to stop! We have a 58 Billion trade deficit from Mexico! We’re losers! I’m going to make America win again! There’ll be so much winning you won’t be able to stand it. You know why? Because I’m great! So let’s make America great again, like me!”

    I think (I hope?) after a few answers like that, everyone would see Trump for the putz he is.

    If — and seems ever more likely when — we lose this election, last night’s debate will be the pivotal moment.

  27. GRA Says:

    The GOP nomination is for Trump to lose. The presidency is for the DNC to lose.

  28. Janetoo Says:

    Christie just endorsed Trump. Vice president promise or Atty General? It’s something…

  29. expat Says:

    How do you know how elite we are? That is absolutely demeaning. I would give you my biography, but you don’t deserve it. I bet I have a wider range of life experiences than you and a family that includes a welfare recipient (poor because of illness) to a multi-multi milionaire. You sound like the elite to me.

  30. K-E Says:

    Fox News hated hated hated Trump for months. They are finally seeing the writing on the wall. Every news organization will need to have at least a decent relationship with the winner, won’t they? That is all you are seeing. Fox is finally not hammering Trump morning, noon and night. They are opening the door to acceptance, because he is winning.

    Is it not an endorsement, nor a play to ‘help’ Trump win. Trust me, many many conservatives have been ticked at the constant anti-Trump pro-Jeb/pro-Rubio crap that’s been going on at Fox for months. They clearly have their own agenda.

    That is nothing new. You are only now deciding this sucks because your guy is no longer winning and Trump is. Therefore, any acknowledgment by Fox that Trump is winning seems bad to you. No, it’s just stating the obvious – the guy might win. Maybe we should stop pretending that he is gonna lose.

    That’s about it.

    Trump followers are from all walks of life: rich, poor, educated, uneducated. That has been proven by the results in the primaries. He wins all types. Men. Women. Young. Old. I think some just don’t want to believe that.

  31. libertybelle Says:

    Since last summer the cable news networks created the Trump phenomenon. They allowed him free air time to saturate their shows with his endless repetitive propaganda, replete with the brainwashing buzz words and “winning in the polls”, where they recite his polls numbers relentlessly.. They created the “insurgent mythology” to fuel the Trump and Sanders story lines.

    News reporters used to dig into the past of candidates and expose most of the dirty laundry, but now many in the press claim that’s not their job. I find it incredible that the mainstream press journalists haven’t bothered to expose the vast dung heaps of Trump soiled baggage, but still determinedly fixate on the other GOP candidates’ history and put their every comment through stringent “fact-checking”. Even Cruz’ teenage video emerged, but they’ve been mum on Trump. Trump’s history on hiring illegal immigrants should have been front page news as soon as he became the voice on illegal immigration last summer.

    It’s obvious there’s been collusion at covering up Trump’s history, to help sell him to reality TV fans, low information types, racists, bigots and angry GOP base voters. Sadly, too many politicos in the GOP also live on polling data over principles and they’re gambling that Trump seems like the sure bet and they don’t want to be left out if Trump wins and it’s time to collect their share of the “winnings” – political appointments, etc.

  32. KLSmith Says:

    beldar: you are so wrong. People are reacting to the man not his supporters. Oh, and around here you can’t buy a truck for less than $50,000. Which where I come from is real money. DJT is a liberal obnoxious boor that isn’t going to do what he says except for expanding Obamacare. And get rolled by the Republicans when he gets to DC.

  33. J.J. Says:

    beldart: “I doubt anyone on this site has drank beer from a can for several decades, if ever, myself included.”

    Sorry, I have drunk beer from a can in the last decade. And have other such plebeian tastes. Elite? Yeah, like Archie Bunker. 🙂

  34. LJB Says:

    I am not opposed to Trump because of any elite-ism (on his/mine/supporters/opponents part).

    I am opposed because I recognize what war I am fighting.

    I am not fighting for the body (polity), I am fighting for the soul (principle).

    Donald Trump appeals to those who are willing to sacrifice the soul in a fight for the body. He cares nothing for the soul (principles) that made this body (polity) great in the first place.

    That’s a “win the battle, lose the war” path.

    And if one does fights for (and wins) the body – but loses the soul (a certainty with Trump) – that just a dead man walking.

  35. Irv Says:

    Please knock off the personal back-and-forth…that’s not what we’re here for. Thanks.

  36. Kyndyll G Says:

    “I find it interesting that many on the supposed right who are virulently anti-“GOP elite” are also virulently anti-Trump to the point you declare you’d vote for Hillary or Sanders over Trump.

    My opinion is that one of the VISCERAL reasons most of you Cruz supporters can’t stand Trump is because he really does appeal to the stupid RUBES that vote Republican that you’ve been trying to distance yourself your whole life.”

    Rationalize much?

    The parallels to the cult of Obama never end.
    After eight years of my lefty-left friends telling me that it wasn’t possible for me to disapprove of Obama because of his lack of qualifications, his actions and his statements, and as time went by, his obvious hatred of most US citizens – the only possible reason that I didn’t fall to my knees in worshipfulness was because I hated him because he was black, now I get this? So it’s not possible to take issue with Trump because many of us simply feel that he is an unqualified liar and braggart, with a mean streak that makes him a dangerous risk to give the power of presidency to. No … we only dislike him because we’re too snotty to approve of a candidate that “rubes” like.

    Most of us on this forum who have stated our dislike for Trump have also said clearly that we’ll still vote for him if we’re stuck with him as the non-D choice … I just can’t help worrying that he’ll be both worse than the Dem would’ve been .. and give us a big black eye in the process.

  37. notherbob2 Says:

    Like beldar, I am a Cruz person. From where I sit beldar’s comment is (painfully?) true. Perhaps knowing one is elite, admitting it and then outing others is shocking. Do commenters here believe that they are common folk? That is the prime fault of Liberals -believing that they are so sensitive to the plight of the common man and know best how to represent them. I see nothing wrong with owning up to being elite – it is the opposite that is so disgusting. I’m kind of elite and worked by ass off, mentally and physically for many years to become so. So there. To my way of thinking the crime is being elite and refusing to acknowledge it, or worse, being totally unaware of it.

  38. neo-neocon Says:


    I think you wandered onto the wrong blog.

    I guess, though, that’s going to be one of the many memes we’ll have to hear: “if you don’t like Trump you’re an elitist.”

    Well, if caring about character, experience, knowledge of a subject, demeanor, respect, decency, maturity, honesty, and a host of other things almost all people used to care about when they elected a president is a symptom of “elitism,” I plead guilty.

    As far as the more usual definitions of “elitism,” though, it would be Trump who would be the elitist candidate. He was born with a gold (not silver) spoon in his mouth, has always had every advantage (including educational) and hobnobbed with the supposed “elite.” Cruz, Rubio, Carson, and most of the other candidates as far as I know, have the actual blue-collar background and are self-made men.

  39. Glen H Says:

    Looks like Christie is tormenting Rubio (and Cruz) one more time. I assume he wants to be attorney general, and sees Trump as his best ticket. Christie is not a stupid man. That he sees Trump as having a winning path speaks volumes. Could this be the beginning of the “preference cascade” that Glenn Reynolds has been predicting? The last hurdle Trump has to cross is to seem normal to normal people.

  40. neo-neocon Says:


    No, my antipathy towards all TV news in particular has been growing for a long time, till it matches my loathing for the MSM.

    For example, the evening in 2012 when it became clear that Obama was re-elected, Fox had the same happy faces, which puzzled me if they were actually a conservative news station. I understand objectivity, but this was something else (and I don’t think it was actual, real happiness).

    I guess what it is is that, in addition to the fact that TV glosses over things and just presents the surface and spin, by its very nature, I see all TV news outlets as simply following what’s hot and trying to get ratings, and what they’re happy about is the trend and the ratings. And that’s been going on for a long, long, long time—and it’s building.

    I’ve never been a big TV news-watcher anyway, back as long as I can remember. I think I’ll be watching a lot less in the future.

  41. AMartel Says:

    What’s wrong with being an elitist?
    My objection to “the elite” is that they’re actually “the mediocre at best.”

    I’d love some actual elite. Our country needs a grown up at the helm. I saw hope for that in Cruz, who is truly intelligent and learned and consistent in his principles. Unfortunately, he’s been rejected on totally elitist grounds. Not Our Kind, Dear.

  42. AMartel Says:

    There’s no way I’ll vote for Clinton or Sanders, don’t worry.

  43. AMartel Says:

    Preemptive clarification: Not saying he’s been rejected based on his ethnic background but because he’s a lawyer, and smart, and wears a suit, and works in DC. NOKD. Trump Fans is the “working people;” Cruz is just some suit who’s too smart for his own good. The “working class” is under the impression that no one works as hard as they do. Which is a snobbish conceit. To hear Trump Fan talk, Cruz should have fixed everything by now if he’s so great. Trump would.

  44. AMartel Says:

    Fox is on my last nerve as well.
    They pretty openly were on the side of the GOP establishment candidate(s) and did light coverage of Trump, didn’t take him seriously. They rarely mention Cruz approvingly. I had one of the morning shows on today and they were nattering on about Rubio’s shot at the media’s failure to vet Trump. Upshot: Not really the fault of the media, the other candidates should have mentioned it. That’s just pitiful. Fox OFF.

  45. K-E Says:

    O’Reilly openly spoke on his show about a month ago that he has offered to have Cruz on his show several times, but had been turned down. And that Rubio and others have been more accommodating. Cruz, for whatever reason, is not making himself as available to Fox.

  46. Geoffrey Britain Says:

    “At the beginning of the campaign season, who could have predicted that Rubio and Cruz would split the non-Trump vote between them so evenly?”

    I’ve long suspected (not known) that the GOP is fairly evenly split between conservatives and ‘moderate’ republicans. The recent SC primary exit poll of republican voters, where 44% stated that they do NOT feel like the GOP has betrayed them demonstrates this to be the case.

    In the SC primary, 32.5% voted for Trump and 22.3% voted for Cruz equaling 54.8% who DO recognize the betrayal of the GOPe. Confirming the exit poll result.

  47. parker Says:

    Get a clue trumpsters, the Donald is an elitist. I will not list the long list of his elitist credentials, its a matter of record. You are delusional if you believe Trump can win in a general election, no matter who the democrat nominee may be. Chris tingles up the leg Matthews as nominee would give Trump a good landslide thrashing.

  48. K-E Says:

    Parker, read this and tell me Trump can’t win:


  49. AMartel Says:

    If by “elitist” you mean “mediocre at best” and “grifting off exaggerrated accomplishments” and “engaged in galactic logrolling” then I agree wholeheartedly with the conclusion that Donald Trump is an elitist. I don’t know who wins in the election against the elitists on the other side, though. It’s a mistake to think the chattering classes can drown out the Trump phenomenon, which is just mirrorObama.

  50. Sharon W Says:

    LJB 2:01 and Kyndall G 2:07–well-put!

  51. parker Says:


    Let me make my opinion loud and clear: TRUMP CAN NOT WIN THE GENERAL ELECTION. To me, your pov obviously differs, the D party wants to run against Trump. The mere fact that the msm is floating the narrative that Trump has hillary shaking in her pant suit at the prospect of facing the donald is a red flag warning.

  52. liberty wolf Says:

    Well, I’m hardly an elitist and I do drink beer from a can – though I prefer microbrews in iced glasses but hey, not when I am at home. I have wealthy people in my family and people who are struggling, but my mother is from an Indian reservation (reserve in Canada) and my father is Hispano from Taos — and a military man, so really — we are not elitists. My first cousin was the Chief, and ran for parliament (lost) and my mother’s family was relatively well-to-do for Natives – she went to a private university(paid for by her rancher father) Brigham Young University, at a time when Natives were not allowed or encouraged in Canada to go beyond the 8th grade. So, maybe, she’s the elite of the Blood reserve, but still… My dad comes from landowners who had Spanish land grants- so maybe… but still…no we are not the “elite” in this country now.

    I have authored a book and been asked to speak at universities etc. but not a true “elite” no. I have made my peace with flyover country… so it is not that about The Donald. It is the Donald. He’s – kind of crazy.

    And, as I’ve said before, I want Cruz: smart, focused, a fighter, articulate, good conservative values.

    Will I vote for Clinton? I am very worried that Trump would be the worst disaster but… I hope I don’t have to make that decision. I might have to go against every instinct I have and vote for him if it is Clinton — but I am just — worried and not sure.

    I hope he is stopped.

  53. parker Says:

    Liberty wolf,

    There is always John McAfee.

  54. expat Says:

    Rather than being part of some fabled elite, I would characterize people here as coming from a wide range of backgrounds and sharing lifetimes of very different personal experiences to keep us out of a bubble. That’s why I come here.

  55. rickl Says:

    mf Says:
    February 26th, 2016 at 10:48 am

    The ruling class elite is scared (please read all links):
    The Post-Constitutional Election, Pt. 7: When Elites Meet

    Good find, mf. That Diana West piece is a must-read. I will have to check out the first six parts. I have read her “American Betrayal” and highly recommend it.

    I am loath to bring it up, but I have also been thinking along those lines. If something untoward happens… the lid will blow off.

  56. neo-neocon Says:


    I read that Diana West piece you linked (quickly, I must admit; I’m in a hurry at the moment), and it seemed pretty fevered to me, although that’s the charge she levels at the Trump opposition. Everyone’s fevered, because this is an extreme situation. It is correct to be intense, and both Trump supporters AND opponents are intense.

    Intensity is only inappropriate if there’s no reason for it. In this case there’s a reason for it. So as a criticism, it’s meaningless.

    If she’s talking about the language of a few (public jokes about assassination), of course I don’t approve of that. But there’s always a couple on any side that do that; that is not the general tone here. She needs to refute the actual arguments against Trump himself, which I don’t see her doing.

    Instead, her other argument seems to be that Trump-opponents are merely “elites” motivated by threats to their own power. Although that’s certainly part of what’s going on (and so what? why should they be different from anyone else in opposing threats to their own power? should they welcome them?), it doesn’t mean that’s the only, or even the main reason they oppose Trump. Trump opposition is actually over-determined.

    I oppose him, and he does not threaten my elite power position at all, because I don’t have one. Hey, there are even some fairly poor and powerless people who oppose Trump or even detest him.

    So she’s done nothing to prove her thesis except state it.

    What’s more, she’s ignoring the fact that Trump himself is an elite who’s been power-brokering for much if not most of his life. But most Trump-supporters do that, I’ve noticed.

    Lastly, I would guess from her essay that she thinks that people oppose Trump because of his immigration stance. Well, Cruz has a very similar one, and he opposes Trump, as do the people who support him. What’s more, I am more or less (minus a few details) in favor of Trump’s immigration positions, and yet I think he’s a lying con man with a bad character and a bad history. What motivates me, pray tell?

    I’ll tell you what: my observations of the character and history of the man over the course of his life.

  57. mf Says:


    It was her recommendation of Trump that made me take a closer look. Otherwise, I would never have bothered. As for American Betrayal, there’s some rewriting of history that needs doing.

  58. rickl Says:

    neo-neocon Says:
    February 26th, 2016 at 8:05 pm

    She needs to refute the actual arguments against Trump himself, which I don’t see her doing.

    That’s not what the post was about. She wasn’t trying to persuade people to support Trump (in Part 7 at least; I haven’t yet read the first six).

    That post was about the over-the-top “Trump must be stopped at all costs” rhetoric, and where that can lead.

  59. Matt_SE Says:

    F says:
    “As fraught as the thought is with possibility for abuse, I am ready to accept the idea of limiting US campaigns to 30 days.”

    Sorry, but first we elected Obama and now we’re about to nominate Trump. A long primary season is our punishment for our sins.

  60. Matt_SE Says:

    JohnGalt47 Says:
    “I liked the “chalk on a blackboard” line. Been trying to pin down why Fox anchors have become harder for me to watch. They are trying to be too neutral. Same way with many of the radio talk show hosts.”

    I think the Fox people were at first against Trump, then got hit with a backlash for “not getting it.” They took that to heart and just accepted him uncritically as ratings gold.
    They have no confidence in their worldview (if they even have one) and have substituted ideology with money.

  61. Matt_SE Says:

    Holmes said:
    “Cruz the most blatant of all in embracing Trump in hoping he would profit from his inevitable collapse which never came.”

    Cruz wasn’t the only one, especially after Jeb failed in his attacks and paid a heavy price at the polls. That was replayed in miniature when Christie attacked Rubio and only succeeded in making both of their numbers fall.

    There were several good reasons not to attack Trump…or at least understandable reasons. The only regrettable thing is that it took this long to understand what was going on.

  62. Matt_SE Says:

    @ beldar

    The Founding Fathers had a well-known skepticism regarding democracy. It was based on their study of classical history, and if Americans today studied the same periods we would probably come to the same conclusions.

    Under the right circumstances (which don’t seem that hard to reproduce), the “common man” turns into a mob. If we criticize people for being rubes, it’s because that’s how they’re behaving.

  63. Beverly Says:

    “Galactic logrolling!!!” that is GREAT. I’m stealing it.

  64. liberty wolf Says:


    While he is not a serious choice for anyone, I might vote Libertarian and for McAfee to protest this whole thing if it is Trump and Clinton or Sanders. I guess time will tell! I will have to do some real soul searching… as we all will I guess.

    Hope it doesn’t come to that.

  65. Beverly Says:

    Cruz didn’t “embrace” Trump; he cannily refrained from attacking him until the time looked right. He may have misjudged that timing, but he’s right that The Disaffected have rallied behind his banner and The Donald’s, so it made sense not to go apocalyptic on DJT.

    Navigating a political campaign looks to me like shooting a class 6-7 stretch of rapids in a leaky kayak, with snipers hidden in the trees all along the river.

  66. holmes Says:

    Beverly, he embraced him. He went to a joint rally with him and events. He took photos with him. He called him terrific.

    Cruz people are so blinded to his mistakes and ills. He’s fine. He’s not significantly different ideologically from Rubio but for the whole amnesty thing that Cruz now pretends he didn’t fully participate in (hint: he did.)

  67. rickl Says:

    [i]Matt_SE Says:
    February 26th, 2016 at 11:58 pm

    Under the right circumstances (which don’t seem that hard to reproduce), the “common man” turns into a mob. If we criticize people for being rubes, it’s because that’s how they’re behaving.

    I think you’re conflating two different things there. It’s possible to have respect for the “common man” without supporting “democracy”.

    I think it’s pretty readily evident that many working class people possess more common sense than many of the credentialed class.

  68. Matt_SE Says:

    @ rickl,
    Yes, I do have respect for the common man. Mainly in the Christian duty I have to respect every person, no matter their station.
    I also agree that many people have more common sense than elites.
    However, if the common man were so awesome then why aren’t they running things? I don’t believe in conspiracy theories, so I have to believe that whatever positive qualities they have, the common man is somehow inadequate.

    Then, there’s always the long history of mankind showing how the mob is made up of the common man. Hard to get around that.

  69. blert Says:

    parker Says:
    February 26th, 2016 at 3:56 pm


    Let me make my opinion loud and clear: TRUMP CAN NOT WIN THE GENERAL ELECTION. To me, your pov obviously differs, the D party wants to run against Trump. The mere fact that the msm is floating the narrative that Trump has hillary shaking in her pant suit at the prospect of facing the donald is a red flag warning.


    Preach it brother.

    “Don’t throw me in that brier patch.”

    Whereas Cruz is given a media Black Out.

    He’s #2 in the national pols — yet is a non-person.

  70. Ymarsakar Says:

    The common man is weak, in need of leadership and order. That is why they easily fall to evil and temptation when that leadership and order evaporates.

    The common man is also inadequate, because they aren’t used to living in a world without leaders. But they don’t want the weight of leadership either, catch 22.

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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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