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Trump

"Optics" Illusions in the Age of Trump

Donald Trump’s first speech to Congress last night was full of “good optics.” Trump’s effort to make Americans forget that he had, only hours earlier, blamed the military commanders for the death of Navy Seal William “Ryan” Owens was hailed by Liberal commentator Van Jones as the moment when Trump “became President of the United States.” WOW!  I say, the moment Van Jones declared Trump has become the P.O.T.U.S. is the moment when optics finally and totally eclipsed substance in American politics.

Will Trump & the Tea Party break the Constitution? America may be approaching a collision point with constitutional change that requires an approach not unlike the nation’s first such collision point arrived at in 1787 when the failure of the national government to maintain order, protect property, and provide public goods collided with an insurmountable amendment procedure. Republicans have long fancied themselves the great defenders of the Constitution. They may have succeeded in making that pretention a reality in 2016. Unfortunately, they may have done so in a way that will seriously hamper their capacity to be successful defenders.

Nations and forms of government are not perpetual. America suffers a genuine threat from President-Elect Donald Trump.

Whether you are a benign revolutionary whose heart is in the right place (Sanders), or an ignorant blowhard on a vanity joy ride (Trump), there is no route to success in the Democratic nomination process for those without command of the details because the party faithful know what they want from government and how to get it.

Trump's Candidacy is "Not Sold in Stores" The reality is that Trump will lose on Election Day because he cannot deliver on any of his claims and promises, which makes it impossible to organize and execute a traditional campaign ground game. He is counting on voters choosing him for the same reason I bought the “Dean Martin’s Celebrity Roasts” DVDs a few years back; drowsiness and nostalgia.
Clinton is the ONLY Qualified Candidate Left Hillary Clinton’s faith in what she knows to be true may be her most impressive personal quality. Unlike the thinned skinned Trump, Clinton knows the personal attacks against her aren’t true. She knows that she isn’t the caricature popular in the media, and that when push comes to shove the media and the public will figure that out. Her ability to brush off her critics and their criticism actually intensifies the hatred of her critics.  Clinton Derangement Syndrome is a real thing! She knows this, but has enough personal discipline and awareness of the big picture to realize that their hatred is irrational and that as such it will not sink her if she simply stays her course.

Donald Trump is the most unqualified person ever to run for president. He is also the most transparently flawed candidate ever to run for president. His lack of intelligence and integrity are on full display every day. Over the next six months, the most unqualified, morally and intellectually bankrupt candidate in history will be spewing ignorant and hateful attacks at the most qualified candidate for president in modern times.

Stay tuned for six months of “swift boating” Trump-style.

Obviously, Donald Trump winning the GOP nomination would be a terrible turn of events for the Republican Party and the modern conservative movement. The Republicans are serious under dogs in the presidential election this year regardless of who they nominate.  The electoral math, turnout in presidential years, the state of the economy and foreign affairs, all favor the Democratic nominee, though these advantages only tell part of the 2016 story and can be over-valued. The real ace-in-the-hole for the Democratic nominee is the clarity of the institutional partisan stakes in 2016, and the persistent power of “party identity,” which remains the principle driver of voters’ political and electoral calculations.

Donald Trump loves to remind us that he is so rich he doesn't have to grovel to other billionaires for their financial support. Therein lies an important truth about American politics.

Eric Fehrnstrom thinks that Donald Trump could beat Hillary Clinton. Barring the unforeseeable, he’s wrong, and more importantly for my purposes here, including the unforeseeable in ostensibly serious political analysis kind of negates the point of offering serious political analysis. 

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