April 07, 2016

Bound for Trump Rehab

Peggy Noonan:
"And the immediate question: Is it possible he can change and be worthy of the moment? I don’t know but doubt it, because in my observation people at the end of middle age don’t usually change, they just become more so. In any case it’s getting late. So far Donald Trump has conquered all expectations, half-conquered the American political system, and almost conquered one of our two great political parties. It is sad he can’t conquer himself."
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I think I've finally slaked my Trump addiction. Sort of like how some people say they quit smoking by chain-smoking for 48 hours until they're semi-poisoned by it. I haven't clicked on a Trump link for the last few days - a record this year.

I think it's a combination of two forces: one, I've learned all there is to learn concerning his unfathomable popularity. Eventually even the strangest thing, when encountered daily over a long period of time, becomes boring or yields no fresh insight. Bottom line: People hate politicians. True conservatives split the vote and Trump triumphed.

The second thing is Trump himself has jumped the shark. It's all minutiae. I can't get exercised over some campaign operative who squeezed a reporter's arm. Trump goes after Cruz's wife, which is Trump being Trump. Trump articulates five positions on abortion in two days. As David Brooks said, it's a zombie march to the Clinton presidency. Brooks, however, seems to think it'll be a bigger landslide than Goldwater. I'm doubtful, but a loss is a loss is a loss.

Trump does well with blue collar white men over the age of 50 and wall construction company leaders, but struggles with women, Hispanics, blacks, young people, Asians, Muslim-Americans, Indian-Americans, Mormons, Amish.... In short, he be in trouble. Alas, we'll likely never be able to test the proposition if Hillary was beatable.

Trump could just as easily decided to run as a Democrat but that he did as a Republican is interesting because I think he smelled weakness. Many a businessman can smell it when someone's weak, when they're willing to be taken advantage of. Trump took advantage of a party establishment that couldn't organize a two car parade. Of course, it's also true that the Republicans had no heir apparent. In '08, '12 and '16 the Dems had a strong front runner: Clinton in '08, Obama in '12 of course, and Clinton again in '16. The Republicans haven't had an obvious candidate since George Bush in 2004. So the
field was ripe for a takeover.

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