Friday, August 5, 2016

Is the Donald Imploding?

Is the Teflon wearing thin or has Trump become a master of rope-a-dope?

I report; you decide.

First, Peggy Noonan describes Trump’s bizarre behavior during a Washington Post interview:

The mad scatterbrained-ness of it was captured in a Washington Post interview with Philip Rucker in which five times by my count—again, the compulsion—Mr. Trump departed the meat of the interview to turn his head and stare at the television. On seeing himself on the screen: “Lot of energy. We got a lot of energy.” Minutes later: “Look at this. It’s all Trump all day long. That’s why their ratings are through the roof.” He’s all about screens, like a toddler hooked on iPad.

As for the currently favored meme, to the effect that Trump will change, Noonan responds:

Mr. Trump is not going to get serious about running for president. He does not have a second act, there are no hidden depths, there will be no “pivot.” It is not that he is willful or stubborn, though he may be, it’s that he doesn’t have the skill set needed now—discretion, carefulness, generosity, judgment. There’s a clueless quality about him. It’s not that he doesn’t get advice; it’s that he can’t hear advice, can’t process it or turn it into action.

Noonan believes that the only question remaining is whether Trumpism will be defeated with Trump.

Next, hedge fund manager Doug Kass has peered into his crystal ball and prophesied that Trump might drop out of the race. He made this prediction in June, so we are naturally intrigued by his suggestion. Given that it might all be wishful thinking, we note that Kass is not alone in suggesting it:

Kass observes:

No one seems able to control Trump -- not his family, not campaign chief Paul Manafort and certainly not Republican National Committee head Reince Priebus and the rest of the GOP leadership. In fact, Trump's recent behavior has become so aberrant and self-destructive that there's talk of top Republicans pleading for an "intervention."

I would challenge anyone to find an historical precedent to Trump's behavior over the past week. It defies political or intellectual reasoning. To some, The Donald appears bound and determined to destroy his own campaign, family and party. It almost suggests that Trump doesn't want to win the election -- something I consider a very real possibility.

The point has some cogency. If Trump likes his life, why would he want to trade in his aerie for the fishbowl on Pennsylvania Avenue? Why would he want the responsibility for everything that goes right or wrong in the world? Keep in mind, if Trump is elected he will be relying largely on the advice of other people. Does he know enough to know who is giving good or bad advice? If he is not anxious, he is not human.

Perhaps, Kass opines, Trump will win it all in the debates. But, what if he does not:

With tumbling polls, dwindling endorsements, a lack of organization and an absence of big donors like the Koch Brothers, Trump will likely enter the first debate as a dangerously exposed candidate.

If polls show Clinton trouncing him after this one-on-one, I expect that will tip over Trump's candidacy. The embarrassment of a potential landslide loss to Clinton could serve as a breaking point for Trump, who doesn't like to lose or look bad.

In that scenario, The Donald would announce that he's "no longer an active candidate" -- in effect, quitting the race. Trump would remain on the ballot, but Clinton would essentially run unopposed. The Donald would likely blame his decision on others, perhaps stating that his party was not supportive to his candidacy or that the system is "rigged."

Piers Morgan has a different take. Writing in the Daily Mail he suggests that Trump will never quit:

Those who think you may even quit the race because you can’t stand the heat have been spending too long puffing the wacky baccy.

You hate quitters, as I discovered when I competed in Celebrity Apprentice and watched you reserve particularly virulent ridicule for those who walked away rather than stay and fight.

To you, quitting is even worse than losing and we all know how much you hate losing.

But if you are to win in November then you have to re-calibrate your campaign and change tactics, and do so fast.

Now, Morgan has a checklist of what Trump has to do to win. I will not summarize it. You have probably heard it all. We are confident that Trump has heard it many times.

The question is: can he do it or does he want to do it? As of today the signs are, he cannot or does not want to.


Trigger Warning said...

Having been a right-of-center libertarian for many years, and having been screwed by "conservative" Presidents (i.e., Bush 41 - 43), and wasting my life supporting RINOS like McCain and the excreable Romney, I'm channeling Mencken and voting for Hillary. The American electorate deserves to get what they want... good and hard.

Sam L. said...

I have my doubts about Trump, none at all about Hillary, so I'll vote for The Donald.

Ares Olympus said...

As a symbol for "stick it to the elite", Trump has top-status now. No matter how incompetent, however undisciplined, however proud he is over his ignorance, "stick it to 'em" voters are happy to vote for Trump, and even happier if its likely he can't win.

I felt that way perhaps voting for Ralph Nader in 1996, 2000, and 2004. Ralph is a horribly uninspiring public speaker, and no evidence he was capable or interested in compromise needed in leadership.

But it was outrageous he was disallowed from participating in the debates, so I had no interest in voting for the major parties that wants monopoly control. And Nader did help the Minnesota Green party gain 5% threshold for 4 years of major party status. So my protest vote meant something.

The very existence of the CPD is sufficient cause for me to never vote for a major party candidate for president EVER. Interestingly 1988 was the first year I could vote for President.
The organization, which is a nonprofit corporation controlled by the Democratic and Republican parties, has run each of the presidential debates held since 1988. The Commission's debates are sponsored by private contributions from foundations and corporations.

But Trump has WON a major party endorsement so he's won his seat at the debates, and has a coin-flip chance of winning, even a 43-42 victory, if third parties split the vote further.

BUT given Trump has ZERO CHANCE of any meaningful skills for the presidency, now I'm almost forced to vote for Hillary, just to maximize my protest against the Clown.

I know, W also was relatively clueless candidate for president, but I tried to forgive him, even when he started wars based on lies, and couldn't say no to Greenspan's bubble economics (who can?) But at least he shows some humility, like at the Dallas police funeral, an amazingly sensitive and sensible speech.
... none of us were prepared, or could be prepared, for an ambush by hatred and malice. The shock of this evil still has not faded. At times, it seems like the forces pulling us apart are stronger than the forces binding us together. Argument turns too easily into animosity. Disagreement escalates too quickly into dehumanization.

Too often, we judge other groups by their worst examples, while judging ourselves by our best intentions.

And this has strained our bonds of understanding and common purpose. But Americans, I think, have a great advantage. To renew our unity, we only need to remember our values.

We have never been held together by blood or background. We are bound by things of the spirit, by shared commitments to common ideals.

At our best, we practice empathy, imagining ourselves in the lives and circumstances of others. This is the bridge across our nation’s deepest divisions.
The Apostle Paul said, “For God gave us a spirit not of fear, but of strength and love and self-control.” Those are the best responses to fear in the life of our country and they’re the code of the peace officer.


Could anyone imagine Trump saying that?

Life is simply better when a sensible protest vote doesn't help clowns win. Even a "Vote for the crook. It's important." unofficial slogan for Hillary 2016 is enough for me.

David Foster said...

"He’s all about screens, like a toddler hooked on iPad"

Reminds me of someone else that's all about screens (and 'ink', in the PR sense of the term)

"Ron Suskind's book Confidence Men portrays Barack Obama as being confounded by his duties as president. Some of the scenes depicted by Suskind would be comical if they were not so tragic for America.

For example, when Obama's experts assembled to discuss the scope and intricacies of the stimulus bill, Barack Obama was out of his depth. He was "surprisingly aloof in the conversation" and seemed "disconnected and less in control." His contributions were rare and consisted of blurting out such gems of wisdom as "There needs to be more inspiration here!" and "What about more smart grids" and -- one more that Newt Gingrich would appreciate -- "we need more moon shot" (pages 154-5).

Suskind writes:

Members of the team were perplexed...for the first time in the transition, people started to wonder just how prepared the man at the helm was.

He repeated a similar sorry performance when he had a conference call with Speaker Pelosi and her staff to discuss the details of the planned stimulus bill. He shouted into the speakerphone that "this stimulus needs more inspiration! Pelosi and her staff visibly rolled their eyes."

Presidential exhortations more befitting a summer camp counselor will evoke such reactions."

I think Obama is largely a 'word person' and an 'image person', showing many of the traits that were manifested by Woodrow Wilson. In a book on Wilson, Sigmund Freud and William Bullitt asserted that:

"Throughout his life he took intense interest only in subjects which could somehow be connected with speech…He took no interest in mathematics, science, art or music–except in singing himself, a form of speaking. His method of thinking about a subject seems to have been to imagine himself making a speech about it…He seems to have thought about political or economic problems only when he was preparing to make a speech about them either on paper or from the rostrum. His memory was undoubtedly of the vaso-motor type. The use of his vocal chords was to him inseparable from thinking."

Hillary Clinton is much of the same ilk, though not as good at it as either Obama or Wilson.

Farm Boy said...

Maybe hillary is imploding. This is an anti-Trump fabricated lie spun up by the anti-Trump / pro-Clinton democrat-controlled mainstream media. They are 100% in the tank for hillary. hillary could run a puppy through a wood chipper and the NYT would proclaim it as a wonderfully loving act. Donald Trump could hiccup at dinner and the NYT would proclaim him unfit to be president b/c he obviously wants WW III and only real nazi Hitlers hiccup in such manner. The media is losing control over the voting process and they are melting down with their collective attacks and temper tantrum over the prospect that Trump actually might win.