A Two-Step Process to Slow the Trump Juggernaut

 

shutterstock_196597007 (1)Yesterday, Jon raised the issue of how Republican candidates should deal with Donald Trump’s presence in the presidential race. That happens to also have been the topic of my weekly column in the Orange County Register. My diagnosis:

That Trump’s candidacy is getting some traction is partially the fault of his GOP rivals. In recent years, many mainstream Republicans have abandoned any criticism of illegal immigration because of fears that they will be branded racists. But, as the recent murder of 32-year-old Kate Steinle – in the sanctuary city of San Francisco – by an illegal immigrant demonstrates, falling silent on these problems doesn’t make them go away. How many innocent lives, exactly, ought to be sacrificed on the altar of political correctness?

That timidity among Republican candidates has left the field wide open for people like Trump. It’s a similar dynamic to the one in Europe, where elite aversion to talking about real problems related to immigration works to the benefit of the overtly nationalistic, fascist parties that are the only ones even willing to broach the topic. Crazy doesn’t beat sane. But it does beat silent.

Thus, the first step to undermining Trump’s ascendancy is for more mainstream Republican candidates to start taking the issues surrounding illegal immigration seriously. Carly Fiorina – who has consistently been one rhetorical step ahead of her GOP rivals – got off to a good start on Sunday when she noted on ABC’s “This Week” that, “I think Donald Trump taps into an anger that I hear every day. People are angry that a commonsense thing like securing the border or ending sanctuary cities is somehow considered extreme.”

Undermining Trump on immigration, however, is necessary but not sufficient. The Donald happened to luck into a resonant policy issue, but it’s style, not substance, that fuels his candidacy. It’s that personality – truculent, unbowed, politically incorrect to the point of tactlessness – that appeals to Republicans fatigued by mealy-mouthed politicians.

This is where things get tricky for [RNC Chairman Reince] Priebus and anyone who’d prefer that Trump go away rather than publicly conflating his bull-in-a-china-shop brand with the GOP. Because The Donald has positioned himself as an antagonist to the status quo, attempts to marginalize him only further his cause. Cut him out of the presidential debates, and you only accentuate his case that he’s the one man who scares the establishment. It’s generally a mistake to murder a man so hungry for martyrdom. What Republicans need is someone who can challenge him on his own terms.

That’s where Chris Christie comes in.

You can read the full thing here.

There are 42 comments.

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  1. The King Prawn Inactive
    The King Prawn
    @TheKingPrawn

    Well played leaving it with the Christie line.

    • #1
  2. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    Sir Robin: Would it help to confuse it if we run away more?

    King Arthur: Shut up and change your armor.

    The top tier candidates should take a lesson and be bold when the time is right.  The issue should not be about taking the winbag Trump down but finding a way to inspire conservative Americans to fight  to take back this country from progressives.

    Time to lob in the holy hand grenade of Antioch.

    • #2
  3. Paul A. Rahe Contributor
    Paul A. Rahe
    @PaulARahe

    It sure would be fun to watch Christie and Trump go after one another, and it might do some good . . . for everyone else in the race.

    • #3
  4. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller
    @AaronMiller

    Christie and Cruz, you mean. Cruz is a lawyer, accustomed to thinking on his feet. And Perry might fare well in that debate too.

    But with so many candidates in the TV debates, there won’t be much one-on-one unless the media arranges it that way. This [x candidate]-vs-Trump slugfest is a fantasy. Trump has already directly challenged multiple candidates.

    And I’m not sure Christie is much more trustworthy. See his EWTN interview, in which he claims not to have initially realized that “Common” Core would increase federal control of education.

    • #4
  5. Tommy De Seno Contributor
    Tommy De Seno
    @TommyDeSeno

    The question presented is, “How do we undermine the Republican who’s winning?”

    Ah – I see we are still the party of hara-kiri.  If you can’t beat ’em, hire a hit man.

    Be careful what you wish for.  If Christie ever got a bump from taking down Trump, you could be stuck with him.

    • #5
  6. Pseudodionysius Inactive
    Pseudodionysius
    @Pseudodionysius

    Paul A. Rahe:It sure would be fun to watch Christie and Trump go after one another, and it might do some good . . . for everyone else in the race.

    Trump views Christie as a 2nd rate mouth from New Jersey. He was blunt during his 1 hour open mike with the editorial board of the Chicago Tribune. Trump believes he knows New Jersey better than Christie and Christie sank it into the dumper.

    • #6
  7. Pseudodionysius Inactive
    Pseudodionysius
    @Pseudodionysius

    Someone taking on Trump has to wear a white shirt when doing it.

    • #7
  8. Pseudodionysius Inactive
    Pseudodionysius
    @Pseudodionysius

    And if you check Trump’s Twitter Feed he’s now quoting Billy Graham’s son, Franklin.

    • #8
  9. Ricochet Moderator
    Ricochet
    @OmegaPaladin

    Well said, Mr. Senik.  I definitely agree with your diagnosis – Trump is playing into justified frustration and angry with most of the GOP treating immigration like a sacred cow.  Sanctuary cities and criminal illegals are a serious problem, and they devastate the rule of law.

    The only problem you run into while criticizing illegal immigration is that the Chamber of Commerce and similar groups demand cheap immigrant labor, since Americans are lazy, worthless, etc.  Business that depend on low-skill labor love illegals, and naturally do not care about crime.  That group, led by the Wall Street Journal, is going to fight tooth and nail against you.

    • #9
  10. Herbert Woodbery Inactive
    Herbert Woodbery
    @Herbert

    This trump phenomenon is amazing. Wealth and a ability to self promote has its advantages……

    • #10
  11. Ross C Member
    Ross C
    @RossC

    In the movie Napoleon Dynamite, the character Pedro in his class president speech simply says, “Vote for me and all your wildest dreams will come true.”  I think this is the Trump appeal.  Out of the stream promises on how he will stop illegal immigration, defeat ISIS so fast, be the jobs president and so on everyone can identify something they like and identify with.

    There is probably a surprise at the end though.

    • #11
  12. Herbert Woodbery Inactive
    Herbert Woodbery
    @Herbert

    (((((Vote for me and all your wildest dreams will come true.” ))))

    I think that is correct, never mind the details, I’m Trump, I have done amazing things, I can do these amazing things…..

    • #12
  13. Songwriter Inactive
    Songwriter
    @user_19450

    DocJay:Sir Robin: Would it help to confuse it if we run away more?

    King Arthur: Shut up and change your armor.

    The top tier candidates should take a lesson and be bold when the time is right. The issue should not be about taking the winbag Trump down but finding a way to inspire conservative Americans to fight to take back this country from progressives.

    Time to lob in the holy hand grenade of Antioch.

    That was one fierce rabbit, wasn’t it?

    • #13
  14. Stad Coolidge
    Stad
    @Stad

    Troy Senik, Ed.: Carly Fiorina – who has consistently been one rhetorical step ahead of her GOP rivals – got off to a good start on Sunday when she noted on ABC’s “This Week” that, “I think Donald Trump taps into an anger that I hear every day. People are angry that a commonsense thing like securing the border or ending sanctuary cities is somehow considered extreme.”

    This is how you agree with the essence of what Trump is saying, but without the inflammatory rhetoric.  She taps into the sentiment among many of us, but does it with tact.

    She may not win the nomination, but she had better be given serious Veep consideration . . .

    • #14
  15. Petty Boozswha Inactive
    Petty Boozswha
    @PettyBoozswha

    I agree there is nothing we can do now. The way to have nipped this in the bud would have been to announce that no one would be considered a serious candidate or allowed to participate in a debate if they had donated more than $10,000 to a Hillary Clinton campaign. Even Jeb! could have probably cleared that hurdle.

    Now we’re stuck with him. Christie or Perry taking him on? What happens when Trump asks them why they have sanctuary cities in their states?

    • #15
  16. Ontheleftcoast Member
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    Republicans justifiably fear of being demonized as racist by the infotainment industry if they support border security and the assimilation of immigrants. The Republican establishment, which on pivotal issues has no problem on these issues with the Democrat agenda, won’t support candidates whose deviate from its line.

    The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, led by President Tom Donohue, is the power brokerage for the GOP “establishment”. In short, whatever the CoC wants, their lobbyists on K-Street will insure the CoC gets through campaign contributions to influence the GOP as a Party.

    The U.S. CoC is the operational arm of Wall Street, not, I repeat, NOT, Main Street.

    TheCitizens United  decisionis what allowed Wall Street to fund the U.S. CoC, which in turn funded the GOP establishment machine.  If politics is a blood sport, Citizens United just authorized the unlimited use of STERIODS for the paid gladiators.

    How does Wall Street differ from Main Street?

    The answer to that question can most easily be reflected by explaining why the Republican Establishment, the professional political class, supports ObamaCare, Common Core and Comprehensive Immigration Reform to include Amnesty.

    Teddy Kennedy’s immigration bill was designed to install a permanent Democrat majority and undo Eisenhower’s immigration policy. It worked so well the UK’s Labor party adopted it. According to former Labor Party speechwriter Andrew Neather,

    The “driving political purpose” of this policy was “to make the UK truly multicultural” and “to rub the Right’s nose in diversity.”

    • #16
  17. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    With nasty pointy teeth and the worst hair piece the world has seen.
    Seriously, it will be easy for a few of these candidates to beat Trump. All hat and no moral cattle.

    • #17
  18. The Cloaked Gaijin Member
    The Cloaked Gaijin
    @TheCloakedGaijin

    Troy Senik, Ed.:

    That’s where Chris Christie comes in.

    Regarding immigration, Numbersusa.com rated Christie an F just 4 years ago, but only a C- today.

    It looks like they are supporting Rick Santorum.  Perhaps he’s the person to whom people should be paying attention instead of Carly Fioina and Rick Perry.  The top three grades come from candidates not from Sunbelt border-type states.

    Their grades are as follows…

    Rick Santorum A, Donald Trump B-, Scott Walker B-, Ted Cruz C, Rick Perry C, Chris Christie C-, Ben Carson C-, Bobby Jindal C-, Carly Fioina C- Mike Huckabee C-, Jeb Bush D+, John Kasich D+, Rand Paul D+, Marco Rubio D,  Lindsey Graham F.

    https://www.numbersusa.com/content/elections/races/presidential/2016-presidential-hopefuls.html

    • #18
  19. user_989554 Inactive
    user_989554
    @MattWood

    Anyone suspect that it might be moot and that Trump doesn’t actually want the Presidency and is just doing this for short-term attention?

    I know he digs power but as president you’re more slave to the office than master of the universe. I just can’t see him actually craving that kind of responsibility for the next 4 years.

    Just a thought. All the same, take him out whenever possible.

    • #19
  20. Herbert Woodbery Inactive
    Herbert Woodbery
    @Herbert

    ((((Anyone suspect that it might be moot and that Trump doesn’t actually want the Presidency and is just doing this for short-term attention?))))

    Very likely

    • #20
  21. Palaeologus Inactive
    Palaeologus
    @Palaeologus

    Aaron Miller: But with so many candidates in the TV debates, there won’t be much one-on-one unless the media arranges it that way. This [x candidate]-vs-Trump slugfest is a fantasy.

    This isn’t necessarily so, Aaron. Last time around Gingrich and Cain went one-on-one on C-Span. Two candidates could easily arrange something similar if they saw a point to it.

    For that matter, Trump could probably have a pretty entertaining debate with himself.

    • #21
  22. Jim Kearney Contributor
    Jim Kearney
    @JimKearney

    Unsurprisingly, Trump and Christie are friends. Christie tells Trump that a President can’t say “you’re fired!” to a majority leader. Trump could counter that a President can and should fire incompetents across much of the executive branch.

    Both men have tons of big city attitude. In a year when prospective nominees include the dull (Scott Walker), the compromising (John Kasich), and the cautious (Jeb Bush), I’m not sure I want Trump and Christie to get into some kind of King Kong vs. Godzilla cage elimination match. They’d be more fun to watch as a tag team.

    We now have three politically inexperienced candidates: Trump, Carson, and Fiorina. They are all underdogs. Jeb Bush has established himself as the candidate from Goldman Sachs. That’s the juggernaut we need to slow down.

    • #22
  23. Herbert Woodbery Inactive
    Herbert Woodbery
    @Herbert

    (((We now have three politically inexperienced candidates: Trump, Carson, and Fiorina. They are all underdogs. Jeb Bush has established himself as the candidate from Goldman Sachs. That’s the juggernaut we need to slow down.)))

    And as long as trump is dominating the spotlight, none of the other candidates can get their message out….

    • #23
  24. Jim Kearney Contributor
    Jim Kearney
    @JimKearney

    Herbert Woodbery:And as long as trump is dominating the spotlight, none of the other candidates can get their message out….

    You’re right on current free media news cycles, but I’ve seen long form interviews on Fox with just about everyone except Pataki, and the ad campaigns are underway. I heard a Fiorina spot on radio today, and have been hit by mail from Carson, Walker, and Rubio.

    The reactions to Trump do tell us something about the others. Cruz sounded smart for seconding Trump’s outrage over the immigration mess; Perry attacked, transparently trying to move his own meter off zero; and Rubio — who some think vulnerable on immigration — said the right things, and not too much.

    • #24
  25. billy Inactive
    billy
    @billy

    The Trump Show won’t last past the first few primaries. The real front-runners will  emerge from top three winners in Iowa, NH, and SC. To succeed in those a candidate will have to put a lot of hours into meeting the voters in small groups over and over again.

    Trump won’t do that.

    • #25
  26. Quinn the Eskimo Member
    Quinn the Eskimo
    @

    The Cloaked Gaijin:

    Troy Senik, Ed.:

    That’s where Chris Christie comes in.

    Regarding immigration, Numbersusa.com rated Christie an F just 4 years ago, but only a C- today.

    I think Troy’s suggestion is that Christie perform the equivalent of a murder-suicide with Trump.  Few people think Christie will be the nominee, but he is enough of a brawler to go head to head with Trump if it came to it.

    On a related note, I am old enough to remember when people said that Christie could never be the nominee because his tough-talk routine wouldn’t play well in other parts of the country.  I suppose in another year this will all play itself out, but it does seem like there is an audience for bluntness.

    • #26
  27. Pseudodionysius Inactive
    Pseudodionysius
    @Pseudodionysius

    I think the pundits grossly underestimate how many disaffected voters will rally to Trump, especially if Hillary goes full cankle and is dragged out of the nomination crows feet first and replaced by either Bernie Sanders or Joe Biden.

    • #27
  28. billy Inactive
    billy
    @billy

    Pseudodionysius:I think the pundits grossly underestimate how many disaffected voters will rally to Trump, especially if Hillary goes full cankle and is dragged out of the nomination crows feet first and replaced by either Bernie Sanders or Joe Biden.

    But how many of those disaffected voters will actually show up for the primaries?

    • #28
  29. Pseudodionysius Inactive
    Pseudodionysius
    @Pseudodionysius

    billy:

    Pseudodionysius:I think the pundits grossly underestimate how many disaffected voters will rally to Trump, especially if Hillary goes full cankle and is dragged out of the nomination crows feet first and replaced by either Bernie Sanders or Joe Biden.

    But how many of those disaffected voters will actually show up for the primaries?

    We will soon find out. I do think that what annoys the pundits is that Trump’s media offensive and (allegedly) deep pockets have the potential to ruin the normal Kabuki theatre which they can report on and analyze and turn it into something the media has far less control over than in previous elections.

    • #29
  30. Quinn the Eskimo Member
    Quinn the Eskimo
    @

    I think the fact of the matter is that no one is going to take Trump out.  Either Trump is going to shoot himself in the foot or there will be a rally to a different candidate to block him.

    Much has been said about his past statements and campaign donations.  Maybe it is not widely known, but those are the sorts of things that many of the purported supporters would loathe in a candidate.  His long record of self-promotion should at least raise questions about his sincerity.  (Lots of questions were raised about Romney’s conversion from pro-choice to pro-life.  It’s sincerity was the source of much spilled ink.)  If that doesn’t bother his supporters, why should anything any of the other candidates say about him make a difference?

    • #30

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