Tag: Donald Trump

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.

The Heart of Trump


Trump CarI’ve resisted writing about the Donald. The sheer absurdity of the man seems to make commentary pointless. Even Jonah Goldberg, who mixed it up with Trump last week over “pants-gate“, has a sort of weary regret in dealing with his badly coiffed arch-nemesis. The absurdity is heightened when you consider the quality of the Republican field in 2016. The GOP has some remarkable bench strength, a sharp contrast to the warmed-over leftovers being passed off by the Democrats.

Compare 2016 with any election cycle in recent memory and you’re spoiled for choice: Jindal, Walker, Perry, Rubio, Cruz and Bush are all very plausible candidates for the presidency. You may have your favorite — I have a certain fondness for Senator Rubio — but each are basically conservatives candidates that the party can rally around. Jeb Bush does have the establishment smell about him, to say nothing of that family name, but see him in a clear and unobstructed light and yes, he would make a decent Commander-in-Chief.

Now enter the Trump. Granted he has put immigration on the table, divorced of even a hint of political correctness, but there are ways of raising awkward subjects without being excessively offensive. We understand that cousin Fred has a drinking problem; throwing it out there in the middle of Thanksgiving dinner between the turkey and coleslaw isn’t really going to help matters. If Trump doesn’t get bored with pretending to run for President – I give it until September – then the Dems are going to have an awesome gaffe reel to play against the eventual Republican nominee next summer.

Cruz, Perry Take Opposite Tacks on Trump


Rick PerryHow do you solve a problem like The Donald? How do you catch a clod and pin him down?

While the Trump tsunami has receded this week, GOP presidential candidates are still trying to deal with the toupeed terror. Some contenders laugh him off while others avoid mentioning him at all. But the two Texans in the race have taken opposite tacks on dealing with the reality TV star.

Ted Cruz has publicly embraced the serial Clinton contributor, praising his frank talk and unconventional style. Cruz claims to be a “big fan of Donald Trump’s” and even flew to New York City to meet with him. The candidates discussed a variety of topics in a “very friendly” meeting at Trump Tower.

GOP Bracketology — July Version


Tournament-BracketNow that Scott Walker’s in the race, with John Kasich on tap for next week, the GOP’s 2016 field soon will total 16 presidential candidates. We can rank them, 1-16. Or go by tiers. Or pick names out of a hat. My choice: divide the field into four brackets, four candidates apiece, which I’ve done in this column over at Forbes.com.

Bracket One — The Non-Conformists

1. Donald Trump

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Much can change in a month, especially in the world of presidential politics. Republican presidential hopeful Carly Fiorina (as a for instance) was riding high on her wave of conservative grassroots backing just a few weeks ago. With 2016’s field of contenders broadening, we now find Fiorina stumbling just as she was starting to hit her […]

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But here’s the funny and consequential thing. Trump is supposed to be the narcissist blowhard celebrity candidate: He’s a guy famous for erecting aesthetically revolting buildings with his “brand” plastered all over them, for arm-candy brides, for beauty contests and reality shows. The other fellows are sober, serious senators and governors. And yet Trump is […]

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What Do Trump Enthusiasts Expect?


Can anyone here imagitrump-splitne a scenario in which Donald Trump is elected President of the United States in 2016? Show me how it works, in the real world. Under what conditions could Trump secure the GOP nomination? Having secured it, under what conditions could he win 270 electoral votes? Can anyone imagine him winning as an independent?

Would you agree with me that it’s a highly unlikely scenario?

The Democrats’ Trump Card


TrumpPresident Obama seems on the verge of the most abject diplomatic capitulation in American history – to Iran, our bitterest enemy – and Republicans are arguing about Donald Trump? The prospect of a deal with Iran is dumbfounding and infuriating, as the U.S. held all the cards in the protracted negotiations and yet executed serial surrenders to the Iranians, rather like a courtier bowing his way backwards from a monarch.

While the Obama Administration is paving the way for a possible mushroom cloud over Tel Aviv or New York in the near term, we’re all tying ourselves in knots about what Donald Trump said about Mexicans. The Democrats seem to have a Trump card.

Immigration arouses tremendous rage among both left and right. The left, always panting to push grievance buttons, transforms illegal immigrants into yet another clientele – as if those who enter the country illegally are entitled to legal status, benefits, and even citizenship. They establish “sanctuary cities” as if enforcing immigration laws amounts to persecution.

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Now that Trump is actually burning his bridges behind him, he doesn’t seem quite as empty a threat as last time around.  On the one hand, one would like to laugh him off.  It’s July 2015.  On the other hand, it doesn’t take that much effort for him to be an embarrassment to an otherwise promising […]

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Linda Chavez has an editorial over at National Review chiding conservatives for defending Donald Trump and extolling the virtues of Mexican immigrants. I don’t want to argue the points made in the article. I just find it interesting that there is a certain section of the Republican Establishment (paging John Ellis Bush) that finds it […]

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I was away on vacation for the past week plus and missed a very eventful news week. (Side note: was down in Disney World and while my five year old loved it I found it rather inane. What is it about these parks that some adults return over and over?) I probably missed some very […]

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The Happy Anachronism


Vintage Pocketwatch

It is idle to talk about preventing the wreck of Western civilization. It is already a wreck from within. That is why we can hope to do little more than snatch a fingernail of a saint from the rack or a handful of ashes from the faggots, and bury them secretly in a flowerpot against the day, ages hence, when a few men again dare to believe that there was once something else, that something else is thinkable, and need some evidence of what it was, and the fortifying knowledge that there were those who, at the great nightfall, took loving thought to preserve the tokens of hope and truth. — Whittaker Chambers

I don’t recall the exact age when my paternal grandfather stopped caring what the rest of the world thought of him, but I do remember the ebullient freedom with which he would announce whatever happened to be on his mind at any given moment, often to hilarious effect. I once brought a young lady over to meet him and at the conclusion of our visit, as we were leaving, he took her by the hand, smiled warmly and said, “You sure do talk a lot.” As with many things, his observation was absolutely spot-on, though it would have been nearly suicidal for me to agree with him at that particular moment. He winked, I winked, and she kept on talking.

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Miss Berlinski once asked, on a whim, a rather dangerous question: What do you believe to be true that no one else believes to be true? That is the way to start a civil war. Happily, I am a stranger, so I believe I can afford to answer that question–not without all due apologies, not […]

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How Do You Solve a Problem Like The Donald?


TrumpDescentIf you’re in the market for a Republican presidential candidate who wants to start a trade war with China, thinks there’s a causal link between vaccines and autism, believes there’s no need for entitlement reform, and led the charge on the birther movement, today’s your lucky day: As Johnny Dubya notes below, Donald Trump — probably the only candidate in this field who spent his announcement speech noodling on the state of America’s ‘brand’ — is now officially in the race.

Now, it’s easy enough to dismiss Trump as a sideshow. As Reid Epstein and Heather Haddon note in their report on the announcement in the Wall Street JournalNBC is still going forward on the assumption that Trump will tape the new season of Celebrity Apprentice in the fall — something he can’t do if he’s an active candidate — which may mean that he’s just taking his quadrennial exercise in publicity-seeking to new lengths. Either way, Republicans are still going to have to deal with the fact that every asinine utterance that comes out of the bloated gourd atop his shoulders will be gleefully seized upon by the Left and the media as evidence of the fundamental unseriousness of the GOP. They’ll also have to reckon with this:

Mr. Trump is likely to qualify for the Republican National Committee-sanctioned presidential debates, which Fox News and CNN have limited to candidates who place in the top 10 in national polling.

GOP Presidential Candidates Quiz


shutterstock_106049342As we approach the end of the week, it’s a good time to ask which of these stories from the past several days means the most to the Republican presidential field. These would be both short-term and long-term considerations. In the short term: the August 6 Fox News candidates’ debate in Cleveland. In the long term: strategies for coming back to Cleveland next summer and accepting the party’s nomination.

1) Bush MoneyThe Washington Post reported on Tuesday that Jeb Bush’s Right To Rise super PAC is unlikely to reach its $100 million target by the month’s end. Team Bush could still reach that figure, but to do so might require some accounting gimmicks such as factoring in the accumulated sums of Right To Rise, a separate Bush leadership PAC, plus whatever money’s in the actual campaign that becomes formal next week. Then again, maybe it’s an elaborate head-fake and Bush will beat the street estimates. Regardless, word of a potential financial underperformance spread like crazy over the Internet. Why such interest? Because money is at the heart of the Bush campaign — its strategy, its media validation. So, if true, is this a big deal, little deal, or no deal at all?

2) Rubio Rubbish.On Monday, The New York Times ran this headline: “Marco Rubio’s Career Bedeviled By Financial Struggles.” It chronicled how the Florida senator caught a break by getting an $800,000 advance to write a book about growing up as an immigrants’ son. It claimed that Rubio squandered $80,000 on a “luxury speedboat”. It turns out the S.S. Rubio is a modest offshore fishing boat — in the manufacturer’s words: a craft meant for “safety-minded family boaters and avid anglers”.

First Best Second Choice


2015-04-22T095637Z_2_LYNXMPEB3L0E5_RTROPTP_4_USA-ELECTIONIt was hot yesterday in Palo Alto. Well, mid-to-upper 80s with little in the way of a breeze, which may sound laughable depending on where you’re reading this. But it felt downright Dante-esque here in Northern California given that most of our May seemed overcast and unseasonably cool. I won’t take the coward’s way out and blame the heat for this evergreen story — vice-presidential speculation. What got me thinking about it was this story on Jeb Bush’s presidential staffing hires — specifically, the surprise choice of Danny Diaz as campaign manager.

About Diaz: he was a senior advisor on Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign and, four years before, a deputy communications director on John McCain’s campaign. But here’s what got my attention: Diaz has also worked for New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez (here is he tweeting about her back in 2014). And if you want to play the veepstakes guessing game, Martinez is worth a wager for at least three reasons:

1) Outreach. Jeb Bush is bilingual; he won’t back down on immigration reform. His kick-off speech next Monday will be at the Kendall campus of Miami Dade College, thus highlighting a theme of minority aspiration (last fall, 71% of credit-seeking students at Miami Dade were Hispanic and 17% were black). Should Bush receive his party’s nomination, Martinez and her compelling biography (nation’s first female Latina governor, former prosecutor, daughter of a Texas deputy sheriff) would seem a natural fit.