That’s not to say all this will come to pass, only that at this point that Trump has managed to squander — through self-inflicted wounds — whatever assets he seemed to have before his latest descent began. He has run an undisciplined campaign, replete with wild charges, the promotion of conspiracy theories and fights with members of his own party. He did so again Wednesday night.
His travel schedule suggests either that there is no electoral map strategy inside his campaign or that Trump has overridden the advice of his advisers. He was in Colorado on Tuesday, rather than Arizona. He was recently in Wisconsin, which looks out of reach at this point. He will be in Ohio and Florida and North Carolina over the next few days, but also plans a stop in Virginia, despite no objective evidence that he has much chance there.
Comments: Boyne says she and pal Sonja Morgan (pictured, of ‘Real Housewives of New York’) watched as Trump looked up models’ skirts and commented on their underwear or genitals
Donald Trump proves he is unfit, unserious and unprepared on national security
People watch a TV news channel airing an image of North Korea’s ballistic missile launch. (Ahn Young-Joon/Associated Press)
By Michael Vickers and Michael Morell September 28
Michael Vickers was undersecretary of defense for intelligence from 2011 to 2015 and assistant secretary of defense for special operations, low-intensity conflict and interdependent capabilities from 2007 to 2011. Michael Morell was deputy director of the CIA from 2010 to 2013, and twice served as acting director during that time. They have both endorsed Democrat Hillary Clinton for president.
Donald Trump showed again during Monday’s presidential debate the many ways in which he is unfit to be president. But nowhere did he reveal himself to be as temperamentally unfit, unserious, unprepared and incoherent as he did on the topic of national security.
Trump continued to question the global alliance system that has served U.S. national security interests so well since World War II. He continues to see our relationships with our closest allies and partners solely in terms of cost — who is paying how much of the bill. He does not see all the benefits that have accrued to the United States from this system, including the stability of Europe and East Asia that has made this a more secure and prosperous nation.
Trump spoke off the cuff about the most important responsibility of our commander in chief: U.S. nuclear weapons policy. Apparently unaware of the meaning of the words, he first said he believed in “no first use” of nuclear weapons, then contradicted himself by saying he would keep his options open as president. One of us (Michael Vickers) had oversight for U.S. nuclear weapons policy during the George W. Bush administration, and we can say unequivocally that absolute clarity is critical to the strength of our nuclear deterrent. And these comments come on top of Trump’s already-reckless pattern of remarks on allowing more countries to obtain nuclear weapons and the potential scenarios in which he would consider using such weapons.
Trump failed to articulate a plan to defeat the Islamic State, and he baldly lied about initially opposing the Iraq War. He continued his silly argument that to talk about his plan would give away secrets to the enemy. Nonsense. As two people who fought terrorists for almost two decades, we can assure Trump that offering the broad outlines of a policy gives nothing away. Michael McCaul (R-Tex.), the talented chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, just produced a thoughtful, nonpartisan policy paper on dealing with terrorism and protecting the homeland. Does Trump think that paper, produced by a fellow Republican, gives away secrets? We do not.
Trump has repeatedly claimed on the campaign trail, as he did again Monday night, that the United States would have prevented the emergence of the Islamic State if we had “taken the oil” in the aftermath of the Iraq War. Trump is apparently unaware that the terrorist group got its oil from fields in Syria, not Iraq. Trump likewise dubiously asserted that had the United States maintained 10,000 troops in Iraq after 2011 — against the wishes of the Iraqi government — it would have prevented the Islamic State from becoming a threat. Again, Trump is seemingly unaware of the facts. The Islamic State’s most rapid growth occurred when it crossed the border into Syria, where most of its forces remain today.
And Trump was not serious when he was discussing one of the most significant threats of our time: cyber. In discussing Russia’s possible involvement in the recent hack of the Democratic National Committee, he posited that a 400-pound person sitting on a bed could have been responsible. It is highly unlikely that a lone hacker conducted this attack. Trump did not want to admit that the most likely culprit was Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom Trump actually encouraged to conduct cyber espionage against his opponent, Hillary Clinton.
As bad as he was on the issues, Trump was even worse on temperament and style. He was clearly not prepared for the debate, rambling through answers with many digressions that had nothing to do with what he was asked or even the point he was trying to make. A commander in chief needs many qualities, and one of them is being prepared. If Donald Trump thinks preparation is overrated and that a seat-of-the-pants approach makes sense for the most important debate of his life, why do we think he would treat meetings in the White House Situation Room any differently?
What remains is this question: Can Donald Trump actually execute the basic duties of the presidency? Is there any way that his administration won’t be a flaming train wreck from the start? Is there any possibility that he’ll be levelheaded in a crisis — be it another 9/11 or financial meltdown, or any of the lesser-but-still-severe challenges that presidents reliably face?
I think we have seen enough from his campaign — up to and including his wretchedly stupid conduct since the first debate — to answer confidently, “No.” Trump’s zest for self-sabotage, his wild swings, his inability to delegate or take advice, are not mere flaws; they are defining characteristics. The burdens of the presidency will leave him permanently maddened, perpetually undone.
Even if that undoing doesn’t lead to economic or geopolitical calamity (yes, Virginia, there are worse things than the Iraq War), which cause or idea associated with Trumpism is likely to emerge stronger after a four-year train wreck? Not populism or immigration restrictionism. Not evangelical Christianity. Not economic conservatism. They’ll all be lashed to the mast of a burning ship whose captain is angrily tweeting from the poop deck.
Months ago, I worried that Trump was too authoritarian to be entrusted with the presidency. That worry has receded a bit, because authoritarianism requires a ruthless sort of competence that Trump cannot attain.
The major takeaway from the three pages of Trump’s 1995 returns that the Times made public is that Trump is right when he says the system is rigged. What he doesn’t say is that it’s rigged in his favor and in the favor of people like him — and against regular people, those of us who earn money, pay income tax on it, and financially support the country in which we live.
The Six Main Reasons Why the Times Tax Story Could Be Devastating For Trump
…Trump has chosen not to release his returns. And I doubt he ever will, because they would reveal that the career he boasts so much about is built on sand….Most of the $916 million loss that Trump claimed for 1995 is probably derived from about $900 million in bank loans taken out in the mid- to late 1980s that he had personally guaranteed and that he used to wildly overpay for hotels, airlines, yachts, barren land and other trinkets. Trump couldn’t afford to buy any of this with his own money, he lacked the good judgment and foresight to pay the right price for almost everything he bought, and once he bought all of it, the interest payments on the loans quickly became unmanageable. Corporate bankruptcy ensued.
10:48 PM EST
So, you are not willing to forgive Trump, but you are willing to forgive others for their constant failures? And, you think anyone else in this race is qualified? Look, I think Trump has a big mouth, and he makes me cringe, but the bottom line for me is – who can truly lead? Who can fix the mess in our broken federal government? This isn’t a partisan issue. We’ve given Obama a zillion passes for his gaffes, but we can’t give Trump 2 or 3 or 10? I know lots of successful leaders who have a big mouth. For me, I’m willing to give Trump a shot. Because no one else has the personal power to get it done
Consciously or not, Mr. Trump’s campaign echoes the style of Andrew Jackson, and the states where Mr. Trump is strongest are the ones that most consistently favored Jackson during his three runs for the White House.
What Mr. Trump borrows from Jackson is not an issue, but a way of thinking about the world. Mr. Trump promises to fix his supporters’ problems, no matter who else is hurt. He’s a wealthy celebrity always ready for a fight, a superpatriot who says he will make America great again. He vows to attack government corruption and defend the common man. All this could be said of Jackson.
Donald Trump’s Strongest Supporters: A Certain Kind of Democrat
The Ancient Pennsylvania 7 hours ago
I think Nick has it sort of backwards. I think Obama’s inability to improve the economy and horrible foreign policy created Trump. Had the lives of the middle class and blue collar workers not deteriorated so badly, Trump would not have emerged as their champion [avenger].
In struggling Iowa town: ‘We’re looking for the person most different from what we have’
Ottumwa sits in Wapello County, where more people are registered No Party than Democratic or Republican. It’s 94 percent white, a place where the average income is $23,000, well below the state overall. It’s a county where Rick Santorum won four years ago, and Mike Huckabee and John Edwards in 2008. The eventual nominees of both parties haven’t done better than third place here in more than a decade. But the independence that voters here have shown is suddenly in vogue this year, and outsiders like Trump and Sanders came here this winter to try to make a match.
“People here don’t necessarily believe Trump or Sanders is the best candidate to actually be president, but they are the best antidote to the main problem, which is the political parties,” said Ottumwa’s state senator, Mark Chalgren, who calls himself a nominal Republican and chooses not to make his own choice for president public.
Donald Trump’s success combined with Marco Rubio’s fade reflects the implosion of any sort of Republican establishment. For decades, party leaders ran a con game with their party’s working-class supporters. They gave verbal respect to social and religious conservatism and, throughout President Obama’s time in office, channeled every sort of resentment. But they delivered little of concrete benefit to these voters.
The voters noticed, and along came Trump.
Trump does not engage in the dainty dance that is the stock-in-trade of a Republican establishment that shifts effortlessly from backlash politics to high-toned rhetoric. Trump’s stream-of-consciousness soliloquies invoke nationalism, tough talk on trade, and a harsh and sometimes racist response to immigration. He roars the anger of his supporters, unapologetically.
10:06 PM EST [Edited]
Iraq has taught me a life lesson. Do not displace what you are not capable of replacing.
It is deeply worrying that we are busy bandying around the terms anti- elite and anti-establishment without regards to messages behind them. Except that when you talk to the 23 year old and you realized that he really believes Bernie Sanders can singlehandedly “break up the big banks” or “reign in Wall Street” or “reconstruct Washington.”
Or when you talk to the 45 year old who really believes that Trump will build a “terrific wall” and have Mexico pay for it or round up millions of undocumented and ship them out or tell China to return our jobs and take the oil from Iraq or eradicate ISIS.
And they will get these things done firstly because they are Trump and Sanders. Once the ink is dried on the counting, they will grab the establishment by the nape of the neck and toss it out and then do their thing.
However no mention of a plan, no mention of pulling together a Congress deeply fractured by the very extremes that are anti-establishmentarians.
Not cynical just sensible. Wary of Romantic Revolutionaries.
What Donald Trump learned from Ronald Reagan’s flip-flops
By Daniel Oppenheimer February 4
Of the many people Donald Trump praises in his 1987 book “The Art of the Deal,” one of the first is Mario Cuomo, who was then governor of New York and one of the more estimable liberals in the country. Cuomo, Trump writes, was “a winner and a good guy at that.”
He wasn’t the last Democrat who got some love in “
The Art of the Deal” or in the broader Trump oeuvre. The following year on “Oprah,” handicapping the 1988 presidential race, Trump said entirely nice things about Michael Dukakis and Jesse Jackson. There’s a now-rather-notorious 2005 picture of Trump and Melania Knauss at their wedding reception, palling around with Bill and Hillary Clinton. In 2009, he was optimistic about Obama and wrote that the new president had “surrounded himself with very competent people, and that’s the mark of a strong leader.”
Now that Trump is running for president as a Republican, it’s all rather discordant. Trump did not register as a Republican until 1987, at age 41. He went Republican for a dozen years, served a brief tour in Ross Perot’s Reform Party, then joined the Democratic fold for most of George W. Bush’s presidency. He was a registered Republican in 2009 and 2010, an independent in 2011, and then a Republican again in 2012. It’s entirely possible that he would have switched back to the Democrats if President Obama had shown him a bit more love when Trump offered in 2010 to help the administration plug the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and to build a new White House ballroom.
This past week, it looked like Trump’s political past could drag down his future. In the days just before its caucuses, Iowa was inundated by super-PAC-funded ads that hammered the billionaire for his past liberal views. Late deciders in Iowa voted overwhelmingly for other candidates, caucus entrance polling showed.
The ads, and Trump’s opponents, are making what seems like a common-sense argument: This guy’s not to be trusted. He’s not one of us. It’s proving somewhat effective. But it ignores the GOP’s long and productive history with political refugees from the other side. It’s also vulnerable to precisely the kinds of counterarguments that past turncoats have successfully made and that are intimately connected to Trump’s appeal.
Most people understand intuitively the fundamental discomfort of partisan identity. Very few of us fit perfectly into the political suit we’ve chosen or been given to wear. It would be strange if we did, since at any given time the suits on offer are patched together according to complex social, political and historical patterns that are unlikely to overlay perfectly the equally complex ecosystems we inhabit as individuals. We pick the suit that fits us best and deny, ignore or just muddle along with the ways it doesn’t feel quite right. A political identity is always a negotiation between what it demands and who we are. The suit can fit for a while, for meaningful reasons, and then grow too tight or too loose, also for meaningful reasons.
Trump has changed parties. Yet it’s clear to everyone, even those who detest his politics, that whatever his partisan affiliation has happened to be at a given moment, he’s never wavered in his nativism, his obsession with “winning” or his celebration of business acumen and common sense as the highest political virtues.
From one angle, Trump’s frequent party-switching looks like evidence of indecision or opportunism. This may have been what cost him victory in Iowa. From another perspective, which suited about a quarter of the Iowa Republican electorate, it’s proof of authenticity and decisiveness.
In “Crippled America,” his most recent book, Trump devotes a few paragraphs to the charge that Republicans shouldn’t trust him because of his fickle relationship with the party.
He says he was a Democrat because he was born in New York, and everyone there is a Democrat. He’s always been a Republican at heart. He likes the Constitution. He’s conservative now on the big issues. And then the trump card:
“You know who else was a Democrat? Ronald Reagan. He switched, and I switched years ago, when I began to see what liberal Democrats were doing to our country. Now I’m a conservative Republican with a big heart. I didn’t decide to become a Republican. That’s who I have always been.”
The passage doesn’t exactly hold together as logic or history. It has some emotive power, though, and it does something important, suggesting that Trump’s past isn’t just a mistake that needs to be explained: It’s a potential source of strength and insight as well. He has a unique understanding of what kind of conservatism America needs precisely because he was once on the other side. He may even be better positioned to fight the liberals than anyone else in the Republican race because he knows them so intimately.
It’s a very Trump-esque maneuver, turning an apparent weakness into a strength. It’s also an old argument and one that’s been made successfully by many of his predecessors in the ranks of prominent Americans who’ve traveled from the left to the right.
Consider, as Trump did, our 40th president. Reagan’s father, Jack, was a die-hard partisan who idolized Franklin Roosevelt and even worked for a time for a New Deal offshoot during the 1930s. Ronald Reagan was a liberal Democrat for half his life, and his attachment to his Democratic identity, because of his father and because of his own admiration for FDR, was so deep and abiding that it would take him more than a decade to fully detach.
Even as his beliefs diverged more and more from the party line in the 1950s, he couldn’t bear to abruptly turn away from his past self. Reagan changed incrementally, along the way evolving an arsenal of stories, lessons, evasions and stratagems that enabled him to break from his loyalties without taking an axe to the emotional ties — of family, workplace, ethnicity, religion, history and geography — with which those loyalties had been bound up.
One result of this long, slow evolution was that by the end of it, Reagan was able to take his struggle out of liberalism and offer it to back to susceptible Democratic voters in the form of a deeply reassuring narrative. It’s not you who have changed. You’re great as you are. It’s the world around you. It’s the Democratic Party, once your home, that’s shifted.
Without this process and the resultant narrative, he would have been a far less transformative president, far less capable of selling political changes that were, in fact, quite dramatic.
By the time he arrived as his fully formed conservative self in the early 1960s, Reagan was almost entirely immune to attacks from the right over his old beliefs and affiliations. The story he told was too well developed, reassuring and integrated for anyone to see him as anything other than conservative.
Trump is more susceptible to such attacks, for a few reasons. He doesn’t have Reagan’s political skills. His conversion story is less developed and persuasive. He hasn’t cultivated deep ties to the right. And his story isn’t one of reassurance and integration, but something like the opposite: It promises rupture and discontinuity, the destruction of inhibitions and niceties.
It wants to build a big wall along the border and make Mexico pay for it. It wants to say “You’re fired!” to every bureaucrat who gets in Trump’s way. To deport 11 million people. To cut loose, or bulldoze through, binding international treaties, geopolitical balances of power and complex tax codes. It wants a world where one very big winner, and through him the rest of us, can do and be whatever we want by virtue of hard work, good values, tough dealmaking and a killer instinct.
It’s a fantasy, of course. And one that’s vulnerable to criticism. But it’s also deeply compelling to millions of people, suited not just to the political climate of our time — the gridlock, the polarization, the pessimism, the seeming incapacity to come together on great projects for the future — but to certain quandaries of being human. Who among us doesn’t dream, sometimes, of not being tied down by all the overlapping strands of obligation, expectation, hierarchy, bureaucracy, courtesy and reciprocity that constrain and condition us as we move through our lives? Who doesn’t dream that if we could just bring ourselves to break out of that cage, we might live more amazing, terrific, frictionless lives?
Trump, like many political converts before him, tells us a deep truth about who we are as a culture and where we might be going. He also poses a challenge to us, to look directly at the fears and fantasies we harbor that are going to find political form, one way or another, and to make choices about what form they will take.
BlueCollar 2h ago
He says he wants to build a wall along US-Mexico border, he wants ban on Muslims to come to US, he says he would bring back jobs from China (does n’t mention India). He wants to make America great once again ( how ? ) – If that makes America great, then he is the only one with 20/20 vision rest of us wear bifocal
Bringing 2h ago
Trump understands that the basic principles of fairness and honesty will always win out over fear. That’s the heart of his campaign and it’s what will make America, America again. The pc-elite have had their day and they’ve brought us misery and division on a scale we could have barely imagined twenty years ago.
Trump’s victories aren’t mysterious if you understand why people are angry
The Republican frontrunner often complains that he’s been dismissed by the media. But it’s not him that the pundits are contemptuous of; it’s his supporters
And though establishment toffs like to issue signifying snorts about Trump voters being predominantly “poorly educated”, in the minutes after the caucus even CNN started to come around to the most elusive explanation: Trump’s popularity isn’t about his supporters’ education, their religion or the policies they’d like to see enacted. Trump is popular because of his supporters’ anger.
Anger isn’t something that Beltway pundits
recognize, let alone understand because everyone employed in media or in politics in and around Washington DC is pretty well off. Even ink-stained wretches pull down five-figures – and, unlike everywhere else in America, since journalism is built on documenting nonsense, there’s some real job security in documenting Washington. Television people fare even better, because TV money is stupid money. Thinktank malefactors reap great sums from the aggrieved heartland or from industries looking to build a canon of falsified data, and Congress and the attendant lobbying is a helluva racket.
Anger is pretty easy to miss when it’s something pretty difficult to feel. When you sit at the center of the world and are unlikely to ever lack for the basic materials of self-sufficiency, the idea of blind, gnawing resentment – let alone of feeding that resentment even with irrational aims – is ineluctably beyond your ken.
But you don’t need some grand overarching political science theory. There are millions of miserable people in America who know exactly who engineered the shattering of their worlds, and Trump isn’t one of those people – and, with the exception of Bernie Sanders, everyone else in the field is running on the basis of their experience being one of those people.
Have you completed the third grade?
If so, this may be why you are having trouble understanding the appeal of Donald Trump.
In New Hampshire, South Carolina and, on Tuesday, Nevada, Trump did not just win resoundingly by leveraging one or two types of conservative voters. Entrance polls reveal he triumphed by drawing on a pool of voters as wide as it was deep.
But what we incredulous political analysts keep failing to take into account—what I was reminded of when I went to a Trump rally last week and listened hard to his supporters—is that the people voting for him aren’t evaluating him through any usual ideological lens. They’re not asking what kind of Republican he is. They’re not troubling themselves with whether the position he’s selling today matches the position he was selling yesterday or even what that old position was.
They want to try something utterly different—utterly disruptive, to use the locution du jour—and that leaves them, on the Republican side, with the options of Trump and Ben Carson. Trump has the fire.
One woman told me that she loves the idea of a billionaire who is funding his own candidacy and won’t be beholden to contributors and special interests. Wouldn’t that be refreshing? Couldn’t that be transformative? Why not give it a shot?
She’d also been to a Marco Rubio rally and was impressed: what a nice young man. But she’s not in the market for nice and young, not this time around.
Another woman told me that she craves a president who is fearless, really fearless, and that of all the candidates in the race, Trump seems the least bowed, the least cowed. She trusts him to fight. All he does is fight. And a fight is what’s in order.
A man who served in the Air Force and now works as a trucker told me that over several decades, through several presidents, the Veterans Affairs department has remained dysfunctional and his wages haven’t gone up. If he keeps voting the same way, for the same run-of-the-mill politicians, shouldn’t he expect more of the same? Trump isn’t the same.
From Florida resorts to Midwestern farms to Silicon Valley technology companies, the number of guest workers has been growing, even as labor advocates have accused employers of using the programs to replace American workers with cheaper foreign labor. The Labor Department is investigating whether outsourcing companies hired by Disney used such a program to replace American employees who were qualified and already doing the jobs.
Donald Trump’s utterly ridiculous budget plan
“I play to people’s fantasies,” Trump wrote in his 1987 book “The Art of the Deal.” “I call it truthful hyperbole. It’s an innocent form of exaggeration — and a very effective form of promotion.”