The Trumping Ground

With Campaign 2016 proceeding with all the dignity of a parade of Chihuahua’s on meth, I’d like to chime in with a theory of what may happen to Trump and his supporters in 2016. It’s one that, the more I examine it, the more possible it seems, though that could be me deluding myself.

I think the Republican elites want to eject Trump and his followers from the party, and is willing to take the hit for the long-term gain. In short, the Republicans leadership is ready to jettison at least some of the angry white male base they’ve cultivated. These people (and Trump) will doubtlessly form a third party or pseudo-third party – think of it as a Dumping ground (or Trumping ground) for people too troublesome to keep in the party anymore.

I think that the Republican elites can see the value.

The Typical Trump Voter

OK we know the drill. Trump scores unusually well with the older, white, less-educated set that skews male. We’ve heard about it for awhile, and it’s clear that this demographic also tends to be pretty damn racist, which isn’t a recipe for long-term success in our diverse country. These are oft the people targeted by the Southern Strategy.

I’d also add that, to judge by what I see of Trump’s support, it’s also seriously into conspiracy theories. This isn’t surprising giving Trump’s birther past, but also not surprising as the Republicans and Fox News (but I repeat myself) have been pushing conspiracy theories for ages. However in time it seems that the truly riled up Republican Base has gone pretty far off the plan – and they’re more and more likely to get information from Alex Jones and his like, and will hate Megan Kelly on command.

This isn’t a demographic you can predict or control, and I imagine there’s a little buyer’s remorse among the Republican elite. I don’t think they actually like these people

What got me thinking that the Republicans may jettison them is the National Review article by Kevin Williamson (link to commentary as I’m not fond of the National Review plus it has limited access)   that pretty much says that the uneducated white voters really need to get their crap together or their communities can die off. If someone in the National Review is saying this, then you know others are thinking it, the National Review just has a little less internal monologue.  I suppose I have to give Williamson points for consistency.

And when there’s open talk of derailing Trump, its pretty obvious members of the party don’t want to deal with these folks anyway.

So Let’s Game This Out

So if Republicans stick with the Trump contingent (probably a good 1/4 to 1/3 their numbers) and let them drive the election, the Republican party ends up enabling a voting bloc they don’t like and is easily manipulated (by people not them). They get a president who, let’s be honest here, would be a disaster (as the Economist notes). They drive more people to theDemocrats (if only out of fear) and finally brand themselves as being everything that . . . a lot of people thought they were anyway.

Racist, promoting ignorance, conspiracy-theory crazed, potentially violent, bigoted. If Trump gets the nomination, Republicans will suffer a branding problem that may be the most epic failure in American political history.  All for people that the elites and some of the general public doesn’t like.

Now roll this effect not just into the presidency (where a Clinton triumph would be a refutation of some 20 years of hating her), but the downstream races. The senate is within grasp of the Democrats, and the House might be conceivable (if only by next election). Trump would also cement a hideous image of the Republicans for many people, including young ones who may be imprinted for life.

The elite are left with a humiliated rump party.  Sure they have many states and governorships, but that may be next (and as I’ll note they have their own problem).

So why not jettison these voters now – if not directly, by doing everything to get Trump to leave and having them follow.

What The Gain Is

What’s in it for the Republicans?

A Republican party seemingly jettisoning the above baggage would be a different animal entirely. Less beholden to the various – well, let’s be honest – bigots – they enabled, they’d have room to move. A pro-business, pseudo-libertarian approach, nearly neoliberal, would go over well in many quarters. A direct rejection of Trump and a few reformations of policy would probably draw in voters.

Secondly, the Republicans get to run against the Trumping Ground rejects. They can do the whole “we refute these people, oh how did they get there routine.” Though we may all remember Willie Horton and the Southern Strategy and the like, this approach will gain ground as they will be saying the right things. They will be rejecting the Trump contingent directly, that will get at least some to trust them.

It’s hard to argue that someone is a bigot when they’r reject bigots.  Hell after all this the elites may mean it.

It may head off problems on some downstream races, and though they’d almost see two Clinton administrations, the Republicans could re-position themselves  for 2024. This is the party that got ahold of a lot of state governorships so they are pretty good at organizing (though with Louisiana and Kansas falling apart, that may be a problem that also bites them Trump-like).

Considering the choices, and the complete lack of affection, the Trumping Ground strategy may be the best bet for the Republicans. And I figure the party has enough smart people to see that.

What Of The Democrats?

Here’s the funny thing, the Democrats would love seeing the Republicans dump Trump and company as well.

First, it’d shatter the Republican party, handing them a victory for 2016, probably 2018, and maybe 2020.

Secondly, as this would confirm all the things people have said about the Republican party, there’d be the satisfaction of seeing it.

Third, they’d also be able to run against the Trumping Ground. It’d be a contest to see which party can run more against the cast-offs.

Of course that means the Democrats may have to split their efforts – even more if a Republican split emboldens the further left. But I imagine the gains are too much to even worry.

Everyone wins.  Except . . .

But What About Them?

But what happens to the people dumped into the Trumping Ground?

I’m not sure.

Look, the Republican leadership doesn’t like them. The democrats don’t like them and it’s personal considering the racial and bigotry issues.

Some of the folks that’d be dumped. They live in shattered communities, they’re behind, it’s hard not to feel empathy . .. but sympathy is a bit hard to come by when they supported Trump.

I imagine they’d end up having a kind of angry, chaotic far-right party. Some would clearly end up violent, but the party that’d form would be the kind constantly turning people off – along with members probably getting arrested. It’s likely some would go for outright violent, racist groups and get involved inc criminal activity, lashing out.

I don’t see a good end unless someone prone to social help – namely the Democrats – helps them deliberately or as part of a larger process of social reform. I don’t know what may come or if it will.

They really won’t have any place.

So That’s The Game

So that’s something I see more probably – originally I’d have given this 30% chance of happening. Now I’m to 50%. We’re going to see the Republican party reject Trump, and hope to push him and his constituents out, with them likely to form a third party. If Trump gets the nomination, they’ll blame him for the inevitable failure and do the same.

If Trump quits then they’re gone, shattered to the winds. If he stays around or has an inheritor, then there would be a third party. Certainly various media interests, writers, far-right politicians and so forth, would find them fertile ground,t his new party.  It might not be successful, but it’d be profitable for the grifters it’d attract.

But t’s not a party that could govern. T’d be a part of anger. It’d almost certainly be a party attracting and cultivating violent elements. They’d be more easily exploited.

In the end, it doesn’t end well. Maybe they’d break, fall apart, enough members would be involved in violent activities to get law enforcement involved, don’t know. But it doesn’t end well. end well.

Especially for the people left in the Trumping Ground.

  • Steve

American Trump: Not Pretending About Religion

Something seems to be missing from the Republican candidates’ campaign. Wits may figure such things include “dignity”, “good taste”, and “not humiliating your family.” But what’s missing is Christian Values.

Yes we hear talk about Christianity, especially in the realm of finding new ways to screw Syrian refugees and ways to hate Muslims. But there’s not as much talk about Values, morals, principles, etc. The old Holier-Than-Though that we got used to for so many years seems to be gone. The Values talk is secondary or tertiary.

I’ve almost got a bit of nostalgia for the old times. Theres’ just not as many pronouncements on the evils of homosexuality by obvious closet cases (Oh, Lindsey Graham, you could have stayed in). There’s little pretend humility from egomaniacs. There’s much less discussion of Christian Values by rich snobs who don’t care for the poor. You almost miss the “Christian Values” pronouncements, if only for the lost entertainment Value.

I put this on the shoulders of Donald Trump and his campaign.

Trump is about anger and rage. He taps into the anger of people who feel economically disempowered by the elites (despite Trump being one). He taps into the rage people project onto other races and cultures (despite any of his past statements and alliances). Trump has tapped into something ugly and angry and incoherent and easily channeled as it can’t channel itself without a vehicle.

And he’s got a lot of support – from people who felt unsupported.

This isn’t new. The Republican party’s played a dangerous game with religion, money, and anger for years. The party’s cultivated its own alternate media and alternate reality. It embraced conspiracy theories and sensationalism. Trump calls on that heritage without using the religious catchphrases and pretensions that we may have once seen.  Others built the system – he learned how to flip the switches and run the machine.

He’s shown us where the party is now, a party where a good chunk is just upset anry people without even paying lip service to some kind of values or morals or principles.

I give Trump a 50% shot at the Republican nomination – and a 90% chance to become a 3rd party if he doesn’t. He won’t go away, but he won’t be president.

But when he’s off to wherever, why should we assume the Republican party will ever talk values as they once did? If they try, how can they in light of having once had so many people support a candidate like Trump?

I think we just witnessed a transition in Republican culture and strategy, but not everyone realizes it.


  • Steve

The Inevitable Trump Column

OK, fine after hearing about Trump repeatedly, I figured I should weigh in because everyone else has and I’m bad and shutting up.

Besides, I have a few observations I figure are worth sharing.

THIS IS HIS NEXT THING: Trump has pretty much committed to politics; he’s defined his brand and burnt many bridges. I may not be sure how wise he is, but I can’t see these decisions being made without some idea of implications.

HE WANTS HIS OWN PARTY: Trump owns things, he puts his name on them, and it’s clear by his occasional flirting with independence he wants to own a political party. If somehow he is pushed out of canidacy you can bet he can take his ball and go elsewhere.

HES GOT ENOUGH SUPPORT TO BUILD ONE: Sure The Party Of Trump may not be big, but he’s got enough support that I think he could easily get a good 10+% vote in a general election. In local elections, a Party of Trump could take some smaller offices. This may not be presidential power, but Trump owning his own party would give him an ego trip for the rest of his life.

THIS IS THE RESULT OF PAST MEDIA INFRASTRUCTURE: The Republicans built their shows and their own network and the like – they built a system meant for epistemic closure. The thing is that anyone who can work the system can walk off with it – and Trump has.

THIS IS THE RESULT OF PAST CHOICES: Trump is exploiting just about every right-wing dog-whistle from the Southern Strategy to fear of Muslims. A lot of past political choices paved the way for this.  This is similar to the media infrastructure being exploited.

THIS IS IN THE OPEN: Now a lot of people are comfortable being openly racist and bigoted. Some politicians and such will continue to exploit this. It has, to some been made acceptable. We’ll probably be putting up with the fallout from this for one to two decades – in the form of crazy policies, open bigotry, and the fight against it.

THIS CAN LEAD TO A DEMOCRATIC SUCCESS: If The Republicans can’t shake Trump and others try to be trump-lite, the Democrats are going to exploit this. They are already, if subtly, but mostly they don’t have to interfere with the brand destruction. If Trump continues to be out there, you can bet he’ll be a successful campaign issue and many Republicans will be Trump Tarred.

THIS CAN LEAD TO REPUBLICAN OPPORTUNITY: At the same time, if the Republican party wants to purge themselves of the rather bigoted baggage that was cultivated, this would be a chance. Tossing Trump away and letting his followers go with him, as painful as it is, would draw a distinction. Though it would take time to re-align and recovery, it would be better than a meltdown -and I’m betting some of the old-school politicians and lobbyists would see this as a way to reassert power by jettisoning extremists and having an issue to bring big-money donors to heel (“don’t be a Trump”).

(I doubt the above will happen, but I consider i theoretically possible)
THERE ARE TOO MANY VARIABLES: I give Trump’s chance to get the Republican nomination to be low, under 30% (requiring a kind of interparty meltdown and opportunism). That’s about the ONLY thing I feel comfortable guessing at however – there’s things I can think MAY happen, but the above is about all I can say with any confidence. Trump’s shaken things up.

A BROKERED CONVENTION WILL MEAN A TRUMP THIRD PARTY: If the Republican convention ends up Brokered and Trump doesn’t get the nod? You can bet he will storm out, the publicity that follows will let him easily form his own party, and he’ll go after Republicans first.

Any thoughts?

  • Steve