Is it time to take Trumpism seriously? Well …

Donald Trump

Donald Trump’s entrance into the Republican primary two months ago looked to many of us like a shot of comic relief. There were yuks about the yuuuge, classy wall he’d build on the southern border — with Mexico’s money — and his long-infamous hair.

Then Trump rose in the opinion polls, and some of our jokes turned into jeers, then jabs.

Just wait ’til Republican voters realize Trump used to hold liberal views on various issues, we said. But he kept going up.

Just wait ’til people hear he disparaged John McCain for being a prisoner of war, we said. Still, he rose.

Just wait ’til he has to share a stage with more serious folks. Just wait ’til you hear what he said about Megyn Kelly. Just wait. …

Depending on which polls or poll averages you check, Trump appears to have plateaued. He still pulls twice the support of his nearest GOP opponent, but he also has stalled around 25 percent — meaning 3 in 4 Republicans prefer someone else.

So I still don’t think Trump will be the nominee (and I still find him obnoxious). But it’s worth trying to understand what’s going on, and to fully get that, I think we have to look beyond him.

A month ago, what I’ll call the Not-Washington Crowd of candidates — Trump, neurosurgeon Benjamin Carson and businesswoman Carly Fiorina, plus anti-establishment Sen. Ted Cruz — collectively got about 38 percent of voters, excluding undecideds, in the Huffington Post Pollster average. Eight current or ex-governors got a combined 45 percent.

Now, the tables have more than turned. The Not-Washington Crowd has 50 percent, and the governors have fallen to 35 percent.

The biggest risers have been Trump, Fiorina and Carson, in that order. The biggest drops: Scott Walker, then Jeb Bush. (Everyone else in the 17-person field has been virtually flat.)

Voters have been drawn to Trump, I think, for a few reasons. To some extent, it’s as simple as this: People are angry, Trump knows it, and he’s conducting a master class in Madison Avenue-style persuasion, as Dilbert creator Scott Adams recently detailed on his blog. (Who else but a cartoonist could explain this campaign?)

But the success of the other Not-Washington folks, at the expense of those long deemed front-runners, also looks like a considered vote of no-confidence in the governing class. A lot of voters no longer believe politicians can fix government. They see Trump’s “Make America Great Again” ball cap and think the hat might be cheesy, but the slogan is dead-on. It’s much the same sentiment, albeit not the exact playbook, that turned David Perdue into Georgia’s junior senator last year.

You can also see it, I think, in the rise of Bernie Sanders to nearly a quarter of the Democratic vote nationally, and even a lead over Hillary Clinton in one recent New Hampshire poll. Sanders may have been in Washington for 24 years, but his platform goes far beyond what Washington has done before.

Meanwhile, in recent news: Clinton’s campaign remains engulfed in the kind of scandal — stonewalling and lying about something as basic as her emails while secretary of state — that seems so typically, stupidly Washington. The EPA was caught polluting a river instead of protecting it. And the Associated Press reports the nuclear deal with Iran allows the Iranians to inspect some of their own suspected military sites.

Maybe this year’s anti-establishment streak shouldn’t be so surprising.

Reader Comments 0

116 comments
DavidFarrar
DavidFarrar

If we don't take Trumptonian democracy seriously, we will get Fabian socialist such as JEB or Hillary's version of the 14th Amendment:


"If people are here legally, they have a visa, and they have an child who's born here, I think that they ought to be American citizens." 


In other words: if a couple is simply traveling around the US on a tourist visa and they happen to have a child somewhere in the United States, that child, via the 14th Amendment, should be a U.S. citizen. 


The 14th Amendment was never meant to bestow birthright citizenship on the children of tourists, vacationing in the United States. They are not even permanent residents. They are citizens of another country, a country who, by their own right and sovereignty, claim the same right of their citizenship for the child as well. This is an example of just how far off base JEB and Hillary are with common, everyday Americans. 


FIGMO2
FIGMO2

The only people who can dispose of Trump are the people who attend his rallies. 

A few strategically placed GOP voters grounded in reality, and armed with facts, should put TRUMP on the hot seat, settling for nothing less than details, similar to what Todd did.

Much like Obama, Trump doesn't like having his authority questioned.

Brothers from different mothers, those two. 

JoelEdge
JoelEdge

I think the American people are getting sick of voting for one of two parties that have begun to act the same. Trump scares some Republicans and Sanders worries some Democrats. This is as it should be, these people should be worried. They seem to care more about illegal aliens and corporations that they do the citizens of this country.

For the record, I don't care much for Trump either. But I remember back in my Democrat voting days I dismissed a candidate as a "washed up B actor". We all know how that turned out.

Not that I'm equating Reagan and Trump but a crisis prompts leadership in some strange ways.

M H Smith
M H Smith

@JoelEdge 

Strange how two populist candidates, one an admitted socialist the other a capitalist are giving the rest of the candidates from each party such a hard time.

Bottom line: The American people are past sick and tired of being screwed over all over the place. The other politicians should have picked up on that fact by now. 

I don't have any reason, so far, not to vote for Trump and his populism.    

Recon2/3
Recon2/3

I like many thought Trumps rise was an aberration that would soon pass. His success thus far is not an aberration but rather a reflection of the dissatisfaction with government that many Americans feel. Trump's merely hitting home runs with the issues that he raises. His unorthodox manner is appealing to conservatives because it is unorthodox and positions him as a Washington outsider, which a growing number of Americans like. However, as the campaign wears on reality will set in and voters will see Trump as being pretty much unelectable in a national election. Hopefully, an electable conservative Republican will then emerge from the crowded field with the ability to understand the public's frustrations and take some of Trumps positions, while  tempering the Trump rhetoric and become the leading candidate

Captain–Obvious
Captain–Obvious

@Recon2/3 Do you realize that Trump was a liberal before he was a conservative? (eyeroll) Conservatives need principled candidates not wishy washy opportunists.

heezback
heezback

@Recon2/3 Well stated and very easy to comprehend.  I generally agree with your assessment and the "home runs" are being hit off the tee-ball stand built by the establishment over the recent decades.  I also think that Trump's appeal, at least presently, is broader than to just "conservatives".  A great many American citizens are fed up and worried about our collective future.  

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

@Captain–Obvious @Recon2/3 True that, but we continue to elect folks who campaign as principal oriented candidates with track records we like, but they get that beltway fever when they get to Washington and go limber, David Perdue comes to mind.  

DS
DS

I still wonder how many Trump supporters are aware that he has previously supported single-payer healthcare, a woman's right to choose to have an abortion, a ban on assault weapons, and higher taxes on the wealthy?

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

@DS

Maybe about the same percent of Democrats who are aware that Bernie Sanders is a yuuuuuge gun rights supporter.

lvg
lvg

@DS Oh my! Banish him from the party why don't you?Clearly these positions make him unqualified for leader of the Stupid Party.

TheRealJDW
TheRealJDW

I think you are still missing the story here Kyle...1/3 of Republican voters name Trump as thier first or second choice. They do so based on policy positions that range from amusing...say lets deport 11 million people...to downright asinine...vaccinations cause autism.

Thats the story...the dysfunction of the Republican Party that continues to hold back our progress as a nation. Only good thing that can come out of this is another "Goldwater" episode that lets the adults run the government for a time.

Leave it to the Repugs to find a front runner that makes Ted Cruz look moderate and Sarah Palin look modest and unassuming.

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

@TheRealJDW

Real Americans are thankful for a party that holds back "progress" on raising taxes on hardworking Americans, massively growing the regulatory state, driving good jobs offshore, importing cheap labor from Mexico and Central America, increasing income inequality, lowering family incomes, putting government in charge of our medical decisions, putting Iranians in charge of verifying Iranian compliance with nuclear agreements, and caving to terrorist regimes.

ssinf
ssinf

All this talk about anchor babies. I had assumed that term was a slur. Maybe I am just some PC pansy. Either way, the GOP is set to receive even less of the Latino vote than Romney won in 2012.

People have crunched numbers that show the Republican candidate in 2016 will need 45% or so of the Latino vote to win the white house. Romney won 27%.

Good luck with that one....

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

@ssinf

You think Latinos have already made up their mind before even finding out who the nominee is and what his or her policy positions are?

You don't give Latinos much credit for open-mindedness or critical thinking ability, do you?

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@LilBarryBailout @ssinf

You don't give Latinos much credit for open-mindedness or critical thinking ability, do you?

If you can't grasp that making "anchor babies" a national issue--basically trying to re-litigate what has been a SOP interpretation of the 14th Amendment for the last ~150 years just because it happens to be a nice juicy wedge issue for white primary voters now that marriage equality is gone--will likely put Latinos at odds with the GOP in the general election, then you haven't any critical thinking ability at all.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@sssinff Honest question: What term would you use to describe the phenomenon? Or are you going to deny it even happens?

sssinff
sssinff

@LilBarryBailout


Perhaps they haven't made up their minds, but all of the GOP candidates falling over themselves to use the term "anchor baby" might hasten the decision. I hate to even type the term. It is simply disgusting and an insult.


I'll throw the question back to you, what have the GOP done to court Latinos? Or any of the other groups that vote against the GOP: blacks, gays, the young, Asians, Jews?

sssinff
sssinff

@Kyle_Wingfield


An "honest" question, with a snarky comment after. Classy.


I would call them babies, or U.S. citizens. If you have a problem with immigration, fine. But the GOP's embracing ending birthright citizenship is political suicide. If you want to work on immigration, work on it. But to marginalize U.S. citizens who have the same rights as you or I is pretty disgusting, and children no less. I'll ask you an honest question, how likely do you think the GOP is to entice so called "anchor babies" to support the party? 


I'm a bit of a history buff, and the rhetoric coming from Republicans in 2015 is eerily reminiscent of the Know Nothing party in the mid 1800s. Better number crunchers than I have already calculated that the GOP will need at least 40% of the Latino vote to be competitive for the white house in 2016. Romney won 27%. Do you think this "anchor baby" rhetoric is going to increase or decrease that number from 27%?



Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@sssinff So you're going to deny the phenomenon happens. Not so snarky after all, I guess.

My question, of course, was about how to refer to babies born to immigrants here so that said immigrants would have a family member to bind them to this country. "Anchor baby" says more about the parents than about the baby, if we're being intellectually honest.

sssinff
sssinff

@Kyle_Wingfield


Don't you have kids? Do you think these "anchor babies" are entitled to anything less in America than your own progeny? Would you consider Bobby Jindal an anchor baby? His parents came to the U.S. when the mother was 3 months pregnant, knowing full well they would birth their child in the United States. Do you support repealing the 14th amendment? If so, how would you determine citizenship?


Snide comments of yours aside, it would be enlightening to know how you would address the birthright citizenship issue. 


Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@sssinff As with your previous comment, you've missed the point. The point is about the parents who have a baby here in order to facilitate their own presence in this country. The term does not describe every child born to every immigrant (or lawfully present foreigner) in the country. It refers to the specific act of having a child so that that child "anchors" the family to the United States.

I do have kids, and as it happens one of them was born to us in another country. We had been living in that country for more than four years when he was born. We had no intention of staying there. We did not have him there with the intent of creating a child with citizenship in that country (which, for the record, he wouldn't have obtained unless he stayed there until the age of 5). So there's a difference between that kind of birth and the kind of birth described by the term "anchor baby."

Now, that doesn't mean there's a difference in rights (for babies born in the U.S.). Of course, every citizen has the same rights as every other citizen. Of course. I agree with those who say the anchor baby issue is a symptom of an actual problem, which is our inability and/or refusal to enforce our own immigration laws. Do that, and we aren't talking about anchor babies.

I would also point out something about the 14th Amendment (which wouldn't have to be repealed, but rather amended, if we did want to change this policy; but I recognize the rhetorical value of your more dramatic way of putting it). Whatever one thinks its authors' intent was in regard to the children of immigrants, there's no denying it was passed before the creation of the welfare state. It is possible to believe these three things at once: The 14th amendment guarantees the citizenship of all children born here; that policy shouldn't change; the welfare state makes that policy problematic.

bu2
bu2

@Kyle_Wingfield @sssinff 

I'm waiting on seeing numbers on how many there are.  Nobody can give it because its a fiction based on a handful of cases.  None of those Mexicans or Guatemalans gets pregnant here to have a baby to "anchor" the parents to the US.  Some will have babies here so that the kids have US citizenship, but its not about the parents.

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@bu2 I disagree. The term implies the "baby" serves as an "anchor." Presumably, for the parents, to this country. I don't know what else it could mean.

Robert1959
Robert1959

I a waiting for Donald Trump to declare "war" on the major cities within the USA.  Imagine if Trump built a wall/fence around the City of Atlanta to keep the Black people inside the City limits.  How would you feel? Do you support this idea?

Rufus McGillicuddy
Rufus McGillicuddy

@Robert1959 -You've got to be kidding. This dude is a city slicker who loves concrete, steel, and cities. He's more likely to put a wall around rural areas. Those are the people he has the least in common with.

RafeHollister
RafeHollister

The Iran capitulation deal is looking somewhat like a Pat Paulsen, remember him, policy position.  

MarkVV
MarkVV

@RafeHollister Whose opinion on the Iran deal to trust more, the 29 top nuclear scientists, or Rafe Hollister? Such a difficult choice…

steveatl
steveatl

People have been "angry" ever since the Civil Rights Act of 1964. These are the same people that are "angry" now. And people also don't care about this supposed email "scandal" either. I think voters see right though how that is just another of an endless string of attacks on the Clintons about..nothing.

lvg
lvg

@Kyle_Wingfield @steveatl If the latest story is true that Hillary wiped the server clean before giving it to the FBI, she is in a world of hurt. There are federal laws on that if you are under investigation. Question is whether Obama will wipe the stain off his record by appointing a special prosecutor.People will care  then.

MarkVV
MarkVV

@Kyle_Wingfield @steveatl Not only FBI are not voters in the sense the comment was about, but “investigation” is not the same as “conviction.” Some people apparently do not believe in presumption of innocence. As for the polls about people not believing Hillary to be honest, the chutzpah of those arguing with that is palpable - first they do everything they can to attack her publicly and insinuate her lack of honesty, and then, when their efforts have the desired effect on the public, they present the result of that as evidence of her lack of honesty.

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

@steveatl

The "protesters" and looters and thugs in Ferguson have been mad since the Civil Rights Act?

Kyle_Wingfield
Kyle_Wingfield moderator

@steveatl "people also don't care about this supposed email 'scandal' either."
Just the people at the FBI investigating it and the people in poll after poll who say they don't think Hillary is honest ...

heezback
heezback

@lvg @Kyle_Wingfield @steveatl Obama doesn't want her elected, so in this case he may actually push his FBI and AG to cut her off at her chunky knees.  Upholding the law has not been one of Barry's strong suits, but in the case of a Clinton...well, we'll see. 

lvg
lvg

@MarkVV @Kyle_Wingfield @steveatl Did you know that under federal law you can automatically be convicted for emptying the cache and history on your computer if it hinders an investigation?  If you do it while under investigation and with classified material on your computer the only issue is  whose computer was it. There really is no defense.

LilBarryBailout
LilBarryBailout

@steveatl @Kyle_Wingfield

And some people wait for actual evidence of dishonesty before assuming it.  Hillary has given us plenty recently.  She's dirty.  You know it, I know it, Real Americans know it, and most Democrats know it.

M H Smith
M H Smith

Trump is for real it seems and he can even get DEM voters.