Category Archives: Trump

MSNBC ‘Unskews’ The Polls – Thinks 2016 Electorate = 2012 Electorate

In my article recapping the election as it unfolded over the summer, I took some time to break down why the mainstream media making fun of ‘Poll Truthers’ could potentially backfire. More specifically, I explained why the comparison between Trump supporters’ distrust of the polls in 2016 and that of Romney supporters in 2012 was off base:

Back in 2012, Republicans were convinced that polling which showed President Obama leading were heavily skewed in favor of Democrats. They were made to pay for that optimism on Election Day, and in pointing to that experience, the likes of Perino and others have been quick to point out that the polls were right in 2012, and as such they are Gospel now.

 

The issue with that analysis starts with the fact that in 2012, Republicans had the Tea Party shake up of 2010 midterm election fresh in their memories. This, to many, marked a repudiation of President Obama’s agenda, and as such a torrent of Republicanism would sweep the nation in 2012. Romney was assured to ride on in that wave, and thus, the fact that the polls said otherwise meant they were faulty.

 

The disconnect was that Romney as a candidate was nowhere near the Tea Party ideal, to put it mildly. Thus, he didn’t come close to capturing the momentum the Tea Party had generated. In the end, he marginally improved on McCain’s effort in 2008, which meant that Obama won comfortably, despite having a lower turnout than he had four years earlier.

 

Those who took the polls as Gospel earlier in this summer are making the inverse error as Republicans made in 2012. Whereas Republicans then thought the electorate had shifted from where it was in 2008, those giddy about Clinton +12 polls in early August might prove to have been erroneous in thinking that the electorate hadn’t shifted from 2012.

Right on cue, this article from Politico confirms part of my thinking – that mainstream polls are skewed towards the 2012 electorate:

MSNBC ‘unskewed’ a CNN national poll on Tuesday that showed Donald Trump leading Hillary Clinton by two points, re-weighting the results to match the 2012 electorate and showing a four-point lead for the former secretary of state.

 

The poll of likely voters, released Tuesday by CNN/ORC, showed Trump ahead of Clinton nationwide in a four-way contest, 45 percent to 43 percent. But MSNBC host Chuck Todd explained that the poll, in his network’s estimation, may have oversampled white voters without a college degree, one of Trump’s strongest groups.

 

“Whites without a college degree appear to make up nearly half of their sample. In 2012, by the way, whites without a college degree was slightly more than a third of all voters,” Todd said. “The point is, your numbers may not be wrong but your weighting may be, your assumptions. So the CNN folks assumed an electorate that is not an impossible scenario for Trump, but it would be an historic shift if it occurred.”

 

With the numbers adjusted to reflect how the electorate shook out four years ago, Clinton’s two-point deficit shifted to a four-point lead, 46 percent to 42 percent.

It is my view that thinking the 2016 electorate will end up looking like the 2012 electorate is a recipe for failure, yet this is what most mainstream polls do. I believe that the 2016 electorate, owing to the large number of new/disaffected voters Trump is bringing to the table, is far more amenable to the Republican candidate than it was for Mitt Romney.

Data from that CNN poll bears this out:

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According to that, the electorate as a whole is less enthusiastic about going to vote than it was four years ago. But given the choice between Trump and Clinton, there is more enthusiasm for the former.

Despite that major flaw in mainstream polls, they have tightened, to the point where many of them show at best a Clinton lead within the margin of error, if not a dead heat. Given that those polls refelct the 2012 Obama friendly electorate, the Clinton campaign should have some serious concerns. Because once the relatively large, and more enthusiastic Pro-Trump portion of the electorate is truly reflected, those polls might look a lot different. Indeed, we might not find out the true extent of that until election night.

A Summer to Remember: The State of The 2016 Election at Labor Day

Table of Contents:

  • The Coordinated Media Attack On ‘Dark’ Donald
  • The Democratic Convention and The Khan Episode
  • Trump’s ‘Failure’ To Stay On Message
  • The Polls
  • Trump ‘Flip Flopping’ On Immigration
  • Other Narratives
  • Conclusion

 

Labor Day weekend in America generally marks the unofficial end of summer, and the beginning of football and school season, among many other things. In election years, it is the final bend before the sprint down the stretch to the finish.

This piece will look back at the themes and narratives which developed over last few months of the campaign, from the conventions onward, with a view to analyzing how we got where we are, and what is likely to take place over the next 2 months to the election.

The Coordinated Media Attack on ‘Dark’ Donald

One of Donald Trump’s most oft used phrases during his campaign to date has been ‘dishonest media.’ During campaign rallies, Twitter rants, and even in interviews with the media on media airwaves, he has called the media out for what he describes as unfair and biased treatment against him.

On one level it may seem like whining, excuse making, or just being a poor loser. But in 2016 is room to wage such a war. The approval rating of the media is at an all-time low of just 6%, and ratings are falling almost across the board. Alternative media is on the rise. Despite this, legacy media still retains an air of respectability and legitimacy, and as such anyone who the media thinks ill of stands to gain if they are able to vanquish the media in any way.

This is the framework underneath the ongoing battle between Trump and the media. The media cannot ignore him, because he drives ratings, and thus is a boon to an industry which is increasingly starved of eyeballs. Yet the media does not like him, as he stands in opposition to the Cultural Marxist agenda it supports.

The media strategy has been simple: Give Trump the floor, and then paint whatever he does with the airtime in the most negative light possible.

Take Trump’s speech at the Republican National Convention. While Trump did spend a lot of time outlining the problems with United States as it stands, he did close the speech with a message that essentially boiled down to ‘we can fix it, and make it even better than ever.’

And while he did essentially yell at us for roughly 75 minutes, it was hardly an Apocalyptic tone. Rather it was one of great energy and passion.

Yet, what followed from the media was a near universal description of the speech as ‘dark,’ or ‘dystopian.’

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Such uniformity can only be a result of a coordinated message, or one that highlights the high levels of groupthink pervading the media as a whole. Either result belies the idea that the media is some sort of objective entity tirelessly in search of the truth, which in turn does great damage to the message it is putting forth.

The Democratic Convention and The Khan Episode

Naturally, the media generally had only positive things to say about the Democratic National Convention, despite the inconsistent messaging. On one hand, the United States was the best it had ever been, which is, of course, down to the adoption of enlightened progressive ideals. On the other, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders were keen to describe an America which had record inequality and substandard basic infrastructure.

They described how the system has been rigged to favor the financial and corporate elite, mere days after hacked emails from Democratic National Committee revealed it was actively working against the Sanders campaign, and working with the media to shape both a pro-Clinton message and an anti Trump one.

All this while standing on the floor of the Wells Fargo Center, neighbored by its sibling athletic cathedrals Citizens Bank Park and Lincoln Financial Field. That scene is the US system in a nutshell – loud mouth politicians talking a good game against the entities which finance their campaigns, but ultimately doing their bidding legislatively when the time comes.

The inconsistencies are down to the fact that the Democrats have to talk up the Obama presidency as an unqualified success, while simultaneously playing down the fact that the ultimate results of that ‘success’ have been economic stagnation and rising health care costs for the average American. It was a tightrope act Philippe Petit would have admired.

However what really lingered from the Democratic Convention was Khizr Khan’s speech and the fallout. Khan, a Muslim, gave a rousing speech, lecturing Trump about the supposedly Un-American merits of his policies on immigration and terrorism. At one point he brandished a physical copy of the Constitution and waved it in the air, suggesting that Trump had never actually read the document.

This grandstanding was widely praised, and given legitimacy because of the fact that Khan’s son had died fighting for the US during the Iraq war. The premise was that a Trump presidency would have robbed the nation of people like his son who would have contributed to its defense and furthered its prosperity.

The media did not in any way criticize Khan, or the Democrats, for standing atop the grave of a fallen soldier to score a political point. That criticism was only reserved for the Republicans, who a week prior had allowed Pat Smith, the mother of one of those killed during the Benghazi raid, to speak. This hypocrisy was highlighted most clearly by Steve Benen in MSNBC.

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The same writer, somewhat similar occurrences, vastly different takes. Again, ‘dishonest media.’

The Khan episode was escalated thanks to an interview Trump did with George Stephanopoulos, in which Trump was made to defend himself from Khan’s charges. Trump defended himself pretty tamely, apart from a comment in which he intimated that Khan’s wife, who had stood silent beside Khan during the speech, might not have been allowed to speak, presumably because of her Muslim faith.

Admittedly, that remark was rather naughty, but it wasn’t deserving of the 10 day firestorm it engendered.

Khan was paraded around all of the major networks over the next few days for exclusive interviews on the Sunday talk shows and other prime time slots. He called out the Republican leadership by name and instructed them to withdraw their support for Trump, while intimating that anyone who had the temerity to vote for Trump lacked decency and empathy.

The media did their part by constantly griping about Trump’s ‘attack’ on a Gold Star family, preying on the American proclivity to revere its armed forces in order to drum up negative feelings about Trump himself.

The reality of this saga was that a man with a negative opinion of Trump was somehow exalted to having The Final Word. Trump pushed back against that notion, rather than the man himself, and was pilloried for it, mostly due to the ‘spirited’ nature of his response. It was never really a big deal, and ultimately never really became one, despite the best efforts of the media.

Trump’s ‘Failure’ To Stay On Message

Beyond the Khan episode, there were numerous molehills which became Himalayan in stature with the addition of media commentary. They were, in no particular order:

Trump Asking the Russians to Find Hillary Clinton’s E-Mails:

This saga kicked off when grilled about his relationship with Russian president Vladamir Putin during a press conference. The current allegations had been that the Russians had hacked the DNC emails with the intent to help the Trump campaign. Trump responded by saying that even if it was the Russians who were responsible, it would represent a lack of respect for the United States and President Obama, more than anything else. He then shifted his demeanor, looked square into the camera and said the following: “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will be mightily rewarded by our press.”

Despite the obvious tongue in cheek nature of the comment, the press dusted off centuries-old laws to seriously suggest that those comments were treasonous in nature. At the very least, Trump had brought great dishonor to the campaign to lobby for foreign entities to influence the US election.

Babygate

During a campaign rally in Virginia, a baby started to cry. Trump acknowledges the moment in a lighthearted manner, saying: “Don’t worry about that baby, I love babies. I hear that baby crying. I like it. What a baby. What a beautiful baby. Don’t worry, don’t worry. The mom’s running around like…don’t worry about it, you know. It’s young and beautiful and healthy, and that’s what we want.”

Trump carries on talking for a few minutes, and then the baby started to cry again. This time, Trump said: “Actually, I was only kidding. You can get the baby out of here… I think she really believed me that I love having a baby crying while I’m speaking.”

The key here is that prior to the second comment, the mother had already gathered her baby and was taking it to the exit as a courtesy. Trump noticed this and then made that second comment which amounts to jokingly telling her to leave when she was already doing so. This dry humor was corroborated by eye witnesses, and the mother herself in an interview.

 

 

Despite this, the episode was taken by the media as more evidence of how much of a jerk Trump is, how little empathy he has, and all the rest of it. Yet it is obvious that throughout the entire clip he is merely making fun of a light disruption and nothing more.

Trump Says Hillary Clinton is The Devil

During a campaign rally, Trump said that Bernie Sanders ‘made a deal with the devil – she’s the devil’ in surrendering his campaign, and that he should have kept going in fighting Clinton. Given that he punctuated this common turn of phrase by saying ‘she’s the devil,’ Trump was said to have made another controversial comment.

Trump and the ‘Second Amendment People’

During a campaign rally in North Carollina, Trump said the following: “Hillary wants to abolish, essentially abolish, the Second Amendment. By the way, and if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know.”

The media ran with it as Trump calling for the assassination of Hillary Clinton. The reality is that Trump mentioned the NRA in the next breath. Anyone with the slightest knowledge of politics understands that the NRA and the ‘gun lobby,’ as derisively termed by leftists, have been in the way of their gun control efforts for decades.

Trump’s comments were made in the context of that legislative battle, which if won by the leftists at the level of Supreme Court, he said could not be overturned. Unless there was something that the 2nd Amendemnt People – the NRA/gun lobby – could do about it. In other words, perhaps there might be some arcane legal hijinks which could be employed after the fact, given the influence of the NRA/gun lobby in Washington.

That was my reading of it. The fact that Trump immediately mentioned the Supreme Court before that comment, and immediately mentioned the NRA after suggests that the legal battle is what Trump had in mind, rather than a battle involving a stereotypical Texas gun range attendant as the media intimated.

 

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I’m sure there are other outrages that I’m forgetting, but you get the gist. I’ve spilled plenty of words discussing them, and that perhaps is the point. The media has been willful in their misinterpretations of every little thing Trump has said in order to erect these mountains from molehills.

All of these ‘controversies’ were borne from throwaway comments. They were 10 or 20 second sound bites taken from hour plus long events, and used to further a narrative that Trump had become unfocused in his rallies and was not staying ‘on message.’

The ubiquity of this narrative across the mainstream media outlets is yet another example of their bias and dishonesty. The narrative itself is faulty. Trump has, to the point of being repetitive, been patently on message during his appearances throughout the summer, with his message of America First in all aspects constantly adhered to.

Furthermore, one canard which has dogged the Trump campaign from the start was his lack of substance in his proposals, despite releasing such details on his website. Even still, since the convention, he has given structured, detailed, politician –like speeches on the economy, foreign policy, immigration and veterans issues.

These events, with the exception of the immigration speech, received little fanfare beyond your standard 60 second news report. However, the various controversies I laid out, which originated from off the cuff, throwaway moments in campaign rallies, resulted in round the clock coverage, with multiple panelists shuttling in and out of television studios to discuss the latest outrage for days on end.

In short, the media itself has shown itself to be hypocritical in ignoring and all substance coming from the Trump campaign while trying to frame any slight off color remark as the Titanic iceberg. Yet again, the media reveals itself as biased, and ‘dishonest.’

The Polls

The aforementioned ‘scandals’ had an effect on Trump’s polling. Numerous post-convention polls came out over the last few months which showed that Trump had initially taken a 5-7 point lead after the RNC, and then regressed to as much as a 15 point deficit post DNC and the litany of ‘controversies.’

These swings in the polls led many on the right to start to wonder if these polls were being rigged, or, rather if they were using faulty methodologies. Outlets like Reuters didn’t exactly quiet these charges when admitting that it explicitly changed its poll, unsurprisingly ending up with a result that was more favorable to Hillary Clinton.

Many of these ‘Poll Truthers’ have been admonished for touting conspiracy theories, much in the same vein as those Romney supporters, who in 2012 were famous for waiting for a Great Unskewing which never came. This is the premise of the following interview with Fox News anchor Dana Perino, who used that point to elaborate on why she excoriated ‘poll truther’ and colleague Eric Bolling on TV earlier that week.

 

 

Back in 2012, Republicans were convinced that polling which showed President Obama leading were heavily skewed in favor of Democrats. They were made to pay for that optimism on Election Day, and in pointing to that experience, the likes of Perino and others have been quick to point out that the polls were right in 2012, and as such they are Gospel now.

The issue with that analysis starts with the fact that in 2012, Republicans had the Tea Party shake up of 2010 midterm election fresh in their memories. This, to many, marked a repudiation of President Obama’s agenda, and as such a torrent of Republicanism would sweep the nation in 2012. Romney was assured to ride on in that wave, and thus, the fact that the polls said otherwise meant they were faulty.

The disconnect was that Romney as a candidate was nowhere near the Tea Party ideal, to put it mildly. Thus, he didn’t come close to capturing the momentum the Tea Party had generated. In the end, he marginally improved on McCain’s effort in 2008, which meant that Obama won comfortably, despite having a lower turnout than he had four years earlier.

Those who took the polls as Gospel earlier in this summer are making the inverse error as Republicans made in 2012. Whereas Republicans then thought the electorate had shifted from where it was in 2008, those giddy about Clinton +12 polls in early August might prove to have been erroneous in thinking that the electorate hadn’t shifted from 2012.

The possible evidence of that latter claim is the 42% increased turnout during the Republican primary over 2012 versus the 25% decrease in turnout for the Democrats compared to the last contested primary of 2008. In addition, the vast discrepancy in crowd sizes for events in favor of Trump, does suggest a shifting level of enthusiasm, despite Perino’s protestations.

The Conservative Treehouse likes to talk about what it terms The Monster Vote – the idea that there are many Trump voters who are unaccounted for by polling and surveys that will descend upon voting booths en masse in November. While I am amenable to that view, I don’t take it as a given.

What is given is that many of the polling methodologies essentially mimic the 2012 electorate. Many participants will be disregarded if they didn’t vote in the last election, which therefore leaves out much of Trump’s constituency – disaffected citizens who were not active in the political process.

Any poll which is ‘skewed’ toward the 2012 electorate may not be ‘rigged,’ but they may not necessarily be accurate or indicative of how the results will play out in 2016.

The bottom line is that conventional, pre-Trump political analysis is of little use in 2016, and this applies to the polls, despite the fact that they have now tightened, and many now show Trump with a slight lead as of this writing.

Trump ‘Flip Flopping’ on Immigration

That Trump didn’t die off earlier in the summer after the constant media attacks was rather impressive. He simply took the punches and rolled with them, maintaining his rigorous schedule as though nothing happened.

So a new narrative needed to be created, and it came in the shape of a potential flip flop by Trump on immigration, his signature issue. If by now you haven’t seen or heard about the speech Trump gave announcing his candidacy (or at least carefully edited clips of it), you have been truly living under a rock.

In that speech he defined immigration, and more specifically immigration over the US-Mexico border as one of the greatest problems we face right now. There were others, of course, but it was this that garnered the most attention for various reasons. Trump’s ‘hardline’ stance on immigration, which involved building a physical wall on the border, and deporting any and all who were here illegally both gained him numerous followers and howls of criticism.

Throughout it all, he remained steadfast in his views. That is, until this town hall appearance with Sean Hannity a couple weeks ago.

Hannity asked Trump whether there was scope in the law to accommodate those who had been in the country illegally for decades and had children and an established identity here. Trump responded by saying: “There certainly can be a softening because we’re not looking to hurt people. We want people — we have some great people in this country.”

That clip was played over and over again and used to paint a picture of Trump walking back his previous hardline stance on immigration. The Anti-Trump media narrative thus became one of betrayal to the base he had built by being so strong on immigration from the outset.

Charles Krauthammer called it a ‘complete turnabout.’ Others gleefully invoked Jeb Bush on two levels, one in the sense that Trump’s ‘new’ stance had moved him to the left of Bush, and secondly because Bush, in an interview earlier in the summer, had essentially said Trump was a snake oil salesman who wouldn’t deliver on anything that he had been saying.

Trump’s apparent ‘flip-flop’ was an apparent validation that statement. Joe Scarborough of MSNBC started calling Trump ‘Amnesty Don,’ making as much fun of Trump’s penchant for branding his opposition as Trump’s position itself.

Some of Trump’s most ardent supporters started to waver. Ann Coulter and Sarah Palin both gave very critical interviews of Trump, fearful that the end was near. The media got what it wanted, at least temporarily. There was rancor and disharmony in the Trump camp for a few days, which opposition forces hoped would lead to general demoralization and an unwillingness to vote for Trump the Flip Flopper.

And over what, exactly? 30 seconds from an hour long town hall, and a questionable Buzzfeed article?

If one only took the time to listen to a bit more of the Hannity interview, he or she would note that Trump repeatedly used the phrase ‘follow the law.’ He must have said it a hundred times.

Follow the law means that if ICE finds you in the US illegally, you are deported. Follow the law means sanctuary cities should not exist. Follow the law means a wall should be built. The current law on immigration is actually quite stringent, but isn’t currently being followed diligently in the slightest. Trump has always maintained that will change under his administration. The reality is that such a change, to actually follow the laws on the books, would represent a drastic change from what goes on today.

When Trump says ‘follow the law,’ it does mean that ICE and the border patrol will do their jobs, and do it properly. This means kicking illegal immigrants out when they are found. The much maligned ‘Deportation Force’ already exists. And Trump plans on tripling its size. That he hid this behind the term ‘follow the law’ doesn’t equate to a softening.

It’s all there, in black and white on Trump’s immigration platform, which has been up since August…of 2015.

The immigration speech Trump gave last Wednesday was essentially a repetition of that platform, fleshed out with some anecdotes, statistics and testimonials. The truth is that at no moment did Trump deviate from that platform. The flip flop assertion was more media nonsense, plain and simple.

So what of Trump’s use of the word ‘softening’ in the Hannity clip? It certainly is a good question. It also  must be noted that further on in the interview, Trump clarified that there would be no citizenship, and no legal status for those here illegally, a stance he underlined in his subsequent immigration speech.

Perhaps he was trying to stir up some attention, in that the speculation of Trump flip flopping would attract the maximum attention to his headline immigration speech, in which he would reiterate to the widest possible audience his real ideas.

My personal view was that he was merely walking back the idea that he was going to turn ICE into a black ops ninja outfit from a movie that was going to be kicking down doors around the clock. It was one that Trump sort of allowed to fester earlier on during his campaign. In truth, anyone who believed that was going to happen believed in the impossible, so perhaps it was important tamp down those expectations. By no means does it represent a softening in any manner. That should be apparent from the immigration speech he gave last week.

The bottom line is that he has never been soft, and never flip flopped on immigration. He is exactly what you thought he was, good or bad.

Other Narratives

Here are some of the other, less sensationalized storylines that unfolded during the summer were are not as big, but still have a role to play going forward:

Hillary’s ‘AltRight’ Speech

Clinton gave a speech almost two weeks ago which was meant to attack the ‘alt right,’ short for Alternative Right, which has been a significant combatant opposing progressivism in the culture war. It has been mostly active on the internet, and its proficiency in that arena has impacted the presidential race, mostly due to the interactions Trump has had with it on Twitter.

The purpose of that speech by Clinton was to ostensibly reduce the whole movement to nothing more than a big group of mean racists. Instead she essentially gave the group a big shoutout, and exposed it to a much wider audience. A nice summary of the speech is included below:

If you don’t understand why simply repeating “racist, sexist, homophobic, White Nationalism, Islamophobe, xenophobe, bigotry” over and over again is not an argument, then you don’t understand the extent to which the culture is tiring of Politically Correct language policing, and will be surprised at the changes which are afoot in society.

Hillary’s Health

After Paul Joseph Watson posted this video

And Mike Cernovich posted this article:

http://www.dangerandplay.com/2016/08/12/hillary-clinton-has-parkinsons-disease-physician-confirms/

The media went apoplectic in defense of Hillary Clinton’s health, and claimed that anything other than her being in perfect health was a conspiracy theory perpetuated by the same sort of Alt-Right White Supremacist Racist Nationalist Sexists that Clinton would speak of in her speech.

Dr. Drew, who dared to raise questions about the state of Clinton’s health, and the care she was getting, strictly from the cold analysis of a physician, had his show terminated less than a week later.

Clinton ‘proved’ that she was in great health by opening a pickle jar which was likely pre-opened on the Jimmy Kimmel show, in a stunt that probably raised more questions than it answered.

The bottom line is that it may be a real issue, and events of the last few days have confirmed it. The FBI released the details of the investigation it did into Hillary’s emails on Friday. The most relevant part of the investigation as it pertains to Hillary’s health is the following:

However, in December of 2012, Clinton suffered a concussion and then around the New Year had a blood clot. Based on her doctor’s advice, she could only work at State for a few hours a day and could not recall every briefing she received.

In other words, the FBI confirmed that Clinton was impaired and unable to put her full weight behind her work as Secretary of State. Given that those heath issues still remain, it is not inconceivable that the same might be true of her as President.

Indeed, according to Mediaite, there are least 40 occasions during the investigation in which Clinton couldn’t recall something.

Now, this could be health related, or it could be ‘willful’ amnesia. Either way, it puts the claim that her experience is what makes her a better candidate than Trump, when that experience is full of illegality, health impaired performance, or both.

Trump Looking Presidential

Twice over the last month, Trump was afforded the opportunity to look ‘presidential.’ Once after the Louisiana floods, when he altered his campaign schedule to fly down to tour the devastation and to donate an 18 wheeler full of supplies. The actual President, President Obama, was pictured golfing in Martha’s Vineyard at the time.

The second opportunity was when Trump was invited by Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto to come into Mexico and discuss immigration. Trump did so, and was rewarded by appearing in front of cameras with Nieto side by side in statesman like fashion. The optics were a clear win, giving a visual of a President Trump. Trump’s words and general demeanor were also that of a president, speaking in reserved, but strong tones and generally handling himself well.

In one fell swoop, it put the lie to the argument that Trump would be a disaster on the world stage, whose thin skinned nature would result in potential global conflicts over Tweets. Yet, he went to Mexico, to meet with a man who had called him Hitler, and conducted himself professionally. Not even an awkward handshake.

Trump Appeals to the Black Community

‘What do you have to lose?’ That was the question Trump has asked the black community in recent weeks, in an effort to gain more of that vote. The premise is that as a result of over 50 years of Democrat rule in major inner cities, the conditions have deteriorated substantially for blacks in America.

Ultimately this line of argument is coming from a place of strength, given that the facts lend itself to Trump’s case. Blindly voting for Democrats has not resulted in a positive outcome, and as such one might be inclined to have a rethink.

Going Forward

And that’s where we stand, on this Labor Day weekend. Here’s what I’m looking forward to in the next 10 weeks or so until the election:

The Debates

Both sides have been relatively optimistic about the debates. Of course, the media, being on Team Clinton, believe it’s going to be a blow out for Clinton. Consider this, from the Washington Post:

Hillary Clinton is methodically preparing for the presidential debates as a veteran lawyer would approach her biggest trial. She pores over briefing books thick with policy arcana and opposition research. She internalizes tips from the most seasoned debate coaches in her party. And she rehearses, over and over again, to perfect the pacing and substance of her presentation.

 

Donald Trump is taking a different approach. He summons his informal band of counselors — including former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, talk-radio host Laura Ingraham and ousted Fox News Channel chairman Roger Ailes — to his New Jersey golf course for Sunday chats. Over bacon cheeseburgers, hot dogs and glasses of Coca-Cola, they test out zingers and chew over ways to refine the Republican nominee’s pitch.

 

Trump’s aides have put together briefing books, not that the candidate is devoting much time to reading them. Trump is not holding any mock debates, proudly boasting that a performer with his talents does not need that sort of prepping.

Long story short, Trump is low informed and winging it, while Clinton is a scholar who will make mincemeat of intellectually inferior opponent.

I beg to differ, for two reasons. Firstly, The Washington Post is behaving as though Trump has never come into contact with an Ivy League educated Lawyer on a debate stage. He has. Ted Cruz is one of the most formidable debaters on the planet, having been a National Debate Champion and a Global Semifinalist in college.

Alan Dershowitz, one of the most famous Harvard Law professors around, declared that Cruz was one of his smartest ever students and that he was ‘off the charts brilliant.’ His intellectual brilliance and legal mastery of policy should have made swift work of Trump but it didn’t. Trump was able to outdebate Cruz relatively easily. The same could be in line for Clinton.

Secondly, this framing by the media, that the ‘intelligent’ Clinton will expose the ‘buffoon’ Trump sets a low bar for expectations of Trump that can only favor him. Even if Clinton expertly displays her ability to spit out memorized talking point after talking point with scholarly effectiveness, it will be only what we expected of her.

All Trump really has to do is hold his own, and not get blown out of the water on any one issue and he’ll have won. The fact that he will be relatively short on explicit policy prescriptions may even be a bonus – given the presidency is essentially a CEO position.

CEO’s rarely know the extreme intricacy of all the moving parts in their organization. Their jobs are to make sure that there are people who do know these moving parts back and front, and can give the CEO the right intel to make critical decisions going forward. In this sense, Trump’s business experience is far more relevant than Hillary’s public sector experience, and a fresh approach to the office might be exactly what the country needs.

Trump’s Work Ethic vs Clinton’s Apathy

During the primaries, Trump basically ended Jeb Bush’s campaign when he described him  as ‘low energy.’ It had such an effect because when you looked at Jeb, with his terrible posture, shuffling across the floor in a sloth-like manner, Trump’s moniker made perfect sense.

In contrast, Trump was bombastic, loud and full of gusto. Perhaps one of the most impressive aspects of Trump’s campaign has been the nonstop nature of it. He is in the news every day, mostly because he is creating news every day through his daily events. He has made himself available to the media for interviews in an unprecedented manner. Many days he has been doing two campaign rallies, one in the afternoon, and then flying to another one later in the evening, filling out multi thousand seat arenas at each stop.

At each event, he has been able to bring the same energy and gusto, despite the grueling schedule. The man is 70 years old and is seemingly operating with the energy of people half his age without breaking a sweat. His commitment and relentless energy is a testament to his work ethic and should be an inspiration to most.

Clinton, on the other hand has appeared on the campaign trail at most once a week, drawing crowds in the hundreds as opposed to the thousands Trump has been getting.

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She has spent most of her time in the last month collecting money from high profile donors at swanky fundraisers in Hollywood and The Hamptons.

The media has jumped on this, pointing to the large discrepancy between the amount Clinton has raised and what Trump has raised. Last month alone it was $143 million, although most of that money goes to the DNC.

The large sums have many on the left excited because they believe Hillary will use this war chest to unload on Trump via ads and other things over the home stretch, giving her a massive advantage.

Conclusion

As I mentioned earlier in the piece, Donald Trump has rendered the standard political analysis nearly irrelevant to this campaign. As such, excitement over standard ad buys and fundraising is a bit premature. Recall that in the primaries, Jeb Bush had over $150 million behind him from large donors. Yet that was only enough to purchase 3 delegates.

Hillary Clinton may go down as the female Jeb Bush in this regard. She is a legacy politician relying on an extensive network of established donors. In short, she is politics as usual. Donald Trump represents the true change those donors are wary of.

The most important thing is that the electorate seems amenable to change. Voters know that there are problems, and that the old guard politics of the Bushes and Clintons are unlikely to fix anything. Hence the enthusiasm for Trump. What holds Trump back with a certain portion of the electorate is the perception that he is a bit of a wild card. For some, that is his direct appeal.

To win those who have concerns, Trump will have to allay them in one way or another. It may be through something as simple as adjusting his cadence when speaking, perhaps coming off more like a charming grandfather rather than an excited orator. Events like the press conference in Mexico, and his visit to a black church were good steps in that regard.

In my view he has been able to get his message across as an agent of change, which is what most seem to want deep down. It is up to Trump if he can appeal to the emotional side of people as well, which he will need to do in order to secure their vote.

 

Why the ‘Resolution’ of Hilary Clinton’s EMail Scandal Helps Trump

This morning, FBI Director James Comey held a press conference in which he declared that the FBI was to recommend that the Department of Justice did not pursue criminal charges against Hillary Clinton for her handling of classified information via her personal email system.

There is nothing particularly surprising about that on it’s own. Very few people actually expected Clinton to be indicted. What was surprising is the fact that Comey laid out a detailed explanation of the evidence that they did have of her wrongdoing. The following is a snippet:

Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.

 

For example, seven e-mail chains concern matters that were classified at the Top Secret/Special Access Program level when they were sent and received. These chains involved Secretary Clinton both sending e-mails about those matters and receiving e-mails from others about the same matters. There is evidence to support a conclusion that any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton’s position, or in the position of those government employees with whom she was corresponding about these matters, should have known that an unclassified system was no place for that conversation. In addition to this highly sensitive information, we also found information that was properly classified as Secret by the U.S. Intelligence Community at the time it was discussed on e-mail (that is, excluding the later “up-classified” e-mails).

 

None of these e-mails should have been on any kind of unclassified system, but their presence is especially concerning because all of these e-mails were housed on unclassified personal servers not even supported by full-time security staff, like those found at Departments and Agencies of the U.S. Government—or even with a commercial service like Gmail.

To be sure, the use of the term ‘extremely careless’ is a synonym for ‘gross negligence,’ which in fact is a felony crime when applied to the handling of classified information, as per 18 U.S. Code § 793, section f. Indeed, the mere fact that Clinton had set up a private email server to house what is essentially government property is a violation of that code.

Long story short, the director of the FBI admitted point blank that Hillary Clinton committed a felony, however it was not going to recommend any sort of indictment to the DOJ.

The Clinton campaign predictably was relieved by it, and moved quickly to intimate that that the matter was now put to bed.

I wouldn’t be so hasty. In fact, I believe that Trump has been handed a gift here.

In being so explicit, the FBI has essentially destroyed many of the outs the Clinton campaign, and indeed the media who undoubtedly leans her way, would try to employ. Had Comey come out and given some sort of boilerplate statement full of legalese, any Clinton surrogate could merely point to the fact that an investigation had been done, and there was no evidence of wrongdoing.

By saying there was evidence of wrongdoing but no charges forthcoming, the FBI has basically confirmed to the American public that one of Trump’s main talking points – that the system is corrupt and rigged – is absolutely true. Furthermore, Hillary Clinton is the poster child for that corruption and she is running for president, thereby leaving Trump as the more honest candidate by default.

Trump already had plenty of staying power thanks to his status as the ‘outsider’ versus the ‘establishment’ representative that Clinton is. To the extent that there are any fence sitters who didn’t buy the claim that there was a group of insiders colluding against the public from within the chamber halls of Washington DC, they have now been shown an incontrovertible, in your face example of the system at work. One set of rules for the insiders, another for the rest of us. Crooked Hillary indeed.

To focus more on the election, Comey’s report rubbishes the main Clinton campaign rationale for voting for her over Trump. According to that view, Clinton’s experience, steady hand, competence, and extensive understanding of global politics built up over 20 years was vastly superior to Trump. The rationale was that we needed someone who knows what he or she is doing to guide us through the treacherous waters of modern geopolitics.

The simple rebuttal to that now is that were Hillary Clinton to apply for a job in the government today, she would be barred from access to sensitive information of any kind, owing to the ‘carelessness’ she displayed with classified material in the past. Comey said as much, saying:

To be clear, this is not to suggest that in similar circumstances, a person who engaged in this activity would face no consequences. To the contrary, those individuals are often subject to security or administrative sanctions. But that is not what we are deciding now.

In short, part of the penalty for doing what Clinton did would be ‘security or administrative sanctions.’ In other words, termination or a loss of security clearance. Given that Clinton is now running for an office which holds the ultimate security clearance, Comey is essentially saying that any other person would be disqualified from seeking any position involving sensitive information, let alone the presidency. But Hillary Clinton isn’t any other person. One rule for the establishment, another for the rest of us.

Once again, Comey stated that:

There is evidence to support a conclusion that any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton’s position, or in the position of those government employees with whom she was corresponding about these matters, should have known that an unclassified system was no place for that conversation.

According to Comey, Hillary Clinton did not act in the way a reasonable person should have in that position. This is important because it speaks to Clinton’s competence and professionalism.

If she is indeed the most qualified, wisest, most experienced person to run, as is the argument posed by her supporters, how is it that she failed in such a fundamental aspect of her job as Secretary of State? This episode has shown that Clinton is either stunningly incompetent, or stunningly corrupt. Pick one.

As time goes on, expect the Clinton campaign, and indeed the media, to shut down those who would bring this criticism. There would be an attempt to marginalize it by saying it was old news, or a tired Republican conspiracy, or something of that nature.

And to a certain extent, they will have a point. At a certain point, the average voter will tire of hearing about emails and will perhaps start to tune out when the argument is made.

It’s potency lies in the fact that it is a destroyer of Clinton’s main argument – that she is the cool, experienced head, the adult in the room as it were. Trump must focus on the point that competent, experienced leaders don’t put the safety of Americans at risk via negligence.

Cool heads don’t try and destroy evidence after the fact, as Clinton has done deleting emails. Honest players don’t set up servers specifically to house government property outside the purview of government eyes, and lie about it repeatedly afterwards.

And speaking of lying – Comey’s admission casts further doubt on everything Clinton had said before in regards to this issue. Breitbart ran a piece deconstructing how what Comey relayed this morning was different than what Clinton had been telling the public about the saga:

1. FALSE: Hillary Clinton never sent any classified information, or emails containing information marked “classified.”

2. FALSE: Hillary Clinton turned over all work-related emails to the State Department.

3. FALSE: Hillary Clinton was allowed to use a private e-mail server.

4. FALSE: Hillary Clinton’s server was not hacked by foreign adversaries.

5. FALSE: Hillary Clinton had only used a single mobile device for email.

Does this mean that Clinton may have perjured herself in the various hearings she engaged in on this matter, and others? Who else in the Obama Administration knew of Clinton’s setup and said nothing about it? Did Obama himself know? If so, there would be grounds for further legal action. The web of disaster for Obama and the Democratic party threatens to be vast if a domino such as this fell.

As such it is entirely possible that Comey, feeling ‘pressure’ had to stall and eventually shut it down so as to not turn the wrath of the entire DC machine on his head. It further goes to the view that our government is hopelessly corrupt, and their only interest is in themselves, rather than the American people. Episodes such as this should make it clear as day that an outsider is needed, to clean up the vast mess that is American politics.

The failures of the post WWII status quo are starting to pile up higher and higher. It is up to the public to act accordingly.

 

More On ‘Principled Conservatives’

In my Open Letter to Principled Conservatives, I described the profile of a ‘Principled Conservative’ politician in 2016. It is a politician with an exemplary ability to shout Reagan aphorisms from the rooftops while voting to increase the size of and scope government, acquiescing to Leftist ideals.

There is a cultural root to this issue, and while I touched on it in my open letter, the man behind Conservative Pundit, a Twitter parody account, hit the nail on the head. In an interview with The Daily Caller, he said the following:

…I don’t think that the problem with respectable conservatism is just that they’re afraid of being called racist or sexist or homophobic. They certainly are afraid of that, yes, but I think that the deeper problem is they’ve fully internalized a whole raft of premises about race, about gender, about “sexual orientation” that are extremely recent, extremely radical, leftist, and in many ways totally incompatible with the traditional American worldview that they purport to cherish.

 

The contemporary conservative pundit is in a precarious position. On the one hand, he agrees with his liberal friends that the United States prior to, say, the 1960s was a frightfully bigoted and hateful place, full of all sorts of phobias and -isms and other such indefensible attitudes. On the other hand, he wants his liberal friends to respect the political and cultural principles we’ve inherited from that evil and benighted past. It’s a weak position, and I don’t think many people besides other professional conservative pundits find it very compelling.

 

 

These professional pundits, such as George Will, Bill Kristol, and David Brooks, among others, have spent decades crafting a ‘Principled Conservative’ ideology on this basis. Republican candidates for office trip over themselves to adhere to it, rendering Republican elections purity contests.

These ideological battles are useless, as the policies which come of them continue to harm America. Trump has come on like a house on fire because he stands in opposition to what these Principled Conservatives have actually achieved in office, as opposed to the things Principled Conservatives purport to believe in.

That is a big difference. Take for example, the National Review and their criticism of the Omnibus bill which Speaker of the House Paul Ryan passed in December:

Since Democrats have hastened to embrace a policy of de facto open borders, come what may, it falls to Republican officeholders to offer a more sober assessment of our immigration policy — which they should. It’s good policy and — given that 9 out of 10 Americans want immigration levels either kept where they are or reduced — it’s good politics. Republican leaders should be attempting to halt illegal immigration, reduce legal immigration (especially from countries that pose a particular threat to American security), and figure out ways to assimilate immigrants who are already here and to reform the failed procedures by which we evaluate those who want to come.

Sounds great, yet the National Review is staunchly in the #NeverTrump camp, despite Trump being the only candidate who speaks to the concerns they’ve addressed. One could be mistaken for thinking the aforementioned quote was written a Trump supporter, rather than his most fervent detractors.

That is exactly the problem many on the right have with ‘Principled Conservatives.’ The only consistent principle they seem to have is to do what it takes to keep power within the Leftist Frame. This is why the likes of Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, John Kasich, Marco Rubio and others do not engender enthusiasm.

They are vanilla actors who will play by the Leftist rules. Trump says to hell with those rules, we’ve go a job to do, let’s do it in the most efficient way we can. Trump is less concerned by ideology and more interested in what works.

An Open Letter to Principled Conservatives

Dear Principled Conservatives,

I suspect that today, the 4th of May 2016, most of your greatest fears have been realized. Donald J. Trump is going to be the Republican Nominee for President of the United States. The immediate fall out has been intense, with many on social media burning their Republican cards, literally and figuratively. Many have pledged to support Hillary Clinton in the fall, and feel no compunction in doing so. In their eyes, a guaranteed continuation of the Obama Doctrine in all respects is superior to Donald Trump.

I understand your line of reasoning, because the fact of the matter is that Donald Trump is not a principled conservative, at least in the Ronald Reagan mold.

The Reagan Revolution, which many of you cite as the foundation for your conservatism, probably began in 1964, with Reagan’s famous ‘Time for Choosing’ speech. While it was full of memorable quotes, I’d like to highlight the following:

…And this idea that government is beholden to the people, that it has no other source of power except the sovereign people, is still the newest and the most unique idea in all the long history of man’s relation to man.

 

This is the issue of this election: Whether we believe in our capacity for self-government or whether we abandon the American Revolution and confess that a little intellectual elite in a far-distant capitol can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.

From this sentiment grew an ideology based on economic and social conservatism. Added to this was a military toughness which developed as a response to the threat of communism spreading across the globe. Most of those views are what the self-styled ‘Principled Conservative’ of 2016 purports to hold.

In my view, two strains of Conservatives apply this label to themselves – the ‘Establishment’ Republicans who have descended from the Reagan/Bush political family tree, and their supporters – and the Tea Party types who rose up at the beginning of this decade, partly in opposition to those Establishment strain.

Both groups have failed, for different reasons.

The failure of ‘Establishment’ Republicans is rooted in the discrepancy between the rhetoric and the actions. As much as you might recoil at the sound of terms like ‘neocon’ and ‘RINO,’ the potency of those terms come from the fact there is some truth in them.

Over the last four plus decades, Republican administrations and Congresses have overseen massive increases in the size of government, exactly what Reagan spoke so steadfastly against in 1964. During election season, many Republicans trip over themselves mentioning Reagan, weaving his ‘government is the problem’ threads into the fabric of their campaigns.

Yet when the final figures are tabulated, government is always bigger. The amounts the average taxpayer, present and future, are to be responsible for, are always larger.

Any attempt at serious cuts in government spending can’t be done because even slowing the advance of government would be admitting that the campaign promises can’t be kept, which in turn would be effectively ceding power to the Democrats.

This is the frame establishment Republicans have ended up working from. The desire to maintain power became superior to the desire to do what is right for the American people.

It’s been much the same trend with respect to social conservatism. In this regard, mainstream Republican candidates have often played lip service to ‘Judeo-Christian values’ and vowed to stand up for the traditional family. Yet it was Reagan himself who introduced no-fault divorce in 1969 as Governor of California, ushering in a wave of broken families and ultimately a fatherless generation. Once again, the actions didn’t match up with the rhetoric.

To the tea party strain of Principled Conservatism, your failures have been more operational in nature. Where the establishment strain talks the talk but doesn’t walk the walk, you talk the talk and run the walk.

If the United States is an aircraft carrier which is going in the wrong direction, you are attempting to turn it around by tying a rope to a row boat, tying the other end to the aircraft carrier and paddling with all of your might. It’s a futile effort.

Free Northerner wrote a fantastic post about why right-wing activism in its current form will fail. I suggest you read it in full.

The gist of it is that the cultural and political zeitgeists are dominated by progressives. They currently hold the power, and determine what is and isn’t acceptable.

Because of this, a true adherence to the Reaganesqe tenets of Principled Conservatism, to the letter, is becoming more and more unacceptable. Establishment types have come to understand this over the years, which is why they’ve evolved to betray those principles once in office in an attempt to hold on to power.

In many ways, I can sympathize with these politicians for behaving this way. After all, they are human, and as such are subjected to the observations of Lord Acton with respect to power. This is why the Founding Fathers were so torn over the idea of giving the government lots of it in the first place.

If you as Principled Conservatives are actually prepared to walk the walk in terms of the ideology, you will first need to have a culture which is amenable to such an ideology. How, for example, do you expect to actually cut spending enough to run a balanced budget, when roughly half the country doesn’t pay taxes, and thinks the half that does isn’t paying enough?

How do you expect to cultivate a society of strong families and tight knit communities when nihilism has replaced faith, and the idea that there is something larger than oneself is foreign to most?

Andrew Breitbart famously said that politics is downstream from culture. That means that the culture has to change before the politics. Both strains have failed to understand this. The Establishment strain has tried to mold its politics to the culture, while the Tea Party has tried to jackhammer the culture with its politics.

The end result is Establishment candidates who end up adopting non Principled Conservative views, or a handful of hardline Tea Partiers who are easily marginalized and dismissed. Both strategies are losing strategies.

If you actually do want to implement true, principled conservatism, as opposed to merely using the idea as an avenue for power, the only way to achieve it is to reshape the culture.

The quickest way of doing that, believe it or not, is a Donald Trump presidency.

As I mentioned before, the culture is controlled by progressive ideals. Despite what you may feel about Trump, the bottom line is that he is a winner, and has a winner’s attitude. You simply don’t acquire billions of dollars and then seemingly on a whim walk into the most crowded Republican Primary field ever and come out the victor, all the while being a rookie, without having some sort of predilection for success ingrained in you.

That habit of success, when applied to the country writ large, is going to transform it positively. Recall that this is an America which prefers to be apologetic to the rest of the world about its exceptionalism, a stance directly opposite to what Reagan held.

The course modern politicians, including Principled Conservatives, have set us on is one that makes America more like the rest of the world. Trump, on the other hand has been explicit in his wish to repudiate the ‘false song of globalism.’

Trump’s campaign seeks to free America from the chains which it has tied to itself over the course of the last 50 years. These chains include phenomena like political correctness, globalism, excessive regulation, the transformation from an economy resting on savings and investment, to an economy resting on credit expansion and conspicuous consumption.

If, and only if such trends are reversed, Reagan style conservatism will both be palatable and effective in the United States once again.

*****

It was Jeffery Lord, a Trump supporting political commentator on CNN who had the most poignant remark in the aftermath of the Indiana Primary last night. Paraphrasing, he stated that the Reagan/Bush domination of the 80s elections ushered in a certain complacency in the GOP. The growing web of lobbyists, donors, strategists and so forth created a DC echo chamber which grew further and further away from the public at large. In short, the GOP became the very ‘little intellectual elite in a far distant capitol’ which Reagan had feared. When the average American thinks of the GOP, they think of images like the following:

republicans-laughing

It screams ‘out of touch.’ Yet the GOP remained supported, by a constituency who saw them as their only hope, for simply being less bad than the Democrats.

And then they stopped supporting.

The canary in the coal mine was the defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in 2014. His defeat by a Tea Party candidate in a primary was the first of a sitting Majority Leader in history. John Boehner was next to fall, and finally the heir apparent to the throne of GOP Establishment politics, Jeb Bush, was eviscerated by Donald Trump.

I implore you, Principled Conservatives of all stripes, to heed the call. Understand and accept the change in trend, or get left behind. To the Establishment strain, you are holding a losing hand. To the Tea Party strain, you are holding a winning hand, which is being played poorly. The sooner you understand this, the sooner you will be able to seize the opportunity that comes with a Trump Presidency.

This opportunity is to actually restore Principled Conservatism. For example, media and entertainment entities which promulgate political correctness and other leftist culture staples are starting to struggle and will need replacing.

Instead of hand-wringing, Principled Conservatives should be working to build alternatives, molded in the image of the truths that Principled Conservatism speaks to. The likes of Milo Yiannopoulos, Mike Cernovich, Steven Crowder, and others have built impressive outlets for views consistent with many of Reagan’s views, despite not being Principled Conservatives by the letter of the label.

As it is with Trump. I completely disagree with him on some of his major positions, in particular on trade. I don’t agree with the GOP Establishment view which supports ‘Free Trade,’ because their version of it is a falsehood. Real Free Trade doesn’t involve government decree at all.

I still support Trump, because I believe that at a fundamental level, his candidacy is an catalyst for course correction. Once the aircraft carrier has been turned in the right direction, we can concern ourselves with the details of how we move forward, in that right direction.

You, Principled Conservatives, want to be there when that discussion is had. Getting behind Trump is the first step. There is still time to punch your ticket to the Trump Train. Don’t wait too long though.

So It Begins – Donald Trump is the Presumptive Republican Nominee for President of The United States

Tonight was a potentially historic night in the modern history of the United States. Donald Trump won the Indiana Primary tonight, but more importantly, Senator Ted Cruz, Trump’s most fervent challenger, suspended his campaign.

This leaves Donald Trump as the presumptive nominee – confirmed by RNC chairman Reince Priebus:

Of course, John Kasich is still involved, but at the time of this writing he is literally fourth in a two man race. It doesn’t get more pathetic than that, and his official elimination is but a formality at this stage.

The focus now shifts to the general election, but before giving my early take, I think it’s instructive to examine my own path to the #TrumpTrain.

I’m generally a minimal government, pro free market type of guy, and as such I’ve had little to pick from in the elections I’ve been old enough to vote in. When the 2016 process got going, I was resigned to going with Rand Paul, a guy who had a good background, being Ron Paul’s son, but ultimately was lukewarm in terms of the ‘oomph’ needed to rally people around him and embrace his ideas.

Paul did have a small sliver of fervent grassroots, Tea Party types, most of whom he inherited from his father, but beyond that he was very much a lone wolf doing his best to fight against the system from within it. I knew he had little chance, but I still stayed interested in the event a miracle happened.

I had little time for candidates such as Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, Rick Perry, and even Chris Christie, all of whom I saw as ‘more of the same.’ More of the Mitt Romney/McCain/Bush/Dole set, whom the US electorate as it stands in 2016 has no time for. I posited that if one of those ‘establishment’ types won the nomination, the Clinton coronation was all but assured, despite how poor a candidate she is.

When Trump announced his candidacy, I laughed him off like everyone else did. In truth, I knew very little about him; I never watched The Apprentice or read The Art of The Deal. I knew of him, only through his real estate empire and his status as a media figure. He’d have the odd interview on CNBC or CNN that I’d happen to catch in passing, but I wasn’t totally knowledgeable about him.

I believed the stock opinion about him that everyone put forth, namely that this was a publicity stunt, he was only doing it as promotion for a new TV show, and so on. I certainly didn’t take him seriously.

That all changed when Trump went after John McCain, and the whole row over Trump’s ‘war hero’ comment. I didn’t really care for the remark so much as the response to it from all involved. Nearly to a person, Trump was admonished. The liberals and conservatives, in all forms of the media and the candidates running, all called for him to apologize, and Trump refused. And his poll numbers went up.

My interest in Trump was piqued in that moment, simply because everyone I had come to disagree with over the years – liberal and conservative pundits, the aforementioned establishment candidates, John McCain himself – was united against Trump. That simple fact made me want to take Trump’s side.

That was in mid July 2015. During the final two weeks of that month, many commentators and pundits continued to attack Trump, declaring his candidacy over. While his steadfast defiance in the face of that assault was admirable in my view, I still had reservations about some of his views, and still do to this day.

At the time, I thought that Trump could be useful in the sense that, paired with a Rand Paul as running mate, for example, a lot of good could be done in the view of small government conservative types. My rationale was that Trump, being the showman that he is, would draw the American public under the tent.

Once there, he could sell the limited government, conservative principles that a guy like Rand Paul would be all about. In other words, Trump would filter through the message of Republicans like Paul so as to be more palatable to the American electorate. This was my hope in those late July days.

Then came the famous Fox News debate in August.

With the first question of the debate, Bret Baier asked the candidates if there was any one of them who would refuse to sign a pledge not to run as a third party candidate. Trump was the only one who raised his hand.

Then, Megyn Kelly asked him a loaded question about his relationship with women generally, pointing to some boorish remarks he had made on TV and on social media.

These questions, asked of the front-runner at the time, pretty much exposed the game to me. It looked like an attempted hit job, and it confirmed to me what the McCain episode had brought to my attention – the ‘establishment,’ as it were, was ALL aligned against Trump, even from within his own party.

In those first five minutes of that first Republican debate, I punched my ticket for the #TrumpTrain.

The rest of the debate was also memorable for the way Rand Paul tried extremely hard to take shots at Trump. He was totally out of his depth, and my hopes soured on his chances. When he dropped out of the race, it was of little surprise to me.

At that stage, I had fully understood what was going on. Donald Trump, while perhaps far form perfect, was the first candidate I’d come across that had the potential to affect true change. As I’ve intimated earlier, I’ve long been of the view that Republicans and Democrats were two sides of the same coin in many respects. I personally rejected that coin.

Trump is an enigma, a phenomenon that has not been seen in American politics in decades, perhaps ever. Many commentators have run themselves ragged trying to explain it, but to me it is clear as day. Trump represents the ‘reject the coin’ view that many Americans share, but so did past candidates such as Pat Buchannan and Ross Perot.

What separates Trump is his unparalleled skill in persuasion and charisma. I mentioned as much in an earlier post describing the cultural implications of a Trump presidency:

The combination of his wealth, business expertise, virtually 100% name recognition, multi decade exposure to the media and charisma has enabled Trump to dominate discussion. Once in that position, he has used it to put forth an unambiguously anti-Marxist, anti-establishment message, to the horror of the elites.

Scott Adams, known for his Dilbert cartoons, has done a great job describing Trump’s persuasive efforts in detail in a series of posts which has spanned the last 6 months or so. I’d highly suggest you read them, as they are instructive.

This is incredibly dangerous for those who want a Democratic president, especially if Hillary Clinton is going to be the nominee. Although at the time of this writing, many are suggesting that Clinton is the favorite, I don’t buy it. I believe Trump will win, and even go as far as to say that in the end it won’t be very close.

I say this because I believe that my own path to Trump support will be mirrored by millions by the time November rolls around.

Again from the Cultural Implications post I referenced earlier:

Consider that from 1980 to 2013, a member of either the Clinton or Bush family has been in the White House or among the President’s Cabinet. To the extent that the United States has deteriorated over that time, the establishment from both parties has directly overseen it. The bottom line is that modern day Republicans and Democrats are two sides of the same coin. Their continued underwhelming performance in service of the American people is leading many to repudiate the coin entirely.

 

Yet it is that establishment in politics, as well as the media, which has opposed Trump almost universally. Although he has addressed many of the realities facing Americans, Trump has been shouted down as racist, misogynistic, and Islamophobic. He has also been ridiculed as an unhinged, clownish bully.

There are two phenomena here, both of which have been waning of late, at least in my view. The first is the Red Team/Blue Team dynamic which has been exacerbated by cable news. I do believe that we’re entering an age when rigid political labels cease to matter, and people will care more about what ‘works.’

More importantly, the second phenomenon, Political Correctness Fatigue will set in. We live in a world in which the threshold to being called a bigot is crossed by correcting someone’s grammar. At some stage, normal human beings will tire of having normal human interactions being regulated by a handful of thin skinned individuals.

The only thing preventing the vast majority of normal people from making their disgust for political correctness known is the fact the PC Police is firmly in charge at the moment. If you step out of line, your employment could potentially be on the line. We’ve seen various reports of people being fired over things they’ve said on social media. PC mobs have even become proactive in tracking down the employers of miscreants on social media with the sole purpose of getting them fired.

In the current setting, nobody will speak up against overzealous social justice warriors. That angst has certainly been bubbling under the surface, as evidenced by the overwhelming anti-PC views espoused by those who post in comment sections all over the internet. It is telling that many of the politically correct set have closed down comment sections over the last 18 months in response.

Donald Trump is, in my view, the catalyst which will bring the backlash offline into the real world. His brash, anti-PC comments, which will surely persist, will continue to help him in the polls, let alone do him no harm. These ‘ABSOLUTE MADMAN‘ moments will serve as the ‘coast is clear’ signal for normal thinking people to log off the internet and speak freely in public.

Despite this, Clinton’s main strategy still will be to use the gender politics part of the PC machine, bludgeoning the public about how great it will be to have a female president. Her continued failure to see the light on this, and many other topics will cement her as the ‘establishment,’ old order, status quo candidate.

In being the epitome of Democratic establishment politics, Clinton mirrors the position Jeb Bush held for the Republicans. While beating her won’t be as easy as it was to beat Bush, Trump is still the ‘outsider’ candidate, running in an ‘outsider’ year. One only has to look at the way Bernie Sanders is running Clinton to the wire to understand this.

I don’t think this dynamic can be overstated going into the general election. Donald Trump is the candidate who represents change, change from the two party establishment which ha been so comfortable for nearly 40 years.

He’s won the Republican Primary without outside donors, without pandering to anyone but the American people, and without speaking in political tongues like any other candidate would have. This is going to present, perhaps for the first time in my lifetime, a real distinction between the candidates.

Ultimately Clinton will dispose of Sanders, owing to the fact that the establishment’s ‘unbound’ superdelegates are all in Clinton’s pocket, further highlighting the difference between her and Trump as the establishment insider. Where Clinton has an inbuilt advantage over Sanders, Trump had to fight off schemes of all sorts to prevent a contested convention. This will set up a battle royale for the presidency.

Political Correctness vs Reality > Feelings

Establishment vs ‘The People’

Feminism vs Traditional Values

Globalism vs America First

The importance of this election can’t be overstated.

To The Surprise of None, Janet Yellen Does Not See a Bubble in the Economy

Last night, Janet Yellen was accompanied by her three predecessors as Fed Chairmen, Ben Bernanke, Alan Greenspan and Paul Volcker at a forum in New York discussing various issues.

In the wake of Donald Trump declaring that the economy was a bubble, and that a large recession was on the cards, moderator Fareed Zakaria asked Yellen if we really were in a situation ‘as perilous as some on the campaign trail have been suggesting.’ This was Yellen’s response in full:

So I would say the US economy has made tremendous progress in recovering from the damage from the financial crisis. Slowly but surely the labor market is healing. For well over a year we’ve averaged about  225,000 jobs a month. The unemployment rate now stands at 5%. So, we’re coming close to our assigned congressional goal of maximum employment.

 

Inflation which, my colleagues here Paul and Allen, spent much of their time as chair, bringing inflation down from unacceptably high levels. For a number of years now inflation has been running under our 2% goal and we’re focused on moving it up to 2%.

 

But we think that it’s partly transitory influences, namely declining oil prices, and the strong dollar that are responsible for pulling inflation below the 2% level we think is most desirable. So, I think we’re making progress there as well, and this is an economy on a solid course, um, not a bubble economy.

 

We tried carefully to look at evidence of potential financial instability that might be brewing and some of the hallmarks of that, clearly overvalued asset prices, high leverage, rising leverage, and rapid credit growth. We certainly don’t see those imbalances. And so although interest rates are low, and that is something that could encourage reach for yield behavior, I wouldn’t describe this as a bubble economy.

More specifically, her reasoning as to why this can’t be described as a bubble economy:

We tried carefully to look at evidence of potential financial instability that might be brewing and some of the hallmarks of that,

such as

clearly overvalued asset prices,

MW-EB006_overva_20151210143625_ZH

(‘Now’ was December of 2015)

high leverage, rising leverage,

-1x11-1

-1x-1-1x-1NYSE-margin-debt-SPX-since-1995

and rapid credit growth.

fredgraph

 

We certainly don’t see those imbalances.

Ordinarily, one would suggest that she look a little harder, but in this case the suggestion would be futile. The famous Upton Sinclair quote about a man (or in this case woman) not being capable of understanding something when he or she is paid not to understand it is apropos.

Central bankers will never, ever see a bubble ahead of time because that would mean admitting some sort of fault. Central banks attempt to guide and steer the economy through the business cycle, and thus if a bubble arises, it is almost completely of their doing. Thus, they can never admit to it before the fact.

After it bursts, however, all sorts of gnashing of teeth occurs as to why the inevitable crisis was unforeseeable, thanks to some insidious development out of their control. The go-to excuse the last time around was a savings glut in Asia. Who knows what they’ll say this time.

Election Math: Was Ted Cruz’ Victory in Wisconsin A Turning Point?

Ted Cruz won the Wisconsin Primary last night, taking 40 of the 46 delegates. This leaves the delegate count looking like this:

Trump – 758

Cruz – 505

Kasich – 144

There are 769 delegates remaining.

I’m not going to discuss Kasich the rest of the way given he is irrelevant, and cannot obtain the magic number for the nomination which is 1237. He still trails Marco Rubio, who dropped out nearly a month ago.

In order for Trump to attain enough delegates to win the nomination outright, he will need at least 479 of the remaining 769, or roughly 62%. Cruz would have to win 732 of the remaining delegates, or 95%.

That is pretty much an impossibility, so for all intents and purposes, Donald Trump is the only candidate who can win the nomination on the first ballot at the convention.

Cruz will be mathematically knocked out of winning a majority if he does not win at least 58 delegates in New York on April 19th.

Continuing along those lines, here is a look at the next phase of the election, starting from New York up until West Virginia on May 10:

April 19th:

New York (95 Delegates)

April 26th:

Connecticut (26 Delegates)

Delaware (16 Delegates)Maryland

(38 Delegates)

Pennsylvania (17 Delegates bound, 54 more unbound)

Rhode Island (19 Delegates)

May 3:

Indiana (57 Delegates)

May 10:

Nebraska (36 Delegates)

West Virginia (34 Delegates)

Trump winning roughly 62% of the delegates through this stretch would leave him with about 1000 delegates. If he leaves this stretch with that figure or higher, he will be in good shape heading towards the western states. That means a haul of about 242 delegates, and his home state of NY will be a huge part of him attaining that figure. If Trump sweeps through the April 26th contests, he’ll be well on his way to attaining the figure he needs, with either Indiana or West Virginia putting him over the top. A lot will be determined over the next 21 days.

Turning Point?

Predictably, after the Wisconsin result, there has been much in the way of celebration from everyone but the Trump camp. Recall that the past two weeks have been an all out blitz from the #NeverTrump camp, from Wisconsin conservative talk radio, to GOP establishment figureheads like Scott Walker.

Trump made a few unforced errors as well, which didn’t help him, but at the end of the day the fact that Wisconsin is a different breed of conservative didn’t help him. The radio hosts told him as much the minute he landed in the state. Exit polling showed that Wisconsin Republican voters were less ‘angry’ at the system in comparison to other states. In short, the state of Wisconsin is fine with the status quo as it is. That never augured well for Trump.

This is not a turning point, however, despite what the media and Cruz camp are trying to say. What Wisconsin happened to be was the perfect storm. RNC chairman Reince Priebus, governor Scott Walker and Speaker of the House Paul Ryan are all Wisconsinites. Anti-Trump SuperPACs spent tens of millions in the state. Multiple talk show radio hosts, all with heavy influence on the electorate, are all anti-Trumpers. Charlie Sykes, one of those radio hosts, bluntly laid out the motivations for supporting Cruz on MSNBC yesterday:

I’ve said Ted Cruz is not my first choice, my second choice, or my third choice, but he’s the guy right now who is the only guy that can stop Donald Trump from getting 1,237 and the only candidate who can stop him in Wisconsin. He is the guy. So I am more anti-Trump than I am pro-Cruz, but Ted Cruz acceptable enough to Wisconsinites.

Cruz is acceptable enough to Wisconsinites, and indeed the GOP, for now. His only use to the GOPe is to stop Trump from getting a majority. Having done that, they’ll drop Cruz like a hot potato at the convention and go for someone else.

It baffles me that Cruz supporters are so blind as to think that they actually have a shot to win the nomination. The real feeling about Cruz among most of the GOPe is that he is terrible, but at least he is the devil we know. Whereas Trump is a total wild card.

In truth, the only reason Cruz has come this far is because the Trump phenomenon made room for Cruz as an ‘outsider.’ If Trump had never entered, there is no way Cruz could have made such an inroad. He would have had to be as brash as Trump was at the beginning, but given the way he has been treated in national politics and the media since his rise to the senate, he would have been discarded quickly. As I wrote a few weeks ago, Trump is probably the only man in America to actually make a real ‘outsider’ viable.

This is precisely why Cruz stayed silent when everyone and their mother denounced Trump in the summer and fall of 2015. Cruz was doing this because he recognized that the real fight was between the outsiders and the GOPe, and that by biding his time, allowing Trump to build up the ‘outsider’ side of the ledger, he could come in later and try and fight him for it. Had Cruz gone after Trump earlier, he would have aligned himself with the GOPe side and been blown out quickly.

At this stage of the game, now that all real establishment threats have gone to the wayside, the only thing that could benefit the GOPe is a fight between the ‘outsiders,’ Trump and Cruz, that could leave both unable to achieve a majority and thus put the GOPe back in control at the convention.

Of course, Cruz isn’t a real outsider, in the sense that he has been in the Washington system all of his career. He is a system man who nobody likes, not because he wants to change the system necessarily, but because he expedited his rise through the ranks by playing at being the outsider.

At the end of the day, he still has to make concessions to the system, which is the reason that those wanting real change should back Trump. Trump may not be the PRINCIPLED CONSERVATIVE everyone wants, but those principles have no place in the current political system outside of the fringes.

This is what #NeverTrump people don’t get, and it was evident in Wisconsin over the course of the last two weeks. If you want real PRINCIPLED CONSERVATISM in 2016, the current system has to look a lot different. In reality, the current culture has to look a lot different. You aren’t going to change it toiling in the doldrums of Politics As Usual. You have to burn the house down and start again. Which is what Trump represents.

Once a Trump-like candidate, warts and all, finishes his work, the likes of Ted Cruz, the Pauls, and whoever can actually impart their PRINCIPLED CONSERVATISM from a place of strength, rather than fighting against the machine. If last night was indeed a turning point, the machine will remain, and PRINCIPLED CONSERVATISM will achieve nothing more than token senate seats and marginal presidential primary runs.

Reality Doesn’t Care About Feelings: Volume 2 – Michelle Fields vs Corey Lewandowski

The press is to have an adversarial, yet civil approach to those in, or running, for elected office. Never in this line of work is it acceptable to respond to reasonable and legitimate questioning with use of physical force. The photographs, audio, videos, and witness accounts documenting the treatment of Michelle Fields by Corey Lewandowski, Donald Trump’s campaign manager, are inexcusable and unprofessional. Donald Trump should immediately remove Lewandowski from his campaign. However unlike the Trump campaign, we believe in making a statement on the record to clearly highlight the difference between right and wrong.

The above quote was from a press release signed by 16 conservative females in response to the developments surrounding an incident which took place between Corey Lewandowski, Donald Trump’s campaign manager, and Michelle Fields, a reporter. The full letter is below:

medialetter

By now this incident has been discussed to death, mostly because it is a Trump mishap. If you’ll notice, the vast majority, if not all of the signatories are anti Trump pundits, and as such, this sort of story is heaven sent. It seemingly allows them to further push the idea that Trump is a woman hating Neanderthal who is dangerous and bad. It also seemingly gives credence to the idea that there is a specter of violence surrounding the Trump campaign, which does not bode well for the country as a whole should he be elected president.

This allowed the other candidates to gain cheap points by pandering to women. Given the other candidates all have an interest in any anti-Trump talking point, they were all more than happy to pile on with the outrage. The story hasn’t completely died, because of the way Trump has responded.

Instead of immediately firing Lewandowski, who has been charged with battery over the incident, Trump went on the offensive and has defended his campaign manager at almost every turn. That continued last night on Sean Hannity’s show on Fox.

That appearance led to even more outrage from the anti-Trump crowd still pushing this story, and Fields in particular. In the following exchange with Hannity on Twitter, she accuses him of not having her back and letting Trump off scot-free:

Capture.PNG1

The Reality

Just in case you still haven’t seen the incident, and aren’t sure what I’m talking about, the following is security footage released by the Jupiter, Florida police department.

If you’re not sure what you’re looking at, at the start of the video Fields is in the cream colored top walking next to Trump, attempting to ask him a question. From about 0:03 to 0:08 in the video is where the alleged battery takes place.

Shortly after the conference had ended, Fields penned this piece for Breitbart, describing her version of events (emphasis mine):

On Tuesday night, I went to cover Donald Trump’s press conference at the Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Florida. I was looking to cover the event like I have covered many live political events for Breitbart News, including an uneventful Trump press conference in Palm Beach the week before. 

 

Addressing the gathered reporters and the nation at large, Trump was in an especially jovial mood Tuesday night. The networks just declared he had won the Mississippi Republican primary and, during his speech, that he won Michigan Republican primary as well.

 

 

I wasn’t called upon to ask a question during the televised press conference, but afterwards Trump wandered around, stopping at every reporter to take their questions. When he approached me, I asked him about his view on an aspect of affirmative action. 

 

Trump acknowledged the question, but before he could answer I was jolted backwards. Someone had grabbed me tightly by the arm and yanked me down. I almost fell to the ground, but was able to maintain my balance. Nonetheless, I was shaken.

 

 

The Washington Post’s Ben Terris immediately remarked that it was Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, who aggressively tried to pull me to the ground. I quickly turned around and saw Lewandowski and Trump exiting the building together. No apology. No explanation for why he did this.  


 

Even if Trump was done taking questions, Lewandowski would be out of line. Campaign managers aren’t supposed to try to forcefully throw reporters to the ground, no matter the circumstance. But what made this especially jarring is that there was no hint Trump was done taking questions. No one was pushing him to get away. He seemed to have been happily answering queries from my fellow reporters just a moment before.  

 

Many people have been asking me on Twitter and in emails what exactly happened Tuesday night. I hope this article answers those questions and I can get back to reporting the news, not being a part of it. 

Lewandowski responded via this tweet:

Capture.PNG2

This is what kicked everything off, as Lewandowski essentially called Fields a liar and claimed to have never touched Fields. At time, Trump responded to a question about the incident by saying that Fields may have made the whole thing up. Note that at the time of Fields’ account on Breitbart, and Lewandowski’s tweet, there was no video.

Once the video came out, the knives came out for Lewandowski and Trump for claiming the incident never happened, and in particular over their language intimating that Fields was a crazy lady making things up.

The position that the Trump team have been lying and smearing Fields is on weak grounds, however. This is because of the discrepancy between the video evidence, and what I have highlighted in Fields’ statement. Any rational human being can see in the video that Lewandowski did not try and forcefully throw Fields to the ground. She did not almost lose her balance, she did not seem shaken, there was not any element of violence from Lewandowski.

It was that accusation, specifically Fields’ insistence in Breitbart that she had been brutally assaulted Mortal Kombat style, which was so thoroughly denounced by Lewandowski and Trump. 

Yes, Lewandowski did literally touch Fields. However, he was responding to allegations that he had violently thrown a reporter to the ground. Imagine that, for example, you were walking in a crowd and bumped into a random person, but kept going without apologizing. Then, two days later, the police came to your house and said that you punched that person in the face, leaving that person hospitalized, and were now under arrest.

Most people would be totally incredulous, and claim that the accuser was deluded. Given that bumping into someone in a crowd is such an inconsequential thing that it wouldn’t register in one’s memory, it is easy to see how one would say they didn’t even touch the accuser, let alone landed a blow worthy of hospitalization.

To be sure, Lewandowski was completely guilty of being impolite, rude, and perhaps even unprofessional. However, anyone who has ever been in a crowded public space has been subject to that sort of behavior and worse from others. I’m sure this morning alone, hundreds if not thousands have undergone similar ‘assaults’ in the NYC subways on the way to work.

As such Lewandowski (and Trump) both suggesting that Fields was a bit deluded isn’t an egregious thing, because the truth is that she did grossly embellish what happened. The fact that we even have the video above is because Trump’s security reviewed it and gave to the police voluntarily, in order to absolve Lewandowski. The Trump team correctly came to the conclusion that the whole thing was much ado about nothing, and figured that the video would show that.

Instead, the response was the week long media storm that I previously alluded to. It has been driven by the #NeverTrump movement in conjunction with the usual suspects in the liberal and conservative establishment media. What is more interesting than that however, is the calls for Trump to fire Lewandowski, and his refusal to acquiesce. It is a microcosm of a larger issue that plagues our society.

We are now living in a society in which allegations and accusations are more or less equal to convictions. This is most prevalent in sexual assault cases, where the accused male is dragged through the mud for simply being accused. If the individual is high profile enough, he generally has to resign, endorsements are withdrawn, and so forth. Whether the accused is actually guilty or not is of little consequence.

In other words, the truth is of little consequence when it comes to the feelings of the Social Justice Warrior outrage mob. This episode is particularly interesting given the fact that the 16 signatories of the letter asking for Lewandowski’s dismissal are purportedly conservative, and have railed against some of the tactics of Social Justice Warriors in the past.

Yet, they are now happy to employ those same tactics when the subject is Donald Trump. That belies an inconsistency within the mainstream, establishment faction of the GOP which is at the very heart of its current demise, and simultaneous rise of Donald Trump.

This is exactly why the GOP establishment is out of touch with everyday Americans. They see a video like the one above, and see a man being extremely rude. Most people brush it off a few seconds later. So, when they see that police charges, and calls for being fired, all over the same incident, they scratch their heads. Not because they are wondering what they could have missed, but because they are wondering how one can be so disingenuous one can be in attacking a rival.

My advice to the #NeverTrump crowd is to let this one go. The more the public sees of this incident, the more they will come to the conclusion that the media is dishonest, and that Trump is right. Trying to convince people not to believe what their lying eyes tell them is only going to make them stop and think. They will wonder why everyone from all corners of politics, and the big interests are going to such lengths to denounce Trump, and they will come to the conclusion that the man who everyone is slinging mud at  is actually favorable to the mudslingers, when it is clear they are dishonest.

On Donald Trump’s Business Failures

One of the talking points Donald Trump has used thus far in his campaign is the fact that his stellar business acumen is exactly what the United States needs. In other words, whatever was in his brain that allowed him to earn a fortune of $10 billion will enable him to do great things for the country.

Naturally, his opponents have made claims to the contrary, and it’s easy to understand why. If they can show that Trump really isn’t as good of a business man as he claims, the rationale for electing him is greatly reduced. Unfortunately for those making the claims, they’ve only displayed their ignorance.

There have been many instances of this argument over the last few months, but I’d like to focus on two recent ones. First, from Gawker:

So to commemorate our country’s imminent President Trump-wrought downfall, we’ve compiled every major, non-real estate-related Trump business disaster out there (we think). Because while we aim for completeness, the man has failed—a lot. If you know of anything we missed, please do let us know down below. And Donald, good luck with that wall.

 

They then go on to channel Mitt Romney and name 15 initiatives that Trump tried which didn’t work out – Trump Steaks, GoTrump.com, Trump Airlines, Trump Vodka, Trump Mortgage, Trump: The Game, Trump Magazine, Trump University, Trump Ice, New Jersey Generals, Tour de Trump, Trump On The Ocean, The Trump Network, Trumped!, Trump New Media.

Sounds like a lot of failure, until you understand that there are, at least currently, 515 separate entities which Donald Trump, through his Trump Organization, either owns or is a major investor in. Many of those may end up in the scrap heap as well. There are probably many more businesses Trump has owned in the past which failed, or he took a loss on, as well as many others he sold for a profit.

The bottom line is that coming up with a list of 15-20 business failures does nothing but show that Trump has tried a lot of things. People who declare Trump a business failure on the back of that simply don’t understand business in general. Business is about anticipating the demand of the marketplace and attempting to supply that demand.

You might be right, or you might be wrong, but you won’t know for sure unless you attempt to meet that demand. If you’re wrong, you cut your losses and move on. Between 70% and 90% of new business ventures fail, depending on who you talk to. There is nothing wrong with this unless you fail to learn the specific lessons from each experience.

Furthermore, the math is firmly in Trump’s favor. 15 failures against 500+ profitable companies (perhaps), works out to a success rate of about 97%. That seems pretty strong to me. Business is a lot like baseball, in that a success rate of 3 out of 10 in baseball makes you a Hall of Fame player. In business you only have to succeed a handful of times to be a success, as long as those successes are larger than your failures. Indeed, Thomas Edison failed 10,000 times before getting the light bulb right once, and his name is forever etched in history.

The truth is that you only have to be a success one time to be a success in business, let alone several hundred times like Trump has. That line of argument is totally bankrupt.

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So is this argument, most recently brought about by Senator Elizabeth Warren in a recent Twitter tirade. Here it is:

Biz2

I haven’t actually looked at the math, but I’ll take this argument at face value. Even if it is true, it falls apart very quickly on two levels. The first is that it requires Trump to have bought the market at the exact low point in 1974, and held on for 40 plus years without drawing one cent for food, clothes, lodging, and whatever extravagant lifestyle he might have wanted. On top of that, he would have had to sell out at exactly the right time at the 2015 high. Completely unrealistic.

The other way in which this argument fails is the simple fact that Trump went out and built things with his inheritance. The skyscrapers, hotels, golf courses and so forth created tens of thousands of jobs, and facilitated all sorts of economic activity that would not have existed if Trump had put that money in an index fund instead.

In fact, if every single business person in 1974 had put all of their money in an index fund, instead of putting it towards whatever tangible businesses that money was put towards, all that would have happened is that the stock market would have exploded higher and then crashed. The reason being, the very business activity which stock prices and index funds rest on would never have happened.

In other words, the only reason those index funds performed as well as they did from 1974 to the present is precisely because of people like Trump who built things and facilitated the economic growth those index funds are a derivative of.

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It’s incredibly ironic for a woman like Senator Warren to be trying to undermine Trump in this manner given her entire claim to fame has been her belief that Wall Street is the cause of all that ails us, from cancer to war, famine and pestilence. You would think that someone who thinks Wall Street collects money without doing anything to benefit society would not ridicule someone who actually did benefit society. Not only that, Warren ridiculed Trump for not just parking money in a derivative instrument and sitting there collecting the profits.

Such is politics, where blatant contradictions are the norm. Mitt Romney is also guilty of this, as he surely knows better. But he made a disingenuous point for political purposes. Despite Gawker’s attempt to drop the mic on Trump’s business acumen, he is a unquestionable business success. You simply don’t go from a few million to a few billion in net worth otherwise.