Here’s The Hill, discussing Trump’s campaign chairman:
On editorial conference calls, the Breitbart chairman would often say “Paul Ryan is the enemy,” according to a source who worked with Bannon at the news organization.
You might think that is due to Ryan’s lukewarm support of Trump. Not so:
In December 2015, weeks after Ryan became Speaker, Bannon wrote in an internal Breitbart email obtained by The Hill that the “long game” for his news site was for Ryan to be “gone” by the spring.
So why did Bannon hate Ryan in 2015?
A former Breitbart staffer said Bannon used to rage against Ryan all the time.
Bannon views Ryan as a leader of an elite globalist cabal determined to sell out America by opening its borders on immigration and trade.
“Bannon has Alex Jones-level paranoia about Paul Ryan,” the source said, referring to the right-wing radio host and conspiracy theorist who runs the pro-Trump website Infowars.
“He goes on these amazing rants,” the source added of Bannon. “He thinks Paul Ryan is part of a conspiracy with George Soros and Paul Singer, in which elitists want to bring one world government.”
People sometimes say that while Trump is totally insane and knows nothing about public policy, he’ll pick good advisers. Yet his advisers are just as crazy:
On Monday, Breitbart published a story with the headline: “Falwell: Lewd Trump tape part of GOP coup against Donald, no ‘coincidence’ it came right before Paul Ryan joint appearance.”
Yes, a tape that may cost the GOP control of the House was somehow Ryan’s master plan. And why didn’t Ryan release this tape before Trump got the nomination? Perhaps Ryan secretly wants Hillary to win, so he didn’t want a more electable Republican to get the nomination:
“Trump is running against the evil empire,” the source continued. “The entire machine stands against him, and Paul Ryan is the face of the evil empire. But so is Hillary Clinton and so are her allies throughout the mainstream media.”
Some of Trump’s more intellectual supporters don’t like his position on many issues, but think he’s good on immigration. They don’t care about “character”, which is why they voted for him over much better GOP primary candidates. Here’s why a vindictive character matters:
“Breitbart has always been the tip of the spear in the conservative grassroots world,” a source close to Bannon told The Hill on Tuesday.
People who’ve worked with Bannon say it’s foolish to underestimate the lengths Bannon will go to destroy the GOP establishment.
“He’s an instrument of destruction,” said Ben Shapiro, a former Breitbart staffer who fell out with Bannon.
“Bannon has always wanted to burn everything down,” he added, “and any chance he has to wriggle this into a way to destroy Paul Ryan, he’ll absolutely do it.”
With a normal GOP candidate there was zero chance of the GOP losing the House. It’s still unlikely, but much less so than before. Ironically Trump may end up being the best friend the open borders people ever had. Just imagine Trump repudiated and “Hillary unchained”. Bryan Caplan’s dreams may come true.
A normal politician like Obama is willing to allow Senate candidates a bit of separation. For instance, West Virginia’s Senator needed to do so because of Obama’s views on coal. Obama understood this, and kept his eye on the most important goal—Democratic control of the Senate. He cut him some slack. Trump is like a 6-year old, with no self-control. He’ll thrash out even if it hurts him. Putin will play him like a fiddle.
Here’s the Economist on the Alt-Right:
The association precedes Mr Trump’s hiring as his campaign manager of Stephen Bannon, former boss of Breitbart News, a reactionary news website that Mr Bannon reportedly described as “the platform for the Alt-Right”, and which has covered the movement favourably. Already Mr Trump had echoed the Alt-Right’s views on Muslims, immigration, trade and, indeed, Vladimir Putin, whom Alt-Righters ludicrously admire for his supposed pursuit of Russia’s national interest. Pressed about these shared prejudices (and tweets), Mr Trump has denied knowing what the Alt-Right is, even that it exists—unable, as usual, to disavow any support, however cretinous, or to apply a moral filter to his alliances or tactics.
It’s time to drop the silly pretense that Trump is a Republican. I don’t think he’s reliably Alt-Right either, their views just happen to coincide on a number of issues. But since the Alt-Right is playing such a key role in his campaign, it’s worth asking what they believe:
Much of the Alt-Right’s output will seem indecipherably weird to those unfamiliar with the darker penumbras of popular culture. It has its own iconography and vernacular, derived from message boards, video games and pornography. Its signature insult is “cuckservative”, directed at Republicans supposedly emasculated by liberalism and money. Its favourite avatar is Pepe the frog, a cartoon-strip creature co-opted into offensive scenarios; one Pepe image was reposted this week by Donald Trump junior and Roger Stone, a leading Trumpista, the latest example of the candidate’s supporters, and the man himself, circulating the Alt-Right’s memes and hoax statistics. Its contribution to typography is the triple parentheses, placed around names to identify them as Jewish.
Charming. Until recently, the modern American right had a couple of good qualities. They favored free markets, and they were less anti-Semitic than the European right. Now they’ve become anti-trade and anti-Semitic. I suppose this is no surprise. We’ve been hearing about how Trump represents a rebellion against the soulless, urban, cosmopolitan elite. Hmmm, what could those be code words for?
And it’s not like Trump’s precursors were anti-Semitic. Oh wait . . .
Here’s some more:
To most Americans, the purposes to which these gimmicks are put will seem as outlandish as the lexicon. One of the Alt-Right’s pastimes is to intimidate adversaries with photoshopped pictures of concentration camps; a popular Alt-Right podcast is called “The Daily Shoah”. To their defenders, such outrages are either justified by their shock value or valiantly transgressive pranks. Jokes about ovens, lampshades and gas chambers: what larks!
The leading media supporter of the Alt-Right is Trump’s campaign chairman. Instead of ignoring a minor provocation from Paul Ryan (who still endorses Trump!) the campaign has launched a crusade to destroy the entire sane wing of the GOP, right in the middle of the Presidential election.
Yet from the quack ideologues to the out-and-proud neo-Nazis, some Alt-Right tenets are clear and constant. It repudiates feminism with misogynistic gusto. It embraces isolationism and protectionism. Above all, it champions white nationalism, or a neo-segregationist “race realism”, giving apocalyptic warning of an impending “white genocide”. Which, of course, is really just old-fashioned white supremacism in skimpy camouflage.
Suddenly I get commenters who tell me that any “real man” with testosterone would want to simply grab any woman he chose. For a while I wondered where this misogynistic stuff came from–now I know.
PS. Just to be clear, I’m not saying the GOP will lose the House, just that the odds have risen. By the same token, some Dems have told themselves that the election is in the bag. It’s true that Clinton is very likely to win, but a 16% chance is . . . well Nate Silver put it best—it’s the odds of dying in Russian roulette. Want to play a game?
PPS. Let’s not hear any whining from Trumpistas if their guy loses. Remember, Trump says fairness is for pussies. Who cares whether the personal attacks on him are fair. Who cares if the press is biased? He said the other GOP candidates were too nice, and that he’d steamroller right over Hillary. He assured us that he was a winner. He told us that his controversial lifestyle would not matter. So if he does lose, there are no excuses. If you start whining, then you are not true Trumpistas. So go get a shot of testosterone, and toughen up. Trump is a winner, or else he’s a nobody.
These debates about whether X did something worse than Trump are really tiresome. Whether the outrage over the tape was justified is beside the point. There’s plenty more to be outraged over—advocating stealing Iraq’s oil, stealing Libya’s oil, torture, bigotry, refusal to condemn concentration camps for Japanese-Americans, ignorance of nukes, apologies for Putin, ambiguity over NATO, protectionism, inciting violence, tighter controls on freedom of the press, etc. I could go on and on. NOBODY cares what you (commenters) think about sex scandals. Don’t waste your keystrokes.
PPPS. People are confused about the markets. The stock market probably wants Hillary to win narrowly, so that the GOP holds on to Congress. A Trump win, or a Hillary landslide, would be a nightmare for Wall Street. So poll/market correlations need to be interpreted with caution.
PPPPS. Don’t waste time reading my Trump posts. Look at someone who knows how to write, like Ross Douthat:
Above all, they feared the specter of a defeated Donald Trump railing against a corrupt convention bargain all through 2016 and beyond. So instead they will get Donald Trump railing against an establishment dolchstoss, a stab in the back, from the moment the polls close on Nov. 8 until he either wins the 2020 nomination or draws his dying breath.
History in its day to day is not a morality play. But sometimes there is a clear chastisement, a moment when the judgments of providence seem stark. And so it may be for the men who led the Republican Party into its Trumpian inferno.
In bending the knee to Trump last spring, they thought that they were buying party unity and a continued share of power, and paying for it with just a little of their decency, a mite of their patriotism, a soupçon of their honor.
They may find out soon enough that all this bargain bought them was an even harsher reckoning, and that all they will inherit is the wind.
George Will has a slightly more hopeful view:
Today, however, Trump should stay atop the ticket, for four reasons. First, he will give the nation the pleasure of seeing him join the one cohort, of the many cohorts he disdains, that he most despises — “losers.” Second, by continuing to campaign in the spirit of St. Louis, he can remind the nation of the useful axiom that there is no such thing as rock bottom. Third, by persevering through November 8 he can simplify the GOP’s quadrennial exercise of writing its post-campaign autopsy, which this year can be published November 9 in one sentence: “Perhaps it is imprudent to nominate a venomous charlatan.” Fourth, Trump is the GOP’s chemotherapy, a nauseating but, if carried through to completion, perhaps a curative experience.
But in the end, it’s the funny stuff that keeps me sane:
Carson, for his part, gave a similar line on CNN: Waxing poetic about power-trip crotch grabbing is common “banter,” he said. It is distasteful, he argued, but certainly not rare. Anchor Brianna Keilar, looking slightly perplexed, informed (Ben) Carson that few normal people have heard “locker room talk” of this amped-up variety. “I haven’t heard it,” she said, “and I know a lot of people who have not heard it.”
“Well maybe that’s the problem. Maybe that’s the problem,” Carson replied, calm as a Xanax factory. “People have not heard this. Maybe that’s the problem.” Keilar stared in wonderment. Yes, folks, this was happening: Carson was blaming America for failing to frequent scarier locker rooms.
Remember when Carson briefly led in the GOP polls? If only I could move to Utah, where polls show massive support for NeverTrump/NeverHillary. The latest poll I saw in that “swing state” had Trump and Hillary tied, at 26%. Speaking of Utah, this is fascinating.