OK, now what’s the excuse?

[I suggest readers skip this rant; I have a long queue of better stuff, waiting to be posted.]

For months, apologists for the voters have been talking about unemployed factory workers who don’t have enough education to know better, who were fooled by a politician that anyone with half a brain can see is a buffoon.  I began to have doubts when I saw Trump run up huge margins of victory in Middlesex county (where I live), which is full of affluent professionals.  Now polls show Trump winning 55% in New York.  That’s right, not Mississippi, not Alabama, but New York.  You know, the state that likes to sneer at how stupid people are in flyover country—states like Utah, that gave Trump 14% of the vote.

Here’s Jonah Goldberg:

On the drive in to my office this morning, I heard Hillsdale College president Larry Arnn, one of the wisest and gentlest souls I’ve ever encountered, describe Trump as a “good and honest man” and “quite brilliant.” A few minutes ago on Twitter, the great semi-retired editorialist Don Surber said to me, regarding Trump, “You will come around. Others may not because they are childish.”

A college president?  What the heck is going on at Hillsdale College?  And I have no idea who Don Surber is, or if he even knows that he’s parroting lines from bad 1950s sci-fi movies.  And here’s the “endorsement” from the New York Post:

No, pulling US troops out of Japan and South Korea — and pushing both countries to go nuclear to defend themselves — is not remotely a good idea. American commitments may need rethinking — but careful rethinking.

Yes, controlling the border is one of Washington’s fundamental duties — but “Build the Wall” is far too simplistic a policy for a nation of immigrants.

By all means, get the best trade deals for America — but remember that trade means cheaper goods for the less well-off, and challenge US industries to improve.

Trump’s language, too, has too often been amateurish, divisive — and downright coarse.

But what else to expect from someone who’s never been a professional politician and reflects common-man passions?

Translation:  He’s an imbecile who isn’t qualified to be dogcatcher, so we are going to endorse him for President of the United States.  What better entry level position into politics?  What could go wrong? Putin will help him out if he gets confused by international affairs.

A month ago I predicted that the GOP establishment would eventually kowtow to Trump, and I admit I’ve been wrong so far, but Goldberg suggests it may be starting to happen:

As for the intellectuals, politicians, and donors just now jumping on the Trump bandwagon, or simply opting to get out of its way, they aren’t even wrong. I very much doubt their opinions of the man have changed much (and in more than a few cases, I know this because they have told me so). Rather, they are jumping on the Trump bandwagon because their calculations of his chances have changed. It’s the same as Kent Brockman fashioning his “Hail Ants” sign and declaring, “I for one welcome our new insect overlords” and then vowing to help them round up human slaves to toil in the sugar mines.

For instance, there is no way Karl Rove has suddenly seen the light on Trump. To the extent he’s reportedly softening on the anti-Trump stuff, it must be a purely political decision, not a philosophical one.

The people who are smart enough to know better, and yet are still kissing up to Trump, will have a lot to answer for in 2017. What I can’t figure out is why are so many smart people voting for him in private, even though they are not angling for cushy jobs?  I travel all over, and I meet lots of liberals and lots of conservatives.  Everyone I meet seems to regard Trump as a buffoon. Are some of them voting for Trump, in secret?  How can someone get to be a college president and still not be able to see what is plain as day?  Doesn’t Larry Arnn have friends or associates to point out what a fool he’s making of himself?

As if we need anything more, Trump told us a few days ago that he’d eliminate the entire $19 trillion national debt in 8 years.  How will he do this?  Perhaps by refusing to cut entitlements or military spending, and by slashing taxes so sharply that most people won’t have to pay any, and even his hedge fund buddies will face a top rate of 25%?  No, that’s not how.  His answer was “trade”.  That’s how he pays off the national debt in 8 years.  Don’t other candidates say stuff like this?  No they do not! Never.  They say idiotic things, but they are adult level idiotic things. Like promising to balance the budget.  Unlikely, but Bill Clinton did it, so it’s not utterly laughable. Trump’s statements are below the 2nd grade level, just babble, like a baby with a pacifier in its mouth.  We now live in a country where a college president views this sort of drivel as “brilliant”.

No matter how cyclical I get, I still can’t keep up with reality.  Electing Trump is no different from putting a homeless drunk into the White House.  I’m not the cyclical one; it’s the voters, stupid.

OK, end of rant.


Tags:

 
 
 

84 Responses to “OK, now what’s the excuse?”

  1. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    16. April 2016 at 11:41

    Electing Trump is no different from putting a homeless drunk into the White House.

    He’s a capable businessman who has run large organizations. The question at hand is how much experience in private sector management translates to the public sector and the degree to which negotiating with other businessmen is analogous to negotiating with Congress or foreign heads of government.

    You need to get a grip.

  2. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    16. April 2016 at 11:54

    Dr. Arnn is the issue of the Claremont Colleges and has published a number of scholarly works in political theory. He was also once a research assistant to Martin Gilbert.

    Here is Arnn on Trump for attribution, not as reported off the cuff in a car ride:

    http://www.hughhewitt.com/dr-larry-arnn-national-reviews-anti-trump-issue-principled-statesmanship/

    (I should note that college presidents are commonly crudniks who follow indefensible policies. The one that audilby bothers you is the one who spoke well of someone who has critiqued open borders. Why does one get the idea that faculty libertarians aren’t very serious?).

  3. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    16. April 2016 at 11:54

    Don Surber is problematic on a number of fronts. That he supports Trump per se is not one of them.

  4. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    16. April 2016 at 11:56

    I’m not sure why you’re expecting Republican politicians to trash someone who has a good chance of being their nominee. The Republican elected officials have to work within a certain matrix. They can stomp their feet and strike attitudes, but that’s an activity fit only for college teachers and editorialiss on the foundation dime.

  5. Gravatar of Steve F Steve F
    16. April 2016 at 11:59

    On the bright side, this will ultimately help Cruz since after he stomps Trump on the second ballot in the most covered political event of all time, he’ll enter the general election as the Trump slayer.

  6. Gravatar of Bio Bio
    16. April 2016 at 12:55

    Omce you see that Trump is a undercover democrat everything will make sense.

  7. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    16. April 2016 at 12:56

    “How will he do this?”

    -Same way Andrew Jackson did: sell Federal assets. Also, Trump will get new revenues by forcing Germany, Japan, Korea, Saudi Arabia, etc., to pay their fair share. Come on, Sumner, think a little.

    And Steve F, I think Cruz will go the Barry Goldwater route if that ever happens.

  8. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    16. April 2016 at 13:05

    Art, Goldberg seems to like Arnn, Why would he misquote him?

    You said:

    “I’m not sure why you’re expecting Republican politicians to trash someone who has a good chance of being their nominee.”

    I’d expect them to do everything possible to prevent Trump from becoming their nominee. This is an election the GOP should win, and they will (probably–75% confident) blow it.

    You said: “He’s a capable businessman who has run large organizations. ”

    . . . into bankruptcy. Wasn’t his daddy rich too?

    Steve, I think Trump is very likely to get the nomination. He’s strong in some of the upcoming states. I hope I’m wrong. If Cruz gets the nomination, he’ll lose too, but at least the GOP will not become the laughingstock of the political world. The only good thing about Trump getting it and losing, is that we won’t have to worry about him coming back 4 years later.

  9. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    16. April 2016 at 13:07

    Harding, You said:

    “Same way Andrew Jackson did: sell Federal assets. Also, Trump will get new revenues by forcing Germany, Japan, Korea, Saudi Arabia, etc., to pay their fair share. Come on, Sumner, think a little.”

    Please don’t tell me you are as dumb as Trump. I’d rather think you are faking his support. I’m not even going to do a point by point response to your nonsense, it’s just babble. Please go away and stop posting here.

  10. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    16. April 2016 at 13:26

    Why would he misquote him?

    He’s 47 years old and had had too much to drink.

    I’d expect them to do everything possible to prevent Trump from becoming their nominee.

    No arrows in that quiver. This isn’t 1948 where delegates were slated by county chairmen and elected officials and deliberation and peer review were far more consequential than popular participation. Those delegates volunteered for or were recruited by that candidate. They don’t work for Reince Priebus and AM McConnell. People who might be influential would be big donors. Worked out real well for Jeb Bush.

    . . . into bankruptcy. Wasn’t his daddy rich too?

    He’s had failures as well as successes. Trump was working in Manhattan commercial real estate, while his father was working in residential real estate various places but not in Manhattan. Trumps net worth exceeded his father’s by many multiples by 1985.

    If Cruz gets the nomination, he’ll lose too,

    Cruz polls satisfactorily against Hellary. Sanders would be more of a challenge.

    the GOP will not become the laughingstock of the political world.

    The people you have lunch with are not ‘the political world’.

  11. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    16. April 2016 at 13:29

    And Steve F, I think Cruz will go the Barry Goldwater route if that ever happens.

    Barry Goldwater was facing an incumbent president with approval ratings north of 70%. Cruz would be facing..Hellary.

  12. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    16. April 2016 at 13:59

    Few posts ago you felt safer when your cheeseheads from suburbia picked the President and not some *foreigners* from a tropical island far away.

    Now think about this in a different way: What would really happen when only white American suburbia would pick the President?! It’s not far-fetched to say that Trump would become even stronger than he is now.

  13. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    16. April 2016 at 14:00

    @Art

    Cruz would be facing..Hellary.

    And still lose…

  14. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    16. April 2016 at 14:01

    @Art Deco

    -Yes; I understand that, that’s why I don’t believe Cruz will lose Missouri or Indiana. I still think he’d lose Ohio, though.

    @ssumner

    -I’m not faking my support for Trump. I voted for him. I do think Trump will sell off Federal assets and get Germany, Japan, Korea, and other countries to pay the U.S. billions of dollars. I also think Trump might get the U.S. to a budget surplus (mostly due to a falling unemployment rate; you should expect a budget surplus in 2017 no matter who’s president if you expect no recession). It’s probably not large enough to get rid of $20 trillion worth of debt. I think Trump will just resort to pressuring the Fed to loosen monetary policy to reduce the weight of that problem. My “Come on, Sumner, think a little” was in good humor, but also half-serious. I just don’t think you’re thinking outside the box in regards to Federal revenues.

    “The only good thing about Trump getting it and losing, is that we won’t have to worry about him coming back 4 years later.”

    -You are vastly underestimating the political credibility Trump’s gained throughout this campaign. He’ll probably come back if he loses.

  15. Gravatar of Thiago Ribeiro Thiago Ribeiro
    16. April 2016 at 14:13

    “Cruz polls satisfactorily against Hellary. Sanders would be more of a challenge.”
    What a country! Is America upside down?

  16. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    16. April 2016 at 14:19

    Christian, I didn’t say white people, I said Wisconsinites, who rejected Trump, in case you didn’t notice. There’s a difference between the intelligent suburbanites in Wisconsin, and the sort you find in places like Massachusetts and New York, who seem to like voting for bigots.

    Harding, You said:

    “It’s probably not large enough to get rid of $20 trillion worth of debt.”

    OK, you are probably not a complete moron. But if you think Trump would do the things you’ve listed, then you are at least a partial moron.

    You said:

    “He’ll probably come back if he loses.”

    Not if he gets the nomination and loses. I do agree he might come back if he doesn’t get the nomination.

  17. Gravatar of zephito zephito
    16. April 2016 at 14:19

    Will the Stupid People of Deseret pull the R lever in November? I say yes; my guess is HRC wins NY, Trump (if nominee) wins UT.

    Most people aren’t voting for Trump. He’s won about 8 million votes out of a total voting population of over 200 million ~ 4%. Say he ends up with 6%. You’re probably interacting with the remaining 94%, especially since you’re probably hanging out with sane non-trolls.

    P.S. I love these posts!

  18. Gravatar of Nathan Nathan
    16. April 2016 at 14:46

    If Cruz is smart (he is) and able to get past his personal resentment (he might be) he’ll pick Kasich for VP. That will go a long way towards moving OH into the R column.

    I think Cruz is the kind of guy who could win the presidency even while losing the popular vote. He will build a fantastic GOTV operation in every winnable swing state. I don’t think a 3 point polling lead is in any way safe for Clinton to defend.

  19. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    16. April 2016 at 14:55

    And still lose…

    No, he polls adequately against Hellary. No telling what happens over the next 6-7 months, but he’s adequate.

  20. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    16. April 2016 at 14:59

    What a country! Is America upside down?

    No. One is a goofy old man who’s built relationships in the federal legislature for 25 years, successfully ran a municipal government, and is cleaner than a hound’s tooth. The other one is a ghastly megalomaniac with zero scruples, brobingnagian appetites, an undistinguished time in elected office, and time in an executive position re which the kindest thing ever said was uttered by Carly Fiorina, “Activity is not accomplishment”.

  21. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    16. April 2016 at 15:02

    and the sort you find in places like Massachusetts and New York, who seem to like voting for bigots.

    What’s interesting about this remark is how effortlessly the faculty libertarian adopts the rhetorical games prevalent within the Democratic Party. Do we get to hear you enlarging on the Southern Strategy, the War on Women, and Reproductive Freedom as well?

  22. Gravatar of Thiago Ribeiro Thiago Ribeiro
    16. April 2016 at 16:08

    “The other one is a ghastly megalomaniac with zero scruples, brobingnagian appetites, an undistinguished time in elected office, and time in an executive position re which the kindest thing ever said was uttered by Carly Fiorina, ‘Activity is not accomplishment’.”
    Exactly. Shouldn’t she be the stronger candidate? American voters keep sending mixed signals. Anyway, the idea that Sanders could be a challange at all to Cruz is strange (unless you mean none of the two Democratic hopefuls can beat Cruz, which I would find weird). If he can’t be sure of defeating a “goofy old” confessed Socialist, with a very secular Jewish background, who would he surely defeat? Charles Manson? I say Clinton is the safe choice. She is not the candidate Democrats deserve (OK, some will say she is the candidate Democrats deserve), but she is the candidate Democrats need.

  23. Gravatar of Negation of Ideology Negation of Ideology
    16. April 2016 at 16:09

    E. Harding –

    “Same way Andrew Jackson did: sell Federal assets.”

    The debt was declining rapidly already before Jackson became President. We ran large surpluses, with the exception of war years and the year of the Louisiana Purchase. Jackson may have moved up the debt free date by two or three years by increased asset sales, but the credit for paying off the debt primarily goes to his predecessors.

    http://www.polidiotic.com/by-the-numbers/us-national-debt-by-year/

    And let’s not forget that Jackson caused the Panic of 1837 (one of the worst depressions in history) by killing the Bank of the US (and losing the fat annual dividend check) and the issuing Specie Circular. This put us right back into debt. If it weren’t for Jackson’s foolishness, we would have been debt free indefinitely.

  24. Gravatar of Negation of Ideology Negation of Ideology
    16. April 2016 at 16:15

    Scott-

    “Not if he gets the nomination and loses. I do agree he might come back if he doesn’t get the nomination.”

    I agree with that. I’m starting to wonder if the best possible outcome for the GOP might be to just let Trump have the nomination, stand by and watch Trump/Christie get clobbered by Clinton/Cisneros, then start rebuilding for 2020. Otherwise, we’ll have to deal with Trump’s nonsense again.

  25. Gravatar of Steve Steve
    16. April 2016 at 16:25

    I doubt Trump will run again in 2020. He’ll be 74, and judging by his waistline, not as healthy as Bernie.

    Better strategy is to run Cruz in 2016 against a notably weak Democratic opponent, and let the Tea Party grassroots feel its oats. If this strategy fails, then have Ryan or some other RINO ready for another go in 2020.

  26. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    16. April 2016 at 16:27

    Why would it be Trump/Christie? It wouldn’t exactly balance the ticket well. I certainly wouldn’t choose Christie, just because of his idiocy.

  27. Gravatar of Benjamin Cole Benjamin Cole
    16. April 2016 at 16:33

    Scott Sumner: You appear to have some mild reservations about Don Trump, based upon some statements Trump made on the campaign trail.

    Here is a quote from a GOP candidate on television, in a GOP debate: “I do not know if sand can glow in the dark, but we are going to find out.”

    That was Ted Cruz speaking. Evidently he plans to use nuclear weapons in the Middle East.

    Do we take Trump at his word but not Cruz?

    Actually, Kasich has called for even more aircraft carrier groups to encircle the globe. The American Tojo?

    The truth? The GOP field is a Gong Show and Trump may be the best of the lot.

    Hillary Clinton is another socialist -nationalist crony-capitalist warmonger, this time in pant-suits.

    Yes, I am a Libertarian, but Bernie Sanders is looking better and better.

  28. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    16. April 2016 at 16:36

    “Not if he gets the nomination and loses.”

    -You are vastly underestimating Trump’s ambition and the support he has built up over the past year. You think mere defeat can stop Trump? If so, Trump would have collapsed after Iowa. And if Trump wins more states than Romney (he will), this will indicate to people that Trump is moving the GOP in the right direction.

    “if you think Trump would do the things you’ve listed”

    -Why wouldn’t he? He said he’d do them, and he hasn’t contradicted himself on them.

    @Nathan

    -Good point. Cruz/Kasich might get out the GOP vote enough to beat Hillary.

  29. Gravatar of Steve Steve
    16. April 2016 at 16:44

    buffoon =/= bigot

    The way things are going, Trump will get the majority of his delegates from the NE corridor plus the NE retirement community of Florida.

    There’s something else going on here; a preference for power over principle, lack of civic engagement, worship of false gods (celebrity).

    A lot of people are voting for Trump because they want to *be* Trump (none more than Christie!), not because they want to be led by Trump. I wonder what the overlap is between lottery players and Trump voters? A ballot and a dream!

    Oh, and the New York Post is owned by News Corp, so the endorsement is no surprise given the Fox has already de facto endorsed Trump in its coverage. The National Enquirer is run by Trump’s buddy Pecker, so again, celebrity connections matter. But I already mentioned celebrity and false gods.

  30. Gravatar of Robert H. Robert H.
    16. April 2016 at 16:51

    Dude, don’t slander homeless drunks like that.

  31. Gravatar of Steve F Steve F
    16. April 2016 at 16:54

    E. Harding,

    Goldwater was a disaster for reasons not having to do with conservatism. Cruz is a totally stellar candidate. The consultant-class wisdom is out to lunch.

    Things that make Cruz a better candidate than just about every pundit gives him credit for:

    – Virtually everybody and their brother have been trying to stop him, yet he keeps outperforming. If his name was Donald Trump or Marco Rubio and he got their mass media backing, he would have already sewn up the nomination without breaking a sweat. The fact that he is kicking butt in this environment is huge.

    – He continually outperforms polls by a double digit average. This combined with the former point, shows that all the polls that show him just tying Hillary are significantly underestimating what he would actually do.

    – His campaign skills are second to none. This includes everything from debate to retail. Everybody loved talking about Rubio this Rubio that because he gives a good speech, but some of us saw pretty early on that he was running a bad campaign and that this would hurt his results, which it very much did.

    – Cruz is the only type of candidate that can excite the base and spread the message. The conventional wisdom that the swing vote and moderate vote is important is utterly wrong. Middle-of-the-road candidates just look like The-Other-Candidate-Lite and most always lose. Additionally, the narrative about the policy binary of the country is pretty worthless. There are tons of voters with all sorts of wacky ideals from all over the spectrum. The idea that a candidate is too extreme only matters to party loyalists and to some amount of the middle-of-the-road type. To everybody else, they already adopt a mess of “extreme” ideas and end up voting for whoever inspires them the most. Look at how everybody said Bernie couldn’t get far and how wrong they were.

    – Cruz is the guy who will run a campaign that the “we need to be a part of the in-crowd” GOP Washingtonians don’t know how to run. He’ll beat Hillary on every issue, from abortion to guns to economics to you name it. The GOP actively despises conservatism because they value their own power and they want to be cool to the Washington Lefty Cool Kids. Because of this they rationalize why conservatism is bad electoral politics, but they couldn’t be more wrong.

    Scott,

    Here’s how I see the probable course: Trump will have a good couple weeks after NY and the NE primary. The media narrative of his inevitability will return, but he won’t do well for the remaining states, including California. He’ll be kept to between 1100 and 1200.

  32. Gravatar of Negation of Ideology Negation of Ideology
    16. April 2016 at 17:12

    E. Harding –

    “Why would it be Trump/Christie? It wouldn’t exactly balance the ticket well. I certainly wouldn’t choose Christie, just because of his idiocy.”

    It’s not a matter of who Trump should pick, but who would be foolish enough to accept. It’s going to be very hard for Trump to find someone to agree to be his VP nominee and commit career suicide. Christie has already tied himself so publicly to Trump he has nothing to lose by accepting. Obviously, Kasich can’t accept, because it would destroy his brand. Same with Rubio. And he attacked Cruz’s wife, so he’s out.

  33. Gravatar of Thiago Ribeiro Thiago Ribeiro
    16. April 2016 at 17:14

    “He’ll beat Hillary on every issue, from abortion to guns to economics to you name it.”
    Maybe he should work harder on beating Trump instead.

  34. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    16. April 2016 at 17:32

    Everyone, Hillary’s probably the next President. Get used to it.

  35. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    16. April 2016 at 17:46

    “Obviously, Kasich can’t accept, because it would destroy his brand.”

    -No, it wouldn’t. Kasich’s running for Vice President. He’s certainly doing a terrible job of collecting delegates. Though it might destroy some of Trump’s, at little cost to his electoral prospects. Rubio’s political career is already totally destroyed. He’s not desperate enough to accept, though, and Trump won’t pick him, because he doesn’t like losers. Cruz is, indeed, probably out. But stranger things have happened before in politics.

  36. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    16. April 2016 at 18:01

    “Virtually everybody and their brother have been trying to stop him”

    -Jeb Bush. Scott Walker. Lindsey Graham. He’s basically the establishment candidate at this point.

    “He continually outperforms polls by a double digit average.”

    -That’s because he’s not the GOP frontrunner.

    “His campaign skills are second to none.”

    -Agreed.

    “Look at how everybody said Bernie couldn’t get far and how wrong they were.”

    -He was Clinton’s only opposition (except Martin O’ Malley, who had no base)! And he was running against Hillary Clinton without even much attacking her. Of course he’d get far. But the thing about Bernie is that he’s really attractive to independents. Trump is also far more attractive to independents than Cruz.

    “Cruz is the only type of candidate that can excite the base and spread the message.”

    -Trump has a base that’s pretty excited; not sure how much it can be excited on election day. I agree Cruz is the most realistic candidate for winning Iowa. If he runs Kasich as V.P., he might also do well in Ohio and win. In Georgia, Rubio was most popular in the rich inner city of Atlanta, Cruz was popular in the middle-class suburbs, and Trump was most popular in the poorer countryside.

    I agree any major Republican presidential candidate running right now is preferable to any Democratic presidential candidate running right now.

  37. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    16. April 2016 at 18:08

    Obviously, Kasich can’t accept, because it would destroy his brand.

    He’s 64. He’s term-limited in Ohio. He’s due in 2018 for his congressional pension, any retirement benefits for which he may have been vested in 12 years as an Ohio state employee, and full Social Security. He made a packet in seven years working for Lehman Brothers, and can likely land a job with some company which values connections (as he did with Lehman). This is his last campaign. He won’t have any more need for a bloody brand.

  38. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    16. April 2016 at 18:11

    Correction: 16 years as an Ohio state employee.

  39. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    16. April 2016 at 18:19

    Of course he’d get far.

    Nope. Compare his performance to that of Bill Bradley in 2000.

    While we’re at it, Sanders as an unannounced candidate polled better than O’Malley as a formal candidate appearing in televised debates.

  40. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    16. April 2016 at 18:22

    Jeb Bush. Scott Walker. Lindsey Graham. He’s basically the establishment candidate at this point.

    Walker was not an establishment candidate in the sense the term is commonly used and neither is Cruz. Walker cracks heads and Cruz is too contrary.

    Lindsey Graham openly despises Cruz. He’s just willing to support him in lieu of alternatives.

  41. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    16. April 2016 at 18:26

    It’s going to be very hard for Trump to find someone to agree to be his VP nominee and commit career suicide.

    BO picked a 66 year old man who was otherwise tapped out. To do better, Trump or Cruz needs just to find someone who has held executive positions in the past and whose general intelligence is about 1 standard deviation higher than Biden’s. One of George W. Bush’s cabinet secretaries will do as well as anyone.

  42. Gravatar of Steve F Steve F
    16. April 2016 at 18:48

    I predict Clinton would lose to anybody not named Trump. I’d have to recalibrate if Sanders was the nominee, since he inspires people. But Clinton, nobody wants to vote for her and she would only win against the bottom of the barrel adversary. The main narrative that suggests otherwise is the demographic determinism idea, which is bollocks. The electorate is reformed by each candidate. Clinton doesn’t have Obama’s strength of the black vote, youth vote, or ability to inspire. The only person that can lose to this is somebody of Trump’s negatives and extreme incompetence.

  43. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    16. April 2016 at 19:16

    Clinton has every bit of Obama’s strength of the Black vote, but almost none of the youth vote or ability to inspire. Trump is competent enough to get the most delegates while insulting everyone from McCain to George Bush to Megyn Kelly.

  44. Gravatar of Steve F Steve F
    16. April 2016 at 19:26

    Clinton won’t get the turnout among blacks that Obama did.

    Trump’s ceiling is so constant it might as well be a physical law. It doesn’t matter how many people drop out of the race, he gains between zilch and very few of their votes.

  45. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    16. April 2016 at 19:37

    @Steve F

    -Wrong. North Carolina v. South Carolina. Arkansas v. Missouri. Trump has broken through at least two ceilings (first in early December, second in mid-March). And, yes, there’s no doubt Cruz gained a lot up to March 5, but the percentages of people voting for him in various races have stayed largely constant since then, Cruz benefiting only a little from Rubio’s dropout and the establishment coalescing around him.

  46. Gravatar of Why I Can’t Take Jonah Goldberg’s Anti-Trumpism Seriously Why I Can’t Take Jonah Goldberg’s Anti-Trumpism Seriously
    16. April 2016 at 19:57

    […] Scott Sumner linked with approval to this Jonah Goldberg article lamenting how ever more people are having their bodies snatched and now support Trump. Even Larry Arnn is on board! (I confess that surprised me too, because Arnn is not shy about using the US military to achieve strategic objectives in the Middle East.) […]

  47. Gravatar of Steve F Steve F
    16. April 2016 at 20:17

    His national numbers have not increased by much and NC and MO accompanied his most favorable news cycle to date (BLM protests).

    Cruz benefited greatly from Rubio’s suspension, but yeah, more of them went to Kasich than *should* have. Which is ironic since Kasich is the extremist of the two.

  48. Gravatar of Nathan Nathan
    16. April 2016 at 20:19

    It’s still a little hard to say how much Rubio’s exit has helped Cruz. Arizona still had lots of early votes for Rubio (he still beat Kasich lol), and since then we’ve had conventions in ND, CO and WY but really only WI as a proper primary. Off the WI results you’d say Cruz has benefitted a lot, but it never does to be too gung ho about these things.

    Re SC vs NC, note that a) Trump gained 7 points between the two while Cruz gained 15 and b) Rubio was still in the race for NC. “Ceiling” is too strong a word, but Trump struggles to expand his coalition more than Cruz does. If the state voted again I would have my money on Cruz narrowly.

  49. Gravatar of Chuck Chuck
    16. April 2016 at 20:55

    Scott, don’t be such a spoilsport. Let the proles have their fun. Trump’s a showman. He won’t change anything.

    Would you berate Golden State Warrior fans for cheering “their” team?

    “Why are you morons cheering the success of a professional sports team which will have absolutely no impact on your life?”

  50. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    16. April 2016 at 21:09


    Christian, I didn’t say white people, I said Wisconsinites, who rejected Trump, in case you didn’t notice. There’s a difference between the intelligent suburbanites in Wisconsin, and the sort you find in places like Massachusetts and New York, who seem to like voting for bigots.

    35% to 48% is hardly a total rejection. I think this is also about momentum (Trump was stronger few weeks ago) and geography as well – Trump is from the East Coast, Cruz got roots in Alberta. It’s not so much about intelligence.

    And yes you did not talk about white people. But Wisconsin is a pretty white state in America (over 80% are white). And in the suburbs there are even more white people – like over 90%. So yes, you basically did in fact talk about white people.

  51. Gravatar of Massimo Heitor Massimo Heitor
    16. April 2016 at 23:02

    Don’t other candidates say stuff like this? No they do not! Never. They say idiotic things, but they are adult level idiotic things.

    Hillary and Obama lie like crafty lawyers and career politicians. Trump lies like a reality television star.

    I guess the Obama world view is so much more deeply offensive to me than the Trump world view. And vice versa for Sumner.

    Honestly, even the Sumner world view is offensive to me. Sumner’s really nice to open this comment section to the public, not ban people like me, and even respond in a manner far more polite than he needs to be.

    To repeat a recent criticism of mine: Sumner praises Obama for downplaying Muslim extremist attacks in Europe and not overreacting, and points out how statistically minute these attacks are, which is true at face value. But when Obama turned the Dylan Roof episode into a nation wide campaign to guilt, condemn, and remove any Confederate symbols, he doesn’t see this an overreaction, over an excuse to attack whites in the culture war. Sumner is apparently blind to any attempt to build a racial coalition of non-whites against whites.

    So, sure, that Trump comment about eliminating the entire deficit is nonsense, not even his fan base takes it seriously. So what?

  52. Gravatar of Daniel Daniel
    16. April 2016 at 23:19

    It’s odd that professor Sumner doesn’t have as much hate for the bigots on the left. I think it is precisely because he knows many of them, and he doesn’t want to offend them. Let’s face it, Donald Trump and his fans are easy targets for Good White People like Sumner

    Who’s a good example of a bigot on the left? Let’s start with Hillary Clinton. I recently heard her campaigning in a state with a lot of latinos and telling them that the reason they get denied home loans at higher rates than whites is because of their credit rating. So I tried looking this up and couldn’t find any evidence for her claim. It actually seems to be the case that Latinos get denied home loans because of their lower credit ratings and credit rating models used in the mortgage industry.

    But Hillary Clinton of course has a lot to gain from telling people that they are being oppressed by Bad White People. So she spreads her poison. Another example? Obama, president of the united states, telling us in a state of the union address that women get paid 77% of men. Of course every lefty has repeated this claim and tells it like he honestly believes it. As a result, I hear highly educated women tell me all the time “we have a long way to go towards gender equality because 77 cents”. This is poison for a society. You can’t constantly tell lies intended to drum up racial and gender hatred and not expect to reap the consequences.

    Professor Sumner, I understand why you’re so upset by Donald Trump suggesting we discriminate against Muslims in immigration. I think it’s wrong too. But I can’t honestly care that much. I immigrated to this country when I was 10. I’m also brown. My brownness puts me in the list of people it’s ok to discriminate against. The truth is, people openly admit all the time to discriminating against people who look like I do. This is true in higher education and this is true in tech and finance.

    Does Donald Trump say ridiculous things? Yeah obviously. It is my opinion that a politician promising a $15 minimum wage is more ridiculous than a politician promising to pay off $20T. How are we to determine which group is more idiotic? Should we just take your word for it that one is obviously more dumb?

    Let’s have less hate for the easily hateable and more hate for those it’s inconvenient to hate. You should expect that it’s easy to hate Donald Trump and his voters. Nothing will happen to your career. But if you hate on lefty bigots, you might get branded a bigot yourself. All I can say is, I hope you adjust your behavior taking into account this mental bias.

  53. Gravatar of Thiago Ribeiro Thiago Ribeiro
    17. April 2016 at 01:51

    “But when Obama turned the Dylan Roof episode into a nation wide campaign to guilt, condemn, and remove any Confederate symbols, he doesn’t see this an overreaction, over an excuse to attack whites in the culture war.”
    Yeah, “Whites”. Because no White has any issue with Confederate symbols. Why don’t you just say the real name?

  54. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    17. April 2016 at 05:15

    Chuck, You said:

    “Scott, don’t be such a spoilsport. Let the proles have their fun.”

    Read the post again, it was about non-proles. Or do you consider college presidents to be “proles”?

    Christian, You remind me of one of those left wing PC nuts on college campuses. If I’m talking about suburbanites, I must be talking about whites, and that’s a code word for racism, so I must be a racist. No wonder I like Trump so much!

    Massimo, You said:

    “So, sure, that Trump comment about eliminating the entire deficit”

    No wonder you like Trump. Just like Trump, you don’t know the difference between the deficit and the debt. It’s one of those little things that a candidate really should know before running for President.

    Daniel: You said:

    “It’s odd that professor Sumner doesn’t have as much hate for the bigots on the left.”

    You really are a moron:

    https://www.themoneyillusion.com/?p=31412

    https://www.themoneyillusion.com/?p=16824

    https://www.themoneyillusion.com/?p=17447

  55. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    17. April 2016 at 06:28

    Cruz got roots in Alberta.

    No one voted for Cruz because his mother and father lived in Calgary for five years, a town to which both were strangers before 1969 and after 1974.

  56. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    17. April 2016 at 06:29

    Because no White has any issue with Confederate symbols.

    It wasn’t much of an issue with anyone 35 years ago.

  57. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    17. April 2016 at 06:38

    You really are a moron:

    He’s likely smart enough to divine that none of the remarks you link to marks you has having a critical distance from contemporary academe.

  58. Gravatar of Negation of Ideology Negation of Ideology
    17. April 2016 at 06:56

    Art –

    “He’s 64. He’s term-limited in Ohio. He’s due in 2018 for his congressional pension, any retirement benefits …”

    Is this a joke? 68 is too old to run for President? Do you know how old Trump, Hilary and Sanders are? Have you ever heard of Ronald Reagan?

    And you think people run for President of the United States for the pension?

    Daniel –

    “Does Donald Trump say ridiculous things? Yeah obviously. It is my opinion that a politician promising a $15 minimum wage is more ridiculous than a politician promising to pay off $20T. How are we to determine which group is more idiotic? ”

    We can determine which one is more idiotic easily. Raising the minimum wage is a bad idea, but possible. In fact, it’s been done plenty of times. Paying off the national debt in 8 years is impossible.

  59. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    17. April 2016 at 07:17


    I must be talking about whites, and that’s a code word for racism, so I must be a racist.

    That’s basically happening in your mind now. I know 100% that you aren’t a racist at all.

    But since you mention it. People can easily read your previous statement that way.

    It sounded weird when you talked about the *intelligent* Wisconsin suburbanites compared to the *stupid foreigners* from *stupid* tropical islands that *aren’t really part* of America.

    It’s even weirder when you say you didn’t really mean white suburban Wisconsin when everybody can look up that Wisconsin suburbanites are 85-95% white.

    So I guess you meant the other 5-15% when you talked about the great Wisconsin suburbia. Okay. I believe you of course. It doesn’t make any sense but I believe you.

    My point is: Your statement is right, you talked about whites (intentionally or not), but this does not make you a racist at all. A true statement does not make someone a racist. It’s just a true statement.

    It would have helped if you added another true statment of course. Something like: White American Suburbia might not be that smart at all because Trump is strongest in those areas – if you look at America as a whole – and not only at Wisconsin.

  60. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    17. April 2016 at 07:27

    @Art Deco
    Yeah you are right. The difference to Trump was important to me. Trump as an East Coast guy vs. Cruz, who is endorsed by the Governor of Wisconsin and has at least some kind of connection to the North.

  61. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    17. April 2016 at 07:58


    Paying off the national debt in 8 years is impossible.

    It’s hardly impossible. There are some ways to do this. I bet you could monetize the debt in 8 years. You could even do this in one year. And even get *quite a bit* of the inflation we all want so much. =)

  62. Gravatar of Massimo Heitor Massimo Heitor
    17. April 2016 at 10:30

    “No wonder you like Trump. Just like Trump, you don’t know the difference between the deficit and the debt. It’s one of those little things that a candidate really should know before running for President.”

    ssumner, I 100% knew the difference between debt and deficit… ugh… that was a sloppy edit on my part. Trump said dumb lie, I wasn’t taking the specifics of the lie seriously.

  63. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    17. April 2016 at 10:30

    Is this a joke? 68 is too old to run for President? Do you know how old Trump, Hilary and Sanders are? Have you ever heard of Ronald Reagan?

    1. No, it’s not a joke.

    2. I’m perfectly aware of how old these others are. I’m perfectly aware of how old Ronald Reagan was. I’m perfectly aware that from the fall of 1986 forward Reagan gave evidence that he was too old for a job which required that degree of focused attention.

    3. I’m also aware that not everyone is manically ambitious. It’s conceivable he might run in four years or eight years. And conceivable he might not. You get two shots and if you try a third time, you’re Stassen. Among those who didn’t bother with a 2d attempt have been Newt Gingrich, Wesley Clark, Howard Dean, Bill Bradley, Tom Harkin, Bob Kerrey, Michael Dukakis, Paul Simon, John Anderson, Ted Kennedy, Morris Udall, Frank Church, and Edmund Muskie.

    4. Kasich was pretty much a pure career politician from the age of 22 to the age of 48. Then he landed a job with Lehman Brothers and went back to Ohio. Contrast this sort of behavior with that of men who cling to Washington and to Congress, or at least attempt to. See Pat Roberts (b. 1936, Capitol Hill payroll since 1969), Thad Cochran (b. 1937, in Congress since 1973), Richard Lugar (36 years in Congress, defeated for renomination at the age of 80), John McCain (b. 1936, in Congress since 1983, employed on Capitol Hill since 1976, never a f/t year-round resident of Arizona), or Trent Lott (b. 1942, on the payroll of Congress from 1967, in Congress from 1973 to 2006, lobbyist since 2006).

  64. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    17. April 2016 at 10:35

    And you think people run for President of the United States for the pension?

    I neither stated nor implied that. I did state that he will have the means to retire. Most people with the means do. Not everyone’s like Richard Lugar and wants to spend their eighties spinning their wheels on Capitol Hill.

  65. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    17. April 2016 at 10:36

    Actually, I suspect the coming payday is the only thing which makes the root canal worth it for Michelle Obama.

  66. Gravatar of Thiago Ribeiro Thiago Ribeiro
    17. April 2016 at 10:49

    “It wasn’t much of an issue with anyone 35 years ago.”
    The kind of White people that abhors Confederate symbols today–and are helping to fight them– surely abhored them 35 years ago or everyday since the Civil War started. You could with as much reason say that those symbols were not an issue with Obama before Dylann Roof acted. Obama and his White followers are of one thought on this matter. But just saying “Obama” is more convenient for the race-baiter.

  67. Gravatar of TallDave TallDave
    17. April 2016 at 13:05

    I’m not trying to stop the goldpated dumpster fire anymore, I’m just smiling and waving as it goes off the cliff.

    Better luck next cycle, Republicans.

  68. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    17. April 2016 at 13:46

    I’m not trying to stop the goldpated dumpster fire anymore,

    You fancy you have any influence over anything?

  69. Gravatar of Lorenzo from Oz Lorenzo from Oz
    17. April 2016 at 15:37

    I don’t know that collective screams of frustration are entirely susceptible to rational analysis.

    I am sure that economic matters not even close to an adequate explanation for The Donald doing as well as he has.

    Cultural angst and Martin Gurri’s “The Revolt of the Public” are probably better places to look.
    https://thefifthwave.wordpress.com/2016/03/29/the-revolt-of-the-public-and-the-rise-of-donald-trump/

    Especially as even his lacklustre performance as front runner is continuing something of a trend of Republican front runners being less and less so.
    http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/trump-is-the-weakest-gop-front-runner-in-the-modern-era/

  70. Gravatar of Major.Freedom Major.Freedom
    17. April 2016 at 15:58

    Gold as money is attacked by Monetarists and Keynesians of all variations and versions solely because it puts a much greater limit on the state’s ability to spend.

    Everything else is smoke and mirrors.

  71. Gravatar of Don Geddis Don Geddis
    17. April 2016 at 18:47

    @Major.Freedom: Attacking the motives of your opponents, rather than the content of their arguments, is one of the signs of an intellectually dishonest debater.

  72. Gravatar of collin collin
    18. April 2016 at 07:02

    If I had to say to points why people: (And I am not arguing it perfect.)

    1) US Citizens are tired of the US government making choices that benefit other nations. Chinese trade heavily benefits the Chinese poor or we support NATO and Japan with extra military spending. Or we give lots money and weapons to all (including Israel) Middle Eastern nations. Now they are re-acting Games Of Thrones and all secretly hate the US. When do US policies benefit the bottom US population?

    2) I think there is a general dislike for the the increasing minority population. I know Trump supporters in California who are bothered “We are not the majority anymore” but generally treat individuals fairly.

  73. Gravatar of Scott Sumner Scott Sumner
    18. April 2016 at 08:29

    Christian, You said;

    “It sounded weird when you talked about the *intelligent* Wisconsin suburbanites compared to the *stupid foreigners* from *stupid* tropical islands that *aren’t really part* of America.”

    Yes, I suppose if I’d said something like that it would be weird. But of course I did not, and what I did say was obviously a joke. You remind me of Art.

  74. Gravatar of Lawrence D’Anna Lawrence D'Anna
    18. April 2016 at 10:06

    Come on Scott be serious. You can’t honestly think trump is an imbecile that just randomly stumbled into a 15% chance of becoming president.

    This is real life not the plot of Being There.

    Trump has a whole stack of advantages that he exploits and cultivates skillfully. He’s not stupid. Most of the things he says are vapid and most of the policies he proposes are insane. That’s not the same thing as being stupid.

    The two biggest reasons people vote for Trump are:

    1) They’re nationalists, and Trump is by far the most nationalist candidate.

    2) They hate the current patterns of media and politics. Trump is something different. He’s an equilibrium breaker. Trump voters are willing to roll the dice on an unknown to blow up the status quo.

  75. Gravatar of Mark Mark
    18. April 2016 at 13:29

    Major.Freedom: “Gold as money is attacked by Monetarists and Keynesians of all variations and versions solely because it puts a much greater limit on the state’s ability to spend.”
    I thought gold as money was attacked by people because it’s just as much a superstition as the notion of seashells or penguin feet as money.

    I really don’t get why an Austrian would so arduously defend the gold standard. A true market-oriented person would disdain any single commodity based money system and favor one where any one could accept anything, from gold, to bronze, to horse dung, as payment, if they are confident someone else in turn will trade something useful for it.

    If you want a less expansionary monetary policy, just say that. Stop with the gold nonsense as a circuitous means to a less expansionary monetary policy; otherwise you may just as well argue that we convert to a seashell standard.

  76. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    18. April 2016 at 13:34

    otherwise you may just as well argue that we convert to a seashell standard.

    A man who used to write crank letters to Congress wrote one to Sen. Jesse Helms suggesting we back the currency with I Love Lucy reruns in order to avoid having to buy gold from Soviet Russia and South Africa. He actually got a reply from a member of Helms’ staff congenially weighing the merits of the idea. “We would probably have Ethel and Fred Mertz on the currency instead of Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln. Stranger things have been proposed by Congress.”

  77. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    18. April 2016 at 13:35

    and what I did say was obviously a joke. You remind me of Art.

    It’s a joke, or not, depending on what sort of parry is useful at that particular moment.

  78. Gravatar of Mark Mark
    18. April 2016 at 13:42

    There’s a pretty strong reason for supporting Trump: the perceived utter futility of opposing Trump. And it’s fun and exciting to be part of an angry rabble and shout ‘I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take it anymore’ from your apartment window.

    Even for ‘smart people’ (whose livelihoods and self-images still depend on their popularity among their chosen audience). Being an elitist is only fun when half of the hoi polloi is encouraging you. But no one wants to be viewed as out of touch by one’s own half. And, pessimist that I am, I do believe that the primary motivation for most political writers and commentators is the joy of being an elitist and shitting on the bad half of the population while the good half cheers you on. Without that, why would they even get up in the morning? And the Trump camp cheers louder than the anti-Trump crowd.

    In short, Scott severely overestimates both the moral fortitude and genuine intelligence of ‘smart people.’ Many of them are little more than fancy human weather vanes.

  79. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    19. April 2016 at 03:17

    Scott severely overestimates both the moral fortitude and genuine intelligence of ‘smart people.’ Many of them are little more than fancy human weather vanes.

    Pretty much. I’m remembering the millwright at Eastman Kodak who was fired from his job for sending an e-mail to a personnel office functionary asking her not to spam the Kodak workforce with material promoting homosexuality or the fellow who was fired from Brookstone for asking a visiting manager from another store not to yap on company time about her lesbian pseudo-nuptials or the physician in Boston who was fired from his job at a teaching hospital for sending a memorandum delineating the signature medical problems associated with sodomy. None of the people who terminated the employees in question are the least bit morally serious.

  80. Gravatar of TallDave TallDave
    19. April 2016 at 06:36

    Scott, it’s actually fairly easy to explain, the media has fragmented to the point fringe views can be hardened — visit Drudge and you’ll find support for all kinds of Trumpist nonsense. If Trump loses delegates because he didn’t bother to learn the rules or field a competent effort, “the establishment” stole his delegates (even though everyone knew the rules last year). If Trump has the worst polling of any major party candidate in the modern era, there’s some well-debunked nonsense about Reagan. If Trump’s policy ideas are a mix of ridiculous and offensive because he’s too lazy or dumb to make a serious effort, his critics are just too “establishment.” If Trump gave lots of money to Democrats, hey, he was just working the system. If Trump’s a vulgarian, well, politics were contentious in the 1700s too.

    Of course, anyone capable of critical thinking notices the problems with all this, but it doesn’t have to be plausible, it just has to provide a fig leaf for people who want to believe.

    The left has the same problem, an open socialist like Bernie Sanders would have been laughed off the stage by the relatively objective media of the 1990s or before.

    And this problem isn’t going away. I think the future has to be some combination of assortative geography and localized politics. If people want to elect their Trumps and Sanders, they should be able to do so without inconveniencing the rest of us.

  81. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    19. April 2016 at 06:48

    Scott, it’s actually fairly easy to explain, the media has fragmented to the point fringe views can be hardened —

    It doesn’t seem to occur to you that 40% of Republican voters and 45% of Democratic voters do not constitute a ‘fringe’.

  82. Gravatar of TallDave TallDave
    19. April 2016 at 08:56

    Art, you’re confusing views and voters — my whole premise is that fringe views are now held by larger numbers of people, because of media fragmentation.

  83. Gravatar of TallDave TallDave
    19. April 2016 at 09:01

    Also, in any case 40% of the GOP is less than 12% of the population. More people believe in the Loch Ness monster.

  84. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    19. April 2016 at 11:33

    Also, in any case 40% of the GOP is less than 12% of the population. More people believe in the Loch Ness monster.

    Likely no, and irrelevant if yes. The Loch Ness monster is something hardly anyone reads much about or cares about if they’re not making a buck off of tourists. It’s also a discrete factual question. Neither Sanders nor Trump are garnering support due to views on a discrete factual question.

    my whole premise is that fringe views are now held by larger numbers of people, because of media fragmentation.

    No, TallDave, what you’ve defined as a ‘fringe view’ a priori has considerable support. A true fringe (in a sociological sense and in a functional sense) would be manifest in Bryan Caplan.

Leave a Reply