Election 2016: Message Board Musings

September 17, 2015

I’m not a Rubio guy, but his immigration stance is relatively progressive. The rest of them want to deport every foreigner who doesn’t wear sunscreen to take out the trash.


The GOP seems hopelessly behind the curve; it’s 2016, but they are still trying to win 2008.


On Jan. 20, 2009, the GOP jammed its fingers in its collective ears up to its collective elbows and started screaming – collectively – “it’s all Obama’s fault!!” After six and a half years of this, “it’s Obama’s fault” is GOP base dogma.

When you were a kid, did you ever do anything so horrible that you couldn’t admit that you did it, even to yourself? That’s how the Great Republican Temper Tantrum of 2009 started. It’s still going in 2015; if anything, the yelling is louder than ever.


Bernie Sanders ain’t got a tinker’s chance in a goat factory of winning, but then again I’ve never seen a tinker in a goat factory before.


We all like Bernie – I mean, why wouldn’t we? Everybody likes the guy who brings ice cream.


The latest wisdom is that the GOP could wind up with a brokered convention. I think I’d enjoy that; it might be fun, watching the Republican Party splatter like a watermelon at a Gallagher concert.

Oct 3

I would be horrified to see Rubio (religious nut) or Cruz (general purpose nut) get a hold of the launch codes. I leep catching myself looking toward the door, expecting  to see Romney stroll through, shove all the nuts back in the can, and restore sanity to the GOP primary.



Church burn is like freezer burn. The brains of church burn victims are so bleached out by the idealistic moral imperatives that they can’t get their heads wrapped around the fact thatnuns masturbate. Hell, most of ‘em can’t handle the fact that nuns menstruate.


The republican voting base is rabidly anti-immigration, and their two highest polling contenders are a first generation Cuban immigrant and Cuban native by way of Canada. Something has to give.

Something will. The republican voting bloc is as pliable as silly putty, but they ain’t going for a couple of guys who look, to them, like those Mex’cin rapists they keep hearing about. They’ll hold out for a white guy.


The word socialist has a fairly clear, specific definition. The word communist, though – technically their meanings are interchangeable, but we don’t think of them the same way. In our world, communist is used like a racial slur. It’s an adjective meant to demean its noun.

To illustrate what I mean, swap the word vagina out for any number of shorter words, or check out the alternatives to the descriptive adjective “African.”

Is Rubio playin’ possum, or just politically lazy? Given his inexperience, his attendance record in the senate, and his apparent youthful arrogance, skipping the ground game might be an indication of his overall lack of commitment to doing everything it takes to win the nomination. His distant, national strategy feels sort of like a basketball team trying to turn the game into a jump shooting contest, rather than taking it to ’em in a knock down drag-out battle.

I can see the other side – that he’s managing expectations while he weathers the storm of the early states, where he is an ideological misfit – but is it possible that, rather than laying back for effect, he’s laid back by nature?


I think Nate Silver is a little stubborn about Rubio because he backed him during the early fall as a future sleeper. Cruz has set himself up to steal the lion’s share of Trump’s supporters if – or when – he fades or drops out. If you combine Cruz and Trump’s polling totals you can see the dire situation for the republican establishment.

My personal take, based on recent trends and my own assessment of the candidates, is that Rubio’s ascent has already slowed and that he is in real danger of fading out of the race quickly. Christie could become the new establishment candidate if he does well in New Hampshire, and the race is there for the taking because Rubio is literally phoning it in. At this point whoever does the best in New Hampshire could grab most of the remaining endorsements. The missing endorsements, whether it’s 150 or 350 or whatever, will determine the establishment candidate.

I see three likely scenarios for Rubio:

  • He continues to lead among the establishment candidates and they coalesce around him.
  • He loses the lead among the establishment candidates, and he disappears back into the beltway.
  • Cruz does so well in New Hampshire, and is polling so well elsewhere, that the establishment throws up its collective hands, says “well, at least he’s not Trump” – and we have a two horse race. The rest of the non-Trump candidates – including Rubio – disappear into the Witness Protection Program.

There is a fourth scenario; it’s unlikely in light of Rubio’s demonstrated political savvy, but it needs to be at least addressed.

Scenario 4: Rubio is laying in the weeds, waiting out the first couple of extremely white states, so he can pounce once the primaries get out of the waspy northeast. This scenario would be more likely if Rubio was getting actual support from the establishment, but he really isn’t. An establishment candidate should have over a hundred endorsements by now. Rubio has 36.


Some Christmas morning tabulation … 538’s endorsement primary shows 179 endorsement points accumulated by republican candidates so far. Rubio holds 36, or roughly 20 percent of them. There are 657 remaining endorsement points available to GOP candidates. Hillary Clinton leads the democrats with 455 out of 458, with 120 left open.

Rubio currently holds 36 out of 836, with 657 remaining. Hillary currently holds 455 out of 458, with 120 remaining. Rubio accumulated 23 points between November 1 and December 1, 5 since December 1.

The numbers are consistent with what I said a few days ago. Rubio seems to be stalling after a bit of a surge, and the vast majority of GOP endorsements are holding back.

Rubio is in a good position to get the establishment behind him. If he’s their guy, though, why are they so hesitant to back him? I know it’s the holiday season, but it still feels like there is at the least some hesitance in choosing Rubio.


The New Hampshire republican primary is shaping up to be a compelling horse race.

I agree that Bush is the best republican choice; I think he’s more like his Dad than his brother. Rubio scares me even more than Cruz, who is at least an intelligent man. Rubio is a loose cannon, flailing around everywhere and never really sounding like he understands his job. He’s like the affirmative action candidate’s kid, accidentally given the job.


I really thought this was a republican’s year, but it’s getting harder to see the general public voting for the likely nominee. I don’t think Trump or Cruz are electable unless the country loses its collective mind, and Rubio would be exposed as a political fraud if the country heard him talk at length.

I think there is a perception distortion that we need to adjust for. Neither one of the main candidates are attacking Trump, even though he is a ripe, juicy target. Why not?

Well, the guys who are in better shape can’t really attack Trump, because he has too large a voting bloc. If they attack him, they can’t pick up his voters when he leaves the race. Bush can attack him because he is desperate, sort of like a team that is two scores behind with three minutes to go can just heave and pray. Cruz and Rubio can’t really do that.


What if the key factor in politics, with the adversarial system we use, is not proaction but reaction?

In other words, we shouldn’t elect someone we agree with so much as someone who will galvanize us in disagreement. Rather than voting for someone to support our views, perhaps we should be voting for someone to provide ballast against them.

Maybe we should elect Trump or Cruz, and let the right wingers put up or shut up. I mean, we can’t give ‘em the nuclear launch codes, but they can sit in the Oval Office and argue with congress about fiscal policy for a while. Can we put training wheels on the White House?


With information so easily available and so freely shared, we might actually be the last ignorant generation. The Trump love might be the last gasp of the ignorant generation, like someone screaming bloody murder while the quicksand slowly takes ’em down.


There are always memes circulating around Facebook that say “like and share if you love freedom” which always makes me want to say “like and share if you love ice cream and candy” or “like and share if you love free massages with happy endings.” Anybody can say they want the world to live and let live. Good luck making it happen, just by wishing it were so. Sheep wish. Wolves do.


The problem with sincerity is that it’s too easy to fake.


If your dog craps on your lawn it ain’t my concern. If it craps on mine, though, I’m going to get out my shovel. And hand it to you.


Sanders could gain a lot of ground if he could reach minorities, since he polls so low in those communities. He has to do it quickly, though. Sanders 2016 is basically McCain 2000. He’s a popular candidate with no party backing, and he’s going to be taken away from his supporters by the democrats like McCain was taken away from his supporters by the republicans in 2000.

The only way he can win the nomination is to win decisively. He is a liberal, but he isn’t a democrat. They ain’t going to give it up for him without a fight.


I’ve read several of Scott Adams’ books and this (his claim that a Trump presidency is inevitable) sounds more like one of his rants than one of his jokes, but it might just be that he has an Andy Kaufman gear.

The proposal itself is moronic, sort of a cross between an Oligarchy, a reality show, and (eventually) a tyranny. He tries to make the case that Trump’s armed followers won’t let him be a dictator, which any brain strong enough to process cheese knows is backwards.

Building a large group of armed followers is the first thing every dictator has on his to-do list. It’s called an Army.


When Trump claimed that he could start shooting people and he wouldn’t lose voters he might have been right. I think we might be missing the point, though.

Nobody is voting for Trump. Nobody seriously wants a President to build a wall around the country (not enough, anyway) or to kick all the Muslims out (not enough) or start shooting people on Fifth Avenue either (let’s move on).

Trump’s voters aren’t voting for Trump. They are voting for themselves. They are saying none of the above. They don’t want a liberal, and they don’t want a business-as-usual beltway insider.

The republican candidates aren’t much to look at, but when have they ever been much to look at? The party of Lincoln? Lincoln was a liberal, and he didn’t win a single southern state. Reagan was a B movie actor, a New Deal democrat that became disillusioned by the deterioration – and criminalization – of the institutions he helped build. Most of our great presidents have been centrists, not conservatives or liberals.

A vote for Trump is not a positive vote but a negative, reactionary, magnetic repulsion vote – a push away from the Republican Party. The rise and fall, ebb and flow of the other candidates – Carson, then Rubio, then Cruz, then probably Christie, then they end up back with Bush – is just a group level desperate reach for someone, anyone who can get people excited about a party whose platform of conservative values was traded for a mess of potage over thirty years ago, when Reagan’s backers decided to wipe their butt with the middle class and embrace the fundamentalist values of the poor, rural south.

They even gave it a name: The Southern Strategy. A lot of skull sweat went into that name.

The republican voters would vote Jesus Christ off the island at this point, if they thought he was part of the establishment. Trump is every bit as establishment as they are. Hell, Trump is perhaps the most establishment candidate of the bunch. It doesn’t matter, though, because he doesn’t look like an establishment candidate from the hinterlands, where they can’t smell the fumes from Trump Tower.

Trump’s so-called charisma – that view from the hinterlands – is basically a funhouse distortion of the real world, where a large segment of society is socially conservative, angry at complicated modern life, and largely uneducated. Trump, in a way, is the same.

He’s socially conservative, he’s an angry old white guy who thinks the world is too complicated, and he’s comparatively uneducated. His political opponents are mostly lawyers. Trump has a degree from a business trade school. In the funhouse mirror, the similarities are striking.

Trump is angry because the other rich kids won’t play with him. His voters are angry because the rich kids won’t play with them, either.

This is where the mirror centers, though, and the illusion goes away. Trump hates the rich guys too, but he has nothing but contempt for the poor.


Al Gore would lose a charisma contest to a hall monitor.


Decentralization has turned what used to be an orderly media into the new wild, wild west. The news can’t be doled out judiciously when even nine year olds are media outlets.


Trump has established himself as one of those guys, like Charles Barkley, who are allowed to say whatever they want to say, because he has established that he will.


Iowa has speeches right before the voting, which isn’t good for a guy who needs people to vote with their spleens.


Ben Carson was the leading republican candidate for about 15 minutes, or the time it took for the voters to find out he wasn’t Johnny Carson. Ben (not Johnny) Carson is actually a noted heart surgeon who thinks the world was born six thousand years ago. He looks like Morgan Freeman’s little brother, but he sounds like Tracy Morgan’s drunk uncle.


Do we really care about the Clintons’ sex life? They are approaching their 50th wedding anniversary. I doubt they sleep in the same building anymore.

I’m more worried about whether or not Bill can pull off a pantsuit and pumps.


Bernie Sanders is the weirdest ballpark hot dog vender I’ve ever heard. I hear his dogs are 80 percent pork and 20 percent libertarians.


Will there be more than three republican candidates by Super Tuesday? I suppose Jeb might be stubborn, with his financial position, but the rest of ’em might as well pack it up and get back to whatever they usually do. It’s a three ring circus now, with the insiders on the outside this time around.


I would be at least mildly surprised if I ever called the President of the United States the Leader of the Free World unless I was being sarcastic. The big boss – I learned this from my Navy days – should always be referred to as “Big Shitty.”


Politics and economics are like horse race handicapping. Nobody really knows whether they are right until after the fact, and nobody knows how much can be predicted, and how much is just random chance.


The death of Supreme Court Justice Scalia + The Great Republican Temper Tantrum = Hoo boy are we gonna have a fight over the Supreme Court.


Rabbit season is over and duck season is cancelled. It’s now Trump season. Lock and load. Don’t shoot the dog.


I watched the Hateful Eight last night. The premise? Well, some hillbillies found a Shakespeare-quoting frog and threw it in a blender. How’s that?


All kidding aside, it’s dangerous to underestimate a legitimate threat.


Chicken and waffles rivals the computer as the greatest invention of my lifetime.


I don’t mind Starbucks. It ain’t the best coffee ever, but I wouldn’t call it dreadful. I’m sick of how they proliferate, though. There are seven Starbucks franchises in walking distance from my house. That’s ridiculous. The American Dream shouldn’t come prepackaged like that. Coffee shops should be as diverse as the population they serve.

How about a rule against franchising altogether? Had the founding fathers thought of it, I bet they would have done it. Since it’s a little too late for such a drastic sea change, though, how about some limits? There are tons of burger joints; we don’t need a Burger King every six blocks. If small, local burger joints are allowed to compete, we will get variety, plus there will be actual incentive to improve. We wouldn’t be stuck eating the same basic menu we were presented in 1955.

My recommendation? Franchise restraining orders. Franchises must be at least five miles apart, or there can be just one per X amount of population, something like that. Grocers can’t sell power tools, and burger joints can’t sell boutique coffee. Big Box stores have to sell at least 50 percent American-made products, and they have to pay taxes on a sliding scale to the populations they serve, even if they build ten feet outside of the city limits. No more sucking towns dry.

Now that will help small businesses compete, and improve the business stock of middle America.


We are all pricks in one way or the other. I never cared which one got the top job as long as he or she ain’t batshit crazy.


The ongoing (nearly eight years now) Great Republican Temper Tantrum has turned its voting bloc so blindly angry that they are only interested in angry candidates. As a result, we have a choice between Daffy Duck Rubio, Yosemite Sam Cruz, and the Stay-puff Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters by way of Trump Tower.

If these are all the choices we get, we need a special rule: don’t give the winner the launch codes. Give him the number to a pizza place, and when it rings a pizza guy comes over to the White House and smothers him with a pillow. You’re welcome.


Tea Party ideology is a substance so hard it can cut diamonds.


Chris Christie is more Leslie Van Houten than Susan Adkins in this particular act of violence against society. He ain’t gonna actually kill us. He just wants to watch.


It seems strange to me that this old, buffoonish celebrity, the subject of a Comedy Central roast, is squared off against a pair of Hispanic candidates in the republican primary. The fact that he’s married to his second immigrant while threatening to build a fence to keep out Hispanic immigrants is just too weird to mold into a joke.

Ok, I’ll take a shot.

Trump: “No fucking immigrants!!!”
“Unless you have blue eyes and big boobs!!!”


Foghorn Leghorn is dead and rotting, while Daffy Duck Rubio bleeds out. It’s up to Yosemite Sam Cruz, now, to take down the Teflon Donald.


I think it’s pretty obvious that Trump, regardless of his own stance, is attracting racist flies like a pile of white supremacist fertilizer.


Bernie on the left of us, Cruz on the right, here we are stuck in the middle with Trump and Hillary.


A lot of people think the suburban, Ozzie and Harriett Nelson family values paradigm is the historical norm. A lot of people think pirates in the mold of Captain Jack Sparrow roamed the high seas for centuries, too. The Ozzie and Harriett family model, much like the pirates of the Caribbean pirate model, in fact only lasted a few years.

We remember both fondly as romantic ideals, but reality is always a lot messier. Virtually all of the famous pirates of the Caribbean were shot, sunk, or hung within a few years, and Rickey Nelson’s adult life featured many of the same problems less “wholesome” celebrities dealt with. Nelson’s girlfriend nearly died while getting an abortion in 1959 – at the height of the show’s popularity – while rumors of cocaine use dogged him his entire life.


People like to ask the question: “why did the government do that?” and I like to answer “We are the dammed government. So why did we do that?”

I think the overarching message in Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land, towering over free love and the other high-minded concepts shared with humanity by his favorite Martian, is the ideal of ultimate responsibility. Thou Art God. There is no shirking yourself. You will always do what you decide to do, so it’s on you, you god you.

Am I part of the government? Of course I am; we all are. We don’t line up along an axis of separation from responsibility – we are all Gods here, yaknow – but along an axis of diminishing influence. We can abdicate our influence, but we can’t abdicate our responsibility. We don’t have to vote, but we have to obey the laws set down by our elected leaders.

The size of government, once it gets past the point where an individual can effect change with simple activism, can’t be measured by the naked eye, or the naked ego. The force of government grows beyond the power of the individual, and beyond the understanding of the individual, but it never stops being the sum of its individual parts.

The government is still us, even when it gets too large for us to control. This is why we cannot make it work without working together, and it’s why we can only have one steering wheel.


I am not a liberal, or a democrat, or in any way ideologically opposed to conservative values. I respect the truth. Truth talks, bullshit walks.

I have been trained in a professional discipline that compels me to search for true facts, and for accurate characterizations of those true facts. I can lie, of course – I can lie to you all day and half the night if I feel like it – but I can’t lie to myself without activating my guilty conscience. My spider sense.

The Great Republican Temper Tantrum, boiled down to simplistic terms, began as a sustained attempt on the part of the Republican Party to lie to themselves until their spider sense went away. They wanted Barack Obama to suck, and they couldn’t face a world where Obama didn’t suck, so they plugged their ears and screamed “Obama sucks!” until they believed it. They wanted the bailout to be Obama’s fault. They wanted the recession to be Obama’s fault. They wanted the Iraqi war to be Obama’s fault. So they plugged their ears and got going.

Fast-forward to 2016, and Donald Trump. His narrative – that the country sucks – plays well all over the hinterlands, because the Republican Party has been screaming that the country sucks since Obama took over the White House. Nobody is calling bullshit, because none of the principals involved have any spider sense left to tingle.

Well, folks, the bailout happened during the campaign. The Iraqi war started during GW’s first term in office. The recession was set in motion before Obama took office. None of it was Obama’s fault; you were lied to.

We are on to a new set of lies now. Once the tingle goes away, you are effectively hypnotized, up on a carnival stage barking like a dog and slapping your own butt. ISIS is Obama’s fault now, though it formed out of the remains of the army GW busted up. The VA is Obama’s fault, though GW vetoed funding several times, often in the same bill that called for an increase in active duty troops. There isn’t even a need to prove anything, because the spider sense ain’t there. Nobody is even asking for proof. Acceptance is blind, and immediate.

I am too small to stop it. If you have been hypnotized – if your spider sense has been turned off – you aren’t going to believe a word I say. I mean, who am I? Mitch McConnell is a Senator. I’m just some schmo. Donald Trump is rich. I don’t have any money. The entire Republican Party can’t just lie to us, can they? Of course not. If they did, I’m sure it would be Obama’s fault, anyway. Of course. That bastard started a war in 2003, bailed out everyone six months before he took office, and caused the recession that began while he was filling out his change of address forms.

All I can do is try to find enough truth to get my own spider sense to shut up.


One drawback to a salesman taking advantage of us, in this context, is the timing factor. Trump can’t stop selling and more than a shark can stop swimming, and every new deal carries some risk of a backlash. “Once sold always sold” is real, but so is “you made the sale, get out before they change their minds.”

Will Trump be able to consolidate, and increase his market share, or will the deal fall apart because he has to hold it together until November? I have no answer. I thought the goon tactics would backfire on him, especially after he and his handler lied about an assault that was caught on tape, but apparently the media is as splintered and ideologically stratified as the republican party.


Is this election going to be remembered as the last stand of the old white guys? The old white guy battle of the bulge? There seems to be a huge block of angry old white men who would rather be boiled in oil than vote for Hillary Clinton.


Trump is flailing now, struggling to get through even a single speech without having to take something back that he just said. He is getting called out on his bullshit all over the media landscape. I maintain that the crux moment was the incident between his flack and a young, photogenic female reporter.

The flack has been charged, and his life story is being reported in all the major newspapers. He has some skeletons in the closet, and Trump continues to mealy mouth excuses for him that are increasingly embarrassing.

Will it matter? I think it will, eventually, but Trump’s supporters are going to move off him at a glacial pace. They have no alternative that is as satisfying to them as backing Trump, even though he is increasingly being called out for verifiable lies. As long as they believe in the Trump conspiracy, they will stick with Trump. Even if he starts shooting them in the street.

There is no the in the media – no body of people that can be rounded up and yelled at – but the people who, together, make up the media should be embarrassed at the way they have been sucking off the Trump teat for nearly a year. It’s a relief to see that they can act against their self-interest, and go after Trump. We’ll see how long it lasts.


If Cruz isn’t the non-Trump choice, I think Ryan and Romney need to be ranked ahead of Kasich. Kasich ranks about even with the dead guy who won Missouri a couple of elections ago and the guy who empties the convention garbage cans.


There is no chance in hell we see Rubio as the Vice President on any ticket; he is toxic to the ballot. He was handed the keys to the party a month ago, and he tanked in the polls like he was wearing lead underwear.

The only time a failed candidate gets offered the Vice President slot is when the nominee is afraid of him. Nobody is afraid of these guys, any of them. Kasich, Rubio, Cruz, Bush, Christie, Carson … this was the special education team. The only reason Cruz, Rubio and Carson got any play was because the establishment ran the worst pool of candidates this side of Pogo. Why would anyone want their stink on the ballot?

Rubio and Kasich might technically own delegates, but the only delegates they are bringing to the convention are the ones in their immediate family. The delegates they have on paper are filler, fodder, turkey turds, sawdust filling in a big mac. They will all be out the door at the end of the first ballot, looking for the best deal they can make.

None of the candidates have delegates, other than Trump. Cruz, Rubio, Kasich, Dopey, Cubby, Annette … every vote they’ve gotten has been a “no” vote against someone else. There are two candidates for the Republican nomination: Donald Trump, and none of the above.


Ted Cruz isn’t electable, and a Cruz nomination creates an independent Trump campaign. They are going to have to please Trump to keep him from running as a third party. They don’t have to please Cruz, because nobody likes him. So, in effect, Cruz has only one chance. He has to win on the first ballot.


Trump’s rally crowds are like the bad guys in a Grisham novel. They aren’t clever, they have no restraint, and they are psychotically sure of themselves. Grisham’s bad guys always self-destruct, eventually, of their own accord, because they aren’t clever. Trump’s people don’t have to take any IQ tests, so that might not be an issue.


Trump’s the guy at the poker table who tries to buy every hand. He’s the guy who hits on every girl in the bar, and if one of ’em turns him down she’s a skank and he was offering her a pity screw. He’s a televangelist in a ten thousand dollar suit, selling salvation to old ladies eating dog food out of a can.

The wins are all to his credit, and the losses are always the other guy’s fault. He is like a vacuum cleaner that sucks up glory and blows blame out the other side. 40 million people trust him with the country. I wouldn’t trust him with my car.


Cruz is more of an inexperienced outsider than an experienced insider. The insiders hate him, and he’s one of the Tea Party usurpers so he won’t get much credit for his political experience. He will get outsider votes more than either insider or experience votes, cutting into Trump’s voting bloc more than Hillary’s bloc. A three-way race between Hillary, Cruz, and Trump becomes a fight between Trump and Cruz for the outsider vote, while Hillary sucks up the experience and insider voters. Landslide.

If Trump is nominated, though, the establishment ain’t running anyone against him. Ryan gave them away, I think, with his “whoa, leave me out of this” speech. The establishment’s only goal this time around is to save their party, and their congressional majorities.


The establishment wing of the Republican Party has left the building. Foghorn Leghorn is sitting the presidential election out, leaving the arena to Yosemite Sam and the Teflon Don. The establishment is like a guy who just hit four balls into the water in front of the 15th green at Augusta. They are ball in pocket, heading to the 16th tee.


Donald Trump does not do anything measured, or balanced, or polished, or prepped. He is going to keep bullying, keep shoving his sales pitch down our throats, and keep insulting everyone who gets in his way until he gets what he wants.

There will be no brokered deals between Donald Trump the Republican Party. They do not like each other. The only deal Trump will sign is for the White House.


If there is one thing we can take away from the voting, it’s that the republican voters don’t want an establishment candidate. Ryan’s speech was the establishment’s acknowledgement that they got the message.


The canary dropped on Cruz when Ryan gave his “leave me out of this” speech. Ryan was the last hope of the establishment, the anchorman pulling their #nevertrump rope. When Ryan announced that he wanted nothing to do with the party nomination, he left the establishment hopefuls staring right at Ted Cruz.

Medusa wishes she could inspire the recoil that caused.


Most people walk past the generic soda to buy Coke or Pepsi, and they invariably stay with the first brand they choose. People drive right past the empty local burger joint to get in line at McDonalds. People watch the same news, the same sitcoms, and the same Real Housewives, night after night. Once they choose a lane, a channel, a burger, a soda, or a presidential candidate … the choice hardens like cement.

Trump isn’t all that smart, but he knows branding. He knows how to accumulate followers, and how to increase market share. There might be a tipping point in the race, where Trump builds his brand up to a point where his market share can win. If he gets his nose in front, he might be gone.

Decades of targeted advertising has us trained, ripe to be sold a bill of presidential goods. We are prepped, softened up, for the sale. All that’s left to do is to bring in the closer.

Well, here he is.


We get to watch Trump try to close the deal for six months. It’s going to be the perfect storm of “mommy can I have this?”, “sissie put her hand on my side of the car again!” and “I wuv you mommie.”

For six excruciating, ear-thumbing, chest poking, water-torturing dammed months. By November we are going to be ready to let him be King, just to get him to shut up.


People continue to make the assumption that Hillary won’t have Obama’s advantage with minorities. She will absolutely do well with black voters – maybe not to Obama’s extent but better than anyone else has historically – and she is going to clean up with pretty much every other minority group. She’ll get the percentages – will she get the bulk numbers?


I think Bernie might serve the party best by fighting on. It’s going to be a long, long race as it is, and Trump’s only trick is to wear everyone down until they give in. Any delays benefit Hillary against Trump, because her message – that Trump is a dangerously arrogant loose cannon who isn’t fit for the job – will fade into a drone, while Trump’s wheedling tactics are more effective over time.


Trump is not going to be normal. Trump is not going to be sane. Trump is not going to shape-shift into a slick politician. This isn’t some guy protecting a twelve stroke lead on the final nine at the Masters or Bret Saberhagen throwing ninety-five percent fastballs to protect an eleven run lead. This is Tin Cup. He’ll empty his ball bag before he admits he’s wrong about anything.

Trump thinks the world is too PC, so let’s all be racists? Broccoli is kinda boring. Should we feed our kids whiskey for lunch?


The last thing I want to do is impugn the reputation of scrupulous salesmen. There needs to be a different term, I guess. Salesman is taken by the Trump types, though, so I suppose it’s gonna have to be the honest ones who change, like sanitation engineers and domestic goddesses.

I wrote a long article about the Trump sales technique, which boils down to the basic motivation: “give me what I want, what I really really want.” Repeat. The bridge, tossed in for dynamic effect, is “you know you want to.”


Trump uses deflection technique all the time. New Mexico Governer Susanna Martinez refused to endorse Trump, so he just said she sucks. Here’s the quote, from CNN:
“We have to get your governor to get going. She’s got to do a better job, OK? Your governor has got to do a better job,” Trump told his crowd in Albuquerque. “She’s not doing the job.”


Disillusionment is color-blind, but Trump’s supporters are not.


Trump is the unrepentant poster boy for past sins. He would gladly give all the Indians smallpox and VD, and put all the blacks in the cotton fields. He’d vote for McCarthy, veto the New Deal, sell tea on the black market and report the minutemen to the English.


If your date is willing to give the keys to Air Force One over to a nutjob because of NAFTA, you might want to try E Harmony. The republic has survived a generation under the terms of NAFTA. Will it survive four years under the terms of Trump?


Elmore Leonard’s opinion about criminality is that criminals (1) are usually pretty dumb, (2) lack imagination, and (3) are lazy. They tend to be reactionary, based on all three attributes.

1) Dumb people follow along with the crowd, as a survival mechanism. They don’t have enough intelligence to figure out the best course for themselves, but their survival past childhood indicates that they have enough intelligence to stick with the pack.

2) Most crime is the same old stuff. Crime fiction novels often feature Lex Luthor- type super villains, but in real life most criminals fit Leonard’s profile. Even the super villains tend to commit the same crimes (take over the world, build a bomb or a laser – and they all live on a deserted island under a mountain). Detectives base their entire job on the fact that criminals follow patterns that are so deterministic that a good detective can often beat the criminal to their next crime.

3) Criminals tend to commit crimes that they read about (if they can read), hear about (more likely) or see on TV (ding! ding! ding!).

If you see merit in my premise – that most criminals are dumb, lazy, and about as original as the next installment of Real Housewives in some County where they have lots of bars and plastic surgeons – then try out the next step in the premise-gression.

Crime breeds crime, hate breeds hate, and extremism breeds extremism. If we want people to stop getting angry and shooting other people, we need to stop giving these people so much attention. The attention leads to an increase in all three principles.

1 (dumb) – if nobody talks about people shooting up nightclubs, the dumb people won’t think about shooting up nightclubs.

2 (no imagination) – if nobody talks about people shooting up nightclubs, the imagination-less people won’t think of it.

3 (lazy) – if nobody gets the dumb, imagination-less criminals agitated, they will just keep watching Duck Dynasty, Wheel of Fortune and Party Down South, and leave the rest of us alone.

I know this is impossible. We have to report crimes like the Orlando shooting and that poor kid from “The Voice.” I just wish we had an antidote for the pack mentality that makes these stories become viral “hits” that inspire the next pathetic creephole to go out and shoot his way to fame.


By finding excuses for why crime happens, you let the criminal off the hook. Let the guy who did the shooting take responsibility for his actions. Don’t let the weasel use his religion as an excuse.


“Blame Obama” is the Republican Party line.


The front pages of all media sites are tailored to the majority. If the majority wants to know about Trump, that’s what they are going to give them. We all know broccoli and kelp are good for us, but McDonalds tries to sell the McBroccoli sandwich and the seaweed shake they’ll go out of business.


It’s not a secret that the country is pretty much insane about terrorism right now. We are dammed lucky that Obama is smart enough not to take the bait.


Here is partial list of news outlets that Trump has banned from his rallies: Politico, Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, Gawker, Foreign Policy, Fusion, Univision, Mother Jones, the New Hampshire Union Leader, the Des Moines Register and the Daily Beast. And the Washington Post.

Every ban bullies the news outlet next to the banned outlet, cowing reporters into being afraid to get on Trump’s bad side by reporting negative incidents at his rallies. In effect, Trump is turning his rallies into those old thirties Nazi rallies, where anyone who doesn’t goose step in line gets kicked out of the party.


High level diplomacy, like high level anything, is too complicated for the rank and file and almost comically easy to nitpick after the fact.


If I wasn’t worried about Trump getting ahold of the launch codes, I would check out of this steaming turd of a race altogether. It’s the most depressing election season I’ve ever seen, and it’s only going to get worse.

Partisanship is fine most of the time, but we can’t argue amongst ourselves during an actual hostile takeover. We need to band together.

There are too many uninformed voters this time around, and they all have social media accounts. A friend of mine, who I think of as a reasonable person, told me, “I would rather see the country destroyed than vote for business as usual.”

If we elect Trump, we will all be dreaming of the good old days, when we had all that wonderful “business as usual.”


I don’t talk about guns much, but it seems to me that gun control advocates are missing the obvious. We don’t need to outlaw guns, we need to outlaw all the little assholes who think a gun is an extension of their penis.

The solution is to publicly neuter anyone who attempts to commit a mass murder, even if they die in the attempt. Have a ceremony if you want, but make sure somebody makes a video and that it gets posted on YouTube and Facebook. If you are queasy you don’t have to watch it, and honestly there probably would only be one or two before the whole thing ends, anyway.

Girls might not understand why this would work, but every guy I know will. These little assholes want to be famous? I say neuter ’em, and let ’em get a billion views on YouTube. Can this happen? Of course not. Would it work? You tell me.


The operative word in “radical Islam” is not Islam, it’s radical. Radical Christianity is the exact same thing. There is an article out today about the KKK trying to rebuild itself under a new banner


The right wing is an easy target these days, with all the hate and racist garbage spewing out of Breitbart, but if lefties stoop to the level established by righties they are no better.


All religious books have passages that can be construed as violent towards non-believers. The history of Christianity is riddled with xenophobia and violence towards the rest of the world.


My personal dogma, for lack of a better term, has developed, over the years, into “we live in a remarkably ordered universe that is exponentially too large for us to comprehend.” It’s orderly. It’s huge. Subatomic particles are too small to see, even with our best microscopes. The end of the Universe is too far away to see, even with our best telescopes. We can only see a tiny, minute fraction of the universe we know about, and we only know about a tiny bit of it.


I’m sure Trump has plenty of ways he can say “Hillary is a poopy head.”


If Trump is going to run his campaign through Twitter, branding “Crooked Hillary” like a merchandiser, Hillary should brand “Dumb Donald.” It’ll work, because it’s true.


Cause and effect is a funny thing. Trump’s supporters are people who, frankly, should run screaming from Trump as if their life depended on it. This weird disconnect is an effect caused by Obama’s ethnic background, but not so much for his racial identity as his ancestral identity.

They don’t think he’s from Compton. They think he’s from Kenya. Take America back from those foreigners, make America great again. Build a wall. Where is Obama’s birth certificate? Trump was behind that too, remember?

I wouldn’t be surprised if Trump brought that birther thing up during the campaign. He’ll expect his voters to support him, claiming that he’ll deport Obama. He thinks they want to get rid of all immigrants who didn’t enter the country through Ellis Island.


Cause and effect doesn’t always work the way we expect it to. Consider the Tiger Woods effect on professional golf. We expected to see a bajillion African-American golfers on the PGA tour, but what we actually got were a bajillion Asian golfers on the LPGA tour. While a thinking person can recognize the effect, I doubt more than a few experts predicted it ahead of time, based on the cause. We – me included – thought, “Well, Tiger is black, so he’s going to inspire black men to play golf.”

Tiger is actually over half Asian and only a quarter African, but American ethnocentrism doesn’t make that distinction. If a person is a little bit African and a lot something else, we still think of that person as ethnically African.

Asian men saw an opportunity, and took advantage of what they had: a culture where a father can make his daughter practice like Olympic gymnasts, and nobody will bat an eye. When Se Ri Pak went nuts on the 1998 LPGA tour, their little girls bought in to the dream, and started banging golf balls like skinny Dominican kids field grounders at shortstop.
I don’t think Trump’s larger voting bloc is overtly racist so much as it is ethnocentric. Trump’s charge against Obama’s citizenship should probably not be characterized as overt racism so much as ethnocentrism, with a racist undertone.

Then again, Trump married two foreigners, and he’s been doing business overseas for decades. That racist undertone might be a little stronger than he wants his followers to know.


Is it possible that Trump will become so odious, so impossible to back that the Republican Party throws its support to the Libertarians? I can’t see it. They would be handing the keys to the conservative engine to another driver. They would rather drive into a ditch than give up the wheel.

Ten bucks says they will be publicly backing Trump by the end of the month. What choice do they have?


Trump is a pathological liar, the purest form of the salesman template. Truth does not register to him. Neither does lie. He has no earthly idea which is which, and he can’t tell them apart, even with name tags attached. We all know this, we’ve known this guy for decades. I don’t think anything Trump says is surprising, or scary.

The scary thing isn’t Trump’s pathology in Trump’s hands, we are used to that. It’s the fact that it’s become contagious, and that it’s spreading like a virus. If the Trump campaign decides to suspend the concept of truth and lies, nobody is going to be able to counter it. Too many people believe everything he says, like zombies chasing his brain train.

One lie can get you in trouble – ask Hillary about her emails, or Bill about his affairs – but a constant stream of lies is impossible to keep up with. It’s the difference between having bad breath and holding court in the sewer. Your sense of smell eventually goes away.


When one side is mediocre and the other side is a dumpster fire, mediocre starts looking better.


Every four years, I ask myself a simple question:

“Can the candidates be trusted with the nuclear launch codes?

If it’s yes to both, I’m done with the election. I might write about the race, but I won’t care who wins. If it’s neither we have a problem … but that hasn’t happened in my lifetime.

Hillary, whatever you think of her policies or her evasiveness, is a professional politician. She may or may not be a notable President, but she won’t call Putin a shrimp, call the Arabs ragheads, and change the passcode for the Red Phone to his birthday. Hillary has been so thoroughly vetted that congress probably has her underwear size and thread count on file.


Some guy is angry in a train station on the other side of the world, and we should stop what we are doing to freak out? Is there such a thing as a terror-a-phobe? It’s reasonable to look both ways before crossing a street, but it isn’t reasonable to outlaw busses.


Did anyone else see that Sheldon Adelson cancelled a meeting with Ted Cruz after he refused to endorse Trump? I don’t like Cruz, but it took some balls for him to not give his to Adelson. Adelson had no use for Cruz once his balls, so to speak, were off the table.


The Foghorn Leghorns and the Yosemite Sams have been searching for the perfect mix of arrogance, provincialism, and ignorance this entire election cycle.


Drawing layered conclusions in the presence of a republican is like painting Helen Keller’s house. She won’t see the color, she’ll just smell the new paint and know something happened that smells funny.


Trump occasionally says something that isn’t completely made up, that the fact-checking sites pass on, say it’s ok. When it happens, I feel a little empty inside, like I went to a NASCAR race and nobody crashed.


“Everybody sucks” is not a responsive attitude toward the miracle of life. You have every right to whine like a three year old any time you please. I have the right to call you a whiny three year old. Is this a great country, or what?


Trump’s “I’m not quite there yet” is an obvious attempt to coerce Ryan and McCain into backing down from their criticism. Trumps’s first move is always a bully move. Every reaction is a bully reaction. He’s too dumb to be Snidely Whiplash, so he’s more Biff from Back to the Future, but he always bullies first, asks questions later.


The left needs to sift the contempt out of their rhetorical tone, if they want to end the Great Republican Temper Tantrum.


I am not a liberal or a conservative. I don’t want either side to get what it wants. I seem like a liberal these days because the right has gone freaking nuts, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t celebrate a reasonable right-wing candidate. We just haven’t had one lately.


The voters aren’t voting for Trump, they are voting for themselves, so whenever Trump is going poorly the Hillary slamming will intensify. All they want to do is win. The candidates are increasingly irrelevant as we go along.


I’ve noticed an increase in wild accusations against Hillary Clinton on Facebook trending, which means Twitter is ablaze with ’em. The latest are (1) Obama is a confirmed Muslim, and (2) the Clintons are killing their political enemies and making them look like suicides. According to one of the suicide feeds, Bill and Hillary now have more bodies on them than Charlie Manson and Son of Sam combined.


Trump continuously talks shit about The United States. He has said more nice things about Putin this week than he’s said about his own country this year.


Pretend Trump is Homer Simpson and he’s funny again. Until you remember the episode when Homer got a hold of a submarine. Then we are back to terrifying.


The only difference between a church and a cult comes from outside. If you hang out with like-minded people they will overlook the flaws in your basic character as long as you tout the party line. If you try the same thing outside your group, every flaw in your character will be blown up like a Macy’s parade float. Right and wrong don’t matter, just agree or disagree.

People are people, in all their individual glory, but we are all susceptible to group psychosis because right and wrong have little to do with acceptance. To be accepted, you have to go along. All are welcome, as long as they tout the company line.


I just finished a course on religious studies, and I wrote a thing about where the concept of God came from. Put simply, God began as an unseen authority figure, like kids on the playground saying “my big brother will come kick your butt if you don’t leave me alone.”

The more pliable members of the flock worshipped this unseen authority figure, idealizing this figure as omnificent and omnipotent. The less pliable didn’t buy into the party line, but they went along. It doesn’t cost much to sing in the choir on Sunday. Pascal’s Wager.

They accepted Pascal’s Wager, and went to church on Sunday “just in case.”

Once enough non-believers accepted Pascal’s Wager, though, the coercive elements of society bought Pascal out and turned “just in case” into “or else.” Now, people demand that everyone else worship the same God that they do, and scream bloody murder when somebody suggests that we don’t need “under God” in the pledge of allegiance.

Man’s innate coercive tendencies don’t mix well with man’s innate gullibility. Look no further than this year’s election cycle to see what can be done by a willful manipulator who is only interested in the gullible.

And those who will go along with the gullible. Just in case.


DODT (don’t ask, don’t tell) was revolutionary for its time. Clinton’s moment came at a time when it wasn’t feasible to make a coercive change, so he did the next best thing. He moved the needle, took the heat, and provided the impetus for the rest of us to get used to open closets. Twenty years later we are so comfortable that we are taking the whole thing a little bit too far, but that’s the normal progression. We’ll get it all balanced out.


Trump is unraveling, but everyone has grown tired of reacting to him. The hope, I think, is that sooner or later someone with real gravitas – I’m not sure who that could be – will throw a tantrum and yell at the American people. We need a Cronkite, speaking out against Vietnam, or a Murrow, speaking out against McCarthy.

We are being dominated by a deranged bully who, honestly, has no idea what to do with us. Trump is as freaked out as we are. He never thought we’d be such a bunch of pussies, and roll over so easily.


Matt Lauer conducted that interview like he was on Trump’s payroll.


A friend of mine said something the other day that got me thinking. He said, in effect, “Nobody will have a dialogue with a conservative.”

He’s right. I can’t remember the last time anyone discussed actual issues, or made an attempt to see things from the other ideological side’s point of view. I’ve had a couple of long dialogues with a different friend – civil conversations, for the most part – but we weren’t able to get past our entrenched positions. Had we tried a year ago we might have had more luck, I suppose, but it seems impossible to have that dialogue anymore.

Why? Why can’t we talk anymore? Why can’t we have that dialogue now? Why did the liberal side, a side that always wants to have a dialogue, stop talking and start screaming? I have a theory.

It’s because one side – excuse me for the gross analogy – pulled a gun.

By nominating Donald Trump, the conservative side said “we are done talking, varmints. Draw!”

Sorry for the crappy impression, but is there a better metaphorical characterization for Trump than Yosemite Sam? He’s angry. He’s single-minded. He’s basically kind of, well, sort of …. Well, he’s d*mb. He ain’t a talker. He ain’t a dialoguer. He ain’t a discusser, a back and forther, or a debater. He’s a shouter. He’s an in your facer. He’s a finger in your chester.

He’s a yeller. Not old Yeller, a yeller. And he’s calling us yeller. As in we are a bunch a yeller dawgs.

The undecided voters sense this. With Yosemite Sam a-shoutin’ and a-steamin’ and a-rootin’-tootin’ up a-storm on the right, they expect to look left and see Bugs Bunny standing there with a pair-a-sixes …. An’ another pair-a-sixes.

And Hillary Clinton ain’t Bugs Bunny.

Clinton wants the dialogue.

To have the dialogue, though, the conservatives have to put down the gun.


My favorite moment of the debate was when Trump said “I’m a gentleman” and the audience burst out laughing.


The alt+right fake news websites have an effect on the public like those balls from Lord of the Rings. You know, like the one Sauron used to brainwash Saruman. If you keep watching them you are going to get your brain twisted. It will become “crooked” – so to speak.

The alt+right rank and file orcs follow their masters, who follow their own master. Those so-called news sites abdicated any intent to follow the rules of journalism in the name of money a long time ago, and now they are Trump’s ring wraiths. They wanted the power, and now they are slaves to the orange haired monster, desperately searching for his ring of power.


You can explain 96 percent of the right wing rhetoric right now with the following sentence:

“I am stuck in between the denial and anger stages of grief over the demise of the republican party, so I lash out in anger with facts I dug out of a gumball machine in the lobby of the Trump Tower.”


The Republican Party was riddled with cancer long before Trump got the nomination. The leaders of the party tend to be a reflection of the party’s current ethos, not the other way around. The Republican Party, at the moment, is held hostage by two groups of people nobody wants to align with: the so-called freedom caucus and the alt+right. Both are radicalized offshoots of the Great Republican Temper Tantrum that began in 2008, when the Republican Party found out, far to late, that they had become an idiocracy. Like the movie, except nobody drinks Gatorade anymore.

Trump’s candidacy exacerbated the issues, forcing what’s left of the establishment wing of the party into an impossible position. The majority of the republican party’s so-called “A” team is going to spend the next four years explaining to the left why they put party over country, and explaining to the right why they put country over party.


I don’t think the republicans have to denounce the alt+right in some big mea culpa, necessarily, but they need to stop catering to them. They can’t keep looking right and expect to stay relevant. Those angry old racists will be angry dead racists soon enough, and dead men can’t vote, even in North Carolina.

Looking left, the republicans have to be nervous as hell. They abdicated their side of the progressive bell curve in 1968, when they decided to move on the Southern Strategy. Most of those people are willing to come back, but they are going to demand a few concessions.

First, the Republican Party has to make a serious, believable attempt to court the middle class. I would like to see some tax relief for small business and a concession towards progressive taxes on the ultra-rich, just to establish that they aren’t playing monopoly with us. Some incentives to build from within would be helpful, and a move away from hyper-franchising would allow room for small business to compete.

The infrastructure needs to be refurbished. We can install some sustainable energy infrastructure while we are at it. This is practically virgin territory for the conservatives. Sustainable businesses are the future – or there ain’t going to be a future – and green business is still business. They need to embrace progress, and stop fighting against it.


Extremism in any form is still extremism.


Are the rich elite taking advantage of the gullible masses, or are the masses just too dammed gullible to be trusted in large groups? Most party platforms are designed to get the party elected, not to fix anything. Why?

It’s because the gullible masses don’t understand their own needs. We need to discuss sustainable energy, public education reform, and ways to balance the needs of small and large business. Instead, we discuss abortion, flag burning, and the Pledge of Allegiance.

Until we get smarter, or at the very least make an effort to be aware of our own needs, we are spinning our wheels.

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