Why it matters that the Bushes are abandoning Trump

There was news today that the Republican party’s 2012 presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, is skipping the Republican convention this year.

This comes on the heels of George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, Jeb Bush, John McCain and several other top Republicans also saying they won’t attend the convention in July, in an apparent slap at the presumptive nominee, Donald Trump.

Some on the left don’t care that the Republican party is imploding over Trump’s imminent victory in the primaries. In fact, they’re offended that anyone else would care. You’re actually a bad Democratic and a bad progressive, under their thinking, if you’re happy that the Donald Trump is causing the GOP to implode.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign rightfully keeps a list of all the Republicans abandoning Trump. And that set liberal partisan David Sirota off today, along with several other progressives.

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Here’s a typical response Sirota received:

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I thought this one, below, was particularly interesting, since the guy is criticizing Bill Clinton for partnering with George Bush — among their humanitarian partnerships was raising money for the victims of the horrific 2010 earthquake in Haiti. So that’s now a bad thing, trying to make support for humanitarian crises bipartisan and/or nonpartisan? Some folks on the left need to get a grip.

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It’s time to have a little chat about winning.

The goal of an election is to win. And short of sacrificing baby bunnies to Lucifer, I’ll laud most anything that helps get us one step closer to victory — and that most certainly includes welcoming the fact that the Bushes, Mitt Romney, John McCain and lots of other top Republicans are now walking away from Donald Trump.

For some on the left, winning is secondary to feeling awfully good about themselves. A misguided sense of purity comes before all else. And if you have to lose, a lot, in order to preserve your overly strict sense of soul, then so be it. Except of course, the downside of that purity is that all the issues you care about continue to go to hell because the other guy keeps getting elected. And it’s not clear how the cause of “progressivism” is served in the long run if progressives never win.

This lack of understanding as to what elections, and politics more generally, is about (winning) goes hand in hand with Anger Inc., the increasingly vocal fringe of the Democratic party that embraces anger as both a political platform and religion. Everything they believe is true and best, and should they disagree with you about anything, you are instantly the devil, since, after all, the very fact that they feel something means it must be true and incontrovertible.

And while I can stomach, to a degree, people who aren’t experts in politics thinking “who cares what George Bush thinks,” it worries me when those of us who do this for a living think the same.

So why does it matter that the Bushes and all the other top Republicans are now abandoning Donald Trump?

1. Every time a Republican abandon Trumps, it steals the news cycle and forces Trump to respond to the ongoing, and growing story, that his campaign is a train wreck waiting to happen. This gets Trump off message. And any time you get your opponent off message, you’re doing well.

2. People are influenced by others around them. Some Republicans and independent voters are going to see the Bushes, John McCain, Mitt Romney, and now even Speaker Paul Ryan (who said that he, at this time, isn’t going to endorse Trump) distance themselves from Trump, and it’s not only going to send them a message that maybe Trump isn’t worth supporting, but it’s also going to provide them cover should they already be leaning that way anyway.

3. The more Republicans abandon Trump, the more uneasy GOP donors grow with giving money to Trump — in part because they may increasingly wonder if Trump is a lost cause.

4. The more Republicans abandon Trump, the greater a story it becomes, and the more 1, 2 and 3, above, kick in.

Former RNC chair Ken Mehlman.

Former RNC chair Ken Mehlman came out as gay, and helped pass marriage equality in MD and NY.

The notion that we shouldn’t care about — or that we should have disdain for — the fact that key Republicans are abandoning Trump reminds me of the response in the gay community when individual Republicans come around on issues. Some welcome the news; others attack the convert. But as a friend wrote a while back, you can’t argue for people to change, and then attack them when they do.

But regardless, I couldn’t care less if daddy Bush and his boys have found the light of progressivism, or are simply making a cold calculated move they believe will help their party in the future (their decision is of course based on the latter). I care that the actions they’re taking are hurting Donald Trump, and lessening his chances at winning the presidency. And that’s a very good thing that we should all be happy about.

There’s an old saying: Never interrupt your enemy when he’s making a mistake.

And I’d add, be sure to get lots of of popcorn.

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis  — Win a pony! (not really)

CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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78 Responses to “Why it matters that the Bushes are abandoning Trump”

  1. obadiah_edomite says:

    contempt for bushes and contempt for clintons is very popular these days. an outsider who expresses such contempts and who didn’t remind people of lucifer, clarabelle or mussolini could run the table.

  2. adam says:

    I like the Bushes. I am hoping that covertly they are distancing themselves to actually solidify Trump as a non establishment candidate so he can keep that wave going all the way to the white house and then they can support and help him later. So in reality they do support him but not openly so he continues to look like this political outsider as opposed to someone like Hitlery that is owned by everyone. One can hope cant he???

  3. P T Bridgeport says:

    Incoherent. Either there is only one major political party, and both are batshit crazy. Or there are two, and one is merely compromised and disappointing.

    It makes a megalithic difference whether Hillary wins or not. An altered Supreme Court is the absolute precondition to reversing the rightward slide you correctly observe.

  4. heimaey says:

    I can certainly pull up images that show the racist and ignorant things John has said on Twitter or you can go look yourself at his Twitter feed. I have a feeling if I were to upload them here they’d get taken down by a mod but I’m happy to upload them if a mod says it’s OK.

    Also I have Cuban family – that is NOT what happened. That’s the spin you want to hear and that’s the spin the media’s giving but in truth he was reaching out to the Cuban people and trying to end the blockade which is more than I can say for anyone else up until Obama.

  5. Bill_Perdue says:

    The Republicans are splitting three ways. One faction is the Tea Party, another is composed of Trump supporters who will likely leave because their demands will not be met and the third is the old line RP establishment which no longer calls the shots.

    The breakup of the R and D parties is a good thing. The fact that Democrat rightists and Dixiecrats will never meet the demands of millions of people who are moving left will seriously wound the DP and increasingly polarized factionalism will seriously wound the RP.

    Your question – “you think this is a good thing” – is bizarre. Analysis does not mean approval. Socialists will continue to analyze the increasing likeilhood of permanent splits in the DP and the RP and we’ll continue to reject both parties and all their factions as right centrist.

  6. churl says:

    I think that is the most intelligent comment I’ve read today.

  7. Phil in FLL says:

    John’s post has screenshots of Twitter posts. Everyone knows how to make a screenshot, right? Can you give me a sample of what you would consider racist tweets that John has made? I’m willing to take a look at them and make up my own mind.

    Also, I think you’re jumping the gun a little by mentioning John’s “gay white male privileged attitude.” For example, John might drive from D.C. across the state line into Virginia and stop at the local Denny’s. The hostess has every legal right to say the following to John (in a :quiet, discreet tone of voice, of course):

    I’m sorry but the owner recognizes you, and he thinks that you and your gay friends should take your business somewhere else.

    You know, there are lots of small towns all over the country where everybody knows everybody, and you could easily be refused service because of… well, you know. For at least the next few years, I think you should withhold your slogans about gay white male privilege every time someone disagrees with you about substance. Instead, answer with substance, not name-calling. Until you no longer have the right to cherry-pick discrimination law to suit your taste, you should keep your digs about “gay white male privilege” within the confines of your gender studies discussion group. Just a gentle suggestion to turn down the volume on the name-calling, OK?

  8. kladinvt says:

    Considering that Dumbya, said that Bill Clinton is his “brother from another mother”, why should anyone be surprised that the Bushes favor HillaryInc. There’s a lot of ‘political incest’ between the corporately-owned parties.

  9. WampusKat says:

    So the Republicans have gone full Tea Party white supremacist and you think this is a good thing: featuring Trumpster “Weev” of The Daily Stormer:


    LOL: Libertarian ratferking: Greenwald leg-humping “weev”: https://vimeo.com/107978679

    Yep, anti-establishment Neo-Nazis and white supremacist Christian Identity militias… sure are the way to go, right Paultards?: http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/ron-paul-stars-oath-keepers-militia-film-anti-semitic-filmmaker

  10. WampusKat says:

    The Koch brothers are in no way flocking to Hillary. The Libertarian Bernie Bros making you all look like baboons, on the other hand, are doing the world a huge favor. LOL: http://littlegreenfootballs.com/article/44314_Glenn_Greenwald_Will_Speak_to_a_Koch-Funded_Event_Named_After_a_Pro-Lynching_Racist_Dixiecrat_Congressman <<< the Bernie Bros :)

  11. WampusKat says:

    David Sirota… Glenn Greenwald’s pet parrot. Does Sirota have any idea that his hero was a Bush supporting war cheerleader? http://glenngreenwald.blogspot.com/2005/11/reality-of-latin-american-reaction-to.html

    He should probably stop before he accidentally follows the Libertarian con artist off a cliff :)

  12. Robin Burt says:

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  13. Bill_Perdue says:

    “It would be hypocritical of me to run as a Democrat because of the things I have said about the party. …“Why should we work within the Democratic Party if we don’t agree with anything the Democratic Party says?” – Socialist Scholars Conference in New York City, April 1990. http://www.keywiki.org/Socialist_Scholars_Conference_1990

    “The Democratic Party ideologically bankrupt, they have no ideology. Their ideology is opportunism.” – Interview with Vermont Affairs magazine, 1986 http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/8/15/1409803/-Introducing-Bernie-Sanders-the-Hypocrite

    “The Democratic and Republican parties are tweedle-dee and tweedle-dum, they both adhere to an ideology of greed and vulgarity.” – Op-ed in the New York Times, January 1989. http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/8/15/1409803/-Introducing-Bernie-Sanders-the-Hypocrite

    “The quotes and other information are from the Politico article: Can Bernie Sanders Win the Love of a Party He Scorns?” http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/08/bernie-sanders-2016-democrats-121181

  14. cleos_mom says:

    Trump would try that tack regardless of who he’s allegedly debating; but yes, repetition is often necessary.

  15. Richard Ferrar says:

    Perfect reply, Badgerite! I will be quoting you, have no doubt……

  16. jythoma says:

    True. It is naive to think these prominent Republicans do not have influence. Extremely so, millions will stay home. These people have already ceded the election to the Dems. They would rather lose 2016 and make an attempt to recoup in 20 than have Trump be President and lose congress altogether and more than likely see the party completely collapse.
    Susan Sarandon, misguided to be sure but she was correct in saying if Trump were elected the revolution would start immediately. That is nothing to look forward to.

  17. jythoma says:

    “that’s a warning sign that the balance is off and the left is partly to blame for allowing the right to go off the rails.”

    Not the responsibility of the left nor does the left have the ability to control the right. It is the Republican party that allowed themselves to be insurged upon, overtaken and now in the process of being destroyed. They did it to themselves. Let them carry on.

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  19. Eleanorjsteele says:

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  20. quax says:

    Really don’t care to speculate on John’s motivations. He is pretty much to the right from me on all issues, but I still respect him for his hard work.

  21. Don Chandler says:

    “Today, I weep for my country”

    I wish Hillary had said that.

  22. heimaey says:

    It’s funny that John is pointing out “typical” twitter responses when his twitter is a disaster full of racism and smugness -typically lashing out at liberals. He’s become somewhat of a joke to many on the left and has even had his head put on a piece of crap (not the classiest joke but it got it’s point across and no less classy than many of the stunts John’s pulled – red baiting anyone?). It’s also interesting how it’s all about “winning” to him and not making progress or change. That’s a typical gay white male privileged attitude and one of the reasons the left is fracturing so much – they’re not willing to change or adapt, and want the country to run like it’s 1996.

    The Clinton years were good to them but it’s time to move on and focus on what’s next. The fact that the Bushes and the Koch brothers, etc. are flocking to Hillary is not a good thing, it’s a sign there’s a shift. The Republican party is imploding but that’s not necessarily a win for us – that’s a warning sign that the balance is off and the left is partly to blame for allowing the right to go off the rails. The question is will you be on the right or wrong side of history because it’s clear which side the author of this post will be on.

  23. ElJiffy says:

    “Some on the left don’t care that the Republican party is imploding …”
    Actually, we are vastly enjoying the auto-da-fe and circular firing squad the Republican party has become, and wish them more confusion.

  24. ElJiffy says:

    I don’t begrudge John his success, he’s a smart, talented, multi-lingual man, but lately I fear he’s beginning to show his Republican roots

  25. bargal20 says:

    John worked hard for rights that effect him personally. It seems as far as he is concerned, anyone else can go pound sand, or work for below minimum wage at Walmart.

  26. Doug105 says:

    And yet some of you wonder why your compared to a leftist teaparty.

  27. heimaey says:

    I’m not sure why I have to be smoking anything to believe that the Dems are no longer the Dems but Republicans and the Republicans are now either neofascists or extreme right-wingers and liberalism and progressiveness are severely underrepresented. Just because one wing has gone bat shit crazy doesn’t mean the other one hasn’t faltered.

  28. quax says:

    Very good point. It is a mistake to underestimate him. I usually don’t agree with anything Coulter says, but she is right that another prominent terror attack could make him president. I can hear Bin Laden chuckle from his icy sea grave.

  29. quax says:

    “Clinton will lurch to the right, trying to pick up Republican voters and will totally ignore Sanders supporters.”

    Entirely possible. That is why the Bernie crowd needs to work the long game in a grassroot manner in order to pull the party to the left.

  30. quax says:

    You should sleep over this a couple time if you think any Democrat is actually embracing the Bush Dynasty.

    Then again maybe you are just new at trying your hand at trolling?

  31. quax says:

    So what? If you don’t want DINOs, then work for it. John may be many things, but he worked hard at first creating this blog, as well as promoting gay rights.

    The Bernie crowd can change the Democratic party, but it won’t be handed to them.

  32. quax says:

    Seriously? What the heck are you smoking. Yes, the entire political spectrum is far more to the right than for instance in Europe or Canada, but there is a pretty clear difference between a career politicians, and a crazy, certifiable egomaniac.

  33. quax says:

    Agreed, Bernie would have been a fine candidate. But most of the votes have been cast, so it makes sense to start focusing on how HRC can prevent Trump.

  34. quax says:

    They obviously don’t appeal to us, but they had plenty of Repub followers. The point is to have those stay away from the polls, come November.

  35. Bill_Perdue says:

    Trump’s candidacy will wound the RP and BSs candidacy will wound the DP. The politics of the lesser evil are bankrupt. Those are good things.

    “The Democratic primary will technically march on, but Hillary Clinton is almost certainly going to be her party’s nominee. Same with Donald Trump. And voters don’t appear thrilled at the prospect: Clinton and Trump are both more strongly disliked than any nominee at this point in the past 10 presidential cycles.”

    “These are people who don’t just like or dislike the candidates, they really like or dislike them. No past candidate comes close to Clinton, and especially Trump, in terms of engendering strong dislike a little more than six months before the election.” http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/americans-distaste-for-both-trump-and-clinton-is-record-breaking/ via Goddards Political wire

    For Democrats and their Republican brothers and sisters these are going to be interesting times.

  36. quax says:

    Chaos is just chaos. You are fooling yourself to think it is anything else, and I hope you will not have to experience it, because it will involve the shedding of much innocent blood.

  37. quax says:

    “Some on the left don’t care that the Republican party is imploding over Trump’s imminent victory in the primaries.”

    This really makes so little sense that I thought it must be a straw-man argument before I saw the provided examples.

    Good grief.

  38. bargal20 says:

    So Aravosis is a DINO. Wait, what am I saying. The Democratic party is basically Republican Lite. He fits right in.

  39. Demosthenes says:

    An excellent article. Bravo!

  40. Badgerite says:

    And one more time, please. Losing is not winning.

  41. hiker_sf says:

    People HAVE worked from the inside but money trumps what is morally right.

    I’m voting Democrat to protect SCOTUS. But I don’t for a moment think that Clinton will serve the people. No, she will serve the wealthy and corporations.

    I’ve decided to tune out the news after the primary is over in order to be able to vote for her in November.

    Clinton will lurch to the right, trying to pick up Republican voters and will totally ignore Sanders supporters. Think about it: It is all consistent with her corporate-loving ways to engage those on the right rather than those on the left.

    Bill Clinton made clear their strategy for going after Republican voters with his admonishment of BLM protesters.

    When the oligarchy arrives, it will be carrying an iPhone and wrapped in a rainbow flag.

    RIP USA.

  42. Badgerite says:

    Well, if I were HRC I wouldn’t say that at all. I would say what is true. And what is true is that in the immediate after math of “7/11” a vote was taken to authorize the POTUS to take military actions if HE deemed it necessary and with a proper regard to what the UN authorized. It was a vote in support of a president. HRC did not plan and execute the war or lead the country into it. That GW took that vote and turned it into something else is on him and the GOP. Not on her or the Democratic party. I think history makes it clear that no one was going to stop GW , with Darth Cheney pulling the strings, from going there. No one. Certainly not HRC. And the country was going to support the president because he was the president during a time of national emergency.
    What’s more, HRC can and should point out what else is true and that is that Donald the Monster Trump did indeed support the war. In a rather wishy washy way. But support none the less and the extent to which he didn’t was hedging in case anything went wrong which of course it did. He was not in Congress and was not required to express support for the president through a vote which meant his wishy washy non stand could suddenly be turned into ‘he knew better’ later, which, of course, he didn’t.
    I don’t consider opportunistic lack of conviction or commitment either way to be a “middle ground”. I consider it to be someone who does not actually want to be accountable for being wrong. Anyone with a brain could see that an invasion and occupation of a country like Iraq was going to be a dicey undertaking. The Donald just hedged his bets. That isn’t conviction or principle or good judgement. That is really just taking a step backward when they ask for volunteers.

  43. hiker_sf says:

    He was a Republican and worked for a despicable Republican Congressman from Alaska.

  44. Badgerite says:

    That may be your sole focus but I guarantee you it is not the sole focus of most voters.
    The Iraq War is over, as in in the past. The past can be a predictor of the future but it certainly does not have to be. Bernie Sanders has such baggage for someone like Trump to exploit it is ridiculous. Not the least of which is some of his supporters. What’s more, people on the left always talk a good game, but like Chavez in Venezuela, they generally do not produce the results they promise. At least not in the long run. You don’t get anywhere by making half the people in your own country the “enemy”. It just doesn’t work that way.

  45. Badgerite says:

    No. It isn’t about destroying both parties. At least not for the overwhelming majority of Americans. It is about making those two major parties and hopefully also the country better and more able to look to the future.

  46. Badgerite says:

    Good to have you back, John. The voice of reason. And experience.

  47. dcinsider says:

    Once again John nails it.

  48. Keith Sillsbury says:

    John A. , you sir have missed the point entirely. The Republican party has been in its death throws for two decades now but like a brain dead coma patient continues to breath without life, without thought. It’s not about left and right. It’s about destroying both parties who are the puppets of corporate America (starting with the Republicans ) and rebuilding our government and our country to answer to the people. Chaos is a form of leadership.

  49. Don Chandler says:

    Mark my words, when Hillary and Trump debate on tv in the general election, do you think Trump will just let Hillary say, “I apologized for that. I made a mistake.” Or will he say, “Bush lied, People died.” A guy like Trump can steal the middle ground. ..even though it’s a total lie.

  50. cleos_mom says:

    Ditto Saint Bernard.

  51. cleos_mom says:

    Unfortunately, there’s more to electing a national leader than making one statement — which everyone has heard more than once by now anyway. One bird landing on a podium does not a victory make.

  52. Glen Thompson says:

    The departure of the Bushs et al could be also viewed as a plus. Who the hell wants to be associated with any Bush or Romney?

  53. Don Chandler says:

    When it comes time for the general election, Trump and company will simply say of the Bush’s, they didn’t like GWB’s presidency. In a sense, whenever Hillary brings up the legacy of GWB, Trump will say, “Hillary, you voted for the war.” This is why Bernie is a much better candidate vs Trump. Bernie didn’t vote for the war and he can more effectively drive home the point that merely Trump waffled in political obscurity.

  54. whatevah-goze says:

    The enemy of my enemy may not be my friend, but I’ll still smile while they beat each other bloody. ;)

    Here here! Good article!

  55. heimaey says:

    This is just more proof the Republicans and Democrats have merged and there is really only one major political party.

  56. heimaey says:

    Yep. On Twitter the other day he was comparing the Sweden and USSR and called “gentrification a blessing.” These are all Republican talking points.

  57. goulo says:

    I agree it’s a good thing Bush et al are not supporting Trump.

    But I’d be leery of saying that they are “hanging themselves” and “making a mistake”. They’re doing the right thing, after all (even if not necessarily for the right reasons). I don’t think they’re making a mistake at all.

    Mocking them for doing the right thing (i.e. for not supporting Trump) seems to violate your stated principle of “you can’t argue for people to change, and then attack them when they do.”

    Too much mocking also risks backfiring and causing people to dig in their heels and support a stupid position after all… I can easily imagine some party-identifying Republicans who are uncomfortable with Trump nonetheless deciding in the end to support him in a “circle the wagons against the attackers” mentality, if they feel mostly attacked and mocked for NOT supporting Trump.

  58. bargal20 says:

    You make me want to puke, Aravosis. If it weren’t for the Republicans’ hatred of gays, you’d probably be a Republican.

  59. Shoot4themoon says:

    He will also continue being a fine Senator where he can help pass legislation helping reform income equality. As a Democrat. Because that’s what he is, right? He won’t change back as soon as this whole nonsense is over…right?

  60. Elizabethssmith3 says:

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  61. Max_1 says:

    Why, you just made a cogent argument as to why Bernie Sanders isn’t a scary “SOCIALIST” but rather, a Democrat.

  62. Phil in FLL says:

    It will be easy to make Trump trip over his hair. When he starts wearing two long blond braids, puts on a Viking helmet with horns and starts singing from Wagner operas, it will be very easy to trip him.

  63. Gerald Parks says:

    THESE Republicans DO believe their lying eyes!

    AND like the rest of US(America) they are rejecting what they see!

  64. Phil in FLL says:

    Banda Maguey from Guadalajara is always fun.


  65. Phil in FLL says:

    You’ve put your finger on it. As nasty as their policies were, George W. Bush and George Bush Sr. are former presidents, and they want to protect their name. Being associated with a third-grader is not the way to protect your name.

  66. Shaydee says:

    How can the Bushes get on the Trump train after the Donald literally reduced Jeb to a doddering lifeless fool having no significant ‘it’ appeal other than handing out toy turtles? Trump was mericiless in his a attacks on the ‘smart one’ -finally handing Jeb his nut sack. Yay, that went over well in Kennebunkport.

  67. Houndentenor says:

    Trump is a sinking ship and no one wants to be on board. No one with a legacy to protect or a future in politics wants to be associated with Trump. it’s not much more complicated than that.

  68. devlzadvocate says:

    “He doesn’t care if he’s called a racist . . . and neither do his supporters.” That’s because the goal of an election is to win” See Uncle Bucky, above. No matter what you do, somebody is going to hate you, call you names, etc, because they don’t want you to get to the top of the mountain. In terms of world politics, we are talking the literal “top of the mountain”. So, the goal must be to win. That’s why, although my heart might be with Bernie, my pragmatic self realizes we cannot lose what we have gained by putting Bernie out there. Trump will use the “rape” paper and the Communist and Socialist positions to make him out to be a “Communist perv” again because, “The Goal of an Election is to win”. I’m not particularly bothered with Bernie’s writings, but the mainstream voter would bolt on Bernie like the wind. Again, HRC protects my investment on the Obama changes. I don’t think only sound, reasoned principle effectively fights Trump personality disorder and lack of civility.

  69. BeccaM says:

    That doesn’t contradict what I just said. Yeah, in ’04 he said that. And then in 2016, that’s not the party he ran for. And he’s bragged incessantly about how he’s given money to candidates in both parties.

    When a man says who and what he is, I generally believe him the first time — and at no point in Trump’s life has he stood for ANYTHING other than himself.

  70. John Selig says:

    I think the most appropriate way to celebrate the implosion of the GOP is with a Mariachi Band!

  71. BeccaM says:

    Trump is no Democrat. He’s only for himself.

  72. Max_1 says:

    Who knew the GOP would select a Democrat as their nominee…
    … And Democrats embracing the Bush Dynasty.

  73. BeccaM says:

    Donald Trump cannot win the presidency unless two essential things happen:
    1. He wins the support of an overwhelming majority of Republicans. This is even more so the case because Trump is deliberately alienating many, many people who are not Republicans.
    2. Large numbers of Democrats and independents others stay home or throw away their votes on Sanders-as-Independent or on some 3rd party candidate.

    #1 there is why it really does matter to see so many of the Republican leaders and former leaders openly disavowing Trump. Or, like Paul Ryan this past afternoon announcing he “couldn’t endorse Trump right now.” Every time a prominent Republican abandons, disavows, or otherwise indicate they are not 100% enthusiastic about their presumptive nominee, it also signals to their party members and supporters that Trump does not and never will have the full support of the party itself. It weakens Trump…and believe it or not, it also weakens the GOP. Because over and over, the message is that the party is literally incapable of governing itself!

    And if that’s the case, why should anybody believe their competent to run the country? So yes, absolutely, it does matter that the Bushes and Romney and McCain and so many others who are (regardless how WE feel about them) still respected within the party are sounding the alarm, “Donald Trump is a terrible man and a terrible candidate.”

    As for #2 up there… I do get the frustration of Democrats who want something other than a traditional “establishment” candidate for President and a clawback of all the rightward ratcheting the party’s been undergoing from Reagan onward. That’s me, too. But I’ve been an observer of politics from a very young age and a participant for more than three decades. There are some races when a vote for a true independent or 3rd party candidate makes sense — which is basically when they have some hope of winning.

    It makes sense to vote for Bernie Sanders for Senator for Vermont because he can win there, as an independent because the GOP is so weak in that state — but it’s a near thing. Try the same thing in California or Texas or Florida and it’s a fool’s errand. It can absolutely make sense in any elected office where Duverger’s Law doesn’t hold (that is, single-representative districts where a plurality wins, not necessarily a majority).

    But in most cases — especially the Presidency of the U.S. — a 3rd party vote is throwing it away at the least or helping the candidate you really did not want to win the election at the worst. Ask the Nader voters from 2000 whether, if forced to pick and Nader wasn’t a choice, whether they would have preferred Gore or Bush II and we know what the answer would be from most of them. Ask the Perot voters from ’92 the same question — Clinton or Bush I — and the’d have picked the Republican. Ask the Anderson voters from 1980: Carter or Reagan. Only if we go back to Wallace does this begin to fall apart, but he was actually feared by both parties…and ended up affecting nothing.

    You put your finger on at least some of what’s going on, John: “Winning is secondary to feeling good about themselves.” Casting a 3rd party vote is like signing an online petition: Yes, you got to feel momentarily good about yourself, but did you actually accomplish anything concrete?

    To the same people who insisted it was essential to vote for Nader in 2000, I ask this: Is the Democratic party more or less like you wanted it to become, when you cast that protest vote? How about those who’ve been voting for Jill Stein ever since then, same question. You probably think it’s worse, don’t you? Well, the point you probably made wasn’t the one you wanted then. The Dems didn’t conclude they had to win your unreliable votes. They figured they’d start going after the voters in the middle who swung GOP instead. You’d declared you didn’t want to be Democrats anymore, so they took you at your word.

    Most folks know it’s easier to persuade someone who hasn’t totally made up their minds yet — and you’ve made up yours. So they’ll lobby the people on the other side of the political spectrum from you who haven’t.

    Within about 95% certainty, this November’s presidential election will be between Clinton and Trump. That’s it. No other candidate really has a chance at this point, and if Sanders runs as an independent, he will not win the White House. Why? For starters, he will not win Republican votes — they actually will sit out the election due to Trump rather than vote for the far-left liberal quasi-Democrat. Or they might just maybe vote for the woman the Sanders supporters keep insisting is too conservative for them to bear.

    For another, it takes money to run a national campaign. A lot of money. People like me who did support Sanders when it looked like he had a chance to take the nomination will not give him another dime. The only thing a Sanders insurgency campaign would accomplish would be to help Trump win.

    So yeah, you might feel momentarily better writing in Sanders name. Or Jill Stein or whoever. But will you have accomplished anything?

    And here’s a small object lesson: Many will agree that Sanders helped pull Clinton to the left in her positions. I remember seeing the open disdain about her adopting his positions. How did that happen? Because the Senator from Vermont did not run an independent or 3rd party campaign, but instead campaigned to be the Democratic party nominee as a Democrat. He ran inside the party, with the goal of changing its priorities and positions from within.

    Politics over the last half century or more has shown the only thing you can do from outside is make the party less like you want it to be, not more.

  74. percysowner says:

    He may not be going to the convention, but McCain is on my TV telling me that he supports Trump, even if he doesn’t agree with everything he says.

  75. UncleBucky says:

    The Bushies et al. have NOT found progressivism. It gives them the icks. They want to be on the winning side, and when Clinton wins, they get some pan gravy for their slices of bread.

    That is all…

  76. UncleBucky says:

    Rinse and repeat:

    The goal of an election is to win.
    The goal of an election is to win.
    The goal of an election is to win….

    VOTE BLUE. And I will say it now… And campaign dirty, too. Make Trump trip over his hair.

  77. perljammer says:

    Disclaimer: I am NOT a supporter of Donald Trump. He actually scares me, for quite a few reasons. But, that’s not why I’m posting here today.

    I just came here to point out that conventional political wisdom has been fabulously wrong about Trump’s candidacy since the day he announced he would run. First he was a joke of a candidate. Then he was a real candidate, but he didn’t stand a chance of rising towards the top of the field. Then he was at the top of the field, but didn’t stand a chance of clinching the nomination. Now he’s the presumptive Republican nominee but he doesn’t stand a chance of winning the general election.

    The old guard of the GOP has been resolutely against Trump since the beginning, and it hasn’t had a significant impact on voters’ attitudes. The people who are voting for him hold the party leadership in contempt, and that’s putting it mildly. They don’t need party apparatchiks to get them out to vote. They’re not listening to the advice of the GOP on how to feel or whom to support. They don’t care if the Bush family, McCain, Romney, and Ryan or any other of the GOP leadership don’t support Trump; as far as the voters are concerned, those people are a big part of the problems they think will be solved by a Trump presidency.

    As for Trump himself, it remains to be seen whether these “anti-endorsements” will put him off message; considering his record, I have doubt that he’ll have much more to say about them than, “Those people and their opinions are irrelevant. Now let me tell you about my fantastic ideas to rebuild America”, all the while hammering his opponent with invective and insults. He doesn’t care if he’s called a racist, xenophobic woman-hating bully, and neither do his supporters.

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