Lion of the Blogosphere

David Leonhardt, still clueless about Trump

Leonhardt, who who at least had the decency to apologize for being completely wrong in October, is still completely clueless about why Trump is leading in the polls.

Leonhardt says that the Republican electorate has become “radicalized” and “angry” and he implies they are also racist.

The real reason is twofold.

(1) I have become convinced by Scott Adams that Trump is a “master persuader.” This is something that Leonhardt doesn’t get, because as a policy wonk he thinks that elections are about policy, when in reality, emotion plays a bigger role in who people vote for.

(2) For years the Republican leadership has been radically more pro-immigration than the actual Republican voters. Although I said that policy isn’t as important as emotion, nevertheless Trump has discovered that this is a winning issue for him. He stopped talking about the other specific policy issues that he previously brought up earlier in his campaign such as the fantasy tax plan. (He probably didn’t even give much input into that tax plan, some staffer who is more conventionally conservative-Republican than Trump probably wrote it.)

* * *

In other Trump news, Scott Adams thinks that the Sarah Palin endorsement is a big win for Trump, and Trump has pulled further ahead in the UK betting markets since the last time I checked.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

January 19, 2016 at 11:21 pm

Posted in Politics

22 Responses

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  1. Anyone who thinks Palin’s endorsement helps Trump probably also believes the repeal of Glass-Steagall “unleashed the dynamism of the economy.” ANYTHING that distracts attention from the danger of Muslim immigration is a negative. An endorsement from someone known mostly for being sexy can only turn off women who might otherwise be ready to abandon the black party.


    January 20, 2016 at 1:08 am

    • The Palin endorsement probably does help Trump in Iowa. Palin is still popular with evangelicals and Tea Party types, the very people who would tend to lean towards Cruz. It won’t make a difference anywhere else but it’s important for Iowa.

      Mike Street Station

      January 20, 2016 at 9:20 am

    • You have to do 1 before you do 2, and this is not the general election. During the last two days Trump did a masterful tactical work in Iowa: First he got Jerry Falwell Jr. tacit endorsement while setting a record attendance at Liberty University. Yesterday he got a one-two punch with John Wayne’s daughter endorsement in Wayne territory, Iowa. Then he got Palin’s, which will help getting votes in Iowa. By doing that he covered the evangelical and conservative flanks. If Trump wins Iowa the election is over. If you watched The Five yesterday, Dana Perino and Greg Gutfeld were in mourning.


      January 20, 2016 at 10:05 am

      • I agree with this. Also, yesterday the Iowa governor, who is very popular and says he never endorses candidates during the caucuses, said flat out to reporters that Cruz must be defeated (because he supports big oil instead of big ethanol). It’s been a good few days for Trump.

        Andrew E.

        January 20, 2016 at 10:37 am

      • I’ve enjoyed Fox News tears

        Mike Street Station

        January 20, 2016 at 10:59 am

  2. “For years the Republican leadership has been radically more pro-immigration than the actual Republican voters”

    That’s even more the case with the Democratic party leadership against the Democratic voters.

    “fantasy tax plan”

    Obama’s corporate tax plan has a lot of the same provisions and goals as the Trump corporate tax plan. They both cut rates and close loopholes to bring money trapped overseas back home. Republicans have blockaded any such changes in Congress. Democrats in Congress aren’t enthusiastic either.

    Trump and Obama just have vision for America that makes them seem twenty centimeters taller than their competition. You could see it in 2008 and again in 2016.

    Remember the corporate tax reform was the only part Trump talked about; I think that’s the part he cares about himself. The personal tax cut was just standard Republican pablum that will never happen.

    ” still completely clueless”

    There’s a great photo of Cruz, Carson, and Trump at the debates in that article.


    January 20, 2016 at 1:08 am

  3. (1) I have become convinced by Scott Adams that Trump is a “master persuader.” This is something that Leonhardt doesn’t get, because as a policy wonk he thinks that elections are about policy, when in reality, emotion plays a bigger role in who people vote for.

    It’s both policy and persuasion. Adams is right that Trump is a “master persuader”, but he discounts the importance of policy (consider his post where he predicted Trump might propose an amnesty). To understand the importance of policy, consider a simple thought experiment: what if Marco Rubio had Trump’s persuasion ability, but was still pro-amnesty: would he be leading in the polls? No.

    Dave Pinsen

    January 20, 2016 at 2:24 am

    • When Trump declared, he addressed two policy issues in his speech: immigration and trade. That’s what blew me away, because he was taking policy positions that no Republican was taking but were popular with much of the Republican base and the working class of both parties.

      Mike Street Station

      January 20, 2016 at 9:27 am

  4. All elitists think that people are stupid and count for nothing. This election we gonna show them. The idiot was relying on the ‘invisible caucus’ to make his predictions. We the People are gonna schlong the elites this time. We needed a leader and we have him.


    January 20, 2016 at 6:51 am

  5. The next milestone is when Trump goes odds on.


    January 20, 2016 at 7:19 am

  6. If Trump applies the anti-trust, anti-monopoly, consumer protections laws already on the books to the entire medical industry (not just the insurers which he’s promised to do) then he will save $600-$800 billion a year from the federal budget via the resulting savings to Medicare and Medicaid. (Incidentally, this is why the bulk of health care needs to be private, with anti-monopoly laws enforced, so that it can make price discovery work which prices can then be applied to the government funded portion of health care).

    With this, Trump’s tax plan is no longer fantasy.

    Andrew E.

    January 20, 2016 at 10:06 am

  7. So hey this guy has a lot of complimentary things to say about the GOP electorate…

    While explaining that he believes that Donald Trump’s success in the Republican party does not mean that establishment conservatism is dying, GOP strategist Rick Wilson dismissed the “childless single men” who support Trump’s presidential bid.

    “The fact of the matter is, most of them are childless single men who masturbate to anime. They’re not real political players. These are not people who matter in the overall course of humanity,” Wilson said of Trump supporters on MSNBC’s “All In with Chris Hayes.”

    “What’s really driving the party, though, is still a limited government conservatism,” Wilson continued. “We don’t always get there by a straight line path. We don’t always get there in a direct way. But that is still what drives this party.”

    I guess that last part is an attempt to explain away the fact that the GOP has not done a fucking thing to achieve the supposed goal of limited government since 1994. They haven’t even tried to achieve this goal or taken any obvious simple steps towards it when they had the power to do so. But it’s all about achieving this goal indirectly, or something. Ya see, when you vote for more spending and more programs, and do nothing to stop Democrat spending or the expansion of government, you’re really working indirectly to limit government, so please keep voting for us so we can keep the plan on track…


    January 20, 2016 at 10:26 am

    • All through the Obama years rank and file GOP voters came out to work and vote for GOP candidates, and won many victories in legislative races and gubernatorial races. But once elected most GOP officials don’t fight for what their voters want them to fight for. So anger among ordinary Republican voters is legit, and voting for an outsider is totally rational. Whether Trump will deliver what GOP voters want remains to be seen, but it is a gamble that makes sense, especially considering the opponent is the dreadful Hilary and the wacky Bernie.


      January 20, 2016 at 11:48 am

    • > These are not people who matter in the overall course of humanity

      Elitist scumbag POS. It isn’t up to him to decide who matters in the overall course of humanity.

      Also notice how he is using dog-whistle words to signal “white males.” Right, white males don’t matter, and our political views and human existential experiences don’t matter. But yet, we are privileged. Tell me how that works again?

      Any class of people who you want to hate, you must first dehumanize. Our human experience, feelings and desires don’t matter because we’re white males. Racist and sexist much? Oh yeah that’s right, it’s not possible to be racist against whites, or sexist against males. Dehumanization again. We don’t have any human rights or dignity, because of slavery, or something.


      January 20, 2016 at 3:14 pm

    • If not mattering in the course of humanity means not being implicated in the current demonic regime, then I’m quite glad that I don’t matter – for the sake of the eternal karma of my soul.

      Lloyd Dobler: I got a question. If you guys know so much about women, how come you’re here at like the Gas ‘n’ Sip on a Saturday night completely alone drinking beers with no women anywhere?

      Joe: By choice, man.


      January 20, 2016 at 3:18 pm

  8. When the equal time requirement was abolished for radio and TV, conservative talk radio took off. Liberal talk radio never caught on. In part I think this was because conservatives didn’t like the information they were getting from the regular media outlets (MSM), so they welcomed news and commentary spun for conservatives. Liberals just were not equally upset with MSM news and commentary. Talk radio was followed by FOX News and the conservative internet sphere.

    The problem is that talk radio, FOX News, and conservative websites are all in the advertising funded entertainment business. They are competing with each other and the MSM for listners/viewers. They have been tuning their political messaging over the last 20 years to maximize ad revenue. They have been so successful in getting conservative eyes and ears to the extent that establishment Republicans do not pay attention to the MSM any more.

    Talk radio, Fox, Druge, Briebart, … form a sort of Conservative News and Entertainment Complex (CNEC). Back in the early nineties Newt Gingrich viewed talk radio as a tool conservative leaders could use to mobilize their base on important issues. Today that equation has totally flipped. The CNEC is in control and can mobilize conservatives members of Congress to address the issues it sees as important.

    The problem with this is that the Republican party in Congress thinks it needs to try to be a governing party since they are the majority in both house of Congress. The CNEC is interested in ad revenue and does not care about governing. The policy positions advocated by the CNEC don’t have to make sense, they just need to attract viewers.

    The Republican base now gets almost all its information from the CNEC. Thus we have this almost policy free Republican primary where candidates are evaluated based on their entertainment skills, not their governing skills.

    Trump is a master entertainer and that is why he is on top.


    January 20, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    • mikeca,

      That whole comment is ridiculous.

      First, conservatives don’t exist in some right-wing bubble. They live in a left-wing society. Everything from the corporate culture to the media is some form of leftism. All right-wing news is doing is reporting on the left-wing elements that conservatives don’t already see.

      Second, what’s “entertaining” about Trump? He’s not doing handstands or parlor tricks. His entire position is trade and immigration…you know, the stuff people actually care about.


      January 21, 2016 at 8:12 am

      • One of the most dramatic examples of the information bubble was Romney’s total surprise at losing the 2012 election. The MSM and polling experts were predicting Obama was likely to win re-election, but Romney was listening to Fox news that was using all kinds of arguments (unskewing polls) to predict Romney was sure to win. Romney was apparently totally shocked at losing the election.

        “Benghazi” is another example. Inside the the CNEC “Benghazi” is a code word for some conspiracy by Obama or Clinton, but in spite of endless Congressional investigations by house Republicans, they never found anything. The MSM lost interest in Benghazi when nothing was ever found. The CNEC mostly forgot to tell listeners that nothing has ever been found, and continues to mentions Benghazi as some serious scandal, but either without ever saying what the scandal was or by repeating one of the various conspiracy theories that the Republican House Congressional investigations have shown to be without merit.

        If you don’t see the bubble, it is probably because you are inside it.

        Trump is a reality TV star. Trump’s real estate business has mostly been a wash. He almost lost his shirt on the Atlantic City Casino. What he has been very successful at is reality TV and in marketing and licensing Trump branded merchandise. His presidential campaign builds on his reality TV entertainment skills.


        January 21, 2016 at 9:35 pm

  9. That ironic thing is that Rick Wilson himself is on the road to complete irrelevance. Even a lot of the GOP donors no longer take him seriously and if Trump wins the nomination Wilson’s career is probably over.

    Otis the Sweaty

    January 20, 2016 at 4:17 pm

  10. Leonhardt says that the Republican electorate has become “radicalized” and “angry” and he implies they are also racist.

    As opposed to the “radicalized and angry” Sanders voters who are saintly, noble creatures filled will love and rainbows and unicorns?


    January 21, 2016 at 1:54 pm

  11. That ironic thing is that Rick Wilson himself…..

    Actually looks like what he hates.

    He’s a laughably ugly White guy who looks like an anime loving, single man who might be susspected of molesting young boys.

    The guy’s lack of self awareness is amazing.


    January 21, 2016 at 1:58 pm

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