Thursday, January 11, 2024

11: Trump

And Then There Were Two: ‘So Yappy, So Nyah-Nyah-Nyah, So Smarmy’ And there was his strange decision to accuse his opponent on the stage of “ballistic podiatry” rather than just say she shot herself in the foot......... DeSantis and Haley need to win many, many votes from Republicans who currently support Trump. Instead, the candidates spent most of the night tearing each other apart. ........ I’ve been to numerous DeSantis caucus events in Iowa, and he is better on the ground talking with Iowans than he comes across on television — looser, more comfortable and less stilted. You could hear that in the positive responses he received from the studio audience. That said, he came across as stale, disgruntled and small. His knowledge of issues seemed shallow and his foreign policy weak-kneed. A man this petty and cruel shouldn’t be anywhere near the Oval Office, especially behind the desk. We’ve already tried that.

The Case for Trump … by Someone Who Wants Him to Lose Barring a political miracle or an act of God, it is overwhelmingly likely that Donald Trump will again be the Republican Party’s nominee for president. Assuming the Democratic nominee in the fall is Joe Biden, polls show Trump with a better-than-even chance of returning to the White House next year. ...... Too many people — especially progressives — fail to think deeply about the enduring sources of his appeal ....... Arguably the single most important geopolitical fact of the century is the mass migration of people from south to north and east to west, causing tectonic demographic, cultural, economic, and ultimately political shifts. Trump understood this from the start of his presidential candidacy in 2015, the same year Europe was overwhelmed by a largely uncontrolled migration from the Middle East and Africa. As he said the following year, “A nation without borders is not a nation at all. ............. enforcing control at the border — whether through a wall, a fence, or some other mechanism — isn’t racism. It’s a basic requirement of statehood and peoplehood, which any nation has an obligation to protect and cherish. ........... Only now, as the consequences of Biden’s lackadaisical approach to mass migration have become depressingly obvious on the sidewalks and in the shelters and public schools of liberal cities like New York and Chicago, are Trump’s opponents on this issue beginning to see the point. ........... A job market is structured by rules and regulations, not just an endless supply of desperate laborers prepared to work longer for less. ............ when liberal elites insist that things are going well while overwhelming majorities of Americans say they are not, Trump’s unflattering view captured the mood of the country. .......... persistently sluggish economic growth and a plunging labor-force participation rate that had never recovered from the 2008 financial crisis. ........ There was a rising death rate among middle-aged white people and declining life expectancy at birth, in part because of sharply rising deaths from suicide, alcoholism or drug addiction. More than 12 percent of all adult males had a felony conviction on their record, leaving them in the shadowlands of American life. And there was a palpable sense of economic decline, with fewer and fewer younger Americans having any hope of matching their parents’ incomes at the same stages of life. ............. Labor-force participation remains essentially where it was in the last days of the Obama administration. Deaths of despair keep rising. The cost of living has risen sharply, and while the price of ordinary goods may finally be coming down, rents haven’t. Only 36 percent of voters think the American dream still holds true ........... If anything, Trump’s thesis may be truer today than it was the first time he ran on it. .......... “If you’re a public-health person and you’re trying to make a decision, you have this very narrow view of what the right decision is, and that is something that will save a life,” the former National Institutes of Health director Francis Collins acknowledged last month. “You attach zero value to whether this actually totally disrupts people’s lives, ruins the economy, and has many kids kept out of school in a way they never quite recovered.” ............. What about the threat Trump poses to the very foundations of our democracy? All disqualifying — in my view. .......... why so many voters are unimpressed about the “end of democracy” argument. ............ Prominent Democrats also denied the legitimacy of George W. Bush’s two elections ......... Many rank-and-file Republicans regard the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol as a disgrace and the lowest point of Trump’s presidency. But they also believe that it wasn’t so much an insurrection as it was an ugly temper tantrum by Trump and his most rabid supporters, which never had a chance of succeeding. .......... An American version of Vladimir Putin he simply is not. ........... the 2024 election will not hinge on questions of democracy but of delivery: Which candidate will do more for voters? That will turn on perceptions of which candidate did more for voters when they were in office. Biden’s supporters are convinced that the president has a good story to tell. But they also think that Trump has no story at all — only a pack of self-aggrandizing lies. That’s liberal self-delusion. ........... Excluding the pandemic, a once-in-a-century event that would have knocked almost any sitting president sideways, Americans have reasons to remember the Trump years as good ones — and good in a way that completely defied expert predictions of doom. Wages outpaced inflation, something they have just begun to do under Biden .......... Unemployment fell to 50-year lows (as it has been under Biden); stocks boomed; inflation and interest rates were low. ....... He appealed to Americans who operated in the economy of things — builders, manufacturers, energy producers, food services and the like — rather than in the economy of words — lawyers, academics, journalists, civil servants. ............ he shared the law-and-order instincts of normal Americans, including respect for the police, something the left seemed to care about on Jan. 6 but was notably less concerned about during the months of rioting, violence and semi-anarchy that followed George Floyd’s murder. ........... Does the world feel safer under Biden — with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Hamas’s and Hezbollah’s assault on Israel, Houthi attacks on shipping in international waters, the Chinese open threat to invade Taiwan — than it did under Trump? Trump may have generated a lot of noise, but his crazy talk and air of unpredictability seemed to keep America’s adversaries on their guard and off balance in a way that Biden’s instinctive caution and feeble manner simply does not. ............. Ordinary voters care typically about results. What many care less about is Trump’s purported offensiveness. .......... brokenness has become the defining feature of much of American life: broken families, broken public schools, broken small towns and inner cities, broken universities, broken health care, broken media, broken churches, broken borders, broken government. At best, they have become shells of their former selves. And there’s a palpable sense that the autopilot that America’s institutions and their leaders are on — brain-dead and smug — can’t continue. .......... It shouldn’t seem strange to Trump’s opponents that a man whom we regard as an agent of chaos should be seen by his supporters as precisely the man who can sweep the decks clean. I happen to think that’s exactly wrong — you don’t mend damaged systems by breaking them even further. Repair and restoration is almost always better than reaction or revolution. But I don’t see Trump’s opponents making headway against him until they at least acknowledge the legitimacy and power of the fundamental complaint. If you’re saying it’s “Morning in America” when 77 percent of Americans think the country is on the wrong track, you’re preaching to the wrong choir — and the wrong country.

One of Trump’s Oldest Tactics in Business and Politics: I’m Rubber. You’re Glue. Whenever Donald Trump is accused of something, he responds by accusing his opponent of that exact thing. The idea is less to argue that Mr. Trump is clean than to suggest that everyone else is dirty.

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