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The reason John McCain is saying this is because of this. It would be glorious for him to lose on this note.

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I can’t imagine who would be better suited to be Donald Trump’s running mate than Newt Gingrich, and I’d be quite surprised if it doesn’t happen. As the prototypical “stupid person’s idea of a smart person” alone, Gingrich should be irresistible to Trump. As a longtime (and extremely successful) purveyor of the nastiest form of partisanship, thinly veiled race hatred and entitlement-shredding (admittedly, he was rather less successful on the last one) who still somehow managed to be respected by the press for ages, Gingrich should be an unusually helpful asset (and mentor) for Trump. Like Trump, he’s a serial exaggerator and resume-inflater (his claims to have “brought down” Jim Wright are a bit undermined by the fact that every ethics charge he brought against Wright was dismissed). And given Trump’s contempt for the media, you can’t top this:

Come on, how can Trump pass that up? What, he’s going to pick some loser like Tim Pawlenty?

(Incidentally, I continue to think that Gingrich is more right than not on the substance of that clip, although coming from the man who spent years and millions of taxpayer dollars investigating Bill Clinton’s sexual behavior, the unacknowledged hypocrisy is massive.)

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Lev filed this under: ,  

Rubio deciding to run for another Senate term at the last minute is a profoundly dumb decision for whatever chances he might have at resuming a political career. Why would voters give him another term after he (self-admittedly) neglected his job for a year and then got flattened by Trump in his home state’s primary? Let’s not forget that whole “hating the Senate” thing, or that he’s not doing at all well in the polls. Not at all. Put simply, it beggars the mind why Marco Rubio would want to make a hasty run for office with Latino-repelling Donald Trump at the top of the ticket. It seems like such a desperation move, as though he thought his defeat would mean anything other than a Bobby Jindal-style political oblivion for himself. It just goes to show you how central media hype was to his ascent (and, very possibly, to his conception of himself): without a level of noise from the media equivalent to ten Metallica concerts about what an amazing politician he is, he faded into utter obscurity within three months of being touted as a likely next president. It stands to reason that if he were confident in the chances of a second presidential campaign or a run for the senate or governorship in 2018, he would not be doing this, when the humiliations and mistakes are so fresh.

Some have made the case for Rubio as the ultimate party hack. In that case, it would be richly ironic if party pressure based largely on defunct media hype convinced Rubio to undertake a disastrous Senate race–i.e., that his assiduous courting of the party destroyed him completely. No great loss if it did.

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Josh Marshall:

What’s most telling about this is that little of this has been due to bad luck or news events out of Trump’s control. With the partial exception of the release of Trump University documents, it’s been almost entirely from Trump himself. A month ago Republican elected officials were unenthusiastically but resolutely rallying around Trump. Since then they’ve slowly been reduced to a public and political version of a family dealing with a hopeless addict or a degenerate gambler. They keep saying, insisting he’ll change, only to have him provide more evidence he can’t, won’t and has no intention to. Their very indulgence seems to prompt more unbridled behavior.

The disgraceful way Trump handled the hours after the Orlando atrocity seems to have confirmed for many Republicans that change will never change or pivot or whatever other phrase we’re now using. It’s not an act. It’s him. How this couldn’t have been clear months ago is a topic for the psychology of denial and wishful thinking. But now it seems clear.

No single poll should ever carry that much weight. But yesterday’s Bloomberg Poll, which is actually in line with the trend of polls of recent weeks, will probably serve as a wake-up call for where things could go. (ABC and CBS both have polls out this morning which lack ‘horse race’ numbers – probably coming soon – but show equally devastating approval numbers for Trump.) The GOP might pay a catastrophic price for months with the party headed by a man who is erratic, morally rudderless, mercurial and emotionally unstable – and that on his better days.

As I’ve said before, the nation really dodged a bullet here. It was easy to see how either Marco Rubio or John Kasich (perhaps even Jeb Bush, maybe, possibly) could have superficially rebranded themselves as a different kind of Republican by means purely rhetorical and symbolic changes, with aid of a compliant media. Thankfully none of those guys were any good at actually building a winning campaign.

If you want my advice, don’t bother giving any money to Hillary for the general election–Trump is likely to be woefully underfunded anyway. Put it instead on the Democratic challengers to John McCain and Chuck Grassley. I doubt many of the swing-state Republican Senators survive a Trump blowout, but these two will need a bit more of a push to lose, so…

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Lev filed this under: ,  

The only two groups of any significant size in today’s Republican Party are outright bigots and people who are willing to be led by bigots for their own reasons. I personally think the second group is even worse than the first–bigotry is ignorance, but those folks understand well enough and have made a choice purely out of self-interest. Ordinarily in politics, things aren’t ever so morally simple. Right now, right here, they are.

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The Republican Party is now a de facto third party in California, behind progressive Democrats and somewhat less progressive Democrats. Loretta Sanchez advancing to the top-two general election with a massive 18% total shouldn’t necessarily be a tribute to her campaign skills (such as they are) but rather as a testament to the inability of the state GOP to perform even the most basic functions of a political party. Not that that’s necessarily news, as they basically failed to do this in 2014 and Karl Rove had to parachute in to keep them from nominating an open white supremacist in a write-off race. Crazy how things change so fast, huh?

Admittedly, this does raise the troubling possibility that Sanchez could run at Harris from the right and win by assembling a coalition of Republicans and less-moderate Democrats behind her, along with significant Hispanic support, which is the sort of possibility that could excite media pundits. I wouldn’t hold my breath though.

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The Republican Party cannot ignore young people forever. It eventually will have to expand its base, and post Trump there aren’t going to be lots of unalienated possible blocs of older voters to appeal to, so going with people too young to remember your ugly recent chapters is a better bet. And while the Millennials are most likely lost to them for good, there will continue to be more cohorts of young people, and it’s fallacious to think of them as automatic liberals–fallacious historically and philosophically. But Republicans really don’t have a great plan on how to appeal to them. The new plan relies on one part co-opting liberal rhetoric (and some ideas), another part lecturing and technofetishism:

The authors stressed that their report was for all Republicans, and said young people should be educated about “freedom” because “they have no clue about ‘freedom’ in their own lives, no hint of why they need it, when they use it, or how to value it”.

The key, according to the authors, is to speak about freedom “in practice”, particularly through millennials’ “ability to connect with others and share information”: their phones.

“Our phones are not something ‘other’ than us. They are us,” they wrote. “We are one with everyone, everywhere. That connection expands what we can do, which necessarily expands who we are and what we can become.”

Typically, when your party’s comeback plan requires lecturing a group of people about concepts they just don’t understand, it’s not a very good plan. They don’t have Soviet-style control of the media to perform such an education, and even that can be overrated. (Just ask the Soviets.) And the tone of this is bizarre: it’s as though the GOP’s youth outreach team just realized that people like smartphones. “Ok, so our polling information says kids love their phones. That’s the ticket! The phones, yeah, the phones.” It reflects a level of with-it-ness unseen since perhaps the publication of Go Ask Alice.

The real problem here is that for each successive cohort of young people, race, gender and sexuality issues are likely to be less likely to be backlash-inducing. I’m not saying it’s at all certain, but definitely likely. Things that a few years earlier would have caused considerable discomfort–gay marriage, transgender issues–are now so completely normalized for young people I can hardly believe it when I interact with them. Not so sure that that’s going to be overcome with more past-its-sell-date Reaganite economics that young people in particular seem indifferent to, as do many members of the Republican Party itself. Obviously they’ll come back eventually, but it could take quite a long time of rebuilding first, and I’m okay with that.

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