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It’s easy to laugh at the New York Times‘s frantic rewriting of its Donald Trump story from yesterday evening. That red-line graphic is bound to become instantly iconic in some circles. But this is strongly revelatory. With Trump, there was every reason to be skeptical that he was sincere in executing his immigration “pivot”, not to mention whether it would be effective or convincing. As it turned out, the whole thing was (characteristically) yet another exercise in domination, with poor dope President Pena Nieto as the subject. To confer with the guy in the manner he did and then jet off to Arizona and give the sort of immigration speech that gives Jefferson Beauregard Sessions a stiffy is a massive joke at the Mexican President’s expense. This is strongly in keeping with how Trump has treated pretty much everyone outside of his core circle: dominance, humiliation. And yet, it was like a bolt out of the blue for some.

For the entirety of this campaign, the political media has had just the hardest time understanding Trump. First he was a sideshow clown enjoying a Herman Cain moment. Then he was certainly never going to beat handsome young Marco Rubes, because the party would never decide on him. Then after he won primaries, he became a superhero who could do anything, win over any voters. Then after he started tanking, journalists started looking for that pivot. To some degree this is groupthink: people trying to use the standard model of a politician to understand Trump. I can understand the power of entrenched habits, but after a certain point, when do you just drop all the models and try to understand the actual dude? How many times does he make a fool of you? It’s not like he’s a particularly deep or complicated person, in fact, the majority of people see right through him. The wages of departing from the values of empricism…

Anyway, there’s also this:

Francisco Goldman is reporting that the crime perpetrated against the nation of Mexico today is now being described in Mexico as the end of the PRI.

Well, we can always hope. To borrow Scott Lemieux’s shtick, the PRI are SUPERGENIUSES clearly. In any event, finding a comically stupid front to run your criminal enterprise political party can have its downsides…

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Lev filed this under: ,  

167737_600It’s easy to ascribe this to stupidity but these people obviously have an agenda. I just can’t for the life of me guess what the fuck it is.

Several major Latino surrogates for Donald Trump are reconsidering their support for him following the Republican nominee’s hardline speech on immigration Wednesday night.

Jacob Monty, a member of Trump’s National Hispanic Advisory Council, quickly resigned after the speech.  “I was a strong supporter of Donald Trump when I believed he was going to address the immigration problem realistically and compassionately,” said Monty, a Houston attorney who has aggressively made the Latino case for Trump. “What I heard today was not realistic and not compassionate.”

Seriously?  Nobody can be this dumb and naive… right?

“The ‘National Hispanic Advisory Council’ seems to be simply for optics and I do not have the time or energy for a scam.”

Perish the thought that a hispanic advisory council for the Trump campaign was for optics.  /faint

[Alfonso Aguilar, the president of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles,] said he was not speaking on behalf of any organization, and hadn’t reached a final conclusion, but was deeply troubled by Trump’s address, saying that while the campaign has recently promised to deal with undocumented immigrants already living in the country in a “humane” way, “did you hear anything in that speech that was compassionate and humane? No.”

I don’t buy it.  Somehow Messrs. Monty and Aguilar figure this lifts their profile somehow.  I guess with the news coverage it does.  So maybe that’s it?  15 seconds of fawning by the national media?

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I’m not sure which is more pathetic, that Donald Trump is such a bad politician and candidate that “a not disastrous day” is plausibly a big win, or that the media is so desperate for horserace that they are seriously pushing this as a game-changer. It’ll be forgotten in a week.

To borrow an appropriate quotation: Sad!

Also pertinent, from one of the few pundits worth a damn:

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Lev filed this under: ,  

Schadenfreudalicious

Ann Coulter’s new book is called “In Trump We Trust,” but the conservative pundit might already be regretting that title.

There’s nothing Trump can do that won’t be forgiven,” she wrote in her book. “Except change his immigration policies.”

Trump did just that on Wednesday night with a plan to offer legal status to undocumented immigrants, an announcement that came the very same night Coulter held her book launch party.

Incidentally, how fucked up is Ann Coulter that “amnesty” would be the only thing that Trump could do to piss her off.  Shitperson.

h/t NewsUsa

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I tend to doubt that the Trumpian energy will simply “go away” after he (most likely) loses. Perhaps elite Republicans would like to tamp it down for a bit and retool, but that simply isn’t in the cards. One of the first things President Clinton would do would be to appoint a new Supreme Court Justice. My guess is that that person won’t be Merrick Garland, who will likely go down as President Obama’s final, futile olive branch of bipartisanship. Regardless of who it is, immigration politics will be at the heart of that confirmation process as well as the politics immediately afterward. A Dem SCOTUS will almost certainly reverse the Fifth Circuit’s finding against Obama’s unilateral immigration reform, or if that case has already been heard, then Clinton can (and will) simply issue a similar order in the sure knowledge that it would be upheld by the Court. Regardless, this fight will ensure that the Trumpian energy is given no time to dissipate within the Republican Party. It’s easy to imagine Trump himself rebounding from a big defeat by getting on FOX and screaming about immigration a lot. Maybe setting himself up for another run in 2020. Crazy to imagine, but does anyone really think Paul Ryan can stop him?

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Lev filed this under: ,  

Atrios delivers a fantastic piece about the “both sides” tendencies in the media. I think the point really needs to be made that the MSM and the GOP–the two institutions who created Trump–paved the way by essentially abandoning empiricism in their own ways. The Republican Party rejected empiricism in large part because it conflicted with deeply emotionally-held beliefs (e.g. guns) or because it conflicted with the financial interests of the people who own the party (e.g. climate change). (Though there’s a pretty porous membrane separating these categories, sure.) And the media rejected empiricism because they panicked when they lost so many customers to FOX and Rush, and have not stopped trying to get them back. Of course, they’ll never come back, and Bill Kristol will laugh all the way to the bank whenever some MSM outlet pays him to spout nonsense b/c “balance.” But ultimately that’s that “both sides” is about.

The thing is, of course, that when you refuse to run criticism of one particular party unless you can find something similar the other side has done (or unless a notable member of that party publicly opposes something they did), you tend to miss big stories. Like, oh, I don’t know, the rise of Trump. There are certainly ways in which Trump is unusual for a presidential nominee, but as an enemy of empiricism he fits squarely into current Republican trends. Bob Dole, at one point an avowed enemy of supply-side economics, actually picked nonsense budget pioneer Jack Kemp as his running mate. Dubya rejected environmental science, budget math, and any semblance of a realistic view of what could be done in Iraq. McCain ran almost entirely on his (media-recited) biography as a national hero and selfless servant, even though he divorced his first wife for getting fat and only became a naval aviator because his dad pulled some strings, enabling him to be an incompetent Maverick wannabe who crashed multiple planes (oh, and he picked a Victoria Jackson SNL character as his veep choice, despite running a campaign with the motto “country first”). Long story short, notwithstanding a truly harrowing spell in the Hanoi Hilton, McCain is a hypocritical, selfish asshole and always has been, but the media recreated him as this glittering Cincinnatus. Then there was Mitt Romney, whose aggressive assault on any notion of objective truth was truly breathtaking and paved the way for Trump in ways that doth make him protest too much. Sure, Trump is a little worse than Romney, but ultimately not all that much, and the progression is clear enough. The media, however, spent the last twenty years pretending that nothing had changed. Wages of suppressing any trace of a point of view, I guess.

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Lev filed this under: ,  

There sure are a lot of unlikely suspects facepalming over Trump’s irresponsible bullshit:

Radio host Hugh Hewitt sparred with Donald Trump on his radio program Thursday morning, pressing the Republican presidential nominee on his claim that President Barack Obama was “the founder of ISIS.”

“Last night you said the president was the founder of ISIS,” Hewitt said. “I know what you meant. You meant that he created the vacuum, he lost the peace.”

“No, I meant he’s the founder of ISIS,” Trump replied. “I do. He was the most valuable player. I give him the most valuable player award. I give her, too, by the way, Hillary Clinton.”

Hewitt pressed Trump, explaining that Obama has not been “sympathetic” to the terrorist organization, “hates them,” and is “trying to kill them.”

“I don’t care,” Trump said. “He was the founder. His – the way he got out of Iraq was that – that was the founding of ISIS, OK?”…

An exasperated Hewitt responded by saying he’d “just use different language to communicate” the message.

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