03.06.2016 11:24 AM

Dowd on Trumpism, and monsters

On the one hand, she says what everyone else (including me) has said – Trump is a wild dog the GOP set loose in their own backyard, and now they’re upset that he’s barking (or biting) too often:

For all the Republican establishment’s self-righteous bleating, Trump is nothing more than an unvarnished, cruder version. For years, it has fanned, stoked and exploited the worst angels among the nativists, racists, Pharisees and angry white men, concurring in anti-immigrant measures, restricting minority voting, whipping up anti-Planned Parenthood hysteria and enabling gun nuts. 

 How lame was it that after saying he was a crazy choice, Rubio, Ted Cruz, Paul Ryan and John McCain turned around and said they will support Trump if he’s the nominee?

Then, on the other hand, she says it’s all kind of a hoot:

After watching Hillary Clinton, for whom campaigning is a nuisance, and Barack Obama, who disdains politics, it’s fun to see someone having fun. Like Bill Clinton, Trump talks and talks to crowds. They feed his narcissism, and in turn, he creates an intimacy even in an arena that leaves both sides awash in pleasure. It’s easy to believe him when he says that, unlike President Obama, he would enjoy endlessly negotiating with obstructionists and those on the other side of the aisle. 

 That’s the wicked fun part.”

Therein lies the Trumb-rub, to me. Donald Trump is inarguably the bastard son of the arranged marriage of the trailer park Tea Party and the Southern gentry of the formerly-dignified Republican Party. No argument here. Nope. 

But he’s the media’s bastard son, too. They – we – made him as surely as the Tea Partiers did. We’re his parents, too. 

And, like all parents, we can’t look away from our child, however much he’s turned into an evil little monster. 


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    Al in Cranbrook says:

    In the midst of all this, Nancy Reagan passes away this morning at 94 years.

    At least for a while now, people will be reminded of the inspirational and measured leadership of Ronald Reagan, and how important that was to America.

    Together again, may they R.I.P.

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    Houland Wolfe says:

    Margaret Dowd is right that Trump gets some things right. The Iraq war was a monumental mistake. Free trade has exported well-paying manufacturing jobs to low wage countries. Many in the U.S. feel less secure militarily and economically than they did a generation ago. Trump, like Rob Ford, is so outside of the establishment that millions will vote for him, just to shake it up. They figure it can’t get much worse. Can Trump win? Voter turnout for Republicans has increased to the level that Democrats experienced in 2012. Meanwhile, the Democrats are down the the 2012 Republican level. I’m holding my breath.

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      The Doctor says:

      That very good Rolling Stone article that another poster linked to a couple of days ago pointed out a couple of policy areas where Trump, with all of his obvious flaws, is on the right side of the issue:

      1. The anti-trust exemption for insurance companies, which Trump opposes, and many credible policy wonks agree with him; and

      2. The current US laws on the purchase of prescription drugs, which cost the US unnecessary billions of dollars in health care costs. Trump told a whopping lie about the money that could be saved, but on the merits of the issue, again, many policy wonks agree with Trump on the merits of the issue.

      I guess it’s a bit like the broken clock thing. I don’t support or like him, but it’s not like every position he has taken is without merit.

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    Richard says:

    He is absolutely a media creation. Borne out of our infatuation with rich people doing crazy rich people things, Trump’s modern celebrity status comes from his stint on The Apprentice. Who would have thought that he would have turned his infamy from the show into his own ever-growing reality series: The 2016 Republican Campaign and its spin-off, The 2016 US Presidential Election? Fortunately, the final part of the trilogy has already been made: Idiocracy.

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    davie says:

    I follow this a little more each week. I have wondered about the people voting for Trump and what is motivating them.
    He challenges a party system, and electoral system, by claiming that big donors buy and own parties and candidates, and many people like that.
    He makes fun of mainstream media and its reporters, and many like that, too.
    He rips into corporations for sending investment and jobs offshore, and that is popular.

    Let me try this one as a possible contribution to Trump’s support:
    In 1930’s USA some similar leaders made similar appeals to working people and families; Huey Long taking on big shots in Louisiana(big oil, mostly), Father Coughlin knew who to blame. At the same time unions were in battles everywhere to become the voice of working people.
    In the 1950’s and 1960’s, unions were at their peak in America, and they provided grievance procedures to handle workplace issues, and were a voice for working people in politics generally. (Attacks on unionism continued, but the unions seemed to hold their own.)

    From about 1970 on, unions were being attacked more successfully, and for the past decades, almost no working person belongs to a union. So working people have little to help them get issues addressed in the work place, and they do not have much voice in politics. Any voice in politics is a pretend voice with the Democratic Party, which regularly betrays working people’s needs. The present Democratic crowning of Clinton offers more of the same to working people.
    So, as in the 1930’s, not much organization to represent them at all, man working people see some hope in what Trump says he will deliver.

    What do you think?

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      PJH says:

      I read your post, and thought it was spot on. It reminded me of this vid which I watched on yt the other day….It kind of touched on unionism, and people being involved in the political process….but from a different tact…..the party bosses would pass the word down the line, and instruct union members how to vote……they may not have known about an issue directly, but they were voting in a way that would benefit them. It also touched on American schools not teaching history, nor civics….When people don’t know about the country’s or the world’s past, or how political systems works, is it any wonder they are easy to screw over?….


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        davie says:

        Yeah, I remember an old saying from the 1960’s: I f you want to manipulate people, rip off their history from them.

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    Ron says:

    The media is all about ones and zeros. Not just tweets and clicks, but money. Lots and lots of money.

    To wit:

    “The TV business is uglier than most things. It is normally perceived as some kind of cruel and shallow money trench
    through the heart of the journalism industry, a long plastic hallway where thieves and pimps run free and good men die like dogs, for no good reason.”

    ~ Hunter S. Thompson, Generation of Swine (1988)

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    Steve T says:

    Bang on. What did we expect, in this era where people turn away from well-made TV shows and documentaries, to watch Honey Boo Boo, the Kardashians, and similar crap? Where we can’t just have cooking shows based on talent; we have to inject artificial drama to keep viewers? Where the former The Learning Channel has now become TLC, and has very little “learning” in the midst of its reality TV tripe? Where we’ve taken “if it bleeds it leads” to ridiculous extremes?

    Society wants drama, and they don’t want to think a lot. Trump fits that perfectly.

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      PJH says:

      I also remember when the History Channel was mainly about History…….now it includes programs like Ice Road Truckers, Aliens, and Pawn Stars…….to paraphrase Mr. Carlin…..the real owners of the US don’t want well educated, well informed citizens capable of critical thinking. Current programing might be what society wants, but its the result of the real owners who control all the media dumbing down the citizenry.

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      Russ says:

      Bread and circuses

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    The Doctor says:

    Dowd is right. If I were an American, I would hold my nose and vote for Hillary. But she’s about as exciting as a pair of old brown socks. And her progressive bona fides is highly debatable. And can anyone out there tell me about something bold, visionary or noteworthy in her platform? What memorable thing does has she promised to do if elected President?

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    Ronald O'Dowd says:


    The Trump candidacy is a complete repudiation of the party of Lincoln and Reagan. Out the door goes appealing to the better angels of our nature. In fact, Trump does the exact opposite and is widely successful.

    Trump complains that America needs to be made great again, while his own conduct serves to tarnish the United States even further. It’s a strategy built on hate — us versus the vulnerable them. And the sad thing is it’s working and will propel Trump right into the White House. God help us all.

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    MikeTO says:

    Inside baseball for pundits who have never been to western Penn.
    White middle America’s future is being burned in front of their eyes. Dismal career prospects as all industry off-shores, corrupting media and culture that hates them, heroin and oxy everywhere, and a looming demographic displacement in their own country – with no other country to escape to. The herd is sensing this existential threat and reacting. Trump is just the first manifestation. We should only be so lucky that he is the most extreme – IMO things will get much more piquante.

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      Fabian says:

      That is spot on Mike. A huge segment of America has gone from being the most entitled and secure to being completely terrified about the future.

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    Russ says:

    Good piece in this morning’s G&M by William Thorsell on how DT is also a problem for the Right’s super funders (Koch Bros. et al) I guess when you are beholden to no one, you can pretty much do and say what you want.


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    Mac says:

    Putting Trump aside, are Rubio and Cruz all that much better? Rubio is the establishment candidate thats been pushing against Trump and the hatred being propagated by that campaign, but he’s offering nothing for Republicans or voters to get excited about. Cruz is Trump-lite; he’s taken cues from Trump’s campaign on what not to say but the differences between the Cruz support base and the Trump support base is non-existent.

    Honestly, its total gong-show on the GOP side. For all thats wrong with the Democratic race, at least there is actual debate taking place with regards to the hardships faced by Americans. All we hear on the Republican side are small hands and dick comments; Trump’s wall and insults being hurled at each other. The anger is undeniably strong on this side, but anger is also blind. For all the rage and frustration, its achieving nothing but a public televised demise of the GOP.

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      doconnor says:

      Trump is much worse then Rubio or Cruz. While Rubio and Cruz may have dog whistled the racism, Trump is much more open about it. If elected he will be expected to try harder implement those policies.

      The real danger is that his success legitimizes the racism, turning back decades of progress. He may not win, but the next guy push the line even further.

      My biggest concern isn’t the racism, but in combination with mainly campaigning on being “strong” is very Fascist. If elected (or even not elected) could lead to violence against people who he has problems with and war against counties he has problems with. He hasn’t said he would do this, but he isn’t presenting any other ideas.

      For example, he hasn’t shown any understanding why using a nuclear weapons is a bad idea.

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    Mac says:

    I just wanted to add this here. Its Louis CK speaking to the conservative voters amongst his fanbase through an email. I think its potent:

    “Trump is not your best. He’s the worst of all of us. He’s a symptom to a problem that is very real. But don’t vote for your own cancer. You’re better than that.”

    Here’s the link to the whole article about the email: http://variety.com/2016/tv/news/louis-c-k-donald-trump-insane-bigot-dangerous-1201723679/

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    Ron says:

    “I am gross and perverted. I’m obsessed ‘n deranged.
    I have existed for years, but very little had changed.
    I am the tool of the Government and industry too,
    for I am destined to rule and regulate you.

    I may be vile and pernicious, but you can’t look away.
    I make you think I’m delicious, with the stuff that I say.
    I am the best you can get. Have you guessed me yet?

    I’m the slime oozin’ out from your TV set.

    ~ Frank Zappa

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