Donald Trump and the Possibility that Rachel Ray had an Affair with Jay Z

SOME POLITICAL NEWS AND THEN TO THE GOOD STUFF:

Recent breaking news:  Have you heard that the Cruz and Kasich camps have struck up sort of non-compete clause aimed at preventing Donald Trump from achieving the needed 1237 to win the first ballot at the party convention?  For example, in the Indiana primary a week from tomorrow, Kasich won’t actively compete in hopes that Cruz can win this largely winner take all state.  If both battled for the 57 delegates Trump would be more likely to win them all.  And similar deals are projected for other states down the line.

(The deal seems to have been made too late to affect the handful of primaries conducted tomorrow in the Northeast, where Trump is favored all over the place.)

Returning to the theme of gut level vs. mind level voting choices raised in my last post, the New York Times has an article titled:  Cruz-Kasich Deal Means a Much Better Chance to Stop Trump.  It does a good job of showing how this deal gives those two camps a better shot to deny Trump reaching the necessary delegate vote tally in the first ballot.

It’s convincingly rational, but leaves out the possibility that many Cruz and Kasich supporters might decide this is going too far, that Trump is right about the system being rigged and they will either not vote in the primary or vote for Trump.

(Here’s the link to the article:  http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/cruz-kasich-deal-means-a-much-better-chance-to-stop-trump/ar-BBsdYIS?ocid=spartanntp


DID RACHEL RAY HAVE AN AFFAIR WITH JAY Z?

Every time I turn on my computer with the idea of doing some research I first have to resist the temptation of all those tabloid hooks like:  30 gorgeous stars who are now obese….or  15 drone photos that will leave you speechless.   I usually succumb to one or two then get to research after battling tiresome pop ups and misleading links, etc.

Today’s grab was a piece about Rachel Ray being lambasted on social media for having had an affair with Jay Z as interpreted from a lyric in a Beyoncé song just released.   The social media beehive have been stinging Ray to death …. “That 30-minute-meal-making home wrecker who loves posting photos of her sexy … artichoke burgers?”

But now it appears it is a Rachel Roy, whoever that is, who is being accused as the culprit and I’m inclined to agree with that analysis just because they show photos and I think she’s prettier.  But for the record I have no idea what the truth is in any of it.

I just know it was spicy gossip and I was hungry for a little, and as often the case it left me feeling a bit depressed about our society and myself.

In a way I have yet to crystalize, this little confession typifies the tabloidization of American life, a steady diet of the outrageous and shocking and scary tied to an evolution and dissemination of twisted truths.  In ancient times, i. e. pre-internet and pre-social media, about the only time I glanced at tabloid news was paging through a National Enquirer in the check out line at a super market.

And back then the stories were pretty easy to see through and smile at such as “Chimp’s Head Put on a Human Body.”  Now I must hack my way through the come-on’s like a jungle explorer and obviously get entangled on occasion, seldom ever glad I did.

What’s all this have to do with Trump?  Our thirst for entertainment has come to shape much of our lives and now it is largely shaping our political process.   Trump is winning because he is an entertainer, but an especially gifted one, a Svengali capable of mesmerizing us, at least as compared to the other politicians who are, for the most part predictable, hence boring.

More than his skill at tapping our fears and resentments, it is Trump’s capacity to be unpredictable and outrageous that draws our interest and keeps us wanting more, like an ongoing series of tabloid articles or a TV reality show.

Ted Cruz thought he was taking Trump to task recently by calling him a “phony”, but Trump trumps such charges because he has turned political phoniness into a game of TV Survivor.  He readily admits that his successful character attacks on his opponents are mostly just clever ways to knock them out of the game and that basically he likes them all. It’s just how you play the game and he not only wants to win but for us to see and appreciate his ingenuity.

He has told us over and over again that he is a winner, been able to point to his assembled fortune for starters, and then translated that winning into the politicial sphere before our eyes, employing a more effective brand of phoniness than his opponents like a winner in Survivor would.

His challenge after he gets the Republican nomination will be not only to persuade most Republicans to vote for him, along with so-called Reagan Democrats, but also come up with more winning moves that are sufficiently unpredictable and outrageous, i. e. entertaining, to make us want to watch the show for the fall season.

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The Party of Trump, Formerly Known as the GOP

I regularly read the blog of Scott Adams, creator of the comic strip Dilbert (blog.dilbert.com) and believe he has a better handle on the Trump phenomenon than the rest of us.  Months ago he predicted Trump would not only win the Republican primary but the election as well, and by a landslide.  Adams’ basic premise is that we are not largely rational as we might think.  It’s more the reverse, like we are 90% irrational and being so irrational, it is easy to persuade us to change our minds.  You just need to know what buttons to push.

And Donald Trump has proven a virtuoso on those keys.

There are all sorts of reasons to doubt and worry about a Trump presidency, but unless those reasons are rooted deeply in our guts they don’t mean much when it comes to voting.  We tend to sway like willows in the wind.  Have you noticed how often prospective voters say when interviewed that their minds are still not made up and probably won’t be until they are about to cast their ballots.  In other words, their guts will decide, not their minds.  Later they will come up with rationalizations if pushed, but it was their gut feelings that decided the issue.

Looking back on my post of two days ago I have decided that I was being too rational in giving credence to those sophisticated numbers crunchers who see the possibility of Trump being stopped from getting the nomination.

My gut now tells me that those rational techniques are not properly gauging the welling up of pro-Trump sentiment.  Trump has a powerful narrative at play:  At our irrational cores we want a hero to save the day, a strong man to protect us, a guy willing to do whatever is necessary to win all sorts of battles that will make American Great again.  A father figure who will makes us feel safe.

It’s a child’s fantasy, but enormously alluring.  As when Ronald Reagan became president, Trump is offering up the hope that we will feel better about our selves and our position in the world.  If the Republican insiders try to quell this energy, the party apparatus itself will be crushed.  As Scott Adams points out in a recent post:

“Shenanigans might happen at the convention. But unless something big changes, the GOP will either become the Trump party or the newest resident of history’s dust bin, living under a Clinton presidency. The GOP is down to two options.”

When boiled down to a choice between a Clinton presidency and a Trump party, it is not easy for Trump foes to choose the former option.  Sure it looks like the death knell of Republicanism, but maybe that can be dealt with later.  An irrational hope, but like much of what we do irrationally, putting off until tomorrow can work for awhile.

The only thing that really stands in the way of a Trump nomination would be a failure of the Trump team to make nice to enough party insiders, so they would chose the “dust bin” option for the party rather than bend to his will.  And, as you may have noticed, Trump is working on that with the help of some new members of his expanded campaign team, something I will return to in a later post.

What is so crazy about all of this is Trump is arguably more a Democrat than a Republican when it comes to policies, but he has managed to capture Republican sentiments despite often advocating positions that have not suited the Republican conservative base.  Look at his defense of funding planned parenthood, his exceptions made in abortions for rape and incest and his suggesting that North Carolina would be better off not making a big deal over the LGBT bathroom issue.

Trump seems to be given a pass on these issues as indications that at least he’s being honest and for his toughness in other areas and…….????    And he may well be given a pass by Republicans on a number of other issues, given the alternative specter of a  Hillary presidency.

The huge question is what will the Republican Party look like by the end of the year no matter who wins the presidential election, but a common desire to beat Hillary might suppress much of that in the interim.

Is Donald Trump likely to get the Republican nomination?

Well, it’s still debatable even with his huge primary win in New York yesterday and the likelihood of the party front-runner doing very well in a handful of northeast primaries next week.  As you have probably noticed, most regular observers emphasize he’ll need to win on the first ballot or he won’t win at all.

Why?  While earned delegates to the convention will be pledged to vote for him in the first round, they will be free to vote for whomever they want after that, and many of those delegates don’t want Trump.  Senate leader Mitch McConnell has estimated about 60% of the Trump delegates won’t vote for him after the first round.

While perhaps surprising, there is usually no necessary connection between primary voting and who are the delegates chosen to represent the state at the Republican convention.  Though they are pledged to vote on the first ballot for the candidate chosen in the primary, they don’t necessarily support the candidate themselves.

It’s important to understand that delegate slates are worked out in a different way in each state, but the commonality is that they are made up largely of party insiders who feel more loyalty to the party than to any particular candidate, at least if that candidate seems beyond the pale.  To most insiders Donald J. Trump does not represent “Republican values” (I’ll leave it to you to decide what those are).

In order to stop Trump from getting the 1237 votes needed to win the nomination on the first ballot, the Republican fractured “establishment” has the hope that Cruz and Kasich will grab up enough delegates in upcoming primaries to cut into Trump’s chances of reaching 1237.

In this regard I just read that Ted Cruz has gathered up most of defunct candidate Marco Rubio’s 17 delegates in Minnesota, another organizational coup like in Colorado, but more fodder for Trump’s narrative of a rigged election (of course, as you may have noticed Trump has added some election operatives to his campaign team of late, but he will likely win the battle of narratives by describing their actions only as self defense).

In addition to whatever pledged delegates the anti-Trump forces can gather, there are 108  delegates (by one estimate) who are “unbound”, party leaders who seem inclined to vote for anyone but Trump, though some have indicated their vote would reflect the primary voting and who knows how successful the cajoling of the Trump camp will be between now and July.

In line with the “rigged” narrative, though, Trump has been handed a God send in the form of the Pennsylvania primary next Tuesday, which has to be odder than most .  The state has 71 delegates but only 17 are pledged to reflect the primary voting in the state. The other 54?   Well, those are half of the 108 unbound delegates mentioned above, allowed to vote for whomever they choose at the convention.  Why so many in one state?  I have no idea, but even if Trump has a big win there, he can be assured of only 17 delegates (and that for the first round) while who knows about the other 54?

He seems likely to hold that up as exhibit “A” of the big fix……but I bet we see some rounding up of stray delegates by the Trump camp in upcoming weeks, while also playing the victim card.  Have you ever seen someone so skilled at playing both ends against the middle?


P. S. – In trying to illuminate the battle for delegates in the Republican primary, I might have confused more than helped.  If you have questions please reply using the “comment” button near the end of all that gobbledygook at the bottom of his post.

Also, for a more complete description of the upcoming Pennsylvania primary and the overall Primary voting picture go to:  http://blog.constitutioncenter.org/2016/04/will-pennsylvanias-gop-primary-trump-the-partys-convention.

Donald Trump: A Winner Even When he Loses

As if he had a magic wand Donald Trump has shown an amazing ability to twist most issues to fit his narrative that he alone can “Make America Great Again.”  Even when he says something outrageous, maybe especially when he says something outrageous, he manages to reshape it, through the many media follow-ups into something that suits his overall narrative which, of course, is always very complimentary toward himself and disparaging toward his critics.

In essence this narrative revolves around a vision of a fading America governed by the incompetent puppets of special interests …susceptible to be taken advantage by …well, all sorts of countries and people….you fill in the blanks…..a rigged system which can only be reformed by an amazing guy who only wins, wins, wins:  Donald J. Trump.  Of course, there are all sorts of other factors that make this act so effective, but this is a post, not a book.

What Trump is so adept at is taking any situation and translating it into a form of self-promotion (at least in the short term).    Take his recent trouncing in the Colorado delegate race by Ted Cruz which understandably Cruz has crowed about as an example of Trump not being the “winner” he claims to be.  Cruz swept up most of the 30 some delegates from Colorado to the Republican national convention.

That would seem to make Trump a loser there, but in the meta-reality he creates he remains a winner.  He lost only because it is “rigged”system”.   Colorado has an unusual delegate selection process where caucuses are held around the state to elect delegates to a state convention to select delegates to the national convention (something like that).  Whatever its rationale, it doesn’t appear very democratic making it a big fat target for a Trump tirade.  The Donald does not even have to remind us that many Republican party insiders nationally are aiming at stopping Trump from getting the nomination, so it is easy to convey a sense that despite facts to the contrary Trump was somehow robbed of these Colorado delegates.

True the state delegate election rules are odd, but they have been available to all for months and while Trump blames the Republican National Committee for conspiring against him there, the National Committee doesn’t make state rules.  Also, if Trump wants to blame the system what about the part where he has received about 45% of delegates thus far while receiving only about 37% of the popular primary vote.  He does not question that part of the process.

Simply put the Cruz team was well prepared to gather delegates in Colorado and the Trump team was not.

In stating some facts above I was conscious of how irrelevant facts are when it comes to buying Trump’s message or not.  While facts suggest the loss in Colorado stemmed from shortcomings in himself and his campaign,  Trump has managed to focus attention on his theme of being a victim of a rigged system and making his fight seem even more heroic.

While he lost in Colorado in one way, he won in terms of bolstering his narrative.

Ya gotta to hand it to the guy….