Monday, October 10, 2016

The Donald Chronicles: Ryan's Hopelessness

Then came Monday morning.  Paul Ryan issued a see no evil, hear no evil statement of inactive support, or maybe it's active non-support, anyway Trump didn't like it and vented, as usual.  Josh Marshall describes Ryan's statement as going "full weasel."

Saturday it looked as if the RNC conference call today would reallocate money away from Trump, then after last night it looked like they wouldn't, and they didn't, but still there was Ryan's hopelessness.  Politico:

That’s despite Trump’s aggressive debate performance Sunday, which initially seemed to salve some GOP fears. By Monday morning, it was clear that the feeling was only temporary. Now Trump is in a vise after days of directing unrestrained hostility toward Republicans who have abandoned him — including his own campaign manager’s suggestion that some high-profile detractors are sexual assailants. His weekend message became part of a threatening undercurrent and an implied warning that lingered Monday: Stick with us — or else."

But Ryan's hopelessness also made some GOPer civil war enacters mad.  According to the NYTimes:

Effectively conceding defeat for his party in the presidential race, Mr. Ryan said his most urgent task was ensuring that Hillary Clinton did not enter the White House with Democratic control of the House and Senate, two lawmakers said.

The reaction from hard-liners was swift and angry: Over the course of an hour, a stream of conservative lawmakers spoke up to urge their colleagues not to give up on Mr. Trump, and chided Mr. Ryan for surrendering prematurely in the presidential race."

Rucker and Costa at WPost:

The Republican Party tumbled toward anarchy Monday over its presidential nominee, as House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (Wis.) cut Donald Trump loose in an emergency maneuver to preserve the party’s endangered congressional majorities.

Ryan’s announcement that he would no longer defend or campaign with Trump prompted biting condemnations from within his caucus and from Trump himself, who publicly lashed out at the speaker.

Or as the Daily Beast put it:
On October 10, Donald Trump and the Republican Party were officially at war.

This crisis of their own making has no exit.  The new NBC poll taken after the tape of Trump bragging about sexual assault has Clinton up by 11 points in the four-candidate configuration. Yet it also finds that three-quarters of Republicans want their party to stick with Trump and only 9% want their pols to renounce him.

The NBC poll by the way also surveyed a two-way race, and Clinton wins that by 14 points.  Interesting to me is that Trump got 38%--exactly what I surmised would be his base support at this point.

Today's drama--including the RNC's apparent if halfhearted surrender to Trump--sets up precisely the double bind I suggested yesterday. GOPers who stick with Trump lose a crucial percentage of their voters (women especially), but those who remain craven may or may not get the Trump voters to pull the R lever for them, and anyhow they may not be enough.

 So in the opinion of several analysts, including Frank Rich who called it a worst-case scenario, that Trump survived the debate is more damaging to the GOP than if he hadn't.

Or as WPost's Daily 202 put it:

Blood is the metaphor of the morning. There is an incredible amount of talk about “bleeding” in the post-debate conversation. Literally dozens of news stories ponder whether The Donald slowed or stopped the bleeding. The emerging conventional wisdom seems to be that Trump did not cauterize the wound.

More debate stuff: ratings were down substantially from the first debate.  Headline of Greg Sargent's Plum Line:Trump’s real debate goal was to publicly humiliate Clinton. He failed miserably.  Instead she related everything he said about her to what he'd said to humiliate others, and his other offenses.

The WPost got two psychologists to analyze the body language.  Their analysis is so constricted and simplistic, and they couldn't even agree with each other.  These people are such a waste of space.

Finally, some viewers generated some humor from the debate on Twitter.  Trump demanding that Muslims report the terrorist preparations that he's sure they see prompted a hashtag #MuslimsReportStuff.  The most widely quoted was the first:

"I'm a Muslim, and I would like to report a crazy man threatening a woman on a stage in Missouri."

There were a number of other pointedly political ones, like: I saw armed jihadists curse the US gov & swear they'd fight to the death but turned out they were white supremacists.

Others made pointed fun of the whole idea: think my sister drank orange juice straight out of the carton, will continue to investigate

and my favorite:

I once suspected a teacher of using arabic numbers to teach us Algebra.

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