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  • There are similarities between the two men in wealth and ego, and in the tightfistedness of the very rich when it comes to parting with their own money. Rollins had proposed to Perot a $150 million media campaign with Hal Riney, creator of Reagan’s “Morning in America” ads, at the helm. Perot balked. He wasn’t going to spend money on all those longhaired hippies behind the cameras when he could go on Larry King for nothing.

    Perot was very tight with the dollar, and a third-party bid is expensive. He wasn’t willing to spend the money. Trump is much more savvy than Perot ever was. “Trump is very reluctant to spend his money, but he’s been through the wars, he’s used to being battered around,” says Rollins. “Perot didn’t understand advertising and PR. He didn’t understand the presidency, and he had very little substance.”

  • Trump knows the game. The big question for him is how far he will take his candidacy in terms of dollars he will put on the line. “No one knows how much Trump is willing to spend,” says Rollins. “I think at this point he’s a distraction. The potential is there for him to be a very destructive force in the party. The country is pretty disgusted with politicians, and that’s what he’s tapping into.”

  • Republican pollster Frank Luntz worked with the Perot campaign, and said in an email that Trump has “all the advantages Perot had…and one more that Perot didn’t. He has the thickest skin of anyone I’ve ever seen in politics. Nothing bothers him, and you need that fortitude to be a successful third-party candidate.”

  • While all economic indicators suggest growth will continue to accelerate, in contrast to the recessionary months of Perot's campaign in 1992, Trump can still appeal to frustrated voters because is there is huge unrest within an electorate struggling with the new normal of ongoing insecurity for the middle class and growing divisions between the rich and poor. The combination of demagogic populist appeals and the lure of his claim that somehow a business person would instinctively do a better job running the government will have appeal to some on the right.

  • At the same time, Trump could easily turn his attention back to more business-friendly elements of conservatism, such as fighting against tax increases and regulation, which could attract wealthier suburban voters and business leaders who are uncomfortable with the social and cultural conservatism of a Ted Cruz.

    Trump can also hurt the ability of Republicans to build a broader electoral base by continuing to convey the association of "conservatism" with the more radical elements of the political electorate, as he has done recently with his statements about immigration and in previous years with his support for the "birther" issue. While he wouldn't be running as a Republican, he would bring down the brand name of the ideology the party sells.

    Another problem has to do with the media. Whoever runs for the GOP will need as much media attention as they can get. For all her flaws, Hillary Clinton commands an overwhelming position in the public imagination. She is a known commodity and she is someone who has been a prominent figure in national politics for decades. To the extent that Trump takes away airtime, Republicans, who are less known in the electorate, might find themselves struggling to gain traction on television and online.

  • Well, we’re told, people are choking on political correctness and Trump is breath of fresh air. So the best way to discredit political correctness is to embody the worst stereotype of an aggressive bigot?


    Trump’s moment is probably fading, but his little balloon ride is disturbing nonetheless. It’s evidence that political intemperance is not limited to the Left.

  • The only answer to division and hatred on the left is inclusion and unity on the right. A number of Republican candidates for president have been seeking to recast the Republican party as the party of reform and outreach. They recognize that a party that lost not just the Hispanic vote, the black vote, the women’s vote, and the youth vote, but also the Asian vote has an image problem. As any number of successful Republican senators and governors have shown, it isn’t necessary to adopt any particular policy (e.g. amnesty) to attract the votes of more Hispanics or Asians. It is necessary for the party to convey a welcoming spirit. Such a tone may even attract fence-sitting white voters, who are left cold by a party that appears uninterested in the plight of the poor.


    That is the Republican challenge and opportunity. Success beckons — but only post-Trump.

  • “I don’t know,” Trump said during a telephone interview with MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “I’m just chugging along. You know, maybe people will get tired of me. Who knows? This press is crazy.”


    Story Continued Below


  • About three quarters of Republican early-state insiders say they believe Donald Trump has peaked — but many acknowledge that may also be wishful thinking.

  • “The McCain smear and giving out Graham’s cellphone? What an asshole,” vented a New Hampshire Republican, who says Trump has peaked. “Trumpism does not represent some deeper sentiment within the party, nor has he tapped into something a more conventional candidate can now co-opt. His candidacy has as much substance and meaning as cotton candy. I didn’t like him before. Now I loathe him.”

  • An Iowa Republican said, “yes,” when asked whether Trump has hit his zenith, but clarified, “I’d like to think so. But who the hell really knows anymore?”

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  • What Republicans are trying to figure out is not so much how to handle Trump as how to handle his supporters. Ignore or confront? Mock or treat seriously? Insult or persuade? The men and women in the uppermost ranks of the party, who have stood by Trump in the past as he gave them his endorsements and cash, are inclined to condescend to a large portion of the Republican base, to treat base voters’ concerns as unserious, nativist, racist, sexist, anachronistic, or nuts, to apologize for the “crazies” who fail to understand why America can build small cities in Iraq and Afghanistan but not a wall along the southern border, who do not have the education or skills or means to cope when factories move south or abroad, who stare incomprehensibly at the television screen when the media fail to see a “motive” for the Chattanooga shooting, who voted for Perot in ’92 and Buchanan in ’96 and Sarah Palin in ’08 and joined the Tea Party to fight death panels in ’09.


    These voters don’t give a whit about corporate tax reform or TPP or the capital gains rate or the fate of Uber, they make a distinction between deserved benefits like Social Security and Medicare and undeserved ones like welfare and food stamps, their patriotism is real and nationalistic and skeptical of foreign entanglement, they wept on 9/11, they want America to be strong, dominant, confident, the America of their youth, their young adulthood, the America of 40 or 30 or even 20 years ago. They do not speak in the cadences or dialect of New York or Washington, their thoughts can be garbled, easily dismissed, or impugned, they are not members of a designated victim group and thus lack moral standing in the eyes of the media, but still they deserve as much attention and sympathy as any of our fellow citizens, still they vote.

  • Our political commentary is confused because it conceives of the Republican Party as a top-down entity. It’s not. There are two Republican parties, an elite party of the corporate upper crust and meritocratic winners that sits atop a mass party of whites without college degrees whose worldviews and experiences and ambitions could not be more different from their social and economic betters. The former party enjoys the votes of the latter one, but those votes are not guaranteed. What so worries the GOP about Donald Trump is that he, like Ross Perot, has the resources and ego to rend the two parties apart. If history repeats itself, it will be because the Republican elite was so preoccupied with its own economic and ideological commitments that it failed to pay attention the needs and desires of millions of its voters. So the demagogue rises. The party splits. And the Clintons win.


  • Donald Trump is making noise about an independent bid for president. If the Republican National Committee doesn’t treat him fairly, Trump says, he’ll be more likely to launch a third-party run. I don’t know if he is at all serious, but I do know two things: History suggests that an independent Trump campaign would crash and fail; polling suggests that even if that happened, Trump could take the Republican candidate down with him.


  • Trump, on the other hand, could make a difference even if he experienced an Anderson-like slide to only 5 percent of the vote. If 70 percent of Trump’s vote comes from the Republican candidate (as it does in the ABC News/Post survey), we can estimate that the Democratic nominee’s chance of winning1 would rise from 50 percent (FiveThirtyEight’s default in a non-incumbent election) to 63 percent.


  • In secular America, one of the most broadly accepted ways to describe Trump is with swear words. People straining to be decent often resort to calling him an ass. But in Christian America, there's another term of opprobrium that gets more to the heart of the matter. It's not just that Trump's campaign revolves around his harsh and ungenerous demeanor. It's that he's all about sowing discord. It's what he does. It's who he is.


    And sowing discord, in the Christian imagination, isn't just mean or nasty. It's evil.

  • Trump's candidacy, Perry went on, “cannot be pacified or ignored, for it will destroy a set of principles that has lifted more people out of poverty than any force in the history of the civilized world — the cause of conservatism." In sum? Trump's evil ways tempt Republicans to turn away from their greatest moral purpose — a sin worthy of damnation.


    Perry is the first to advance this argument so bluntly. But we can expect it to catch on, because Trump's candidacy is forcing the base's hand. If The Donald can keep up his numbers without a come-to-Jesus moment, that either means that the base has become a lot less religious, or that it's so frustrated that it's willing to cast aside the better angels of its nature.


  • In the 2008 cycle, Gargiulo backed Mitt Romney, whose cautious campaign style helped him land the Republican nomination. Now, he's the co-chair of Trump’s campaign in Rockingham County, and he seems to feel liberated.


    "People are tired of same-old, same-old, the political games that exist in Washington, in the state capitals, and are looking for someone who says it like it is," he said. "And Donald Trump certainly does it.


    For what it’s worth, Gargiulo also believes that Trump’s appeal is broader than many observers think.


    "I have to tell you, it goes across the spectrum," he said. "Supporters of Mr. Trump go from very conservative Tea Party people to mainstream Republicans to — all! I’ve seen, in fact a number of Democrats who are beginning to take notice."


  • The media, you may have noticed, is full of Trump—explanations of Trump, denunciations of Trump, justifications of Trump, analyses of Trump, handwringing about the coverage of Trump, and accounts of the latest outrageous thing Trump has done. He is on the front page of every newspaper, the top of every newscast. They can’t believe it; they can’t get their heads around it, that this is happening, and not only is it happening, it is the biggest thing in American politics right now. It has consumed American politics. It—Trump—is bigger than the entire rest of the Republican field, which, by the way, has 15 other people in it—governors, senators, very big, very serious people. Trump is bigger than them all.


  • Trump has the Republican Party by the throat. It cannot figure out how to get rid of him. The party elites, those snobs in D.C. who do not respect or understand the people out there in America, are tearing their hair out over the damage Trump is supposedly doing to the party. “He is, I believe, causing some problems,” Randy Blair, the county Republican chairman, a polite, mustached accountant in a gray-tweed suit, tells me as we ride on Trump’s bus.


  • Yet the party has no power over Trump. He has the money, he has the press, he has the voters. If he does not feel the GOP is treating him fairly, he is considering running as an independent instead. In that case, polls indicate he would take a chunk of votes from the Republican candidate, and Hillary Clinton would win by a large margin.


    So the party has to be nice to him; it has to let him on the stage. The 20 percent of the party that loves Trump may be dumb or racist or angry or wrong, but the Republican Party cannot live without them. The GOP is damned if Trump stays and damned if he goes, and no one knows how the show will end.

  • The group’s apparent new willingness to engage in hand-to-hand political combat to take out sitting Republicans would represent a major shift for the business community, which has largely shied away from targeting sitting lawmakers.

  • “Last year, we were very aggressive in primaries and the general, and we intend to be again,” Holmes said. “It’s not a change in policy as much as it is a recommitment to last cycle’s successful approach.” She added that the candidate it backed won in 14 of the 15 races the Chamber got involved in last year.

  • “The fact that there are still members of the Republican House that are obstructionist, isolationists that would be willing to shut down the government only reinforces that the Chamber and the business community, for that matter, will double down on this winning formula,” Caldeira said. “I believe they are going to continue to be involved early in candidate recruitment to find candidates that have the willingness to run, the courage to govern once they get to D.C., and hopefully work in a bipartisan manner to get things done.”

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  • Rubio’s 15 percentage-point drop coincides with the rise of Gov. Scott Walker, who’s now in third place with 13 percent – an 11 point increase for the Wisconsin governor since the April survey.

    “And the center of the GOP political universe of late — Donald Trump — is in fourth with 11 percent,” Mason Dixon pollster Brad Coker said in a written analysis.

    “This is the first Florida poll taken entirely since Trump’s remarks regarding John McCain’s Vietnam War service. His 11% showing in Florida is far below his support in recent national polls. This could be the result of the home state advantage of both Bush and Rubio,” Coker wrote. “However, the fact that Walker has slipped ahead of him may be a stronger sign that his candidacy is fading. Furthermore, there is a clear ceiling that Trump has among Florida Republicans. When asked if they are considering a vote for Trump, a large majority (58%) said they were not. Only 27% gave an indication that Trump was under their serious consideration.”

  • "I want to run as a Republican. I think I'll get the nomination," Trump said in Laredo, Texas, during a nationally televised speech amid his trip to the southern border.
    "I'm a Republican, I'm a conservative," Trump said, touting his recent polling figures.
    "The best way to win is for me to get the nomination," Trump said. 

  • Constructing an impassable wall along the U.S.-Mexico border would be a tall order — even for master real estate developer and 2016 GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump.


  • "From a security standpoint, it really is not an intelligent solution," said Eric Olson, associate director of the Latin American program at the non-partisan Wilson Center.


  • The biggest applause lines in Trump's July 11 speech at FreedomFest were not the anguished anecdotes about illegal-immigrant criminality, or the blingy braggadocio about his wealth and success, but the repeated attacks on the media. (Typically for the billionaire, these attacks were shot through with hyperbole and inaccuracy, such as his claim to have attracted the biggest crowd at the conference, and his complaint that journalists only publish "half-sentences" of such Trump-nuggets as "The American dream is dead," the second half of which you can read in plenty of other places.) This receptivity to media-bashing is squarely in keeping in what I observed at this year's Conservative Political Action Conference—the biggest crowdpleasing moments, from Ted Cruz to Carly Fiorina to Jeb Bush to Sean Hannity, were digs at the perfidy of the press.


  • The three great waves of conservative-media creation—talk radio, Fox News, and post-9/11 websites—were each fueled by a visceral resentment toward being surrounded on all sides by a hostile media establishment. Once a new technology opens up, pissed-off conservatives like Andrew Breitbart come gushing through. So it's no accident that the long-running kings of each medium (Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, and Matt Drudge) have provided among the most sympathetic venues for Donald Trump, for the same reason that Ben Carson and Ted Cruz have been the most reticent in the GOP presidential field to pile on. All of them rely on animus toward the media and establishment, no matter how establishmentarian in their own way each has become.

  • Well, I’m not voting for Donald Trump in the Georgia primary. I don’t think he’ll even be in the race by that point. But I would support him were he the nominee. That the establishment guys won’t is deeply hilarious to watch after years of them lecturing all of us about not taking our football home. The meltdown is delightful to watch and after years of putting up with pompous, preening members of the Establishment telling conservatives they have to suck it up, it is wonderful to be reminded that the Establishment is incapable of sucking it up.


    If they just waited, Trump would fade. But everything they do generates new attention for Trump and emboldens him and his supporters. They just do not know what to do with Trump and the truth is that they set up the system Trump is benefiting from. The Establishment expects the conservative base to stay quiet when we disagree with them, but by God they want to scream the rooftops when they disagree with us. We’re hobbits, cave dwellers, crazies, etc.


    There’s also something else that needs to be said here: Trump won’t be the Republican nominee. And those who are on his team in the primary may very well sit it out. There should be no crying in primaries, as in baseball. If I don’t get my guy, I still support the nominee (except John Kasich who has less of a chance than Trump so it doesn’t matter). Those of you who’ve made Trump your cause are really doing so because he is throwing punches you think need to be thrown. Just don’t delude yourself. Donald Trump is ultimately about Donald Trump. He was for immigration and universal healthcare and Hillary Clinton before he was against them. He’s saying a lot of awesome stuff, but there is no guarantee he won’t change. Don’t let your hatred of the Establishment and feeling that you’ve been played get you played again by someone who only a few years ago was on CNN identifying as a Democrat.

  • The Huffington Post worked with our survey partner YouGov to scour its Internet survey panel for activist Republicans: those who have run for or held office, served as party officials, worked on campaigns, or volunteered their time before elections. Our survey of 500 of these activists provides a look at the opinions of some of the GOP's best-informed and most politically involved supporters. (We also sampled Democratic activists and will report on those findings separately.)
  • By some measures, Donald Trump's standing among the activists resembles his current spike among Republican identifiers in national primary polls. He is reasonably well-liked: 59 percent have a positive opinion of him.


    Still, Trump attracts considerably more backlash than most other candidates, joining Bush, Graham and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie among the candidates that more than 1 in 4 activists say they'd never vote for and that they'd be angry to see nominated. He's also widely seen as a weak candidate, with little more than a quarter saying either that he's capable of winning the GOP nomination or that he'd have a shot at the presidency -- and all this came before Trump's now well-publicized comments about Sen. John McCain.


    Trump's numbers are also consistently worse among the activists we have classified as "semi-pro" -- those who say they have held or sought elective office, served as a party official or been a paid staffer for a campaign or public official -- than among those who have been only volunteers or donors.  Trump's favorable rating is 20 points lower among the semi-pro activists (48 percent) than among those who have only volunteered or donated (68 percent). More than a third (38 percent) of the semi-pros say they could never support Trump compared to just 19 percent among the volunteers.

  • The quickest of Google searches shows that Trump was for abortion until he was against it, and then just barely.


    On NBC’s Meet the Press in 1999, Trump told Tim Russert that while he “cringe[s] to hear people debating the subject” of partial birth abortion he “still just believes in choice.” Eleven years later when eyeing the White House for the first time, Trump suddenly changed his mind, saying he is and has been “pro-life.” How to explain the change? “As I’ve grown older, I’ve changed my views.” That’s great and all, but most people at least try to come up with a valid rationale for those changes.


  • This election cycle, Trump’s views on abortion have come full-term. Some will give him a pass, arguing that he has matured in his views like Ronald Reagan once did. But Reagan wrote an entire book, making a reasoned case for his new belief. Trump just gave some rambling interviews.

  • For the last two decades, Donald Trump has supported the most extreme of abortion advocates. His moral trepidation didn’t stop him from bankrolling high profile pro-choice Democrats like Hillary Clinton, Harry Reid, and Chuck Schumer. Donald didn’t feel squeamish about partial birth abortion or embryonic stem cell research when he signed their checks. Those politicians have dedicated their careers to the defense of abortion—and at least they’re consistent and honest about it.


  • I confess that I am captivated by the rise of Donald Trump, and wonder just how much this reflects an admiration for him as opposed to a disgust at everyone else. I think the prospect of a Hillary vs. Jeb Bush contest must have something to do with it, but let’s just look at Trump by himself. The guy is an entrepreneur who built up a business empire on his own, who early on cut through red tape to build the Central Park skating rink, and who since then has made his way in spectacular fashion. What’s not to like about that?

  • As for his feistiness, again that’s supposed to be a vice? Funny thing is that, in his willingness to speak his mind and his passion, he reminds me more than anyone of John McCain and the 2000 “Straight Talk Express.” Remember when the weak sisters were telling us that McCain had anger issues? Hell, we were surrounded by mild people who were apt to say “but I see value in that too!” Anger can be refreshing, especially when there’s something to be worked up about.

    That’s mostly why I like Trump. We need a turnaround, badly, really badly, and he’s one of the few people who seem to get it. Not Bush, not Rubio, sadly not McCain. He understands that Obama has taken the country in a seriously dangerous direction, and that the barriers to mobility have made this a class society.

  • I can’t wait for the debates!

  • Today, Donald J. Trump, announced the formation of the “Veterans for Trump” Coalition in New Hampshire. These veterans have pledged their support to Mr. Trump in the primary, and they will be advocating for him among other veterans and military families in New Hampshire, where there continues to be overwhelming support for Mr. Trump.
  • Dan Tamburello of the Marine Corps said, "I believe that Donald Trump has the leadership, the will, the courage, and the unabashed love-of country Americans so desperately crave in the White House. We have some very serious issues facing this country that are going to take a steely-eyed, proven, tough leader to overcome. Furthermore, should Mr. Trump find his way into the White House, he won't owe anything to anyone except the American people. Mr. Trump is a Patriot who loves his country, the American people, and cares about America being respected and great again. I believe he has what it takes to restore the faith of America's allies and be respected by our enemies once more."
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