_____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Friday, August 5, 2016

Wishful Thinking

Jim, what happens if Trump quits the race?

What if Trump quits the race?

What if Trump craps out and goes home?

That question in various configurations is currently trending at about 90% of my inbox.

What if he quits?

There's a margin of error on that percentage in that I quit. I quit reading this morning after about 200 messages and went to play with the cat and watch it rain for a while. The number could be more or less, but let's go with 90% for dramatic effect. OK?

Good.

What if Trump quits the race?

Well ...

Okay. Sure. Why not? In a year of goddamned things, what’s one more goddamned thing? Right?

Right.

This morning Politico reports more than 70% of Republican leaders want Trump to drop out (but still support him). I have no idea what the percentage of democrats who want Trump to quit is, but it’s likely similar or higher. Maybe a lot higher.

Sure.

Folks, first, Trump is not going to quit the race.

He’s not.

The man is pathologically incapable of such an act.

If history is any guide to his pathology, Trump honestly doesn’t believe he can lose – not without some kind of flimflam. Confident of victory to the bitter end, he'll go down in flames raging all the way and blame either incompetent minions or some nebulous conspiracy for his defeat. Guys like this, well, the last time one of these people took over a modern country it ended with him blowing his own brains out in a bunker under the burning ruins of his capital city. That guy believed he could win too, right up until the moment he pulled the trigger.

Trump is not going to quit the race.

Democrats (who've been appalled from the start) and Republicans (who are just now realizing the scope of the disaster they face) are likewise both engaged in wishful thinking.

There's more than a bit of Schadenfreude on the part of liberals. Trump is the personification and the natural end result of everything they've been saying about the GOP since Reagan. Watching the monster Republicans themselves created ripping the GOP limb from limb is a pretty sweet I Fucking Told You So indeed.

But

…the problem with monsters is that they make for lousy revenge.

Monsters by definition are unpredictable and uncontrollable and not particularly discriminating when it comes to victims. They rampage through the village savaging the innocent along with the deserving just as soon as they're done decorating the walls of the castle with their creator's intestines.

Trump's not going to quit the race.

Why should he?

What possible motivation does Trump have to drop out?

That’s what liberals want.

That’s what the GOP establishment wants.

Trump can’t give them that victory, the shame would be unbearable. He’ll blow his own brains out first.

Trump, whatever his other motivations might be, is an attention whore. That is the very core of his being. For all his wealth and fame and success, he’s still just an insecure little teenager who craves popularity and approval. You see it in his every comment, in his every response to even the smallest criticism. If you point out that he never served in the military, he puffs out his chest and says that his prep school experience was even more difficult than actual military service and his toadies all nod, it’s true, it’s true. If you suggest that Trump is “only” a millionaire, he pulls out his wallet and brags about his supposed billions. If you make a joke about his small hands – a joke anybody else would laugh off or ignore because it’s just so utterly idiotic – Trump becomes dangerously enraged in the same manner a high school jock does when somebody questions his sexuality. When Trump is criticized by the father of a fallen soldier – something any other politician would wisely ignore – Trump doesn’t just respond, he attacks, he turns the soldier’s family into terrorists, enemies of America, Fifth Columnists, he attacks their religion, their integrity, their honor, their grief, their patriotism. Trump goes after the fallen soldier himself – a man who gave his life in the service to the country and is no longer able to defend himself – smearing the dead man’s reputation, questioning his service and sacrifice. And his toadies all nod, it’s true, it’s all true! Yeah, you tell ‘em, Mr. Trump! You tell ‘em!

Trump is all the worst aspects of American culture. He’s Super Sized. His entire life is a dick measuring contest. He has to be the smartest, the richest, he has to have the biggest cock, the hottest girl, the best car, the tallest building. Anything less is a personal insult. Anything less makes him feel small and insecure.

This? This presidential race? This was tailor-made for his ego.

If he wins, he gets everything he ever wanted, power, fame, riches, attention, access, the ability to shake the world.  If he wins he finally gets the things his money and fame can’t buy.

If he loses, he becomes a martyr, the victim of both liberal and conservative conspiracies brought down by evil unseen forces.

Either way, he’ll bask in the resulting attention for the rest of his life.

But if he quits of his own accord he becomes just another forgotten loser.

 

Given what you know of Donald Trump, now why would he do that?

 

Trump is not going to quit the race.

But what if he did?

What if Trump kicks over the board and goes home?

What if one day he suddenly realizes that the path to true political immortality is to be the one guy – the one guy – who in the entire history of the United States becomes the first major party’s candidate to drop out. Screw it. Leaving the Republican Party holding the bag.

He’d throw America into absolute chaos and his place in history would be assured.

He doesn’t care that history would see him as a villain, hell, he’d love it!

What if he wakes up to this idea?

What then?

What if Trump quits?

That’s an interesting question.

And there’s no real answer … or rather there is, but you’re not going to like it.

First of all, it won’t be Mike Pence.

At least it won’t automatically be Mike Pence.

A number of folks seem to be under the impression that the Constitution somehow applies here and if Trump drops out then his running mate steps in to replace him. But that’s not how it works. Trump hasn’t been elected to office, he’s just a the GOP candidate. The Constitution doesn’t govern how political parties nominate their candidates and doesn’t dictate order of succession in the event a candidate craps out before the election – in fact the Constitution doesn’t say anything about political parties at all.

It would be up to the Republican National Committee, the party itself, to replace Trump should he drop out. There’s a Republican Party rule for this, Republican National Committee Rule No. 9, Filling Vacancies in Nominations. If Trump were to drop out (or blow his brains out, or otherwise be unable to fulfil his obligation as the Party’s nominee), then the RNC can employ one of two methods to select a new candidate. The RNC can itself vote on a new candidate where each state would be given the same number of votes as they had at the last national convention – or – the party can reconvene the national convention and go through the entire process all over again.

There are obvious problems with both methods, but either way it’s a fairly straightforward process…

…that would likely result in chaos, massive uncontrolled infighting, and an implosion of the party.

The first method would simply toss the ball back into the hands of the very people who nominated Trump in the first place.

In a practical sense, it would be a logistical impossibility.

And why would the establishment RNC, the very people who’ve been fighting Trump, go along with this option? The Ted Cruz supporters think obstruction is a dandy idea and it’s likely the RNC would deadlock just trying to figure out what to do next.

The second method would be not only a logistical nightmare, but a financial disaster as well. The RNC would have to pay for a whole new convention. With no notice. Hell, just renting the convention hall would be damned near impossible given the timeline – they’d end up having it in a cow pasture and be grateful for that.

Imagine throwing together a national political convention with a week’s notice. Go on.

They couldn’t do it. Which means they’d have to go with the first method, the one that elected Trump in the first place. Which nobody would want. Which means they’d want to do the second option, but they can’t, so they go ‘round and ‘round and by the time the infighting stops the GOP as a national force is a footnote in political history.

But that’s the easy part.

The hard part is who?

Who would they nominate? The also-rans would have to relight their campaigns after quitting. Jeb Bush. Ted Cruz. Ben Carson. Mitt Romney. There are legal and political issues. Money. National support. Staffing. They’d hit the ground months behind Clinton’s Juggernaut and never catch up. Not to mention they all lost to Donald Trump. And the candidate has to be approved by a majority vote, which would be almost impossible for an extremist such as Cruz or an unpopular unlikable wishy-washy nebbish like Jeb.

Could they nominate Mike Pence? You mean the guy coupled to Trump, who (in this fantasy) just quit and screwed over the entire Republican Party? That Mike Pence? Sure. I would rate the likelihood of that happening about the same as the RNC nominating Chelsea Clinton, but it could happen.

The obvious choice for the RNC is to draft Paul Ryan – assuming the committee could agree and Ryan was dumb enough to accept a job as pinch-hitter for a nomination that’s almost sure to be a soup sandwich of legendary proportions. And which would throw the House back into chaos. Ryan might be better off crunching his fake tooth and sucking down the cyanide while laughing manically and waving his middle fingers at the entire country. Later, Loooosers!

The bottom line is whatever method the RNC used, the replacement candidate would be a last minute panic selection by a party in utter disarray.

Not exactly a recipe for success.

And the real hard part is when.

If Trump drops out now, right now, then there’s still time to hold a convention and nominate a new candidate and get him (or her, since we’re talking Republican fantasy here) onto the various state ballots.

But only if Trump drops out now.

The closer to November we get, the more impossible it becomes.

Once states start printing ballots – and mailing out absentee ballots – all bets are off. How each state deals with this situation is largely up to the various states and a tangled myriad of obscure, rarely used and in many cases untested state and federal laws. This is how dead people get elected to office.  I would guess the resulting legal challenges alone would be enough to throw the entire election – and thus the country – into anarchy.

 

It’s an appealing fantasy for a lot of people, Trump crapping out.

But at this point, as insane as it may sound, the best thing for the nation’s future is that Trump stick it out to the bitter end.

 

Then again, you know…

There are those on both sides of the political divide who are desperately hoping Hillary Clinton will soon be indicted for (something something gazpacho!).

Imagine it.

Both Clinton and Trump suddenly out of the race at the last minute.

The nation left without a viable major party candidate, Republican or Democratic.

The power of political parties finally broken and a return to a more democratic republic as first envisioned by the Founding Fathers…

As long as we’re playing this game, I mean.

What?

No, I suppose not.

153 comments:

  1. You've sussed both the likelihood of Trump quitting (because quitters are losers) and the immediate effect on the Republican Party. There's also the possibility that we'd see the Republican Party split into a centrist right group and whatever description the other group backing Trump would be although I suspect that the Constitution Party wouldn't want them.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I believe I saw the deadline to replace a candidate in North Carolina is COB of August 5. Today.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Delaware's deadline has already passed - they require that the candidate be certified for the ballot a week after the close of the convention. So Trump and Clinton will be the R and D candidates on the Delaware ballot, no matter what.

      Delete
    2. I think it is too late in 20 states so far.

      Delete
    3. Excellent explanation of that hot mess, thank you.

      Delete
  3. Nice touch. Your last thought would be a dream come true for sure, although.....

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have been seeing tons of wishful thinking all over social media, and even in some news media. I think you've hit the nail on the head his ego is much to big to allow Trump to quit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amanda, we would be welcoming President Bernie if that were to happen 😏

      Delete
    2. Ageed, sociopath could not stand the conflict that would arise in his own head, could have a mrltdown. Good thing for the rest of the world, but doubt if he will do it.

      Delete
  5. Excellent post! I was wondering how hard it would be to replace him (according to convention rules), but didn't consider the logistics part except for the reprinting of ballots. What I'm more afraid of is what happens if/when he loses, and he tries to lead a revolt based on claiming that the election was rigged. One great aspect of our Presidential races has been that the losing candidate does concede. - Charles

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I found your comment to be interesting, especially regarding concession. Granted, my research was pretty brief, yet I did not find anything that states that the losing candidate has to concede, it has just become a tradition. Considering the enormous ego of Mr. Trump it would be unlikely that if (oh, please...when) he loses, that he would concede.
      As far as the election being rigged, that is one positive aspect with the Electoral College (though complicated...), their votes are in by Mid December, and counted out loud by the President of the House on Jan 6. It is extremely rare for the Electoral vote to go against the popular vote.

      Delete
    2. It doesn't matter if he concedes. That's just a little formality by the losing candidate, to congratulate the winner. Once the Electoral College has voted the winner is confirmed. The popular vote and the electoral vote are separate. Candidates have won the popular vote, but that just counts the number of bodies voting for them. Where they voted is more important. One candidate can sweep Texas, but lose to fewer votes cast in multiple other states.

      Delete
    3. @ Kristen Rdenski: The votes of the Electors of the several states are sent to the President of the Senate 9See Article II and Amendment 12 of the US Constitution.)The President of the Senate is the US Vice President. Vice President Gore had the burden of counting the Electoral Votes which made George W. Bush (against whom Gore had run for the Presidency)President. He completed the task with grace and dignity, I might add. As for the January 6, date, I could find no provision in the US Constitution for that date. The Constitution provides that the Congress (Senate and House) take their office on January 3rd, unless otherwise provided by law.

      Delete
    4. http://www.archives.gov/federal-register/electoral-college/about.html

      sorry, forgot to cite my source. ..I looked at several different sites for a quick refresher/overview....it's been a long time since high school civics, this one provided a lot of specifics on the process.

      Delete
    5. Conceding when it's obvious you've lost the election is what a civil candidate does, to at least lose with grace and dignity and reaffirm that they're willing to abide by the rules of politics (and maybe be back next time).

      Do any of the phrases "grace", "dignity", or "willing to abide by the rules" describe Trump in any way, shape or form?

      Delete
  6. Yeah, I can see the chaos that a Trump dropout would bring not only to the Republican party, but to the country. The rabid Trump supporters alone would cry "GOP Establishment conspiracy!" and make life hell for everyone else in the country. I could see these whackos (who IMO are just as, if not more, insane than their idol himself) taking the law into their own hands and going bang-bang crazy on anyone they perceive as being a part of the conspiracy: black people, brown people, women, anyone with a car bearing a Hillary bumpersticker, anyone with a car bearing an old Rubio bumpersticker, you name it. I'd be seriously, very afraid. :(

    Also, in your ...hoping Hillary Clinton will soon be indicted... para, did you mean to say (something something Benghazi!)?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "something something gazpacho" is an expression Jim Wright uses to stand for inane drivel.

      Delete
  7. Great article Jim. As usual. You're a sane voice midst a myriad of unhinged ones.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Slow clap... Very very good. I laughed, I cried, I enjoyed the read from beginning to end. Thank you once again for a very entertaining blog.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Then there's the fact that most states, by law, couldn't remove him from the ticket at such a late date, which would be a major headache in and of itself. Anyone remember Missouri Senator Mel Carnahan?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No. But I did remember, well, from reading and watching and knowing history about former Apollo 13 astronaut Jack Swigert who won election to Congress but died before he could take office.

      Slightly different circumstances mind you, found after a quick wiki check that Swigert won the election whilst alive - but sick with cancer - and died after being elected but before taking office.

      (Aside, I wonder what a President John Glenn would've been like -he ran as a Democratic contender in 1984.)

      There really should be a mechanism for these sort of rare circumstances somewhere.

      Also for removing candidates for high office on grounds of mental health & mental competence concerns too. Counts I think Trump fails.

      Delete
  10. Whew. The chaos this possibility engenders is almost incomprehensible. I tend to agree - Narcissist Trump is too busy admiring just how perfect he is and basking in the acclaim of his followers to quit. But... another consideration is one Trump himself offered months ago, that he would run on an independent party ticket. That has a lot of potential to create an even bleaker nightmare for the GOP, I think.

    ReplyDelete
  11. In the case that Trump and Clinton both check out are we looking at a Johnson presidency? Stein has zero chance of winning anything; the Green party is too disorganized and she's not even on the ballot in many states. Do the Dems go crawling back to Sanders?

    Johnson is the only viable third-party candidate at this point. At least he smokes pot...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think we'd have to insist on a Jim Wright candidacy in that event.

      Delete
    2. The beauty of the Electoral College system provided in the US Constitution is that voters elect the Electors who assemble in their states and THEY vote for the Presidential nominees. In the case of one or both of the two major parties' candidate being dead or otherwise unable to serve, the Electors are the safety valve and can vote for whomever they want. No default to Libertarian or Green Presidential candidates.

      Delete
  12. Where would state requirements on lead time for getting candidates on the ballot come into play?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Many reports on NPR yesterday said the GOP only has a window of 5-7 days as more and more states will reach the deadline.

      Delete
    2. Well, they'd have to notify NC by COB today. Ohio's ballots lock down August 10th...not sure about the rest of the US, but it is REAL soon now.

      Delete
    3. In that case, wouldn't Pence's name be on the ballot if lists are already closed so he would be the only option. No drama, he doesn't even need to pick a VP until the unlikely event he wins.

      Delete
    4. Nope, that's not how it works. Consult Article II and the Twelfth Amendment to the US Constitution. The Electoral College is a safety valve in that case.

      Delete
  13. Excellent analysis. I do believe you're dead on. There is one typo though. Fist should be First.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I can envision Trump collapsing into a pile of unintelligible rants that would end in a mental hospital more than I can see having him quit. I think Romney and Ryan are the only two real possibilities who might be nominated in the event that something happens to Trump. In fact, I think if Romney had been the nominee he could have run a very good race against Clinton. Romney was not defeated; he didn't run this time. That would save Ryan's position as Speaker and allow some cohesion in Congress.

    But it's telling that the possibility is even being mentioned. No matter how crazy previous nominees might seem, they have one and all been able to put together coherent policies and offer explanation for what they want to do. Trump is running purely on Hatred of Other.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Some interesting thoughts, to be sure. My take is that given Trump's whining in the last few days that the election is already rigged gives him the perfect out (at least in his mind, perhaps): There's no way he was going to win, so he just took his ball and went home. He could claim victory over the cheaters and conspirators while still avoiding the responsibility of being POTUS. And, my thought is that Paul Ryan, digging his toe in the dirt, flushed with humility, saying, "Aw, shucks, I'll do it." could count on a big sympathy vote.

    Hmmmmm, I hope you're right!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ryan is up forcre-election, and there are 2 Dems running. The primary is in just a few days. If it looks to Ryan that he might lose to the Dem, he just might step up to the RNC and offer himself. If Trump refuses to bail, but no doubt would go for it if offered a billion dollars in small bills, Ryan's stuck trying to win re-election tion.

      Delete
  16. i have to agree with you Jim, I don't think he'd quit. Watching his underlying skin tone, though, it's a distinct possibility he'll stroke out before election day.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Nope. This liberal wants him to stay all the way to the bitter end, and hand the Republicans a historical landslide defeat that makes Goldwater in 64 look like a rounding error, and break the back of the party hard enough to split the White Nationalist/Religious Lunatic branch off from the Pro-Business/Fuck You I Got Mine branch for good.

    They made this fucking bed -- they deserve to sleep in it, and reap the consequences.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gareth-Michael, what you said is pretty much what I was going to say (although you said it much better then I could)! Not only do I hope he stays in, but I hope that the behavior we saw from Trump this past week is only the beginning. As hard as it is to watch I hope it continues to get worse and worse with each coming week. That he continues to wrap the republican party members into pretzels, continues to back them into corners they can not escape! In the end embarrassing the republican party and tea party into oblivion! We can only hope that the bed they have made is there undoing!

      Delete
    2. Trump making it worse ..how can it be worse ... !?

      Oh wait, yeah, its Trump we're talking about here so we'll no doubt find out.

      Horrible to think a man like him is so close to potentially becoming President. A global nightmare really.

      Delete
    3. Gareth-Michael Skarka : "This liberal wants (Trump -ed) to stay all the way to the bitter end, and .. "

      Problem is, what if he somehow wins? Sure this seems highly improbable now but then so did Trump becoming the Repub nominee in the first place.

      Delete
  18. If both Clinton and Trump were suddenly out of the running, I can think of only one candidate with an energized, faithful following who could easily win, despite the fact his presidency would constitute a political revolution. Because if we lose both major party nominees, the revolution will have already begun.

    Much more likely is a Clinton presidency and another four years of gridlock. Unless, of course, the Democratic Party actually decides to revolutionize how it funds campaigns, and decides to recapture the state governments it foreited in 2010, before we get another Great Gerrymander in 2021.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I see Trump quitting so close to last minute that his name would still be on ballots. Those people who loathe Clinton but, deep in their hearts, really don't want to vote Libertarian or Green can vote their conscience figuring that Trump has quit and won't serve. They're safe. Right? So, zombie Trump gets elected and real Trump pops up ready and willing to serve because it's a referendum. The People have spoken! He has been called to serve. I'm not sure that can actually happen but since we're throwing out scenarios, I thought I'd throw out this one.
    Apparently there ain't nothing so crazy it can't not get crazier.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Called to serve." Didn't he not do that five times already? (Ouch, my foot hurts...) ;-)

      Delete
  20. Military ballots must be mailed out by September 24. They have roughly amoth and a half. Not.Gonna.Happen. It will be Trump to the bitter end. I'm hoping for a crushing, ignominious defeat.

    ReplyDelete
  21. You bring up very interesting, well researched possibilities. The thought of his quitting doesn't compute,given the reasons you outlined. I saw a post from someone who wanted to take bets on when trump would quit and I took the over. For first time in years, I am totally interested in the elections, even down ticket.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Quite the power trip for a small handed outside nobody took seriously when he descended the elevator into the political areana. Had already assumed that when he lost, he would start initiating lawsuits based on "rigged system" gazpacho (did I use that correctly?) My thinking shifted to that being the excuse for his exit strategy; "nobody will play with me so I'm taking my money and going home." After reading your insightful piece here, I'm just making popcorn and watching from the wings until November. I'm guessing CGI will be needed and the list of credits will be YUGE! Thanks for a great perspective! Keep em coming!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What about a 'write in' campaign? Bernie Sanders has millions of people who would do this and bring more millions of Hilary supporters with them. That would make Republican voters who write in Hillary 'invisible' (as 'invisible' as electronic voting machines may or may not be) The Trumpsters would still vote for Trump, but I think it would be a losing number of votes by many 10's of percentage points.

      Delete
    2. Don't know about other states,but in NC there's no way to write in a presidential candidate. Electoral collegeand all that. And only certified parties (Dem, Rep and Libertarian) are allowed on the ballot.

      Delete
  23. What an interesting dream. I suppose it will now replace my old apocalyse nightmare of Emperor Trump and I am now feeling rather short sighted.
    Feeling a little like a child in a confessional, I admit I have mostly practiced head-in-the-sand politics over the years, researching minimally on most candidates and issues unless the issues had deep meaning to me. This is the most involved I've ever been and I have made an attempt to keep an open mind. No matter how I look at it, I have never been able to see how the Trumpeteers ever came up with this being a good idea and how we are going to get out of this mess.
    Your perspective makes it a little darker, but certainly is sensible. I think I will go refill my anti-anxiety medication now. It's going to be a long 4 monts.

    ReplyDelete
  24. If they both drop out could we have 4 more years of Obama?

    ReplyDelete
  25. I just picture the Duke brothers at the end of Trading Places. Just replace the Duke brothers with Priebus and Ryan.

    "Get everyone back in here! Get those machines turned back on!"

    ReplyDelete
  26. Do you think he'll do it? Not quit, but suck down the bullet? The odds are higher than if he'll quit. Something to contemplate. As pressure mounts with the *real* election approaching, as the press focuses on him less positively, as his wife is investigated, taxes pried into, lies openly exposed...do you think the mob will turn ugly enough? Will his thin skin and rage against the machine cause him to take that route?

    I wonder.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If he was actually capable of feeling shame, maybe. But the likelihood of that is about the same as the rest of the GOP admitting Climate Change is real.

      Delete
  27. I can see Trump quitting. He will say Hillary and he concocted the whole election process to ensure Hillary wins. Half the country would believe it in an instant. Even some Dems might scratch their heads and then nod yes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. oh gawd.... I said that about 14 months ago... Since Trumped had donated to HRC campaign in the past, he's just doing his part to waste time/money until she's a shoo-in?

      Delete
  28. I appreciate this assessment - I think you pretty well nailed it. I disagree in one very small point. I cannot speak for all liberals, but this one liberal absolutely does not want Trump to drop out. For two reasons. First, any conceivable replacement could pretend to be sane, at least through election day. This might salvage some electoral success down-ballot for the Republicans. The Republicans have done this to themselves over a period of years, as you have noted repeatedly, and I'm inclined to let them stew in their own juices. Second, if Trump drops out, his followers will probably create chaos - including violence - quite possibly to the point of thoroughly disrupting the election. If he stays in and the result is a Trump loss, they will do the same but at least it will (mostly) be after the election.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I've said, (since this whole thing started) that, if there was a single Republican I'd vote for over Hillary Clinton, it's Jon Huntsman Jr.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. shelleybear--I believe I remember correctly that Jon Huntsman, Jr. is anti-choice. Are YOU anti-choice?

      Freckles

      Delete
  30. All possibilities seem to doom us. Trump is already setting his followers up for civil unrest should he lose.
    And if he wins...Why am I reminded of the final episode of The Prisoner - where Number 6 finally discovers the identity of the elusive Number 1, and it's a crazy person in a monkey mask with his finger on the button.

    ReplyDelete
  31. I think this already has been decided, or will be in a few days: Reasonable Republicans will defect to Hillary Clinton (which may have a rather large fallout down-ballot). The Republican Party does a new autopsy (but now a real one, on a deceased body) and revives - or another party will fill the void.

    ReplyDelete
  32. If they both quit before the election, we keep President Obama! Then all the tin-foil loonies can claim they were right. This was all planned by Obama to take over the country. bwhahahahahaha

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. awww, that almost sounded nice...but unfortunately I believe that we would end up with a House vote for President and Vice President, if they don't elect either by majority then the Speaker of the House (aka Paul Ryan) as at least temporary President

      Delete
    2. In the event the number of Electoral Votes submitted to the President of the Senate do not determine a winner, the House of Representatives elects the person who will become President with each state getting one vote. The Senate has the task of electing the Vice President. (See Article II, and the Twelfth Amendment of the US Constitution.)The term of President does not end until 11:59 on January 20 so the Congress has a little time to sort this out--Paul Ryan, or whoever is Speaker of the House at the time because the Speaker of the House will be elected the first week of January, will not automatically become President.

      Delete
  33. Trump could make out like a bandit...if he moved to North Korea. Little Kim could groom him to one day become The Great Leader, just like dear ol' pappy. It's a win-win. North Korea would no longer be a threat to anyone, Trump would renounce his American citizenship, and the GOP can sit this one out while they regroup. Hey, it could happen!

    ReplyDelete
  34. I caught Trump the other night mocking President Obama for flying around in Air Force One - a 747. I'm hedging my bets that Trump personally drives his pilot of Trump Force One - a 757 into the ground.
    I don't eminently endorse suicide or disaster on anyone. However I am Donna McAllister and I approve this message

    ReplyDelete
  35. To me the most dangerous aspect of Trump dropping out is that whoever the GOP appoints to be the candidate stands a much better chance of winning. We the voters will have very little time to understand the policy ramifications of the selection, and far more rank and file Republicans will vote for X instead of Trump. I see him withdrawing as dangerous to the Democratic Party, not something we should necessarily wish for.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Certainly by next week it will be too late in most states to either add or subtract a candidate from the ballot. That means that even a withdrawal by Trump would not take his name off the ballot. A new candidate would have to be a write-in candidate. Write-in candidates don't do very well at the polls.
      I see no reason to believe that Clinton would drop out, or be indicted. She has essentially been exonerated on Benghazi and the emails, and since she is not currently a member of the government, I doubt that any further revelations are going to derail her campaign. Trump is self-destructing and his campaign staff (and the Republican Party)is aware of it. I wonder if he really wanted to be President, or if he thought that simply running would burnish the Trump brand and open up some of the financial resources currently denied him.

      Delete
  36. The Russians will kill him if he quits. The only way he can come out of this alive is to lose.

    The Reptilicans, er..Republicans will kill him if he doesn't quit. The only way he can come out of this alive is to quit.

    Somebody will kill him if he wins. The only way out alive is to lose.

    ReplyDelete
  37. 2 thoughts.
    I wouldn't rate Trump's emotional age as high as teens.
    I wonder if Sarah Palin is available?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nope. She's not available. Who do you think has been advising Trump on foreign policy? Here's hoping she can teach him how to quit-- she's got the experience...

      Delete
    2. "I wouldn't rate Trump's emotional age as high as teens." See Charles Krauthammer in today's Washington Post (rates T as a one-year-old). I'm very concerned when I find myself agreeing with Charles Krauthammer about anything.

      Delete
    3. I take George Will seriously on baseball and Charles Krauthammer seriously on mental issues (he is a trained psychiatrist). Otherwise, I keep the salt handy.

      Delete
  38. The scheduled dates for announcing one's candidates start around August 20th (ballotpedia). There really isn't a whole lot of time to do anything at all.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Based on Trump's vehemently expressed disdain for quitters on The Apprentice and Celebrity Apprentice, there is NO WAY he will quit. Whenever a contestant wanted to drop out, he unleashed a rash of shame on them. NOT being a quitter is so much a part of his self-concept, there's no way he'll drop out. I don't even think he'd fabricate a medical crisis - because his vigor and virility is also such a part of his self-concept. Nope, we're stuck with him.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do you think he would be willing to judge himself in the same way that he judges others?
      I thought it might be possible for big Republican donors like the Koch Bros to " buy him out" of the race. He did talk about wanting a cable TV channel. Jim makes a good case for why it would now be too late. It would have had to have been before the convention.

      Delete
    2. "I thought it might be possible for big Republican donors like the Koch Bros to " buy him out" of the race."

      In general, that was sort of my thought. If there is a way for Drumpf to make MORE money by dropping out vs. staying in the race and losing, my guess is that he would do it in a heartbeat. Then he would cook up some lame excuse as to why he dropped out. And, of course, it would be an excuse that put him in a positive light while throwing everyone else under the bus...regardless of how obviously ridiculous the excuse might be. I think he would shoot his own son in the eyeball if there was buck in it for him...because only losers allow themselves to get shot in the eyeball.

      Delete
  40. Is the other 10% of your inbox wondering when your book is coming out?

    ReplyDelete
  41. Except you all have missed an important part of the equation. Presidents aren't elected by popular vote. Presidents are elected by the Electoral College. They tend to be Party faithful... Long term and helpful members of the state's political parties. And how each of them vote depends on state law... But it is entirely possible that they could screw up the entire election... Politics... If it weren't so freaking scary, it would be the best reality show I tow.

    ReplyDelete
  42. You haven't considered the obvious solution. Obama declares Martial Law to delay the elections until whichever party can pick up the pieces for a fair election. They don't really have much time to demonstrate that Obama is going to invoke martial law, so at least it wouldn't be totally unexpected by some people :p Then Good Guys with Guns would settle the problem for once and for all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sarcasm doesn't translate very well to web comments, please tell us that's sarcasm.

      Delete
  43. I actually am in the camp of I hope he doesn't quit. My reasoning is along the lines of "rather the monster you know..." With Trump, we know what we're up against, and we have a fairly good chance of beating him hard. I never take anything for granted and I hope other sane people don't either. We need to still show up and vote regardless in order to make sure he gets beaten. But if any of the other former candidates come in there could always be the possibility that the repubs are so relieved that they rally behind the new guy and it all blows up in Dem faces. Not a high possibility, for sure, but possibility nonetheless. We could actually end up with someone worse than Trump but one who knows how to keep most of their crazy hiding- And again, compared to Trump, the rest of them would be a fresh breath of air to the repubs who haven't jumped ship yet. The true Trumpers won't vote for anyone else, period. Kind of like the rabid pack of Sanders followers who still can't give it up even tho their candidate has told them game over. There will always be a set of true believers that will never change. I think however, that the Trumpers are not as large a group or as cohesive a group as everyone seems to think they are-dangerous? Yes. Loud? Definitely. A true threat to democracy-maybe...along the lines of those 'patriots' that took over the bird sanctuary last year.
    I've done politics most of my life and I never thought I'd see anything this crazy in my lifetime, but there it is.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is similar to how many of the top military allied leadership felt about the possibility of assasinating/removing Hitler. Having witnessed his staggering stupidities at both the tactical and strategic level, they knew that enabling his (terrible) micromanaging of the Nazi war effort and the infighting he encouraged among his cronies was the least terrible option in a sea of terrible options....

      Delete
  44. As much as I hear Trump yelling about how the election down there is rigged, I have friends who went to vote in their respective areas and were "unaffiliated", they got paper ballots that asked a whole bunch of info and at the end - it was only the Republican Candidate they were going to be able to vote for. They were told the Democratic person didn't want their name on a paper ballot, or some such nonsense.(Yes I know this is run on, I am typing while the pickles are doing their thing and have no time to be proper lol)

    Three people in as many days have talked about it, in quiet areas, because to talk about it in public could have meant their jobs. (PS how can talking about not being able to vote your conscience cost you your job??)
    It appears to me, if there is a "rig" it's the opposite of what the dried mandarin screams about.

    (I understand if you don't post this)

    ReplyDelete
  45. Having read some of Trump's history, he has either had to be bailed out of his ventures, usually by his father; or he quit, leaving his partners or bank holding the bag; or he declared bankruptcy, for most, if not all, of his ventures. I'm not sure I find it so far fetched that he would quit, once his numbers get low enough. Of course he'll blame everyone else and the rigged system, but good riddance.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Gotta agree Jim. Good analysis.
    However, the candidate names on the ballot only represent the electors "pledged" to them. Trump could quit, but the citizens of state X could still vote for Harry, Mary, Sally and Jud to cast their votes in the Electoral College for whoever per Article II. If they chose to vote for Jim Wright, then Congress would get to settle it per Article II and the 20th Amendment (unless Jim got enough votes).
    Yeah Jim, I know, William Tecumseh Sherman and all that.
    Sure would be a royal cluster F-*h, eh ?

    ReplyDelete
  47. I think you're right as far as it goes. In other words he will not quit. The amount of hell he and his lawyers will raise if he loses cannot be underestimated.

    I do think it's possible since there's so much Mutual hatred between himself and the GOP establishment right now... Remember what he said at the beginning? He said that if the GOP was not fair to him he would run as an independent. The truth of taking the pledge not to do so means nothing to him. Less than nothing. And in his mind all he has to do to do that is get up at a rally one day in the next few days or weeks and say,"I am no longer a member of the Republican Party. However I continue on my quest to make America great again and I know you will all come with me. I will continue my run as an independent for the presidency of the United States." Thunderous Applause. He doesn't care if the Republican Party loses. He will care even less if it becomes clear to his staff that he is going to lose. They will heckle him about pivoting night and day. He will get sick of it. He will realize that if he only has to talk to his rabid base between now and November, it's the second best thing to winning. Adoring crowds as you sy, followed by his martyr's crown. I think the one last thing he wants to do is screw the Republican Party more than they've already been screwed.

    ReplyDelete
  48. I can see one realistic instance that would cause Trump to quit: If he feels screwed by his own party. He'd screw them right back, leaving the GOP (and the country, really) in chaos and shambles. Then he'd retire to his lair and watch the fun on TV. While eating babies, no doubt. Trump's name would remain on all or most ballots, depending on when this might happen. Votes would be ascribed to the replacement nominee. Lawyering gets even more profitable. Hillary limps into office. Somewhere, Vladimir Putin stands shirtless in front of a mirror, grinning.

    ReplyDelete
  49. Great thorough analysis of the possibility of a Trump departure. I personally don't want him to drop out. I don't think CLinton does either. The more he keeps talking the closer Hillary gets to the White House.

    ReplyDelete
  50. "What if... " What if Trump dropped out? Makes me think of a what if I first heard in a Tom Clancy novel, "What if your aunt had balls? She'd be your uncle."

    ReplyDelete
  51. This clusterduck has been brewing in the Republican Party ("the Party bought and sold by Wall Street") since 1980. As I wrote elsewhere, "it is abundantly clear there is no one the Republicans generally respect enough to select as candidate." They brought it on themselves, leading to CongressCritters like "Turtle" McConnell's recent antics as "Supreme Leader," refusing to do anything but work toward more Republicans in Congress. I ended that rant with "Trump: R.I.P. GOP."

    Let's not blame this all on Trump, although that's convenient. Blame it on people (of both parties) who are to eager to lap at the trough of easy money for nuthin' instead of finding a decent job they're suited to. The Republicans have excelled at this more than the Democrats, only because they're more craven liars, and capable of being more secretive.

    And this is supposed to be the "Greatest Nation on Earth?" For most of the "happy to be ignorant" electorate, this is where it has all been heading. I only hope we survive this political catastrophe to start to rebuild the country on the Founders' principles--together. To start with, we ALL need to address wealth inequality (at the top AND the bottom); curb financial interests driving markets which drives government; and hurling names at each other, instead of reasoning our way out of this morass with honor and integrity.

    ReplyDelete
  52. Jim, count me as one liberal who wants Trump to stay in until the end. He all but guarantees a Clinton win and, thus, a liberal SCOTUS, as well as giving us a shit at retaking the Senate. Stay Trump, stay!

    ReplyDelete
  53. If Trump should die, and remain on the ballot, do you think he would get more votes than if he was alive, since he would have less chance of alienating the rest of the voting populace? And if he was elected (and died before Inaguration), would Pence, as elected Vice President, then become President?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's my fear. Trump gets in, finds out its no fun, drops out and hands the reins to Pence. Pence is bad news all around.

      Delete
    2. Good question. My fear is that Trump gets elected, finds out its not all that much fun, and drops out, handing the reins to Pence. Pence is Bad News all around.

      Delete
    3. According to the Twentieth Amendment to the US Constitution, if Trump were elected President by the Electoral College, and had died, Pence would indeed serve as President.On the other hand, if Trump were not dead, but only "failed to qualify" [because he quit, was otherwise unfit to serve, etc.],and the Electors wouldn't vote for him, then I think it would end up in the House of Representatives to decide, but Pence would be Acting President until it all got sorted out. (See Twentieth Amendment to the US Constitution.).

      Delete
  54. What worries me that you just don't hear people talking about for the most part, is the scope of the "type" of people his complete open racism, etc... has emboldened. I know people are so fond of thinking that there are only a few "bad apples" and people are, for the most part, good, but the millions of people following someone so blatantly just about everything we should despise, is beyond alarming. And now that they have come out in the open from their closets, they are, IMO, making society an even more dangerous place because they see the numbers that are just like them and it gives them confidence. Millions isn't "just a few". Obviously, I think this all comes down to education but how can your force that on people so unwilling to receive it? Just some thoughts that keep me up at night.

    ReplyDelete
  55. My 2.5¢: The Donald is like the sinking Titanic, the passengers are the GOP, the jumping rats are the scared and disillusioned Rep politicians deciding to vote Dem and his campaign heads such as Manafort et al. But in this case, the Donald is also the iceberg. Considering the self-inflicted damage yet to come, combined with the sinking numbers, I believe that come October, the GOP will attempt to replace him with a more electable option.

    The two scenarios that come to my mind are: a) He will gather his “Make Murica Grate Again”™ caps and wander out to make a fortune in TV land, or b) Abandon the party and attempt a presidential run as an Independent. In either case, get ready for the mother of all dumpster fires!

    ReplyDelete
  56. "A nomination that’s almost sure to be a soup sandwich of legendary proportions..."
    Well, Jim.
    I believe you've won the internet for today. Again.

    ReplyDelete
  57. As a liberal Democrat, I'm leaning towards wanting him to stay in the race - but I agree with Jim that it is moot, he'll never quit. But I'm not taking anything for granted. Just because he's a mess now doesn't mean he won't resurrect himself again, he's been a mess before (though not this bad). I just want him to keep shooting himself in the foot for three more months.

    ReplyDelete
  58. I agree Trump won't quit - his ego won't allow it, which is why he's making noises about "rigged elections." He has his face-saving out set up.

    If/when (please let it be when) he loses, I'm not sure if he'd urge his followers into armed insurrection or not. I guess it would depend on his level of boredom, and whether he thinks he can make more money and/or get more attention by doing it or not. Ah, who am I kidding? Of course he'd push for a violent response, the same way he does in his arena shows.

    And, yeah, this liberal is hoping he stays in, like the ones upthread. IF the GOP could get its act together in time, their alternate candidate couldn't help but appear saner than Trump, and might get enough votes to win (assuming Trump didn't run anyway, out of spite, and split the ticket). I want the GOP to *own* Trump - he's the distillation of what they've been working toward these past 5 decades or so, and I want that Out There. It's just that he's crude and ignorant enough of the way the game is played to say it out loud. Repeatedly, using simple words and sentences.

    ReplyDelete
  59. In a book I recently read, Gideon's Spies by Gordon Thomas, one of the heads of the Mossad is credited with saying "the further away we are from the last catastrophe, the closer we are to the next." I think this might apply to the 2016 election.

    ReplyDelete
  60. I agree with Jim, Trump is too much a narcissist and far too power hungry to ever think about dropping out. That is unless the left wing conspiracy theorist are right and he planted himself in the Republican party, never thinking it would go this far, but to bring chaos. I don't buy that, for several of the reasons Jim pointed out in this essay.
    Just my take on this, when he loses, or drops out he will, either way, claim it was a plot designed by both "crooked Hillery" and the establishment GOP. He will not fade quietly into the night. He's tasted real fame now, and for Trump there can never be enough.
    I've been a fan of Sci-fi all my life. One of the greatest series ever written, IMO, was inspired by the late Frank Herbert, called "The Dune Chronicles". For anyone that hasn't read this series, it's a great read for many reasons, even if your not a sci-fi fan. The story centers around Paul Atredies later know as Paul Muad'Dib who becomes the God Emperor of Arrakis and the universe. I bring this up because Paul knew where his Jihad would lead, he wanted to stop it, unlike Trump, but knew that even after his death his followers would continue on in his name. Paul's followers were called the Freman. Equate them to die hard Trump supporters, and there are millions, and you have a very frightening picture to look at.

    ReplyDelete
  61. Is there a restart button? Near the end of your post, you query whether "a return to a more democratic republic as first envisioned by the Founding Fathers" is possible - if both parties imploded. If only it were possible, we could get busy working on a more perfect union instead of the bullfuckery going on in this bogged down congressional shitstorm. Have we finally come to the old adage - A pox on both their houses? Seems so.

    ReplyDelete
  62. An excellent analysis. However, I haven't seen anybody so far who addresses the real, scary issue: how do we put the genie back in the bottle?

    Donald Trump, with his over-the-top statements and his outrageous actions, has brought the racist, the sexist, and the willfully ignorant out of the shadows, has validated their anti-social tendencies and given them the attention they crave.

    It's not enough for Trump to lose the election; he must be repudiated, so his followers will see that their brand of hate is *still* not acceptable and should crawl back under the rocks they came from.

    ReplyDelete
  63. Jim, I believe you are right when you say Trump would never quit. That said, I am popping an extra batch of popcorn in anticipation of the first (and maybe only? "debate"). It is sure to be a master class in deflection, obfuscation and denial. There is going to be a drinking game for when Trump says "believe me" and I anticipate that my guests will be thoroughly sloshed by the end...that being the ONLY condition one of reasonable intelligence and rationality can hope to get through the entirety.

    ReplyDelete
  64. This is just another smokescreen. If you want Hillary to win, get out and campaign for her. For Trump there is no such thing as bad press. His entire campaign has successfully run on that premise. Hillary has a habit of getting complacent, which Obama capitalized on and Sanders pointed out. Remember Dewey?

    Danny

    ReplyDelete
  65. I just have this feeling that we haven't even seen the beginning of how bizarre this can all get; we're at the beginning the upward slope of the exponential curve where the y-axis measures OMFG.

    It could turn out to be so strange that the only person who could possibly have seen it coming would be Douglas Adams who said,

    "It is a well-known fact that those people who must want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it... anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job."

    ReplyDelete
  66. This is the hoped-for end of Trump's Long Con. No way he quits just as he collects the cash and blows off the marks in a way that they can't come after him. The Sting and The Producers rolled into one giant production of The Great Grift. Federal matching funds, aggregated small donations, and mostly self-dealing debts.

    ReplyDelete
  67. Trump is the genetically engineered Indominus Rex in Jurassic World, made up of different dinosaur attributes to be bigger, badder, louder and more colorful than any other naturally selected dinosaur before. InGen Corp (the GOP in this case) created Indominus Rex (Trump) to provide more of what the customers (GOP base) wanted in blood, violence and noise without understanding or considering the unknown consequences of producing a creature that had never existed before, or evolved under normal physical rules, in the situation where they could not control it when it broke into the human world.

    But the humans were finally saved when Indominus found that there is always something bigger out there to devour you. But then, Jurassic World was fiction.

    ReplyDelete
  68. I figured out who Donald Trump reminds me of, we'll never know if my impression is true or not because he has only worked for his family or on reality TV.

    He reminds me of the employee that shows up to work five minutes before the boss and acts like he's been there an hour. The guy that never works late because he doesn't want to put in over 40 hours a week because his time is super valuable to him. The guy that gets feedback from his boss on things he needs to improve, but gets defensive and doesn't change because his boss is an idiot. Because he doesn't change he gets fired, he actually changes careers frequently and gets fired because it's someone else's fault or quits because he can't work with someone. While he is between jobs he refuses take some jobs because they don't come with the pay and prestige he requires.

    I can work with people like that, but only because I know they won't be around for long.

    ReplyDelete
  69. Jim, as usual, a thought provoking post.
    My take is a little different. In one of his books, a comment (paraphrased) was made that Trump always went all in whenever he decided to achieve some goal. He was totally obsessed with rolling over each and every obstacle. After achieving said goal, he quickly lost day to day interest in his shiny new toy.
    So the question is - does he really want to spend four years in the Whitehouse? Depending on the issue, decisions are made after receiving input from a variety of Cabinet Members, Military and Intelligence heads, Administrative staff, subject matter experts, etc. Each of these groups provides information as to how this issue impacts their area of responsibility. At times there will be conflicts between the recommendations from one or more of the groups. It is then the Presidents responsibility to decide which course of action to take. It is his decision alone. With Donald’s penchant for never being responsible for any controversy or failure, I can’t imagine him wanting to be faced with this for four years. I expect that it wouldn’t take long for him to run out of people willing to fall on their swords when shit happens.
    So I say he manufactures a way to step away, blame others for his decision and play the victim card. He gets repaid for his ‘self-funding’ (all it takes is a little legal action) and goes back to his Tower.

    CS in Florida
    Welcome to our State

    ReplyDelete
  70. Since I agree with your post, no need for me to rehash it.
    However, at the end you stated: "As long as we’re playing this game, I mean. What?" And that has not let my mind rest.
    Indeed, if the RNC is forced to play this out, what would they do?
    I have a wild ass guess, but it is predicated on a few assumptions.
    a) RNC cares more about trickle-down than it does about praise Jebus.
    b) RNC cares more about Not-Hillary than it does about... well anything else.
    c) and that Jim Wright is correct; that neither option of selecting a new candidate for their ballot lines is realistic nor in the best interests of the RNC.
    Which leads me to the supporting of an existing third party candidate.
    Based on the above, the wacky logic is that if anyone is better than Clinton and trickle-down or something close to it must be worshiped, then the RNC will put its money behind Gary Johnson. Many SuperPACs are already heading that way, and so are the Koch brothers. In polls including Libertarian and Green, we are seeing Johnson at 15% and climbing. Yes it would be an affront to the Evangelical wing of the Tea Party, but TRICKLE-DOWN.
    Besides, just like the Reform Party was a threat to the RNC in the late 90's, the Libertarian Party is going to be a threat to the RNC for a few election cycles at least, so why not claim it (or at least stain it) to take away juice it might have for the 2018 mid-terms or the 2020 presidential cycle.
    Yeah, nutty theory. But this entire election cycle has been nutty for the RNC and that "What?" just screamed for an answer, any answer.
    Personally, I see Trump riding this train to the bitter end and taking pride in the desolation he leaves behind.

    ReplyDelete
  71. Whether he drops out or stays in the race makes no difference, the GOP is royally screwed. If he stays in they face a humiliating defeat and the likely loss of the Senate and possibly the House. If he quits they will surely lose the White House, the Senate and probably the House. I just can't picture his supporters voting for anyone else. Let's say that his rabid supporters comprise 30% of Republicans. If they don't vote at all, it will be a wipeout of epic proportions. Of course there could be the dreaded October surprise, say, a Clinton scandal that will turn the tables. We can only hope that Trump continues to be Trump and drag the down ticket Republicans with him.

    ReplyDelete
  72. I agree with Jim on most things but not this one.
    " "a return to a more democratic republic as first envisioned by the Founding Fathers"

    The founding fathers wanted to masses to have some idea that they were affecting the government without them actually having much say. They put up walls of insulation to keep the common man's hands as far from the reins of power as possible. The Senate was appointed by State legislators.

    The Trump phenomenon is one of too much democracy not too little. There is a reason that the greatest political minds of mankind did not care much for democracy (Plato, Confucius, etc).

    Keep up the good work Jim. Just my two cents.

    ReplyDelete
  73. Two things:

    (1) The "greatest political minds" didn't care for democracy because they thought they should be in charge, or people like themselves, for the few geniuses bright enough to recognize their own mortality. In the case of folk like Plato and Confucius, these were supposed to be mythical philosopher-kings of more-than-human intelligence and wisdom. In the case of the founders, they simply thought that wealth correlated with godliness and wisdom, and therefore figured that rich people should be in charge, and set up a system which would favor rich people. Unfortunately, there's no way to ensure that the person getting elected, born into, or otherwise chosen will possess any sort of wisdom or intelligence. As we see with Trump, charisma and wealth in no way indicate wisdom, or any sort of sense, or maturity, or taste.

    (2) If you're reading any political philosophy before about 1700, "democracy" does not mean elections. It means sortition -- the filling of important public offices by lot from among all citizens. Before the founders permanently conflated democracy with elections, it was understood that democracy was allocation of offices by lot, whereas elections, because they favor the wealthy and the charismatic, inevitably lead to oligarchy.

    Here's Aristotle:

    "It is accepted as democratic when public offices are allocated by lot; and as oligarchic when they are filled by election."

    Here's Herodotus, who was an Athenian politician, general, and later wrote a big history of the biggest war the Western world had known until then:

    "The rule of the people has the fairest name of all, equality (isonomia), and does none of the things that a monarch does. The lot determines offices, power is held accountable, and deliberation is conducted in public."

    Here's Rousseau:

    "The drawing of lots is more in the nature of democracy. In an aristocracy, voting is more appropriate."

    Now, you may say that the idiot next door isn't qualified to run a lemonade stand, much less be a Congressman. To which I answer: consider the qualifications of your average Congressman. Or your Donald Trump presidential candidate.

    ReplyDelete
  74. "The "greatest political minds" didn't care for democracy because they thought they should be in charge, or people like themselves, for the few geniuses bright enough to recognize their own mortality. "

    I have very little to offer to people who make it up as they go. Confucius and to a large extent Plato never had designs on power. If you wish to leave remarks about the past you really should spend the time studying it.

    I think Homer makes my point. He imputed himself expertise and then formed an opinion on the imputed expertise. Confucius was clear about why he thought Monarchy was superior. (I will remind people reading that he constructed the most lasting society the world has ever known). He said, "It is far easier to educate the monarch than to educate the masses and Homer provides us an example of just that.

    "Now, you may say that the idiot next door isn't qualified to run a lemonade stand, much less be a Congressman. To which I answer: consider the qualifications of your average Congressman." Ok, even a bad congressman like Newt has a Ph.D. in History.

    27 houses members and only one senator are without a minimum of a bachelors degree. This compares to about 26% of the general public. It is exactly this "I IMAGINE myself to be as qualified as the average congressman" that is a symptom of the disease American is suffering. The "I have an opinion and no matter my expertise it should count for something."

    Aristotle favored Aristocracy. He considers it superior to oligarchy because it values everyone's interests. He contrasts aristocracy with oligarchy, democracy, and politeia by pointing out that these forms of government concern themselves only with questions of wealth. Aristocracy, on the other hand, confers benefits on the basis of merit, with the result that those who most deserve to govern do in fact govern.

    "In the case of the founders, they simply thought that wealth correlated with godliness and wisdom, " Which should read:

    "I believe, In the case of the founders, they simply thought that wealth correlated with godliness and wisdom, "

    since this first imputation of the Founder's beliefs is wrong. They knew, as we all should, that only the leisured class had the time free from the vicissitudes of life to ponder the good of the society. When one must work to eat, the concern is for the next meal, not for the poor. And History has borne their wisdom put.

    ReplyDelete
  75. good post Jim, thanks...I know your background in the military might help with a question I have about Trump and the Russian Connection...What have you heard or seen about this money connection, and are there ways of confirming this beyond his tax returns?...and What do you think the possibilities are that Putin/Russian Mob has a good hold on Donnie's short hairs....?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi,
      A link here, although I don't know it's veracity;
      http://talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/trump-putin-yes-it-s-really-a-thing
      cheers another phil

      Delete
  76. Trump won't quit. He is the product of unbridled greed on the part of rich republicans; they've stolen too much of the Commons, told too many lies, and direct democracy has broken out with a vengeance. Too bad for the GOP they glommed onto Trump.

    Thank you once again, Jim. Excellent post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I doubt that only "rich republicans" have cornered the market on unbridled greed.

      Delete
  77. The line about Paul Ryan crunching down on his cyanide tooth just about slew me.

    ReplyDelete
  78. I sort of disagree. I think he ran because he was trapped, and he saw the only way out was over the top. He wants control of leftover campaign donations. He will lose, misuse those remaining funds, and go to prison. But for now, he could quit around October 31 and still have that remaining money stashed away.

    ReplyDelete
  79. I keeping waiting (in vain I might add) for a Trump supporter to take the time to explain why Trump would make a good president rather than launching out on the standard "Killary is a liar etc" screed. At this point, the GOP could run a Chimp and it would appeal to most of these people.

    ReplyDelete
  80. Imagine if Trump quits after a (very unlikely) win...which I could very well see him doing after the first year due to temperment, stress, etc... He'd be able to brag he won the presidency and CHOSE the next one...

    ReplyDelete
  81. "The second method would be not only a logistical nightmare, but a financial disaster as well. The RNC would have to pay for a whole new convention. With no notice. Hell, just renting the convention hall would be damned near impossible given the timeline – they’d end up having it in a cow pasture and be grateful for that"

    Max Yasgur's farm is available.

    (Posted it earlier on the wrong story.)

    ReplyDelete
  82. Two things:
    1. I would like to become one of your Facebook minions whenever you have a spot open up. You're welcome to look over my profile for signs of idiocy. Amy Bowers, Tucson. Just sayin.
    2. Some of your comments reminded me of stuff. "Something, something, gazpacho" reminds me of my late husband, who always said, "something, something, darkside." Thank you for that. I really miss him.
    Also, your comment "And his toadies all nod, it’s true, it’s all true! Yeah, you tell ‘em, Mr. Trump! You tell ‘em!" reminds me of a chapter in the book "The Dawn Treader", which is Book 5 in The Chronicles of Narnia. There's a chapter about a species called the Duffers or Dufflepuds, as they renamed themselves. They. Agreed. With. Everything.
    That's all. Nothing special or insightful, and you'll probably not see this, anyway.
    Much love from Arizona!
    Amy

    ReplyDelete
  83. You have an absolute gift for cutting through the felkercarb. Your assessment of the waste-of-testosterone Trump as an "attention whore" is so right on target and it's going to get me through a few days with a smile on my face. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  84. I generally agree with the assertion that Trump will not drop out. He has already admitted that he cares neither about the health of the GOP nor about winning or losing. He is already visibly preparing this excuses to explain away his loss, should he lose.

    Staying in the race, on the other hand, ensures that he gets lots of attention.

    ReplyDelete
  85. I read this post as I usually do. nodding my head, humming words of agreement, and occasionally snorting coffee out of my nose. Yes yes yes.

    Now I have a question, and it doesn't have anything to do with politics. Well, except it was triggered by three words you used: re the GOP's hoping to find a new crime or whatever to charge Hillary with, your generic example was "something something gazpacho." Words for the ages, yes?

    I do fiber work - I'm a spinner (I have a ShopKat diz!), knitter, and designer. I'm working on a new shawl design, part of a challenge to finish something new before the end of the Olympics. It's very nice (I am biased, but hey). After the Olympics I will offer the pattern for sale.

    And I want to name this pattern Something Something Gazpacho. Lifting three words from your post is plagiarism (using your words or ideas as my own). And as you are the absolutely last person in the universe whose anger I wish to provoke, may I have your permission to use your words as a design name? I will give you credit and link your post. I will send you a copy of the pattern to give to a knitter dear to you (I don't believe you knit, but you have so many talents...). I will make handspun, organically-filled catnip mice for ShopKat and Stupid.

    Thank you for your kind consideration.



    ReplyDelete
  86. Ok, Trump's latest insane (got a better name?) ramblings re. Obama being the founder of ISIS, that sort of rhetoric is sailing mighty close to the winds of sedition. Really? Accusing the CinC of being a terrorist organizations founder? I don't care what his disciples think he said, his actual wording was pretty damned clear.
    Watch out for squalls mate.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually what he truly was implying was the vacuum created by the Cheney/Bush team in an already volatile geography.

      Delete
    2. Greetings
      You give him too much credit methinks. More accurately, one could say that he was inadvertently referring to said vacuum (which was predicted by many people much smarter than Trump is). He has conveniently glossed over all that history and is counting (a safe bet) on his followers to not dig any deeper or to know any better. We need some ironic bumper stickers ; If Trump Said It, I'll Believe It!

      Delete
    3. Ara, no he wasn't implying that in the slightest. In fact the interviewer specifically asked him "oh so you mean power vacuum" etc etc... and he said "No, I meant he's the founder of ISIS."... There's no ambiguity or misinterpretation there.

      Delete
  87. I agree with every-but-one thing you said in this piece. At least some of us liberals are not — repeat, not — hoping Trump will drop out. He's like an ironclad insurance policy guaranteeing the next president will be a Democrat. Why would we want Trump to quit?

    Yours crankily,
    The New York Crank

    ReplyDelete
  88. Hi, Jim -- I set up a recurring donation to Stonekettle Station via PayPal. But the credit card I used was stolen and the account was closed. PayPal tried to process the transaction and failed, and is asking me to talk to you about it. I'd like to continue donating to your site, but I don't know how to delete the faulty donation. I also can't find a way to contact you other than through a comment to one of your posts. Can you help?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Matthew, I'm sorry to hear that your card got stolen. There's never anything fun about that.

      I will cancel the donation process from my end. You should see a notification from PayPal in the next day or so (sometimes takes up to 24 hours to process when I kill a transaction from my end).

      Note: you can always reach me at my public email address as listed on the main page of Stonekettle Station: jim@stonekettle.com

      Again, sorry for the problems. I'll take care of it from my end immediately. // Jim

      Delete
  89. As always well said. Personally my dream would be for Hillary to sweep all 50 states, Trump found guilty in RICO case, the Russians and Deutche Bank to call all loans in and Trump lands in prison, no money, no property, Melania bolts, kids leave the smoking ruins of Trump empire and move to Iowa and change their identities. Trump forgotten.

    ReplyDelete
  90. We should listen to this guy, because navy enlisted men are wise in the ways of politics, and the wide world of deadly combat weaponry, although navy service people are largely cocooned in the relative safety of big boats, and the world at large, and despite his choice of confinement in the culturally small alcohol-saturated state of Alaska, which should still belong to natives, and in a lesser sense, to the Russians who tamed and claimed it for white people.

    The world does not need more tough guys who like guns. We need more smart, cultured, civilized people who eschew guns except in the most dire circumstances. My husband was one of these. So of course, in the general scheme of things, he has paid the ultimate price in terms of his mind and body, while gun nuts thrive.

    Sign me,

    The grass widow of a Vietnam veteran, ranger in III Corps 1969-70, where the Vietcong had their headquarters, exposed to heavy concentrations of Agent Orange while on LRRPS. Member of Mensa and Intertel, he started stroking in 1998, by 2005 was rated 160% disabled by the VA, due to Agent Orange exposure. He still soldiers on, in spite of his neurologists's prediction that he would not survive past 2010.

    VA admitted Dod responsibility, with 100% free care for him, CHAMPVA for me, and indemnity payments to me for life--provided I do not sue them for the devastation of his mind and body, nor for the death of our second child due to multiple birth defects--patent ductus arteriosus, transposition of the great vessels, and spina bifida.

    Upon his return, he wisely would not allow a gun in our house. He killed, by his own admission, 20 or 21 men up close and personal. An unknown number by a brief stint Huey door gunning. More by grenade. Even more by ordering air strikes. Worst of all, he said, were the WP grenades--allowed only for lighting up battlegrounds, but occasionally landing on non-combatants and burning them to ash. He said they crumbled when you touched them. (Still, he was psychologically hardy enough that when he returned, he only suffered briefly from hyper-vigilance. But that has returned with his service-connected dementia.)

    Vietnamese kids would play with small random blobs of white phosphorus--they burned when exposed to air, and went out when the kids covered them with dirt. All citizens should know that their military employs weaponry that is worse than anything they can imagine. War does not inflict neat clean kills as depicted in movies and video games. It causes long-term horrendous suffering.

    The tiny boy in Syria who has brought tears to so many people should wake the sleeping among us--countless children have always been the most innocent victims of war. Use your google for something other than diet and makeup tips.

    I hope this blogger uses his outreach to condemn war, not to boast of his familiarity with weaponry. Any idiot can kill. The price is high, the rewards are nil.

    The rewards are nil. The suffering is endless.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The fuck?

      I hope this blogger uses his outreach to condemn war, not to boast of his familiarity with weaponry. Any idiot can kill

      I let this comment publish because the sheer clueless ridiculousness of it amuses me.

      Jude, you haven't read anything I've ever actually written, have you? You didn't even read this essay, did you? Because your comment has nothing whatsoever to do with anything I've written here.

      I can see you needed a target for what looks to be a lifetime of bitterness and rage and disappointment with your shitty life. I might even have sympathy for your misery, but you figured me for a convenient whipping boy and you couldn't possibly be more wrong about me if you were doing it on purpose. Your sneering contempt for enlisted folks (misguided as it happens since I was both an enlisted man and later a commissioned officer, highly educated, with more than 20 years experience in the intelligence field including extensive experience all over the world and particularly in the politics of Washington) and those of us who served in ships (also misguided, given that a) you don't know the difference between a boat and a ship, and b) you don't know much about the rest of the Navy either) really sets the tone for your idiotic diatribe. You just needed somebody to unload on and you figured I was an easy target.

      Jude, you're the internet equivalent of the Vietnam commanders who dropped napalm on kids because they couldn't find a better target.

      Your husband's service entitles you to exactly shit sympathy from me, given that you're using his service to beat veterans like me about the head and shoulders.

      Fuck you and the miserable sad little pony you rode in on.

      Delete
    2. "was rated 160% disabled by the VA"? I'm sorry, but disability ratings stop at 100%. And I've yet to see a high rating from Agent Orange exposure. I got dosed with it in Nam and Korea (DMZ duty), and between that, a severe hearing loss, back injury, skin lesions and arthritis, I get a grand total of 10% disability from the VA. Jude would get a more sympathetic audience if she didn't exaggerate or make stuff up.

      Delete
    3. My first thought - What on earth does this word salad have to do with the actual blog post?
      My second thought - Great, now I'm going to have a Billy Madison quote rambling through my head all day, thanks Jude.

      Delete
  91. "despite his choice of confinement in the culturally small alcohol-saturated state of Alaska"....

    My college-educated son has chosen to "confine" himself in Alaska. We have visited several times. Along with its abundant natural beauty, we have been thrilled to meet Alaskans. They are fabulous.

    ReplyDelete
  92. Jim,I began to read the post from "Jude" with a more positive view than you did,obviously.I know-you said it was before your 2nd cup of espresso.But I read through her post again,after you'd become angry and I still think she's agreeing with you,even though she's on a substantial misery trip.Why say "sign me"? Try an emphasis on "not" in the first sentence,second paragraph.Try an emphasis on "I hope " .the first words of the last paragraph.I still reckon she hasn't read any of your blog apart from this.A serious failing,as any of us who know your writings understand just where you stand on the issues and complexities)of guns and war.BTW,I have Facebook posts arranged so yours come up first in the morning.Sometimes I simply have to read them to whoever will listen.Many times you express how I'm thinking so succinctly. that I'm fist-thumping the air in solidarity.Could it be that this persons inexact choice of words gave entirely the wrong impression?Just asking.
    Best regards ,Beth (UK)

    ReplyDelete
  93. Hello.....hello...? Jim? Jim...u there? I know that you have a new home to settle into, your household goods are probably strewn to hell and gone, you have a bunch of woodworking tools to calibrate and Shopkat is terrifying the possums. But, it's been approximately 2.5714 weeks since this post went up, and we are getting anxious that we have not heard from you since.

    Granted not much has happened in the world and you may not have plugged the TV in yet. In case you needed something to write about: apparently Hillary-gate (or -ghazi, not sure which is more proper) is gonna go back to Congress for another round of GOP hysteria; more emails were released and promptly bored the shit out of everyone; the Clinton foundation is proliferating global Jihad through counter-AIDS/Malaria funding; and HIllary is suffering from a brain wasting disease that can only be diagnosed via Fox Noise.

    The other guy has said a few things, tweeted a few things. Standard yadda, yadda, yadda. Nothing really Earth shattering. (Until, of course, the Earth really does shatter from the shear amplified resonance of the GOP thousand year storm of stupid.)

    In any case, looking forward to your next cogent commentary, and all the best with your new abode in FL. Hope you live on a high spot. Cheers - Tommy D

    ReplyDelete
  94. So, what if the majority voted "No Confidence"? Trump, well, he really is a joke, but a joke that appeals to many for a variety of reasons ( and some of those reasons hold a lot of water). Hillary, while the saner of the two is far from what anyone would call a good candidate, just the better of the two. So really, what about voting "no confidence"?
    Is that a cop out? An abdication of ones civic duty? Hold your nose and vote for the lesser of two weevils (evils)?

    ReplyDelete
  95. I don't want him to quit. I want him to lose. I want him to be destroyed in the general election. I want Trump to lose TEXAS. Can you imagine a Republican losing Texas in today's climate?

    I want him to go down in flames and drag down large swathes of Republican House, Senate and local candidates with him.

    Not because I think Democrats are automatically better than Republicans in every office, but because the Republican party is seriously broken, and only a major kick in the ass is going to make them see it.

    ReplyDelete
  96. Why would any democrat want him to quit? Trump running all the way to the end would almost guarantee a victory for Hillary.

    ReplyDelete

Comments on this blog are moderated. Each will be reviewed before being allowed to post. This may take a while. I don't allow personal attacks, trolling, or obnoxious stupidity. If you post anonymously and hide behind an IP blocker, I'm a lot more likely to consider you a troll. Be sure to read the commenting rules before you start typing. Really.