A restrained, disciplined Trump is scary

On a previous post, Bud was complaining about Hillary’s “fainting spell” continuing to be a story three days later.

Well, first, it’s not a fainting spell. It’s pneumonia. She was warned by a doctor to rest, but she ignored it, went to an event sick and said stupid stuff about the opposition (“basket of deplorables”), then was seen collapsing leaving a big-deal public event.

All while trying to tough it out and keep the pneumonia a secret. Which is just too like her.

All of which made it more of a story than it might have been otherwise.

As for it continuing to be a story for days afterward — well, of course it is. Because now she IS resting, and not making new news to compete with it. What else is there to say about her right now?

You know what concerns me in this situation? That Trump is acting like a grownup and not talking about her health problem right now. He’s following the playbook and letting his opponent’s illness work against her without pulling the attention to himself. Instead, he’s sticking to complaining about the “deplorables” comment.

That shows discipline. Trump showing discipline worries me. Normally we could depend on him to blow the advantage of having his opponent out of action by saying stupid, horrible things about it.

He may still have supporters punching out 69-year-old women up in Asheville, but the loosest cannon on his ship — the captain himself — is restraining himself.

He’s playing to win now. And he could win now. And that’s just unthinkable…

Oh, and to the helpful citizen who provided video of the grandma-punching incident (screenshot below): Turn your phone sideways!



76 thoughts on “A restrained, disciplined Trump is scary

  1. Doug Ross

    People keep trying to portray Trump as some ignorant buffoon. What if he is in fact extremely tuned into the political process and has an actual strategy? Most people don’t pay attention to the election until shortly before election day. Imagine if Trump behaves himself during the first debate? A lot (enough?) people who haven’t made Trump’s behavior a daily obsession might say “What’s all the fuss about?”
    Meanwhile, Hillary cannot falter for a moment in the next eight weeks. If the pneumonia lingers or if she doesn’t perform well in the debates, she’s going to lose enough votes — either in people who switch or people who just aren’t inspired enough to go to the polls – that she could lose the election.

    Does anyone still believe it will be a landslide? 5:1 odds she’ll win?

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Oh, I’ve never thought it would be a landslide. It needs to be; for the good of the nation, we really need Trumpism to be utterly repudiated, so that no party goes down this road again.

      But I’ve been worried from the moment it became certain that these were our candidates. And I’ve found all those stories that were so common until the last week or so, about how it was almost impossible for Trump to win, to be really irritating and counterproductive.

      Hillary’s been on thin ice from the start, whatever the numbers said. She’s never had a lead big enough that it couldn’t be erased by something like the collapse, or the “deplorables” thing….

      1. Doug Ross

        She and her team have repeated the same mistake they made against Obama — the assumption that they will win. The fact that her entire focus has been on Trump is dragging her down. Every single question she is asked is turned into a “but what about Trump?” response. Her collapse this weekend was spun into “Why doesn’t Trump release his tax returns?” because there was no other way to spin the visual of a candidate passing out and being lifted into a van.

        I do find the spinner so amusing though. Huffington Post characterized Hillary’s episode as “She appeared to wobble as she entered the van”. She didn’t “appear” to do anything. She did. And if that’s a wobble, I’d hate to see what happens when she actually passes out.

    2. Brad Warthen Post author

      Oh, and people don’t have to “keep trying to portray Trump as some ignorant buffoon.”

      He either is one — and the world’s champion, prize specimen of one — or he is a brilliant actor, playing the role to the hilt, day in and day out.

      But either way, he’s doing it all himself. No one has to exert the slightest energy to “portray” him that way…

      1. Doug Ross

        A rich, successful buffoon. A guy who has managed to buffoon his way to owning signature properties around the world and have a highly rated television show. I need to go to buffoon school, I guess.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            You might find it enviable, but I shudder at the idea of living a life like Trump’s.

            Nothing against being a billionaire (assuming he actually is a billionaire). I’d be fine with that. It’s what he does with being a billionaire, immersing himself in an ocean of tackiness.

            If I found myself in Trump’s shoes, I’d take a good look around, stash a bunch of my money somewhere where I could retrieve it, fake my death and try to start a life as someone else…

            1. Doug Ross

              He’s a billionaire, no doubt. Even Forbes pegged him at about 4 billion net worth. Trump says 10.

              I’m guessing you don’t buy lottery tickets so you don’t get to plan out how you’d spend your millions as frequently as I do. A three dollar Powerball ticket (which I buy about once a month) gets me at least 15 minutes of entertainment. I’ve even considered giving you a couple million to start a “real” online news site. You can thank me later. 🙂

            2. Claus

              Living a life where you don’t have to worry about money must be horrible. If you want to go anywhere in the world you just get in your personal jet and take off, see something you want you buy it, meet anyone in the world just have your personal assistant line up a meeting, need something as soon as you ask you have people beating down your door to help you, want a younger prettier wife they’re lined up outside your door. I don’t know how he does it.

              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                You may not understand it, but I’d hate that life. The very worst part about it is that the Trump brand lies at the heart of it all, so I’d have to go around acting like a jerk and cutting ribbons on tacky casinos in order to maintain it.

                And I’d have to be married to the kinds of women he marries, which might sound great to you, but appalls me. You know that tacky “___, marry, kill” game? These women do NOT qualify for the second category. Which may be unfair to them, but they haven’t shown me anything that would make me want to spend a day with them, much less a life.

                If I had a few billion, or even just one (my needs are simple), I’d use it to build a secure, dignified life for my family and me, preferably one well out of the public eye.

                And I would have no interest in making MORE money. (Which is why I’m not the kind of person who would make a billion to start with.) I’d probably want to stay occupied. As I’ve written before, I might buy a newspaper and keep myself busy exploring ways to make reporting the news profitable again — trying to discover the new business model to replace the advertising one that collapsed. Not to make more money myself (in fact, I’d expect to lose good bit of money along the way, as I’m sure many experiments would fail), but because our society needs SOMEONE to find a way for journalism to afford to keep performing its watchdog role. If I found the secret (which no one has yet), I’d share it freely.

                But I’d take steps to make sure I didn’t lose the fortune doing that. For the sake of my family, I’d set things up so that the fortune would be secure and enduring, self-perpetuating. You know, not dipping into the principle.

                Like Doug, I’ve thought about what I’d do with a fortune. And this is what I’ve thought…

                1. Kathryn Fenner

                  Lots of super-rich guys–well maybe not lots, are married to non-bimbos–Warren Buffett comes to mind.

                  I would invest in solid, pro-social things that would spin off a secure income for me and my loved ones–nothing generous, just middle-class, and then invest in less solid, pro-social things via a foundation.

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    “Lots of super-rich guys–well maybe not lots, are married to non-bimbos…”

                    Well, of course. But I was talking about how awful it would be to be Trump, not to be a billionaire. And the women Trump marries are a big part of who he is…

                2. Pat

                  I couldn’t help but think of this:
                  Proverbs 30:7-9 Two things I asked of You, Do not refuse me before I die: Keep deception and lies far from me, Give me neither poverty nor riches; Feed me with the food that is my portion, That I not be full and deny You and say, “Who is the Lord?” Or that I not be in want and steal, And profane the name of my God.

        1. Kathryn Fenner

          A born-rich, not very successful buffoon. He is a salesman, not a businessman. His sizzle sells, but the steaks go bankrupt.

          1. Doug Ross

            He was born sorta rich and became ultra rich. It didn’t happen by accident or through luck. There is a level of skill and effort that people like us who comment on blogs will never have.

              1. Doug Ross

                But can you acknowledge that there are literally thousands of people who are very happy he is who he is because he employs them, buys their high end products and services, and promotes their products?

                There’s probably a guy who makes a pretty good salary just on hair and skin products for The Donald. It’s trickle down buffoonery.

            1. Kathryn Fenner

              We do not know what his net worth is, now do we?
              I have seen credible analyses based on what we *do* know, and the conclusion was that he would be worth more if he had just invested in Vanguard or Fidelity mutual funds…

              1. Claus

                His dad didn’t leave him that much to be worth $4-$10 billion dollars investing in a Vanguard mutual fund.

                I would be worth many times more than I am now had I invested in Apple, Microsoft, Google, and Facebook stock.

              2. Douglas Ross

                Are you saying, Kathryn, that one of the leading financial magazines can’t adequately estimate the net worth of Donald Trump? I posted the link to all his properties before — that’s public record information including the debt on the properties.
                He could easily cash them all out and put a billion in the bank.

                Using a rate of return calculator, I see that to get from 10 million to 4 billion over 40 years, you have to average 16.7% every year. Even if he started with 100 million (which I don’t think is even close), he’d have to average 10% per year for 40 years. There is no mutual fund that can deliver that.

        2. Bryan Caskey

          Trump doesn’t seem to have any long-time friends, business partners, or associates. He just has his family and paid lackeys. He sort of seems like Tony Soprano in that sad way. Think about why that is.

          He’s a con-man. Now, I didn’t say he was a bad con-man. In the arena of finding a mark and taking him for his money, Trump’s a virtuoso. He’s a serial con-man. He spotted the disaffected GOP voters as marks, and has been playing them like a Stradivarius.

          Side note: Any of the other 16 GOP candidates would be running rings around Hillary right now.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            Yes, they would. Including perhaps even Cruz, which is a different kind of scary.

            But I prefer to think in more pleasant terms, imagining that the GOP nominee was someone like Kasich…

              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                Sure they would. But they’d be attacking a solid candidate, instead of Trump.

                It would be more of a classic case of “Do you want a Democrat or a Republican?” And with the Democrat being Hillary Clinton, and her running the campaign she’s been running, independents would tend to lean the other way.

                Which is what all the polls said when Kasich was still in it. Since then, there is more reason than ever to think that a normal Republican like Kasich would have a comfortable lead.

            1. Brad Warthen Post author

              Right. I’m editing my memory, and just including the several who were serious candidates. Really, my thinking doesn’t go much beyond Kasich, Bush, maybe Rubio, maybe Christie before he sold out to Trump…

              1. Kathryn Fenner

                Scott Walker, Rick Perry Redux, Carly “Chainsaw” Fiorina,

                None of them….

                But I can’t even remember any others…weren’t there 18 at one time?

          2. Claus

            Very few people I know still have friendships with childhood or even college friends. The only people that I can think of are people from my hometown who still live in my hometown and hang out with the others in my hometown who never left. The same people who have no ambition to better themselves and make in a year what I make in 2-4 weeks. Their best memories are their high school days.

              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                I am not. You recently met one of my high school friends — only the second one of them my wife has met in our more than 40 years of marriage. And we haven’t seen the other one since at least 1976.

                I recently connected with my best friend from when I lived in Ecuador — a fellow American whose Dad was in the Air Force and stationed down there, I suppose on similar duty to what had my Dad there (sort of liaison to the Ecuadorean Navy). That was when I was in the 5th and 6th grades.

                We haven’t conversed or anything. I just found him on Facebook, and reached out. He accepted, and wrote back, “Did you used to live in Ecuador.” I said yes, and we haven’t communicated since. But it’s fun to see his posts, as I can see the tall 11-year-old (at least a head taller than I was) in the man in those pictures…

                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Wait — there’s a woman I see maybe once a decade on visits to Bennettsville who I called my “girlfriend” when we were in kindergarten together.

                  And that’s about it.

                  Looking back, my childhood was sort of like being a movie actor. You play a role in which you are intensely involved with a group of actors, and then the movie’s done and you move on to another, with a different cast of actors playing a different set of roles in a different universe.

                  I moved every year or more often until Ecuador, then had that and two more places where I stayed for two years (New Orleans and Tampa).

                  I was only in Hawaii, where I met Burl, a year. That was the third of my three high schools…

          3. Pat

            He’s definitely a deceiver…. Trump University, multiple real estate projects, hurricane Sandy dollars he managed to get, Trump Foundation, now this presidential run. No matter how any of it turns out, he makes certain he increases his bottom line. He’s not a buffoon, but everything is colored through his self-centeredness.

  2. Claus

    Brad first you’re concerned that he doesn’t act presidential, and now when he does you’re concerned.

    Maybe if he lied a little more, stumbled around like he was either drunk or dying, and then suddenly appeared fine (body-double rumor) you’d be less concerned.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      I’m concerned that he is NOT presidential, which he most assuredly is not.

      And yes, it worries me a great deal to see him try to impersonate someone who is presidential, because some people who might otherwise know better could be fooled…

      1. Claus

        Is Hillary presidential? You consider Trump to be crooked, but at least he doesn’t lie to your face like she does. He may insult you to your face, but I can take that over being lied to.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          I don’t think I’ve called him “crooked.” A dangerous lunatic who wouldn’t know the truth if it jumped up and bit him, sure, but you can be those things and not be a crook.

          Of course, he won’t let us have a look at his financial information, so I wouldn’t rule it out. But at the moment I’m not thinking of any evidence I’ve seen that he’s crooked…

  3. Bryan Caskey

    However, since Hillary’s lead in some swing states is collapsing* I’m revising my prediction of a sure-fire Trump loss to a most likely Trump loss.

    *Sorry. That joke was just out there, waiting to be used. I mean, it’s just too easy. 🙂

    1. Doug Ross

      If you want to hedge your bet now, I’ll take a six pack of Ballast Point Habanero Sculpin and we can call it a day. 🙂 Or I can buy you a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon.

  4. Bart

    It is a difficult thing to defend Trump but to be fair, on the discipline thing, I can. While most of us would never believe for one moment he is disciplined, IMHO, our conclusion that he is undisciplined is in error. Thinking about Trump from his beginning as the son of a wealthy father, Trump learned discipline and the way to con people out of something or to his way of thinking. He had and apparently still has the necessary discipline to carry out his agenda, whatever it actually is. If he needs to be a buffoon, he will be one. If he needs to be silent, he can be silent. It takes a great amount of discipline to be a chameleon when it is time to change colors to suit the moment. He is not an unintelligent man, if anything, he is almost “wicked” smart. Otherwise, how could he be where he is in the polls and is within range to win the election.

    Clinton has fallen into the Trump Trap and she keeps him in the headlines as much if not more than he himself does. Consider another point. How was it possible for Trump to be the center of attention during the debates if you want to call them debates and win enough primaries to win the nomination? It took discipline and the will to stay on track.

    Trump has sat down with bankers, lenders, and a wide range of powerful individuals during his lifetime and usually come away with the winning hand. That takes discipline and a willingness to use his power position to his advantage or to parlay a losing position into a winning one. When he announced his candidacy, it was taken as a joke for serious political observers but he went from a joke to the nominee.

    Never, ever underestimate Donald Trump. That is Hillary Clinton’s problem and if she continues to react to his comments, it only increases his presence and profile to the public and not necessarily in a negative way.

    I do not equate Trump with Hitler, that is beyond ridiculous but if making a comparison in the potential rise to power, at one time, Hitler was a minor figure in German politics. But, he found out and used what resonated with the German people and it worked. It is very likely that the majority of Germans did not like or agree with Hitler but the grand demonstrations and pagentry that were staged to appeal to enough Germans and it worked. He said what they wanted to hear and he gained enough support to become the leader of Germany.

    Trump honestly frightens me because a Trump presidency would divide this country into tribal camps unlike anything in our history. Even if Trump wanted and tried to unite the nation, the divisions are too great and the die has been cast. I could care less about his wealth, wives, or anything else in his private or public life but it needs to stay where it is, more like a badly done reality show. It does not need to be moved to the Oval Office.

      1. Claus

        Is Hillary planning on a fundraiser where attendees have to fork over less than $100,000 per plate? Isn’t she for the common folk? She sure doesn’t seem to want to be around them much, they must cramp her style.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      Hitler, early on, used to rehearse those ridiculous, histrionic gestures and expressions in front of a mirror, if I recall correctly.

      I wonder if Trump does, or if it’s all just natural.

      I suspect the latter. And like Kathryn, I don’t think he’s disciplined. I think pretty much everything Trump does is something he WANTS to do, what he ENJOYS doing. I wouldn’t enjoy it, but different strokes…

      I worked very hard, and for long hours, all those years as a newspaper editor. But I was so motivated to do it that it really didn’t take much discipline. I was terrible at the things that took discipline — getting my people’s job evaluations in to H.R. on time, for instance. But I could outlast anybody at the tasks involved in editing and writing for a newspaper, because that’s what I felt driven to do.

      Just as I’m driven now to keep a blog going, even though it pays almost nothing, and in fact possibly holds me back from being marketable, as friends have tried to tell me…

      1. Claus

        Does Hillary practice her stumbling or is it natural? Between her pneumonia and face planting getting into her plane she’s turning into a regular Gerald Ford.

        Here goes the Al Bundy story again…

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Actually, they say Gerald Ford was a good athlete and very well-coordinated. He just had the bad luck to be on camera when he stumbled once or twice.

          Of course, everyone is pretty much on camera all the time, now.

        2. Bart

          As Brad said, Gerald Ford was a very good athlete, was in good health, and he didn’t have pneumonia when he tripped. But, the media, comedians, and late night talk show hosts had fun and took shots at him without mercy.

          GWHB threw up at a Japanese state dinner and a few other presidents have been caught in situations very similar.

      2. Bart

        Hard work, long hours, and staying with the task at hand does take discipline. Being driven at the tasks you were responsible for requires a lot of discipline to complete them when the order of importance is given priority. Getting evaluations to HR on time may be a shortcoming but it is not indicative of a lack of discipline. Maybe time management is not your strong point when it comes to certain tasks to be completed.

        I stand by my remarks and evaluation of Trump. He is disciplined. And that is troubling.

  5. David Carlton

    OK, Brad—What was so “stupid” about Clinton’s “basket of deplorables” remark? Yes, she got the proportions way off, and it generally isn’t good to be seen as insulting voters. But was she wrong? In fact one of the scariest things about Trump is the way in which he’s lent legitimacy to a lot of the worst in America. Consider this, from Bloomburg View’s Francis Wilkinson:

    “‘Trump is not what scares me,’ said Abdullah Hammoud, a first-generation Lebanese-American from Dearborn, Michigan. The more serious threat, Hammoud said, is Trump’s unleashing of latent racism among his supporters.

    “‘He has monetized racism. This man spreads bigotry and captures dollars and votes in exchange,” he said. “My mother, my sister — individuals now feel empowered to attack them because they observe the hijab.'”

    In short, Clinton has come out and said something that’s true–and you call her “stupid” for saying it. Moreover, it may not be even *tactically* stupid. Clinton’s remark has got people talking about those “deplorables”–and about the Trump campaign’s inability or unwillingness to disassociate from them. We’ve seen Trump Jr. put out a picture of his dad posing with the neo-Nazi cartoon mascot Pepe the Frog, we’ve seen Mike Pence refusing to call David Duke [!] deplorable because that would be name-calling [!!!!]. Apart from the Trump people–those brave champions of the politically incorrect truth when somebody’s else’s oxen are being gored–the chief impact of her remarks (and you, like them, quote them out of context, BTW) seems to have been that it’s forced all your favorite pundits to the smelling salts.

    Finally, you’re fretting about Trump tightening the race–well, we both are. But there’s a simple reason for that that you’ll never admit: the race is becoming normalized, and the people normalizing it are your buddies in the media. I warned you from the very beginning that it would happen; it’s written into the genetic code of American journalism that gaining the nomination of a major political party grants one automatic legitimacy and places you on a equal plane with the *other* major-party nominee.

    Thus (1): Clinton gives a well-documented speech pointing out the interconnections between Trump and the “alt-right” (remember Pepe?). Trump responds with a silly insult: “Clinton’s the real racist.” The headline: “Candidates Trade Charges of Racism.” To point out that one candidate (the one y’all have convinced people is “the liar”) was telling the truth and the other was telling a blatant, malicious lie, would, we are told by no less than the Public Editor of the New York Times, introduce “partisan bias” into the story. And we can’t have that!

    Thus (2): all the stories about the Clinton Foundation that turned up nothing more damning than the fact that people engaged in global philanthropy know each other and are used to working together on matters of mutual concern (which include, ahem, the National Interest). This, of course, “raises questions”–that favorite excuse of all the conspiracy theorists in the fever swamps.

    Obviously, you can’t give Donald Trump legitimacy by building him up–he is what he is (although it’s astonishing how many people rush to applaud him for using the president of another country as a prop to make himself look “presidential”). You can only give him legitimacy by tearing his opponent down, by reducing her in the eyes of the public to his level. Granted, Clinton, with her perpetual defensive crouch (Can you really blame her?) and some serious lapses in judgement (Just because Colin Powell played fast and loose with e-mails was no excuse for her doing the same) offers a pretty juicy target. But the fact remains not only that she’s a more qualified candidate than Trump, she’s a much better *person.* But that’s next to impossible to get across when the intermediaries people rely upon for their information treat Clinton and Trump as Tweedledum and Tweedledee.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      David, you said it: “it generally isn’t good to be seen as insulting voters.”

      And I don’t think it was tactically bad; I think it was strategically bad. I’m very worried about it.

      And it seems to me I’ve been saying from the start that one of the greatest dangers in this election is the normalization of Trump. Haven’t I been right with you on that?

    2. Brad Warthen

      Another level on which it was “stupid” — is was worded so goofily as to make it memorable on that basis alone. Which gives it legs.

      Like “binders full of women,” which is why I paired the two in a Tweet yesterday. What Romney SAID wasn’t as memorable as the goofy way he said it, which subjected him to more scorn than if he’d said it more elegantly and prosaically.

      I may add “The Deplorables” — a word that, by the way, causes spellcheckers to protest — to my growing list of band names, for when I finally start my band…

    3. Bill

      Carlton gets it right. The ”deplorables“ comment got nothing wrong – arguably not even the proportions:


      In a recent op-ed, Michael Gerson wrote, “Trump has achieved one good thing in our politics. He has revealed motives that used to be hidden by ‘political correctness.’ They were also hidden by human decency.” Clinton points a finger at this lack of decency at her own peril, not because what she says is wrong but because too many people would rather not be honest – with themselves or with their neighbors.

      By appealing to loutishness, Trump has tapped into the American id. Nervous Nellie fretting over alleged strategic missteps or inelegant phrasings is pretty weak tea when it comes to dealing with this threat. What’s needed is for us to be candid with our Trump-supporting neighbors.

  6. Doug Ross

    A treasure trove of what Colin Powell and Condi Rice emailed about Trump and the Clinton’s and others. It’s all a game for them. Phony in public, truth in private.


    I’m assuming Brad is okay with these leaks because he believes if you have nothing to hide, you shouldn’t worry about being watched. Same thing here. If you don’t lie, you don’t have to worry about looking bad when truth comes out.

  7. bud

    Brad, David expressed in a very articulate way the dangers of false equivalency. Now the normalization monster is rearing its ugly head. If we can get past this nightmare election we need to hold the American media machine to account. When you have a true pragmatist like Bernie Sanders equated to a really deplorable human being like Trump there is something seriously wrong with the third rail. These are very scary times.

  8. Douglas Ross

    The Union Leader, New Hampshire’s largest newspaper, has endorsed Gary Johnson for President.


    Johnson is one of three candidates on the ballot in all 50 states. He is asking the debate commission to grant him that third podium for the first debate and if he does not reach the arbitrary 15% poll number they have set after that, he will not ask to be included in any future debates. That certainly seems like a fair compromise… but can we expect the rigged two party system to allow ANY entry by a third party — even when that third party is represented by the most experienced leadership with the least baggage? Nah, let the sheep keep on sheeping.

  9. Karen Pearson

    When is the news going to get around to pointing our how morally objectionable Trump is in his personal behavior? This guy’s soul is so rotted that maggots could eat forever and never get it cleaned up. He’s stiffed people who worked for him, his charitable corporation should be required to put “charitable” in quotes, his university ultimately taught it’s students how much of a rip-off artist he is, and as a singer he’s on permanent warm-up with “me, me, me, me, mee.” On the positive side, he’s a little obese.

  10. Bart

    Not going to mention anyone in particular but since Trump has become the Republican nominee, I have watched by reading comments by many on this blog become replicas of Trump because of the apparent hatred they have for the man. When he is described in ways that would normally be reserved for a truly evil person who committed heinous crimes against humanity, it gives me pause to wonder exactly what is in the hearts of the ones making the nasty comments. He has not raped or molested a child; he has not committed mass murder; he has not set fire to a mosque or temple; and he is not a serial killer. He does have an uncontrolled tongue and his comments are offensive but to say his soul is “rotted” is a little beyond the pale. That is something he would say.

    I am not a supporter of Trump or Clinton and I have made some harsh comments but they were in the context of his or her lack of qualifications and the level of distrust most voters have for both.

    By engaging the rhetoric that is beneath the enlightened and ones who understand the dangers of a Trump presidency, then the very ones who participate bring the debate down to Trump’s level and by doing so, he wins. This is evidenced by the simple fact that he is now tied with Clinton in the latest polls in a 4 way race. If we allow ourselves to get in the mud with him, don’t complain about others who support him, we then are no better.

    Not preaching, just stating the obvious.

  11. Douglas Ross

    From Scott Adams blog.. some insight into the “psychology” of this race and why Trump may win:

    “Do you remember way—-way—-way—back in July, when the public thought Trump was the candidate they couldn’t trust with the nuclear arsenal? That was before we realized he could moderate his personality on command, as he is doing now. We’re about to enter our fifth consecutive week of Trump doing more outreach than outrage.

    It turns out that Trump’s base personality is “winning.” Everything else he does is designed to get that result. He needed to be loud and outrageous in the primaries, so he was. He needs to be presidential in this phase of the election cycle, so he is.”

    Do you remember over a year ago, when Trump first entered the race? Social media relentlessly insulted his physical appearance. They mocked his orange hair and his orange skin. They called him a clown. They called him a Cheeto. It was brutal.

    But over time, Trump’s haircut improved. He softened the color to something more blonde than orange And his fake tan and TV makeup improved too. Today, if you ask a voter to name the candidate for president who “looks bad,” the answer would probably be Clinton, primarily because of her recent health issues. In our minds, Clinton went from being a stylish and energetic personality to a hospice patient dressed like a North Korean dictator at a rave.

    Trump has entered one high-risk business after another, guaranteeing that he would experience a large number of setbacks, failures, and humiliations. People don’t run toward humiliation unless they know they can convert that negative energy to fuel. When you see someone succeed across multiple unrelated fields, that’s often a sign of a Master Persuader who feeds on both success and failure. You are watching Trump do exactly that, right in front of your eyes. He has converted every “gaffe” into news coverage. He eats bad news and converts it into fuel.

    1. Douglas Ross

      Consider this – in the past month, Trump has gone to Mexico and into a black church in Flint, MI. When has Hillary ever gone into what would be considered a hostile environment? Do you see her going to Lexington, SC or Dallas, TX?

      1. Brad Warthen Post author

        In her mind, everywhere she goes is a hostile environment, in which her adversaries (which to her mind include the media) may attack or trip her up. Hence her defensiveness, her lack of transparency.

        Her husband, on the other hand, acted like he was always among friends, wherever he went.

        I was just watching “Primary Colors” the last night or two. (I started watching it a couple of nights ago, then started watching Redford in “The Candidate” last night, then decided I wanted something lighter and switched back to “Primary Colors.”)

        Apple fritter?

        1. Bryan Caskey

          Hillary! did a campaign event yesterday. She had a music intro from James Brown. Yes, it was his hit “I Feel Good”.

          I only have one small quibble with that choice, and y’all already probably know this since James Brown was a native South Carolinian.

          He died of complications from….pneumonia.

        2. Douglas Ross

          She is running to win the votes of her faithful followers. That attitude will guarantee four more years of partisan sniping.

          1. Brad Warthen Post author

            “She is running to win the votes of her faithful followers.”

            I think that was true in 2008. It’s one of the things that made Obama look so good by contrast. At that time, her support base seemed made up of:

            • Diehard loyal Clintonistas who, for instance, still saw Bill’s impeachment as something that the “vast right-wing conspiracy” had done to THEM, rather than arising from Bill’s actions.
            • 1970s-style feminists who were just excited as all get-out because she was a woman, pure and simple.
            • The angriest partisan warriors who were hyper-anxious to “take the country back” after the Republicans holding the White House for 8 years.

            This time, it’s different. Not because of her, but because of the overall political environment in which this campaign is occurring.

            Now, she’s not the representative of an old 60s/70s “New Left” — she survived a huge challenge from someone who represented that far more than she did.

            The way Trumpism took over the GOP had a big impact as well.

            All of these things have conspired to make her the sole representative remaining from either party of the broad, moderate governing consensus of both parties in the post-1945 world. There’s a category into which you can fit every president (and most if not all major-party nominees, but especially the presidents) we’ve had since FDR, regardless of party. And she is the only person left — now that the likes of Jeb Bush and John Kasich are long departed from the scene — who fits into that category.

            So yeah, you’ve got the standard Clintonista hangers-on, sure. But you’ve also got independents like me, and you’ve got pretty much the entire Republican national security Establishment, in her corner.

            Because she’s all that’s left for any of us…

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