Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Trump: Bomb-Damage-Assessment

In Isaac Asimov's Foundation trilogy (which is all The Omnivore recognizes) the titular group--The Foundation--is created by a man who has pioneered a science of predicting the future by studying the psychology of mass-groups of people. In the second book, after his predicted fall of the empire, the new order, led by The Foundation, is threatened by something he did not see coming: a mutant known as The Mule who could alter men's minds through actual (and never-before discovered--as far as the reader knows) telepathy.

This one individual broke humanity's genius plan--altering it irreparably--because of his singular talent.

Exactly how this applies to today's GOP Primary is left up to the reader.

Trump will likely be gone by February of 2016 when the Iowa caucuses kick off the real Republican Primary season. That's according to a poll of political insiders--and it's only "no" by a slim margin (mostly on the Democratic side). The Omnivore's question, of course, is "what will change."

Right now that's unanswerable--indeed, the obvious answers seem to have been given and nothing has happened--so it's time to look ahead. What impact is Trump having--what real, long-lasting impacts? Like a bomb-target, what is the damage?

Direct Hit: Perry Out

Unless something spectacular happens, like, today, Rick Perry is out of the first debate. This is notable in ways that, for example, Fiorina and Jindal are not. Perry is--or at least should be--a serious contender for the White House. It is easy to say that if not for Trump he would be in the debate--but is it not to say if not for Kaisch he'd be in? Kinda yes--but really "no."

Rick Perry did do serious damage to himself in 2012--but his reasons for being a heavy-hitter didn't evaporate and the one thing he really needed was to show he wasn't, you know, stupid. Being in the first debate could have helped that. The Trump effect has cost one heavy-hitter what was likely his best shot at making a good second impression.

Body Blow: Walker In Iowa

Below is the Huffington Post Poll-average of the GOP Primary in Iowa.
In this average, Trump is gaining seriously on Walker--Walker is still ahead (and in the RCP average, substantially--but it uses a different methodology and much older polls). This is serious business because Walker's campaign strategy is to win Iowa proving he has the chops with the religious wing of the Republican party (and that he can gin up excitement), lose New Hampshire to Jeb Bush, and then,  maybe--or maybe not--compete in Florida as Rubio and Jeb fight it out for supremacy of the sunshine state.

Today Trump leads by a massive margin in New Hampshire, a smaller margin in Florida, and Rubio is collapsing in America's penis. If this condition lasts into the actual voting primary everyone's battle-plan is screwed. Badly.

If Trump can beat Walker in Iowa, while billionaire donors could still easily keep him afloat, it's hard to see where he gets momentum. South Carolina? Maybe. The closeness of Trump has got to be worrying him.

Let's also note, just for fun, that Walker got punked in a New Hampshire pizza shop where a guy with a pro-walker sign asked to take a picture with him--but when they got together, he flipped it around and ... 
Well Played, Random Dude
While this, frankly, could happen to anyone, it does not especially help Walker in his quest to look smart. Maybe after Perry drops, Scott can borrow the Texan's glasses?

Looming Threat: The Tea Party / Conservatives

Trump is, shall we say, not severely conservative. Exactly how not conservative you think he is varries a lot from person to person--but for serious-minded conservatives there is a scenario that scares them: The Dukakis Eventuality.


From the PowerLine blog:
Are you happy that Trump is essentially a stalking horse for Jeb Bush? If Trump wins some early primaries in a crowded field it will be with less than 20 percent of the vote, but it will likely cause the party establishment—such as still exists—to rally around Bush, just as Democrats rallied to Michael Dukakis in 1988 after Jesse Jackson swept a round of Super Tuesday primaries in the South and caused panic at DNC headquarters.
This is a legitimate fear--Trump (today at least) doesn't match up well vs. Hillary and isn't vying for Bush's voters (at least . . .  not exactly). If Trump makes it past the February starting gun the GOP-Establishment may have no choice but to back Bush. They could also back Walker or Rubio--but neither is as sure a bet from a purely numerical stand-point.

Glancing Upper-Cut: The GOP's Reputation

While it's true that no candidate has literally set him or herself on fire in order to try to get voter attention, Huckabee has invoked Nazi ovens, Rand Paul used a chainsaw on the tax code, Ted Cruz cooked bacon with a machine gun or something, and so on. Trump's comments have made him unpopular with Hispanics--but what about the GOP in general? Well, the response to McCain being far more severe than the response to the Mexican comments hasn't gone unnoticed.

So will Trump actually damage the GOP? That remains to be seen--but it's not out of the question.


The obvious other damage that Trump has done is to knock out guys like Rand Paul and suffocate Ted Cruz. Thanks to copious SuperPAC money, this is recoverable--but some damage may be lasting . . . and that's assuming Trump exits. What if he doesn't?


  1. I am now going to re-read the Foundation trilogy. So good. Riffing on this theme, I am surprised no one has suggested Obama as R. Daneel Olivaw.

    1. It ... just came to me. It was like Trump is disrupting THEIR WHOLE PLAN!! Where have I seen this before?? --TO

  2. And that leaves... um... George Lakoff as your Hari Seldon manqué?

    -- Ω