Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Trumping the rest of the field

We're told from as early as elementary school that voting is our civic duty. The Establishment collectively laments low voter turnout. Outfits like Rock the Vote don't have any specific interest in increasing voter participation rates because the most marginally committed voters tend to vote for the left, of course! No, no, they just want to make sure everybody exercises said civic duty!

Well then, Donald Trump should surely be receiving kudos far and wide for increasing public interest in the 2016 election cycle so much. The following graph shows Google search inputs for the five--Google Trends' maximum number of terms that can be gauged simultaneously--most queried presidential aspirants over the last few months:

This isn't a measure of news story mentions or opinion polling outcomes, it's a measure of search terms inputted by Google users across the US. People want to read, hear, and talk about Trump. He creates more interest than the rest of the field by a long shot. On the Republican side, Donald Trump has garnered more searches than the other 15 GOP presidential candidates combined have over the last three months. And it's not as though there is non-political celebrity noise artificially boosting the apparent level of interest in Trump here, either. As the graph shows, prior to his announcement that he was running, he didn't generate any search interest at all.

The Republican party is undeservedly fortunate to be able to attach its name to Trump, not the other way around.

Parenthetically, I realize that devoting so much space to the painful dog and pony shows that are US presidential elections may strike many as an unworthy use of their time and mine, but the Trump phenomenon is the most exciting thing that has happened in American politics in my lifetime. Here we have a guy who has made halting illegal immigration and deporting illegals in the US the policy cornerstone of his presidential campaign and has made dissipating the suffocating cloud of political correctness the animating spirit of that same campaign, and he's dominating the political discussion in the process. It's worth paying attention to if ever a political development was.

Cuckservative Rand Paul meme

Trump's ace idea is the dumbest of all according to Rand Paul:
“There have been a lot of dumb ideas put out,” Paul said, speaking with Boston Herald Radio. “One that the Mexicans will pay for a wall, was probably the dumbest of dumb ideas. But putting a wall up between us and Canada is sort of a ridiculous notion. It is sort of like everybody is now competing to say, ‘Oh no, I’ll put them in camps. Oh no, I'll throw them out. Oh no, I’ll put everyone in jail. And I’ll have an electric fence, and I’ll do this.’ And it’s like, you know, the biggest thing we need to do is have a functioning immigration system, with a good work program.”

Paul is now polling at 1% support among Republican primary voters.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Trump stump

Donald Trump on his favorite bible verse:

This should have been an expected "gotcha" question given that he previously asserted that the bible is his favorite book. Anytime someone is queried about something that requires rote memorization to provide an invulnerable answer, the chance for stumbling is high. I've read the entire bible and I can confidently quote three passages verbatim, chapter and verse*.
Functionally atheist and intellectually
agnostic, but no skimmer

There are plenty of people who self-identify as some iteration of Christian who have no idea that Jesus--that's what the Bible is all about, right?--doesn't make an appearance until well over halfway through the thing!

A much better question would have been something along the lines of "What is your favorite message from the bible?"

That said, Trump's response was poor. If his working formula regarding all biblical questions is to be strictly non-committal, it's a politically predictable but uncharacteristically Trumpian approach. You don't single-handedly dissipate the cloud of political correctness that is suffocating the Western world by evasion and prevarication!

The first part about spirituality being personal, etc was good but the follow up regarding Old vs New testaments had an obvious answer--if Christian, you very obviously answer "the New". It's a no-brainer.

Unless you're trying to have some fun with it, that is. If I were Trump, I would've said "I know I'm supposed to say the New testament, but part of me that really likes the Old. There are some people who need to be turned into pillars of salt." That would've really caused a tizzy fit in bathhouses across the country!

Granting that the first answer was serviceable, there are lots of ways Trump could have taken the initial question that would've been more characteristically Trumpian; that is, entertaining and frame-setting.

Here are a few that come to mind immediately, formatted as: Verse text; Trump's explanation to the inevitable "why?" follow up; Why the response works.

- Jesus wept; "It gets right to the point, just like me"; It's the shortest verse in the bible.

- Pride comes before the fall; "Despite what you might think, I'm actually a humble guy"; Delivered for full effect with that billion dollar shitgrin.

- One who puts his armor on should not boast like one who takes it off; "What I say I'm going to do is much less important than what I'm actually going to do"; Similar to above, but tapping a metaphorical verse that is less well known and thus insinuates more gravitas while still allowing Trump to create the masterful ambiguity inherent in talking about humility in a cocksure way.

- Let me die with the Philistines; "I'm more of a force than the rest of the entire Republican party is. If the GOP doesn't treat me fairly, I'll take the whole stinking party down with me"; In the words of Pat Buchanan, "The Republican establishment will understand that".

Perhaps Trump has never read a single passage, but even in a post-Christian, classicly-averse Western world, it's hard to believe a guy pushing seventy--who speaks extemporaneously as a matter of practice--can't even manage to paraphrase a line or two. Another possibility, purely speculative, is that his response might be more calculated than he's getting credit for. By appearing to be biblically illiterate, genuinely or disingenuously, he is signalling to a large swath of the population that he is no Bible-thumping theocrat who is going to govern from a scriptural perspective.

* Exodus 3:14 (the agnostic-pleasing "I am who I am"), 1 Kings 20:11 (my personal favorite, "One who puts on his armor should not boast like one who takes it off"), and John 3:16 (because it's by far the most publicly recognizable, "God so loved the world that He gave his only Son...").

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Jack and Rand went up the Hill

A cuck what now?
When Donald Trump announced his 2016 presidential bid, Rand Paul was a serious Republican contender, enjoying over 8% of the support among primary voters, placing him somewhere between third and fifth in a field of fifteen.

Among GOP contenders, Trump's unapologetic political incorrectness contrasted most glaringly with Rand Paul's big tent ethnomasochism. It spilled out in the Fox News debate, as Rand Paul was the only candidate to really go for Trump's jugular (the rest of the field was content to let Fox do it for them). Trump humiliated Paul for his trouble.
Okay, you got me.

So it's instructive--and encouraging--to see that just as Trump swatted Paul down in the debate, Trump's ascendancy has been coupled with Paul's descent into irrelevance. Paul is now bumping along the seabed at 2%-3% support even though he has been campaigning for the presidency since the day after the 2012 elections:

The data are taken from Politico's moving average so that graph is a lagging indicator by several days. The latest Quinnipiac poll had Paul at 2%. He's toast.

When I mentioned this on one of Jack Hunter's facebook posts that consisted of complaining about racist support for Trump, he deleted the comment and unfriended me. Jack used to be a fairly prominent member of the dissident right and my relationship with him was a holdover from that time. I had been happy to engage with him and try to provide intellectual counsel to him where I could until his pathetic about face a couple of years ago in 2013 after it was 'publicly' revealed that he had written the unthinkable, including "Americans aren't wrong to deplore the millions of Hispanics coming here" because "a non-white majority America would simply cease to be America" and sympathizing with John Wilkes Booth. Inexcusable!

Prostrating himself in front of the Establishment he had rapidly began fancying himself a part of, his mea culpa included this gem: "I'm not a racist, I just played one on the radio".

Like Paul, Jack embodies the opposite of everything that makes the Trump phenomenon so captivating. Guys like John Derbyshire and Peter Brimelow have paid heavy prices for their intellectual and moral fortitude, a price far too high for a guy like Jack to endure. 

Trump's continued success, coupled with a recent Rasmussen poll showing that 71% of the public thinks that "political correctness is a problem in America today"--and while the cross tabs are pay gated, presumably that figure is even higher among non-Hispanic whites--provides some justification in being cautiously optimistic that things have reached a breaking point and that a real, widespread push back against cultural Marxism is occurring.

Not a moment too soon, and hopefully not a moment too late.

$25 million per mile

Citizens of the world like to point out, with heads shaking, the public's ignorance of what percentage of the federal budget goes to foreign aid. Kaiser found a mean estimate of 26%. The actual figure is about 1% (curiously, this reaction is not elicited when it comes to overestimates in the populations of blacks, Jews, gays, or Hispanics). In 2012, that 1% came to about $48.5 billion.

Here's a modest populist proposal for the Trump campaign--or for one of the other GOP wet noodles who want to show they are still alive and kicking. Scrap foreign aid. All of it. Divert that spending to the barrier. That annual outlay of $48.5 billion comes to $24.8 million per mile, or $4,700 per foot. And it would be recurring. Think $25 million a year is enough to maintain a single mile of wall? The US wouldn't have to outsource the work to Mexico with that kind of funding. I bet Trump could get it done ahead of schedule and under budget.

Instead of giving money to other sovereign nations, spend it on securing our own sovereignty instead. I'd vote for that.