|“The President For All The People (Who Voted For Him)”, the new TV comedy series, is struggling in out-of-town tryouts before taking center stage in Washington in January.
TPFATPWVFH, to coin an acronym almost as clumsy as the new production, stars former “Apprentice” bully Donald Trump. Unsure how to adapt his Billionaire Boss character to the role of a sitting President of the United States, the Titan of Real Estate Titles has so far proved inept in the new role, wholly ill-suited to its demands and nuances. We’ve watched the preliminary, pre January 20th performances of the new Trumpsters production and so far, instead of seeing the low go high, we’re witnessing the high standards and principals of governance in the world’s most successful democracy brought down to a level of crass commercialism, bumbling public communications, and administrative cronyism.
Not surprisingly, given the raw ignorance of the star and his cast of novice players, the initial out-of-town tryouts mostly centered on the Trump Tower in New York, where early mistakes and sluggish performances would not be so easily noticed by the general audience.
Then we saw the next stage of the tryout process, a series of “Thank You, Suckers” rallies, beginning in Cincinnati, and continuing in seven states that Trump carried, or rather, which helped carry Trump and his traveling circus of a candidacy to victory. Surprise, not! We saw the same thoughtless crowds wearing the same empty hats cheer the same pointless, incoherent Trumpian rambles through the fogbank of his uniquely incommunicable thoughts.
These attempts to engender some public enthusiasm for his imminent takeover of Federal power went nowhere. Which, concluded Trump, was the fault of the news media. But attacking these proven enemies of Trumpiness has largely failed, resulting only in louder and more frequent calls for the traditional and now anti-American “news conference”. Horrors! A public, televised forum where Trump would actually have to allow his critics to ask embarrassing questions that he was expected to answer, in freaking cogent sentences! Our new President would have to reveal himself to be incapable of understanding an issue, and incapable of commenting on it in a manner that did not reveal him to have the mental faculties of an intellectually challenged twelve-year old schoolyard bully.
As Christmas approached, the Trumps and their hangers-on escaped to Mar-A -Lago in Florida, and faced their own reality: the new TPFATPWVFH TV show was nearing launch, and was already threatening to be a dud.
Like every successful charlatan before him, Trump saw that his notion of reaching out was failing given his smallish hands. Undaunted by the real rejection of his fake reality, he, like his lying predecessors, opted for the proven strategy of misdirection: if your audience is looking right through you and doesn’t like what it sees, or, in Trump’s case, what it doesn’t see, then make them look at something over there, close enough to get their attention, but not close enough to be easily understood.
With true theatrical flair, Trump selected as the object for his misdirection strategy the very Master of Modern Misdirection, none other than Razzamatazz Putin.
Blinders Reince: How’re you coming with that form, Pokey? I haven’t started mine yet.
Mumblin’ Mitch: It’s kind of, umm, invasive.
Blinders Reince: How so?
Mumblin’ Mitch: Like here, where it asks “Who do you fantasize about when you’re having sex?
- Your fifth grade Creationist teacher
- Paul Ryan
- Paul Ryan and Vladimir Putin
- Vladimir Putin and his horse
- Just the horse
- An anime octopussy
- Kellyanne Conway
- Exceptionally ludicrous comb-overs
Note: Applicants who selected #2 or #9 will be deported on Day One”
Blinders Reince: Who knew Baldy had such a droll sense of humor? That list must have been made by Eric Trump.
Mumblin’ Mitch: I don’t understand.
Blinders Reince: The old mother-in-law joke, Pokes. Oedipussy.
Mumblin’ Mitch: This is all so confusing. Where’s the Speaker?
Blinders Reince: Hiding out from the campaign in Wisconsin.
Mumblin’ Mitch: Oh. Maybe I should go home to Kentucky.
Blinders Reince: And leave me here to handle Orange Baldy all by myself? No way, Mumble Magic.
Mumblin’ Mitch: Call Paul, OK? I need to know what he put for question number seven.
Blinders Reince: Let me see…“Have you ever confessed publicly that Obama’s birth certificate was genuine?” Wow! That’ll probably knock out at least a half dozen Republicans in the Senate, plus maybe three House members.
Blinders Reince, reaching for his tablet phone: Just in time! Here’s Ryan — I’ll put him on my tablet speaker.
Denyin’ Paul: Hey! How’s it look for Baldy in the polls, guys?
Blinders Reince: He’s catching up in a few swing states. Lots of us are getting really nervous. What if he wins this thing?
Denyin’ Paul: No chance, period. Full stop. She’ll crush him with her ads and ground game; probably chop off that monster comb-over and frame it as her first scalp. Not to worry, Whiney. What’s Pokey up to?
Blinders Reince: He’s filling out the application from CEO Bannon. I attached a copy to an email I sent you yesterday.
Denyin’ Paul: I don’t accept emails now. Period. End of stories.
Blinders Reince: Well, you better see it; it’s an application for all Republicans who expect to remain in office after Orange Baldy is elected, or work for his administration.
Denyin’ Paul: Baldy-dash. He has no legal right to demand such an application from me; I’m the Speaker of the House. Full Stop, unless your bill is something I approve of. Tell Mitch to forget that thing.
Blinders Reince: In a sec; now he’s calling his wife; says it’s urgent.
Denyin’ Paul: I’m in a hurry. What’s up, Mitch Bitch?
Mumblin’ Mitch: I, uh, I, ahhh, need to talk to my Sweet Patootie. I need to get her to dig my personal papers out of the secret shoe box.
Denyin’ Paul: Why?
Mumblin’ Mitch: Because it says right down here in small print: “Applicants must provide a copy of their birth certificate and a sworn affidavit that they are certifiable.” But it’s not clear what I’m supposed to be certified in.
Blinders Reince: I’ll need to look it up to be sure, Pokesy, but “certifiable” doesn’t mean like you’re certified for anything.
Mumblin’ Mitch: Well, it’s worrisome, Mr. Chairperson. It says right here, “Only certifiable, born in the USA Republicans will be welcome in the Great Trump Pacification and Unification Administration.”
Denyin’ Paul: Don’t worry, Poke-a-Dope. It’s something you can swear to without hesitation. Same as just about all the rest of us.
Mumblin’ Mitch: Bu, bu, but suppose he makes me pass a bill forcing us to fill this out and sign up?”
Blinders Reince: Or, just suppose, Paul, Bannon and Trump ram this rumored “Andrew J. Breitbart Memorial Freedom of Approved Speech Act” up Mitch’s butt? How can you stop that, once your Freedom Caucus brainiacs climb on board?”
Denyin’ Paul: Not gonna happen, Whiney. The loony-tuners can’t vote on a bill that’s never allowed out of committee, right? Relax. Anyway, I have to go out and mow the lawn.
Blinders Reince: And wave at the reporters, no doubt.
Denyin’ Paul: Sure. Gotta seem to be accessible, right? At least, out of microphone range.
Blinders Reince: But you’re not wearing a shirt!
Denyin’ Paul: Yeah, I’m going to be pretending I just had my workout. See? I put on my athletic shorts. At least I look better than Putin.
It turns out that the dark, frightening vision of America Trump showed us in his convention speech, which he has repeated and reinforced consistently in his rally rants and so-called policy speeches, has one noticeable bright spot, namely for himself.
Ever the shallow TV entertainer, Trump has arranged his campaign so he can fly around the country in his private jumbo jet to rallies where he can be sure to find adoring crowds ready to sing his praise and laugh at the buffoonish attempts at humor mixed in with his lying diatribe about what a crap-hole America has become thanks to Hillary Clinton.
No matter how dark and misanthropic his shouted words and accusations, Trump will always be standing in a glorious spotlight, lighting up the three meter diameter circle that bounds the private alternative universe where he lives. Safe from nasty fact-checkers. Safe from knowledge and having to learn anything. Safe from nosy small-minded critics who want to poke through his tax returns. Safe from his own campaign staffers and all their endless nit-picking. Safe from journalists who want to know about his abuse of illegally employed underage models at Trump Model Management.
Fulfilling his destiny as the creative, unpredictable showman and con artist two-thirds of Americans have come to hate, Trump added a new wrinkle to his bloated image Wednesday, when he paid a surprise visit to the President of Mexico. The brief meeting was a yooge total success; we know that because everything the Donald does is yooge and successful. The only minor wetback, umm, make that setback, was that nothing of any significance was actually discussed in the meeting. Specifically, Trump forgot to remind El Presidente that he was going to have to pay for The Wall.
A few hours later, his reputation as a world-class diplomat assured, Trump was back in Arizona, for his major policy speech on his addle-brained immigration plan. Did the fact that El Presidente had just announced that, yes, The Wall had been mentioned, and yes, Trump had been reminded in no uncertain terms that Mexico was not going to be paying a peso for it upset the soon-to-be crowned Donaldus Magnificus?
Or did being called a liar in front of the entire planet bother his Imperial Orangicus? Did he fume and fret and Tweet out some racist jibe to re-establish his humiliated machismo? Did he modify one sentence of his utterly confused anti-immigration policy in the true spirit of bilateral international cooperation?
No, perdoname, Senor; you must be thinking of some other Orangicuss.
Trump didn’t need to let his abysmal fail at Presidentiating trigger his normal adolescent response, because he knew that he’d shortly be on stage again, greeted by a roaring crowd, and standing once more in the center of his magical spotlighted circle, listening to himself spout his reliable rubbish that defeated 16 other Republicans. And safe. Safe from the journalists, safe from the polls, safe from that pushy Kelleyanne bitch, and safe from that lyin’, crooked, back-stabbing Mexican.
Leaving us with Donald the Dictator, standing up there, smiling that Jabba the Hutt grin he does so well, ranting securely in his golden spot-lit shell, letting us all know how he was going to make that greasy Presidente, all those corrupt media people, and even his mega-fan Putin bow down next year when he, Dictator Don, brushes aside the Constitution to seal our borders from any unpleasant truths. Smiling, not just at the prospects of the Chicken McNuggets he’d stuff down his throat on the flight back to his golden palace in the sky, but at the sight of all of them, next year, groveling before Donald the Dick.
Denyin’ Paul: “Senator? Did you get one of these memos from the RNC? The one saying I was to use BorisYellsin as my new code name?”
Mumblin’ Mitch, looking around and then realizing the Speaker is speaking to him: “Ahhh, uh, yup. Mine is BorisGoodenuff. I think it’s from an opera, but I never actually heard one, so I can’t take a position on that.”
Denyin’ Paul: “There you are. You’re late, Reince. Now, what the duck is this crap about?”
Blinders Reince: “Please, Paul. Not so loud. Somebody might be listening. Mr. Manafart insisted we need to have approved secret code names from now to see copies of the Campaign policy positions, if they ever develop any. Mine is ‘Doestooyessky’; pretty literary, no?”
Denyin’ Paul: “Dammit, Priebus! We’re about to lose the House, thanks to Trump and his slimy Manafool. And this is what they’re doing up there in the gold-plated penthouse?”
Blinders Reince: “Please, Paul–from now on Mr. Manafault is to be called ‘Rasputin.’ And The Donald is to be called ‘Ivan the Terrible’, OK?”
Mumblin’ Mitch: “Harrrumph. Are those names from the same opera?”
Denyin’ Paul: “Not an opera, you fumbling twit; more like a song and dance team in a comedy burlesque show. But, at least those two names fit. C’mon Priebus! What the duck do we need all this silliness for?”
Blinders Reince: “First, so we can communicate with the Campaign. They’re all switching to these code names.”
Denyin’ Paul: “Great! So now I’m supposed to send my emails under this stupid name?”
Blinders Reince: “Emails?! Boris, you can’t still be sending stuff out using email?! Have we learned nothing from Hillary?”
Mumblin’ Mitch: “He is. Sending emails. I got one this morning from him announcing the Labor Day Clinton Bash bash. Oh, and we’ll definitely be there, Paul–I mean Boris, but I’m not too sure about the American flag design Speedo you sent over yesterday; it’s maybe two sizes too large.”
Blinders Reince: “Look, Mr. Speaker: from tomorrow on, unless your messages show your new code name, no one will even bother reading them.”
Mumblin’ Mitch: “No one reads mine now, Mr. Chairman. I mean Yessky.”
Blinders Reince: “That’s ‘DoestooYessky’, Senator.”
Mumblin’ Mitch: “Ahhum, you mean Borisgoodenuff’, if you don’t mind, Doestoo.”
Blinders Reince: “Good enough for blocking Obama nominees and precious little else, you fumbling doofus.”
Denyin’ Paul: “Enuff! The meeting will come to order. Period. You can tell the Campaign I’m not having anything to do with this charade. It all sounds like something Manaflub’s Russian friends dreamed up.”
Mumblin’ Mitch: “No! You can’t mean that, Mr. Yellsin, surely?”
Denyin’ Paul: “Well, Reince?”
Blinders Reince: “Ummm…”
Denyin’ Paul: “Dammit, Preibus, I’ve got votes to delay, and bills to block! This whole scheme seems like a sure fire way to hand over all our secret Republican communications to Putin and his goons.”
Blinders Reince: “Ahhh….”
Denyin’ Paul: “Wel!?”
Blinders Reince: “It’s…it’s just a way of building the relationship, Paul, OK? So that when we win in November, they’ll know where we stand. If we ever do.”
Mumblin’ Mitch: “Oh! Well that makes perfect sense to me. This way Mr. Manafort’s friends in Moscow will be able to see which communication is from which of us! Very efficient! I better go and ask the staff to come up with some position I can say I took last year.”
Blinders Reince: “Wait! Dammit! Look what Murdoch just had his New York Post rag publish! Old nude soft-porn modeling shots of Melania!”
Mumblin’ Mitch: “Ooooh. Golly, she looks, ahum, kinda naked.”
Blinders Reince: “Why would he do that to his own candidate? As if we don’t have enough to deal with. Now these hot nude pics.”
Mumblin’ Mitch: “Ahumpff. Sorry Mr. Yessky, but with all due respect, I wouldn’t care to take a position calling these frumpy pics ‘hot’. No disrespect. Still, it’s strange that Mr. Murdich would stab Ivan the Terrible in the front like this. Oh, sorry! Does Mr. Murdoch have a new codename, too?”
Blinders Reince: “Yes, it’s ‘Katherine the Greatest’, and don’t make any jokes about him choosing to be a queen.”
Mumblin’ Mitch: “I won’t, but I’d sure like to know why he’s doing this to Melania and Ivan.”
Denyin’ Paul: “It’s obvious, Senator: whether Mrs. Ivan is hot, or not, the pictures scandal is hot enough to push the whole duck-up with the Kahn family off the front page.”
Blinders Reince: “But it says here that the Donald, I mean Ivan, apparently doesn’t mind about the pics.”
Denyin’ Paul: “Of course not. First, publishing these old pics will generate some sympathy for her, meaning for Ivan, too. Second, Ivan probably spends an hour looking at them on the nights she develops a vicious Slovenian headache. And more importantly, Ivan knows that Rupert, I mean the Queen, knows bawdy media better than everyone, meaning the stupid TV people will glom all over Melania’s live body and stop focusing all our attention on Captain Kahn’s dead one.”
How to support without endorsing
|Overheard in the third stall of the Capitol’s Special Reserved Transwhomever Restroom:
Blinders Reince: “Guys, stop dithering! We have to have a standard response that all our down-ballot candidates can use. We must give them some space that isn’t tainted with Agent Orange, right? So, what do they say when they’re asked if they support Mr. T?”
Denyin’ Paul, via his cell phone: “They should say, ‘I’m a totally loyal Republican. I support our Party’s candidates in Illinois (or whichever state they call home.)'”
Blinded Reince: “But what do they say about Trump?”
…be a Republican anymore. He has resigned his membership to protest the Party’s selection of Trump. George of course didn’t ask for my advice, but I’ll offer some anyway, personal style:
I would suggest you wait about a month, if it’s possible to temporarily retract your resignation. There appears to be a possibility that the Party may fail to nominate the wannabe Deporter-in-Chief. I’m giving the potential for a (literal) floor fight a probability of 37.8%.
Neva’ Trumpers might actually emerge with the chance to vote for John Kasich, or even your honored self.
Think of that! A 110% legitimate Conservative! Who comes with ready-made campaign slogans like “Let George do it!” and “Will will!”
Sure, the Party will still go down to a crushing defeat, but with its honor partially intact.
And you, Will, will have saved the day. Now, let’s look at the possibilities for 2020…”
There they sit, Priebus updating his resume, McConnell mumbling to himself and anyone nearby who still listens, and Ryan hiding out in his Capital cave office, all looking for an exit strategy from their entire sham of a political career. At this point, each has to be worried that his appearance at the upcoming convention in Cleveland will be booed by the entire audience: half of them establishment-hating Trump followers, and the other half non-Trump followers, who at this point probably have an even lower opinion of the Republican Party establishment leaders than the Trumpeters.
Surely there is some other way out of the Trump Horror Show…
Let’s put our brains together.
What’s that Pleabus?
OK, so the best Republican brains are endorsing Clinton. No matter; our political spin Doctor has come up with three solid strategies:
- Let “The Political Apprentice Show” happen in Cleveland, but tell all the real Republicans to develop a severe case of pre-nausea on July 17th. You know: the kind of nausea you get when you are about to be forced to eat something really rotten.
- Boldly announce that the “base” has made it’s choice, and now, the National Republican Party is making its: to rename itself as the New Conservative Party, followed by an executive meeting transferring all assets of the once GOP to the NCP, and a group departure for an immediate executive retreat. Moving quickly.
- Instruct all the non-Trump supporters to show up in Cleveland with “Neva Trump!” sleeping bags and stage a sit-in, demanding a voice vote nominating Jeb Bush for President! Wow, there’s a novel idea!
What’s that, Reincid?
Of course it’ll be seen as a publicity stunt….No, it’s not at all like the drive-by sit-in the Democrats pulled off: they have sit-ins for something, while we’re against everything.
OK, if these are too bold for the three of you, your SpinDoc has just one more solution.
Realize that only about 20% of the 65 million or so people who identify as “Republican” actually voted for Trump. Meaning 80% of your members want nothing to do with him.
Let me repeat since cryin’ Ryan was not listening:
The vast majority of rank-and-file Republicans, along with most Republican office holders, most Republican donors, and former students of Trump University do not want this clown to get within ten miles of the White House.
Yes, it’s true: there are millions of people supporting Donald Trump for the Republican nomination, and almost all of them are Democrats!
So, it’s simple: go to Cleveland, and command the Rules Committee to pass a New Rule freeing all delegates from any prior obligation. Then hand out a multiple choice form listing Trump, John Kasich, A Candidate to be Named Later, and None of the Above.
When attendees object, simply point out that nominating Trump is as good as doing Hillary Clinton’s bidding.
Then call 911. You’re going to be needing help.
It turns out our estimate of “at least 2200 pledged delegates” for Senator Clinton (after the District of Columbia primary on June 14th) will be substantially under her final total. By the time all the pledged delegates are awarded and tallied next week, we’re now projecting Clinton will have earned as many as 2250 pledged delegates to about 1800 for Sanders.
(She’ll also have won nearly four million more votes than Bernie, but for the nomination contest, only the delegate count matters.)
In fairness, then, even before the super delegates are counted, Clinton will have earned the nomination, beating Sanders fair and square.
Sanders and his team ought thus to be more than satisfied.
But, no, he says he’ll continue to fight on, hoping to offset Clinton’s hard won victory with the help of super delegate votes at the convention next month.
Ohhh, the delicious irony. Sanders, who has railed for a year against the super delegates, calling the entire notion of super delegates “undemocratic”, now hopes to win their support to deny Clinton her 100% democratically earned win.
Shame, Senator Sanders. In your quixotic quest to flip the long-committed super delegate supporters of Clinton, you risk flipping your own triumph: from admirable leader of a wonderful progressive movement to sad, grumpy hypocrite. Proving to all what some of us knew from the outset: you always were a politician, these 30 years and more, not meaning the good kind, but the very type of politician your youthful supporters are out to purge.
|We’re approaching June 7th, the date 694 of the remaining 714 pledged Democratic party delegates to the July convention will be selected. We estimate that Senator Clinton will earn at least 405 of these, bringing her pledged delegate total to 2184. With our estimated 18 additional pledged delegates she’ll receive when the District of Columbia votes on June 14th, we expect her to finish with at least 2202 pledged delegates. That would top the 2200 we predicted earlier. Hoo haw.
If the 2202 estimate holds Senator Sanders will end with 1849 pledged delegates.
Clinton thus wins the pledged delegate vote by a margin of Aaround 350 delegates. (She’ll have also won the vote tally nationwide by a wide margin, but by the rules of the party that number has no bearing on the nominee selection process.)
In the July convention, Cinton will add an estimated 650 super delegates who have expressed their support for her, giving her a strong finish of about 2850 delegates, or roughly 475 more than the 2382 delegate votes needed to win the party’s nomination.
Yeah, right. Those hidden, sneaky, un-elected, super delegates… We’ll have plenty to say about them soon.
|Many progressives by this point are fed up, not so much by the ongoing saga of the Bernie Sanders quest for a just society, but by the blatant phoniness of the news media coverage of his campaign as it stumbles toward California and the end of what has been a long and occasionally noble road.
For months on end, we’ve been subjected to media speculation that suggested he might have a chance of upsetting Senator Clinton’s plodding march to a victory that our projection said was certain back in February.
Yeah. Even before the final results in the New Hampshire primary were tallied, our model called for her to secure a minimum of 2200 pledged delegates by June 8th. These are pledged delegates only, not including any of the super delegates we’ve heard so much about. (We’ll have more to say about the Democratic Party Super Ds in a future post, soon.) In other words, we were confident she’d need only 182 of the 715 Super Ds to reach the required winning total of 2382 delegates.
It’s not magic, folks, nor is it our (and the other analysts’) “opinion”. The way the Democrats award pledged convention delegates in each state is proportional, based on the vote. If one has even a modicum of knowledge of and experience with American national election behavior, it’s easy to project approximately how many votes each of these particular two candidates would likely get in each state.
Our estimates have proven accurate, within plus or minus a few delegates in each state contest through Kentucky and Oregon this week. There’s no reason to assume they won’t continue to be on target through the last big primary day of June 7th.
Back in February, we along with others also estimated that at least 670 of the 715 super delegates were already committed to Senator Clinton. That’s still a likely number, meaning that we project her to book at least 2870 delegate votes when the tally is taken in Philadelphia.
Here’s the takeaway: even if Senator Sanders were magically able to persuade nearly 500 of the Super Ds to suddenly dump Senator Clinton and support his revolution, she’d still win the nomination, based on her (then-projected, now assured) strong lead in pledged delegates of some 2200 compared to a maximum of some 1850 for Senator Sanders.
For those who have refused to give up hope for Senator Sander’s campaign, we’re sorry to inform them that for four months the media have refused to talk about the likely actual numbers come July. “Keep the drama alive,” the media bosses and producers told their on-air personalities, “It’s great for our otherwise dismal ratings.” The truth is that as early as Super Tuesday, March 1st, MSNBC’s clever on-air stars could have announced with 98% confidence that the Sander’s campaign was finito. They didn’t. Keep the profits flowing. Let the Berned ones feel it as long as possible.
Did Senator Sanders have the same level of accurate forecasting we had back in February? Has he all along been dancing on the dreams of his wonderful young and not-so-young crowds of hopeful enthusiasts? We’re not saying this. We may be blinding ourselves, very probably are, since we do this at least as much as many of you do. We simply don’t want to think of Bernie being that cynical.
Nor would we fault Bernie for spinning his potentials and possibilities like so much pink cotton candy. Politics is politics, and, especially in the primary season, it ain’t pretty.
The harsh truth was, and remains, that our early February estimates of Senator Clinton’s likely share of pledged delegates state by state were accurate, meaning she’ll win the nomination in a slow demeaning crawl from February to June, if not a walk.