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Sue 26 December 2015 05:46 PM

The Wild Ideas You Missed While Donald Trump Was Talking
 
After five Republican debates, most Americans know about Donald Trump’s provocative beliefs, like his desires to end birthright citizenship, stop Muslim immigration and kill families of suspected terrorists. Much less attention has been paid to Carly Fiorina’s conclusion that the minimum wage is unconstitutional, Mike Huckabee’s pledge to defy Supreme Court rulings he deems incompatible with God’s law, Rick Santorum’s claim that Islam is not protected by the First Amendment or Chris Christie’s threat to shoot down Russian planes and launch cyberattacks on Chinese leaders.

Those provocative beliefs, believe it or not, were also expressed during the five Republican debates. They were just overshadowed by the furor over Trump. It might be natural for an opposition party to sound bombastic during primary season, especially when its front-runner is blessed with a seemingly inexhaustible supply of bombast, but the debate transcripts read like a Democratic opposition researcher’s dream.

The good news for Republicans, arguably, is that their rhetoric has been so consistently over-the-top that it has started to sound routine; academics call this “shifting the Overton window,” the range of what’s considered politically acceptable. I’ve watched all the debates as well as the undercards live, but when I reviewed the transcripts, I was amazed how many radical statements had slipped under my radar. Ted Cruz called for putting the United States back on the gold standard. Marco Rubio accused President Barack Obama of destroying the U.S. military. Huckabee said Bernie Madoff’s rip-offs weren’t as bad as what the government has done to people on Social Security and Medicare. Lindsey Graham said his administration would monitor all “Islamic websites,” not just jihadist ones. I had even forgotten Trump’s claim that vaccines caused autism in a 2-year-old girl he knew.

http://www.politico.com/magazine/sto...d-trump-213463

Mr. Billion 27 December 2015 08:34 PM

The author talks about the "Overton Window". I think that's an important idea that explains a lot about American politics today. The more the conversation shifts to more extreme things, the less extreme they seem.

I, too, had missed some of the comments from Rubio and Cruz. That's important, because I think one of those two guys is going be the Republican nominee.

Quote:

Marco Rubio accused President Barack Obama of destroying the U.S. military. ....Rubio, supposedly the establishment alternative to Trump, vowed to repeal Wall Street reform in its entirety and oppose abortion without any exceptions.
Quote:

Ted Cruz called for putting the United States back on the gold standard. ....My favorite example that night was Bobby Jindal’s promise to sic the IRS and the Justice Department on Planned Parenthood on his first day as president—basically, an impeachable crime. But that didn’t turn out to be an isolated incident. In fact, Cruz made the same promise in a later debate, except for the IRS part, presumably because he also vowed to abolish the IRS.

ganzfeld 27 December 2015 10:20 PM

That was very interesting but it makes me wonder how that window gets narrowed. It doesn't seem that we get more and more extreme over the centuries so (eventually?) there must be ways that the conversation gets more moderate. I'd like to know more about that. (Need some optimism here at the end of this politically bleak year!)

Rebochan 27 December 2015 10:58 PM

The only way to pull the window back is for people to actually push back against any of these ideas in the first place. You might notice a lack of that - or when people DO push back against these ideas, it's far easier to simply label them "crybullies" than accept we've allowed absolutely horrid ideas to become acceptable discourse.

crocoduck_hunter 27 December 2015 10:59 PM

Presumably there's a breaking point when a political party has become so extremist that it loses the support of the population, followed by a snap-back towards moderate policies.

But then again, "moderate" isn't a stable position in the first place and politics in the USA has changed quite a bit in the past two centuries.

Singing in the Drizzle 27 December 2015 11:27 PM

To get a party nomination now days you must pass yourself off as an extremist or at least be appealing enough and show a chance of winning the presidential election now days. After the nomination you have to make yourself appear moderate to get the votes. Which leaves us with the worst used cars sales men running for president.

crocoduck_hunter 28 December 2015 12:05 AM

I think that's only true of Republicans.

At least, I can't recall any recent people in the Democrat primaries who has been running on a platform that's blatantly unconstitutional or extremist to the same degree that we're seeing with the current Republican race.

Rebochan 28 December 2015 01:25 AM

More cynically, it's simply allowed the right-wing Democrats to gain more power since now their otherwise untenable beliefs are acceptable when compared to complete psychosis.

Obama governs slightly to the left of Reagan, but Reagan would be a tree hugging hippie compared to this crop. And even then he still had to fight his own party to get even the most basic, light progressive policies passed.

crescent 28 December 2015 01:33 AM

It is not a single window, so much as a bunch of different issue-specific windows. Most of them have shifted to the right, but a few moved to the left.

In the past twenty years or so I think the window has been shifted to the left on a few issues, especially relating to gay marriage, gays in the military and gender issues in general.

Legalization of Marijuana was once a fringe issue that is now mainstream, another window moved to the left.

As for shifts to the right, another once-fringe issue that is now treated seriously is the idea of devolving the federal government of federally managed lands. Cliven Bundy won. Despite talk of prosecution, nothing seems forthcoming, and at least two of the GOP candidates have met with Bundy and openly support him. We'll keep the national parks, but I would not be surprised if the Bureau of Land Management and maybe even the Forest Service end up transferring the great majority of their lands to state management within the next twenty years. It does not need to be a successful experiment, it just needs to last long enough for the state governments to sell of the most valuable pieces to their political cronys (at a bargain price, of course).

There is also the idea that the Supreme Court is not the arbiter of which laws are constitutional or not. Judicial review is becoming unpopular in some conservative circles. Apparently, if the Supremes don't support the conservative enough point of view, then we just need to set the clock back to 1803, as they overstepped with Marbury vs Madison and every ruling since then is wrong. This is how Cliven Bundy and other just ignore court rulings they don't like.

DawnStorm 28 December 2015 12:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rebochan (Post 1901035)
but Reagan would be a tree hugging hippie compared to this crop. .


This is true. It bugs the hell out of me when today's Republicans cite him. They're not fit to carry his jock strap IMO. :mad:

I could never make my mother understand why I went independent in the late 90s/early 00s. I think her big concern was that I couldn't--gasp!!-vote in the primary. Yeah I've been losing sleep over that for years (NOT!).


ETA: wonder what happened to Cliven Bundy? Sounds like he brought on many of his problems himself.

TallGeekyGirl 28 December 2015 01:11 PM

Maybe Trump is a decoy candidate... but not for the Democrats as has been suggested. While he's saying all this horrible stuff and getting all the attention, the other GOP-ers have been quietly gaining support for their own horrible ideas.

He's like a terrifying real-life version of the Censor Decoy... :eek:

I don't really believe that, though. A guy like Trump would never be anyone's flunky.

Sadly, Occam's Razor is in effect here. The simplest solution is that this country is filled with ignorant racists who think that their voice is "finally" being heard in Trump's nonsense. We Americans love to crow about being the best nation in the world, a land of freedom and opportunity, flowing with milk and honey. Unfortunately, there is rather a large population of bigots and morons here...

Sue 28 December 2015 03:44 PM

What kills me is the way uber successful people who came from monied backgrounds like Trump in the US and Rob Ford here in Canada manage to make people with little education and little money and no real prospects short of a lottery win changing their lives feel that he speaks for them. Trump doesn't speak for or care about the so-called common man yet that seems to be where most of his support is coming from. Has he ever in his life done anything for anyone but himself? Is this selfishness part of his appeal?

Mouse 29 December 2015 01:11 AM

Well, can't go broke by appealing to peoples' basest instincts, saying, "It's because of the scary brown people" that ordinary Joes like you haven't become filthy stinking rich. Has nothing to do with the policies of filthy stinking rich people such as myself systematically screwing over white people and brown people alike." :rolleyes:

Singing in the Drizzle 30 December 2015 07:20 PM

When ever I here Trump speak it sounds like blah, blah, blah... after 5 seconds. This is not as bad as it seams since most politicians all sound the about same after 15 seconds.

smittykins 31 December 2015 12:07 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Singing in the Drizzle (Post 1901284)
When ever I here Trump speak it sounds like blah, blah, blah... after 5 seconds. This is not as bad as it seams since most politicians all sound the about same after 15 seconds.

I just replace it with the adults-in-Charlie-Brown trombone sound. :lol:

E. Q. Taft 31 December 2015 04:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Singing in the Drizzle (Post 1901021)
To get a party nomination now days you must pass yourself off as an extremist or at least be appealing enough and show a chance of winning the presidential election now days. After the nomination you have to make yourself appear moderate to get the votes. Which leaves us with the worst used cars sales men running for president.

For Democrats it's actually usually the opposite. If you sound too liberal, even the people who agree with you assume you can't win, and wind up supporting a more centrist candidate for the nomination. Currently, for instance, there are plenty of people who like Bernie Sanders, but would be nervous about nominating him -- I mean, we've seen how many people are willing to demonize Obama as a socialist; how are they going to react to someone who actually calls himself one?

(But it does baffle those on the other side. I recall watching some Clinton-hating conservative relatives of mine boggling when I told them that I had liberal friends who hated Bill Clinton almost as much as they did, for not being liberal enough. They couldn't conceive of Clinton as anything but a radical leftist. And you have the same thing with Obama, who, by any reasonable standard, has been pretty moderate; you could probably have sold most of his agenda to the Republican Party of thirty years ago...)

Republicans used to play the same game to a degree, but lately the party is so beholden to its far right wing(s) that any candidate portraying himself as a moderate is practically committing suicide, and by the time they've pandered hard enough to get nominated, they can't credibly run back to the center any more.

(I know I've seen people who theorize that Trump is secretly a Democratic 'plant' to ensure a Hillary Clinton victory. I'm almost inclined to suspect the opposite of being true -- that he's out there to look so outrageous that the eventual Republican nominee will look eminently reasonable by comparison. If so, though, they aren't doing a very good job of it...)

Roadsterboy 31 December 2015 11:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sue (Post 1901093)
Trump doesn't speak for or care about the so-called common man yet that seems to be where most of his support is coming from. Has he ever in his life done anything for anyone but himself? Is this selfishness part of his appeal?

Trump, and Mitt Romney in the last election, were both portrayed as self-made businessmen. I know people who adamantly proclaimed that Romney was more interested in helping the middle classes because he'd started a successful business. Point out that he was born into a very wealthy family and that he started Bain with a large amount of seed money from his employers and they say "it doesn't matter - he knows what it takes to succeed". I hear people say the same thing about Trump, that he knows what it takes to struggle to start a new business, etc. when the exact opposite is true.

And that's where I think the support comes from. People hear that someone started their wildly successful business and think that they too can hit it big. And while that's certainly true the odds are fairly small of someone starting a business and becoming Romney or Trump wealthy, and much higher that you'll fail and lose everything. Particularly if you don't have the advantages both men had - neither of them has the slightest idea of what it's like to run a new business on a shoestring.

Mouse 01 January 2016 12:11 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Roadsterboy (Post 1901369)
Trump, and Mitt Romney in the last election, were both portrayed as self-made businessmen. I know people who adamantly proclaimed that Romney was more interested in helping the middle classes because he'd started a successful business. Point out that he was born into a very wealthy family and that he started Bain with a large amount of seed money from his employers and they say "it doesn't matter - he knows what it takes to succeed". I hear people say the same thing about Trump, that he knows what it takes to struggle to start a new business, etc. when the exact opposite is true.

And no one ever points out that Trump went broke running a Casino aka a business which is centered around people giving you money with very little expectation of anything in return. That and how many times has he filed for bankruptcy, yet somehow still cons people into giving him money, which totally wouldn't happen were it not for the fact that he's a Name and people are willing to take chances on him because of it.

Though I imagine you wouldn't have much luck if you tried to explain to Trump that getting a loan or whatever assets needed to get a business off the ground is considerably more difficult for Average Joe Blow. People just don't fling large sums of money at someone they have never heard of. :rolleyes:

crocoduck_hunter 01 January 2016 12:12 AM

Trump's actually run several businesses into the ground, in fact. But people believe his hype that he's really successful and self-made because it sounds better.

Mouse 01 January 2016 12:38 AM

Related Cartoon: Donald Trump is a Goddamn Fraud

I'm going to assume by virtue of name recognition, Trump's never going to have to experience any of the unpleasant consequences of failure the way Average Joe Blow would. But then again, Trump's the type who'd proclaim victory no matter what outcome ensued so...yeah, can't roll my eyes enough. :rolleyes:


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