Bad Hombres and Nazis

Is generalizing about immigrants of Hispanic heritage as “bad hombres” the same as generalizing about authoritarian-wannabe politicians of German heritage as “Nazis”?

Just asking, no particular reason.

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Can Anything Dent Trump’s Support?

Ever since he started campaigning for the presidency 4 years ago, Donald Trump has been able to count on the support of around 30-35% of the electorate. No matter what he did or was accused of, that support never wavered.

  • Extramarital sex with a porn star – no problem.
  • Senior members of his campaign team and his personal lawyer charged with illegal behavior – no problem
  • His former Secretary of State calls him a moron – no problem
  • He admits forcing himself on women and groping them – no problem.
  • Pissing off allies and sucking up to arch enemy Russia – no problem.

As Trump himself put it, “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters.”

The truth is that Trump is right. His base is so fed up with national politics that they are willing to overlook almost everything in order to keep Trump in power, kicking the establishment in the ass.

The one thing that might affect this support is visible corruption. The operative word is ‘visible’. China giving his daughter valuable trademarks is corrupt, but it does not affect the average American so it is invisible. But if there were potential conflicts of interest between Trump’s business and the welfare of American workers and Trump was exposed as coming down on the side of his business, it could, just could, affect his support.

If the Democrats take control of the House or Senate, they might decide to hold hearings to shine light on Trump’s possible conflicts and subpoena his tax returns, which cannot be good for him. Or Robert Mueller might expose corruption that deeply offends the average voter. Or Michael Cohen will flip and tell tales of the shady things he has done for Trump.

Trump’s support will never go to zero, but corruption is probably the only thing that can shave 5-10 points off of it.

 

 

Mar-a-Lago (Far) East

I don’t know why everyone was surprised that Donald Trump showed North Korea’s Kim Jong Un a ‘propaganda’ video after their meeting earlier this month. Trump was just dusting off the sales technique that has worked so well for him in the past as a real estate developer.

Ask anyone that has been to a sales presentation for a vacation timeshare or condo. They are slicker than snot on a doorknob, using photos and videos to show you how sweet life would be if you would just sign up. If they weren’t that slick, people wouldn’t bite. Of course, once they sign up, many people find that the deal isn’t as sweet as they thought it would be.

Trump has been successful with slick sales presentations for years. He built his real estate career on it. And the sales technique worked over and over again. Wall Street bankers finally became immune to it, but that was only after being burned by Trump several times.

Trump is simply reverting to the persuasive tool he knows best. He is figuring that Kim is a greenhorn and will be wowed enough by the sales presentation to buy into Trump’s vision.

Maybe it will work and Kim will hire the Trump company to manage his new resorts and hotels. Or maybe Kim will see right through the slickness and play Trump right back. My bet is on the latter.

 

Trump Finally Hired The Right Lawyer

Donald Trump has known all along that his best defense against Robert Mueller’s investigation did not have much to do with the law. Yes, Mueller could uncover illegal behavior by Trump and Trump’s attorneys would use the legal system to fight any charges that might result.

However, it wouldn’t matter because early on, Trump understood three things:

  1. He knew that he broke the law in his campaign and business dealings
  2. If Mueller uncovered this (likely) he would build an airtight case against Trump before bringing any charges
  3. Therefore, he was not likely to win in a court of law. His case could only be won in the court of public opinion.

As time went on, the first two points became more and more obvious to Trump’s lawyers and they started to quit or got fired. Trump doubled down on the third point, and hired Rudy Giuliani as his lawyer.

People say that Giuliani is a poor choice because it has been a long time since he was a prosecutor and instead he has spent the last three decades as a lobbyist and politician.

That’s what makes him the perfect choice. He knows how to work the press. He knows how to shape public opinion. The one-two punch of Trump and Giuliani are doing a terrific job of turning the public against Mueller. They figure that if they can turn it far enough, whatever Mueller uncovers won’t matter.

It will be interesting to see if that is really the case or the courts end up with the last word.

 

 

since then.

 

 

and his associates – in fact, he already has.  could be indicted, but

Crazy Kim Vs. Crazy Trump

Kim Jong Un has been talking crazy trash about the United States since he became the leader of North Korea 7 years ago, continuing the tradition of his father and grandfather. Until recently the United States has responded diplomatically, but that was BT (before Trump).

Donald Trump knows all about crazy trash talk and there was no way he was going to miss an opportunity to hurl some back at Kim. Kim had to respect this, and the next thing you know he warmed up to the South Koreans over the Olympics and got Trump to agree to meet with him.

Now the serious negotiation starts. Kim has already started to mess with Trump by adding new demands before a meeting can occur. There will be more back and forth, but the key to understanding any negotiation is to look at what each side really wants.

Kim wants:

  • To be recognized as a ‘player’
  • To remain in power
  • Economic gains

The first goal has already been accomplished – Trump agreed to meet with him. Even if the meeting never takes place, Kim wins. The second objective is not really under threat, so call that a win too.  Kim has already won some on the third objective as well. He has reopened economic discussions with S. Korea and any deal is likely to result in some sanctions relief.

Trump wants:

  • favorable headlines
  • favorable headlines
  • favorable headlines

Trump will do almost anything to get a deal, because that would give him the press he craves. He is going to have to get through hardliner John Bolton to do that, but Bolton works for him so that should not be too hard. When and if the meeting between him  and Kim ever happens, Trump will announce that he has just done “the best deal EVER”.

There is a pretty good chance that once the fine print and Kim’s post deal maneuvering (cheating) are taken into account the deal will turn out to be not so great after all. The irony for Trump is that he may get the headlines he craves when the deal is announced but for months afterwards he will likely get the opposite: stories about how he the US got snookered. If Trump is not careful, the Great Dealmaker’s N Korea folly may give the Democrats some juicy material going into the November elections.

Screwing Your Kids To Help Theirs

The Democrats still have not figured out a gut-resonating message. As Donald Trump would say, “SAD!” The only thing they have come up with is, “Doesn’t Trump just make you sick in the gut?”

People only have time to care about global warming, human rights and other ‘liberal’ issues once their personal situation is secure. For most people, that means that their ability to make a living and enjoy life.

Trump understands this and keeps his focus on the immediate boogeymen that can threaten personal security: immigrants and government regulation. Both threaten jobs, personal safety and recreation (gun control). For most of us, by far our main priority is to provide for ourselves and our families and keep them safe and happy.

It is a gut level issue and the Dems are ignoring a key element that could work in their favor: the family, specifically children. People care very deeply about their kids. For as much as people are willing to accept a disappointing lot in life, they all hope that their kids will be in a better situation.

The Dems could make a pretty powerful case that the Republicans are stacking the deck against the average American’s children. Budget deficits, rising health care expenses, under investment in education coupled with the automation of lower skilled jobs will all make it harder for the next generation to succeed.

Except the scion of the wealthy, of course. They can purchase the best education and health care. The deficit-causing tax breaks are skewed in their favor. Access to connections and capital will give them better jobs and chances of success. With fewer rules on their businesses they will be able to more completely exploit resources, employees and their customers.

Basically, the message is: “They are screwing your kids out of a future to give their kids an even better one.” It’s a gut issue and it is a wonder that the Democrats have not picked up on it. Especially when Trump’s kids are the silver spoon poster children.

 

Trump Owes The Clintons – Big Time

At this point, does anyone really think that Donald Trump didn’t sleep with Stormy Daniels? Or the former Playboy model? Or the Russian prostitutes? Or the ____________? Of course not.

The real question is whether it makes any difference. The answer is an emphatic NO! And the main reason it doesn’t make any difference is that Bill and Hillary Clinton made it OK for a president to have an affair. Trump owes both of them a huge “thank you”.

When Bill Clinton was outed for fooling around with Monica Lewinsky the left was disappointed, not appalled. Sure, Bill was a horndog, but how could he be so stupid as to have an affair with an intern in his workplace instead of someone more innocuous? Why couldn’t he have done it with the reporter who said she was so happy with his politics she’d give him oral sex?

Hillary made it worse. She didn’t leave him or kick him out – instead she publicly forgave him. So why should Trump be any different, his supporters say? Sure, he shouldn’t cheat on his wife, but that’s between him and her. Even the religious right is giving Trump a bye on this because they like his politics (although so far not enough to offer him oral sex).

Bill did get impeached, but that was for lying about the affair, not having it. Trump lied too, but he won’t get impeached because Clinton demonstrated that trying to convict the President for lying about an affair doesn’t work. If Trump does get impeached – which is unlikely – it will be for laundering Russian money, not an unlaundered dress.