Donald Trump’s Truly Absurd, Word Salad, Gibberish Health Care Policy

By Roy Poses, MD, Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at Brown University, and the President of FIRM – the Foundation for Integrity and Responsibility in Medicine. Cross posted from the Health Care Renewal website

Health Care Renewal is officially non-partisan.  We do not endorse candidates for office, or political parties.  That does not prevent us from commenting on policy issues, and on pronouncements and actions by politicians and government officials when they relate to the issues that interest us.

So, we have criticized excessive coziness among politicians and government officials on one hand, and big health care organizations and their leaders on the other.  We have noted conflicts of interest affecting politicians, particularly the revolving door, and other shadings towards corporatism.  We have noted how health care policy discussions may focus on health care financing, while ignoring some of the bigger issues we discuss  (For example, see our discussions of health care reform, and particularly this one of the then new US Affordable Care Act). These include: leadership of health care organizations by generic managers (managerialists) who are unsympathetic or even hostile to the health care mission; deceptive practices involving marketing, the manipulation and suppression of research, stealth health policy advocacy, stealth lobbying, etc; and timidity in regulation and law enforcement, leading to outright impunity of health care leaders.

We have criticized politicians and government leaders of all parties and from all sides of the political spectrum.  For example, in retrospect we criticized the (Democratic) Clinton administration’s laissez faire attitude to conflicts of interest at the National Institutes of Health (see summary here and links to older posts).  We criticized flagrant examples of the revolving door involving top Bush adminstration officials (e.g., most recently here), and yet more involving Obama administration officials (e.g., most recently here).

Yet we also acknowledge that most policy discussions by political and government figures are at least well-intended and based in some degree on the facts and knowledge of the health care context (even if we think the results might be misguided, wrong-headed, or tangential.)  So, while health care is not so far the most important issue in the tumultuous 2016 US presidential race, there has been considerable discussion of it.  Most major candidates have staked out health care positions that again appear well-intended and based to some degree on the facts and context (although my point is not to comment on their
merits.)

But there has been one major exception. 

The Leading Candidate with No Health Care Plan

Donald Trump currently seems to be the leading Republican presidential candidate.  As reported by the Minnesota Post,

Trump doesn’t have a health care plan. Go to the issues section of his campaign. Really, go there, you won’t believe what you see. A typical campaign website has position papers. Trump has none. The link to ‘Issues’ takes you to a pretty frightening page of short embedded videos of Trump himself summarizing his positions at a level of detail that you should find insulting.

But he doesn’t even have one of those on health care.

In addition to ‘Issues,’ the site’s homepage has a pulldown menu called ‘Positions.’ I don’t get the difference, but who cares? “Positions” are actual written-out position statements, not videos, but only on five issues, none of which are remotely related to health care (nor many other major issues).

So for Trump’s health-care thinking, we have to rely on what he says in debates and speeches and, I suppose, tweets, some of which have been controversial.

The Candidate with No Health Care Policy Advisers

On February 20, 2016, Politico reported that Mr Trump’s campaign also apparently has no health policy advisers.  The article noted that Mr Trump had written in one of his books that he would

Lock the best health care policy minds in a room – and don’t let them out until they’ve crafted a plan for providing terrific coverage for everyone.

But he has not said who those advisers might be.  Furthermore, the reporter was unable to determine who, if anyone, is currently advising Mr Trump about health care,

Sam Clovis, Trump’s national policy adviser, insists the campaign is talking with lots of health care experts – but declined to name any of those advisers.

‘We have experts around the world who help us on these various topics,’ Clovis said in an interview with POLITICO. ‘We get very frank and honest input if we do not expose these people to the scrutiny of the press. … As we get further along they might want to come out of the shadows.’

However,

POLITICO scoured the landscape of notable policy wonks – from academics to lobbyists to congressional staffers to think tank fellows – but was unable to find anyone, on either side of the political divide, who acknowledged whispering health care policy tips in the billionaire’s ear. Or for that matter, of hearing of anyone who had talked to his campaign.

‘He seems to be a one-man policy shop,’ said Michael Cannon, director of health policy studies at the libertarian Cato Institute, and a leading critic of Obamacare.

So Mr Trump has no clear health care plan, and apparently no health care advisers.  Furthermore, reports of what this candidate has said about health care reveals some anomalies, to say the least.

Reducing Pharmaceutical Costs to Zero?

The Washington Post in a “Fact Checker” feature on February 18, 2016, entitled, “Trump’s truly absurd claim he would save $300 billion a year on prescription drugs,” quoted Mr Trump three times on the costs of pharmaceuticals,

‘We are not allowed to negotiate drug prices. Can you believe it? We pay about $300 billion more than we are supposed to, than if we negotiated the price. So there’s $300 billion on day one we solve.’
–Donald Trump, remarks at Plymouth State University, Holderness, N.H., Feb. 7, 2016

‘So I said to myself wow, let me do some numbers. If we competitively bid drugs in the United States, we can save as much as $300 billion a year.’
–Trump, remarks in Manchester, N.H., Feb. 8

‘We’re the largest drug buyer in the world. We don’t negotiate. We don’t negotiate. You pay practically the same for the country as if you go into a drug store and buy the drugs. If we negotiated the price of drugs, Joe, we’d save $300 billion a year.’
–Trump, interview on MSNBC, Feb. 17

The problem here is that the $300 billion figure turns out to be ridiculous.  The Post article noted,

To put Trump’s $300-billion-a-year claim in perspective, let’s first note that Sanders cites a 2013 estimate from the Center for Economic and Policy Research that negotiated drug prices would result in savings to Medicare of between $230 billion to $541 billion over 10 years.

So for virtually the same policy, Sanders is claiming savings averaging $38 billion a year — and Trump is promising a figure eight times larger. (Clinton offers no estimated savings.)

What’s going on here? It’s unclear, because as usual the Trump campaign refuses to respond to any queries about Trump’s numbers.

Furthermore,

total spending in Medicare Part D (prescription drugs) in 2014 was $78 billion. So Trump, in effect, is claiming to save $300 billion a year on a $78 billion program. That’s like turning water into wine.

Finally,

It’s possible that Trump is being sloppy and when he discusses Medicare, he really means to say he would force government-led pricing on all prescription drugs. But the numbers don’t add up that way either.

In fact, depending on the source you consult, total annual spending on prescription drugs in the United States is between $298 billion a year to $423 billion. So that would mean Trump is claiming that he can eliminate virtually any cost to prescription drugs. It would suddenly be free!

So Mr Trump’s claims made on at least three occasions about the magnitude of savings that would result from his (unoriginal) proposal to have the government negotiate drug prices were mathematically implausible, if not impossible. 

“Word Salad” about the Mandate

Rather right-wing columnist Jennifer Rubin, writing in the Washington Post on February 22, 2016, provided two sets of quotes from interviews with Mr Trump about his position on the “mandate” within the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  Note that the mandate imposes a (relatively modest) extra tax on people who do not have health insurance, providing an incentive to have such insurance.  For example, on “Meet the Press,”

DONALD TRUMP: Well, on the mandate, if you look at the mandate, we had a situation where we were, Anderson Cooper, who’s terrific, by the way, and did a terrific job, but we were talking over each other. Look, I want, we’re going to repeal and replace Obamacare. Obamacare is a total and complete disaster. It’s going to be gone. We’re going to come up with a great healthcare plan, whether it’s healthcare savings accounts, we have a lot of different things. We’re going to get rid of the lines between states, we’re going to have great competitive bidding. But I say all the time, you can call it anything you want. People are not going to die in the middle of the street. People are not going to die on the sidewalk if I’m president, okay?

CHUCK TODD: Well, let me get something definitive from you on this.

DONALD TRUMP: But Chuck, I say that, excuse me, I say that to packed houses with thousands and thousands of people, Republicans mostly, and I get standing ovations. I’m not going to let that happen. If I’m president, we’re not going to have people dying on the streets. So you can call it whatever you want. I don’t call it a mandate, I just say it’s common sense.

CHUCK TODD: No, I understand that. Well, let me ask you this. Do you think that it should be a law that anybody who can afford health insurance has to have it?

DONALD TRUMP: I think, no, I think it’s going to be up to them, okay? I want it to be up to them. But I’m really talking about people that can’t afford it. We’re not going to let people die in squalor because we are Republicans, okay? That’s part of the problem with the Republicans, where somehow they got fed into this horrible position. We’re going to take care of people. But no, people don’t have to have it. We’re going to have great plans, they’re going to be a lot less expensive than Obamacare. They’re going to be private. There are going to be lots of different options. We’re going to have a lot of different options. Right now you have no options. You know why? Because the insurance company controlled Obama because they gave him a lot of money. That’s why you have lines around the states. And you can’t get competitive bidding.

Her summary was:

He insists whatever inanity he said earlier was a mistake, denies he took or takes a liberal position and declares there will not be people ‘dying in the streets.’ (Does he understand there is a duty now to treat people, but what we are debating is insurance?) Then he ends with assurances he is loved by crowds. Superlatives by the bushel may be funny, but they also substitute for concrete answers.

It may seem like a word salad or stream of consciousness at first glance, but it is a salad he tosses up over and over again, each time avoiding close scrutiny.

An article on February 22, 2016, in the left leaning MotherJones stated that Mr Trump had already contradicted his previous approval of the “mandate,”

Trump has now made clear that he doesn’t like the individual mandate
after all—he just misspoke when he said that to Anderson Cooper a few
days ago.

So while Mr Trump has drawn attention to his position on the mandate, that position seems hopelessly incoherent, or as Ms Rubin called it, “word salad.”

More “Gibberish”

The Minnesota Post article also noted,

When asked Thursday night under Rubio’s prodding to describe his plan for health care, he said, as he always does, that he wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with something ‘much better.’ Then he says (and this is a direct quote from the debate transcript): ‘I want to keep pre-existing conditions. I think we need it. I think it’s a modern age. And I think we have to have it.’

This is gibberish, especially the explanation that ‘I think it’s a modern age,’ which may have some meaning but I can’t imagine what.

In addition, in the most recent debate, Mr Trump did emphasize that he wanted insurance companies to be able to sell policies across state lines, although his wording was not so clear,

That weird and confusing phrasing — about ‘getting rid of the lines around the states,’ which Rubio mocked — as best as anyone can tell means that Trump wants national health insurers to be able to offer standardized plans all over the country, instead of having to meet the particular standards and requirements imposed by individual states. Different states require different things of health insurers, which prevents national firms from offering plans in all states.

As the article noted, this is not a new idea, and how much difference this change would make is not clear. Nonetheless, even after being badgered repeatedly, Mr Trump could not add more substance to his health care plan, nor explain how he might get more substance.

With Rubio pressing in and badgering Trump from the sidelines — the same way Rubio was badgered a few weeks ago by Chris Christie and the way Trump often badgers other candidates — and with CNN’s Dana Bash following up, Trump said his three things: Repeal Obamacare and replace it with something much better, get rid of the lines around the states, and don’t let people die in streets. I always assumed that there was more to his plan, but I never came across the details. And, during the exchange Thursday night, it came out that there is no more. Here’s that chunk of the transcript so you can decide for yourself if I’m missing something. (I’ve done a tiny bit of editing for flow.)[italics added for emphasis- Ed]

BASH: Mr. Trump, Senator Rubio just said that you support the individual mandate. Would you respond?

TRUMP: I just want to say, I agree with that 100 percent, except pre-existing conditions, I would absolutely get rid of Obamacare. We’re going to have something much better, but pre-existing conditions, when I’m referring to that, and I was referring to that very strongly on the show with Anderson Cooper, I want to keep pre-existing conditions. I think we need it. I think it’s a modern age. And I think we have to have it. (APPLAUSE)

BASH: OK, so let’s talk about pre-existing conditions. What the insurance companies say is that the only way that they can cover people [who have pre-existing conditions and would be more expensive to cover] is to have a mandate requiring everybody purchase health insurance. Are they wrong?

TRUMP: I think they’re wrong 100 percent. What we need — look, the insurance companies take care of the politicians. The insurance companies get what they want. We should have gotten rid of the lines around each state so we can have real competition. We thought that was gone, we thought those lines were going to be gone, so something happened at the last moment where Obamacare got approved, and all of that was thrown out the window.

The reason is some of the people in the audience are insurance people and insurance lobbyists and special interests. They got — I’m not going to point to these gentlemen, of course, they’re part of the problem, other than Ben [Carson], in all fairness. And, actually, the governor [John Kasich], too. Let’s just talk about these two, OK? Because I don’t think the governor had too much to do with this.

But, we should have gotten rid of the borders, we should have gotten rid of the lines around the states so there’s great competition. The insurance companies are making a fortune on every single thing they do. I’m self-funding my campaign. I’m the only one in either party self-funding my campaign. I’m going to do what’s right. We have to get rid of the lines around the states so that there’s serious, serious competition. And you’re going to see — excuse me. You’re going to see pre-existing conditions and everything else be part of it, but the price will be down, and the insurance companies can pay. Right now they’re making a fortune. (APPLAUSE)

BASH: But just to be specific here, what you’re saying is getting rid of the barriers between states, that is going to solve the problem…

TRUMP: That’s going to solve the problem. And the insurance companies are going to say that they want to keep it. They want to say — they say whatever they have to say to keep it the way it is. I know the insurance companies, they’re friends of mine. The top guys, they’re friends of mine. I shouldn’t tell you guys, you’ll say it’s terrible, I have a conflict of interest. They’re friends of mine, there’s some right in the audience. One of them was just waving to me, he was laughing and smiling. He’s not laughing so much anymore. Hi.
Look, the insurance companies are making an absolute fortune. Yes, they will keep pre-existing conditions, and that would be a great thing. Get rid of Obamacare, we’ll come up with new plans. But we should keep pre-existing conditions.

RUBIO: Dana, I was mentioned in his response, so if I may about the insurance companies…

BASH: Go ahead.

RUBIO: You may not be aware of this, Donald, because you don’t follow this stuff very closely, but here’s what happened. When they passed Obamacare they put a bailout fund in Obamacare. All these lobbyists you keep talking about, they put a bailout fund in the law that would allow public money to be used, taxpayer money, to bail out companies when they lost money. And we led the effort and wiped out that bailout fund. The insurance companies are not in favor of me, they hate that. They’re suing right now to get that bailout money put back in.

Here’s what you didn’t hear in that answer, and this is important, guys, this is an important thing. What is your plan? I understand the lines around the state, whatever that means. This is not a game where you draw maps…

TRUMP:…And you don’t know what it means?

RUBIO: What is your plan, Mr. Trump? What is your plan on health care?

TRUMP: You don’t know. The biggest problem…

RUBIO: …What’s your plan?

TRUMP: … You know, I watched him melt down two weeks ago with Chris Christie. I got to tell you, the biggest problem he’s got is he really doesn’t know about the lines. The biggest thing we’ve got, and the reason we’ve got no competition, is because we have lines around the state, and you have essentially….

RUBIO: …You already mentioned that [inaudible] plan. I know what that is, but what else is part of your plan?…

TRUMP: …You don’t know much…

RUBIO: …So, you’re only thing is to get rid of the lines around the states. What else is part of your health-care plan?…

TRUMP: …The lines around the states...

RUBIO: …That’s your only plan…

TRUMP … Excuse me. Excuse me.

RUBIO: … His plan. That was the plan?…

TRUMP:…You get rid of the lines, it brings in competition. So, instead of having one insurance company taking care of New York or Texas, you’ll have many. They’ll compete, and it’ll be a beautiful thing.

RUBIO: Alright…So that’s the only part of the plan? Just the lines?

TRUMP: The nice part of the plan — you’ll have many different plans. You’ll have competition, you’ll have so many different plans.

RUBIO: Now he’s repeating himself.

TRUMP: No, no, no. I watched him repeat himself five times four weeks ago…

RUBIO:… I just watched you repeat yourself five times five seconds ago…

TRUMP: I watched him meltdown on the stage like that, I’ve never seen it in anybody…

BASH:…Let’s stay focused on the subject…

TRUMP:…I thought he came out of the swimming pool…

RUBIO:…I see him repeat himself every night, he says five things: Everyone’s dumb, he’s gonna make America great again…We’re going to win, win win. He’s winning in the polls…And the lines around the state. (APPLAUSE)

BASH: Senator Rubio, you will have time to respond if you would just let Mr. Trump respond to what you’ve just posed to him…

RUBIO: … Yeah, he’s going to give us his plan now, right? OK…

BASH [to Trump]:…If you could talk a little bit more about your plan. I know you talked about…Can you be a little specific?…

TRUMP: … We’re going to have many different plans because… competition…

RUBIO: … He’s done it again.

TRUMP: There is going to be competition among all of the states, and the insurance companies. They’re going to have many, many different plans.

BASH: Is there anything else you would like to add to that…

TRUMP: No, there’s nothing to add. What is to add?

After being repeatedly asked about the substance of his health care policy agenda, Mr Trump only seems to have repeated the notion of selling health insurance across state lines to increase competition, interrupted by non sequiturs insulting Senator Rubio and insurance executives.  The Minnesota Post writer and I could find absolutely no other content in Mr Trump’s , despite repeated inquiries about the substance of his health care plan.

It does seem reasonable to describe Mr Trump’s health care policy ideas as gibberish.

Summary 

Health care and public health affect all Americans, and all people around the world.  Health care in the US is more expensive and less accessible than it is in many other developed countries.  For all the money the country spends, there is no clear evidence that the quality of patient care, or patients’ outcomes are better than, or sometimes even comparable to those of other countries  The reforms embodied in the Affordable Care Act (ACA, PPACA, “Obamacare’) have increased the proportion of insured patients, but insurance remains expensive for many, and insurance coverage now often has major gaps that mean a major illness can bankrupt a middle-class patient. 

Furthermore, the law has done nothing to reduce concentration of power in health care.  It has done nothing to make health care leaders more accountable, especially for their organization’s unethical or even criminal behavior, decrease their ability to line their pockets regardless of such behavior, and thus reduce their impunity.  It will not obviously decrease conflicts of interest affecting those who make decisions about patient care or health policy, lock the revolving door between government and the health care industry, end manipulation of clinical research to serve vested interests, or suppression of research whose results offend such interests, etc, etc.

So health care policy is increasingly important, and increasingly demands serious discussion.  A US presidential campaign ought to provide some impetus for such discussion, although health care policy is certainly not the only thing that needs to be discussed.

Most presidential candidates have at least attempted a serious discussion of health policy, if not in person, then in position papers or on their web-sites. 

However, the currently leading candidate for the Republican nomination does not seem to have serious ideas about health care. Yet he has said “We’re going to come up with a great healthcare plan.”  To substantiate such claims, he has repeated a few vague talking points, and when challenged, seems unable to manage any substantive conversation beyond them.  Some of his verbal pronouncements have been nothing short of ridiculous.  

“in the big lie there is always a certain force of credibility….” said a 20th century world leader who inspired adulation, and led to disaster.  

We live in perilous times when a candidate with such reckless approaches to critical problems continues to attract adulation. 

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135 comments

  1. James Levy

    Trump, like Obama before him, is a candidate of symbols, incantations, and identification (in Trump’s case, with “winning” and being a “winner”, which he uses the same way Obama did hope and change). There has been an element of this since Andrew Jackson, but the “little man” identification element (“who’d you rather have a beer with, Gore or Bush?”) has now swamped everything. Women want Clinton because she’s a woman. Professionals like Clinton because she went to Yale and has a resume they envy (forget about the actual performance in those positions–who cares about performance, going to Yale Law is prima facia evidence of worth). Trump supporters want to identity with a guy who can buy anyone he can’t fire and hates those load-mouthed broads and stinkin’ Muslims and incomprehensible immigrants. Mobilizing people around ideas is dead. Modern media, the pace and precariousness of so many lives, and the dumbing down of education all the way up and down the line has killed it. We are reaching our demagogue moment in this sad, decrepit Republic.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Given the state of the media, Trump just needs to find his version of kids can stay on their parents insurance until they are 26 for people to repeat, much like ACA. In my ways, this offer made no sense in the grand scheme of how ACA needs to function by removing healthy people from the exchanges and admitting the economy is so weak kids who should be self sufficient are dependent on mom and dad, but it sounds nice.

    2. Starveling

      Trump’s greatest asset is the chattering class of nattering nabobs who tut-tut him for going over the verbal line. Every time so-called ‘Progressives’ scoff at something Trump says that is said by after work barfaring groups of workers, he gains a few thousand more votes. Every time they laugh at his middle American ‘rubes’ for being oh-so uncultured he gains a few thousand more.

      If Trump wins, it will be because he “loves uneducated people.” Remember that (and yes, I’m fully aware he probably gives zero shits about the common man- but Gods, Democrats, at least pretend the working class aren’t swine). Democrats- aren’t you supposed to be the friend of the little guy? This should be a klaxon alarm in the Democratic party’s ear- globalist neoliberalism is very, very weak tea in flyover. The guy who promises to Build Wall (decrease competition for low end and blue collar service work) and End Bad Trade Deal (forcing with the rule of law the return of some industrial base) is far more likely to do the working class in the rust belt some good than is yet another free-trade neoliberal.

    3. Nathanael

      Trump doesn’t need plans. He apparently actually told a media person before he started his campagin that he was just going to say outrageous things in order to get free media… and it’s *working*.

      We have absolutely no idea what he’d do if elected. Pig in a poke.

    4. Carla

      James — if “mobilizing people around ideas is dead,” to what do you attribute Bernie Sander’s candidacy? I know, he was “decimated” yesterday in SC. But he won yooouge in New Hampshire, and “lost” Iowa only due to rigged coin tosses. People go to his rallies and listen — rapt — to 50-minute speeches that frankly, aren’t that compelling. But they do contain some ideas.

      1. James Levy

        You are correct, but I have the sinking feeling he will not prevail even in the nominating process.

  2. Working Class Nero

    One of the funniest spectacles of the Occupy Wall Street movement was a bunch of academically-inclined wonks submitting position paper after position paper on how to fix the problems of America. As if some god-like professor in the sky was going to select the A+ paper and implement it across the land. The question of POWER is never addressed in this approach. Rich people will organize to protect their interests, no matter how brilliantly a position paper is written.

    This article is actually helpful for Donald Trump – he definitely wants the establishment to think he is a bumbling fool. Strangely enough, the Bush dynasty, the Koch Brothers, FoxNews, Shelden Adelson, Paul Singer, Senate Republicans, the war-mongering NeoConservatives, Karl Rove, the list goes on and on of people who have recently taken this approach, very much to their determent.

    And OK, let’s admit it’s true, during a hotly-contested GOP primary insurgency, Donald Trump’s website is not full of 20-point position papers describing exactly which powerful health care interests he is going to screw, and how deeply he intends to screw them, once he gets to power.

    I really wish schools would teach the basics of military strategy and the overwhelming importance of the concept of ambiguity. But let’s use a boxing metaphor – Trump knows the GOP establishment is going to pound him on health care so he most certainly wants to leave as small an opening as possible for them to land blows. Much better to be mocked for repeating safe talking point points (open up the states to competition) than to corral all the wealth and power of the health care industry against him by making specific proposals about which sectors are going to lose out in a Trump Presidency.

    The more amazing part of the last debate was how Trump’s political genius allowed him to stand up on a GOP stage and grab the GOP’s tried and true “Socialized Medicine” meme by the scruff of the neck and administer a “I’m not letting people die on the street” kill-shot to the temple of this meme. Of course there are not necessarily people dying in the streets but the Socialized Medicine meme is not exactly true either. In the 3D world of symbolic hindbrain political discourse, the 2D concept of rational forebrain truth is not really all that important.

    Trump can promise all the fantasies he can imagine, politicians do that all the time and the people’s eyes glaze over. But when people see him getting attacked for adopting controversial positions (Universal Health Care, Bush Lied—People Died) then it sends a very strong signal he might just be serious about universal health care.

    Middle and working class GOP voters have long showed their impatience with the GOP’s reticence to provide Americans with a reasonable health care system. ObamaCare, a complete right wing disaster with people’s deductibles ramping-up as quickly as their monthly premiums, has broken down the power of the Socialized Medicine meme among this demographic. Medicare is popular, people on welfare have full benefits — they are getting theirs, why shouldn’t the government help the working and middle classes as well?

    So how do we read the smoke-signals Trump is sending out on health care? Most importantly of all, Trump is not owned by ANY health care interest so he free to explore what is in the interests of Americans in general should he be so inclined to do so. In terms of policy, Trump is discussing a mixed system (like in Switzerland or Belgium) and not a single-payer as in Britain or Canada. But once again ambiguity is Trump’s friend so he wouldn’t necessarily want to take single-payer option off the table just yet! It could come in handy as a threat to browbeat insurance companies into accepting his eventual proposal. Second, Trump has called for a universal program. This fits well into his nationalistic slogan of Making America Great. Of course a universal program health care program is impossible with Open Borders with poor people flooding into the US to take advantage of this. It also points out the implicit social democratic elements of any nationalist program. Sweden’s welfare state was built on the particularist concept of “Folkhemmet” (the people’s home) which shows the inverse is true as well: the “home” being a nation state and the “people” being the citizens of that state who BOTH contribute and benefit from the welfare state. Sadly since the mid- 70’s universalism and one-world globalism has slowly crept in and pozzed the Swedish Social Democratic movement so badly that now it is total alliance with globalist oligarchs who want to leave a neoliberal scorched earth where welfare states once thrived.

    The question over “mandates” and “pre-existing conditions” and “people dying in the streets” is basically a question over how to combat the phenomenon of “cheaters”. Why pay for health insurance if the government will give it to you free? And will we then just allow these “cheaters” — who refuse to buy and also make too much money to qualify for subsidized insurance — to die in the street like rural fire departments let people’s houses burn down who refuse to pay taxes for fire protection services?

    It seems one solution is to provide an extremely basic program to all people, legally in the US, paid through taxes that would assure people are not dying in the streets (I know they currently are not) and to then allow the private sector to provide insurance above the dying in the streets threshold. But Trump would be a fool to talk about specifics like this during a GOP primary.

    Another possible element of a potential Trump program was mentioned by John Kasich during the debate, that of price transparency. I like to believe I have pretty keen Trump-dar and I’m convinced Kasich is at the very least Trump-curious if not a fully and flamingly in the Trump-closet. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Kasich is awarded the health care dossier if and when he comes out and endorses Trump after staying in long enough to keep the establishment from coalescing around Rubot.

    How Trump gets his universal TrumpCare program through a corporate-owned Congress is anyone’s guess. One way will be to triangulate between Democrats and Republicans. Although Trump seems an extremist now, he will have to build of coalition of the bipartisan moderate middle to get a revolutionary health care deal through. But making deals is certainly an area Trump excels in, we will have to see.

    In any case, all the wonky details will have to wait. Trump’s strategic goal in the GOP primaries is to be just vague enough about his program to rouse middle and working class support and to be able later to claim a mandate for his “program” once elected while not being so specific as to arouse too much opposition from monied special interests. GOP voters have a pretty simple choice. On the one hand they have Trump promising “something” and showing an amazing ability to slice though Big Money and Entrenched Power or on the other hand they ahve Rubio or Cruz who are total class warriors for the rich and who will give them plenty of “conservative values” but no health care.

    The far more interesting discussion will be during the general election. Trump has set himself up to attack Hillary from the left on many issues. Destabilizing the Middle East, Putin, Social Security, Health Care, anti-Koch Bros cheap labor Open Borders, anti-“Free” Trade, etc. Trump may give a few more details of his health care program but the choice will be clear, do we with stick with ObamaCare and vote Hillary or do we roll the Trump dice and take a chance? One thing for sure will help Trump, the entire Big Money political establishment will swing behind Hillary and this should send pretty a strong signal to the American people about whose interests she holds precious.

    1. Jus'Thinkin

      I agree with the comment. I think a lot of people think The Donald is a moron, however his success in business and the entertainment world does not seem to indicate a person of deficient intellect. He is a showman and is exploiting the problems with the current ruling/criminal class. Do not forget that most of the readers here know the system is rigged and needs to be taken down. Trump does seem to be attacking that system pretty effectively. He certainly has routed all the standard bearers.

      Let’s assume he does not get the George Wallace treatment and winds up running against a democratic candidate and that candidate is Hillary. The Trump will have a field day with all her scandals and her husband’s too even though he has partied with them on occasion. Hillary is already disliked and Trump will kick her around quite a bit. Will the electorate believe the bought and paid for media that she is a better choice than Trump? Is she a better choice? We just don’t know because Trump is, wisely in my opinion, not laying out any facts that can come back to bite him in the behind later.

      He is the question- If it is Hillary and Trump, who will you pick? The known crooked machine entity candidate or the pretty much unknown entity (from a policy point of view) Trump? Or will you vote third party or just stay home?

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        Quite a choice isn’t it? In reality, however, It comes down in both cases to Russian Roulette with no blanks. It’s a non choice between a fully loaded shotgun and a highly precise automatic pistol loaded with enough live ammo – the kind that does the most damage in the most painful way – to kill or deeply wound each and every vestigial remnant of a bygone social safety net, plus one extra bullet to start WWIII in the horrifyingly likely event she happens on a situation where she doesn’t quite know what to do.

        As to Trump and his all inclusive shotgun, It’s unfortunately absurd to imagine him as some sort of closeted FDR waiting to come out from his moth like cloak of insane egomania and power hunger. Those are no cloak, those are Trump. He has absolutely no more intention of going through the grueling work of laying the political foundation for strengthening any of the social programs or any needed reforms for financial regulation or for going after criminal violations of CEOs that look almost exactly like himself, than he does of becoming a yogic monk in the Himalayas. This is not a man burdened with compassion, empathy or sense of justice and a mind to navigate through it. You can go one by one down the list of social to financial to constitutional issues and in each case come up with a complete blank as far as Trump lifting a finger goes unless it is to crush one of his perceived enemies or distract himself for a minute or two. Like Hillary, he is going to be used and manipulated by TPTB with every form of flattery, bribery and corruption that is in their awesome arsenal.

        So in reality, the choice is surprisingly meaningless. With Trump we probably won’t quite know beforehand exactly the moment Trump’s ego is bruised to the point we all go up in smoke as a result; with Hillary we will probably see it coming in excruciating detail.

        1. local to oakland

          My amateur read is more complex than that. Trump’s narcissism seems to feed into nationalism. He says he wants America ‘my country’ to be strong and dominant in a unilateral way like it was in the 50’s. Any move he makes to reverse or limit globalisation of manufacturing would be hugely popular with those who remember stable factory jobs that supported households.

          But, he is not likely to tolerate dissent or unwind the security state. If he successfully wielded the power of the presidency, life could be very difficult for political activists.

          He is grabbing justified anger and offering hope re real crushing problems. Historically, Hitler and Mussolini did the same thing. If it happens, I hope this turns out better.

          1. Brooklin Bridge

            A good read. I didn’t cover more nuance (such as bringing back manufacturing as part of a nationalistic bent – consistent with his ego but something that might actually have positive results) because I doubt he would be able to get anywhere with that. The current international financial and corporate structure and interests are simply overwhelmingly powerful and ubiquitous.

            It would require a strong mind with considerable patience and almost unshakable determination to overcome and Trump, though not stupid, is not endowed with that kind of intellect, has little patience and his determination would kick in only if the issue involved a mirror. I suspect he will be brought to heel like putty and any such ironically benevolent initiatives will be, or end up being, decoration only, without substance.

            As to tolerating dissent, the security state, and might as well include shiny leather boot foreign policy, you are spot on. Partly because of that (narcissism, tantrums, paranoia), I think he will be dangerous and volatile but it’s hard to say just how because he has absolutely no track record. Still, here again, I think he will be totally manipulated through his ego, in this case by the MIC and so while we may blunder into a horrible escalation due to their greed and corruption, it probably won’t be simply because Putin didn’t kiss his royal USA arse.

            1. Carla

              Oh, I think Trump has a track record. He was born rich, and somehow he managed not to fuck that up and stayed rich. That’s his track record.

        2. flora

          I’ve seen what 24 years of Third Way, DLC Democrats have done to the country. I won’t vote for another Third Way, DLC neoliberal Dem no matter who gets the GOP nomination.

      2. sleepy

        I don’t know if the past is indicative of much about this strange election year, but I have read a number of times, and even heard it stated once in a blue moon on the msm, that historically Clinton’s poll numbers over time have never gone up from where they have started. They have either stayed the same or gone down, never up.

      3. Ray Phenicie

        ” people think The Donald is a moron, however his success in business and the entertainment world does not seem to indicate a person of deficient intellect.”
        You have got to be kidding.
        So many of his so called business opportunities that he touched ended in total failure.

        Read the article, do searches along these lines on search engines , there is a reference here on the this blog along similar lines; you will see that he is a totally incompetent as a business manager no matter what his personal fortune might be.
        Here’s anther take down on Trump’s business acumen
        Donald Trump’s Business Record Demands More Scrutiny BY JOHN CASSIDY

        Also, I see you did not read the article. He can’t give coherent answers to direct questions and has not read a book in years to judge by his swallowing of the Mussolini bait on twitter.

    2. Andrew Watts

      On the importance of ambiguity in the context of political tactics.

      “If I determine the enemy’s disposition of forces while I have no perceptible form, I can concentrate my forces while the enemy is fragmented. The pinnacle of military deployment approaches the formless: if it is formless, then even the deepest spy cannot discern it nor the wise make plans against it.” -Sun Tzu, The Art of War

      1. susan the other

        certainly Trump is nothing if not shrewd… but I think his position(s) on health care will be his nemesis. First he was for single payer – no equivocations. Now all this nonsense. Politix is almost the opposite of war.

        1. Thure

          I would have to disagree with you statement. Politix is the opposite of war.

          On the contrary

          “War is merely the continuation of policy by other means.” – Carl von Clausewitz

          Why show your hand until you absolutely have to? And the multiple attempts to analyze his position in a rational manner are hilarious.

      2. samhill

        Plus, should Trump get elected, and if he’s somehow managed to maintain ambiguity all they way there, he’s not bound by promises, and worse details. He can try and legislate with a mash-up of broad stokes arguing, “the people elected me to do what I think is best!”

        1. Crazy Horse

          Ha Ha, An American politician bound by promises he makes to the rabble during an election! Just as was Obama? What a concept. Politicians are bound only by the demands of their owners. And a President Trump will be bound by the fact that he is president of a worldwide Empire who’s military industrial complex is one of a triumvirate of powers— the Bankster financial system, the Health Care extortion racket, and the National Security state.

          Trump gets my vote because he just may be unstable enough to trigger cracks in the system. A Black Swan with orange hair.

          And he gets my vote because the opposition is a sociopath and war criminal largely owned by the Vampire Squid. And because she presents a higher probability of provoking World War III.

      3. HotFlash

        I believe that Sanders is doing this, too. Too much detail gives the enemy precise targets. Mme Secretary has a history, so, many targets. If she is the nominee, Trump will not hesitate to attack them, and Mme Secretary does not fight, she just pulls rank, which won’t work with Trump. Actually isn’t working with Bernie, but I hope, I *hope* (that word again) that voters are still able to make conclusions, despite years of beatings.

        Clinton vs Trump, President Trump
        Sanders vs trump, President Sanders

    3. oho

      OP, isn’t a Dilbert fan by any chance? ;)

      ***

      ” Of course a universal program health care program is impossible with Open Borders with poor people flooding into the US to take advantage of this.”

      “Sadly since the mid- 70’s universalism and one-world globalism has slowly crept in and pozzed the Swedish Social Democratic movement so badly that now it is total alliance with globalist oligarchs who want to leave a neoliberal scorched earth where welfare states once thrived.”

      this line of thought will not see the light of day in the NYT op-ed section for the foreseeable future. though it needs to be addressed full-on by all sides.

      ****

      “One thing for sure will help Trump, the entire Big Money political establishment will swing behind Hillary and this should send pretty a strong signal to the American people about whose interests she holds precious.”

      Amen. Can’t believe that the conventional wisdom is that Hillary will have a cakewalk against Trump.

      1. RepubAnon

        That’s my fear – the average voters don’t read or much care about position papers, so these attacks are “eggheads versus the everyman” themed, and will gain votes for Trump.

        The way to attack The Donald is to portray him as a con artist playing the voters for suckers – a man who, once elected, will break every promise made. Ads with the Revel (formerly Trump) Casino saying “Donald Trump promised his casino would bring jobs and a strong economy to Atlantic City – instead, it brought disaster to the city, and The Donald flew off in his private jet to find another victim. Don’t be The Donald’s next victim – vote Democratic” would be more effective.

        Or, perhaps: “Trump brags about his skills at making one-sided deals. Now, The Donald wants to do a deal with the American People. Don’t be fooled – vote for Democrats.”

        1. fajensen

          I doubt that anything coming from “Team Hope-ish and Change-ish” will have the intended effect. The democrats can hope that enough suckers buy the “Inevitable Hillary” without thinking too much about alternatives, if they start a attacking Trump then they are letting people know about alternatives and it is risky too:

          Speaking too much about con artists may be a bad move: There is enough real dirt on Hill & Bill for Trump to just keep dishing it out all the way to the elections, (without repeating himself even once).

          Trump will trounce Hillary if it comes down to dirt-slinging. Hillary has some imagined superiority that limits her thinking, she has to be seen as a “good person”, while Trump is bastard all the way to the core, he knows it and he doesn’t give a shit if the world knows it too – it’s his Brand after all.

      2. jrs

        The thing is Trumps plan to deal with immigration is as word salady as his healthcare plan. Build a wall is supposed to somehow be a realistic plan?

        1. sleepy

          I’m not sure his fans think he will actually build a wall. I don’t think he believes it. But when the msm says he won’t build it, his fans all boo the press.

    4. James Levy

      You do realize you are talking about a billionaire who grew up wealthy and still managed to go bankrupt twice. A man whose contempt for women is so evident you’d have to be blind not to see it. And a man who is practicing the same “ambiguity” (I call it bullshit) that Obama used in 2008 and you excoriate him for?

      Somehow, I don’t seem to remember people around here lauding the “genius” of Obama for talking in word salad platitudes with no specifics and lots of “I feel your pain” appeals to how he knows and cares about your problems. The idea that Donald Trump knows and cares about the problems of the common man is laughable. He’s a rich, narcissistic bully who lies through his teeth every day to screw over people and get his 30 pieces of silver. That anyone here takes him seriously is proof positive of that nihilism and a desire to blow the system up, with no reasonable expectation that anything but thugs and warlords will replace it, has metastasized in the body politic.

      And no, I hate Hillary and am not voting for her, but the enemy of my enemy in this case is most definitely NOT my friend.

      1. RepubAnon

        Platitudes sell – few people carefully read the position papers. Back when there were only 3 TV networks, and the only way to reach the public was through newspaper articles written by dedicated political reporters, position papers helped candidates make it past those media gatekeepers.

        Now, it’s a different world – platitudes are all a candidate really needs to get elected. The Donald is very good at platitudes.

        As to not voting for Hillary no matter what – that makes you a friend of The Donald. The way to change the Democratic Party to a more Bernie Sanders set of ideals is not the Presidential campaigns – it’s starting with your local elections and scaling up from there. Republicans win by both motivating their base to vote for them, and preventing or discouraging others from voting against them. If you sit out the election like Achilles in his tent, you empower the triangulators who think that punching hippies wins elections – because the hippies don’t bother voting.

        You want to change things? Get ready to re-take enough state legislatures by 2020 to keep the Republicans from gerrymandering their way to victory again. Get real liberals elected in 2022, 2024 and 2026. By then, the average voter will be seeing real benefits to voting for liberals and we’ll see the Rush Limbaugh gang flushed back into the sewers where they belong. Refuse to vote for the Democratic Party’s nominee in 2016, and watch President Trump declare anyone opposing him a “terrorist”, and use the Patriot Act to arrest anyone opposing him.

      2. jrs

        I have mathematical proof of the existence of the eleventyith dimension, why won’t you believe it? Trump is really a democratic socialist in the eleventyith dimension.

        I would have more sympathy with nihilist who really blew things up at this point. Voting for a rich ahole billionaire, not so much with no plan not so much.

      3. rusti

        I’ve always found these long-winded posts by Scott Adams and others talking about the genius of Trump to be a bit puzzling. Nothing he’s done seems to indicate that he’s not a buffoon, but he’s damned entertaining and the competition is a bunch of rigid puppets with serious deficiencies for him to swipe at.

        A few friends recently took their five-year-old son to a California Gold Rush-themed amusement park here in Sweden, and afterwards he was proud to show me his fake gold coin which had the words, “Man behöver inte vara klok för att lyckas” or approximately, “One doesn’t need to be wise to succeed”. The more I learn about the world, the more I realize how incredibly apt those words are.

      4. Working Class Nero

        America is pretty much an oligarchy; until very recently a fairly disciplined and united globalist oligarchy. Trump coming on the scene and swinging his you know what around means we are reaching the warring oligarchy stage of development, although luckily for us we are still in the politics as war by other means stage. So it is no surprise in an oligarchy that the agent of change would be a billionaire oligarch.

        Similar to Parento’s Foxes and Lions, in the US we have roaming oligarchs and at least one fixed oligarch going head to head. For example, Soros and Murdoch are roaming oligarchs; their wealth is cosmopolitan and mobile. Much as a burglar does not appreciate strong doors and windows, a roaming oligarch is by definition a globalist and is at constant war with the nation state and its constricting borders. In contrast, the real estate magnate Donald Trump is more of a fixed oligarch, so what happens in America actually matters to his net wealth (at least for his properties in the US). Location, location, location and all that. So economic nationalism is in his self-interest; the stronger America is, the stronger his portfolio is. It will be interesting to see if Trump can build a coalition with other fixed-type oligarchs.

        Bernie Sanders showed the non-oligarch route was still technically possible. Sadly he broke the famous maxim that given the choice between a Democrat and a Socialist who acts like a Democrat, people will vote for the real Democrat all the time!

        Trump’s flawed character reminds me what General Sherman said about that other General he defeated the South with:

        General Grant is a great general. I know him well. He stood by me when I was crazy, and I stood by him when he was drunk; and now, sir, we stand by each other always.

        Obama was never really that great a mystery. He was an establishment candidate financed by Goldman Sachs. He never claimed to be much more than that. The bargain was there would be a black President who would concentrate on social issues while the establishment controlled the economy. Overseas Obama completely changed America’s image from an evil empire led by George W. Bush to a shining city of racial harmony on a hill even if the reality is somewhat different.

        Obama NEVER threatened any hierarchy. In that he reminds me of Marco Rubio. But there is now no denying Trump is rampaging through the GOP and causing great harm. When he first started I thought he was a oligarchic plant to destroy the anti-immigration position with his clownish talk of Mexican rapists. But once Jeff Sessions vouched for him it was clear Trump was serious. Establishment GOP types are still telling Trump voters that Trump is just using them to get power. Some voters retort that, no, in fact it’s the other way around, they are just using Trump to destroy the GOP!

      5. Lexington

        I completely agree with your take on Trump, but with crisis comes opportunity.

        Therapists often talk about how troubled people need to hit rock bottom before they’re willing to seek help.

        Trump is America’s rock bottom.

    5. jrs

      Eleventy dimensional chess, Trump is really the master of eleventy dimensional chess, or eleventy dimensional deal making or something. Yes I know you’ve heard that before, but Obama was a piker, Trump is the real eleventy dimensional chess master. The eleventyith dimension exists, vote for it.

    6. Anonymous

      You obviously failed to comprehend the point of the article. Trump may as well be sending smoke signals or semaphore when he talks. He speaks like a fifth grader talking to his pre-school age brothers and sisters “Wonderful”
      “The Best”
      “Great”
      “Pre-existing conditions”
      Reminds me of other simplistic phrases “Peace” “Love”
      “Good Night And Good Luck”

  3. DakotabornKansan

    Trump has said that some Republicans, seeing someone dying outside a hospital, would say, “Let ‘em Die!” He is sadly right about this.

    Recall the Republican debate in 2012, when Ron Paul was asked if he was saying that society should let someone without health insurance die, the audience shouted, “Let him die!”

    “You can’t let ‘em die in the streets,” says Trump, striking a populist refrain. “Everybody’s got to be covered, this is an un-Republican thing I’m going to say, I’m going to take care of everybody.” When asked, ‘Who pays for it?’ “The government’s going to pay for it,” replied Trump on CBS, “60 Minutes,” 9/27/2015

    In 1999 Trump told Larry King, “I’m very liberal when it comes to healthcare. I believe in universal healthcare.” In his book The America We Deserve, Trump stated his belief in a single-payer healthcare system that would be funded through an increase in corporate taxes.

    He now wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with “something terrific,” “a free market plan,” “private health plans.”

    Yet, he wants to set up a healthcare system, “some sort of really smart deal with hospitals across the country,” for “the lower end, where people have no money. I want to try and help those people.”

    Trump offers no details. But they’ll be “fabulous!”

    As usual, Trump has some ideas, but seems to lack the intellectual wherewithal to explain them. His supporters don’t mind or even care.

    The ACA (aka Obamacare) left out many poor blacks and low-wage workers who do not have health insurance. People voted for FDR in 2008, but got Barack Hoover Obama instead. HRC wants to build on the ACA by gradually covering more people. What would Martin Luther King, Jr. say?

    Bernie, who advocates for single payer, was crushed in South Carolina as Glen Ford predicted. It is a refrain that we are all too familiar with in Kansas, where the downtrodden consistently vote against their best self-interest.

    1. tongorad

      Trump offers no details. But they’ll be “fabulous!”

      As usual, Trump has some ideas, but seems to lack the intellectual wherewithal to explain them. His supporters don’t mind or even care.

      Bernie, who advocates for single payer, was crushed in South Carolina as Glen Ford predicted.

      One wonders how universal health care was politically formed and brought about in other countries – was it the result of the voters careful examination and consideration of the policy details? Especially about how to pay for it?

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        My sense with Trump is he would be effective at getting what he wants, but there’s no way to divine what that is on the core issues, health care, bank crime, campaign finance, foreign war.
        So we have a “known” on one side and we know to some degree of precision what that would entail, so must ask “can we withstand another 4-8 years of Bush Term 3 and 4 policies?” or do we feel like rolling the dice.I’m in a dice rolling mood.
        And the NHS was created in Britain in 1948 when they were flat, dead broke. But they said they had no choice, they had to do it.

      2. HotFlash

        Here is a link to the Wikipedia article about Canada’s health care system including a multi-century history. It took us a while to get here, and we still have far to go. For instance, dental and prescriptions are not covered in my province. Our last Conservative govt cut eye exams for Ontarians between 17 and 64, and all chiropractic (prev $25 per visit was covered).

        So-called ‘alternative’ practitioners such as naturopaths, nutritionists, Shiatsu and Reiki, are not covered at all, although lots of people I know do use them and are happy (and able) to pay full pop. Me, I am happy to pay a naturopath to get me through the aftermath of the massive antibiotics — IV drip once per day for 10 days) that I needed to fight an serious infection. The infection itself needed the antibiotics and I was grateful, but Mainstream Med has no interest in re-establishing my gut flora after the antibiotics killed ’em all. But I digress.

        ‘Nother tiny story: some decades ago I fell off my platform shoe (yeah, *that* many decades ago) whilst running for a bus and broke my fifth metatarsal. Seemed OK at the time, I got home fine, but later that night my foot had swollen like a football and I limped the three blocks to the nearest hospital. They X-rayed, put on a cast and I clomped home, all before 8:30pm. Once home, I phoned my mother (in the US) to relate what, to me, was a funny story. She was aghast, “Do you need money??? I was genuinely puzzled. “What for?”

        This is what single-payer healthcare is like. I’m pretty sure you would like it.

      3. Carla

        Universal health care was brought about in other countries — in all other “civilized” countries, by political leadership. And how to pay for it by the pragmatism of that political leadership (taxes, of course — duh).

        This is one thing we’re not allowed to have in the American two-party “the business of America is business,” “corporations are people” and “money is speech” system — political leadership.

  4. par4

    Want to know what’s good about Trump’s health care plan? He’s the only candidate that doesn’t want confrontation with Russia. I guarantee SS 22s and Topol-Ms are bad for your health.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      In 2006, Democratic polling soared after Murtha came out against the Iraq War, making it the position of Democrats in Congress. 43’s attack on Social Security, Terry Schaevo, and the poor economy never once helped Team Blue in the polls. Obama’s wars have served no national security interest and failed to deliver a single vote.

      I don’t think the country is isolationist, but I believe people intuitively understand that every bomb dropped means a school isn’t built. Trump has attacked the Obama position on Syria which is a majority position. Part of the response to Syrian refugees flows from a simple view which is Obama pushed for it, he should pay for the refugees, why should it come out of the treasury of people who opposed the war. There was no vote.

  5. DanB

    By coincidence I am lecturing my sociology classes this week on Max Weber’s ideal types of legitimate authority. Trump can be partially understood as a charismatic leader with anti-rationalist tendencies and an aggressive anti-status quo message. Weber defined charismatic authority as “resting on devotion to the exceptional sanctity, heroism, or exemplary character of an individual person…” The fact that Trump by almost any rational standards is not heroic and is anything but sanctified is irrelevant to his followers. They see him as a savior who doesn’t need any “stinkin’ health care plan” to accomplish the job they want him to do.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Trump is “heroic” because:

      -he’s a rich guy going into government. The Bush clans and the Clinton have used government to enrich themselves. The revolving door is an issue. Trump has already staked this spot out by paying his own way or claiming to. It’s probably likely too late to change that narrative.
      -Trump despite what I still believe was a shallow popularity in the Summer presented enough of a threat to be attacked by the entire and very unpopular establishment. Jeb and Hillary aren’t popular figures who are the darlings of the establishment.
      -Trump rhetoric and views aren’t as relevant as these first two issues. To most voters, “smart” politicians aren’t anymore intelligible.
      -Bruce Wayne, Superman, and Ironman don’t have to be heroes.
      -As Chomsky noted, society has collapsed under the leadership of the Jeb/Hillary element. The enemy of my enemy is my friend. If Obama had been a liberal, not a neo-liberal, dozens of Congressional Democrats would be beating down the door to run for President.

      1. James Levy

        The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Well, they tried that in Italy, Spain, Portugal, Hungary, Poland, Japan, and Germany. People hated the commies. So the enemy of my enemy–the fascists–must be my friend!

        Bullshit.

        I’m feeling more and more like Demosthenes every day.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          It doesn’t matter if it’s crap. In the absence of an alternative, Trump will be the alternative.

          Trump as the enemy of the status quo establishment fits Weber’s charismatic authority. You don’t have to like it, but the union guys who have seen Team Blue treat them like dirt after years of labor and money can be flipped. It happened to Carter. It can happen to Team Blue today.

      1. James Levy

        Your logic is flawed. This man would be the chief magistrate of the Republic. He can do infinite harm. Is your hate so nihilistic that you’d risk a Berlusconi or even a Mussolini just so you can kick the Establishment in the balls?

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          You mistakenly assume Hillary would be less destructive. She’ll be as destructive, just on different vectors. Everything she has touched has been a failure. And she’d increase, not decrease, our commitment to the nation-breaking program. That destabilizes Europe faster, and a EU/Eurozone blow up pretty much assures a new global financial crisis, which in turn means another round of massive transfers to the 1%/0.1%. And more chaos in the Middle East also gives an easy excuse for further expansion of the surveillance industrial complex.

          Consider this: given what I hear is in those e-mails, if she’s not indicted and the Rs maintain control of Congress, odds are good they proceed to impeachment as soon as she’s in office. Tell me how that rolls.

          I’m not about to endorse Trump, but no way can I back voting for Hillary.

          1. Kokuanani

            Thanks, Yves. I’m not about to endorse Trump either, and there’s NO way I can vote for Hillary.

            I’m tired of the “by not voting for Hillary, you’re voting for Trump” meme. No, Hillarybots: by not putting forth a decent candidate, you LOST our vote, and perhaps the election. WE didn’t do this; YOU did.

            I’m hoping that, if Hillary is the nominee, there will emerge an agreed-upon alternative whereby dissatisfied Dems can show the votes that Hillary didn’t get, whether it’s via writing in Sanders, voting Green, or whatever.

            I admit I am particularly angry and discouraged at the moment as I sit in an airport and thumb through the NYT and its non-stop “hurray for Hillary” coverage [sic]. Other than NC, even the internet provides little relief, with HuffPo’s numerous stories on and pictures of Hillary, and few of Sanders.

            1. different clue

              Even if there is no agreed-upon alternative, the various alternatives that various “no Hillary” Sandernistas take can all be added up for a “net disaffected” number.

            2. Nathanael

              Our only chance of beating Trump is nominating Sanders.

              Hillary Clinton is a loser who is terrible at campaigning.

              https://www.currentaffairs.org/2016/02/unless-the-democrats-nominate-sanders-a-trump-nomination-means-a-trump-presidency

              Unfortunately, it seems very likely that this loser will be nominated. At which point she will lose.

              She has only won two elections in her entire life and they were both cakewalks. I was in upstate NY; she barely beat Lazio, who was a joke candidate (apart from it being very hard for a Republican to win statewide, Upstaters *never* vote for candidates from Long Island).

          2. Brooklin Bridge

            Might impeachment not backfire as it did with Bill, even though far more serious? Thus unleashing a more powerful (and agreed just as lethal as anything GOP) Hillary? It’s not like we live in an atmosphere of strong accountability.

            1. Yves Smith Post author

              No, that was perceived to be over sex, and IMHO Ken Starr made a MONSTER mistake in his report/filing (( forget which document it was but everyone read it back in the day) that had the salacious details about the cigar in it. He put all that stuff prominently in the body of the document. He should have written it to make sure that there was no mistaking that the issue was obstruction of justice and put all the sex detail in an appendix. The same information would have gotten out but it would have not put noise in the signal about what the prosecution was about.

              There are two grounds for getting Hillary:

              1. Treatment of docs important to national security. Cabinet level officials have been prosecuted successfully for similar, even lesser abuses. There’s clear precedent here.

              2. Possible acceptance of bribes/other favor trading. I’ve heard from an unimpeachable source of a specific incident involving officials of a foreign government, and the person who heard the story from senior party members found corroborating info. Not enough to publish on, given how big this story is, or I’d run with it. That story alone may hit the wires independent of the e-mails.

              Congress can impeach a President for pretty much anything it wants to (that does not mean it will win the trial). I could see the Rs demanding an appointment of a Special Prosecutor for Hillary, Hillary of course refusing, and then them impeaching her for obstruction of justice. I’d imagine there are other paths that would get you there.

              And the prosecution did hurt Clinton. He was planning to cut Social Security but his diminished stature during the impeachment push derailed that effort. So Monica did us all a great service.

              1. Brooklin Bridge

                Yes, very plausible. I can only imagine the histrionics going on at MSNBC as the Rs show Pelosi how it’s done.

                Thin ironic gruel indeed for justice, but better than nothing.

        2. flora

          You assume the GOP Congress would roll over for Trump when in fact the GOP establishment hates him. See how bat-sh-t they went when Chris Christie endorsed Trump.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            The GOP is authoritarian. They are responding to the vestiges of the 41 power base, but they will get in line for Trump. Oh a few neoconservatives might defect, but outside of their votes, the GOP will stay solid. Remember 59 million people voted to put Palin a heartbeat away from being President.

            Hillary has been the boogeyman for years. GOP voters will vote against her.

            1. hunkerdown

              Which GOP? The brass, the base, or the electorate? Especially with Trump in the race, it’s an error to assume they are all on the same page, let alone are not aware of their distinct and particular interests. The business class of the GOP might well vote for her over Trump, especially if their businesses are export-driven and other countries continue declaring Trump persona non grata.

              And the Democratic Party brass and base aren’t authoritarian? Methinks the smug, disciplined scorn sprayed toward leftist refuseniks changes the calculus just a wee bit, as does the presence or absence of a second prong changes the efficacy of an attack and the flavor of effective response in context.

            2. HotFlash

              Trump is most emphatically *not* GOP, anymore than Sanders is Dem. For both, the party affiliation is merely a flag of convenience to get on the ballot of 50 states. The GOP party elites hate Trump as much as the Dem elites hate Bernie.

          2. sleepy

            Trump can make deals, he says. Which implies to me that he can and will compromise despite his rhetoric. So can the Gop congress, if for no other reason that if Trump proves popular enough to be elected, they may easily see the handwriting on the wall as far as their own political future goes. Obstructionism of Trump on the part of the goppers may not play so well with their electorate.

          3. Yves Smith Post author

            Yes, I think you’d see a new form of gridlock: establishment Republicans and Dems v. Trump.

            But that assumes he gets the nomination. If it looks like he has so many delegates that the Rs can’t take him out in a brokered convention, I expect him to be shot or have a small plane accident before the convention. And I’m not joking. If he maintains his anti-war stance, I can’t see the military-industrial complex letting him have a real shot at the Oval Office.

            1. HotFlash

              Eh-yup. Probably wearing Kevlar, hope Bernie is, too. And always make the mechanic fly on the plane.

            2. cnchal

              . . . If it looks like he has so many delegates that the Rs can’t take him out in a brokered convention, I expect him to be shot or have a small plane accident before the convention. And I’m not joking.

              That is an indictment of a system beyond hope.

              One of the things Trump mentioned was resolving conflicts in the Middle East, and that was what he saw as a legacy he could be proud of. The toughest deal of all. Could the threat of peace anger the military that much?

            3. crittermom

              I’m thinkin’ it wouldn’t require the military to take out Trump.
              With his unbridled temper, I’m anxiously waiting for him to just self-implode!

              (Gee, I wonder if that would suddenly make him come up with more details about a health plan, as he’d be needing one?)

            4. Crazy Horse

              Good to see that someone of your stature recognizes how the American political system really operates when it is threatened with a loss of control.

              Or wants to create the level of fear to support its Imperial goals.

              Remember 911.

        3. Lexington

          Is your hate so nihilistic that you’d risk a Berlusconi or even a Mussolini just so you can kick the Establishment in the balls?

          In darker moments, yes.

          And I have a lot of dark moments.

          Besides, whats the alternative? Another 4 years of the status quo, with ever mounting desperation and hopelessness, and ending in what? Probably not a platonic republic of pure reason. Trump is a symptom, not the disease. The disease will consume the body politic with or without him.

          1. RMO

            I find one redeeming quality in Trump despite finding him repugnant in so many ways: he wants to be adored but he doesn’t give a rat’s ass about being adored by the party elites, the punditocracy, or the very serious people. We’re all screwed if anyone but Bernie gets in but at least trump provided the amusement of watching him “Magic Christian” the U.S. political process and showing how absurd it has become, even if it was unintentional. Even Andy Kaufman couldn’t have done it better.

            1. Crazy Horse

              For those who missed it years ago, the highlight of “Magic Christian” was the vignette where Peter Sellers sets up a large swimming pool and bleachers in a park frequented by London stockbrokers during their lunch hour. When the bleachers are well stocked, a truck pulls up and fills the swimming pool with sewage. Peter Sellers then begins throwing 100 pound notes into the sewage, and the brokers behave according to character and dive in after them.

      2. EoinW

        Or if your goal is to see the system reformed or destroyed then Trump is the first step in that direction. Clinton is just putting off any attempt at change for another 4-8 years. Grin and bear it all some more. Though Yves is quite right. The destructive potential of Clinton is great. Plus how potentially destructive is it to continue with such a corrupt system?

  6. nothing but the truth

    by “healthcare” we seem to mean health insurance.

    this is again the basic problem of the modern economy – convert the problem to money and it will solve itself “market”.

    health care problem is a real economy issue of artificial scarcity and rent seeking. there are not enough doctors. that is because the number of medical college seats are controlled by the doctors’ guild – the AMA, which also happens to be one of the largest lobbyers.

    so why would the existing doctors like more doctors (ie competition)? They wont. The pharma industry has such a large barrier to entry that similar problems exist there.

    health care is the one reason why america will experience emigration.

    1. Kokuanani

      health care is the one reason why america will experience emigration.

      But where do we GO????

      Out of curiosity, I followed up on the recent article re a Canadian province “welcoming” Americans fleeing Trump. Read this small print: you can’t become a Canadian resident unless, among other things, you’re going to invest $2 million in their economy. And I’m sure they will look increasingly unfavorably at Americans who want to take advantage of their reasonable health care system.

      Face it: we’re toast.

        1. Carla

          Canada already did build a wall. The $2 million wall. It’s very effective. Well, after all, a country of 30 million with 300 million plus on their utterly porous border; they have to defend themselves somehow. I find it hard to blame them.

      1. sleepy

        I’ve heard said about Canada is that the good news is that Canada is 10 yrs. behind the US in negative social, cultural, and political downward trends. That’s also the bad news. 10 yrs. passes quickly.

        Of course, part of Canadian identity is it’s “not the United States”, so perhaps as the US becomes increasingly unlivable Canadians will put the brakes on those trends. Maybe.

        1. EoinW

          Canadians have a special talent for one thing and it begins with the letter H. No not hockey, it’s hypocrisy. Canadians themselves define their nationalism as not being American. Yet it’s remarkably superficial. On matters of consequence – economics/military/culture etc… – we are owned by the USA. What differences still exist are due to the country starting out as an outpost in the British Empire. Our universal health care came about during the transition period away from Britain and towards America. Since then the trend has been non-stop towards the American Empire. This is perfectly agreeable with nearly every Canadian, even if they refuse to recognize such a trend. After all, the most nationalistic Canadians are the elderly and they spend six months a year living in Florida or Arizona!

          Excellent point about Canada being just behind the US. Where America leads, Canada shall follow. It’s inevitable when you have a Quisling political establishment.

      2. HotFlash

        Not true. That’s for the “FastTrack” plan, which most Canadians I know think is a govt-sponsored extortion racket. We have had tons of Hong Kongers coming here before the change-over, now mainland Chinese, setting up phony businesses, $$$ paid, papers received. Real info for normal humans here.

      3. Lexington

        Canada is basically following the same trail blazed by the US, we’re just a few years behind. Stephen Harper was our George W. Bush and Justin Trudeau will be our Barack Obama. Who will be our Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump remains to be seen.

        So I guess my point is this: you can’t run away from your problems. And since despair is the one sin for which there is no forgiveness the only thing left is do dig in and fight.

  7. Maxime

    You speak about absurdity in the article, bur Donald Trump IS the absurdity. He just can’t do 99% of thing he promess to apply.

    It’s really sad to have these kind of politicians in 21th century

    Maxime author of blog http://optionmag.fr/

    1. Lambert Strether

      A Trump statement is a “promise” in exactly the same way that hitting a referee over the head with a folding chair in a professional wrestling match is a promise. That is, not at all.

      What Trump is doing has nothing to do with promises, policies, etc. etc.

    2. Lexington

      He just can’t do 99% of thing he promess to apply.

      Which only means in that particular regard he is no worse than most politicians.

  8. polecat

    You know, I’ll take trumpish word salad over ANY of the eight years of crapification we’ve all been exposed to!………..

    maybe the Donald is the new clau, Clau,…. Claudius………

    1. James Levy

      What scrap of evidence, from our decades of watching Trump in action, can you provide that would convince an objective observer that Trump is not a nasty, shallow, greedy, angry, misogynistic jerk who gets off on saying “you’re fired”? Have you people been fucking asleep for 30 years? Like Hillary, this guy has a track record, and it ain’t good. Born to wealth, he’s run two major businesses into the ground. He bullies, badgers, and rips people off. He’s a landlord, the ultimate parasite–I thought we weren’t into rent extraction around here?

      Wake up people. This man is rotten to the core. And you don’t burn your house down until you know where you’re going to find shelter after the conflagration.

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Hillary is rotten to the core too. The commodities bribe from Tyson was in 1978. She just has technocratic mumbo jumbo. Did you read the Tom Frank article on her? She’s just as much a con artist. as Trump, but in much more upscale packaging.

        1. James Levy

          Yves, how many times, how many times, have I said Hillary is awful and I won’t vote for her, but every time I point out what a disaster Trump is and has been, you and others yell “But Hillary!” the way Obamabots yell “But the Republicans!” Do you see that pattern? It’s bloody obvious to me. Perhaps others will confirm what I’m seeing.

  9. Roy M Poses MD

    Note that I never said, nor did I mean to imply that Mr Trump is a fool, stupid, bumbling, or a buffoon.

    I did say that his health care plan is at best incoherent and fragmentary. Yet he still inspires adulation.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      The most worrisome thing about Trump’s run is that he’s treating this a a romp. No organization, no one lined up for any policy roles. And if he understood the job of President, he wouldn’t want it. It’s nothing like being a CEO. What happens when the dog catches the car?

      1. Steve H.

        Exactly, I think? What does he really want? I doubt he’ll turn the Presidency down if they throw it at him, if he is a narcissist he’ll gloat over his portrait on the walls of the White House. But what’s the trade value?

        I know he’s really good at what he does, but I just can’t figure out what that is.

      2. Kokuanani

        I think that’s why we should pay particular attention to who is Trump’s VP pick. Not unreasonable to think that Trump will “Palin” and just get tired of the gig and quit.

        1. jrs

          Yes, I kind of expect that. But then I kind of hope for that as well as I don’t want President Trump. But if he did quit, his supporters have an Aesop fable to read: what did you expect, he is only acting in accordance with his nature …

        2. Cassandra

          Agree. Once the GOP believes Trump is inevitable, the focus will shift to finding the “right” VP, much like Cheney ran the govt for Dubya. Except Trump’s VP will have to be an expert fluffer to manipulate Trump’s yuuge ego. Keep him busy giving speeches to adoring crowds while the VP does the work of “recommending” cabinet positions, budgets, etc. Then, if Trump doesn’t go along with the arrangement, it’s plane crash time.

      3. HotFlash

        Totally! Trump is having the time of his life, *running* for Pres. Actually *being* Pres is not fun, very tedious. If you are not really interested in doing good for the country then the only lure is the $$$ at the end, and I don’t think he really thinks that way. Can you see Trump at a diplomatic dinner? G20 summit? At least Bush 43 had minders, Trump will be doing it all hisownself. Criminy.

        He has no bench, and has had no opportunity to build one. I sure hope Bernie has one, but I can understand that they would want to keep a low profile since the Clintons, like the Bushes, are vindictive.

        Interesting times, indeed.

        1. Crazy Horse

          No opportunity to build a team? Aren’t you forgetting that Trump single-handedly created the model for executive recruitment and team building? He’ll just sponsor a reality show contest to determine his cabinet positions and select a Supreme Court judge.

        2. Lexington

          Someone with Trump’s enormous ego is going to get off on all the job perks – flying on Air Force One, hobnobbing with the world’s elite (who at least to his face will flatter him shamelessly), screaming “You’re fired!” at terrified interns. Well ok, he’s already doing the last one, but now he can do it in the Oval Office. Trump strikes my as the sort of person who has a short attention span so I’m sure it’s going to keep him entertained for four whole years, but it’s a start.

          As for his bench, once he has the nomination he’ll be besieged by supplicants. People go to Washington because they are drawn to power like a moth to a flame. They understand that the key to getting ahead is cultivating relationships with the top dog. If Trump has the nomination in his pocket they’ll be rushing to be the first throw themselves at his feet and roll onto their backs with their tummies in the air.

      4. Bubba_Gump

        That has also crossed my mind. But there are two powerful reasons presidents age so rapidly. I think most people assume it’s the weight of the responsibility. But I suspect it has more to do with being constantly pressed by staffers — a sense of continuous emergency created by scheduling demands and crises. Trump would be far better prepared than most candidates to carve his own personal boundaries wrt schedule and what exactly constitutes a crisis or emergency. He will take care of himself and his enjoyment of the position by refusing the pull into constant reactivity.

  10. polecat

    Hey…..I have an idea…..

    Maybe if the Donald (if nominated for presidential runner-up) starts donning a bright yellow rain slicker and dark eye visors, flicking a cat-o-nine-tails towards the plebes, with the implicit promise to literally whip congress into shape, he’ll get the winning vote!

    Hell…….who wouldn’t vote for that??

    ‘Just Whip Em……Whip Em Good!’

  11. EndOfTheWorld

    The reason I’ll probably vote for Trump over Hillary is that he was against the Iraq war. At least, he says he made statements to that effect at the time. Hillary was for the Iraq war and she is a devout warmonger. The twenty percent or so of Americans who were against the Iraq war from the beginning should be rewarded for being smart—not castigated for being arrogant. Smart is good—can we agree on that? On the other hand, if Bernie somehow pulls out the nomination I’ll probably vote for him, since he was also against the Iraq war and is a more likable person than Trump.

  12. Roy M Poses MD

    Again, our blog is non-partisan, but just this once…

    Only from today’s news…

    Trump threatens the freedom of the press
    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2016/02/26/trump_promises_to_open_up_libel_laws_to_take_on_new_york_times_washington_post.html

    Trump won’t disavow David Duke
    http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/feb/28/donald-trump-former-kkk-leader-david-duke
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-elections/donald-trump-refuses-to-condemn-the-kkk-and-david-duke-because-he-doesnt-know-enough-about-them-a6901411.html

    Trump retweets Mussolini (approvingly)
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2016/02/28/trump-on-retweeting-questionable-quote-what-difference-does-it-make-whether-its-mussolini/

    And don’t forget the threats to kill terrorists families, to torture worse than water-boarding, to build the wall at the Mexican border, to ban Muslims from entering the country, etc, etc

    Hillary is a neoliberal, with huge ties to big corporations. Trump appears to be a raving fascist. Which is worse?

    I am no supporter of Hilary, but damned if I would vote for a fascist, and damned if I would contribute to a fascist’s election by not voting. Remember WW II. Remember what happened to Germany and Italy… The problems Hillary will create, or allow to continue, might be bad, but maybe still could be fixed. The problems Trump would create might not be fixable, and and might leave none of us around to try to fix them.

    1. HotFlash

      Not to mention that he thinks climate change is a hoax. Like we need 4 (or even 8) more years of climate denial?

      1. Yves Smith Post author

        Hillary is aggressively pro fracking. which releases tons of methane. So she may talk pro doing something re climate change, but her policies add to the problem.

            1. James Levy

              Yes, and her response to anything negative about Trump is “BUT HILLARY!!!” the same modus operandi of “But the Republicans!!!” I hear from the Obamabots.

        1. HotFlash

          Yeah. For me, climate change is issue #1. A matter of life and death, literally, and for the whole planet. TPP is arguably more urgent, since if the TPP is enacted, governments will have much less ability to fight global climate change, even if they want to.

          Think, think, what to do?

          1.) Bernie, best bet. Against climate change *and* TPP. Note: both establishment Dems and Reps will fight him. Any real action will depend on pressure from below, = us.

          2.) Trump, no TPP but thinks climate change is a hoax. If he succeeds, we are behind in fighting climate change, but TPP is most likely dead, so if we survive, we can still maybe tackle it in 4 or 8 years. Maybe. Better than nothing. Note: both establishment Dems and Reps will fight him. Any real action will depend on pressure from below, = us. Can Trump rally the troops?

          3.) Hillary, we will get TPP and (mumble mumble) climate change. Which is, most likely, climate change — fracking, pipelines, coal (clean or dirty, depends on how much $$$ they will pay her).

          Scary times. Hug your kids.

      2. fajensen

        Climate Denialism coming from Trump will be openly mocked and ridiculed in Europe and our leaders will do something about it *just* to spite the, per definition, eeevil Trump.

        If we get Clintonian “Realism”, it means that everyone will accept climate change as “inevitable” and “good for business” – with all the countermeasures that have to be designed – because, it is coming from a Female Democrat, who is the President.

        … Exactly like Obama can murder, torture & disappear more people than Bush/Cheney because he is Black, and Democrat, thus all evil is forgiven – in fact never mentioned at all in polite circles.

        If we can’t have Sanders, Trump is the best bet.

    2. flora

      Forgive me, but, the MSM has been so clearly in the tank for Hillary that I take everything they report, or don’t report, with a fistful of salt.

  13. Mike Sparrow

    When you have as high of unfavorables on Donald Trump as I have ever seen and a background that doesn’t backup your con, you will run into problems.

    The best part is when the Kochs and that ilk vote for Hillary(despite supporting Trump officially) driving up Clinton’s vote total. Even the union man knows which way the wind blows.

    Then the Kochs will go back to the defeated Republican voter and pat them on the head “Well, it was a lessen learned”.

    1. HotFlash

      I suspect that the Kocks et al would prefer Hillary to The Donald. She can be bought and (mostly) stays bought. Trump is a loose cannon.

      1. EndOfTheWorld

        I’ll never vote for Hillary Clinton for anything because I despise her in oh so many ways. As Yves Smith noted, everything she touches turns into a disaster. She is a make-believe “feminist” who is doing nothing but riding her estranged husband’s coattails. She takes demonic delight in her idiotic war-mongering. I will not just abstain from voting, nor vote for a third party candidate. Instead I will vote for the Republican because that will be like two votes against HRC—the one vote that as a registered Democrat I would normally give to the Dem candidate (if they didn’t have such an abnormally grotesque nominee), and the vote I will give to her main opponent.

        1. HotFlash

          Back in the day at Firedoglake we used to say, “If God had wanted us to vote, He would have given us candidates.”

  14. cripes

    @EndOfTheWorld

    Actually, Trump supported going to war in Iraq (on Howard Stern show, saying Bush I should have done the job right in 1991), and Libya. So his claim the wars were destabilizing is true, but nothing more than the hindsight of a witless fool who has a knack for weak spots and pandering.

    There really is no option for a principled person to vote either for Hellery or D-trump. But it’s looking more like that’s the race we’ll get.

    Barely defensible logic is employed either to the effect that Hillary, bad as we know she is, holds the line against SCOTUS and unknown republican Facism! -or- Trump will actually enact more left-ish populist positions on healthcare, MIC and trade. A very dubioius proposition indeed. I wouldn’t count on that.

    I think the real option is whether we get the continuation of neo-liberal DNC-ism with Hellery, straining to maintain the crumbling status quo, or the proverbial bull smashing through the china shop as his RNC handlers struggle to reign him in.
    **Bonus** almost destroying the republican party in the process.

    Personally, I can’t bring myself to vote for either of these grotesque mediocrities that circumstances have elevated to prominence.

    For those with the stomach to intensify the contradictions, there’s still time to change your party affiliation to the republicans.

    So, chaos, or more chaos. Your choice!

    1. Lambert Strether

      Trump is not a “witless fool.” Witless fools don’t end up leading a Presidential race with no television advertising*. If anything, it’s people like (“low energy”) Bush, who set $130 million on fire, who are the fools.

      * I grant Trump is getting plenty of free coverage. But boy howdy, does he know how to feed the media beast!

      1. EndOfTheWorld

        Trump maintains that by the time the Iraq war started, he was against it. He was a civilian at the time, just making observations in his spare time. At least now, he is saying the Iraq war was a mistake, and he is saying W and Dick C. are responsible for 9/11. HRC, on the other hand, was a senator who was getting paid a salary to listen carefully to all evidence and vote for or against the disastrous Iraq invasion. She decided it was a good idea. No excuse for that. She’s PROUD that she’s a friend of Henry Kissinger. She may well get elected, but it will be without my one tiny vote. I think Trump would be less treacherous, and might well come up with some imaginative policies.

  15. crittermom

    Bernie is the only one I can/will vote for.

    If Trump gets in I fear he’ll be the last president ever, as the rest of the world will destroy us just to shut his bullying mouth. He’s an embarrassment & I think he sees the presidency as the ultimate reality show. Just another ‘game’ to win. The folks I’ve talked to who are voting for him don’t seem to care that he doesn’t have any answers. They just don’t want another politician in office.
    While I can understand their thinking, I find them very short-sighted as to reality.

    If Hillary gets in the rich will continue to get richer. Same ol’ same ol’. She’s probably an excellent ventriloquist, as I’ve never seen anyone talk out of both sides of their mouth so well. I’m amazed folks believe anything she says.

    I’m tired of the MSM all but ignoring Bernie, so was happy to see the front page of this mornings Denver Post talk about the crowd he attracted in Boulder. Even then, according to one commenter who apparently attended, they underestimated the crowd by maybe 2,000 more than were reported.

    It has certainly become an entertaining run for the presidency, as the Republicans fight among themselves & their frontrunner isn’t anyone they even wanna back. Pretty funny–if it weren’t such a serious subject.

    To see Hillary practically squirm out of her pantsuit when a young black woman asked her recently at a gathering about her comments from decades before (which witch Hillary), & then all but yell at her saying no one had ever asked that question before having the woman escorted out, was very telling. (She never did answer the question).

    Bravo to that young woman for exposing her before her supporters (but wondering if any of ’em had open enough minds to “get it”?)
    Doubtful.

  16. cripes

    We must consider the possibility that Trump is an idiot savant, not an eleventy-dimensional chess player.

  17. Thure

    Well – if it comes down to Hillary vs. Trump, who would you vote for?

    Corrupt to the core vs. freakazoid – its like a bad action comic.

    For my part I can deal with freaky stuff. I can’t deal with loaded dice that look normal
    but always roll against you

  18. Sergeant Pepper

    I am late to the party as usual but I really enjoyed this article and the many comments and wanted to chime in.

    I love what Drunk Uncle Drumph has been doing to the RNC. He could put a serious gash in the Republican’s big tent.
    I was listening to some conservative Christian talk radio the other day and the Evangelical’s are thinking about getting out of the big tent. Callers into the talk shows are distraught at the thought of voting for a degenerate, amoral liar who couldn’t quote a single Bible verse. They may go third party or return to their aloof pre-Bob Jones/IRS posture when Evangelicals didn’t participate in corrupt worldly affairs. Score one for the buffoon.

    Like a broken clock which is right twice a day, I love that the Donald comes out with some truth now and then. The War in Iraq was a huge mistake and the responsibility sits squarely on George W. This from the mouth of the Republican front runner? Be still my beating heart!

    Should the man ever be in power? Hell no. He’s a narcissist, misogynist, and probably a con artist who makes up facts as he goes. He can’t elucidate a policy; he has the language skills of a New Jersey mafia boss, and he’s ginning up the rubes for another round of “let’s beat up the brown people.” The comparisons to Mussolini are apt. But if he can drive a wedge between disaffected workers and the global capitalists who sent their jobs to China, then I’ll just let him babble on for a little more.

    I predict the Koch brothers will have Trump shot on the court house steps and then try to blame it on Occupy Wall Street demonstrators.

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