Fear and Loathing at Trump National Golf Club: The Donald Gives a “Presidential” Victory Speech

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Readers, I apologize for a posting miscue. I set the publication date for this post to June 13, 2016. And so it appeared, and promptly fell off the front page. –lambert.

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

In this post, we continue taking a close look at primary sources, in this case a second speech by presumptive Republican candidate Donald Trump. Yesterday, we looked at the speech that Trump gave on national security, prompted by the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando. Today, we’ll look at the speech Trump gave on the occasion of his primary victory at the Trump National Golf Club (!) in Briarcliff Manor, a small town in New York state and a pleasant fifteen minute drive away from Chappaqua; Clinton “clinched” her nomination shortly thereafter. The video follows, and the transcript is here.

If you just skipped over the video, I urge to reconsider, grab some coffee and/or start checking your mail, and listen to it now; it’s only a little over fifteen minutes long. (Note: I listened; I did not watch. I’d be interested to know what readers who are more visual see, perhaps with the sound down?) As a speech, it’s excellent, and it inspired me to give Trump, as a speaker, the same level of attention that I’ve previously given to Obama, Clinton, Rubio, and even Julia Gillard, then Prime Minister of Australia. Since Trump’s speech on national security was timely, I had to post on it first; and since that speech bumped a speech he had planned to give on “Hillary Clinton and how bad a President” she would be, analysis of that speech to come will be forthcoming.

This Trump speech is a “victory speech,” a genre where a candidate accepts the mandate of the voters, so it’s simpler than a speech on policy. As before, I won’t annotate or mark up the entire text. Instead, I’ll look at four major themes:

  1. Appeal to Sanders Supporters
  2. Populist Appeal
  3. Corrupt Elites

1. Appeal to Sanders Supporters

The contrast between Trump’s appeal to Sanders supporters, and Clinton’s, is most immediately seen in the form of a table. Trump’s text comes from the video above; Clinton comes from her own victory speech at the Brooklyn Navy Yard (video and transcript here).

Figure 1: Appeal to Sanders Supporters: Trump vs. Clinton

At a high level, both appeals have the same structure: A direct address to Sanders supporters, followed by a discussion of policy discussion. I won’t discuss the rhetoric of the two in detail[1], but their stylistic differences are plain. Where Trump is concise, Clinton is verbose. Where Trump is concrete (“money… and jobs”), Clinton is abstract (“an economy with more opportunity”). Where Trump is about the voters (“To those who voted…”), Clinton is about Clinton (“And as your president, I…”).[2]

Trump Clinton

[TRUMP:] To those who voted for someone else in either party, I will work hard to earn your support and I will work very hard to earn that support. To all of those Bernie Sanders voters who have been left out in the cold by a rigged system of super delegates, we welcome you with open arms. And by the way, the terrible trade deals that Bernie was so vehemently against and he’s right on that will be taken care of far better than anyone ever thought possible and that’s what I do. We are going to have fantastic trade deals. We’re going to start making money and bringing in jobs.

Now I know some people say….

And as your president, I will always have your back. I want to congratulate Senator Sanders for the extraordinary campaign he has run. He has spent his long career in public service fighting for progressive causes and principles, and he’s excited millions of voters, especially young people. And let there be no mistake: Senator Sanders, his campaign, and the vigorous debate that we’ve had about how to raise incomes, reduce inequality, increase upward mobility have been very good for the Democratic Party and for America.

This has been a hard-fought, deeply-felt campaign. But whether you supported me, or Senator Sanders, or one of the Republicans, we all need to keep working toward a better, fairer, stronger America.

Now, I know it never feels good to put your heart into a cause or a candidate you believe in – and to come up short. I know that feeling well. But as we look ahead to the battle that awaits, let’s remember all that unites us.

We all want an economy with more opportunity and less inequality, where Wall Street can never wreck Main Street again. We all want a government that listens to the people, not the power brokers, which means getting unaccountable money out of politics. And we all want a society that is tolerant, inclusive, and fair.

We all believe….

Let’s contrast these two appeals in more detail. Trump (a) appeals to Sanders supporters in simple language (“we welcome you with open arms”), (b) recognizes a strongly felt and still painful sense of injury (“left out in the cold by a rigged system of super delegates”), and (c) pivots to policy (“the terrible trade deals that Bernie was so vehemently against and he’s right on that”). Trump’s talking points also have the great merit of being true: The superdelegate system is “rigged,” by design, and the trade deals are terrible.[3]

Clinton’s appeal follows the same sequence of appeal, injury, and policy, but in a way that is at once more abstract and more clumsy. For (a) appeal, Clinton begins with a lengthy shout-out to “Senator Sanders” (not “Bernie”), much as if she were at a ribbon-cutting ceremony, in which she manages to condescend (“excited”) to those she most needs (“young people”), and then meanders through mentions of “the Democratic Party” and “America” before coming to (b) the injury, which, again, is all about her (“Now, I know…”), is couched in terms both abstract and infantilizing (“…it never feels good…), is framed as inside baseball (“…. cause or a candidate….”), and twists the knife in the wound at the end (“and to come up short.”)[4]. Finally, Clinton pivots (c) to policy, where as we have seen, she is bloodless and abstract, and Trump is simple and concrete. Worse, there are very few Sanders voters who would view her professed desire to get “accountable money out of politics” as anything but ludicrously and imperviously hypocritical, given the contrast between the Clinton and Sanders fundraising operation.

Trump reminds me of a vacuum cleaner salesman: When he comes to my door, I know just who and what he is, his patter may be entertaining, and I can make him go away. When Clinton comes to my door, she does so with all the charm of a process server presenting a demand note to garnish my vote.

At this point, I should reiterate the caveat that I’m not endorsing any candidate; what I am saying is that if Clinton is to gain Sanders voters, she’ll do so using techniques other than those she used here. If it’s possible for her to do so without reintroducing herself again, she should ask herself why Trump can say something as simple as “we welcome you with open arms” and she cannot.

2. Populist Appeal

Now to Trump, les amis du peuple:

[TRUMP:] Now I know some people say I’m too much of a fighter.

I confess: I laughed out loud at Trump’s humblebrag, because it’s exactly like an answer to the classic job interview question: “What is your greatest weakness?” (“I care too much”; “I’m obsessively punctual,” “I work too hard,” etc.) However, Trump is canny, on multiple levels: First, he’s recalling his successful TV show, The Apprentice; second, he shows that he understands that he is asking us for a job, that we are his boss; and third, for those of us who are looking for a job, or worried about the job we have, Trump puts himself in our place. Let it never be said that simple language cannot send complex messages!

[TRUMP:] My preference is always peace, however and I’ve shown that. I’ve shown that for a long time. I built an extraordinary business on relationships and deals that benefit all parties involved, always. My goal is always again to bring people together. But if I’m forced to fight for something I really care about, I will never, ever back down and our country will never, ever back down.

Always. Be. Closing.

Thank you. I’ve fought for my family. I’ve fought for my business. I’ve fought for my employees. And now, I’m going to fight for you, the American people like nobody has ever fought before. And I’m not a politician fighting, I’m me. You’re going to see some real good things happen.

“I’m me,” along with “some people say I’m too much of a fighter,” pre-empts pearl-clutching about Trump’s Twitter eruptions, outrageous statements, and so on; the storm comes, but passes quickly, and all is sunny again. (Paul LePage used a similar strategy in Maine, successfully. “He may be an assh*le, but he’s our assh*le.”)

Just remember this: I’m going to be your champion. I’m going to be America’s champion because you see this election isn’t about Republican or Democrat; it’s about who runs this country – the special interests or the people and I mean the American people.

Astonishingly, Trump steals Clinton’s clothes while she’s at the swimming hole: “I want to be your champion” is an abandonted iteration of Clinton populism.

Every election year politicians promise change. Obama promised change and it didn’t work out too well.

A neat transition to our next theme.

3. Corrupt Elites

Here is the “headwind” — to use an elite metaphor — that Clinton is fighting. Pavlina Tcherneva’s famous chart, presented by a political figure some may recognize:

pavlina_chart

What Tcherneva’s chart shows is that under Obama — and unlike all previous “recoveries” — the 1% creamed off all the income gains, and the rest of us (on average) were left worse off. Income inequaltiy under Obama is worse than Bush! That’s not good news for Clinton, the candidate of stability. Worse news for Clinton: Anybody who’s seen the The Big Short (Oscar-winning, Oscar-nominated, box office smash) understands that the 2008 crash was, in large part, brought about by elite criminals who benefitted, personally, from their crimes, and were never prosecuted. And people understand that the country is still run by those same elite criminals, many of whom dominate Clinton’s list of campaign contributors[5], and that based on past performance, those criminals have impunity for future crimes. With that as background, let’s see what Trump has to say:

[TRUMP:] Every election year politicians promise change. Obama promised change and it didn’t work out too well. And every year they fail to deliver. Why would politicians want to change a system that’s totally rigged in order to keep them in power? That’s what they’re doing, folks. Why would politicians want to change a system that’s made them and their friends very, very wealthy? [common sense] I beat a rigged system by winning with overwhelming support, the only way you could’ve done it – landslides all over the country with every demographic on track to win; 37 primary caucus victories in a field that began with 17 very talented people.

Putting aside parsing of words on “primary caucus victories,” Trump is right. Trump took the Republican Establishment and beat it like a gong. To volatility voters, that’s very appealing. Note also the appeal of “totally rigged” to Sanders voters.

After years of disappointment, there is one thing we all have learned – we can’t fix the rigged system by relying on very, and I mean this so, so strongly, on the very people who rigged it, and they rigged it, and do not ever think anything differently. We can’t solve our problems by counting on the politicians who created our problems.

This seems like common sense, but watch Trump’s sleight of hand: First, we have “the very people who rigged it,” who turn out to be “the politicians.” But “the politicians” don’t run the country. Crudely, they and the political class (and more diffusely, Thomas Frank’s 10%) manage the country, on behalf of its absentee owners, the 1%. Oligarchs “create,” not politicians. Second, you should be extremely wary of any candidate who runs against “the politicians” while deploying a narrative of national restoration. We know how that movie ends: Badly. (When I look at Trump’s next speech, I’ll cover the question of fascism and Trump in some detail; for now, let me note that there are rather a lot of “-isms,” being deployed in this campaign, and a large proportion of them call into the category of “any stick to beat a dog.”)

The Clintons have turned the politics of personal enrichment into an art form for themselves. They’ve made hundreds of millions of dollars selling access, selling favors, selling government contracts, and I mean hundreds of millions of dollars.

In my view, this statement, again, has the great merit of being true.

Secretary Clinton even did all of the work on a totally illegal private server. Something about how she’s getting away with this folks nobody understands.

Putting aside parsing of words on “totally illegal,” right on both counts. “Nobody understands,” for starters, because Clinton destroyed half the mail on the server before turning the rest over. I mean, come on.

Designed to keep her corrupt dealings out of the public record, putting the security of the entire country at risk and a President in a corrupt system is totally protecting her – not right. I am going to give a major speech on probably Monday of next week and we’re going to be discussing all of the things that have taken place with the Clintons. I think you’re going to find it very informative and very, very interesting. I wonder if the press will want to attend, who knows.

Hoo boy. (This is the speech bumped for the national security speech.)

Hillary Clinton turned the State Department into her private hedge fund – the Russians, the Saudis, the Chinese – all gave money to Bill and Hillary and got favorable treatment in return. It’s a sad day in America when foreign governments with deep pockets have more influence in our own country than our great citizens.

Trump’s upcoming speech should be quite something.

I didn’t need to do this. It’s not easy, believe me. I didn’t need to do it. But I felt I had to give back to our wonderful country which has been so good to me and to my family. I’ve traveled to many of our states and seen the suffering in people’s eyes. I’ve visited communities in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Indiana and Ohio whose manufacturing jobs, they literally, these jobs have virtually disappeared, an embarrassment to our country and it’s horrible.

Absolutely right. Notice, however, the sleight of hand again: Trump doesn’t mention private equity, which played such a large part in “disappearing” those jobs.

I’ve embraced the victims of illegal immigration, moms and dads who have had to bury their own children because of people that shouldn’t have been in the country – remember it, folks, remember it.

And absolutely wrong. I’m not a fan of nativism.

Conclusion

Again as a troll prophylactic, let me say that this post is not an endorsement of any candidate. It’s easy to see how Clinton can and should assault Trump’s nativism. It’s not so easy to see how Clinton can defend herself against Trump’s charges of corruption, especially when Trump connects, as he can and should, real suffering to the actions of corrupt and criminal elites. It’s also not clear whether Clinton can, or even seeks, to connect to voters outside her relatively narrow base.[6] Finally, Trump is not dumb. Trump is not a buffoon. Trump is focusing on the vulnerabilities of his adversary with laser-like precision and lethality. Trump can discipline himself to use a Teleprompter, select an excellent speechwriter, and deliver a scorcher of a speech; it will be interesting to see how he does in the debates when he’s had time to polish his zingers. Whether Clinton can neutralize the truths (many) in Trump’s critique and capitalize on calling out the bullshit (much, much, much) is unknown. Whether our famously free press can do to Trump what they did to Sanders is unknown. Whether Republican elites will do a McGovern on Trump is unknown, and whether Johnson will do for Hillary in 2016 what Perot did for Bill in 1992 is unknown. There is our rickety and fraud-prone electoral system to consider. And then there are “Events, dear boy. Events.” But anybody who thinks that Clinton will get a free ride to the Oval Office is delusional.

NOTES

[1] You will note the anaphora in Clinton’s speech: “We all want…. We all want… We all want….” Trump uses even simpler figures of repetition, like diacope (“repetition of a word with one or more between, usually to express deep feeling”): “I will work hard to earn your support and I will work very hard to earn that support.” Other figures of repetition include epizeuxis (“We had some big, big days”) and the more general conduplicatio combined with parallelism (“no matter who it is, no matter who they are.” Trump’s rhetorical figures, like his vocabulary and syntax, are simpler than Clinton’s. (One wonders whether the repetition is useful to achieve continuity in a speech punctuated by regular applause or laughter.) That doesn’t mean that they’re ineffective; to me, the repetitive words strike like hammer blows.

[2] Of course voters know that Trump isn’t really “about” them. Voters, and especially NC readers, aren’t children. They know that Trump is a billionaire, not an especially nice man, and a business past not without shade. But at least he cares enough to fake it!

[3] Nobody should take Clinton’s crawfishing on trade seriously; Obama’s for TPP. If Clinton is really against TPP, then she needs to start fighting Obama about it, to make sure it doesn’t pass in the lame duck.

[4] At least when Trump says “loser,” he uses only one word!

[5] It’s unfortunate that Open Secrets categorizes finance as an “industry.” In Veblen’s terms, finance is not industry but business.

[6] Given Sanders’ performance among all “identities” encountering today’s economy, I hope we can finally put the nonsense about an “Obama Coalition” to rest.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.

90 comments

  1. optimader

    Fear and Loathing
    we’ll be seeing a lot of that HT hat tip.. appropriately so unfortunately

  2. ChrisFromGeorgia

    Great analysis.

    Just a point on those rust belt areas left behind (PA, Western NY, Ohio, etc.)

    Not only is it an embarrassment, it has greatly assisted the transition from a community-based sense of democracy and citizen engagement to a disengaged, depressed populace ripe for control by big government/transnational corporate forces.

    One of the first things done by totalitarian regimes in order to unify large areas (Russia, China) was to deport the highly educated or send them to “work camps.” The objective was to ensure that those most likely to make trouble for the regime would end up isolated and unable to connect with a larger community.

    The same objective has been accomplished by the gutting out of the middle class in large regions of “flyover” country. Albeit somewhat more artfully and without the threat of being shot. Forcing the middle class to move away from their home communities and disperse across the land in search of “jobs” has led to an easier road for neo-liberal policies to take hold, and allowed the 1% to ram through legislation such as the TPP that would have had no chance back in the days of Mondale and Tip O’Neill.

    These citizens in places like Buffalo, Cleveland and PA have been betrayed by their own government, and if Trump manages to get enough of their votes to take back some small measure of power from the corrupt gangs that ignore their plight, it will be a just result. Of course whether he’ll actually do anything about the situation is debatable.

  3. AJ

    Fear and loathing. Hope and change. What’s the difference, really? God help us all come January.

  4. Vince in MN

    If Trump is the vacuum cleaner salesman at the door, Clinton is the Jehovah’s Witness.

  5. TG

    Kudos! Well said. A pleasure to find a progressive who does not reflexively reguritate that Trump is ‘idea free’ and Clinton is full of ‘specific policies’.

    I must disagree about the ‘nativism’ part (we’re really talking about citizens, not ‘natives’). Would you open all the doors and windows on your own home and let anyone at all – and I mean ANYONE AT ALL – freely enter your house and help themselves to everything you have without your permission? Of course not. And nor should the American people be expected to take such a suicidal course. The rich want to open the borders to the overpopulated third world in order to drive wages down to third-world levels. The average American – ‘native born’ or recent immigrant alike – does not. I see no problem with enforcing the laws against illegal immigration, nor with reducing the rate of legal immigration. Slandering this moderate position as ‘nativist’ is – dare I say it? – almost Clintonian…

    1. TheCatSaid

      I know someone who opened their house to anyone for a 6 month period as a personal spiritual exercise in being non-judgmental and keeping an open heart. Drug dealers, possible murderers–no one was turned away. They all said they grew from the experience, that it was profound and they had no regrets. The local police found it confusing, though. The explanation given to the police was that they were friends.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      I’m struggling with the word. I wanted something American, not European (although the unlucky soul who clicked through on the “Badly” link will find a European image).

      Hence, “nativist.” I thinking that, with respect to the abolition of human rental, we might call liberals “doughfaces.”

  6. sd

    Two cents…

    Trump is like able. He’s that big loud guy you know, makes mistakes, owns them, and is who he is. He’s no bullshit. Yes, Trump files for bankruptcy. That’s what contractors and developers do. That’s the game and Trump plays it.

    In this particular speech, Trump owns who he is. He makes no bones about it. He doesn’t deflect, or obstruct or blame someone else. He’s out there warts and all. There’s some overly vague language (regulation – no specifics there so tis unclear what he is referring to) He’s hinting at some FDR populism (jobs especially). I wouldn’t be at all surprised if a President Trump embraced public works programs of all sizes.

    Background detail – it looked like his wife and daughter kept watching the teleprompter and the audience very closely. My take away impression is that as soon as he finishes speaking they give him or someone in his campaign detailed notes. Where he hit, where he missed, where the audience responded, etc.

    1. James Levy

      I have been castigated because, it is said, no one around here actually likes Trump, they just hate Clinton. I am, I have been told, been holding up a straw man when I say that people at NC have often excused and at times praised and de facto endorsed Trump. Well, this is not the first example of someone who likes and endorses Trump (Working Class Nero certainly did also). Or are you going to tell me this is not a pro-Trump statement?

      1. Otis B Driftwood

        There you go again, James. ;)

        Just kidding. Certainly Trump can work an audience better than Clinton and it may win him some votes (even from the ranks of the NC readership, it must be admitted). At any rate the Clinton/Trump debates, while likely not to equal the gravitas of Lincoln/Douglas, may actually be fun to watch.

      2. sd

        Big chip there fella.

        I am being open and honest about my opinion which, I was under the impression, is what Lambert asked for. Would you prefer I lie?

        If there was an American labor party, that is more than likely what my political label would be. For the first time in my voting life, Sanders is the first candidate I actually wanted to vote for.

        I try very hard not to lie to myself about political realities which is why I just can’t bring myself to vote for Clinton. I just can’t. My personal reality is this: which candidate is more likely to help me work and feed my family without destroying the planet around us?

        Sanders is my first choice. The question at this point is if he’s not on the November ballot, how do I vote? In 2012, I opted third party.

        So here are the options if Sanders is not on the ballot.

        A. Leave it blank
        B. Third party candidate
        C. Republican

        Trump has not at this point ruled himself out as an option.

        1. craazyboy

          A third party vote is like one vote against two Clintons. A Trump vote is then like two votes against two Clintons. Math is weird sometimes. But one would be tempted to think of it as your big chance to commit election fraud.

            1. sd

              For the first time, I find myself genuinely afraid of a nuclear war. The idiocy of someone like Vicky Nuland is a great part of that fear .

              1. craazyboy

                It’s my second time, and I never thought there could be a second time. I thought I was gonna play golf. But the golf course is right down the road from the world’s largest tactical missile plant!

              2. EoinW

                This may be exactly what’s at stake here. NATO continues to go out of its way to create a provocation for war with Russia. This won’t stop with another neocon president. Therefore Trump is the only realistic option for possibly halting this trend. The threat of a nuclear winter should matter more than any other issue.

              3. bluto

                I have never voted Republican. The fact that Hillary Clinton is such a monstrosity with an awful record regarding the expansion of NATO…this fact forces me to hope that Trump will defeat Clinton in November.

        2. Vatch

          B. Third party candidate

          The difference between 2012 and 2016 is that in 2012 there just wasn’t enough disgust with the Democrats and the Republicans for a third party vote to matter much. In 2016, disgust is widespread, and nearly every voter either hates Clinton or hates Trump, and some voters hate both. So a third party candidate (maybe two of them) has a real chance to get 5% of the vote, which would qualify the candidate (or his or her party) for federal grant money.

        3. myshkin

          ” I just can’t bring myself to vote for Clinton.”
          -I don’t think anyone is asking.

          “Sanders is my first choice. The question at this point is if he’s not on the November ballot, how do I vote? In 2012, I opted third party.”
          -This is the point I don’t get from voters whose first choice is Sanders. NC boards have been weighted with Sander’s supporters hopeful he will pursue a third party candidacy and wondering what he expected to accomplish within the Democratic wing of the Business Party. Yet with the opportunity to choose a third party candidate (Jill Stein is running Green or Emidio “Mimi” Soltysik Socialist) over both the Democratic and Republican wing of the Business Party somehow they want to vote for Republican Donald Trump.
          As mentioned elsewhere, the third party option is particularly valid this year when third party sentiment has waxed considerably over recent previous elections.

        4. jrs

          Trump probably should have ruled himself out as a candidate that won’t destroy the planet. He doesn’t believe in climate change. He wants to privatize the national parks. Etc.. Now being Trump there is a possibility of unpredictability (although I doubt it’s very high being he is backed by Republican funders, but I will grant it’s non-zero is all) but that is what he is on record for.

      3. Carolinian

        I dunno. Teleprompter Trump is making a lot of sense. Maybe I will vote for him myself. Admittedly Tweet Trump can be cringe worthy.

        But experience suggests we should keep all politicians at arms length, hope for the best.

        1. sd

          Did you or did you not want honest feedback on the video? I gave it but it now sounds like it wasn’t what you wanted to hear.

      1. Aumua

        Excellent analysis. It’s easy to forget what Lambert points out several times, about the slight-of-hand aspect to Trumps orations. It’s also quite fun to watch him straight up fuck with Hillary. I mean, really he’s toying with her, and let’s face it: we love it. I just wish I had the time or presence of mind to make the kind of breakdown Lambert presents.

        Right now I see many of us pushing to the back of our minds the awareness of the dark side of all this, darkly hinted at in the final point of Trump’s speech. As far as I’m concerned, Trump is just as much a crook as Clinton, he’s just a different kind of crook, and to imagine that he actually has the well being of regular citizens in mind is a dangerous illusion. He’s made it pretty clear that he is going to foster and perpetuate racial divisions, as well as a brutal and violent response to to any dissent. For all the smooth talking Trump does, let’s not forget that you and I are likely next on the chopping block, after ‘mexicans’ and ‘muslims’ and ‘immigrants’.

        I can’t convince myself to willingly embrace that, sorry.

        1. jgordon

          A non-rhetorical question: what racial divisions is Trump trying to foster? I have never seen or heard a single statement from him that he has anything against any race. It looks to me like a baseless meme the media created to disparage Trump.

          1. myshkin

            “what racial divisions is Trump trying to foster?”
            Who could think such a thing? In this particular ‘victory’ speech he’s promised to, “take care of our African American people. ”
            There is no race except the human race in acceptable political discourse at the presidential level, once you get past that hurdle you’re into ethnicity and there you find Trump the xenophobe. Islam and Mexicans spring unhappily to mind. How ’bout that judge that must be prejudice against Trump cause he’s Mexican?

            Trump, if he was younger and had built a media empire instead of a half a$$ed real estate fortune, would likely suggest a similar dilemna as Berlusconi’s corruptive work in Italy.

            1. jrs

              I suppose it could be argued that Islam is not a race. It’s a religion of course, but of course horrible discrimination can occur on the basis of religion as well. And it’ wasn’t really about Mexicans just illegal Mexicans (and is Mexican really truly a race?). And so on. And minorities hear loud and clear what Trump is (as do those of his backers who are r-ist), while some white people split semantic hairs on whether Trump is or is not r-ist. It’s all so difficult to figure out … and like Bill Clinton said IS is problematic and …

              Whatever. Dogwhistles that sound like trainwhistles as one article said. People get what is being communicated. I don’t know how much Trump means any real harm (unlike some of his supporters who definitely do), but regardless people get what is being communicated.

            2. myshkin

              Actually come to think of it Berlusconi started out in real estate and construction with ties to the mob in vaguely similar fashion to Trump but he was younger and moved into media in a more seminal way than the Apprentice.

            3. jgordon

              “Take care of our African Americans.” Trump is drawing a striking contrast to Obama here to Obama who, objectively speaking, has screwed black people harder than even W. Bush did. Trump is doing well to mention well to mention this because many black people operate under the delusion that Obama has been good for them and that Hillary will be good for them. In truth, under the neoliberal regime Clinton will usher in the lives of minorities everywhere will become even more miserable than they already are. At the very least Trump is not a neoliberal.

              “Mexico” is a country, not a race. My best and closest friend is a Mexican–and after Bernie lost out he’s now supporting Trump. One of the main reasons for that is because he does not like seeing illegal Mexicans streaming into his country, America, and stealing work. It has nothing to do with race; it’s economics.

              And yes confusing the Muslim religion for a race is somewhat offensive to me. People can change or abandon religions whenever they feel like it. If, under a Trump presidency, a Muslim really wants to enter the US all he has to do is abandon his faith. If this was about race that wouldn’t be possible.

              1. av av

                “because your friend does not like seeing illegal Mexicans streaming into his country, America, and stealing work”.
                Here “illegals” are stealing work from low wage earners.
                Multinationals like Ford and other auto makers and auto parts companies and others are “legally” moving their production just across the border stealing work from US higher wage earners.
                Labour there is probably cheaper than almost anywhere else in the world and probably no restrictions on pollution, benefits, etc.

            4. Aumua

              Trump is representing, encouraging, and pushing for xenophobic attitudes and practices. What racial divide you ask? The same racial divide that was already there. He’s just driving that wedge even deeper. His more extreme followers are gunning for a race war. They want to get the jihad going over here too. It is the elite’s strategy to divide and conquer, to keep us focused on our differences, and on imaginary borders, when the reality is we’re all here on Earth, and the problems of some of us are the problems of all of us. You can bet that the elite are operating beyond national borders and racial differences. Building a wall.. just look at the concept, and what it represents. Before you say it: I know, I know, Clinton’s shit too. They’re both shit, that’s all I’m saying.

              I’m not voting for either one.

              1. In Love With U

                Me neither. But when it comes to the act, the game, the performance, Trump’s just so much more fun to cheer for. That’s worth something.
                Ill most likely vote for Jill. I’d love to see a female president. Just not…you know.

        2. ian

          I don’t see the racial division bit _at all_.
          I don’t see any animus towards Mexican Americans, only illegal immigrants.
          None towards blacks.
          Trump is first and foremost, a supremely pragmatic businessman – he isn’t an ideologue at all.
          He is also a branding genius and promoter that is out for himself.
          Neither of those qualities disqualify him as a presidential candidate. On the contrary, speaking personally, I need a vacation from ideologues – left and right.

          1. Aumua

            Not only illegal immigrants, all immigrants, and refugees (they are different), especially Muslims, and especially all those from the most troubled places. I had the honor and pleasure of working with refugees kids here in AZ recently as a volunteer. One of the things I learned there was just how difficult the refugee process is. people wait for years, in a camp or camps that are like towns almost, and then they get the word and they have to come here immediately. They are under close scrutiny from several government agencies along the way. It’s a long and difficult process, and to suggest that terrorists would use that avenue to get here shows a complete lack of understanding.

            He said, in the security speech, in order to justify increased surveillance, that the San Bernardino shooter, and the Orlando shooter, were both children of immigrants. News Flash: we’re all children, or descendants, of immigrants here! He also said we need to start turning each other in if we have suspicions. He straight up said that. If you can watch that speech, and say that Trump is not an ideologue.. then I don’t think you’re seeing very clearly.

      2. sd

        Did you actually watch the speech? The comments were about the speech.

        Why do I get the feeling many here are commenting without actually doing the homework that Lambert asked for?

        1. Vatch

          I didn’t have time to listen to it until now. Trump gave a very good speech. But one speech isn’t enough to persuade me to vote for him. I remember George W. Bush’s speech on September 20, 2001, in response the the horror of 9/11. With the exception of one sentence, I think Bush’s speech was excellent. The bad sentence is this: “Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists.” Manichean bovine manure! I was quite favorably impressed by the rest of Bush’s speech, and we know how badly things turned out over the next few years.

          So I won’t let a single good speech by Trump persuade me. I will base my vote on the gestalt of the candidates, and Trump has a lot of baggage, as does Clinton. I don’t think either of them deserves to be President. A lot will have to change over the next few months for me to consider voting for Trump; for example, he needs to disavow his praise for Scalia.

        2. Aumua

          I’ve never actually watched a Trump speech. I’ve never watched a Clinton speech either. The 1st speech I saw from Bernie Sanders was the live rally I went to, the first political rally I’ve ever been to in my life. After that I saw a few more Bernie joints. But.. yeah, I haven’t watched television for the better part of the past 20 years. I get my news, information, and opinions from sites like this mostly. Secondary sources which are nicely filtered and somewhat distilled. Maybe you could claim that I’m not really paying attention or well informed then, but I think I am. I think I can discern from the input I do get, my life experience, and my logical reasoning and my heart, what the truth is. I am not under hypnosis.

          I guess maybe I’ll watch it. I don’t know, should I?

          1. Aumua

            Ok, I just watched the national security speech, and wow. I advise anyone who listens to that guy to do so only with the the most critical, skeptical, and even cynical mind. If you watched that speech without a strong sense of just how scary it is that this country might actually elect him president, then I suggest turning up the skepticism.

            You cannot stop an ideaology by building a wall. You cannot defeat terrorism with military force. The massively increased surveillance he wants will not stop at incoming immigrants, and he’s not really even pretending that it will. He said once we stop the influx, then we can start to deal with the problem here. I’d have to go through a transcript to really put together an argument, but please don’t tell me, nc, that you can watch that and not feel your hackles standing up.

            1. Vatch

              Oh, I guess I’ll have to listen to the national security speech, too. Maybe this evening. I only listened to the one at the golf club, which was a surprisingly good speech. But as I said in my comment at 11:41 PM on June 15, Trump has a lot of baggage, and he’ll need to do a lot of persuading to convince me that he should be President.

            2. Vatch

              I listened to the national security speech. It wasn’t as good as the election night speech, partly because it was too long. Despite the length, he did a reasonably good job. He kept hammering the theme of Islamic extremism, yet he also referred to great Muslim communities within the U.S. I was disappointed that he didn’t refer to Christian extremism, but I guess that any U.S. politician who does that is almost guaranteed to lose.

              I have to wonder how long he can keep making good speeches. Aumua, you are quite right that we need to remain skeptical about Trump. He’s a B.S. artist, and he came unglued for a few days over the Trump University legal issues. I guess we’ll find out over the next several weeks.

              I’m still a supporter of Sanders and/or the yet to be determined Green Party candidate.

    2. TheCatSaid

      There is something appealing about people who are being themselves. Sanders and Trump share that trait. B. Clinton also has it; H.Clinton doesn’t.

      1. ian

        There is this idea out there that there is an ‘inner Hillary’ that is completely different from her outward persona – someone that is funny, warm, engaging, charming, etc…
        What if there isn’t? What if she _is_ being herself?

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Apparently, the Hillary in small groups is “funny, warm, engaging….” As far as inner Hillary, from Terry Pratchett, Making Money:

          Mrs Lavish sniffed. … ‘Ah, and she sees your inner self? Or, perhaps, the carefully constructed inner self you keep around for people to find? People like you…’ She paused and went on:’… people like us always keep at least one inner self for inquisitive visitors, don’t we?’

          Moist didn’t rise to this. Talking to Mrs Lavish was like standing in front of a magic mirror that stripped you to your marrow.

  7. grizziz

    and whether Johnson will do for Hillary in 2016 what Perot did for Bill in 1992 is unknown
    It is interesting to note at RCP that the Johnson match-up pulls more of those polled away from HRC than from DT. It is only a frame in a long movie, however my intuition would be that Johnson would pull support from DT.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Why the heck would that be? Clinton’s fervent support for marijuana legislation? I suppose if the data is what it is, I have to accept it, but…. wow.

    2. cm

      Ludicrous to think that Johnson will get any vote at all. Just look at his last performance. Anyone who would vote Libertarian is almost certainly going to vote for Trump instead. Last election Romney was far less palatable to Libertarians than Trump is today, thus I propose Johnson would get far fewer votes than the last election. Last election he got a whopping (per Wikipedia) 0.99% of the popular vote.

      As I have said before, Johnson is a sham. His “Libertarian” campaign ended deep in debt, violating Libertarian principles.

    1. Yves Smith

      Sorry, Trump is an outsider to both the political classes and the elite power structure. He sits on no important not-for-profit boards, has not become a trustee or given a building or wing to a hospital or university, or an endowed chair. He does not collect art. Nor has he been a big political fundraiser. He borrows from only non-TBTF banks and hence does not have important relations with them. For them, Donald is just a rich guy from Queens who hasn’t even tried to class himself up (unlike Jamie Dimon). You can be rich in America and not be part of the power structure.

      1. Pavel

        I know this is hardly an original observation, but Trump’s Queens background may go far in explaining his bluster and narcissism — his father had money, but it wasn’t Old Money and he didn’t grow up mingling with prep school friends whose fathers worked on Wall Street or other Establishment places. It’s really a Great Gatsby story more than anything else.

        If he is legitimately against TPP and in favour of better relations with Russia and China that would be enough for my support. One problem is the Republican power base would force him to change his positions.

        Lambert, great analysis as always, and especially the notes on the rhetorical devices.

        1. Vatch

          One of the reasons I can’t vote for him is that he praised the arch-ideologue Antonin Scalia, and he has promised to pack the Supreme Court with what could be described as Scalia clones. He’s pandering to the extremists.

          http://www.cnn.com/2016/05/18/politics/donald-trump-supreme-court-nominees/

          Then again, he has also threatened to nominate Gary Busey to the Supreme Court, but that’s just a gambit to force rich Republicans to donate. He’s not serious about Mr. Justice Busey.

          1. Yves Smith

            This is really poor work by Pam Martens and Russ Martens. It suggests they do not know the basics of the internal operations of investment banks or are so desperate to make The Donald seem connected that they are willing to engage in distortions. Remember that I actually worked on Wall Street and consulted to major banks and investment banks for decades across a wide range of their businesses, and have written numerous articles for specialist publications.

            1. $225 million is a very very small IPO. Anything less than $1 billion won’t even get analysts coverage post IPO, save the lead underwriter and then it might only be inclusion in industry reports.

            2. Underwriters sell the stock. Only the lead underwriter maintains a relationship with the company. This one is so puny it would not have much of one.

            3. The fact that Ladder engages in securitizations has nada to do with The Donald. In fact, that confirms that the loans to him are so small that Wall Street is interested in them only when combined with about 100 OTHER commercial real estate loans (the size of a typical commercial mortgage securitization) and then ONLY to sell to investors.

      2. NYPaul

        Plus, anyone who wants to be taken seriously, yet injects the arrogant pejorative, “fool,” towards those who may have a different view, well, who’s the fool here?

      3. flora

        “You can be rich in America and not be part of the power structure.”

        Hope NC readers take this statement on board. I know it’s not intuitive but it is true. One can be rich, very rich, and yet outside the web of current interlocking reciprocities that make up the power structure. Think of it as the powerful bureaucracy of connections vs. a single individual, rich or not.

        1. myshkin

          I’ve taken it on board. However if I wanted to have a word with my senator or congressman I doubt he or she would jump to attention as quickly as if the Donald requested an audience.
          The same goes for a loan from a bank, whether TBTF or otherwise, as well the law firms hired, the waves made.
          Trump may not be part of the establishment power structure but he still has juice that connects to the grid in some fashion.

          1. flora

            I agree. My point is that assuming that because someone is rich means they’re connect to the power structure and will therefore f’ you is as erroneous as assuming that someone who is not rich and therefore not connected to the power structure will not f’ you.
            Both are false. See, for instance, Clintons when they were starting out.

          2. Yves Smith

            He would pay attention to The Donald only if he were an established donor (prior to this presidential bid) and a large one.

            Did you miss what I wrote? Donald does not have banking relations with TBTF banks. And they would not treat him as an important customer. Private equity firms are far and away the most sought-after clients of both big capital markets firms (the TBTF banks) and smaller fry. The next most sought-after clients are public companies.

            Look at how a former client of mine, Len Blavatnik, who is vastly richer than Trump and more attractive because he owns large operating businesses and does tons of acquisitions, was treated by JP Morgan:

            http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/25/business/25nocera.html

            I read the claim. JP Mortan’s conduct was indefensible. And JP Morgan hired three top white shoe firms to bury Blavatnik in legal costs. Blavatnik could only get a second-tier firm to represent him.

            And Blavatnik has also done a ton more to curry favor with the elite power structure than Trump. Google his name. He’s given a ton to important charities and institutions.

            And as the Blavatnik case illustrates, Trump cannot hire top law firms, or at least get the attention of the better partners. The same was true when I was running M&A department at Sumitomo Bank. Despite it being the second biggest bank in the world, and Japan being hot, I knew full well I’d get the second string at best if I went to a top NY law firm. Similarly, look how we’ve written about public pension funds, that they are not able to hire counsel that can go toe to toe with the law firms that private equity has locked up.

            And what use is it to spend the $ to get the brand name without getting the best representation from them? Again, the private equity firms and Wall Street spend so much money on them, they have no need for occasional clients like Trump. Plus given all the licensing deals he does, he needs a top intellectual property shop, and 6 or the 7 of them are boutiques (the other is Covington & Burling).

            1. TheCatSaid

              1) Yves, your comment has loads of important info in it–almost deserves a post in itself. Those of us who haven’t interacted with those circles don’t realize what a closed shop it is. Also it’s amazing to have more context regarding the importance of your position at Sumitomo bank.

              2) Regarding who Trump can and can’t hire, I saw a video of a recent election integrity conference and towards the end the speaker mentioned that Trump had hired one of the people most deeply involved in prior election rigging using electronic voting machines. He mentioned him by name. That could be an alternative strategy.

              If I can find the link and the spot in the talk I’ll post it. I think it was on the short or longer version of the recent talk about the RICO lawsuit filing in Ohio about election fraud, which due to Ohio’s state RICO laws will enable discovery in all 50 states. IIRC the Trump comment came up in Q&A at the end.

              1. TheCatSaid

                Found the quote about Trump’s campaign manager having a link to past election fraud:

                At 36:33 into Fitrakis and Arnebeck’s presentation “Protecting Our Elections”, co-host Lori Grace interjects the following comment:

                I want to say one thing that concerns me, is that Paul Manifort was involved. He’s an American who was involved with the stealing of the Ukraine presidential election in 2004–and they were practising for the American one in November. And Paul Manafort is the top campaign manager for Trump.

                The full presentation includes extensive well-grounded information and points to the work of many researchers and sources of data. The two main presenters are seasoned attorneys specializing in state and federal election laws and lawsuits.

                From about 1:42:00 onwards there is information about the lawsuits being filed, including the 6 major media, the grounds, and standing. People interested in elections past, present or future may find this riveting.

            2. myshkin

              I do take your point and it is excellent, however the issue I’m addressing is where Trump’s allegiances might fall within the socio economic spectrum, the point I think of wobblie’s initial post. In that case I’m not sure your assessment is correct though I suspect you have a better feel for it than I. Still Trump’s agenda and how he is likely to govern within the context of the existing power structure, judging by his positioning and needs, is I think, likely more aligned with the status quo than mine or perhaps even Bernie Sanders.

          1. low integer

            Mathematically, I think you may be suggesting something along the lines of a set that has an irregular probability density function for the particular criteria under examination.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              As if — real gamers please chime in, not my generation — there were a class of avatars A, but with slider bars for their various properties (and then 90% of them would have slider P1 set to value V, and 1% of them would have slider P2 set to value V.

              By “chime in,” I mean tell me I’m right or wrong and turn the above into English so I can use the words!

      4. JCC

        Very true, Yves. And, apropos of the articles noted yesterday on rational and polite political disagreement, he is not very polite to his political opponents either in the Republican or Democrat Parties.

        As a candidate, calling out the media and your opponents out in public, especially the televised “debates”, as wimps, liars, crooks, stupid, etc., including his very unflattering nicknames for all of them, is not how the game is played within the elite political and economic power structures nowadays.

        And it shows… if the Republican Power Structure felt he was an “insider”, why are they throwing all kinds of fits in public regarding his Primary Win?

        Of course, that is part of his appeal, like him or not.

  8. TheCatSaid

    Good analysis. Trump is easier to listen to than Clinton and he makes more sense. What he would actually do as president is anyone’s guess. At least he’s showing he can hire competent speech writers. His delivery was effective. He doesn’t shirk from borrowing concepts from both Sanders and Clinton, which is good strategy.

    Maybe the Russians will give Trump the low-down on the Clinton e-mails as grist for his next speech.

    1. jgordon

      I think it’s an important point that even if Trump is not totally authentic, at least he cares enough to pander on economic issues. At the least it expands what can be discussed in political contexts.

  9. Ajay

    Are you really serious! Really you found all these faults with Clinton, all of which I agree. WHICH one of these is not true of Trump? Is he not the 1% that this site and especially this Lambert character loves to despise. And this BS is being eaten up by NC readers? Really? This is what this (pretty interesting) site has been reduced to? What BS.

    1. pretzelattack

      for one thing he hasn’t started any wars. he isn’t surrounded by neocon foreign policy advisors, yet, tho i wouldn’t be surprised. he claims to be against the trade deal, he didn’t vote for the iraq war, so he doesn’t need to pretend there was ever a reason to go in. he won’t strenghten the clintons’ grip on the democratic party. just off the top of my head.

    2. Kurt Sperry

      Clinton’s faults and Trump’s are very, very different in type. See Yves’ comment above where she describes one type of substantial difference.

      I’m not interested in voting for either Trump or Clinton but I applaud Trump for calling Clinton out on her massive and blatant corruption, something any other Republican duocrat would never do out of professional courtesy. Trump is the only serious candidate out there telling that part of the truth like it is. Even Sanders blanched. You are for whatever reason reading an endorsement of Trump into this piece that simply isn’t there.

      I’ll be voting for Stein again this cycle, I no longer believe in strategic voting, I’ll just be going for whoever is closest to my views regardless of the other candidates from now on. Any other way leaves you vulnerable to being gamed.

    3. sd

      I commented up thread, this is an excercise in understanding the dynamics at play in this election. Watch the speech. If this is typical, Trump will reach more voters than Clinton. Now you can ignore that, or accept that as a very real possibility. If Trump is reaching more voters, is he shifting left, right, center? Who is he surrounding himself with for advisers?

      Now that doesn’t answer the question if Trump means what he says on policies. Remains to be seen. Trump is a political unknown. It’s going to take many eyes to unpack what he really stands for and what that might mean for the future of this country should he actually get elected.

      If you judge him only as a caricature, you underestimate him.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Trump will reach more voters than Clinton

        If the press gives him the same coverage after his presumptive nomination as before, and don’t deepsix him like they did Sanders, and if the press and the party establishments (both) don’t circle the wagons. Especially, if the Republican establishment does a McGovern on him, it’s hard to see how Trump runs a convention and does fund-raising. His staff is very lean.

        1. sd

          It’s certainly an unusual election. What will it lead to if both candidates are picked by the parties? It more closely resembles Alice in Wonderland every day.

      2. Aumua

        What I see when I look at Trump is a spoiled little kid who never really grew up. You really want to find out what’s underneath that smirk? Go ahead and elect him then, and we’ll see what we all knew was there in the first place: a hateful, misogynistic bigot. A bully, and a racist. You’re going to see a real temper tantrum when Donald doesn’t get his way.

      3. TheCatSaid

        “Who is he surrounding himself with for advisers?” See my comment upthread. Paul Manafort, a Trump’s campaign manager and adviser, is said to have been involved in the election rigging of the 2004 Ukraine election. This came from an experienced expert in election fraud, Lori Grace.

        With that kind of expertise, who needs a large staff?

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Well, Trump does. Not enough surrogates, poor advance work, no message discipline. Those are all staffing issues.

          Unlike many, I don’t think Trump is a fool or a buffoon. Manafort and Stone, although (like Roy Cohn) representative of the dankest corners of conservative activism, are excellent hires. Trump’s speechwriter is excellent, too.

          Leaving aside the hypothesis that Trump just doesn’t want to win, I think he doesn’t know the business well enough. The Trump operation reminds me of a football team where the front office is missing essential personnel — like they’ve got a star player and a nasty-minded coaching staff, but there’s nobody to break down tape, for example.

          If I were advising Trump, I would tell him to take a page from Sanders’ playbook, and deliver one speech over and over again. Solves the message discipline problem. Right now, the Trump campaign is falling into the error of allowing their opponents to define them. Trump should solve that by sharpening and simplifying his message, not by appearing to be “Presidential” by giving different speeches on different policies. And given that surrogates, who are needed to amplify a series of messages, would have to come from the Establishment, he’s unlikely to get them. “Stick to your knitting,” as the business consultants say.

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