Calling All Mugwumps to Desert Trump

Songs Grover Cleveland's Presidential Election 1888

Songs Grover Cleveland’s Presidential Election 1888

Seattle    The day’s papers told the story of Donald Trump’s self-inflected political barn burning pretty well. Here’s a sampling:

  • From Steven Law, a Mitch McConnell acolyte now running Crossroads America PAC: “The Republican Party is caught in a theater fire; people are running to different exits as fast as they can.”
  • From comedian Jena Friedman: “If only we could gauge American misogyny what percentage of American democracy would rather have a tweeting asteroid crash into American democracy than a woman leading.”

And, that’s about as nice as it gets. A Republican strategist, Steve Schmidt, commenting on MSNBC before the debates mourned the fact that we have never had a debate where there has to be a warning that the content was not going to be acceptable for children because it was going to be so X-rated. All reports indicate it was, if anything, worse.

Republican elected officials deserted Trump in droves over the weekend. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan who has led the two-handed vacillator caucus in Congress as he chides Trump for bad behavior and then still “stands by his man,” found himself having to withdraw an invitation to Trump to campaign with him in his home district in Wisconsin. Senator McCain was finally clear that Trump would not have his vote. Women Republican Senators from New Hampshire and Nebraska jumped off the train. Utah legislators were calling for Mike Pence, the VP running mate, to step into the first chair.

None of that is going to happen. Trump is going down with this ship, and might take the whole Republican ship to the bottom of the sea. It seems like it is time for a revival of the Mugwumps.

In 1884, Republicans elites, moralists, and businessmen, calling themselves Mugwumps, deserted the Republican nominee in that contest, James G. Blaine of Maine, the former Speaker of the US House of Representatives, to support Grover Cleveland, the Governor of New York, for election. The reasons they did so were concerns about reports of Blaine’s corruption and his ambition. Let me know when anything sounds familiar? Cleveland went on to win the 1884 election, lose the 1888 election, and in a rare and little remembered comeback, win both the 1892 election and a second term in the 1896 election, being one of the few three term Presidents ever, and the only one in history to win non-consecutive terms. None of which is to say that he was great shakes, since he also was famous for intervention in the Pullman Strike, had some questionable moral issues of his own, and presided over a dismantling of much of the Populist movement, but we’re talking about the Mugwumps, and now should be their time.

With so many Republicans running for the exits, how could it be so hard for some Republican so-called leaders to jump to the front of that line, if for no other reason to try and save some of their gang with some late efforts at a kind of courage even as most still hide in fear of offending Trump and what’s left of his base.

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Trump is a Twitter Troll

screen-shot-2016-10-01-at-10-07-44-amNew Orleans   I’ll admit it. No matter what I had thought was possible with Donald Trump, when my companera told me he had been tweeting before dawn about a sex tape of some kind, I was incredulous. I answered her skeptically, saying I hadn’t seen anything on the web editions of the papers I had checked before leaving the office. Was she sure? She confidently told me it was all over the news. I ended up changing the subject by saying this had to be a first ever and only time that a presidential candidate was tweeting during a campaign about a sex tape for some unknown minor celebrity.

But, I had tricked myself into believing that there was a limit somewhere to Trump’s outrageousness. I had believed deep down that there has a bottom of the well somewhere in the Trump tower which would trigger some level of self-control somehow. But, I was wrong.

Sure enough, Trump was tweeting before dawn. Oh, brothers and sisters, understand it wasn’t just one slip of the thumb, but a series of tweets. All of them ranting about this former beauty queen from the Miss Universe pageant he owned named Alicia Machado, who he and Hillary Clinton made famous in the recent debate. He seems to have had a problem with her weight gain or something while she was the queen at some point ten or fifteen years ago, and he definitely has not gotten over it. Somehow she reminds him of Rosy O’Donnell or some other fixation he has that I’m frankly unable – and unwilling – to try and explain.

Hillary got his goat by mentioning Machado and his fat-shaming, misogyny during the debate, and Trump took the bait, hook, line and sinker, and seems not to have spit it out yet from the evidence of his tweets. The incident may have hardened the position of independent women voters against him to 80% and pushed another more than 30% away from him after the debate. No matter to the Donald. Now he’s running for the most famous Twitter troll on the internet, not president I guess. He wants us to look at a sex tape, which already sounds disgusting. How do we explain that to youngsters living through their first presidential campaign? He also invented a new issue to rival the birther-lies, saying that Clinton must have pulled straws for Machado to become a US-citizen so she could be used to gig Trump.

I thought everyone had learned that Twitter was a dying tool and a dangerous one in the hands of many. Marc Andreessen who is a big-time Silicon Valley tech-investor and super Twitter man with more than 100,000 tweets to his name, usually averaging 100 a day, put himself on a Twitter moratorium recently and pushed pause. He’s quoted as saying that doing so was like “taking a 50 pound weight” off of his chest. He says going tweet-less has made him feel “free as a bird.”

Before this campaign gets any more X-rated, maybe Trump’s handlers need to take away his Twitter account and tie his thumbs behind his back until there’s sunlight at the least. You know, for his own good, and that of the whole country.

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