Various thoughts on current events with an emphasis on politics, legal issues, books, movies and whatever is on my mind. Emails can be sent to email@example.com; please put "blog comments" in the subject line.
And Also: It is still rather slow in pace, but Better Call Saul was pretty good last night -- Kim again plays an important part. I like her character, even if you just know things will not go well in the end. Question would be just how bad (she doesn't seem to pop up in Breaking Bad for whatever reason).
As with his segment on abortion the week before, John Oliver on his latest show shined showing the basic grifter nature of Trump. But, it's hard to completely do the job, even putting aside that this isn't a news program. And, there was a certain thing lacking here, even granting the above. This is so granting that the point here was to show the problems with Trump specifically, which warrants we put him in a broader context.
He put up Cruz and Rubio's faces once and noted however bad they are, we at least know basically where they stand. But, one reason Trump is far ahead is that his competition in the party is horrible -- they are the Bud Lite* (insert other options) candidates at best. Also, the racist etc. stuff (even in some degree the fraud stuff) is the Republican Party too. Not to the nth degree like Trump with nothing there but to enough of a degree that Trump seems to fit. Finally, John Kasich must have the sads that his face wasn't even put up there in that quick moment as a reasonable alternative for Republican voters at least.
Chris Hayes asked two commentators last night who Democrats should be rooting for today. Kevin "I'm so reasonable" Drum and others tell us that supporting Trump even to divide the party and help the Democrats is dangerous. And, his degree of nastiness shows some signs of instigating people, including not so veiled support of violence such as pining for the days when people could be beaten up. This sort of thing will be out there, but the candidate here directly is instigating them and without the usual code words. Trying to point Cruz as "reasonable" here however is a yeoman effort. Rubio isn't quite the conservative Christian establishment supporting asshole (though look who's endorsing him) asshole as Cruz, but has other problems as weak-willed sort that seems like an empty suit.
Again, if John Kasich -- still a big supporter of conservative policies and having asshole tendencies (it is a party requirement) -- was the actual alternative, it would be somewhat harder. The expected choice was Jeb (John Ellis Bush). Probably harder. But, the real alternative seems (though Rachel Maddow last night tried to push the possibility JK still has a shot) is Marco Rubio. First, let me note that some Republicans must be upset that they have two Hispanics running (if one ala Obama of mixed race) and still are the "white party." Anyways, Rubio isn't exactly strong enough to compel THAT many Democrats to try to be all "reasonable" here.
As both of the Hayes guests (Sam Seder and Charlie Pierce) note, why should they support Trump? In fact, it might be the reasonable approach, since the only way to solve the problem called the Republican Party (much worse than Maria) is a clusterf like Trump. The party needs a big loss to maybe, just maybe, force itself to re-establish itself as a bit more sane. Another thing they can do is manage to let Obama's judicial nominee have a real confirmation process. (BTW, I hope he does that soon.) And, as the guests note and I suggested above, Trump is not unrepresentative of the party or party's voters or something. He is the party's id. Finally, like Sarah Palin in '08, I think at the end of the day he won't win in November.
That is put out there as the final threat and is a decent one in the area of "got to be reasonable here, people." I don't think it would happen though and also we should be able to rely on voters not to do it. Checks are in place in part to avoid the temptation but I think it is a good idea in a way to put people to the test at times. Anyway, not thinking it matters on some level -- Trump voters aren't suddenly now to change their minds. They already voted in four states, even his loss in Iowa pretty narrow. And, now people like Gov. Chris Christie and other actual public officials are starting to endorse the guy to give him color. And, on the fear for the unknown front, that very well might hurt the voices of sanity if Rubio being the nominee leaves a greater choice for a "sane" alternative winning.
So, my superego understands (up to a point) the problems with hoping Trump does well today and going forward in the primary/caucus process (Super Tuesday is not as significant as it was in 2008; one person noted only about a quarter of the delegates will be chosen as of today). But, my id and maybe even my ego wonders. Until recently, I was thinking Rubio would be the guy. I'm not convinced otherwise yet. But, it would be rather um interesting if Trump was the guy. The party well deserves it.
* John Oliver reference; Cruz is worse than Rubio so maybe that's too generous ... Cruz is more like actual urine.