Archive for 2016

Why Donald Trump Won’t Beat Hillary Clinton

Wednesday, June 8th, 2016

clintontrumpAs Hillary Clinton made history Tuesday, let us recall that Calbuzz was first to report — in midsummer 2015 — that Donald Trump categorically manifests Narcissistic Personality Disorder. This was long before big thinkers, hotshot writers posing as online journalists and even Psychology Today jumped on The Donald clinical diagnosis bandwagon.

Back then, Actual Reporting led us to the authoritative Diagnosic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), where we verified that Trump – then still treated as a joke by most of the MSM – is dangerously and legitimately nuts.

You could look it up.

A cure for enuresis. Now that the bumptious, bullying and mob-linked developer has captured the Republican nomination, however, mental illness is only one of a series of towering obstacles he faces in the campaign against Hillary Clinton.

Sure, under fierce attack from his own party over his latest racist comments, a low-energy Trump managed to read a generic victory speech from a teleprompter on Tuesday night. And, sure, the Democratic presumptive nominee — the first woman to win a major party nomination for president — is a flawed candidate. And, as unlikely as it appears, legal action against her stemming from her stupid use of a private email server as Secretary of State, or a horrible domestic terrorist action, or any of a countless number of other unknowables in the next five months could suddenly change the political calculus.

But as it stands today, all the agonizing, brooding and bed-wetting about a potential triumph by the racist, demagogic misogynist among right-thinking people everywhere is gratuitous, for three key reasons.

Electoral CollegeElectoral arithmetic. Trump’s hair-on-fire act was just the thing for a wide-open Republican primary season packed with 16 rivals and a seething slice of the electorate dominated by choleric old white guys. But a general election is an entirely different production than a primary and The Donald has no second act.

Even if he were a generic Republican – minus the tissue-thin skin, the volcanic volatility, the massive disapproval among women and Latinos – it would be a Herculean uphill slog.

As every school child knows, Democrats have won 18 states and the District of Columbia in every one of the last six elections, giving them a base of 242 Electoral Votes in the race to 270; by contrast Republicans since 1992 have begun with a base of 13 states with a total of 102 EVs. And Trump’s mindless boasting about putting in play deep blue states like New York and California is pure fantasy.

The MSM is waking up. Major cable and broadcast news organizations let Trump stomp all over them during primary season (it must be said that the NYT, LAT and, especially, Washpost did a credible job of countering his madness aggressively with Actual Facts but they are still only, you know, newspapers).

In the last several weeks, however, the others appear finally to be standing up to his intimidation, as they did at the Trump Tower press conference when they pushed back against his lies about contributing to national veterans’  groups and, more importantly, in calling him to account for the sleazy Trump University scandal and his racist attacks against Gonzalo Curiel, the federal judge in the case, whose judicial career began with appointment to the Superior Court of California by Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzmuscle.

Big caveat: That said, the MSM before recent events was headed for the slippery slope of normalizing Trump, by creating a false equivalence between Clinton’s controversies, which actually exist on Planet Earth, and his multiple wing nut lunacies. Heather Digby Parton admirably makes the case on this point:

kkkBut the result of this “distortion toward the middle”…has the perverse effect of normalizing Trump and pathologizing Clinton in a way that equalizes them to Trump’s advantage.

There is no equivalence between them. He is an unqualified, unfit, unhinged authoritarian demagogue and she is a mainstream Democratic Party politician.  Let’s hope the press listens to some of these critics and does a serious gut check whenever they are tempted to “balance” the coverage in this election by going easy on Trump and hard on Clinton. It’s dangerous.

Here’s hoping the nation’s news hounds and hens keep behaving as they have in the past two weeks instead of before.

He truly is nuts. All kidding aside, Trump does exhibit every trait of serious personality disorder.

As terrifyingly entertaining as he can be to watch, sort of like thrillingly awaiting an inevitable fiery NASCAR crash, the affliction makes clear that the Republican ticket topper lacks even the slightest clue that a presidential election is supposed to be about the future of the nation’s people, not about him and his endless whining and insults about enemies real and imagined. It’s hard to believe a majority of voters, beyond his hard-core white nationalist base, will fail to notice this slight political defect.

Check it out, word for word from DSM-5:

DSM-5 criteria for narcissistic personality disorder include these features:

–Having an exaggerated sense of self-importance

–Expecting to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it

–Exaggerating your achievements and talents

–Being preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate

–Believing that you are superior and can only be understood by or associate with equally special people

–Requiring constant admiration

–Having a sense of entitlement

–Expecting special favors and unquestioning compliance with your expectations.

–Taking advantage of others to get what you want

–Having an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs or feelings of others

–Being envious of others and believing others envy you

–Behaving in an arrogant or haughty manner.

trumpchuckyBottom line. What this means in practical political terms was described best, and with characteristic moderation and understatement, by our old friend Dan Balz. Still the best MSM political reporter in the business, Balz examined what Trump has done in the month plus since clinching his party’s nomination:

He’s wasted time, proved to be a sore winner and veered sharply off message. He’s put a higher premium on settling scores than finding a script that will appeal to a wider, general-election audience…

For Trump, this could have been a time for magnanimity and for beginning to show that he wants to reach beyond the loyal and passionate base of supporters that sustained him through the primaries. The electorate in the general election will be different and decidedly more diverse than the one that made him the GOP standard-bearer. So far, he’s shown no willingness to acknowledge that.

No willingness, indeed. And no psychological capacity, faculty or potential, either.

Why the BS Line on Superdelegates is BS

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

hillarynewWe don’t know who’s going to win the Democratic presidential primary in California today, although polling suggests that Hillary Clinton should squeak by Bernie Sanders. But, as usual with the California primary it doesn’t really matter: more than 24 hours before New Jersey and four other states vote, and California’s delegates are apportioned, the AP’s survey Monday night confirmed her as the first woman nominee of a major party (let that sink in for a moment).

Hopefully, Sanders will now do the smart and decent thing and quickly endorse Clinton, who amassed more than 3 million more votes than him during the primary season, and decide to stop pushing the silly argument he’s been pushing, with increasing vehemence, for weeks: his demand that the superdelegates, who overwhelmingly support Clinton (who, with Bubba, has raised million$ for them over decades), should hold off voting until the roll call at the Democratic National Convention; then, on the theory that he would run better against Donald Trump, overturn the popular vote and Clinton’s delegate lead to make him the nominee.

Seriously? Three reasons that makes no sense:

1. Absurdism.  The argument itself is absurd. Not only is the contention that Sanders would run better based on never having faced a negative campaign, but imagine if their positions were reversed – if Sanders had more popular votes and delegates but the superdelegates overturned the will of the voters and installed Clinton as the nominee. The screaming and moaning from Sanders and his peeps would be riotous.

This is the most anti-democratic and cynical stance Sanders and his people could possibly take – that a guy who won fewer votes and delegates should be installed by the party elite, against whom he has railed for the better part of a year.

crybaby2. Perversity.  Although Sanders now would like to use superdelegates to his advantage if he could, his fundamental case for months has been to decry the role of superdelegates altogether.Which is even more wrong-headed.

Superdelegates are there for a reason: they’re elected officials and party leaders who have run for office and/or run the Democratic Party nationally or in their states. They’re the last vestige of party elders who have the best interest of their party at heart. They should have a say in who their party’s nominee is.

trumpangry3. Disunity. Which brings us to this point: Bernie Sanders isn’t a Democrat, has simply used the party opportunistically for a quarter century and doesn’t give a rat’s ass whether the Democratic Party’s chosen candidate is the nominee. He couldn’t care less about Democratic Party unity. Whether he cares enough to rally his troops for the party’s nominee and against Donald Trump remains an open question.

In the long run, it will benefit Sanders politically to be as graceful in defeat as Hillary Clinton was eight years ago after her bitter fight with Barack Obama when she conceded, urged her supporters and delegates to back Obama.

Delusional entitlement. At this point, Bernie’s bros and bots appear to have become so fanatic that they’re prepared to walk away rather than get behind  the only candidate standing between the nation and the nightmare of a Trump Administration. As Barrett Holmes Pitner wrote in an insightful piece at Daily Beast, Sanders’ “younger, predominantly white electorate” is struggling with its sense of entitlement:

bernie brosThe more I reflected on them, the more I realized the key point: They felt entitled to win, and a defeat meant that someone must have cheated or that their opinions did not matter, which of course couldn’t be true. They preferred to suspend reality and fabricate injustices rather than concede that Sanders has lost fair and square.

After Obama beat Clinton in one of the most bitter primary battles in recent history, she sucked it up and worked hard enough for his election to be asked, later, to be his Secretary of State.

It’s unclear whether Sanders has it in him to play that role.