This is as good an opportunity as ever to bring up again just how weird Trump is, in this observer's humble opinion anyway. I've said this before: if I'm even a tenth as wealthy as Trump claims to be, if I have walking-away money for the next several generations, I'm fucking walking away. I am not spending my time on Twitter wars and virtual slapfights; I'm not even paying a flunky for that bullshit. I'm on my fucking 300-foot yacht wherever the weather is nicest, living on endless surf-and-turf and Ketel One and Russian supermodel poontang. Seriously, what the fuck is wrong with this guy?
Beyond all the bluster and bullshit and dick-waving self-aggrandizement this asshole has been known for, beyond the cult of dipshits who think he can "fix" everything, this is the most unsettling thing about Trump. There's something to be said about someone who doesn't take any shit from anyone; many's the time we all wish Obama had had a little "fuck you" in his bones to throw back at McConnell and Boehner and the rest of them.
But that seems to be Clownstick's default setting. This is the guy that's going to be negotiating trade deals and arms treaties, this thin-skinned douchebag, this cartoon character blow-dried mook? He can't take a "tough question" at a dog-and-pony debate, but he's going to go balls-deep with Putin and the Chinese and the mullahs? Really?
So far, the guy has proven to be Palin with a penis and a worse hair weave. Everyone else is a loser, crude assertions are pulled directly out of the alimentary canal and waved around as empirical facts, disagreements and cheap shots are reacted to as if they were the gravest of insults. No true solutions are offered for anything, just magic-wand if-I-were-king bafflegab. He'll keep the Mexicans out by building a wall and making them pay for it. He would have resolved the Iran nuclear crisis by doubling or tripling sanctions. You bang your wife doggy style, he'd do her reverse cowgirl and make her forget all about you. And so forth.
I don't know what's scarier -- the fact that Trump's followers clearly swallow this horseshit unquestioningly, or that Trump might seriously believe it himself. He understands his audience, knows that his "message" appears to old, bewildered shitheads who don't have the goddamned decency to go find an ice floe to push themselves off onto already. The idea that he can't be bought because he's already wealthy doesn't quite stick either, because as Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina found out the hard way here in Cali, only a moron spends their own money running for office. So Clownstick has to raise money just like anyone else, once push comes to shove.
I think we need to start looking at the long game here, and what ramifications it has for the Republican Party, which may implode regardless of whether Trump goes third-party or stays in the GOP fray. The party is increasingly driven by its most vocal, loose-cannon extra-chromosome base, people who do not do nuance or big-picture thinking. The world and the nation keep moving on, have left these dopey, ancient crackers behind, and they just can't stand it.
So the question becomes which blustery goofball becomes their next rock star. They get worse and worse with each iteration, from Fredo Arbusto to Caribou Barbie to Ted Cruz to Fuckface Von Clownstick. Sooner or later they're going to strike oil on one of these kampfers, someone with the same message, but smoother, subtler, bluster-free and truly charismatic.
Watching future Cali governor Gavin Newsom last night on Bill Maher's show, sandwiched between Republican consultants Steve Schmidt and Mary Matalin, I was struck at how effortlessly charismatic the guy is. He's good-looking and well-spoken, but what sets Newsom apart is how carefully he chooses his words, and how deftly he co-opts moderate Republican talking points. He understands intrinsically that politics is niched too much to be won by doubling down on your base appeal. You have to get the fence-sitters to take a look at you, and you do that by not saying or doing stupid things that spook the horses. It will be a few more election cycles, probably 2024 or 2028 (or 2020 if Clinton somehow loses next year), but I would be very surprised if Newsom doesn't take a shot at the big ring at some point.
Sooner or later the Goopers will figure that out; indeed, they may have that very person waiting in the wings in Marco Rubio. Out of all the clown car occupants at the big kids' table Thursday night, only Rubio and maybe John Kasich came off as anything resembling reasonable. Neither of them would make a good president, but both understand the value of appearing inclusive and comparatively moderate, and not stomping every hot-button issue into the floor.
And while Hillary Clinton is no doubt dancing in her pantsuit watching this slow-motion clusterfuck, nothing is settled. She has as many negatives as positives; she turns off as many people as she appeals to. Probably ninety percent of the people who will vote for her will do so reluctantly, waiting and wishing for someone better, someone less oleaginous and transparently insincere. Why on earth would I want to vote for someone who willingly hangs out with the likes of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian, did someone seriously tell her this would be a selling point to anyone? (Yes, I get it, they attended a fundraiser and snapped a selfie; the larger point remains valid.)
The Republicans will beat mercilessly on Clinton's negatives, real and fictitious, and no doubt create some new ones in the process. It is going to be ugly, and probably closer than people might assume, whether or not Clownstick blows up the narrative by going, um, rogue. If Rubio can polish his own narrative a bit, moderate his impulses, reach beyond the doddering base that can't seem to decide on which asshole of the week they want to roll with, he could make things even weirder than they already are. Getcha popcorn.