#Pence2020 | #WhatTheyVotedFor
“I’m skeptical Pence can emerge from the White House’s crisis unscathed … but the fact that the vice president is even trying suggests we’re approaching the every-person-for-themselves phase.”
At this point, it’s so damn ridiculous we could go on like this all day today and tomorrow and not feel any better even after Hillary Clinton wins, because, really, the Donald Trump presidential nomination is one of those American wild somethings in the whatnow that we really ought not try again, and I won’t say anything about swamp eels.
Damn it. Okay, anyway, it is easy enough to get distracted by the tale of the twitless wonder, but we might also take a moment to raise a glass to the one and only Steve Benen, who took a moment amid his own astonishment at talk of Donald Trump’s vengeful ways to appreciate a great symbol of the Republican nominee’s gaslit campaign, coming as it did while the team rallied to capitalize on James Comey’s clodhopping bombshell. Or, as the New York Timesα put it:
But they insisted that to truly exploit it, Mr. Trump needed to do something he had been incapable of in the past: strictly follow instructions, let a story unfold on its own and resist the urge to endlessly bludgeon his rival.
They headed to a fleet of cars that whisked them to the Radisson Hotel in downtown Manchester, where a crowd of thousands was waiting for the candidate to take the stage.
But his aides needed time to sketch out what Mr. Trump should say―and not say. They sent Michael T. Flynn, a retired Army lieutenant general, onstage with a mission: stall.
As the aides agonized over which words to feed into the teleprompter, they become so engrossed that a hot light set up next to the machine caused Mr. Bannon’s Kuhl hiking pants to begin smoldering.
“I think my pant leg is on fire,” he said after noticing the acrid smell.
Yes, apparently, really.
Wouldn’t it be nice to say this is one of the silver linings we get from having suffered the Donald Trump Show? After all, what better emblem of the emblematic? This is, unfortunately, the sort of experience for which there really is no excuse. And it is easy enough to say we all have played our part in American society and its reinforcement of some terrible aspects about our human frailty, but let’s face it, this time it’s pretty much all on conservatives themselves. They’re already trying to blame Democrats for Donald Trump, and the election technically hasn’t happened, yet.β
α And hoist again for the four reporters required to bring us this heady glimpse inside Donald Trump’s existential uncertainty: Maggie Haberman, Ashley Parker, Jeremy W. Peters, and Michael Barbaro.
β Is there a rule about putting a footnote on the last sentence? In the moment, it seems like there ought to be. Nonetheless, it seems necessary to remind that the 2020 Republican presidential nomination contest is already at least informally underway; it has been since, well, before the Republican convention was over, and we even got the fun little joke last month about Kellyanne Conway pitching her credentials toward the next cycle. And, you know, it is possible Ted Cruz has already lost. Republicans are amazing, sometimes.
Image notes: Top ― Donald Trump announces his candidacy. (Photo: Justin Lane/EPA) Right ― Trump/Pence 2016 campaign CEO Stephen K. Bannon. (Photo: Carlo Allegri/Reuters
Benen, Steve. “Driven by vengeance, Trump is eager to ‘punish his enemies'”. msnbc. 7 November 2016.
Haberman, Maggie, et al. “Inside Donald Trump’s Last Stand: An Anxious Nominee Seeks Assurance”. The New York Times. 6 November 2016.
Rozsa, Matthew. “The big loser in Donald Trump’s war against the GOP is Ted Cruz somehow”. Salon. 11 October 2016.
This actually takes some explaining. Or maybe not. Okay, so Robert Costa of the Washington Post issues a tweet amid the third presidential debate, criticizing Donald Trump, describing the Republican nominee’s now infamous “bad hombres” line as “Trump being Trump”, and the rest of the game show host’s answers by the lovely term, “Conway-esque”.
Five minutes later, with Hillary Clinton eviscerating the Republican nominee, Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway retweets Costa’s critique as a boast.
Or, as Sophia Tesfaye put it: “Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway is already auditioning for her next gig”:
Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, must be making a covert cry for help, as nothing short of desperate confusion could explain a tweet she sent in the middle of the third presidential debate ....
.... After Trump’s “bad hombres” comment caused a ruckus on social media, Trump’s campaign manager took to Twitter to retweet a compliment of herself and backhanded diss to her boss.
Somewhere in the load of not-necessarily transcribed, good luck finding it on the website pile of campaign coverage segments from msnbc’s relentless branding campaign is a bit with a few seasoned, liberal-leaning hands chuckling about the fact of major Republican players showing enough wisdom to stay clear of the Trump presidential bid. There is some merit to the point: Corey Lewandowski, a Koch lobbyist is no longer with the campaign; RNC consultant and Scott Walker’s primary campaign manager Rick Wiley has come and gone; consultant to notorious international figures Paul Manafort has come and gone; and former Dole staffer turned lobbyist Jim Murphy has stepped back from his role as national political director with less than three weeks remaining in the election contest. Donald Trump’s campaign is currently run by an alt-right publisher and, well, Kellyanne Conway. None of these were truly first-tier to begin with. But, still, while it’s not quite pitching for delegates in the 2020 race at the 2016 Republican National Convention, neither is it … er … ah … y’know?
Image notes: Top ― Republican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump is greeted by (L-R) his son-in-law Jared Kushner, daughter Ivanka, and son Eric after the conclusion of the third and final debate with Democratic rival Hillary Clinton at University of Nevada Las Vegas, 19 October 2016. (Photo: Joe Raedle/Reuters/Pool) Right ― Kellyanne Conway speaks at the 2016 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, 4 March 2016. (Photo by Gage Skidmore)
Conway, Kelly. “— >”. Twitter. 19 October 2016.
Costa, Robert. “Bad hombres”. Twitter. 19 October 2016.
Tesfaye, Sophia. “Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway is already auditioning for her next gig”. Salon. 19 October 2016.
We might reasonably propose that it bodes naught but ill for Republicans that we might consider the 2020 GOP presidential nomination contest already afoot. We might also wish to be joking about that, but this is your Republican Party after all.
Before Ted Cruz’s memorable remarks at the Republican National Convention last night, the Texas senator hosted an outdoor event with supporters in Cleveland yesterday afternoon. As luck would have it, Donald Trump’s plane flew overhead when Cruz said the party had a nominee―and his backers started booing.
And while the timing was notable, so too was the fact that Cruz’s supporters chanted “2020” during the event.
Steve Benen continues, noting, “as ridiculous as this may seem to Americans who are already tired of the 2016 presidential race, there is little doubt that Republican jostling is well underway―in the 2020 race.”
Nor is Mr. Benen joking.