The NYT suggests that Donald Trump is just pretending to run for president to keep himself in the public eye and jack up the ratings on his reality show. Trump’s previous flirtations with running for president likely had similar motivations, but none garnered quite as much attention as this one. Meanwhile, Mike Huckabee won a straw poll in South Carolina and continues to lead the Republican field in many polls, but it seems unlikely that he will run.
Has this kind of thing happened before, where (1) someone who leads in the polls and has run before chooses not to run and (2) some candidates are in the race just to make money for themselves? On (1), people like Cuomo and Colin Powell don’t count because they hadn’t run before.
This Republican race feels different to me than anything I have seen before. The line between politics and reality tv seems blurred in a way that is new. Is it new or has this always been going and I just hadn’t noticed it?
It’s the Truman Show. The other nomination battles were also really TV shows but we didn’t know it. Now we do, and it’s not half as interesting.
This might explain it:
The Donald actually isn’t that good at business, just going by his numerous appearances in bankruptcy court. The way he makes money is that for some unknown reason he’s a celebrity. If he didn’t have that, he’d be living under a bridge.
You know, Doug, I’m starting to think that politics has a lot to do with money.
Now think about all the money that will be thrown the way of the cable stations. The cable networks are salivating and crying all the way to the banks! They have to gin up the electioneering!
Sorry, this is a version of the Cynical Fallacy, where any news is good news. This kind of thing just makes Trump look like more of a dope, and the latest edition of his TV show is a trainwreck that nothing can salvage.
It’s kinda like Charlie Sheen going on tour, opening to a standing ovation, but getting boos within minutes of his “show.”
Don;t know. I don’t know if the money has been as big before. In the past, you had to at least served in office before you cashed in. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair, for example, is cashing in.
But now, politicians can be like college ball players who go onto the pros before finishing their college careers. “One and done” and you can get a big payday.
a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q)
I think it’s different this time, in part because the race right now seems to be who can be the voice of bugfuck crazy the best. Aside from the grifter entrants, even the allegedly serious candidates spew positions that make Nixon seem liberal. Ack.
Well, there have been perennial no-hope presidential candidates who ran time after time for their own reasons; I don’t know if money was one of them. (Think Lyndon LaRouche, Harold Stassen, Gus Hall, even Ralph Nader.)
As for strong-running non-candidates, try Teddy Kennedy in ’72.
If it were named the Trump Bridge, he might actually be okay with that. I really cannot stand that vulgar prick.
Mr Stagger Lee
Actually it doesn’t matter, because of Citizens United i.e Chamber of Commerce and Karl Rove’s Cross Roads group, the wackies (Bachmann, Palin, Newt or Huckabee) will be silenced in favor of Mittens the luggage rack dog rider.
@Mark S.: To be absolutely fair to teh Donald, he did make a shit ton of money, but only as a glorified house flipper in the one market in the world where property flipping is almost guaranteed to make anyone rich. The real question is where his starter capital came from.
@Mark S.: That is the business model of Richard Branson and the Virgin brand.
Gin & Tonic
From his father. If his father hadn’t been successful, Donald would be bagging groceries.
@Gin & Tonic: Well then my work here is done. Where’s the cookies?
OT–here’s some glibertarian economist’s response to that Stiglitz piece:
You might not be blown away by this Heckman Equation. But that’s the only viable strategy? Something that wouldn’t have any effect for 30 years? And why exactly would the superrich decide to pay there baby geniuses more?
Gin & Tonic
The most infuriating line from that whole article is this
Breathless anticipation? Really? Maybe for the media, but I doubt the public is clamoring for him to run — more like that breathless anticipation you have late at night when you hear the long screeching of tires and are just waiting for the satisfying crunch of metal.
@Yutsano: Starter capital came from the banks and his father. Donald builds and sells condo projects, he doesn’t keep the property as his own; he sells management services for the condo buildings. His father, Fred, actually kept his apartment buildings and ran them. Fred mostly built in Brooklyn and Queens.
I’m not sure Jon Bernstein, who has forgotten more about the nominating process than I will ever learn, would buy this, but — just spit-balling here — it feels different because the usual post-WWII process has been so hollowed out.
Their ex-presidents are dead, or hiding. The RNC is a joke — Michael Steele damn near killed it. The state parties don’t really matter any more, at least for higher office. There’s a calendar, and even that’s up for grabs.
Each candidate is an independent entrepreneur. There are policy-entrepreneurial agents out there, too — think tanks, billionaires — and publicity-entrepreneurial agents, like the teahadis. All of them are negotiating with each other, pretending to negotiate, refusing to negotiate — for now — in some vast political souk.
Mr Stagger Lee
@Gin & Tonic: His father was a party insider as well as a builder/developer, as well a club member with other real estate moguls, he never liked the fact his son would embarrass the political machine, like the time he totally fronted the city with his rebuilding of the skating rink at Central Park, or pissing on Henry Helmsley publicly.
Gin & Tonic
@Yutsano: This is an informative site, unfortunately not that visually appealing, but presents a history of judgments and liens against Trump in all his forms. There are many.
In the late 1980s the old Spy magazine would append “short-fingered vulgarian” to every mention of Trump. I’ve yet to see a better description.
Heckman needs to get out in the world a bit: his ideological buddies are busy de-investing in education (i.e., cuts to school budgets, head start programs, college aid, etc.). Besides, what jobs will these smart kids get in 30-odd years?
But doesn’t the fact that he’s declared bankruptcy so many times and is still loaded mean that he is good at business?
It may not be the way people would respect, but I doubt he cares.
Jim, Foolish Literalist
@Gin & Tonic:
Probably half the three million or so old white people who watch Fox think “He knows how to run a business, he could cut all that waste fraud and abuse that eat up my taxes! Hey Gert, take your Medicare-subsidized scooter out to the box and see if our checks come yet”. The other half just like that he’s talking about the birth certificate and muslimatude.
Didn’t Papa Trump also build a lot of low-income housing with gov’t subsidies, or at least some kind of help?
Building space stations for the top 1% to live when global warming makes most of the planet unlivable.
Or maybe just super smart security guards and domestic servants.
It’s not a binary thing. It’s a gradual trend that’s been going on for decades – and now it’s just gotten ridiculous.
I was watching Carter’s classic 1979 speech today:
Had we only listened instead of taking exactly the path he said we shouldn’t take, we’d be doing better as a nation today.
Unlikely? I always assumed he was in. What gives?
1: Nixon, 64. Though that might not count, depending on what your definition of “lead in the polls” is. Early on he was in a statistical dead heat with Goldwater, and even after he completely ruled out running, several “Draft Nixon” movements in a few states gave Goldwater a run for his money.
2: Overtly? None that I know of. Suspected? Pretty much every third-tier and independent candidate does it for the fundraising connections. Could be wrong, but I don’t think Kucinich raises much money from within Ohio’s 10th anymore.
Ever see a major car wreck unfold in real time? It’s different then just seeing the aftermath.
@mr. whipple: He’s trying to avoid being labeled a front runner and therefore get the whole Giuliani treatment. Either that or he has enough sense to know that the guy who killed four cops up this way also killed any chance he has at the White House.
Davis X. Machina
What’s the absolute, last-minute, drop-dead date for someone non-insane, and heretofore unheard-of, to come in and land the GOP nomination?
There’s going to be a time by which the Republicans have gone far down the rabbit hole, the only way out is through. And that means throwing the election, in all but name.
I can’t believe a party that would just as soon put Al Davis’ “Just Win, Baby” on the coinage where ‘E Pluribus Unum’ used to be is going to go through with the train wreck presently a-building.
a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q)
How about the “horrifically overcombed and small-organed vulgarian” Donald Trump?
I’m thinking that, maybe, Jean Baudrillard had a point.
@mr. whipple: Huckabee, like Sarah Palin, and now Donald Trump, is an employee of Fox News.
One tiny way that Fox News resembles an actual news organization is that once you actually declare your candidacy for public office, you have to be suspended from your employment, as Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum were suspended from their employment with Fox News.
So it’s pretty simple: cashing paychecks from Roger Ailes = not actually running for office.
Fucen Pneumatic Fuck Wrench Tarmal
i tend to think the gop nom will not show up until very late in the game. folks are genuinely tired of the endless campaign. there is a real demo there they can reach.
in the mean time, they aren’t going to forego the profits and donations of endless campaign lp, and they are lining up the big dogs from the corporate world to attack on their 1 or 2 issues as noise generation….
the real candidate, has yet to emerge.
i am betting on the field, not the horses already in the race.
@a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q):
Y’all come join our NIXONLAND discussion tonight (7pm EDT). Scary to see how many of the people in charge of our current Media-Political Complex made their bones, and our world, under Tricky Dick. Seriously — join us!
Why not discuss what happened to Powell when rumors were around that he might run for the 2000 election. Articles appeared quickly that his wife had suffered from depression and the articles weren’t planted by democrats. The powers that be will decide who runs. IMO, it’s Pawlenty or Romney but Palin could derail their plans unless she’s paid off.
@Mark S.: Heh, indeed.
@BGinCHI: Ah… It’s a profit deal. Takes the pressure off. Get your weight guessed right here! Only a buck! Actual live weight guessing! Take a chance and win some crap!
Suck It Up!
Its all part of a larger plan. Donald Trump is going to claim he believes in all these right wing conspiracies about Obama and then when its all reached its peak, he will declare that he was just trying to show how stupid these wingers sound and how stupid people are to think that he should be president. He will then declare his support for Obama and campaign for him.
Otherwise Trump is a fucking idiot.
It’s the Sara Palin effect.
@Mr Stagger Lee: The dog likes it up there. Really.
Yeah, right. And you’re total moron. (Mittens, not you.)
I hate to say it, but I think the Obama campaign is partly to blame.
Think about how much weird shit went down that year. That 30 million dollar prime time informercial. The pre-inaugural six months early in Berlin to 200,000 people. The entire idea of an overseas trip at all in the middle of a campaign. Running for President is now like this uber-managed multimedia extravaganza.
Couple that with the death of a competent press, and the rise of instantaneous viral marketing and social media, and you see a lot of room for sideshows, entertainers, and scam artists to come to the fore.
My take, as someone who has followed politics in our nation for nearly fifty years, is that the GOP via dogwhistles and other tried-and-true techniques, will try to turn the 2012 election into a referendum on the future of white people in America. It will be interesting to see whether we as a nation are better than that.
Having all the exploratory stuff settled at least nine months before the first contest seems to be the point of no return for the modern primary campaign season. That would be the end of April, or this month.
As I intimated above, Presidential primaries are a solid way for Congressional and state-wide office holders to build a national donor base for their own local contests. Kucinich is arguably the best at this, as he makes a ton of money off of west coast liberals and out-fundraises challengers to his Congressional seat by something like 5 to 1.
I’m almost certain that this is what Bachmann is doing.
John - A Motley Moose
I think Sarah the Grifter will run. The potential payoff is just too big for her to resist. Look how well she’s done as a failed VP candidate. Now think how much more she could rake in as a failed Presidential candidate.
I honestly don’t think anyone wants to really stop and comprehend how intrinsically fucked up the Republican party has become; a major political force in this country has essentially become fucking coo coo. This is glossed over by pointing to Mitt Romeny’s career (he’s a liar, he’ll be sane once he’s in office) and how he can get through a long nomination fight with his cash like Obama in ’08 ignoring that FIRST Obama did something hard and won a state no one thought he could carry demographically, Iowa. And we’ve got Michelle Bachmann out raising him, Huckabee winning the early polls despite doing zip, and Pawlenty waiting in the wings as the kook that can fake a sane smile.
This whole thing is going to be insane.
@Davis X. Machina:
If the presumptive nominee drops out shortly before the convention they could get some deus-ex-machina compromise candidate in.
Now there’s a thought to warm this tired old heart.
What a great idea! Put them all on an island, say, Fire Island, divide them into tribes and watch the fun. Will Bachmann’s Beachcombers outlast Palin’s Palmettos? Which will prove more effective for ultimate survival: Swiss Army knives or Swiss bank accounts? Think of the ratings.
joe from Lowell
What the situation resembles most closely is not the electoral behavior of a major political party, but of a minor one – say, the Constitution Party or the New Alliance Party. The nominees are either the handful of professional partisans who make a career out of keeping the party machinery and fundraising together, or maybe some B-list political figure will deign to use the party machinery for a vanity run.
@Suck It Up!: That’s actually semi-plausible…
Well, Huckabee did successfully lose 100 pounds or something, which makes him much more qualified than any of the other Republican candidates. A bit less hot air. Not much, but a bit.
Not that I support him or anything. It’s just that—oh, hell, I’m just going to drink my wine and ignore the internets. I’m obviously not able at this point to make a, um, point.
Davis X. Machina
@Calouste: I always figured that would happen with McCain — he didn’t look well half the time. But Tom Eagleton’s shadow is a long one.
I still think that if the Republicans keep dilly-dallying, we’re going to see a third-party or independent no-party run from somebody. One option would be a CEO from a non-banking business (like Bill Gates, although I don’t think it would be him; I’ve blue-skyed Michael Bloomberg before); another would be a recently-retired frustrated-by-the-system guy like Evan Bayh or Charlie Crist. They could run on the “extremists on both sides” rhetoric much loved by the punditocracy. And they could avoid having to run the gauntlet of partisan primaries.
There are some viable anti-Obama narratives to tap; it’s just that the current Republican Party is a horrible vehicle for doing that.
ETA: I think a Ross Perot ’92 campaign would gain a lot of traction this year. Against Obama, I think chuckleheads like Pawlenty and Romney don’t have a shot in deepest, darkest, Hades.
Here you go, DougJ, at least in part
Nate showed that in the current primary system (since 1972), every person who has led in the polls in the Republican field this early has chosen to run. I guess we have to tune in for Part II tomorrow.
Oh god, don’t start this Unity 2012 shit again. Do we really have to go through this every four years?
Whaddya mean “going to be”?
I’m ready to call the guys in the white coats NOW.
@Bob Loblaw: I wouldn’t vote for it. But it would get great press, you have to admit, and in a season of free-floating anxiety and suspicion about both parties, someone like that could pull off a 34-33-33 victory.
ETA: Or, for that matter, someone like that, funded by anonymous donations from funders beholden to conservatives, could make it possible for a crazy-ass Republican to pull off a 34-33-33 victory.
@Davis X. Machina:
Davis X. Machina
@4jkb4ia: In the days when parties ran candidates, yes. But now candidates run parties, and the convention’s too late.
We’ll never see a brokered or deadlocked convention in our lifetimes.
Arguably Newt Gingrich started this scam of pretending to be a serious candidate in order to make boatloads ‘o bucks but then he never actually serious runs for president.
Sarah Palin might or might not be the second example. Depends on whether she actually runs in 2012. Her kids’ name recognition is higher than any of the second-tier Republican candidates, so she might well decide to run.
Mitt Romney doesn’t count because he’s worth half a billion and doesn’t need money, so he can’t be doing it for the cash.
The Reality TV aspect of modern presidential elections probably started back when Bill Clinton played the sax on the Tonight Show, and it’s gotten progressively more MTV-ish since then.
You see Republicans, I see EFFING CRAZY PEOPLE – WTF?????????????
No mystery there. On his 21st birthday, his daddy gave him 20 million dollars. Donald started work in 1964 at his daddy’s real estate company.
The way to get rich in America is to inherit. That’s the way most billionaires in America do it.
@mclaren: Arsenio Hall Show. Try to get your facts lined up before posting.
More like a dung beetle and dung. (Which is which?)
I think that sounds far too detached. I don’t find much of what this country does anymore merely “interesting.” Rather, words like deplorable, despicable, unconscionable, sickening, depressing, etc. seem to apply far too often.
I’ve reached the point where a question like “Are we a better nation that than?” doesn’t really make much sense. To me, the real question is just how low can we sink? We’re willing to kill people (our own citizens) so that rich people can have more money. How much worse can we get? We’re willing to deprive women of vital health services so that the religious beliefs of a minority can be served. We’re willing to cheat our children out of adequate educational funding so we can build weapons systems we don’t need. We suck.
Don’t you mean the “future of rich white people?” After all, they’re the ones the Republicans care about.
@Davis X. Machina:
But nobody stands out enough to run the party. You could have three or four losers going all the way to the convention especially since the party has changed things to require proportional voting before April 1. Reasons this would not happen would be:
The press wants an early winner
Republican elites want an early winner to start contrasting with Obama early
If you think one of the early states would be easy for you, you might be able to wait until September or October.
@Davis X. Machina: Have you seen what happened to Al Davis? If the Republicans implode, it would only be appropriate.
@Triassic Sands: “Like flies and shit”.
One less syllable than the NYT version.
Suck It Up!
yeah I read about that. I had no idea he switched up so much like our nyc mayor bloomberg.
Thank you for the nightmare.
Per the constitution (and the largest reason I despised the whole ‘we have to let the courts decide NOW’ deal in 2000) if for some reason no candidate has crossed the finish line with /enough/ votes, the house of representatives decides.
Each state gets one vote. They can only vote on one of the top three vote-getters (electoral college votes, not citizen at the poll votes.)
And there is no rule or law at this time other than precedent from a couple centuries ago how each state’s representatives decide the state’s vote.
In my optimistic moments, I think that the fail parade that is the GOP lineup is a result of the moral bankruptcy of their agenda; nobody can shill for it who isn’t corrupted or just plain retarded in a major way. In my worse moments, I worry that it doesn’t matter.
Not quite true. McCain was second in the polls this early, per Nate’s post.
Using RCP, we’ve got Huckabee at 19.9, Romney at 18.3, Palin at 13.1, and Gingrich at 11.3. The ‘leader’ doesn’t have almost twice second place, the two combined are far less than 50% of the votes available — it’s a chaotic mess compared to historical patterns.
I don’t think we’ll have a clue till the end of June. By then we’ll know who is actually running. Right now it’s a waste of time as of the four only Gingrich has said he IS running. The rest are still exploring the option.
Brother Shotgun of Sweet Reason
@mclaren: Not Clinton with the sax. Try back in ’68, with Nixon saying “Sock it to me???” on Laugh-in.
I predict that the GOP nominee will be pale and male.
@Cacti: Your powers of prestidigitation are remarkable.
I don’t see a brown face on the GOP ticket until Jeb’s kid is old enough to run.
@Yutsano: Prestidigitation = sleight of hand. ITYM prognostication.
The Sheriff's A Ni-
@Kirk Spencer: Second behind Giuliani, who from all indications never really campaigned all that hard for the nomination. Between surviving cancer, the messy divorce, the prospect of facing Hillary Clinton again, and the actual job of being President in the midst of a massive economic crisis, I can kinda sorta see why he wasn’t all that interested in the job.
The thing in Nate’s analysis that sticks out to me, is something someone noted on in the comments: Nobody’s won without at least 85 or something percent recognition. That leaves the Republican field with Palin, Huckabee, and Gingrich. Now considering Huckabee not declaring and the rumors that Caribou Barbie wants to stay at Fox as well… hmmmmmmmm.
I believe Huck will run, but nobody will announce until June. I don’t give a shyt about how much money Mittens raises. the first 3 GOP contests are tailor-made for candidates with little money, but a devoted cadre of crazies…..which has to sum up anyone supporting Bachmann, who outraised Mittens 1st quarter. nobody is devoted to anything about Mittens except for that his checks clear. they have to pretend that the GOP has an electoral process….and it doesn’t matter that the ‘serious people’ want Mittens….that mofo canNOT get out of the GOP Primaries.
I think GWB and Cheney screwed the system. 2000 was supposed to be McCain’s turn and Rove et al said screw that, leading to the disarray of post McCain presidential politics in the GOP. Primary voters went with the old system in 2008, despite the hard push back by the loud mouthpieces.
This time, they don’t know who to vote for. I remember all of the wingnut blogs I read accepting McCain, but then getting excited about FRED, and then going back to McCain.
I think Huckabee is trying to be the next Paul Harvey. All Huck needs to do is a little “Rest of the Story” based on the bible and he’s clenched it.
Personally, I want this GOP primary process to go on for as long as the Dem’s did in 2008, but to be much more brutal — ensuring 24/7 coverage of the crazy. That way Obama can just keep presidenting without distraction.
@FlipYrWhig: You be correct. I blame exhaustion and lack of good pain drugs.
@Omnes Omnibus: Slightly OT, Joe Keenan is kind of a modern Wodehouse with F bombs. Check out his Putting on the Ritz for a viciously amusing parody of everyone’s favorite vulgarians, Mr. and #1 Mrs. Donald Trump (yeah, it’s 20 years old or so, but it holds up wonderfully). One of the funniest novels I’ve ever read.
@indubitably: He lost it fast enough that it’s unlikely he used applied effort, self-denial and delayed gratification to do it. Lap band, baby.
@junebug: It should be long and agonizing (read: hilarious). But here’s the thing: how can they know who to vote for any more? I’m not persuaded that the GOP machine can make the teatards line up behind someone who isn’t toxic in the general. They’ve created a monster; even if the Koch bros. stop funding astroturf rallies (which it appears they already have) it doesn’t mean that the Morans will rally around any but the most rabid troglodytes.
Yes, but in best Rovian use-your-enemy’s-strength-as-a-weapon-against-them fashion, some people say that Huck used godless modrun technology (gastric surgery) rather than his self-proclaimed ‘Jesus-granted strength of will’ to lose all those pounds so fast. How, the other Rethugs will piously protest, can we trust a shortcut-seeking liar to lead God’s Favorite Nation? (Also, if true, it’ll deeply complicate Huck’s progress on the rubber-chicken and deep-fried-corndog campaign trail — but it doesn’t have to be true to be effective.)
It’s the political fanatics’ version of Lent, or Ramadan. We risk our health & sanity by mortifying our intellects pursuing phantasms and chasing rumors, so that we may be purified before the ascension of the One True Candidate.
Thank god that news article was around to point out Donald Trump is a publicity whore.
Does Trump even have an agenda to push? Other than his own show and his ego? I mean does he have any political views that he’s made public? Some people, like Peter Orszag are actually working on REAL public reform/the economy, while it seems Trump is only worried about his OWN money…