The whole world is watching, and Peter Schrank indicates what the whole world is thinking, or at least the whole world aside from Russia, Hungary and North Korea, and the world who thought he was going away.
That narrows it down considerably, mostly leaving us to wonder if Shrank means “madder” in the American “angry” sense or in the way the word is used in his native Britain.
And that probably doesn’t matter a whole lot either.
So, instead, let’s wonder if Trump is any more “back” than he was a month ago.
Paul Berge appears to think so, suggesting that Iowa and New Hampshire have eliminated other possibilities, though he doesn’t specify what remnants they’ve left for others to pick through. There is, after all, a substantial difference in saying that the nomination process is over and saying that the election has been determined.
Adam Zyglis focuses on the Republican side of things, branding GOP voters in Iowa and New Hampshire as MAGAts, or at least saying that the MAGAts in those states are the ones who are destroying our nation’s Liberty.
I’m not going to dispute the conservative nature of rural America. If I still lived in my old hometown, my Congressional rep would be Elise Stefanik, who retained her seat in 2022 by a comfortable margin.
On the other hand, I live in a rural state now, with two Democrats in the House, two Democrats in the Senate and a Republican governor who spent the last few weeks stumping for Nikki Haley.
We’re not all MAGAts, though I admittedly have to drive nearly 10 minutes to get to Bernieland.
As it is, I agree with Matt Wuerker (Politico) that the media has been way too quick to declare things over.
If I were betting on the nominees, mind you, I’d place my money on a Trump/Biden ticket.
The question, though, is are you betting on a horserace or on the future of the nation?
And for goodness sake don’t ask the media, because they think they’re covering a horserace, and are more interesting in who’s ahead than on what any of the candidates have in mind if elected.
Part of the peril in this horserace coverage is the number of people who think the point of voting is to select — rather than determine — the winner. It’s more obvious in what we used to call Third World countries, in which the tyrant wins because people believe they are being tested to see if they recognize his name. Though he may never have hosted “The Apprentice.”
It’s a genuine presence even in a supposedly sophisticated First World democracy, particularly one in which people festoon their cars and themselves with logos of sports teams and automobile companies to show their pride in belonging to the right group.
As an example of the ability of media attention to influence public perception, Ivan Ehlers offers this cartoon on the topic of Stanley cups, which have suddenly emerged as the newest Beanie Babies and Tickle Me Elmo.
A phenomenon which sociologists and psychologists and marketing experts could debate in seminars.
Or that these knuckleheads could sum up in 31 seconds:
If people can’t get a Stanley cup, their child’s birthday will be ruined, because they believe it and because their kid believes it.
Similarly, if you tell people often enough that Donald Trump is going to win the nomination, while there may be reasonable data suggesting it, you’re also creating a self-fulfilling prophecy among voters who feel a need to be on the winning side.
It’s not just Stanley Cups and Cabbage Patch dolls, which at least function as well as they should, even if there’s no reason to consider them superior to similar products.
Michael de Adder is one of a kabillion cartoonists telling us how lousy the economy is, how inflation is out of control and how the cost of living has skyrocketed.
The math disagrees. The economy is in good shape — the Dow just set an all time record — and inflation is within a point of the Fed’s target.
I just got my first adjusted Social Security check yesterday, with a 3.2% COLA, better than the 5.9% and 8.7% of the last two years. Things are coming under control.
For a challenging look, this article from the Conference Board shows a mix of optimism and pessimism, with prices being an area of public concern but other areas being seen in positive terms. People know unemployment is down, they expect both business and their own income to be up in the near future and they’re no longer as convinced that we’re headed for a major recession.
As Catherine Rampell notes in this Washington Post piece, people are beginning to feel better about the economy.
On a related point, sign-ups for Affordable Care set a new record this year, but don’t expect Obamacare or Bidenomics to drop off the list of conservative bugbears in the coming campaign.
Just as House Republicans are blocking the immigration reforms they claim to demand, certain campaign issues will remain front and center, with the help of weak-kneed both-sides coverage, as we follow the horserace to November.
Juxtaposition of the Day
There are a few dissenting voices in this rush to crown the king. As Bok points out, Trump’s argument that Haley’s solid second-place finish relied on Independent and crossover voters neatly ignores the fact that Independent and Democratic voters will be casting ballots in November.
Marlette underlines this pragmatic issue, noting that Haley has done better than Trump against Biden in polls and that getting her out of the race would give Trump the nomination but might well give Biden the overall victory.
Juxtaposition of the Day #2
However, there’s little strategy in Trump’s campaign or in the GOP’s overall campaign, which again will have no written platform.
There’s no need for one in a cult of personality based, as Bramhall says, on loyalty to Dear Leader and, as Britt notes, on revenge against his enemies, including party members of insufficient loyalty.
So place your bets, because the race is on and here comes Pride on the back stretch, Race Bait’s a-going to the inside, Ukraine is holding back, trying not to fall …