I though I’d never say this, back in January, but I have had enough of this election. What started out as the most interesting contest in recent memory retains its powers of fascination, but now it fascinates like the video from your colonoscopy. The end is predictable; we’re just looking closely at the shit. But what if the conclusion, while forgone, is not the conclusion at all? What if losing the general election is just another step in Donald Trump’s march toward Washington? It’s a farfetched idea, but Trump laid the groundwork for it this weekend, when he stepped up his insistence that the election is “rigged.”
Congratulations to Stephen Bannon, who has clinched the runner-up position in this year’s Combat! blog award for Best Campaign Manager by registering to vote at a house where he never lived. The Guardian found him registered at a Miami home he once rented for his ex-wife, now vacant and scheduled for demolition. Bannon is a former editor at Breitbart news, which has made a pet issue of voter fraud in recent years, so I know what you’re thinking: Is this his only ex-wife? Nah—the newly minted CEO of Donald Trump For President also divorced Mary Louise Piccard, whom he impregnated in 1994 and then married just as soon as amniocentesis could prove the fetus was healthy. Per the New York Post:
Bannon had allegedly also earlier told Picccard, who was then his girlfriend and the expectant mother of their twin girls, that he would only agree to marry her if the kids were “normal.” He married her on April 14, 1995, three days before the twins were born.
“Bannon made it clear that he would not marry me just because I was pregnant. I was scheduled for an amniocentesis and was told by the respondent that if the babies were normal we would get married,” Piccard claimed in a document. “After the test showed that the babies were normal the respondent sent over a prenuptial agreement for me to review.”
That’s amore! In Bannon’s defense, though, it is much easier to abandon the mother of your disabled children if you aren’t married. It’s too bad these two didn’t work out, but at least she’ll always have her memory of the moment when he got down on one knee and sent over that prenuptial agreement. And Bannon will always have his Combat! Blog Campaign Manager of the Year: Second Place 2016 trophy. Congratulations to this year’s first-place winner, Robby Mook, who continues to win by not fucking up.
We all know the expression “damning with faint praise;” our parents explained it after we won Most Improved in little league. Why is there no expression for the opposite behavior? Someone ought to coin a phrase for condemning as you endorse—you know, like Republicans keep doing with Donald Trump. Here’s Paul Ryan addressing the Republican nominee’s complaint that the judge in his fraud lawsuit is Mexican:
I disavow these comments — I regret those comments that he made. Claiming a person can’t do their job because of their race is sort of like the textbook definition of a racist comment. I think that should be absolutely disavowed. It’s absolutely unacceptable. But do I believe that Hillary Clinton is the answer? No, I do not.
This is the strictest use of “disavow” ever. The speaker does say that what Trump did is “absolutely unacceptable,” before accepting, in the next sentence, that he is the only alternative to Clinton. Maybe he meant to say “I disregard these comments.” It’s not important. The important thing is that once again, cynicism affords us the opportunity to say “I told you so.”
You knew all the little pink men in suits would find reasons to endorse Trump, didn’t you? Their beginning to see his contradiction of their deeply held beliefs in a new light, now that he’s the only Republican in the race. Although they remain committed to conservative principals when it’s time to cut taxes and welfare, their allegiance is to the team. It’s too bad the new captain is a racist megalomaniac, but we still want to win the game, right guys? That’s how Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee and chair of the Foreign Relations Committee, for Pete’s sake, has to see it:
I am a Republican, but what I care more about is our nation, and where we’re going as a nation. And so again, I hope this isn’t the pattern that is going to occur between now and November. But what I see is, okay, you have got a binary choice.
That’s rich. Corker hopes Trump doesn’t say any more racist stuff, but even if he does, he still won’t be Hillary Clinton. I guess it’s good he’s being honest. But I worry such thinking could lure the Republican Party into damaging its brand more than it has to during this election cycle.
Senator Coker raises a useful question: Is there some theoretical maximum amount of bullshit the Republican Party will tolerate from its nominee? If Trump, for example, broke into the Smithsonian and added “no fat chicks” to the Declaration of Independence, would Ryan pull his endorsement? If the answer is no, no such maximum exists, I don’t know what to tell you. But if there is a limit to what Republicans will tolerate from Trump, they should set it with an eye toward expected value.
Let’s say Nate Silver is right, and Trump has a one-in-three chance of winning the election. It’s twice as likely he will lose. Whenever Trump says some crazy/evil thing, the party has to push more of its reputation into the pot or fold and withdraw its endorsement. As the election continues, it will cost the Republican brand more and more. It will also hurt the personal brands of individual party members. Probably, there will come a point of inflection, when the likelihood of his winning looks slim enough that these Republicans fold en masse.
Either that or no member of the GOP will ever admit that Trump can’t win, because that’s like voting for Hillary Clinton. In 2012, Karl Rove couldn’t even do it after the results were in. Maybe they’ll all go down with the ship. But there’s still time for them to think about it. Republicans should consider what Trump might say between now and when he loses this election, and what else they could lose by agreeing with him.
Well, it happened: Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius resigned before I could record the rap lyric I serve humans like Kathleen Sebelius, / reading Jack Handy and Marcus Aurelius. She also resigned before I could design and construct the machine that would allow me to join the Beastie Boys in a time when that rhyme scheme was appropriate, but that’s the thing about building a time machine. You can finish it whenever. Today is Friday, and we’ll bestow our gifts on the people when we damn well please. Won’t you do a basically adequate job of serving humanity with me?
In an interview with the Palm Beach Post, former Florida GOP chairman Jim Greer said that laws his party introduced in the name of combating voter fraud were actually designed to reduce voter turnout. Also, Dracula has a startling admission about the blood drive he organized at your office. We all kind of new that ID laws and limitations on early voting were actuarially engineered to give Republicans an advantage; the clue was that only Republicans proposed them. But after months of pious declarations about fraud and the integrity of the system, it’s nice to hear Greer admit it. Quote:
The Republican Party, the strategists, the consultants, they firmly believe that early voting is bad for Republican Party candidates. It’s done for one reason and one reason only…They never came in to see me and tell me we had a fraud issue. It’s all a marketing ploy.
But God never opens a door without sending a mean dog to run around your living room. Complicating details after the jump.