Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Stupid Party Outdoes Itself

I was in Athens reminding myself of civilization when the lewd sexual comments of Trump were released on a Friday. The next day a number of republicans publicly distanced themselves or unendorsed him in a spasm of self-righteousness and virtue signaling of the sort designed to mollify our corrupt media, a fool's errand suitable for said fools. The next day, Sunday a week ago today, Trump handily turned in the performance of a lifetime, easily besting Hillary Clinton across the board in the second presidential debate. This bought him exactly one day's respite.

Soon after quislings like Speaker Paul Ryan, who's accomplished precisely nothing in his time in Congress save for self-promotion, airily said he would not campaign for Trump although he wasn't withdrawing his endorsement. Variations on that ridiculous theme then continued, with republicans unable to see the calculated, timed attack for what it was. Media then commenced to release claims of various and sundry women alleging they were groped or manhandled by Trump a scant thirty years ago. All were swallowed whole by politically incompetent republicans.

Trump has been in the public eye for three decades yet so called conservatives, who have conserved nothing, decided it was prudent to credit these manufactured-on-cue claims as proven. None of them took the demonstrable track record of Bill Clinton to task, of course, now or in real time when they were learned of. This includes Hillary eagerly joining in to destroy the lives of the women Bill either raped or sexually assaulted. The record in this regard is well established, not subject to dispute but only deflection, something in which the Left excels.

I was by turns appalled, disgusted and outraged, which I remedied by throwing myself into Athens and various day tours. I kept up but only in a macro sense, which was more than enough to remind myself I'd seen this movie, or iterations of it, every four years for the last several presidential election cycles. No matter who our candidate is, they are accused of being racist, bigoted, misogynist and generally beyond the pale of our political discourse.

Now, of course, the republican establishment came after Trump with a pent-up vengeance for having shown in exquisite detail how they have been captured by their donors, doing precious little for the average voter as the Left systematically remakes the country into a third world hellhole, the better with which to have an uneducated, low skilled, dependency based populace to keep them in power.

For these republicans this election is just another election; for many Americans the country as we know it and want to maintain is at stake. No wonder the stark contrast between the two in reaction to yet the latest playbook from the Left and their apparatchiks in the media.

* * * * 

The Wikileaks revelations contained in John Podesta's emails, and others, leave no doubt that American media are democrats with a byline and then some. Time and again they are seen as coordinating with the Hillary campaign or the DNC, advancing the agenda that best serves them and burying completely any notion of even handedness or fairness. They eagerly peddle lies again and again. They should all be shot on Fifth Avenue.

Naturally, republicans didn't pivot to these revelations in order to bring them to a wider audience and turn the narrative table, which is what democrats do. Media, so comprehensively indicted and exposed, made sure not to cover them in anything amounting to substance. Why would they? But these are the audience those republicans were playing to. Apparently they can't hear the laughter of those with whom they seek to ingratiate themselves. 

Distressingly to those sorts, Trump fought back and fought back hard. What's this? A republican presidential republican nominee not going along with his own high tech lynching? This was wholly new and unheard of and, if it's possible, it earned Trump even more enmity from the republican party elites who no longer pretended they care if the most corrupt person ever to run was elected president. 

In an astonishing cycle, this was perhaps the most astonishing development: willingly abandoning their nominee in order to keep the Senate & House majorities in order to live another political day. Does anyone think the Senate will reject a single Supreme Court nominee offered up by Lady Macbeth? The president won so she gets her nominees, they reason. Such reason is never engaged in by democrats when the situation is reversed. Republicans never learn: to be successful, behave like democrats. 

Oh, this isn't elevated, is it? Their tactics are base & dirty so we should adopt them? Yes, because for Christ's sake they are effective, winning. Republicans pretend to virtue while the country is remade under their feet. No wonder the base deservedly loathes them.

* * * * 

In Minnesota many republicans followed suit in the national republican betrayal of their base, only worse. Lead among them was former Governor Tim Pawlenty who lately, like a dog to its puke, has been appearing at this or that fundraiser or campaign event. After leaving office, Pawlenty decamped to Manhattan to be employed by the Business Roundtable for a million and half dollars salary, including a midtown penthouse in which to live. You don't see that at Sam's Club. 

Pawlenty said Trump was "unsound, uninformed, unhinged, and unfit," apparently pleased at alliteration. He piled on himself, adding Trump "is unwilling or unable to demonstrate even the most basic level of discipline, character and judgment" to be president. Did Brian McClung just learn of alliteration? Because Pawlenty's public statement was filled with it. 

Likewise Rep. Erik Paulsen, whose bona fides include being against human trafficking (that's brave) and seeking to eliminate the Obamacare tax on medical devices (doing his donors bidding, a sin he shares with most every member of Congress), was not to be outdone. He stated flatly, for the first time, he would not be voting for Trump. In this he helps elect Hillary Clinton. As if to admit as much, he mewed that Congress would stand as a bulwark against her presidency despite the fact that the republican Congress as currently constituted manifestly has not done so during the Obama regime.

He then pledged to "work across the aisle." In those four words it may be said Trump arose this cycle. When was the last time you heard a democrat make such a statement? You haven't because they don't want to and democrats at least have the integrity not to insult their base by saying so. Working across the aisle, in reality, means republicans not having the spine to stand up to the progressive agenda. Quelle surprise, the progressive agenda advances. 

All this from a man who took a fully funded $27,000 all expenses paid trip to Kenya with his daughter. He also previously had pledged to vote for TPP in a lame duck session of Congress. Spare me such republicans. That said, I want Paulsen to win and I think he will. See how easy this is?

Speaker of the Minnesota House Kurt Daudt also saw fit to chime in. Daudt had made Hamlet look decisive in addressing the Trump campaign previously, but now apparently Ben Golnik ordered him to remove the picket fence from his derrière he himself had placed there. 

Daudt went on to call for Trump to withdraw, something no democrat would ever do under any circumstance and fatuously added that republicans should vote in down ballot elections because "there are many races that will determine the direction of Minnesota and our country in the years to come."

This is laughable. Those republicans have done nothing to stop Obama and his agenda. Indeed, a republican Congress has fully funded Obamacare while decrying it, done nothing to stop the waves of illegal immigration or unvetted refugees, fully funded Planned Parenthood and have generally acquiesced in the manifest ills that now plague us. On a state level, even with a republican legislature in 2012, we were supposed to be content with the "third smallest increase" in government spending. As one legislator told me, Daudt threw rural members under the bus to save a few, dicey, metro seats.

"We have met the enemy" and all that.

* * * * 

Michael Brodkorb, now writing at MinnPost about once a week, wrote an article profiling two well known political activists, one a democrat, Steve Timmer, the other a republican, Jeff Johnson, my party's nominee for governor in 2014. I know Timmer a bit through social media and have always been struck by his acumen and sagacity. As a conservative though (I no longer identify as a republican even though that's how I vote), I was most interested in Johnson's comments. 

Brodkorb writes: "And while he has concerns with Trump's personality and character, Johnson believes change is desperately needed in Washington, and that Trump can be a more credible agent for change than Clinton. “Trump will disrupt the status quo,” said Johnson. “I think a lot of people are looking for sweeping change in how government operates; only Trump will bring that.'"

That's exactly right and it's to Johnson's credit that he not only gets it, but says so. Brodkorb's piece is dated October 6th so perhaps I've missed Johnson walking away from those remarks. In any event, you can read Brodkorb's article by clicking here.

* * * * 

In similar fashion, Cyndi Brucato, also writing at MinnPost, had a piece about Minnesota republicans sticking with Trump. Coming back from abroad, it was a tonic for the troops, to quote a Boomtown Rats album title. 

She interviewed Brian LeClair and Janet Beihoffer, each of whom rightly objected to the eleven year old hot mic comments of Trump's but focused on what's at stake in this election. Beihoffer emphasized Supreme Court nominees a Hillary presidency would bring. LeClair said "There are also those of us who think Mr. Trump can be an incredible force of change. It’s not just the lesser of two evils." Quite right. 

Pressed by Brucato, no Trump supporter she, as to those republicans who had opportunistically jumped ship, Beihoffer said "I think they spoke too quickly because there is so much more at stake and we can’t afford Hillary." Quite right again.

LeClair responded "[Trump] spoke to the issues on the minds of rank and file voters. If that cycle is going to repeat itself in the general election, I’m very comfortable." Yes.

Brucato's article can be read by clicking here.

* * * * 

Two Minnesota republicans have distinguished themselves, in my opinion. The first is Rep. Tom Emmer, who I've praised before in his steadfast support of Trump and accomplished ability to message in Minnesota. Emmer sets the standard to which lesser Minnesota republican officials and operatives should aspire. 

Rachel Stassen-Berger of the Pioneer Press, together with David Montgomery, reported about Emmer after Trump's eleven year old comments were published. I'll let her reporting speak for itself:

"U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer of the 6th Congressional District, who was among the first Minnesota officials to throw his weight behind Trump, said the comments were “indefensible” and sought to refocus the debate."

See how that's done?

She reported on: “Comments and conversations involving Mr. Trump from 2005 that recently surfaced are indefensible. I am glad to see Donald Trump disavow and apologize for the comments and behavior from 2005,” Emmer said in a statement. “With little over a month before the election I hope for renewed focus on the many important issues that will impact the lives of Minnesotans and all Americans in the coming years and decades, such as: highway investments, regulation and tax reform to stimulate job growth, and polices [sic] to make sure we are all safe and secure in country and around the globe.”

Stassen-Berger's article in full can be read by clicking here.

* * * *

Pete Hegseth is the other Minnesota republican who has risen to the occasion of this most remarkable election. He ran for the republican Senate endorsement in 2012 and lost in a cycle dominated by Ron Paul supporters in Minnesota. He's since then become a FOX News contributor with an emphasis on veteran affairs and military matters. 

I can't pretend to know him well although I was just on the outside of his inner circle when he ran for Senate and offered advice whenever asked from time to time. I supported him, clearly. That year was not his year, republicans nominating Kurt Bills to run against Senator For Life & National Nanny Amy Klobuchar with predictable results.

Since then I've sensed a change in his approach to politics, increasingly supportive of Trump because Hegseth recognizes the stakes in this election. That's something many other Minnesota republicans have been unable or unwilling to do, instead taking refuge in the desire for conventional politics to return where every staffer and activist knows their place and career advancement comes from not thinking for themselves but parroting whatever lines the boss or donors instruct. That this is how we got here in the first place seems to escape them entirely.

Recently Hegseth delivered the most concise, persuasive argument for republicans and conservatives to support Trump that I have seen. In a mere one minute and four seconds Hegseth shreds the false comfort of those "on the sidelines" and indicts republicans for running away from their nominee when everything is in the balance. That Hegseth is said to harbor future political ambitions only makes his declaration all the more courageous and bold, something foreign to Minnesota republicans whose default position is to pass themselves off as Democrat-lite with predictable outcomes and, increasingly, the promise of a one party state. 

Hegseth's sterling comments can be viewed by clicking here.

* * * * 

Republicans can either learn what it takes to win this year or become used to never winning another presidential race for the foreseeable future. Trump exists because republicans and their smothering, parasitic consultants have divorced them from the people they pretend to represent. In fact, republican elites have far more in common with democrat elites, to the detriment of the nation's citizenry, as Mark Steyn has pointed out repeatedly. Captured by their donors, I believe, is the phrase.

In one sense it's not surprising that Minnesota republicans are the least able to understand what's going on in this race given that they've not won a statewide one in a decade. Door knocking won't cut it when you have no message the voters will buy.

The elections of 2018 hold no promise that this will change and they seem oddly okay with that. Their voters, however, are not and in this the abject failure of Minnesota republicans sadly mirrors that of their national counterparts, with lasting and grievous consequences.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Minneapolis Disgraces Itself: State Sanctioned Violence Against Peaceful Trump Supporters

The influential Blois Olson asked me on Twitter why I wasn't at the Trump fundraiser in downtown Minneapolis last Friday. I responded with the most famous of James Joyce quotes: "Silence, exile and cunning." Lord knows how many got the reference; doubtless few in the MNGOPe. Several republican leaders had previously made a point of signalling their absence from the event.

"I'm just not going. I got better stuff to do" said the hapless republican Speaker of the House in response to why he wouldn't be attending. His language is as slovenly as his dress.

But not even I was prepared for what followed: a sustained assault on citizens attempting to leave that venue while Minneapolis police stood by, for the most part. Some performed admirably and to them much credit should be given. Yet it wasn't nearly enough.

There were first hand reports of people being spat upon, physically assaulted and some who had their property stolen. There were even reports of people themselves being spray painted. Many of those committing the assaults on white people were identified as black, but certainly not exclusively.

Minneapolis has become a lawless city, on the verge of becoming yet another Third World City, and last Friday night proved it beyond doubt. Those who have a different political view from the reigning majority were persecuted for simply exercising their constitutional right of assembly.

Twin Cities media reporting of the night's events proved a mixed bag. There is no doubt that had the political polarities been reversed the coverage would have been far more extensive, breathless and condemnatory. But because the victims were republicans, much was glossed over. Which is to say, the violence.

Minnesota media should be ashamed of itself but it doesn't really possess the capacity.

I live tweeted reports coming in from friends and acquaintances in real time. No one in local media retweeted me even with the customary "this can't be independently confirmed." Yet time and again I've seen them retweet things favoring the Left agenda with far less credibility. Curious.

The Star Tribune's Patrick Condon filed a report that did include some of the violence but the rest of his piece is an accomplished bit of apologia, including this tidbit: "The demonstration was organized by the Minnesota Immigrants Rights Action Committee."

As far as I know, he's the only local reporter who reported this and so good for him. I try to be fair. Yet Condon gives his readers no idea who this group is or how they are funded. He gives a one sentence report which is an almost nostalgic throwback to when reporters bothered with the truth.

He then quotes one Giselda Gutierrez, a "protester who lives in Minneapolis." Great but where is she from? Has she broken into America and is one of those illegals to whom Hillary has promised instant citizenship should she become president? You'll learn nothing further from Condon's reportage about that or who funds what is likely an astroturf group that promotes illegals.

If Kate Steinle was murdered by an illegal in the Twin Cities it's doubtful we'd learn about it. Illegal alien crime simply isn't reported here. Once, though, we learned that blacks were beating up and robbing hispanics along Lake street in Minneapolis after they got paid in cash. With no white person to blame, that reporting died a quick death. I'm surprised any of it saw the light of media day, however briefly. This very much is the state of Minnesota media: dishonest.

Condon goes out of his way to note how donors arrived: "Guests began arriving around dinner time, some in limousines and other chauffeured vehicles." Forgive me for not noticing the same reporting about those attending fundraisers in Minnesota for Hillary Clinton.

He also makes much about Trump not appearing in public. Really? Trump doesn't and his supporters are still beaten? Remind me when the Star Tribune last complained about Lady Macbeth not appearing in public when she rolled into town to treat this servile state as her personal ATM and the manner of arrival of her corrupt donors.

Condon writes puff pieces about Lt. Governor Tina Flint Smith which are attempted to be passed off as either hard news or analysis. They're tiresome and transparent, fooling only those who pretend the articles aren't an in kind contribution to the DFL. Condon can at least write, however biasedly, something that can't be said about the author of the Star Tribune's Morning Hot Dish. Managing Editor Suki Dardarian's hires, as I've written previously, vary wildly in quality.

* * * * 

By contrast the Pioneer Press got the story more right than wrong and with appreciable less water carrying for the democrat establishment that runs the failing city of Minneapolis. As of this writing reporter Jaime DeLage alone reached out to contact someone who was there and a victim of the violence from the thug Left. Full disclosure: I put him in touch with said person but those two took it from there. I'm proud of my friend Cynthia Schanno for coming forth and speaking honestly about the terror she experienced. Kudos to DeLage for doing what reporters used to do before most of them became an arm of the Democratic Party.

Minnesota Public Radio remains the worst, most dishonest and biased news outlet in the state and by some distance. Their story had no individual byline and mention no violence at the event. None. MPR tends to push stories praising terrorist linked MN CAIR. If you want a quick glance at the sickness of white guilty liberals all in one place, you can't do worse than MPR.

* * * *
If DFL chair Ken Martin's people had been attacked in the same way as republicans were last Friday night, he'd have scheduled a press conference for a reasonable hour on Saturday (eleven o'clock or noon, say) to blast the police for failing in their essential job: to keep citizens participating in the political process safe from violent thugs.

Did republicans do anything at all in this regard? Of course not. Getting the story out to a wider audience was left, frankly, to me and other activists on social media. When we awoke Saturday the violence and willful abandonment of peaceful citizens to thugs and scum had made the Drudge Report. Videos of the violent assault on elderly people and others were posted at Gateway Pundit and other well respected alternative media sites. 

Despite Twin City media's politically motivated under reporting of the violence, word got out. 

Minneapolis disgraced itself in front of the nation, sending a clear signal that it treats its citizens differently based upon their political beliefs. Mayor Hodges and Police Chief Harteau already preside over the decline of a once great city. They now add to their roster of incompetence and shame what many are reporting as specific instructions to the police to stand down and not interfere with the protesters who committed such violence. 

* * * *

Last Friday was a shocking turning point for many. I myself lost an enormous amount of respect for many of the local liberals I follow on Twitter. Some actually excused the violence while most simply remained silent. These are people who think themselves possessed of integrity. Yet when it came time to demonstrate it, they were unable or unwilling to do so. 

Minnesota republicans failed to seize upon this outrage to shine a light upon what is taking place in this state and attempt to reverse it. We don't have leaders, we have mediocre politicians beholden to their donors, advised by people who simply aren't very good at their jobs. Not that they don't keep them. 

The targeted, sustained abuse of peaceful Trump supporters, abetted by a politicized Minneapolis police force force, and tacitly condoned by a corrupt media, marks a descent into Third World politics. 

You can pretend this is overstating the case but only if you haven't been paying attention. 

Photo credit: Renee Jones Schneider, Star Tribune

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Congresswoman Terri Bonoff?

One debate does not an election make. Yet having just watched the first debate between incumbent republican Erik Paulsen and DFL state senator Terri Bonoff I have to conclude that unless something dramatic happens the voters of CD 3--including many republicans--may well make Bonoff their next member of Congress.

I was shocked at how poorly Paulsen performed: tied to notes, rote, dispassionate, reverting to tropes that had no traction and unable to articulate a single reason why voters should support him except for voting on the next Speaker of the House.

Who gave him such lousy advice? Minnesota House republicans? It was an uneven match in terms of effective communication and sheer persuasive skills.

Bonoff stressed her private sector experience of twenty years, something of which Paulsen has none, having been an elected official of some sort or another since he was twenty-five. She appeared fresh, cogent and not a machine politician. In other words, Bonoff had the better grasp of the zeitgeist and not the three term member of Congress. Go figure.

Time and again Bonoff stressed how she had voted apart from her party's positions on several issues. Paulsen's supporters on Twitter were fast and good at pointing out various discrepancies in those claims but the incumbent only occasionally contradicted her. The net result was that the democrat seemed far more well positioned as an independent political actor than her opponent.

Paulsen appeared particularly abject when dancing around whether to support Trump. He tried to cast Bonoff's endorsement of Hillary as a negative. This in the Third District?

When it comes to Trump Erik Paulsen is no Tom Emmer, by which I mean he has no idea how to message effectively and still affirmatively support the republican candidate for president. I'm no Biblical scholar but didn't Christ say something about spitting people out of His mouth who are neither hot nor cold?

People respect loyalty even if they disagree with that to which the loyalty is pledged. It's seen as a sign of character, of substance. By equivocating, at best, over supporting Trump, Erik Paulsen earns himself the worst of both worlds and possibly a pink slip.

Paulsen emphasized his efforts to eliminate the medical device tax, which is simply doing his donors' bidding. He also stressed he worked with Sen. Amy Klobuchar on sex trafficking. Neither of these issues do anything for his constituents in the district but it's all in keeping with bad consultant advice to appear as little a genuine republican as possible in the district. I'm used to democrats thinking voters are stupid but it's galling to see that approach taken by a so called republican.

Paulsen rarely went on offense, something of a sine qua non for both GOPe and MNGOPe types. Instead, they want to be liked by media and elites in an increasingly one party state. Once, and only once, did he say plainly that fellow Congressional republicans hadn't done enough to advance their own agenda. No kidding: how else does one explain the base abandoning such career politicians to embrace Trump? Good, bad or indifferent, Trump at least promises the potential to change things.

The questions asked in the debate were all generated by various Chambers of Commerce and so naturally didn't include a single one about illegal immigration. There was one question about trade and even there Paulsen couldn't rise to the occasion and steal from Trump: he's for fair trade but some of these deals have injured the American worker and should be modified.

Given the opportunity to say clearly that he supported a "repeal and replace" strategy with respect to Obamacare, Paulsen couldn't bring himself to do it. I wanted to slap him. Instead he noodled around the edges, muttering about keeping 26 year olds on their parents' insurance policies.

Bonoff's closing was a tour de force: focused, concise and designed to appeal to those who had previously voted republican. Paulsen's was boiler plate, ending with a recitation of the various groups who have endorsed him. By then it was far too late: he lost decisively in this high profile debate.

To be sure, Paulsen is the incumbent and has a good deal of money on hand. Yet I don't think that's good enough with a challenger as accomplished as Terri Bonoff.

Voters need a reason to keep someone in office and Paulsen gave them very little. By contrast, Bonoff positioned herself perfectly in the debate, saying explicitly she was someone voters could trust.

Paulsen never uttered the word.

Photo credit: MPR


Shortly after this was posted The Uptake tweeted out about a minute video of Rep. Paulsen answering questions about his refusal to support Trump. It's painful to watch. Click here.

Correction: The initial version of this article had Paulsen a 14 year member of Congress. That is incorrect. He is a three term member seeking his fourth term and the piece has been revised accordingly. He has held elective office of some sort continuously since 1995.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Muslims & Minnesota Media: First in a Series

I hadn't planned on launching this series of blog posts quite yet but recent events left me no choice. Indeed, they define the very reason such a series is needed. Consequently this initial post will be shorter than those to come.

Scott Johnson of Powerline recently reported astounding news that, by rights, should be front page news in Minnesota, as well as covered extensively on television and on radio. He found evidence that makes it appear highly likely that Ilhan Omar, who recently defeated a long term Jewish DFL incumbent in the House, married her brother, thereby committing immigration fraud as well as bigamy.

His explosive reporting can be read by clicking here.

Shamefully, not a single Minnesota media outlet as of this writing has carried his story. Other social media accounts have done so and there's reason to believe some national outlets might get around to covering this.

But Minnesota media? Nothing so far and they have a very high regard for themselves as some sort of truth tellers and the like.

Johnson tweeted earlier today at Tom Hauser, who hosts the stale and banal weekend political talk show "At Issue," whether he'd be reporting the story he broke. (Hauser is not the problem with the show, its producers are.)

At any rate no response from him to Johnson's request for coverage. I asked on Twitter a variety of other reporters from various "news" outlets the same question. No response.

Hauser shouldn't be picked out from the pack, in my view. The rest of the (mostly Twin Cities based) Minnesota media likewise are ignoring the story. That they consider themselves to have any integrity or credibility is a sign of group psychosis.

I'll be launching Minnesota Media Monitor: Accountability Starts Here™ later in the year but I needed to post on this subject immediately.

I've been struck for some time how limited local media's understanding of all things Islamic and Muslim is. They approach the topic(s) as another non-white victimology story, of which they are accomplished dissemblers.

But where is their coverage of reform Muslims? Do they know of Tarek Fatah? Irshad Manjii? Maajid Nawaz? Ayaan Hirsi Ali? Probably they've heard of the last one but only to ignore what it is she is about.

White, guilty, liberal and lazy is the best summary I can give of Twin Cities media. These past few days shows them complicit in dishonesty because such advances their political ideology.

When Johnson approached the Omar campaign with his questions, he heard back not from it but a criminal defense lawyer. As he rightly said: "Yet the response was also newsworthy for what it said, or rather didn’t say. It didn’t deny any relevant fact. Rather, it falsely disparaged my motives as bigoted. I find that disgusting."

Scott Johnson deserves some kind of an award and Minnesota Media Monitor™ is precisely the organization who may give it to him. Or we may just name an ongoing award in his name. Either way, it will stand for honesty and courage in the face of media corruption.

Photo: The world's most famous Somali, Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

© 2016 John Hugh Gilmore & Minnesota Media Monitor™ All rights reserved.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Masterful: Tom Emmer's Embrace Of Trump

One of the most interesting developments in Minnesota republican politics in the Age of Trump has been Congressman Tom Emmer's shrewd, deft embrace of him. Surprisingly, this has received very little analysis, especially in republican circles.

To be sure, his comments are reported on in the Twin Cities and other media. He's not making them to obscure or limited market news outlets. All the more reason to praise him.

Yes, praise Rep. Emmer for getting it at a time when most Minnesota republicans simply do not. I don't want to take away from that praise when I say that it isn't difficult to do what he has done, but at the same time his very doing of it constitutes an essential difference between him and virtually every other elected Minnesota republican.

The word leadership comes to mind.

For those outside the bubble of Minnesota republicans, which apparently are the majority of Minnesota voters, Emmer in his first term as a member of Congress has played against the type that he ran on as a candidate. Seeking to succeed Michele Bachmann, he positioned himself just slightly to the left of her. Once in office, he has resembled a traditionally conservative Minnesota republican not at all.

Some have found fault with that development and they're entitled to their opinion. To take just one issue, it's extremely unreasonable to have expected the freshman Congressman to have voted against John Boehner as Speaker. This isn't the place for an extended discussion of those issues. I simply note that Tom Emmer has surprised many since becoming a member of Congress.

* * * *
Trump came in third in the Minnesota republican caucuses, behind Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. Minnesota republicans have yet to get behind Trump in the way one would normally expect.

Sen. Rubio, to his credit, has become full throated in his support of Trump for President but this appears to move his Minnesota supporters very little. They're a tiresome, dense lot. And Ted Cruz is so politically inept I've made him an honorary member of MNGOPe.

Here, then, comes Rep. Emmer not only falling into line but making an excellent, affirmative case for Trump, sharply contrasting him to the most corrupt person ever to run for the presidency of the republic. The sheer mechanics of how he does this is quite impressive.

On August 1st he gave an interview to MPR's Tom Weber in which he skillfully avoided the landmines of the media trap known as Khizr Khan. Trump's reaction to Khan's political attack on him at the DNC, using the death of  his heroic son as a shield to any criticism, was overplayed by the media as the literal end of the election: President Hillary, please clap.

That week's polling showed very bad numbers for Trump although the quality of polling outfits varied. No one is sure how to project turnout this fall given the large numbers of first time or fallen away voters Trump may generate. Interestingly, just yesterday we learned that the Trump campaign has hired the political consulting firm widely credited with the Brexit win: it specializes in identifying and turning out first time voters.

A Reuters/IPSOS poll released two days ago has the race a dead heat: Hillary ahead by less than three. This put a damper on the celebrations of the media and some Never Trump republicans. Suddenly the Khan flap seems a very long time ago.

Emmer's MPR interview is a bit less than fifteen minutes. I encourage readers to listen to it; no recapitulation by me can do it justice. Note especially the stale, tired questions formulated by Weber (men may find a drop in their testosterone levels given the sound of his voice), including bringing up Mexican rapists, something from June of last year.

But then pay special attention to how Emmer responds: astutely, concisely and with measured, projected confidence. When I heard him respond to a question previously asked "Listen, I've given you that already Tom," I knew Emmer was operating on a more sophisticated, accomplished level than any other republican in the state. He's mastered the art of a Minnesota republican unapologetically defending and prosecuting the case for Trump and made it look easy. Those skills will serve Emmer well in the future, whether Trump wins or loses.

You can hear his interview by clicking here.  

* * * *
Congressman Emmer's support for Trump is all the more remarkable given the skittish nature of other elected republican officials, both federal and state. In some ways, given the unconventional nature of Trump's candidacy, one could have expected Emmer to elide the subject as much as possible. 

Only he hasn't done so, in fact he's done the opposite. By so doing he shows by example how to advance the political argument for republicans in an increasingly one party state. Those elected officials, candidates, party officials, and activists who feign political agnosticism when it comes to Trump are made to look shallow and venal. Emmer makes a persuasive case for Never Hillary and does so without rancor or sharp edges. 

Congressman Emmer's interview with MPR is political brilliance. His pitch perfect support of Donald Trump makes him the state's leading republican and offers much needed hope that the party will not go the way of California republicans. He should be widely imitated.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Minnesota Republicans In The Age Of Trump

Donald Trump delivered what was required of him last Thursday night: the speech of a lifetime in which he accepted the Republican Party's nomination for president. It was a remarkable climax to a year in which every bit of political wisdom was discarded outright or turned on it's head. The acclaim for his speech was near universal: even critics praised it before condemning it. Of course, the media were quick to see its effectiveness and branded it as dark, possibly dangerous.

In a 76 minute performance that never flagged, Trump leveled with the American people, telling them that the time for lies was over, that he'd talk about those things they never see on television or in their newspapers.

He then set out in systematic and devastating fashion to describe our current condition. Afterward, a CNN instant poll found 75% of those who saw it had a positive view of the speech. This was not what media wanted and they commenced to redouble their efforts to talk it down. Too late: the American people liked what they heard.

Earlier in the week Michael Moore told Bill Maher that Trump will win the election. The despair on the left was almost complete. It's worth seeing the video when Moore speaks the truth few democrats will utter: click here.

Ivanka Trump introduced her father and herself delivered a thoughtful and well received speech. Having his children speak each night of the campaign was Trump's idea and highly unusual for a political convention. It proved to be a masterstroke. Fashion mavens pointed out that the modest but beautiful dress Ivanka wore was from her own collection and cost $138. I'm told women noticed: millennial women in particular.

Remember: Trump has no idea what he's doing.

* * * * 

For the most part, the Minnesota republican delegation to Cleveland acted consistently with how I've branded them: the dumbest republicans in the nation. Again, in case you're not a regular reader, I mean this collectively and on the political plane, not in any individual case or ad hominem manner. Political acumen, or its absence really, is what I'm speaking about. 

It would be easier to explain if most of the delegates weren't bright but that's just not the case (well, for the most part). Accordingly, the mystery as to why Minnesota republicans seem unable to grasp the times in which they live this political cycle and use it to their advantage only deepens. 

The delegation made a fool of itself Monday night when it joined, then withdrew, from a last gasp Never Trump effort to have a roll call vote on issues that had been addressed in the Rules Committee, which met the week before. Apart from that, Minnesota was largely invisible nationally, fit only to be the subject of stories by the hapless local democrat reporters who were sent to cover them. In typical grifter fashion, a couple MNGOPe types thanked them for their coverage. 

But Minnesota media's coverage of the convention was uniformly mediocre and unimaginative, although the cover of that Friday's Star Tribune made up for it somewhat, eliciting complaints from liberals that the coverage wasn't tilted toward them for a change. Click here to see the front page of the Star Tribune the morning after Trump's speech. 

* * * * 

I don't know how republicans in Minnesota will do this fall but I'm fairly certain it will be less well than should be the case. The mentally retarded political reaction to Trump in this state by the republican establishment was simultaneously nauseating & infuriating. They forced me into calling them the dumbest republicans in the nation: I had nothing to do with it.

Initial reluctance to embrace Trump was completely understandable. People forget I started out as a Scott Walker supporter. His shrewd decision to leave the race early only helps his stature now. I moved to Trump by degrees, by fits and starts really. I hadn't seen anything like him before either.

There was no one moment I can recall being the tipping point. It's like how dreams have no beginning: we're just in them, that's all we recall, never the beginning.

At one point I understood. The Trump "red pill effect"some call it and there is something to that. Outside of up and coming apparatchiks, can anyone take the "rising stars" in the party seriously? Can anyone avoid the obvious influence of donors who make indentured servants out of those laughable "stalwart conservatives" who preen but never deliver?

The majority of Minnesota republicans didn't get it, preferring virtue signaling instead of substantive engagement. These types get taken down by their provincialism every time. The problem is that they have so much company at the bottom.

They're so Minnesota-centric it's no wonder we miss out on national wave elections.

Now we have crouched down Minnesota republicans, unknowingly used by local media to play into their anti-republican narratives, republicans who are spooked by not knowing what they stand for.

How could such a hollow group not be threatened by Trump?

* * * * 

When I look at Minnesota republican politics I never see a plan, a strategy, some sort of political IQ over 85. Instead, I see a disparate set of often conflicting policy positions, reflecting its ad hoc nature which is one neither of principle nor certainly of competence, engaged in by people who know each other but who just aren't very good at politics.

Trump opened enormous opportunities for a variety of republican interests in Minnesota to message against the dominant culture here. The themes were endless and could be tailored to any particular locale  in the state. 

Virtually no republicans have picked up on this amazing chance. Democrats in this state wouldn't win at the rates they do if we had a competent opposition party. We do not. 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

How Much Zeitgeist Can MN Republicans Ignore?

Three days ago Great Britain voted to withdraw from the European Union of which it had been a member state for 43 years. The results were rightly characterized as a global political earthquake.

Before the vote the Remain camp was smugly confident of victory, with every tool of the modern welfare state arrayed against the Leave camp, including laughable accusations that wanting to regain lost sovereignty, control over its borders and powers of taxation amounted to racism.

All was for naught with 52% of the country voting Leave with 48% voting Remain. The media in Great Britain, America and throughout the world proclaimed the end of days. Markets declined because they got it wrong; they always decline when they get it wrong because they failed to make money. Such are the ways of the market. As of this writing they are already stabilizing. Such are the ways of the market. The alternative is Venezuela: take your pick.

It's too bad there are more failed cultures than successful ones, more failed nations than successful ones, but the West has no moral obligation to destroy its achievements by importing backward, frequently rapist, cultures in order to make guilty white liberals feel better, wholly aside from the fact that they exempt themselves routinely from the worst consequences of their disastrous ideas.

Get stuffed, I believe, is the British expression.

* * * * 

How tight a leash does Ben Golnik have Speaker Daudt on? It seems to me they're both choking, so an adjustment might be in order.

I'm trying to figure out why Daudt so often seems stricken, unprepared but, worse, unsure. How can you not anticipate the questions the hilariously self-important, mind-numbingly liberal, local media will ask you, especially about Trump? 

Daudt seems to think that doing what Golnik advises constitutes leadership. Who will tell him?

Both men are friends of mine in a general sense; we don't socialize but they return my phone calls, which are rare. For someone who tries to write honestly, that's the best I can hope for, even (or especially) from my own "side." 

I always joke it's a good thing I didn't become involved in Minnesota republican politics to make friends. I'm continuously taken aback at it's fundamentally high school nature. 

The Speaker can't speak coherently about Trump. It's almost July. It's ridiculous.

There are any number of variations on the following: "I support our nominee, as I have all previous nominees. The overwhelming majority of Americans believe the country is on the wrong track and the evidence for that is everywhere [insert Minnesota specific details here]. What no one wants is the most corrupt person ever to run for president being elected. The big banks and Wall Street own Hillary Clinton; she got rich while making others poor. She's never been a friend of the middle class."

Etcetera. Just think it through but stop avoiding the question because your advisors are afraid the DFL will tie you to Trump. They're going to try anyway but the old playbooks don't apply this cycle. We've seen it time and again. Just laugh as Minnesota progressives crank up their outrage machine. People no longer buy it.

Trump, if nothing else, has destroyed political correctness. The media hate him because their power lay in enforcing it. Now everyone just laughs at the media who are increasingly left to talk to themselves.

Minnesota republicans simply don't know how to play the game in this new age and it shows. Stewart Mills and Jason Lewis are notable exceptions.

Daudt recently said that Trump will do well in rural Minnesota so perhaps he's changing his approach from paralysis and equivocation to something approximating effective messaging. Much remains to be seen but I hope he continues in this direction.

Currently, the Speaker has been given a vision so myopic that it amounts to political blindness. His advisors have a bunker mentality, pretending a good defense is a substitute for a good offense.

Trump was an American Brexit before Brexit. Brexit itself has broad themes to be deduced from it. Our impoverished political commentariat says that if something can't be wholly applied to something else, then we need pay no mind, nothing of Brexit applies to the American presidential cycle. They're wrong: it's called the zeitgeist.

Brexit applies but only because the American political cycle got to what it represents first: a revolt against the established order set in place by the elites to benefit the elites. 

* * * * 

The day after the Brexit vote I saw in the early morning four local media anti-Trump tweets within a short span of time. Two were from Star Tribune editors and two were from MPR reporters. These democrats with a byline knew instinctively what the Brexit win meant for national politics in America. And they were unhappy.

How can Minnesota republicans be so politically obtuse? Why are they not seizing upon the extraordinary times this election cycle presents them?

Because they're not very good at their jobs; in fact routinely terrible.

This particular Occam's razor took some time coming to me, resisting it as I did given the fact there was little I could do about it if such were true.

The delegates being sent from Minnesota to Cleveland are a depressing lot; some exceptions apply. I expect tweets about jorts, the Tastiest! Burgers! In! Cleveland! a few craft beers comments and how they compare to Minnesota's and similar idiocies.

These people, as well as the people who know them in their political network, and those networks themselves, and their donors, are what I refer to as MNGOPe. It's nothing personal at all: most are very nice.

Politically, they're insisting they are purer republicans than Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, both of whom have endorsed Trump without reservation.

What to do with such types? They'll scuttle to Cleveland, come back to hang onto the Minnesota House narrowly and set themselves up for an even worse performance than what we just saw in the last legislative session, where DFL spending was enacted into law but where Republican tax cuts got vetoed.

But they'll still be getting paid, which is their highest priority.

Looking to the 2018 gubernatorial race, they'll be poll tested, focus grouped and still out of touch, with messaging both feckless and unappealing. The wholly manufactured political persona of Marco Rubio appeals greatly to them and with good reason: in that fraud they see themselves.

They seem incapable of understanding at any level the enormous changes unfolding in America and the wider world. Large areas of the political terrain are theirs but for the asking. Ask they won't and serious observers must then wonder, if they won't take advantage of the zeitgeist, will they survive as a meaningful political party?

On balance Minnesota republicans are heading to a status similar to California republicans: irrelevant, a fossil that is tolerated with amusement by those who wield real political power. It doesn't have to be this way but, until Minnesota republicans realize only they can save themselves, it looks increasingly likely this will be the outcome they'll suffer.


Sunday, May 22, 2016

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Stanek

In January I wrote a piece called "The Coming of Governor Tina Flint Smith." The title of the piece was, essentially, its substance. It can be read by clicking here.

At the end of it I suggested that there was only one republican who could beat Smith in a general election. Many thought that I was referring to Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek and, in fact, I was. In the five months that passed since I wrote that column, however, I was uncertain if he had any interest in the job. I'm not a confidante of the Sheriff and would hardly share anything here if I were. That said, the people I know who know him much better have been saying they see no indication of him running for governor. Yesterday I concluded he is.

Stanek is a sui generis republican: the largest vote getter of any republican in the state and consistently so. Police work has been thoroughly politicized--you might have noticed--and Stanek deftly has stayed on top of that process while not succumbing outright to it. Frequently it's hard to discern whether cops in Minnesota are law enforcement or social workers with clipboards. External, highly organized elements outside of it have taken their toll: what would otherwise constitute straightforward police work is now tinged with politically correct language and posturing so as not to offend the perpetually offended. There really is nothing that progressives touch which they don't make worse.

Stanek's politics are both obvious and obtuse. Centered in the world of policing, he strikes moderate positions on the issues du jour: opioid abuse, bad! human trafficking, not cool! bike theft from self-absorbed yuppies in south Minneapolis, wrong! And so forth. If he's done or said something controversial lately I've simply missed it and I've been paying attention. In some ways, his appeal to too many factions is the most off putting thing about him to me. I'm happy to live with it, though.

He says he loves his job and from all appearances this seems to be the case. Some say he has no desire to be governor but, rather, to become head of the National Sheriff's Association. This has always struck me as wanting more cowbell: how appealing is it really to be head of an association you've been a member of for a long time? Then again, every Elks Lodge must have its grand master or whatever.

Yesterday Stanek addressed the Minnesota Republican Party state convention in Duluth with his wife in attendance. Had he declared the day before that he was running for governor his speech wouldn't have needed to be changed in the slightest. Indeed, I thought it was unambiguously blunt: he bragged about his vote totals in Hennepin County, he condemned go along to get along governing which only results in bigger government (the managed surrender style of House Speaker Kurt Daudt seemed to be the target here) and said that a tax increase is a tax increase, not a "user fee" with respect to higher license tab fees put forth by republicans.

But it was more than that: he pointed out he carried all 45 cities in Hennepin County his last election, and then went on to a crowd approving recitation: calling for immigration enforcement (he's weak on this subject and must improve), protecting gun ownership, pressing for prosecution of Hillary's email national security crimes, and coming down on the side of Apple in the privacy wars (doesn't he update this speech?).

All that could reasonably be said to be just so much red meat to a red meat audience. Well and good. Yet Stanek immediately went on with no transition to speak about issues far afield from Hennepin County policing. He was unsubtle but I liked that; I would.

For example, Stanek came out against the paid family leave initiative in Minneapolis, disparaged any need for an increase in either the gas tax or license tab fees, reminded the party it had endorsed him a mere 8 times, and used the word "great" about a dozen times in his closing remarks.

Here is what I found to be his most directly political comment:

"You know folks I think as republicans we need to be much clearer with Minnesota voters in our message about what we stand for. We need to break down the walls of the party, get rid of the party test and the "not conservative enough" messaging that gets in the way of winning winnable elections."

His demeanor was refreshingly, unapologetically what we used to think of as republican. The contrast to the sad heirs of the failed Pawlenty governorship (and style) could hardly be starker, yet without being strident. Stanek, if he wishes, can win big in Minnesota by doing what I've advocated all republicans do: strip out Trump, win on Trumpism.

Make Minnesota Great Again.™

The Uptake provided exceptional coverage of the convention and Stanek's speech can be seen in its entirety by clicking here.

Photo credit: Left to right Janee Harteau, Richard Stanek, President Barack Obama
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Trump's Triumph & Minnesota Republicans

On the night of the Indiana primary, which effectively sealed Donald Trump's victory as the republican nominee for president, progressive powerhouse and CNN commentator Van Jones cautioned his fellow democrats about mistaking this candidate for one who could easily be beaten. To the contrary, and running against the grain of smugness for which liberalism is justifiably known, Van Jones perceptively admonished his peers to build the sandbags high because "there's a wave coming."

Since Trump has become our nominee (enough with the "presumptive" lingo), Minnesota republicans have displayed their trademark incompetence, dithering and, worst of all, hollowed-out virtue signaling, in trying to fashion a response to the attacks from the well oiled astroturf groups on the Left who believe, mistakenly, that their old playbook can be used once again this cycle.

Elsewhere it would fail aborning: Trump has destroyed the suffocating miasma of political correctness and the unwarranted influence the media has had for too long in the selection process of republican nominees. Please like us, please clap. Those same toadies exist in Minnesota and account in no small measure for why republicans haven't won a statewide race in a decade. Wake me when we have someone who can defeat Tina Flint Smith cum Elena Ceausescu.™

Here it might work because Minnesota republicans don't know how to fight, push back, stand up or advocate for what they believe in, to the extent they believe in anything not up for sale to the highest bidder. Compromise is their métier and they expect to be applauded for routinely surrendering on the most favorable terms possible. That it's a surrender is, to them, beside the point. Look at the terms! No wonder Trump's emphasis on winning scares them so: winning isn't in their vocabulary.

* * * *
We have far too many republicans, in or out of office, on Almanac or At Issue or not, who simply don't know how to message in this environment. Of course, they've not very savvy in the best of circumstances and with Trump the mediocrity of Minnesota republicans takes on an especially high profile. But, as Dan Rather would say, "courage."

Overwhelmingly Americans believe the country is on the wrong track. The hackneyed phrase "change election" is certainly warranted in being applied to this one. For Minnesota republicans, not to fasten onto this is malpractice. 

"Yes, I support the nominee as I have every presidential election year. Like those prior nominees, there are some things I agree with and others I don't. But what's clear is the damage President Obama and the far left have inflicted on this country. Hillary wants an Obama third term but the Minnesotans I talk to don't seem interested. Forget Trump as the messenger, we can all agree on the areas that he has highlighted."

One then proceeds to tailor to their area, district or cause those issues which help them gain and maintain traction. There's no shortage: stagnant wages, zero good jobs creation, America's low standing in the world's regard, foolish wars that Hillary will only continue or--Rubio like--start new, i.e., Syria, illegal immigration & its attendant crime wave, the refreshing and correct characterization of the American media (scum) and so on. I would suggest that the variations on these themes are only limited by one's imagination but that quality is in short supply amongst republicans here. 

The DFL, for a change, is looking stale and outdated. Is there anything Trump can't do? The press conferences, press releases, sound bites and quotes in the local liberal media should be laughed at because they're not to be taken seriously. Laugh when they call Trump racist; no one believes it. Laugh when they call Trump misogynist; no one believes it. Whatever the over the top characterization, laughter is the best response. He's had ten months of national coverage, national attacks, and none of those smears have stuck because they're not true in the slightest. In other words Minnesota republicans, he's withstood far more than you ever could and has already done the work for you this cycle. The least you could do is pick up on it.

Republicans on the Iron Range should be flat out running on Trump's themes of populism and nationalism. His appeal to a significant portion of democrats is nowhere more in evidence there. By not affirmatively seizing those themes and echoing them, republicans let democrats escape once more. The very idea of holding Minnesota democrats responsible for failure seems anathema to Minnesota republicans. Strip out Trump: run on Trumpism. I should charge for this column even though it points out only the bleedingly obvious. And to think of those who get paid for helping our candidates routinely lose.

* * * * 

At present there seems to be a significant Chicken Little brigade in Minnesota republican politics (cringingly they attempt to pass themselves off as the smart set, except they're the type you just know don't read books). They've always existed but this cycle they want more than usual to be liked by the press and the democrats. Some are lobbyists, some are in staff positions or ensconced in low level office. None are leaders and few possess actual skills to make them good in their political role. The chief goal of such types appears to be the approval of similar types. Why republicans haven't won a statewide race in a decade is no mystery.

Running away from Trump this cycle will be a disaster for Minnesota republicans. Using his political phenomenon and resulting political earthquake can yield real benefits. But you have to be good, you have to take the initiative and you have to attack the corrupt left. As John Lennon sang about a different topic "it's easy if you try."

The trying is all. Why not do it? Think if the DFL had socialist Bernie Sanders atop their ticket. Would you see chuckleheads on local political television say that they won't support him for this reason or that? Would you see their leader in the House make a hash of things in declining to endorse him until he was instructed otherwise by his political svengali?

Of course we wouldn't. They'd distance themselves from the least helpful aspects of Bernie, cherry pick themes and issues that work best for them and trash relentlessly the republican opponent. The latter point is key: democrats in this state are shameless, frequently unethical and routinely demagogic. The republicans tend to be weak, insipid and full of unwarranted self regard.

Can this change in a single cycle? The people who said it was going to be Jeb, or Rubio, or Cruz are hardly the ones to ask. Those of us who understood we were witnessing a political upheaval, even as we tried to understand it, have a different view. At a minimum, we're optimistic that things can change in ways never before thought possible. That includes Minnesota republicans becoming politically competent.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Trump's New York Landslide As Felt In Istanbul

I've been in Istanbul for approximately the last week but committed to my Canadian readers to write something about the pivotal New York state primary. Below is what ran at Blazing Cat Fur where I've been asked to blog the 2016 presidential races.

* * * * 

Our American Friend: Trump’s New York Landslide As Felt In Istanbul

Yes, our American friend was cornered in a flat in a middle eastern metropolis. Briefly deprived of Twitterfeed (to him what Kryptonite is to Superman), he agreed to write this for us:


I’m finishing up a week’s vacation in Istanbul and today was awoken before the morning call to prayer. Let me assure you that that is indeed early (for those of you who know Istanbul, I’m staying in a private flat just off Sultanahmet Square with a view of the Blue Mosque from one of my windows). I was awoken by notices cascading into and onto my iPhone about the early New York returns and what they portended.

Trump Towers, blared the New York tabloids later in the day and that, in fact, was the case.

As of this writing it appears Trump will receive 90 of the 95 delegates available in this primary. His win was wide and deep, forcing even some of his most relentless critics to admit that he had, in a single primary, made the path to the requisite 1,237 delegates substantially more likely. This was a bitter admission from those who had for months denied the reality of Trump’s appeal to a base that hasn’t been this energized in several generations.

Ted Cruz, Trump’s sole remaining substantial competitor, was destroyed by the Empire State, earning a pathetic 15% of the vote and zero delegates.

The upcoming states–Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut, New Jersey & Rhode Island–will favor Trump as well. This gives him quite a stretch of doing nothing but “winning.”

To be candid, this comes as a relief to his supporters, who are often derided as ignorant or worse. In fact, they know more than anyone the strengths and weaknesses of their candidate. The last two weeks saw Trump quiet by his standards, tweeting much less often and speaking in measured tones with an eye toward the convention in Cleveland in July and beyond.

Trump’s victory speech was short, gracious and focused. Everything, in a word, that it should have been. He was scrupulously on message and when he is, he’s at his most effective.

Thank Paul Manafort, says the conventional wisdom, which for a change is not wrong or facile. Manafort is an experienced player in this realm and his management of Trump’s campaign is increasingly obvious and increasingly effective. He was recently hired and with not much time to spare. Having said that, the more reality based observers are starting to admit that Trump will be the nominee, for good or for ill.

I’ve said in this space that if he won South Carolina, which he did handily, he would be the republican nomination. The GOP establishment has shown itself to be hide bound, blinkered and incompetent, content with feeding at the trough of the status quo whether elections were won by it or not.

The discussion going forward will now be how Cruz is simply unable to compete with Trump in large areas of the country, cementing a reputation for losing. “Lose with Cruz” applies both to the nomination and the general election.

A “tell” is something in gambling which gives away the game, usually denoting a bluff. The most interesting tell of the night (and early morning here) came from Anthony Scaramucci.

He is one of the GOP’s top fundraisers in a cycle which has shown their ownership of the republican party to an unprecedented degree and concomitant contempt for the base.

He tweeted: “If [Trump] doesn’t get to 1237 it won’t be by much. Stealing nomination from him at that point would be party suicide.”

Quite. And the party will not commit suicide no matter how much bravado is currently being thrown about. Then it’s on to the general election against Lady Macbeth, who handily won New York over Bernie Sanders.

Trump has a knack for succinctly and fatally defining his opponents. He call Jeb Bush low energy and referred to Senator Rubio as Little Marco. Of course, he continues to call Cruz Lyin’ Ted.

He unveiled this week his moniker for Mrs. Clinton: Crooked Hillary.

This will stick because it’s true. The next seven and a half months will prove to be remarkably interesting and unusual.

As I’m fond of saying on Twitter: “Never end, cycle.”