So during a discussion of politics at my writer’s group, our (possibly only) conservative member expressed support for Ted Cruz. There was disagreement. He then suggested that at least we could all agree Donald Trump is an idiot. No dispute. Only thinking about it now, I’m not so sure.
No question, Trump says stupid things. And there’s serious question how smart his plans for winning the nomination are: from most accounts, he has very little campaign organization and that’s undoubtedly going to cost him. And his reputation as a wheeler-dealer businessman is much overrated. But a lot of the stupid stuff he says is less Trump being an idiot than being a bullshit artist: babble about Mexicans being disease-ridden, rape-minded vermin and how he’ll build a wall across the border and make Mexico pay for it aren’t calculated lies (“Hmm, Mexicans are nice people … I must spread negative stories about them to build support for me politically.”) but flinging out whatever will get him closer to the nomination.
And given Trump just won the New Hampshire primary, it’s quite obvious he’s smart enough to know what a large chunk of Republican voters want: someone who’ll talk smack about Mexicans, women and Muslims, babble about making America great again and promise them a better financial safety net. He doesn’t cover up his bigotry with dog whistles, and he doesn’t back down when called on it (which translates into Refusing to Bow to Political Correctness for voters who wonder why using the n-word gets them criticized when they’re so totally not racist). Some of that may be luck—Trump isn’t a person who backs down much—but not all of it. Let’s not forget, pretty much everyone figured he’d have folded by this point (myself included).
Bonus: Roy Edroso on the right-wing pundits reacting to Trump’s win.
•Whether or not he’s an idiot, Trump is apparently pro-torture.
•Consumerist points out the baloney in Quicken’s super-b0wl ad.
•A lot of companies have set up headquarters in the suburbs over recent decades. Now they’re moving back to the cities.
•No, net neutrality rules are not destroying the broadband industry.
•Marco Rubio tells a gay voter he totally supports the man’s right to live any way he wants … unless of course he wants to get married. And that it’s all about state’s rights (it’s never about state’s rights).
•Tech company VTech has a simple solution to data breachs and hacks: exempt itself from legal responsibility.
•The Department of Justice says one tax-prep service got great refunds for customers by making shit up.
•Twitter has an advisory board to find ways to reduce online harassment. Which one libertarian writer at Reason says is just like the Ministry of Truth in 1984. Except, of course, not being part of the government, not being mandatory, little things like that. Of course it’s not inherently un-libertarian to criticize business, but it’s telling that the author spends most of the article comparing Twitter’s decision to oppressive big government, then throws in “of course, it’s their business” at the very end.
•The Koch Brothers are engaging in heavy rebranding to convince the public their goal is public good, not profits. Jane Mayer at the link is less than convinced. Echidne of the Snakes adds some thoughts.
•The businessman now running St. Mary’s University has a simple solution to reducing the drop-out race: push students out before the statistics are compiled. Particularly students with mental health problems.
•The Supreme Court has suspended Obama’s climate change plan until a lower court rules on its legality.