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Andy Ostroy
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Andy Ostroy is a New York City-based political analyst and blogger who's appearances on various television and radio programs including MSNBC, ABC and Fox News. His blog The Ostroy Report is at www.ostroyreport.com. Twitter @AndyOstroy

Entries by Andy Ostroy

The Trump 'Pivot'

(1) Comments | Posted April 25, 2016 | 3:24 PM

Seems like hardly a nanosecond ago Donald Trump, the Republican front runner, sounded like an ignorant, intolerant, sexist, racist buffoon. And since his big win in the New York primary last week, he's put much of the nastiness on hold and, according to the mainstream media, is sounding more "presidential." Talk about setting the bar low.

Welcome to Trump's new reality show: The Pivot. In a flash, he's all but replaced his controversial campaign manager Corey Lewandowski with Paul Manafort, the embodiment of the very political establishment which Trump excoriates, a theme on which he's built his entire campaign; a campaign fueled by the candidate's Morton Downey-esque blistering persona and incendiary rhetoric.

But now Trump appears to be on a calculated mission to make nice with the GOP, RNC chairman Reince Priebus, and moderate voters in an attempt to win enough delegates (preferably the 1237 minimum) to win the nomination and avoid an all-out war at the party's convention this Summer in Cleveland.

Manafort, who cut his teeth delegate-hunting in 1976 for President Gerald Ford, dropped a bomb last Thursday while addressing about 100 RNC members in a closed-door meeting in Hollywood, FL. He 'assured' the group that Trump's campaign thus far has been an act. That he's been playing a "part."

"He gets it," Manafort told RNC members. "The part that he's been playing is now evolving into the part that you've been expecting. The negatives will come down, the image is going to change, but 'Crooked Hillary' is still going to be 'Crooked Hillary.'"

The Pivot even had Trump criticizing North Carolina's recent "bathroom bill." When asked whether well known transgender reality star Caitlyn Jenner would be free to use any bathroom she wanted in Trump Tower, he said, "That is correct."

The big question raised by The Pivot is, what happens when a candidate like Trump, whose 'authenticity' and anti-establishment bona fides have been the primary source of his appeal, suddenly appears inauthentic and very establishment? And how will his legion of angry blue-collar white dudes feel about their hero's new open bathroom policy?

Trump's rabidly loyal fans will surely be put to the test now. Will these same folks, who've unequivocally excused and defended his inflammatory rhetoric over the past year, accept an abrupt shift to the center by "Lyin' Donald?" Have his comments about North Carolina and Caitlyn Jenner stunned them into re-thinking the 'truer' conservative Ted Cruz? Does Trump now appear like the closet Democrat many have suspected him to be all along?

Stay tuned to The Pivot. The next episodes promise to be quite...

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Is Donald Trump Preparing His Withdrawal?

(8) Comments | Posted April 15, 2016 | 10:16 AM

"The system, folks, is rigged! It's a rigged, disgusting, dirty system."

Welcome to the newest Donald Trump campaign strategy, or perhaps the launch of his exit strategy. Still hot under the collar from getting his unprepared, unorganized butt kicked last Saturday by Ted Cruz, who snagged all 34 Colorado delegates in that state's GOP convention, Trump is starting to sound like a man who's finally found the right excuse to get the hell out of politics, a "dirty" business he got into only to feed his rapacious id and have some fun for a few months.

But little did Trump know that he'd become the clear front runner by awakening the "silent majority," those mad-as-hell-and-I'm-not-gonna-take-it-anymore blue-collar white dudes who misguidedly think the best candidate to fix the broken, inequitable system they feel screwed them all these years is the Ivory Tower billionaire who's exploited that very same system to become rich and powerful beyond their wildest dreams.... all the while bankrupting businesses, hiring undocumented workers and refusing to support a $15/hour minimum wage increase.

"The economy is rigged, the banking system is rigged, there's a lot of things that are rigged in this world of ours," a shrill Trump ranted at his Albany, NY rally this week. "Rules are no good when you don't get Democracy. The rules are no good when they don't count your vote....when you have to play dirty tricks to pick up delegates!"

Trump's latest salvo puts the blame of his Colorado loss not on his ineptitude and ground-game deficiency, but squarely on an allegedly corrupt process that disenfranchised voters and stole his delegates. A process, mind you, that Cruz seemed to understand and capitalize on quite well.

Which fits nicely into a future narrative of, "I could be president, I would've been president, but the corrupt Republican establishment's backroom brokers changed the rules so I couldn't win. I'm outta here!"

This would be followed by lawsuits against the GOP, individual states and the U.S. government. And as a final kick in RNC Chairman Reince Priebus's balls, Trump would announce a last-minute independent candidacy, all but assuring a Hillary Clinton landslide in November. A scenario which, by the way, fits my narrative of a secret conspiracy by Trump to help Madam Secretary get elected.

It should be noted, however, that even Trump doesn't believe his own "rigged system" conspiracy. "I'm not complaining about the states I won...those are ok!," Trump smugly boasted. That's been Trump's mantra from day-one: 'When I win, it's great. When I lose, it's everyone else's...

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Is Donald Trump Broke?

(51) Comments | Posted March 21, 2016 | 9:56 AM

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To use Donald Trump's logic, just as he challenged President Obama's citizenship because he didn't present his full birth certificate, we must conclude that the reason he refuses to release his tax returns is because he's financially insolvent. Flat out broke. Why...
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An Open Letter to Republicans From the Spirit of Ronald Reagan

(0) Comments | Posted March 16, 2016 | 3:41 PM

My fellow Republicans:

What the heck has happened to our party!? I don't recognize us anymore, and haven't for many, many years. I can't believe what we've become. This is the party of Lincoln? Of me?

I've listened for years now as candidate after candidate invokes my name as...

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Is Trump's Campign the Altamont of Politics?

(0) Comments | Posted March 15, 2016 | 11:03 AM

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It was 1967. The Summer of Love. A defining moment in America's social history which symbolized the hippie counterculture movement. Over 100,000 young people descended upon San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury district amid free love, awesome music and lots of hallucinogenic drugs. Just two years...

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Will Someone Eventually Get Killed at a Trump Rally?

(51) Comments | Posted March 14, 2016 | 9:48 AM

In the 1960's, mass-murderer Charles Manson believed that The Beatles were speaking to him through their song "Helter Skelter," whose message he interpreted as a warning of an impending race war.

In the 1970's, Travis Bickle, the fictional character in director Martin Scorsese's "Taxi Driver," attempted to assassinate a politician in a psychotic, delusional haze motivated by political disenchantment and racism.

Also in the 70's, New York City serial killer David Berkowitz, the infamous Son of Sam, claimed that a demon in the form of his neighbor's dog ordered him to kill innocent people.

Given the current, unprecedentedly volatile political landscape, it would be incredibly naive and irresponsible to believe that there's not one psycho out there right now who, in similar fashion to Manson, Bickle and Berkowitz, believes Donald Trump is speaking directly to him. That Trump's mantra to "make America great again," coupled with his incendiary, race-baiting rhetoric, is a direct call to take up arms, fight Trump's war, and be a 'hero.' Just one. That's all it will take to cause a horrific, bloody tragedy.

To be sure, there's a palpable level of toxicity and hatred that permeates Trump's events. And it's the direct result of the candidate himself. Of one protester in Las Vegas, he boasted that "I'd like to punch him right in the face." Of other protesters in Iowa, he urged the crowd to "Knock the crap out of them." He's also defended some of his "fans" for punching and kicking a #BlackLivesMatter protester saying, "Maybe he should have been roughed up."

As CNN's Michael Smerconish said Saturday, "Donald Trump has shouted 'fire' in a political theater."

At Trump's North Carolina rally last week one angry old white dude sucker-punched a black protester in the face as he was being removed by security. Afterwards, he chillingly threatened that"Next time we see him, we might have to kill him." Can someone, anyone, tell me how this sort of hate-speak is making America great?

There was more violence Friday at a Trump rally in St. Louis, and later that night his massive rally in Chicago was cancelled after violence erupted in the arena.

And over the weekend a protester charged the stage at Trump's rally in Ohio and was taken down by Secret Service before he reached Trump, who looked terrified as three agents bear-hugged him to prevent an attack.

So what happens next? Will Trump himself become more of a target? Will he ultimately get the message that he's the one inciting the violence and start to bring down the temperature in the room? Or will he continue to ratchet up the toxic rhetoric until it leads to an awful tragedy? Unfortunately, it appears Trump, in some very twisted way, is getting off on it all.

"Honestly can I be honest with you?" he said after the cancelled Chicago rally. "It adds to the flavor, it really does, makes it more exciting."

I bet it won't be so "exciting" if and when someone gets...

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An Open Letter From Donald Trump's Penis

(2) Comments | Posted March 4, 2016 | 11:23 AM

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As Donald Trump's penis, I feel I must weigh in on the growing speculation as to just how big I am. At Thursday's GOP debate, the man whose flabby, out of shape body I am attached to boasted "I guarantee, there's no problem."...

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An Open Letter to (and Winning Campaign Theme For) Hillary Clinton

(6) Comments | Posted February 29, 2016 | 8:36 AM

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Dear Madam Secretary:

The conventional wisdom at this point has you in an ultimate head-to-head match-up with Donald Trump for the presidency of the United States. Given that Super Tuesday will certainly bring you closer than ever to the Democratic nomination, you're...

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Here's How Donald Trump Could Actually Win the Presidency

(113) Comments | Posted February 22, 2016 | 9:07 AM

I have to admit, I've been dead wrong about Donald Trump's unprecedented candidacy. I had predicted by now he'd be long gone. That Jeb Bush would win the nomination. And why? Because even though I disagree with Republicans on virtually everything, I held out that the party's voters would eventually get serious, turn off the salacious Trump reality show and, as they did in years past with accomplished, experienced candidates such as John McCain and Mitt Romney, support a serious moderate who's put forth substantive policy proposals.

I also gave Republican voters more credit than they apparently deserve in assuming they'd ultimately reject Trump for his ad hominem attacks, racist comments and rude, dismissive behavior targeting, for example, Muslims, Mexicans, immigrants, blacks, women, Jews, war heroes, the disabled and even the Pope. I cringed when I heard him at rallies use words like shit, fuck and motherfucker. Almost certainly, I thought, this would accelerate his demise. Conservatives would surely not nominate someone so vulgar and offensive and who stages R-rated rallies, right?

Furthermore, right up through Saturday, I believed that the South Carolina primary would be the place where Trump's bubble would finally burst. I was confident that, in the state where good 'ole Southern evangelicals comprise more than two-thirds of the voter turnout, the brash New York bully would be soundly kicked to the curb over his divorces, infidelity, Bible misquote, ethnic ban, 9/11 lie, profanities and, as Pope Francis pointed out, decidedly un-Christian-like views. But again he won. By an impressive 10 points. The God-fearing folk of South Carolina blessed him with a clear victory.

To be sure, it certainly looks likely at this point that little can stop Trump from winning the nomination. If South Carolina is a barometer of what's to come, it's hard to imagine much of the remaining Bible Belt, the Midwest, the Great Plains and the West not getting behind him. But let's not stop at the GOP nomination. Is it possible that Trump could actually win in a general election against either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders?

The Republican Party has always had a large base of white, blue-collar, uneducated voters. And let's face it, a lot of these people may not be the most racially tolerant (I'm being kind). Fortunately for Democrats, many of them believed their votes were meaningless, and so they typically stayed home on election day. Which might explain why just 50-55 percent of eligible American voters actually make it to the polls in presidential elections.

To be fair, there are millions of blue-collar, low-income, uneducated Democrats who choose not to vote either. But to stir up the masses to vote, the right has Trump, and he's winning. The left's grass roots messenger is Bernie Sanders, and he is not. Trump's anti-establishment, inflammatory, racist rhetoric has fired up these dormant voters like nothing we've seen in history. But while Sanders' talk of "revolution" has indeed grabbed the hearts and votes of millennials, his "Democratic Socialism" message is not resonating beyond these young idealogues. Worse, neither he or Clinton are impacting turnout the way they need to in order to match the excitement and fervor created by Trump. Which creates a plausible scenario for the bloviating billionaire's path to the White House.

As Ezra Klein wrote after Saturday's primary results:

Donald Trump's run for president has been so wild, so strange, so entertaining, that we've stopped noticing -- or maybe just grown tired of pointing out -- what a dangerous force he is in American politics. And for awhile, that seemed fine -- everyone knew Trump couldn't win, he didn't have a chance, this was all just a big joke. But it isn't a joke. He won huge in New Hampshire. He won huge in South Carolina. This is the frontrunner for the Republican presidential nomination. And he's a dangerous personality perched atop an ugly ideology. It's time to stop laughing.

Over the past several elections, both parties have consistently put tremendous resources into their get-out-the-vote campaigns. But with Trump, this year's record-breaking GOP turnouts could prove to be a game-changing, history-making phenomenon that lands him in the Oval Office. And that should make tens of millions of Democrats, Republicans and Independents very, very...

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밀레니얼 세대에게 보내는 공개 서한: 버니 샌더스는 여러분을 좌절하게 만들 것이다

(1) Comments | Posted February 19, 2016 | 2:18 PM

*이 글은 정치/문화 분석가 앤디 오스토로이가 허핑턴포스트에 쓴 블로그를 번역한 글입니다.


시계를 2008년으로 돌려보자. 버락 오바마에게 홀딱 반한 젊은이들이 수백만 명 있었다. 힙하고 쿨한 흑인인, 일리노이 주 초선 상원 의원이었던 오바마는 대선에 출마하며 희망과 변화의 비젼으로 젊은이들을 애태웠다. 그는 전염성 있는 낙관주의와 새로운, 통합된 미국의 약속을...

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An Open Letter to Millennials: Bernie Sanders Will Break Your Heart

(2932) Comments | Posted February 9, 2016 | 4:01 PM

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Let's turn the clock back to 2008. Millions of young people were swooning over Barack Obama, a hip, cool, black first-term Senator from Illinois who, in his bid for the presidency, tantalized them with visions of hope and change. For his infectious optimism...

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An Open Letter to Independents: Can You Really Be That 'Undecided'?

(81) Comments | Posted February 8, 2016 | 8:59 AM

Oh, you independents! For decades now you've been the hot girl at the party. Those highly coveted "undecided" folks who at the last minute will finally figure out who you prefer and become the critical votes that tilt an election to one candidate or the other. According to polls, as many as 43% of Americans are political independents.

But this phenomenon confounds me. In fact, I think it's 100% bogus. I find the concept of "undecideds" fundamentally disingenuous. Sorry, but I think you're nothing more than a bunch of attention-seekers who drag candidates, the media, your friends, family and co-workers into one very long ass-kissing marathon until election day. And you love every minute of it.

With the exception every couple of decades of a grass-roots, doomed-from-the-start third-party run at the White House, America operates under a two-party system: Republican and Democrat. And at no time in history has our political system been more dysfunctional, more polarized and with the two parties further apart on just about every single domestic, global and social issue. Given these diametric differences in core beliefs, is it really that hard for you guys to choose sides?

You either believe that all people, including gays, have a right to love and marry, or you don't. You either believe that a woman's body belongs to her, and that it's her choice to have an abortion, or you don't. You either believe in the separation of church and state or you don't. You either believe that guns kill people and that we need more regulation, or you don't. You either believe in climate change or you don't. You either believe in immigration, including Muslims, or you don't. You either believe that no one should work for less than $15/hour or you don't. You either believe in affordable health care and education for all, or you don't. You either believe in government helping the needy, or you don't. You either believe that America's role in the world is one of isolationism, or you don't. I could go on.

So why the meandrous internal debate? Why all the protracted soul-searching? Are you guys so out of touch with your own core beliefs and values that you really can't decide between Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders... and Donald Trump, Ted Cruz or the other Republicans, even if ideologically the two sides are in different galaxies? Are you really going to wake up November 8, 2016 and think, "Ya know what? I was gonna vote for Cruz, but I really am for aiding the poor, the sick, the needy...and believe in a woman's right to choose and same-sex marriage, so, I'm actually gonna vote for Hillary!"

Grow up. Pick a side. Stand for something. For someone. And then spend this year helping that person get...

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It's Official: Donald Trump Is a Loser!

(31) Comments | Posted February 2, 2016 | 10:12 AM

Donald Trump, the New York billionaire seeking the Republican nomination for president, achieved something monumental in Monday night's Iowa caucuses. He became the very thing he most despises: a loser. With Texas Sen. Ted Cruz winning 28% of the vote, Trump's 24% narrowly beat Florida Sen. Marco Rubio for second place by one point. So much for all the polling, which Trump had obsessively been citing every three seconds.

To be sure, voter turnout was huge, at record levels. About 50% more Iowans braced the nighttime cold to get in on the action. That's a good thing for our Democracy. The more people who engage in our political process the more effective and inclusive it will be. And yes, as in-the-tank-for-Trump conservatives like MSNBC's Joe Scarborough have been pointing out, he garnered the most votes in the history of this state's caucuses save for Cruz himself. But Cruz won, not Trump, and Rubio essentially also achieved "the most" votes except for Cruz. So in the context of the totals, Trump achieved nothing special except grab a proportionate slice of the record turnout as did his more viable opponents.

And why was there record turnout? The conventional wisdom prior to Monday held that Trump was so wildly popular that he would be drawing tens of thousands of Iowans off the couch and into the caucuses for the first time. People so angry, so fed up, so ready for "something different" that this would be an election like no other. Quite the opposite could also be said though. That Trump so angered and offended the collective intelligence of the good people of Iowa that they got off that couch, alright, but to ensure that he wouldn't win.

As I've been saying for months, Trump is an embarrassing sideshow. A modern day Morton Downey Jr. A carnival-barking agitator, spewing hate-filled racist rhetoric, not a mainstream politician with substantive policy proposals. And while it's been fun for Iowans and others to pack arenas to experience The Donald Trump Reality Show, as evidenced last night, it's not translating to victory.

So what about New Hampshire? Unless Jeb Bush pulls off a miracle and rises up from the ashes (which I still believe is a strong possibility), the smart money's on Trump fading into oblivion from this point forward, with Rubio taking the Granite State's contest next week. From there, Cruz will win South Carolina, and then it'll be a tough battle between the two "non-establishment" Senators thereafter.

Trump will soon figure out a way to exit the race -- based on some typically self-aggrandizing, truth-stretching gibberish -- and go back to doing what he does best: borrow the shit out of other people's money to slap his ubiquitous brand on gauche skyscrapers, ugly clothing and anything else he can license. Maybe even file a bankruptcy or two and get divorced again. But no matter the spin, he's still a loser. The thing he hates most. There's nothing more delicious than a Trump concession...

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Here's What Could Finally Bring Down Trump

(851) Comments | Posted January 25, 2016 | 9:07 AM

Donald Trump likes to call people "stupid." Whether he's referring to President Obama, Congressional leaders, the media or his opponents, the Republican front-runner has so far delighted his supporters these past eight months with an unprecedented flurry of demeaning ad-hominem attacks and inflammatory rhetoric.

But now he's calling these very same supporters stupid, claiming there's nothing he can do to lose their backing, not even if he committed a horrific act of violence.

"I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, okay, and I wouldn't lose any voters, okay?" Trump said at a rally over the weekend in Sioux Center, Iowa. "It's, like, incredible."

Well, Trump's narcissism is, like, incredible, okay? Think for a minute about what he said, and perhaps the underlying disdain for his supporters. His ego is so gargantuan, his rapacious Id so deprived, he's convinced himself that he's so important and desirable that he could literally kill someone without political cost. The level of "they'll-love-me-no-matter-what" presumption here is astounding.

That's not exactly a ringing endorsement of his supporters' intelligence or ability to reason. It's pretty insulting, in fact. That Trump thinks his "fans" are mindless morons who will blindly follow their Pied Piper like rats into the drowning pool is quite telling. But will they care? Will they finally turn all their "anger" on him? Will this insult -- one that's aimed squarely at them instead of one of the bloviating billionaire's enemies -- be the long overdue final straw that brings down this vulgar house of cards?

It's one thing to sit at a rally and be entertained by a modern-day Morton Downey Jr. as he mercilessly rips into his opponents. It's quite another to be the target of his...

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Is This Why Trump Won't Release His College Transcripts?

(408) Comments | Posted January 11, 2016 | 4:09 PM

"I went to the Wharton School of Business," Donald Trump routinely brags at his campaign rallies. "I'm, like, a really smart person."

And I'm, like, really? We don't believe you. We think you're full of it, just like you grossly exaggerate and lie about virtually everything else pertaining to your personal and professional life (note the Politifact study illustrating he tells the truth just 1% of the time).

On paper, Trump's educational background appears impressive. He first attended Fordham University and then transferred in 1966 to the real estate studies program at Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree.

But contrary to his self-aggrandizing over-the-top embellishing, Trump's two years at the prestigious business school, from all public accounts, seem mediocre at best. His fellow students have no recollection of him. No Dean's List, no Honor Roll, no notable extra-curricular accomplishments. A completely unmemorable academic existence, including continuing rumors that his grades were unimpressive.

So is the Republican front-runner--the man who questions President Obama and Sen. Ted Cruz's citizenship, and who calls everyone in government "stupid," an academic fraud? Is his self-purported "smarts" as mythical as the Muslims he claims were dancing in the streets following the 9/11 attacks?

The "Transcripter" movement demands that Trump release his full Fordham and Wharton transcripts. It's time for him to prove just how smart he is, or isn't. Let's see the grades. I suspect his GPA never cracked 3.0, which is why the transcripts remain a hidden...

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The Reason Why Trump Draws Huge Crowds

(380) Comments | Posted January 5, 2016 | 8:23 AM

Donald Trump's rallies are true political phenomenons, drawing the kind of crowds normally reserved for rock stars. But the reason why 10,000-20,000 people wait in line to see him isn't because they're hungry for a detailed policy speech by one of America's great thinkers.

Nor are they coming to see him, contrary to much speculation among the punditry, because they're so "angry." MSNBC's Jacob Soboroff interviewed Trump supporters at a recent rally but these 'great American patriots' couldn't even intelligently articulate why they're so enraged. One exasperated woman sighed, saying she's "Tired of all the lies we've been told... and I believe everything Donald Trump says..." I guess she missed the Politifact study illustrating that Trump tells the truth just 1% of the time.

So what is it then that's driving this unprecedented attendance? It's simple: Trump's rallies are as hot a commodity as Jerry Springer tickets. His "fans" are there for the spectacle not the substance. They want the hockey fight, not the game itself. The game bores them. They just come for the brawls and bloodshed. And Trump gives 'em plenty of both. "Don-ald, Don-ald, Don-ald!"

It's the same reason why MSNBC, CNN and the rest of the mainstream media lavishes so much free airtime on Trump, hanging on his every word and covering his rallies live like they're U2 concerts. Jeb Bush, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Ben Carson and all the other GOP hopefuls are lucky if they get a 20-second clip, while Trump's on the tube 24/7. He's a ratings bonanza, guaranteed to do or say something so outrageous and offensive that it would make even a train wreck wince. Racism? Sexism? Xenophobia? Bullying? It's all part of the daily Donald Trump Road Show.

To be sure, the media can't get enough of Trump. And neither can the simple-minded citizens of Smalltown, USA, for whom Trump is likely the biggest celebrity they'll ever see up close. Let's face it, when you're in Ames, IA, Hampton, NH or Hilton Head, SC, going to a Trump rally just might be the most exciting thing you can possibly do.

But bracing the November weather to vote, however, is an entirely different commitment. History and statistics show that come election day these fired-up Trumpites will likely stay home, click the remote and simply switch to another salacious reality...

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What if Donald Trump's Campaign Was All About This...

(239) Comments | Posted December 30, 2015 | 10:39 AM

Thanks to Donald Trump, the 2016 presidential campaign is like no other in the history of American politics. It's certain to be studied in colleges and universities, and analyzed by consultants and pundits, for decades to come.

The old rules, as well as conventional wisdom, have been tossed aside...

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The Reason Why Trump Gets Away with Saying Anything He Wants

(22) Comments | Posted December 21, 2015 | 10:56 AM

Ever since he entered the presidential race in June, Donald Trump has offended women, gays, Blacks, Jews, Mexicans, refugees, immigrants and just about every ethnic and religious group in the world. He's recently called for an all out ban on Muslims from entering the United States. He's mocked people with disabilities. He's lied about 9/11. He's attacked the war hero status of John McCain. He's sucked up to Russia's President Vladimir Putin. He's called President Obama "stupid" and continues to question his citizenship. And he's relentlessly spewed ignorant, incendiary, racist rhetoric to incite his rapacious devotees. Yet he continues to rise in the polls. Why?

The answer is simple: because no one, not even his most loyal "supporters," take him or his candidacy seriously. He's simply entertainment. A show. A modern day Morton Downey Jr., whose pugnacious, hockey-fight persona appeals to the lowest common denominator; the "angry" folks with a voracious appetite for reality television-style confrontation. And Trump's giving them one helluva brawl.

To be sure, Trump's candidacy is unprecedented in the annals of political history. He defies conventional wisdom at every turn. Every time you think he's finally done himself in, his popularity grows. He appears untouchable. Teflon Don. But that would only be worrisome if he was a legitimate candidate.

Trump's base is addicted to his bombastic bluster. They lap it up like a stray cat with a bowl of milk. And that's why they don't seem to care that he somehow manages to reach new heights of loathsome and un-presidential behavior each day. Because these Trumpsters know that, while they adore the spectacle that has become his speeches and rallies, they will never actually vote for him. He's their fun party girl, but he's not the one they'll be bringing home to mama.

Trump appeals to the disaffected and disenfranchised because he's the Larry David of politics, speaking much of what they think and feel, but could never say out loud themselves. But even these loyalists know that he's woefully unprepared and ill-equipped to be president. And they know he could never win. But they like that he's stirring up some serious shit. That, at least for now, he's serving as their advocate. "He's my mouthpiece," one fired up Trumpite said at a recent rally.

But winning presidential nominations requires a lot more than bluster and bravado, as the New York Times reported over the weekend, citing Trump's anemic ground game in the critical early caucus state of Iowa. And it refers to one Trump volunteer who's "sipping white wine" while she's canvassing for votes by phone. The way things are going for Trump in her home state, it's likely his volunteers will be switching to hard liquor pretty...

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What a Debate!

(2) Comments | Posted December 16, 2015 | 1:43 PM

Ok, America, you now have a clear choice between the party of hope and optimism and the party of gloom, doom and fear. The most surprising thing at Tuesday's night's 5th Republican presidential debate was the absence of Chicken Little himself. This event could've been called The Sky is Falling Show.

For over two hours, the overriding message from Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina and, to a lesser degree, Chris Christie, Ben Carson and Rand Paul was that the United States is unsafe, unrespected and a disaster. Only Jeb Bush and John Kasich presented a positive message about America's standing and the expectation of a greater future. It was all fear, fear, fear...

The biggest takeaway, as in all the previous debates, is how woefully unprepared and ill-equipped Donald Trump is to be president and commander-in-chief. His inability to answer a question about which components of the nuclear triad need the most attention should be an immediate disqualifier in and of itself:

"Well first of all, I think we absolutely need someone we can trust who is total responsibility who knows what he or she is doing that is so powerful and so important. And one of the things that I'm frankly most proud of is that in 2003, 2004, I was against going into Iraq because you are going to destabilize the Middle East. I called it, I called it very strongly and it was very important. But we have to be extremely vigilant and careful when it comes to nuclear. Nuclear changes the whole ball game. I would have said get out of Syria, get out. If we didn't have the power of weaponry today, the power is so massive that we can't just leave areas that 50 years ago or 75 years ago we wouldn't care, it was hand-to-hand combat. The biggest problem this world has today is not President Obama with global warming, which is inconceivable, this is what he's saying. The biggest problem we have today is nuclear proliferation anding are some maniac, having some madman go out and get a nuclear weapon. In my opinion, that is the single biggest problem that our country faces right now....For me, nuclear, the power, the devastation, is very important to me.

Jibberish! The way I tried to blabber-bluff my way out of tough 8th grade science questions. He might as well have thrown up his hands and said, "Hell if I know!"

When you toss in Trump's incessant sighing, eye-rolling, mocking and scornful faces, dismissive hand-waving, bullying and audience-berating, it's truly hard to fathom how anyone with even a half a brain can support the candidacy of this empty-suited blowhard fraud. He is without question the most unqualified presidential candidate in the nation's history.

We witnessed Trump's implosion last night. While I suspect his poll numbers will drop as a result, they may for a blip even rise first. But make no mistake: Republican voters saw a man who, as Bush recently claimed, is unhinged. And there's nothing uglier and more embarrassing than an old, angry, insulting megalomaniac pathetically vying to utter an intelligent thought without sounding like a nasty junior high schooler. As I've been saying for a couple of months, it's over. Forget the polls. His reality show primary campaign popularity will not translate to actual votes when it's time to pull the curtain. And he'll likely not even be around by then to find out.

So who won the debate? Bush finally demonstrated some impressive cajones as he battled Trump on foreign policy and personal qualifications, calling the bloviating businessman "a chaos candidate." For the first time since Trump entered the race with his infamous "Mexican rapists" speech, it was Bush who quite visibly got under The Donald's skin, not the other way around.

It won't be a surprise to start seeing Bush's heretofore anemic 3-5% numbers begin climbing appreciably. I disagree with almost everything he stands for, but he's an adult. Mature. Respectful. Smart. Knowledgeable. And get this...presidential. Honestly, the way Trump acts like a whiny, petulant, belligerent narcissistic buffoon I wouldn't want him on my kid's PTA let alone sit in the Oval Office.

Cruz? He'll probably win Iowa, but like Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum before him he'll disappear after that. Keep an eye on Chris Christie, whose likable 'every man' persona, reputation as a 'straight shooter' and reasonably moderate positions keeps him in the running as the dark horse. But despite what the polls say, it's still Jeb's race to...

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Another Open Letter to Jeb Bush

(40) Comments | Posted December 14, 2015 | 8:44 AM

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Dear Jeb:

Tuesday night could be the biggest night of your political career. The fifth Republican debate, live from Las Vegas, will likely be the moment you either reignite your comatose presidential campaign or you fade into the sunset. So if you...

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