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Saturday, March 25, 2017

RyanCare Collapse

DRUGE BRINGS OUT BLIMP. IT'S THAT SERIOUS.
Yesterday was a spectacular failure for Republicans, Deal Making, Tax Cuts for the 1%, and Increased American Mortality. The Ryan-Care Trump-Plan exploded before take-off with the last minute fixes getting the bill further from passing rather than closer as the party flailed wildly. By some estimates there were approximately 60 (!) no-votes in the end.

This is, of course, because the bill served no master in the GOP: Yeah, it cut taxes for the super-wealthy--but tax reform will already do that. For moderates, it cost people their insurance. For conservatives, it didn't go far enough--so this problem was kinda predictable. The only part that wasn't predictable was that the Freedom Caucus didn't cave--and THAT was due in large part to Trump actively fumbling the negotiations!
Then Trump made a mistake. After singling out Meadows and asking him to stand up in front of his colleagues, Trump joked that he might "come after" the Freedom Caucus boss if he didn't vote yes, and then added, with a more serious tone: "I think Mark Meadows will get on board." 
It was a crucial misreading of Meadows, who has been determined to please both the White House and his conservatives colleagues on the Hill. Upon assuming the chairmanship of the Freedom Caucus earlier this year, Meadows was viewed suspiciously by some of his members who worried that the North Carolina congressman is too cozy with Trump and would hesitate to defy him. 
A great deal of electronic ink has been spilled trying to determine what this means. Here is what "it means."

What Failure To Repeal Obamacare Means

Firstly, it turns out that the GOP doesn't really care that much about Obamacare. They'll take their bloody nose and move ahead. Their base will more or less go along with it (see the exception). This is because healthcare is a Gordian knot for the GOP that they cannot untie and are unwilling to cut. Their base really, really hated Obama and even his giving a bunch of them healthcare didn't change that fact.

The actual policy? Like Medicare and Social Security? They're okay with--kinda.

Secondly, they may find it easier to agree on the goals of Tax Reform--but they will find it as hard or harder to implement. This is because while they all agree that taxes should be cut--and especially for the wealthy and corporations:

  1. The cutting of Obamacare taxes was supposed to be a big bonus for the wealthy. It won't happen now.
  2. Trump's agenda is, excepting O-care, pretty pricey. Plus he's contemplating some "kinetic actions" which will also be pricey. Trump doesn't really understand the finances (it seems) but he's going to demand that the federal government pay for some stuff (the wall, etc.) and people are going to ask where the money will come from. His go-to: order the work and then not pay--will not work from the White House.
  3. While the goals may be easier with Tax Reform, the details are probably harder. While Republicans were, it turns out, not real sure what their constituents really wanted in a bill (just not Ryan's Plan), a bunch of their leaders do know exactly what they want in tax reform and that's going to create differing policy-drivers.
  4. The stakes are going to be high--but the time factor is going to be difficult: Trump wants a win tomorrow. Tax reform will take months or years.
  5. Going small: Tax cuts is the obvious answer--but the GOP may expect more from their total ownership than marginalia.

The Big One Though - Ryan and The Bus

What this really means, though, is that Trump, having been handed a narcissistic injury of bigly proportions, will have no emotional restraint to keep him from throwing Ryan under the bus. This will be done in two ways:
  1. Surrogates (Breitbart) will get Weapons Free Clearance on Ryan--and, uhm, his wife. Flynn Jr. Is already tweeting that Ryan's wife is a huge Democratic operative. Breitbart unleashes a special on first, Ryan's weakness in the House--and second with articles about Hollywood celebrities rejoicing in the failure of repeal. Trump-friendly press will need bad-guys to exonerate Trump and while Democrats are the go-to, in this case, that's gonna be hard to sell.
  2. Trump will publicly say most of the right things and then complain in private. The complaints will leak like crazy.
The net result of Trump's self-destructive need to blame is not solely due to the fact that Trump is incompetent and unwilling to accept responsibility. It's also due to the fact that Ryan really did launch a dog of a bill and, for inexplicable reasons, Trump signed on to it.

From Trump's perspective the only way out of this bill was to throw Ryan under the bus early and hard. A look at the bill could have told Trump and his advisers it would never become law. The reason Ryan though it would is because he put the basic concepts of it in his 'Better Way' plan and was under the impression that the (broad) agreement on it was real. Ryan seems to have been surprised that people "ran on" this--but didn't actually support it.

This was foolish--they "ran on it" because it gave them a fig-leaf of a plan. They didn't support it because governance is hard and Ryan is more a P90X policy-bro than a leader or consensus builder. The black-eye that Ryan got is really, probably, surprising to him--and exposing for the Republicans. Mainly, what it exposed was a moderate group that really likes being elected officials and realize that although their base doesn't really get it, when they lose healthcare they'll feel it.

You might think that throwing Ryan under the bus is no big thing--Ryan's a big boy and it really is his failure. That's not the case: Trump's legal teflon is directly proportional to Trump's perceived ability to sign conservative legislation. If Ryan is catastrophically weakened against Trump they will start to realize that Trump is really in this for himself and getting conservative legislation to Trump's desk requires a leader somewhere. That isn't Ryan. It . . . might not be anyone. It sure isn't Trump.

When that happens, do you think that Trump's base will realize he isn't accomplishing things and turn on him? No. They'll turn on congress. If Trump's base turns on the House? They'll impeach him.

Maybe.

UPDATE: Bannon is, apparently, keeping a "shit list" of R's who were planned "no"-votes on the bill. The idea being there will be a reckoning for them at some point. This is the sort of thing that prevents Trump from just 'moving on' with ease or style.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

On The Twitter Seizure Guy


If you are not aware, last year a Newsweek writer Kurt Eichenwald was sent a tweet with a flashing strobe gif on it that caused him, an epileptic, to have a seizure. He filed a criminal complaint and, hey, they got the guy: a 29 year old from Maryland named John Rivello. The guy is now facing criminal charges for knowingly inducing a seizure.

There are a few basic thoughts here:

  1. Should this be, you know, a crime? Sending someone a flashing gif to cause a seizure?
  2. Isn't Eichenwald responsible for his own safety? You can disable animated gifs--shouldn't he have done that (he was given a seizure once before by the same technique, The Omnivore believes)?
  3. It appears all the technology companies involved (Twitter, AT&T, and Apple) rolled over quickly to give up Rivello's information. Alt-Right.com (the link) is very upset!

The Answers

Yes, it's a crime. The investigation turned up a bunch of research Rivello had done on the causing of seizures. His tweet said "you deserve a seizure." There's no doubt that he was exploiting a weakness in Eichenwald to cause significant harm (if he'd glanced at the phone while driving, he and others could have died, for example--as it was, he had difficulties for quite some time after).

Secondly, do you know how to disable animated gifs without looking it up? The Omnivore didn't. While Eichenwald would be well instructed to do that on all his devices, (a) he could always be hit by checking his account on a device where animations are not turned off and (b) the fact that he didn't is unlikely to be sufficiently powerful to say "he deserved it." It takes a fairly large degree of intended malice to do what Rivello did. Full stop.

Lastly: The organizations involved all acted under a search warrant. We, as consumers, can decide to either use American technology services, which will generally comply with a warrant--or not. There are alternatives to Twitter out there which can be far more resistant to search warrants--but one reason not to use them is because you get far less protections (and far fewer people are on them).

The Omnivore doesn't know what the "expectation of privacy" is for Twitter--but Rivello should probably not have assumed he was completely untraceable when trying to harm (or even kill) Eichenwald. The Omnivore is not impressed.

More To The Point

It's pretty obvious to The Omnivore that most people invested in the debate are partisan. Rivello used the handle @jew_goldstein for his attack. The Omnivore will say, with great confidence, that Rivello was a Trump-voter, definitely in the "basket of deplorables" category (antisemitic, hostile to the press, and probably a bunch of other things too--there's scant information on him The Omnivore can find--but it'll eventually come).

The problem is that people are defending Rivello on the right even though he is clearly deplorable. This is why large swaths of Trump's support are, in fact, tainted: People who will defend this behavior (even with a fig-leaf of philosophy over the actual facts) are shouldering and welcoming the "deplorable" identification.

In other words, the electronic ink spilled on the Trumpian side of this equation shows that, yes, in fact, "deplorables" are welcome in Trump's coalition. This is a perfect litmus test.

The Obamacare Vote Approaches



Tomorrow the ACA-Repeal House vote happens. Although it has taken some time, Trump is now coming out pretty strongly in favor of it, threatening to "come after" congressmen who vote "no." Starting today, the sense is that Trump-Ryan don't quite have the votes to pass it but it'll be close. With all of today and some of tomorrow, it seems likely that if pressure can work then it will work.

The question is: will pressure work?

The Trajectory of the Repeal

Before we get into arm-twisting, let's be real about something: the House wants a more conservative repeal, the Senate wants a less conservative repair/replace. These are going, for the most part, in two different directions so getting a bill that would pass both will be "a challenge," and by "a challenge," The Omnivore means "Good freakin' luck."

So the win-win-lose for the GOP is that the bill passes the House, dies in the Senate, and then everyone throws up their hands and plans for "something better" by 2019. This gives everyone a chance to say "We tried" to their constituents without (necessarily) ejecting anyone off their healthcare (O-Care will suffer badly and if nothing is done to remediate that, people could lose coverage--but that, at least, isn't on a positive-action from Congress).

So . . .


Will Pressure Work?

On the plus side, according to a just-released poll of Trump voters, only 3% of them would change their vote if they could. Most Trump voters are still quite enthusiastic. While this may seem bizarre to the rest of us, keep in mind that these people are living in a world where everyone lies the same way Trump does--he's just a bit less polished about it. As such, you don't have to believe any information you don't especially like.

If Trump is still the alpha-dog then he can, presumably, mobilize his base in a primary-challenge against incumbents who vote against him.

There are two problems with this, however:

  1. If Trump lost 3% of his vote from last November, it'd be President Hillary by 303 to 228 EV. Trump lost the popular vote and only won his EV by a slim margin. If he's disappointing people, and to some degree he is, his margin is pretty fragile.
  2. Trump's core is very, very supportive but Trump isn't going to change his spots. The question asked was whether you'd change your vote to Hillary, Johnson, or Stein (or not-vote). It didn't ask if you'd rather have had Ted Cruz . . . or if Joe Biden had run against Trump if you'd have switched to him. As such, if you have a popular House member, even if you're a GOP voter who hadn't switched to Hillary (or one of the non-starters), that may not be enough to give him power to primary.
Keep in mind that this bill is historically unpopular. For a candidate, that may not be meaningful since you have limited options (Hill-vs.-Don). For a bill, though, if it doesn't make anyone really happy, why pass it at all?

The only real arguments Trump seems to be making are (a) because we said we would and (b) because I told you to. This is a bad position from which to marshal strength.

So Force Won't Work?

Abject force, in this sense, will probably not. The key, however is that if everyone is pretty sure that the House-approves / Senate-rejects thing is a done-deal then they can vote for the bill with the knowledge that it'll be a long, long time before anything material happens. In that environment, The Omnivore thinks: "Yes, it can pass." That's where he would marginally bet if he were a betting Omnivore.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Between Obamacare and A Hard Place



In terms of being "the dog who caught the car" the GOP's control of the whole federal government (for some definitions of "control") may be the best example ever. Having run on repeal of the ACA in 4 elections, failure, at this point, "is not an option."

The problem is that "repeal" (a) at its most basic will create electoral chaos by leaving lots of people who want insurance without it and (b) anything short of basic repeal won't satisfy conservatives who want that. It's either a conservative / base revolt or a vulnerability of unknown size in the next few major elections.

The Reality

The ACA was optimized to increase coverage--both by brute force with the Medicaid expansion and by removing barriers such as the pre-existing condition lock-out. Remember: if you were in the private market there was a time when you couldn't get coverage for pre-existing conditions at any price. The ACA did away with that--but the cost was the Individual Mandate.

The GOP has the opposite problem: The Medicaid expansion probably did the most to insure poor people of anything in the ACA (remember, most people still get insurance through their employers) but that's the sort of thing the GOP is ideologically opposed to. Sure, grandma may get to live longer--but it's at a great cost to the nation, yadda, yadda.

The GOP can't really admit this--but now that they hold the controls, they're in a bind: they have to "compromise" with their principles and that isn't pretty.

Even Worse

Even worse is that the messaging dilemma that has plagued the GOP since they decided they were "okay" with racist voters votes--but still had to be on-message against racism (among other problems) hasn't gone away with a great victory. Now they have powerful factions that want different things and they have to find a way to talk about these that (a) sounds coherent and (b) sounds kinda like Democrats.

Huh?

Well, yeah. Ryan is pretty clear that he wants to "shrink government." Everyone can agree with that--until their constituents get shrunk. Trump rode to victory claiming, literally, great health care for everyone. It turns out? People believed him.

This, combined with Trump's lack of leadership (he says he'll primary anyone against the current bill--but hasn't, and won't--put his name on it. And, for example, Breitbart attacking Ryan over the bill while Bannon sits at Trump's right hand) leaves nobody clear what they ought to be saying, let alone doing.

Right now everyone is romancing the Trump--but we know how that ends: he agrees with everyone and then does something random.

The End Game

Since failure isn't "an option"--both for Trump who has gotten his negotiator-skill(z) put on the line and for the GOP in general--they need to pass something. Ergo, something will be passed. The question is what is the minimum sub-set of reductions that can pass for "repeal"?

The Omnivore predicts two major modifications to the current state of Health Care:

  1. Officially change the name of the Affordable Care Act to "Obamacare"
  2. Officially change the name of Obamacare to "The Ryan Act" (some conservatives will object to the term 'care' in any description of the bill)
That should satisfy "everyone."

Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Trump-Putin Smoking Gun Likely Does Not Exist

Go Get 'Em, Trumpy
Chances are you remember the Obama-IRS Scandal--the one where Obama hired Lois Lerner and told her to target the Tea Party? Which she did--destroying her hard drive in order to keep the directives from the Oval Office from being discovered.

Right?

It didn't happen. Firstly, Obama did not hire Lerner. That was Bush. But what did happen is that the IRS did investigate Tea Party groups to a degree that constituted maleficent political activism. Yes, she got some liberal groups in there--no, the pattern was not the same.

The other part that didn't happen was that there was a communication from Obama to her--that's the part--the smoking gun--the secret sauce--that conservatives needed to be there to Bring. Obama. Down. When it failed to turn up, the scandal fizzled. They blamed the press, of course--but The Omnivore is pretty sure that that final piece of the puzzle never existed.

Why? Because it didn't need to. Firstly, Obama, aware of the Federal Records Act would never have emailed Lerner telling her to target his political enemies. Secondly, the Tea Party was explicitly an anti-Tax, anti-government, anti-IRS group. It was also abusing the rules about being a non-profit and taking political activity (just like everyone else forever does). She didn't need a directive. It's entirely plausible she decided to do it on her own.

Trump & The Russians

So now let's get current. Is there going to be a video of Putin and Trump agreeing to exchange the Baltics for Trump's real estate developments in St. Petersburg? No. You're not going to get that. Why? Because it doesn't exist--or, at least, it doesn't need to. Putin's goal was chaos and weakening of America, likely under a Clinton presidency.

He didn't need quid-pro-quo with Trump to help him: Trump was by his nature the bullet aimed at America. All Putin needed to do was help him fire--give him money, release helpful intel, and so on.

We are pretty sure at least the second happened. Probably in some way, the first. Oh, there were things Putin wanted: the change on the Ukraine stance in the Republican platform, for example--but for those, all he had to do with have cut-outs meet with people he was already friendly with (Manafort, Flynn, etc.) and make suggestions.

Those suggestions get presented to Trump as a tasty chance to get cuddly with Putin--something Trump is inclined to do anyway. That's it. That's all. Remember how Obama was strung along thinking there could be a "reset button"? They didn't need back-room deals--just good old fashioned diplomacy.

Trump is a Russian dupe--not a Russian spy.

What Does This Mean?

It means you should give up on the Intelligence Community taking out Trump. There's an outside chance something will happen (like--maybe in his Tax Returns)--but the fact is that the GOP will never impeach him unless he's on tape vocally selling out America while . . . eating pedophile pizza or something. It's just not going to happen (The Omnivore would love to be wrong about this--but The Omnivore is rarely wrong).

On the other hand, it does mean that you can bask in the stunning hypocrisy of the GOP and take notes for later. China is fast tracking Trump hotels that will offer prostitute services. Imagine if Obama had done that? This sort of thing needs to be the messaging--not that Trump is a Russian Secret Agent--that he's effortlessly bought and paid for by our geopolitical enemies.

Most Trump-voters are not persuadable--but America doesn't need most Trump-voters. It just needs most Americans. Work on that.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

What Could Trump Do?


Last night the bear danced. Trump gave a speech sticking to a teleprompter and without bragging about the imaginary scale of his victory--or attacking the free press as un-American. Republicans were pleased. Democrats were (somewhat) scornful. Trump is without a doubt graded on a curve--however whichever way you count it, he did well last night--for his supporters.

What about people who aren't convinced?

The Myth of the Persuadable Trump Voter

There has been a lot of electronic-ink spilled over the idea that there are people who voted (a) against Hillary or (b) for Trump--albeit seriously holding their nose--or (c) for Trump and now regret it due to something he plainly said he was going to do (repeal Obamacare) and is now following through on. These Trump-voters, it is said could be won back to Democrats if they are treated with kid-gloves and as allies.

The Omnivore is here to tell you that it doesn't work like that. Sorry.

Trump-voters who voted holding their noses are kidding themselves: If they voted on the court? There'll be another SCOTUS judge up next time. If they voted because they hate Hillary? Well, they'll decide they hate whoever the Democrats run just as much in 2020. Trust The Omnivore: Trump is an identity. You don't get persuaded out of your identity.

On the other hand, partisan blindness is also a thing.

What about Persuadable #NeverTrumpers? Do they exist? Presumably so, right? People who thought Trump was horrible but could be convinced they were wrong about him? Certainly some people, like Erick Erickson, have "come around" to Trump while issuing soft Never-Trump denials while championing his infuriation of the Left (which is more important to them than they'd likely admit).

Certainly Republicans feel that Obama went 8 years without ever reaching out in compromise (don't bring up the name Merrick Garland--it's triggering).

But it's a good question: Is there anything Trump could do that would bring over people who believe him to be an intemperate, shallow, Russian puppet? Could he reach across the aisle?

The answer is maybe. Trump is such an outlier that #NeverTrump is less of an identity than Trump is. It's entirely possible to hold a geo-political view of the world where, within common margins who the president is doesn't make that much difference (this is the intellectual view The Omnivore holds--emotional connections are, of course, quite different).

In this position, it is possible, perhaps even logical, to believe that Trump is sufficiently outside of normal parameters that he is abnormally damaging to the Republic. As such, it's possible for him to prove he's "not that bad."

Is this fantasy? Let's look: What Could Trump Do To Convince The Omnivore That He's Okay.

WCTD?

Here are some discrete steps that Trump could take to convince The Omnivore that he is at worst a slightly more excitable and definitely less conventional Chief Executive.

  1. Release His Tax Returns. This is pretty standard politics. If Trump released his taxes and there was nothing more than standard rich-person tax avoidance, The Omnivore would be highly pleased. If he paid zero taxes last year? The Omnivore would be highly pleased. Offshore tax shelters? Pleased. Russia holdings . . . problem.
  2. Put His Stuff In a Real Blind Trust. Right now Trump has conflicts of interest that are massive and unusual. They extend to other country's banks (China) and the use of his properties for diplomatic activities. While this goes on, The Omnivore sees him as profiteering off the Presidency in a way that the Clinton Foundation didn't even approximate. Trump needs to clear that up.
  3. Independent Investigation In To Russia. There is enough smoke that for the party of Benghazi to refuse an investigation looks immensely partisan and damning. The Omnivore will settle for one investigation--independently run--if it turns up nothing? He's clean.
  4. Pass Immigration Reform. Trump head-faked that he's open to it. The Omnivore isn't fooled. He wanted good coverage for his SOTU--he knows media manipulation. His word, thus far, means less than nothing. However, Only Nixon Could Go To China. Trump could pass immigration reform. If he passed the Gang of Ocho's plan? The Omnivore would see that as serious bi-partisan-style American leadership. He should also keep supporting the Dreamers--they are definitionally innocents in the immigration wars.
  5. Stop Lying. It is clear that Trump-supporters are okay with him saying things that are trivially seen to be false so long as he either changes it later to some kind of defensible statement or it upsets liberals. This works for his base. It doesn't work for The Omnivore. If he'd stop it, that would help--a lot. A 90-day period with no major lies would work.
  6. Denounce His White Supremacist Followers--Clearly, Forcefully, and Continually. It is obvious that White Power people love the president. This isn't in contention. He needs to hate them back. Right now he is their president--in a bad way. He needs to show them he's their president in a good way. This looks like (a) denouncing them without being asked (b) doing in a way that loses their vote. He shouldn't want those votes. No American should. He should say and do things that loses it. He should tell them not to vote for him. He should call them deplorable. He should say, at least, he and Hillary agree on that. This should happen on a regular basis, at each and every national media story of a hate-crime, for at least a 90-day period.
  7. Recognize Russia as an Adversary. Russia may very well invade Baltic states covered under the NATO Section 5 umbrella. If that happens, it is likely that American-led NATO forces would have to either (a) concede them, breaking the NATO backbone, (b) launch a risky counter-attack with high casualties (WWIII) or (c) go to nuclear posturing (which would be WW-Last). Right now Trump is inviting this. It looks either incredibly naive or incredibly suspicious. He needs to stop. This would look like issuing a red-line statement on the Baltics, increasing NATO forces there, and denouncing Russian aggression in Ukraine and Crimea. 
  8. Commit To Obamacare Recipients. He needs to make specific, meaningful commitments to ACA users. For example: The ACA's rule on pre-existing conditions will be kept. Current insurance rates and insurance benefits will be held steady or improved/reduced in price, etc. A real plan would help a lot here.
He could also stop Tweeting embarrassing things--it's not gonna happen--but an Omnivore can dream, can't he?

What Would Trump-Voters Think Of This?

The Omnivore's guess is that they would adopt a paradoxical position: that most of the above doesn't matter, really (i.e. that whether he releases his tax-returns or not isn't a big deal). The paradoxical part is that Trump won't do it (surprise The Omnivore!). He's said he would--he said he'd release his taxes--remember that? Why not just carry through? Especially if there's nothing there?

Because he'd be attacked in the press? C'mon, isn't that happening anyway? Of course it is.

So this poses the question: Why won't he? The Omnivore's answer--because for each point in the above it would damage the Trump-doctrine: Maximize liberal-outrage to please a base which doesn't care about or deeply understand policy ("Who knew health care was so complicated!") but does understand upsetting people on the other side of the ideological divide. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Sudden Fall of Milo Y.



You have probably heard about the rapid fall from "grace" that was Milo Yiannopoulos. If not, that dark thing over your head is a rock and this is a pretty good explanation as far as it goes. If you want to read exactly one other thing on Milo's operations, read this: On the Milo Bus With the Lost Boys of America's New Right. It makes the case that the people who have thrown in with Milo are not so much hard-core Nazis as lost young men who have little idea what they are doing--it also, thankfully, doesn't excuse them.

What If: It Wasn't Pedophilia?

The Omnivore has a suspicion about the Milo backlash, and it's this: It wasn't really about pedophilia. Why not? Wouldn't that be enough? Sure it would--of course--but is over the line for "almost everyone"? Nope--check out Milo's Facebook page--people--thousands and thousands--still love him. Voat's Pizzagate forum, the 'Buffy-the-Vampire-Slayers of peophilia' are also largely in defense of Milo. You'd think if anyone would be ready to lead the pitchforks and torches crowd against someone offering even a potential defense of pedophilia, it'd be them? Right?

If you said "no," you're smart!

So if not, then what got him?

Basically? His usefulness ran out and nobody liked him. Milo's main value-prop was in triggering liberals--creating campus riots that are politically useful to conservatives. He's not a deep conservative thinker. He is gay--so having him "on your side" is kinda useful rhetorically--but so were the Log Cabin Republicans and they didn't get CPAC-love. Now, having been smeared with pedophilia and ousted from CPAC, it gives every college a legitimate reason to refuse him and most platforms a significant down-side to including him--so he's useless.

What if a lot of people who seemed like "friends of Milo" really hated him and when he wasn't useful anymore, they ejected him? Consider this: numerous Breitbart staffers threatened to quit if he wasn't fired. The Omnivore suspects they knew him--and to know him (to have to work with him) is to hate him.


What If The Same Thing Applies To Trump?

Keep in mind here that there are thousands and thousands of Milo supporters still hanging on. There are people who loved what he was doing as a bomb-thrower and don't care what the hell else he said or did. The same applies to Trump, for certain: there are plenty of people who will never acknowledge a problem with him no matter what he does. If he turns out to be a Russian puppet, they'll decide they're okay with Russia.

Putin is dreamy.

But the people with reputational value to protect (CPAC, Simon and Schuster) are not going to want to burn themselves on the pyre of identity politics. The same may go for Congressional Republicans--especially Senators.

Right now Trump is useful--but how many people in power actually like him? It's hard to say, since no one will admit to not-liking-him--but The Omnivore thinks it's pretty obvious that the Milo rule applies here too--if Trump becomes less useful . . . the about-face could be rapid and severe.


What Would That Mean?

This guy thinks it would mean Civil War. The Omnivore isn't so sure--and if it did, well, bring it. If Trump  goes down for collaborating with the Russians The Omnivore would expect America to win that war, actually. The problem here isn't that we're on the edge of a Second American Civil War, it's that we've got someone in power that is only really loved by a faction of people who are very, very divergent from the rest of the country. Note that while Republicans generally like him a LOT more than Democrats, he's not doing great with Independents. Also, while Republicans have, for example, warmed to Russia / Putin, most Americans have not.

The Omnivore suspects that if Trump starts to be seen as toxic to re-election or to have difficulty passing conservative legislation, the end may come quickly and with little warning. The same as with Milo.