Category Archives: US Politics

A list of everybody who absolutely destroyed Donald Trump in 2016

​Donald J. Trump really has been the gift that’s kept on giving over the past 18 months. His presidential bid was literally hilarious and provided all of the highly-respected late-night liberal TV hosts a never-ending wealth of material that could be condensed – either daily or weekly –  into YouTube clips and shared across social media.

Trump’s brash, triggering style, which earned him widespread condemnation from our favourite Hollywood stars and paved the way for Hillary Clinton’s storming victory in the popular vote.

Here’s a list of everybody who absolutely destroyed Donald Trump in 2016:

The end.


Donald Trump’s route to 270 is fiendish, but he only needs 269 – and here’s how he could do it

It’s no secret that Donald Trump’s path to 270 electoral votes is much tougher than Hillary Clinton’s. Simply nailing down Pennsylvania and one of Florida, North Carolina or Ohio would effectively block Trump’s route to the White House.

However, there’s one caveat hardly anyone seems to be considering, and it could just be pivotal. Trump doesn’t need a path to 270, just to 269 – and there’s a realistic set of states that can get him there.

A 269-269 tie would result in an electoral college deadlock, at which point the House of Representatives would pick the next president, while the Senate would choose the next vice president.

Let’s make two assumptions: one, that the House will still belong to the GOP after the election (a near certainty), and that two, that GOP House would make Trump president should they get the opportunity (yes, I know it’s 2016, but surely, surely they would).

Anyway, enough wonky politics and what-ifs, and into the mathematics.

Since Clinton’s route is so easy, it’s much more revealing to focus solely on how Trump could defeat her – well, tie it up. Providing nothing bizarre happens and The Donald keeps Texas, Georgia and Arizona (a state that’s in true toss-up territory but would likely go Trump’s way should he win the other states needed for this avenue) in the red column, he would have 191 electoral votes.

Iowa, the Hawkeye State, will perhaps be Trump’s easiest state to win that Romney failed to. Polls have consistently shown the GOP nominee leading and, although he has slipped, the slight movement back toward him late on should be enough to win here. That’s 197.

Head eastwards to the Buckeye State of Ohio and Trump has 18 electoral votes that have trended his way, narrowly, for a while. Despite not securing the support of the state’s Republican governor, John Kasich, he has eked out a small edge of around one or two points over Clinton. Flipping this Obama-won state seems more likely than not. That’s 215.

Down to the Panhandle and the Sunshine State of Florida. The prize? A mighty 29 electoral votes in the increasingly diverse state. A notorious election-decider, Florida has swayed back and forth intriguingly during this election cycle.

Both Trump and Clinton secured thumping wins in their respective primaries, and are now neck-and-neck in the polls seven days out. A recent New York Times/Siena College poll gave Trump a four-point lead, while an NBC/WSJ/Marist poll put Clinton one point up. If the FBI bombshell does indeed harm Clinton, Trump may reap the rewards. That’s 244.

North Carolina was won by Romney in 2012 by two percent, but it’s a state that Trump is having significant difficulty with. The early voting has given off blurry signals but the polling has hinted at a Clinton win (as of November 1, she has a 3.3-point advantage according to RealClearPolitics.

A big turnout for Trump on Election Day, and the Tar Heel State has a large number of independents which will likely determine it, and he, like Romney, could tip the Cinton-leaning scales post-early voting. Humour me and make this assumption, and that’s 259.

These scoops would still put Trump 10 short of the tie, taking his quest to Colorado, the 420 blaz… Centennial State, where nine more votes are up for grabs. The Clinton camp thought Colorado was in the bag months back and pulled advertising, allowing Trump to drastically close the gap.

A calamitous early-to-mid October arrested Democrat concerns but the state isn’t a guarantee, with a CBS/YouGov poll putting Clinton just three points up in the sparsely-polled state. Recent Remington Research findings have her one point ahead, although this pollster is Republican aligned. Meanwhile, a Quinnipiac poll conducted more than a fortnight ago had Clinton’s lead at eight. In short, the polling is a mess, but points toward a small to medium HRC win, yet with limited confidence.

Ballots are already being mailed in and Trump has also been pressing hard recently there. Colorado is a tough task, but it looks far more viable than the Pennsylvania and Wisconsin paths being touted by talking heads. If he does complete the heist then that’s 268. One short.

They do things differently up in the Pine Tree State of Maine (and Nebraska too, for that matter). While two electoral votes are available for a statewide win, one additional vote is given to the winner of the state’s 1st and 2nd congressional districts. The limited polling indicates Trump is a good bet for the latter. Things have been volatile and his prospects are nowhere near as bright as in September, where he enjoyed double-digit leads, but it definitely looks doable. And if he does, that’s 269 and likely the presidency.

Fail that, and Nevada’s six electoral votes could nudge him north of 270.


It’s a thin, treacherous tightrope and one Trump has a greater chance of falling off than walking across, but it offers a glimmer of hope that the proposed Rust Belt strategy doesn’t seem to. Barring a big polling error, foreseeable in these Brexit times of course, in Pennsylvania or Michigan (which missed Bernie Sanders’ primary win by 20 points), that route looks blocked for Trump.

Anyway, back to the original premise: the idea that 269 being enough for Trump could make all the difference. It’d be bizarre, wacky, unprecedented and bonkers. But has there been a more bizarre, wacky, unprecedented and bonkers election than 2016?


Donald Trump is politically bombproof but politically incompetent

Donald Trump is staggeringly unpopular in the United Kingdom, with most miffed about how a campaign such as his could gain the astonishing traction it has. The majority of those then conclude that racism isn’t dead across the pond and that demagogues can win because, hey, look what happened in the 1930s.

These are unsurprising assumptions from those who dip in and out of the race and need constant reminders of how the electoral college works. They aren’t wholly wrong, but they can’t truly understand what’s going on as they aren’t immersed in the madcap reality Americans currently are.

Trump has gone after Mexico, China and goodness knows where else, but his most persistent and successful attacks have been levelled at an enemy much closer to home: the mainstream media.

Trump laid the groundwork for this when he kicked off his campaign, and has continued to build on it throughout. Barely a rally goes by without a fierce probe on the ‘dishonest press’ for not panning the crowd or reporting accurately – or at least Trump’s version of accurately. Cringe-inducing tweets about a “dopey” journalist or how much of a disaster former promoter Morning Joe is come morning, noon and night too.

This war on the media has proven mightily effective, so much so that he can easily spout a plethora of lies and half-truths before dodging the splashback. Harsh criticism of Trump from the media, whether it’s warranted or not, screams of, “Well they would say that, wouldn’t they?” to his fervent followers, many of whom then visit their chosen online right-wing source for the “real” news, if only for confirmation bias.

Americans’ trust in the mass media is at a historical low, with just 32 percent saying they have either a “great deal” or “fair amount” of trust, according to a recent Gallup poll – an 8-percent decline from a year ago. Much of that can be attributed to Trump, who has simply exploited the omnipresent scepticism of mainstream media. Moreover, a CNN poll discovered that 50 percent deem Trump trustworthy. That’s a whopping 18 percent higher than the media’s trust ratings, and 15 percent greater than Hillary Clinton’s, his presidential adversary.

It’s what makes fact-checking a waste of time too, even from those doing it diligently with noble intentions.

Trump’s lies are pretty obvious – like when he called Clinton the co-founder of Islamic State who, as we all know, was in cahoots with President Barack Obama. Or when he said that Clinton would “abolish the Second Amendment”. But if a voter isn’t picking up on his brazen lies from the off, they aren’t about to do so from a smarmy know-it-all whose reputation Trump has directly or indirectly chipped away at.

Independent fact-checkers are a bit better, but once into the muddier waters of half-lies and half-truths, the implicit bias of the author will inevitably slip in, no matter how much they strive to be impartial.

Not to mention, those with the time and desire to traipse through a fact-checking sheet are likely to be well aware of the happenings of the election and the world to have worked out the “pants on fire” stuff for themselves. Fact-checking is a tool made by political junkies for political junkies, so trapped in their echo chamber that they think everyone cares about the new CNN poll for Pennsylvania and the subtleties of the crosstabs.

Trump is nigh on politically bombproof to media criticism; it’s his penchant for a personal dogfight which has harmed him – borne out of his thin skin and political inexperience. A sweeping generalisation on illegal Mexican immigrants being rapists is forgotten because it’s political, a singular attack from an oafish Trump on an undeserving target isn’t since it’s personal – a big guy going after a little guy doesn’t play well, unless that little guy is Marco Rubio.

Had Trump buried the Obama birther debate years ago, left Judge Gonzalo Curiel alone and responded respectfully with an olive branch to the Gold Star Khan family, he would probably be on his way to victory, simply because despite all of this it’s still a very tight race, largely because – on a personal level at least – Clinton is also an appalling candidate whose image has plummeted.

But, of course, that’s not in his nature, and Democrats are ever-grateful it isn’t, for it has given them plenty of juicy ad material and nice bait for Trump to hook himself with, as Clinton demonstrated in the first debate.

It comes from Trump’s belief that “all publicity is good publicity” and that as a counter-puncher, if someone, anyone, hits him – or he perceives them to have – then he must whack back twice as hard. That may work in business, but on the political battlefield, it’s about knowing when to pick or avoid fights.

If Trump loses by a big margin on November 8, something looking increasingly unlikely, he and his ideas would have been firmly rejected. A narrow defeat, however, it would be because the electorate deemed the orator of those ideas too inarticulate and lacking the political savvy to be a safe pair of hands in the White House.

But if Trump wins, it won’t be because of policy, for he has few. Nor will it solely be down to his brash outsider status. No, the main reason will be because he took on the media, discredited them further and, in doing so, made himself immune – even when he had no right to be.

How Donald Trump conned conservatives

The reality of a con doesn’t truly set in until you know you’ve been had with no chance of an exit – a Trexit, if you will. At this point, solely to save face, you’ll scramble to convince others and most importantly yourself that it isn’t that bad and pretty much what you wanted in the first place.

This is the predicament many of Donald Trump’s fiercest supporters find themselves in after his most stunning flip-flop yet. Newsflash: the original vote-garnering plan to deport 11 million illegal immigrants is not going to happen.

Instead, the attempted new and kinder politics (has he been taking tips from Jeremy Corbyn?) from The Donald has offered up some thoughts that it’s “tough” to deport those who’ve been here for a long time and if they pay back taxes then all will be fine and dandy. I know, it doesn’t sound like him either.

No one has been left smarting more than Ann Coulter, the renowned author so strongly supportive of the real estate magnate since he announced his candidacy last June.

She has already stated that the tour for her new book In Trump We Trust could be the “shortest book-tour ever” if he comes up empty on immigration. But, true to the form of somebody too far invested to get out at this late stage, Coulter herself now seems to be softening on the issue.

“Perhaps it is in our interest to let some of them stay,” she mused, buyer’s remorse on full display. After all, the wall’s still going up, for now, and shipping 11 million out was never going to work anyway, was it? And some of them, I suppose, are good people – aren’t they? Correct, Ann.

It’s a far cry from the chatter that had Coulter and co stumping for Trump as he battled off RINOs and Lyin’ Ted prior to and during the primaries. While Trump himself may never have been committed, Coulter and the likes of Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Al) – who is reluctantly contemplating concessions – were then and are now.

But they are in such a hole, with trusted conservative Cruz long gone and Trump confirmed as the nominee, that they have little choice but to stay on the train. After all, what happens if conservatives back out on Trump now? They get Hillary Clinton. And whatever the fallout of the GOP cart crashing and burning in November, it still wouldn’t be as bad as aiding a Clinton victory. The doors are locked and they’re in it to win it, at whatever cost to their principles – except for Cruz, who now looks ripe for a second coming should Trump fall short.

While it’s true that Trump’s bid is not entirely fuelled by his immigration stance (during the primaries, many Republican voters cited the economy as their biggest concern, particularly further north), his positions in this field have dominated his campaign’s narrative.

Hence, flip-flops in other areas were forgivable, with Trump voters consoling themselves that whatever happens in other areas, the immigration package is being sold as promised.

Conservatives are now lumped with a candidate espousing similar views to Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio and John Kasich, without the much-needed caveats of electoral advantage and smooth delivery. At least with those weak, low-energy choices, the chances of getting into the most obscene and unnecessary spats is negligible. Even in the unlikelihood these incidents haven’t done Trump damage, they certainly haven’t helped and have prevented him from going all-out on (Crooked) Hillary.

We now have a scenario where the new, admittedly 70-year-old kid on the political block is forcing some give out of even the most hardened immigration voices. Perhaps he is the ultimate negotiator after all.

How Donald Trump took over the Republican Party – but could he be Hillary’s secret agent?

Does Donald Trump want to be president of the United States? Only Donald Trump knows. That he has invested eight months of his time into becoming the Republican nominee suggests he does, however, a lifetime of liberal views indicates he does not – at least not on a GOP ticket.

The ‘out there’ theory that Trump is Hillary Clinton’s secret agent, sent in to complete the destruction of a party that has fissured greatly during Barack Obama’s presidency, has remained just that – out there. But the 2016 race has contained more political theatre than even Frank Underwood could summon up.

On the surface it makes a degree of sense, although it could admittedly be dismissed as a logical fallacy. Trump has bulldozed his way in, ripped open wounds in the party that are on the brink of becoming irreparable (if they aren’t already), and played on the often-implied prejudices of a party that is going to find it harder and harder to win as America’s demographics change forever.

Let’s assess the Trump predicament in more depth. The GOP has an unstoppable candidate that it does not want, but that its voters – by and large – do. Since cruising down the Trump Tower escalator on 16 June last year, The Donald has exposed the frustrations of Republican voters, and harnessed them to create an undeniable movement. Immigration? Build a wall. Washington politicians? Stuff ‘em. Nabisco? No more Oreos. There are few concrete solutions (except the wall), but the frontrunner’s plans are still better than anything else Republicans have heard over the past eight years.

Until now, moderates, evangelicals, libertarians and Tea Partiers have been kept under the umbrella, despite their many differences. One goal they are all invested in, however, is preventing another Democrat, Hillary Clinton in particular, from securing the White House for another term. It just so happens that the man leading that charge invited her to his wedding, donated to her foundation and was lavishing praise on her until just a few years ago.

Four years ago, arch-libertarian Ron Paul threatened to take the GOP by storm. This time around, his son Rand failed to even make it to the ‘Live Free or Die’ state of New Hampshire – that Republicans are now turning towards a big government leader indicates they were never interested in full-scale freedom or liberty.

But far more incredible than courting the party with libertarian streaks, Trump has become the darling of evangelicals too, despite the presence of Ted Cruz. Trump claims to have evolved from previous pro-choice views and also states that he is firmly for traditional marriage – which is quite believable since he has had three.

Other incidents that would have been complete no-nos for other Republican candidates include Trump’s slightly questionable history on the Second Amendment, and his comment on ‘Obamacare’ that he “liked the mandate”, which is one of the most loathed parts of it. In short, considering Trump’s rocky ride and ideological clashes with key wings of the GOP, it’s remarkable that he has been able to assert and maintain such a strong lead.

Trump is a rare breed of politician who is truly Teflon. You could write a book on all of his election gaffes: from Megyn Kelly to John McCain, from “Two Corinthians” to the Pope.  Barring his blip in Iowa – and everyone knows they can’t pick a winner – Trump has been impenetrable. He made good on his massive New Hampshire lead, eased home in South Carolina despite an all-out attack on the Bushes and then hammered home his advantage taking nearly half of the vote in the Nevada Caucus.

It’s a hostile takeover that has caught the Republican Party off-guard, even though they had nearly a year to prepare themselves for it. Marco Rubio is their last hope, and his campaign will be over if Trump bests him in his home state of Florida on 15 March – polls give the latter a comfortable lead, even in a one-on-one showdown with Rubio. Cruz, the only other feasible candidate left, is even more detested by Republican high-rankers than Trump.

The GOP has no choice: it must get behind Trump and hope beyond hope that he does want the top prize. Establishment Republicans have come out of the woodwork, saying they would prefer a Clinton presidency to a Trump one, and that making the Republicans at least maintained control of the Senate this November would be the primary aim. But where would that leave them? With an already hated establishment that not only blew another election, but effectively gave Hillary the keys to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Good luck with that.

In Trump, the GOP has an uncontrollable force. The New Yorker possesses the savvy to dominate the media and direct the conversation – a game-changing skill that can be both beneficial and detrimental. Trump detected the anger among Republicans far better than their party did, and he subsequently tailored his campaign message to articulate those feelings. For at least 35 to 40 percent of GOP voters, Trump is their spokesman. He has energised them in a way no one has since Ronald Reagan. The Republican hierarchy may perceive a Trump general election win to be impossible, but betraying him now would ensure their own doom.

While Trump signed a pledge in September to support the Republican nominee come what may, recent months have shown that it is he who decides whether he is being treated fairly, and that he is not afraid to use it as leverage. Screwing him at the Cleveland convention in July would all but guarantee a third-party bid, which would hand victory to the Democrats. Trump’s passionate base has demonstrated they would rather stick two fingers up to the system than support another do-nothing Washington politician.

The scrambling to stop Trump in recent days is proof of how desperate, fruitless and forlorn things are for the GOP establishment. Months of gently prodding didn’t work; neither did more intellectual attacks from Jeb Bush, leaving Rubio no choice but to try something wacky.

As we approach Super Tuesday, the most delegate-rich day in primary politics, Rubio’s main line of attack is to pick apart Trump’s orangey skin and question whether the billionaire wet himself at the last debate. Trump, not to be outdone at the comedy roadshow, has taken delight in mocking ‘Little Marco’, noting how he sweats profusely and how newly-acquired henchman Chris Christie belittled him at the pre-New Hampshire debate. And they are running to be the Leader of the Free World.

The 2016 election has descended into farce. There will never be another like it and we probably don’t even know half of this story yet. Conventional wisdom suggests Donald Trump is a nutter, and the product of a rapidly-declining Republican Party. But conventional wisdom is defunct. Could Trump really be a plant? With his well-documented history, it wouldn’t be a ‘yuge’ surprise.

The Republicans’ best chance of winning the White House is a former liberal who will ensure their total meltdown if they make any attempt to treat him badly. Who would have ever thought it would come to that?

Could Donald Trump win? Definitely, maybe

Donald Trump is still a thing. When he took to a raucous Trump Tower in June to finally jump into a presidential race after years of teasing, even the most astute of political junkies predicted a brief Trump whirlwind before crashing out ignominiously.

However, the brash billionaire businessman has taken the presidential race by storm and, as the primaries draw closer, the lead that was supposed to dwindle has only solidified and grown. The Summer of Trump overran into autumn and is whipping up a winter storm as 2015 draws to a close.

It was not supposed to be this way, especially after a series of comments that would have been campaign-ending for anyone other than The Donald.

But where others would fall, Trump only seems to strengthen his advantages. The backlash over his policy to temporary ban Muslims from entering the U.S. in an effort to combat Islamic State would have finished lesser candidates, but the very next day, he was back on TV cruising through interviews with ease.

In his short time as a politician, Trump has shown his mastery of the media. Despite a glaring lack of specifics over the past six months, no interviewer has been able to successfully pin him down – Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly has arguably been the best at calling out unworkable policies and question dodging. Why? Because Trump answers the questions he wants to, happily wanders off on tangents, while ensuring he provides a few juicy quotes to grab the headlines.

It’s all in Trump: The Art of the Deal 

As explained in Trump: The Art of the Deal, “the second-greatest book of all-time”, sensationalism sells and guarantees that “the press is going to write about you”. The Trump-coined phrase “truthful hyperbole” suggests slight exaggeration is innocent, and a “very effective form of promotion”.

These quotes help to clarify the logic of Trump’s approach, and dispel the claims that he is clueless. Most of Trump’s eyebrow-raising moments are examples of this ideology put into action. He knows exactly what he is doing.

For the media and Trump, it’s a convenient alliance – however much the two may like to despise each other. The media offers Trump copious exposure because he draws the ratings like no other. That exposure has allowed the New Yorker to keep his campaign coffers virtually full. While former establishment favourite Jeb Bush has expended $32.5 million on practically useless ads, Trump has shelled out just $216,000.

Polls continue to strengthen

The polls, as you have probably heard from the man himself, have been “beautiful”. After briefly dipping briefly due to Ben Carson’s short rise, Trump has surged once more and he now regularly chalks up 35 to 40 percent in national polling.

As there is no national primary, such numbers come with a healthy dose of caution, but even in the early voting states, Iowa appears the only obstacle – the Hawkeye State sees Trump locked in a battle with fellow anti-establishment candidate and Republican buddy Ted Cruz. In New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada he leads handily, and has done so for much.

Consider too that the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses have picked the eventual nominee just two times out of six, failing to win the Midwest state wouldn’t spell doom. However, if Trump does win Iowa, his overall strength suggests he could indeed “run the table” and cruise to the nomination.

The biggest hurdle for Trump may not come from the opposition, but from closer to home. Polls have indicated that his rise isn’t coming thanks to the GOP faithful, but from outsiders being wooed back into politics by his candidacy.

It could go one of two ways: the cold winter nights may ultimately see many decide against making the effort to go and vote, or, his vitalised base could turn out in force, much like Barack Obama’s did in 2008. If Trump’s crowds are a true measure of his support, the latter outcome seems probable.

No-nonsense Trump resonates with disaffected voters

Determining why Trump is enjoying such unprecedented domination among the GOP candidates is simple – he speaks the language of Americans utterly fed up with Washington and has the no-nonsense approach to “get things done” that the rest so sorely lack.

That he has flip-flopped on the Second Amendment and abortion – two Republican issues – doesn’t matter, nor does his past praise of likely presidential adversary Hillary Clinton. He claims to have evolved like Reagan, and says that as a businessman it was his job to buy politicians and get along with everyone.

For those not on the Trump Train, such statements obviously do not wash, but his ability to speak frankly about Washington corruption is what appeals to so many others – many Americans are overjoyed they now have somebody to voice the opinions they have held for so long – and that he is entirely self-funding his campaign helps too. Illegal immigration, jobs going abroad, shoddy trade deals to mention three, Trump is throwing out the red meat and getting the exact response he wants.

Detail has been missing, but who needs detail when you can sell a good story? Trump presents himself as a negotiator, someone who can make the necessary deals to solve America’s problems.

Mitt Romney, the Republican candidate in 2012, claimed three years ago that Russia was the country’s “number one geopolitical foe”; three years on, and the party’s current front-runner is trading compliments with Vladimir Putin, the Russian president.

Those dismayed with Obama’s leadership and consider the US a waning force on the global stage see Trump as the solution to that problem. As far as they are concerned, his business has excelled and such cut-throat nous will help America do the same – especially with the strong team Trump promises his presidency would boast.

Before Trump jumped in, many pundits thought Kentucky Senator Rand Paul would be a major force with his libertarian outlook, even if he isn’t as rooted in the ideology as his father Ron is. As it has turned out, small government and liberty has been swamped by big government and “security”. If the primaries confirm that, it proves Republicans were never really searching for a reduced state, just a powerful leader.

Trump v Clinton

The prospect of a Trump-Clinton showdown is decidedly juicy, especially from the safe vantage point of across the pond. It’s a match-up that gives both sides reasons to be happy, while both cause for concern.

For the Democrats, Trump being the opposition over a smoother candidate such as Marco Rubio would be cause for early and perhaps premature celebration. The Hispanics – an increasingly important section of the electorate – US Muslims and floating voters could flock to Clinton in wake of Trump’s tough immigration stances, handing the Democrats a clear path to the White House.

But underestimating the power of Trump has been a foolhardy strategy so far. His ceiling continues to rise in spite of those deeming he has peaked, and he would likely run a charm offensive in a general election, opting for a more centrist stance. His business background would serve him well in the economic battle, and the “bringing jobs back” message could be very potent with the working class, even among minority voters.

As of now, Clinton has a solid lead in head-to-head polls versus Trump, but with more than 10 months to go until the race culminates, what’s happening now has limited relevance.

Could Donald Trump become the Republican nominee? Definitely. Could he then march to the White House next November? Definitely, maybe.