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Is Donald Trump Really Toast? This ‘Slate’ Writer Thinks Maybe No…

Trump, wearing a blue suit and red tie, stands under a ballroom chandelier on a red-carpeted stage lined with American flags.
Donald Trump at Mar-a-Lago on Tuesday. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

By Ben Mathis-Lilley

Donald Trump declared his candidacy for president—like, for the term that would start in January 2025—on Tuesday night at his Mar-a-Lago resort/home/country club thing in West Palm Beach, Florida.

The affair has been widely described as not the most exciting event that Trump has ever held; Fox News actually cut away from him while he was still talking. Held in a ballroom and largely read from a teleprompter, his speech had the grocery-list structure and tone of a normal campaign announcement or State of the Union–style address.

This made for some incongruity, as the conventions of the form required that Trump contrast his presidential term with Joe Biden’s, and do so by describing his time in charge as a distant golden age that was followed by a long Biden-dominated darkness. In fact, however, Trump was still president basically five minutes ago, Biden just got done signing the last few elements of his first-term agenda into law, and the Democratic Party was largely returned to power in the midterms—in part, arguably, because the most noteworthy and backlash-causing political news events of the past two years were the Jan. 6 riot and the Dobbs decision overturning Roe v. Wade, for which voters generally blame Republicans rather than Democrats.

The speech also simply did not “meet the moment” in that Trump did not mention the ongoing discussion as to whether he is toast, a lost cause, and/or dead meat in the Republican 2024 primary. Nor did Trump lambaste any popular Republican politicians who have been floated as presidential contenders, which is to say that he did not call Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis any names, such as “Stupid Ron” or “The Big Boots Man,” which some observers (me) had been expecting (a little bit hoping for).

But let’s review that Trump-DeSantis debate anyway, since we’re here.

Reasons to believe Donald Trump is toast:

• Midterm candidates that he supported—and particularly those who echoed his claims about the “stolen” 2020 election—lost several key races and generally did worse than Republican candidates who did not associate themselves with the MAGA movement.

• DeSantis, who has passively tried to avoid associating himself with Trump since Jan. 6 despite having been a huge, over-the-top Trump hanger-on previously, won his own election by 19 points.

• Conservative outlets including Fox News and the National Review have been citing bullet points one and two while hyping DeSantis up as a 2024 candidate.

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• The conservative Club for Growth organization released polls which purport to show DeSantis leading Trump in hypothetical primary matchups in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Georgia.

• Several Republican donors—ranging from a guy CNBC found who gave $120,000 to Trump’s last campaign and should not at all be considered an important guy, to billionaire Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman, who is an important guy—have said they won’t give money to him anymore.

• Trump could, legitimately, and not just in the fantasies of liberals on Facebook, be indicted soon on charges related to Jan. 6 or to his alleged mishandling of classified documents.

• The press and public have become habituated over the course of the last seven years to Trump’s shock-jock method of seizing the news cycle, and he may as a result no longer have the same resonance as the subject of headlines. As Semafor’s Benjy Sarlin observed, in his Tuesday announcement Trump called for the execution of convicted drug dealers—a classic “Can he say that???” move—and few outlets registered it as notable.

However! There are still many …

Reasons to believe Donald Trump is not toast:

• Fox News anchors and the National Review et al. have made stern, harrumphing noises about moving on from Trump before. In the past, he has then gone on to rally his supporters via social media, Fox News prime-time hosts, even-less-mainstream outlets like Newsmax (whose analyst, Mike Huckabee, responded to Tuesday night’s speech by describing Trump as “unbeatable”), and actual rallies.

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• These core supporters have heretofore proven impervious to “elite signaling” about Trump’s undesirability or unelectability, even after Jan. 6 when those signals were being emitted by relatively MAGA-friendly Republicans like House minority leader Kevin McCarthy and South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham. The entire purpose of the movement is to irritate, confront, purge, and otherwise “own” corrupt elites who think they can boss real Americans around!

• Another poll issued Tuesday, one which was not conducted by an activist group that has a history of feuding with Trump, showed Trump leading DeSantis among potential GOP primary voters by a margin of 47–33.

• The most critical events during presidential primaries are debates, during which Ron DeSantis has been described as having the charisma of a middle manager.

Your author’s belief is that we will only really know how real the DeSantis surge is when Trump stands in front of a hooting audience at a rally and calls him “Wrong DeSantis,” “the little boot boy,” “Ron DeSanturd,” or “Schindler’s DeSantList” 14 times. And your author’s suspicion is that it will turn out, then, that the DeSantis surge is not made of much at all. If you disagree, sound off in the comments! (I’ve asked our site moderators to turn comments off.)

A Tribute To Ian Jack, RIP……..

It was without doubt, the best article written about the March 1988 slaying of three IRA members, part of a team that planned to bomb the British colony of Gibraltar, allegedly targeting a British Army band outside the Governor’s residence. I reproduce it here, via a link to Granta, which published the article, in memory of, and in celebration of Ian Jack, one of the best journalists of our time, who sadly died last week.

Here is the Granta piece. Enjoy…..

Missing Name In Media Discourse On Pelosi Husband Attack……

This may surprise or even shock, but in all the media reports and interviews in the US media – primarily the electronic media – of the attack on Nancy Pelosi’s husband, the one name missing in discussions of what happened and why, is that of Donald Trump, even though, I would guess, everyone and his or her dog knows that undoubtedly he was the inspiration for the person who wielded the hammer or whatever he used to do his damage. And you thought the Irish media in the Troubles was bad?

Whatever This Is, It Ain’t Journalism:

Read it here……Are Sinn Fein the Irish media’s new Workers Party?

John Pilger On The Media And Ukraine, inter alia……

You can read it here…..

On This Issue, SF’s Gerry Kelly Knows What He Is Talking About….

Breeding, that is. You can read about his views on Catholics outbreeding Protestants here. When will he tell us about his part in that phase of the conflict…….?

A Thought About That Catholic Majority In NI……

Understandably, a lot of excitement has been generated by recently released population figures showing that Catholics now outnumber Protestants in Northern Ireland by two per cent (45.7% Cath, 43.5% Prot, 9.3% none, with ‘other religions’ at 1.5%). The implication of all this is that a united Ireland is now within reach.

There are a number of problems with such a simplistic conclusion. The most glaring difficulty is the assumption that all Catholics are in favour of a united Ireland and that the Troubles reflected a powerful desire to both destroy the Northern state and to create a 32-county united Ireland.

My own experience, from a student at Queens when the civil rights movement began, followed by the resurgence of the IRA, up to the present day, and my near four decades covering the story as a journalist, is that that a yearning for Irish unity was not what all this signified.

Rather it was the belief that Unionism was so irretrievably committed to excluding Catholics from the exercise of power that the state they controlled was not just illegitimate but so inimical to the Nationalist community that the state they owned and controlled deserved to be destroyed. That is where the Provisional IRA’s roots lie.

The Troubles were not about creating a 32 county Irish republic as much as tearing down, or at least harming a state which Catholics felt they had good reason to detest. Aside from a minority of Nationalists it was not a yearning for Irish re-unification which drove hundreds into the ranks of the Provisional IRA but a hatred of the place which fate had chosen as their birthplace.

In this context the desire for a 32 county re-united Ireland was more an expression of the thought that since Unionism was so irreformable it deserved to be consigned to history’s dustbin. What it was not, was a yearning to rejoin separated brethren on the other side of the Border. Any Nationalist familiar with the circumstances that accompanied the creation of partition cannot but be aware of the deep resentment at the speed and lack of grace that accompanied their abandonment by the Southern state.

Just look at the history of the Irish boundary commission, circa 1924-25, and reflect upon the haste with which the infant Southern state waved farewell to the Northern minority and then, with only occasional exceptions, left them to their fate.

What this meant when the Troubles exploded was that what we went through was less a war of national liberation than an expression of anger and frustration at the refusal of the rest of Ireland, North and South, to recognise the right of Northern Nationalists to political and economic equity.

Assuming this trend begun by the peace process represents permanent change then what we can look forward to is not so much a united Ireland as a more united Northern Ireland.

The Snarling King-In-Waiting….

Watch him here…….

The Dead Queen Psychosis Infecting Britain….

Read this and pour a stiff drink……

Sinn Fein And The Queen…..

Many thanks to Diarmuid Breatnach for posting this article, which takes an unusually interesting line on the recent death of Queen Elizabeth II and Sinn Fein’s response. Thanks to RS for sending it to me. You can read it here: https://rebelbreeze.com/2022/09/13/sinn-fein-becoming-what-they-imitate/