Trump’s Worldview Will Alarm Allies

Businessman Donald Trump gives a speech in front of the United States Capitol in Washington DC, September 9, 2015
Businessman Donald Trump gives a speech in front of the United States Capitol in Washington DC, September 9, 2015 (Joshua M. Hoover)

Donal Trump would pull the United States back from East Asia and Europe, severing alliances that go back decades and putting American trade interests at risk.

The property tycoon and former reality TV star who is now the frontrunner for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination told The Washington Post on Monday that America can no longer afford its military presence in Europe.

“NATO is costing us a fortune and yes, we’re protecting Europe with NATO, but we’re spending a lot of money,” he said.

The businessman had similar laments about America’s allies in Asia. Read more “Trump’s Worldview Will Alarm Allies”

Anti-Trump Platoons Could Be Forming Already

Delegates listen to a speech at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, August 28, 2012
Delegates listen to a speech at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida, August 28, 2012 (PBS/Mallory Benedict)

If Republicans are to block Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy at the convention this summer, they will need the help of two separate platoons of delegates: those formally unbound to any candidate and those who are only halfheartedly pledged to support the New York businessman on the first ballot.

Josh Putnam, a political scientist at the University of Georgia who specializes in election math, says that at least 117 of the 2,472 Republican delegates will arrive at the convention in Cleveland, Ohio in July uncommitted, meaning they can vote for anyone.

Of those, 27 are from territories in the Pacific, 28 from the state of North Dakota and 54 from Pennsylvania.

If Trump falls just short of the 1,237 delegates needed to win the nomination — as seems likely — those unbound delegates could put him over the top.

Which means Trump’s opponents will need them to vote for somebody else on the first ballot to keep the show going. Read more “Anti-Trump Platoons Could Be Forming Already”

Republican Party Has Every Right to Stop Trump

Members of the Texas delegation listen to a speech at the Republican National Convention in Saint Paul, Minnesota, September 2, 2008
Members of the Texas delegation listen to a speech at the Republican National Convention in Saint Paul, Minnesota, September 2, 2008 (PBS/Tom LeGro)

If Republicans in the United States only manage to stop Donald Trump by making use of arcane nominating rules and convention dealmaking, many would inevitably deride this as an establishment coup against the legitimate frontrunner for the presidential nomination.

There is some truth in this. Trump is, after all, ahead in the delegate count. But the argument rests on a misunderstanding of what political parties are for. Read more “Republican Party Has Every Right to Stop Trump”

Donald Trump Is Playing with Fire

Businessman Donald Trump appears at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 27, 2015
Businessman Donald Trump appears at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 27, 2015 (Gage Skidmore)

The cancelation of a Donald Trump rally in Chicago on Friday for fear of unrest is the low point so far in a political campaign that has been marred by violence.

It may not even be the worst of it unless the Republican candidate stops advocating brutality.

On Saturday, four Secret Service agents had to rush on stage when Trump was giving a speech in Ohio to prevent a protester reaching him.

Police in Kansas City used pepper spray on crowds outside a Trump event later that day.

The billionaire, who is leading in the polls to win the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, took to Twitter to complain that “thugs” were trying to shut him down. But he maintained at the same time that the turmoil had only “energized America.” Read more “Donald Trump Is Playing with Fire”

Blocking Trump at Convention Would Be Last Resort

Businessman Donald Trump makes a speech in Derry, New Hampshire, August 19, 2015
Businessman Donald Trump makes a speech in Derry, New Hampshire, August 19, 2015 (Michael Vadon)

If Donald Trump falls short of the 1,237 delegates needed to win the Republican Party’s presidential nomination outright, we may not have to wait until the convention before we learn whether he succeeds or not.

Earlier this week, we reported that some mainstream Republicans in the United States are hoping to block Trump at the convention in Cleveland, Ohio this summer. They recognize that the foulmouthed businessman from New York would almost certainly lose a general election against Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee, in November — and possibly split the Republican Party.

But stopping him at the convention would be a last resort, argues Bloomberg View columnist Jonathan Bernstein. Party actors could use the weeks between the final nominating contests in June and the convention in July to try to influence the outcome. Read more “Blocking Trump at Convention Would Be Last Resort”

Allies Perplexed and Inspired by Trump’s Rise

Businessman Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 27, 2015
Businessman Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, February 27, 2015 (Gage Skidmore)

Some of America’s closest allies have been perplexed by Donald Trump’s candidacy for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination and publicly voiced their concern, something foreign leaders usually shy away from.

British prime minister David Cameron, whose Conservative Party shares Republicans’ support for free markets and trade, called Trump’s proposal to ban all Muslims from entering the United States “divisive” and “stupid” last year.

Cameron later added that comments like Trump’s only help fanatics “want to create a clash of civilizations” between Islam and the West.

Canada’s Justin Trudeau, a Liberal, has similarly said, “I stand firmly against the politics of division, the politics of fear, the politics of intolerance or hateful rhetoric.”

In an interview with CBS News this weekend, the Canadian leader argued, without referring to Trump by name, that openness and respect will do more to diffuse anger than “big walls and oppressive policies.” Read more “Allies Perplexed and Inspired by Trump’s Rise”

Don’t Count on Cruz to Help Stop Trump

Republican senator Ted Cruz of Texas campaigns in Manchester, New Hampshire, January 21
Republican senator Ted Cruz of Texas campaigns in Manchester, New Hampshire, January 21 (Gage Skidmore)

The Republican plan to stop Donald Trump has one big problem. Its name is Ted Cruz.

Politico reports that there is a frantic last-minute effort underway to prevent the former from claiming the party’s presidential nomination at the convention in Cleveland, Ohio this summer. Both the Republican “establishment” and movement conservatives, normally at odds, are appalled at the prospect of the property tycoon winning the nomination. Trump appears to have no firm beliefs and would almost certainly lose the general election in November against the Democrats’ Hillary Clinton.

But he is leading in the delegate count and it is probably too late now for another candidate to overtake him. The plan is to deny Trump a majority of the delegates and then nominate somebody else at the convention.

Cruz, who is in second place, is resisting. Read more “Don’t Count on Cruz to Help Stop Trump”

The Party Is Deciding: Anyone But Trump

Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Marco Rubio talk during a commercial break in a debate televised by CBS News from Greenville, South Carolina, February 13
Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump and Marco Rubio talk during a commercial break in a debate televised by CBS News from Greenville, South Carolina, February 13 (Reuters/Jonathan Ernst)

Having underestimated Donald Trump for months, Republicans in the United States are finally taking action to try to stop him from claiming their party’s presidential nomination this summer. Read more “The Party Is Deciding: Anyone But Trump”

If Trump Wins

Businessman Donald Trump gives a speech in front of the United States Capitol in Washington DC, September 9, 2015
Businessman Donald Trump gives a speech in front of the United States Capitol in Washington DC, September 9, 2015 (Joshua M. Hoover)

Donald Trump is closing in on the American presidency.

The man who has promised to build a wall on the Mexican border (and force the Mexican government to pay for it), to somehow or another destroy the Islamic State with one fell swoop, to push Vladimir Putin back where he belongs and to rectify the trade imbalance with China is on a trajectory to win the nomination for the Republican Party of the United States.

And that’s worth considering.

What would a Trump presidency be like? For all his bluster, he’s remarkably short on details: even Barack Obama as early as 2007 indicated pretty clearly he’d begin a drone war in Pakistan. Beyond Trump’s obviously offensive platitudes and incoherent rambling about both loving and hating large swathes of people (sometimes the same people), Trump has kept actual policy close to his chest, if he has any at all.

But that doesn’t actually matter so much when it comes to speculating a Trump presidency, because Trump, like all presidents, must play by the rules. Read more “If Trump Wins”

Donald Trump, Conspiracy Theorist

Businessman Donald Trump makes a speech in Derry, New Hampshire, August 19, 2015
Businessman Donald Trump makes a speech in Derry, New Hampshire, August 19, 2015 (Michael Vadon)

Donald Trump lies. Frequently. The New York businessman, who is a contender for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, will brazenly deny tomorrow what he has said today.

It’s tempting to dismiss this as hot air except Trump really does seem incapable of separating truth from fiction.

Consider the conspiracy theories he has been peddling.

Trump recently told supporters that John J. Pershing, an American general, executed Muslim rebels in the Philippines during the Moro Rebellion with bullets doused in pig blood. This so frightened the Filippo insurgents, he claimed, that “for 25 years, there wasn’t a problem.”

The story is completely made up. Not by Trump, though. It’s an urban legend that’s been making the rounds on far-right Internet forums and in chain emails. Read more “Donald Trump, Conspiracy Theorist”