Donald Trump

Now that Donald Trump appears on the verge of launching a presidential campaign, it is worth reflecting on the meaning of this low moment in American political history. Trump is a clown and a buffoon, and the odds of him winning even one Republican caucus or primary appear slim. But there is no denying that Trump has managed to tap into something genuinely worrisome in American politics. Democrats may be tempted to take pleasure in the fact that Trump will likely push the GOP presidential field to the right, and thereby help Obama in 2012.

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Trump’s Team

Over the past few weeks, many people have dismissed Donald Trump’s possible presidential campaign as a joke. But don’t tell that to the people volunteering behind the scenes—an eclectic crew of young enthusiasts, old Reagan hands, and one especially slimy and notorious political operative. I spent the past week making phone calls to people who are hosting Trump events in various states, as well as combing through other news sources, in order to try and answer the question: Who exactly is orchestrating Trump’s proto-campaign?

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[Guest post by James Downie] Clearly in need of a new way to make headlines and send his TV ratings further into the tank, Donald Trump has now shifted his aim to Obama's college credentials: Real estate mogul Donald Trump suggested in an interview Monday that President Barack Obama had been a poor student who did not deserve to be admitted to the Ivy League universities he attended.

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I've been highly skeptical of the idea that Donald Trump is really planning to run for president, or that he would stand any chance at all of winning if he does. But I'm starting to treat the possibility just a bit more seriously now. One reason I've discounted his chances is that Republicans elites have shunned his candidacy.

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Did you know Donald Trump is considering running for President? You did? Darn, I was hoping to surprise you. Well, The Donald is making the lives of Politico editors and cable news producers everywhere easier by providing a continuous stream of ridiculous accusations about President Obama's birth certificate, his education credentials, and his choice of footwear.

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The last time Donald Trump threatened to run for president, in 1999, I wrote a bit about him in a Diarist for TNR:  Robertson is not the only one to benefit from Buchanan's radioactivity. It has also allowed Donald Trump to portray himself as a sane alternative. "It's just a wacko vote," he says of Buchanan's supporters, "and I just can't imagine that anybody can take him seriously." In one recent op-ed, Trump wrote that Buchanan "says stupid things" and then went on to threaten a preemptive bombing of North Korea.

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&c

-- Ed Kilgore to GOP elites fighting Donald Trump: resistance is futile. -- Suzy Khimm points out that all the Democrats supporting a repeal of the Independent Payment Advisory Board just happen to have major ties to the health care industry. -- Paul Ryan gets booed.

Trumped

During the 2008 election cycle, Mitt Romney was often accused of treating politics more like a consumer-focused business than an exercise in leadership. “My view is, we ought to double Guantanamo,” he said, radiating the sense that if primary voters wanted something, anything, he’d be willing to sell it. His strategists obsessed about creating and selling “Brand Romney.” To many, these efforts made him look like a crass twit, a market researcher’s caricature of the perfect Republican candidate, even as he came in second-place for the GOP nomination.

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David Brooks, in his column last week, bemoaned the failure of President Obama and Paul Ryan to meet over lunch and get to understand each other: President Obama and Paul Ryan are two of the smartest, most admirable and most genial men in Washington. It is sad, although not strange, that in today’s Washington they have never had a serious private conversation.

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Donald Trump has grabbed a lot of attention by rallying Birthers, but, notes Rich Lowry, he's also promoting a rancid ultra-nationalist foreign policy: People doubt the war in Libya. Trump says he’d wage war there only to take the country’s oil. And he’d take Iraq’s oil, too. Obama is groping for a doctrine in the Middle East. Trump already has one: Steal its oil.

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