Saturday, May 21, 2016

Trump Divides The NRA

by JASmius

The National Rifle Association's leadership may have endorsed the New York liberal gun-grabber and ordered its membership to "Sit down, shut up, get over it, and get behind Trump," but some of their rank & file members aren't buying it:

“’I have no clue why they did it,’ said Brian Abney of Missouri. He was among the much smaller contingent that showed up to the NRA’s Annual Members Meeting on Saturday, hoping to grill the NRA’s brass about the decision to endorse a man who not long ago backed longer waiting periods to buy guns and a ban on assault weapons (which, NRA activists will tell you, is an inaccurate, anti-gun term for that category of firearms).

Trump has since disavowed those views, and on Friday, he called for an end to gun-free zones while warning that [Mrs.] Clinton would overturn the Second Amendment.

She would try, just like Barack Obama has.  And if he hasn't been able to accomplish that, there's no particularly compelling reason to believe that she could, especially with even the uber-liberal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals taking a stand for Amendment II this week.

Fear can be a powerful motivator, and a dangerous tool in that hands of a deceptive demagogue.  And it appears to have had his intended affect on his latest assimilated drones:

“’It was a very clear choice,’ said an NRA official on Saturday, who insisted on speaking anonymously about internal NRA deliberations. ‘Hillary Clinton is not an option. She must be defeated at all costs.’”

Be careful what you wish for, pal.  Especially since "all costs" in this case includes an opponent who is not only just like her, but perhaps even worse.

The campaign was “heated,” the official said, so the NRA saw the early endorsement as “an opportunity to begin the process of bringing everyone together to defeat Hillary Clinton and elect a pro-Second Amendment president.”

Which does not describe Donald Trump's track record of public statements and stances as a public, quasi-political figure.  And on what grounds is the NRA leadership trying so strenuously and in such unseemly fashion to convince themselves of what so clearly isn't so?   Trump's word, of course:

Trump’s more recent statements put him on strong footing, the official said. ‘Throughout this campaign, Donald Trump has been very clear that he is a staunch supporter of Second Amendment rights.’” [emphases added]

And right up until the instant he entered this campaign, Donald Trump has been a staunch foe of Second Amendment rights, just like every other New York liberal, including Hillary Clinton.  Donald Trump has spent this entire campaign, and the thirty-plus years as a public figure that preceded it, proving beyond any reasonable doubt that his word means absolutely and precisely nothing.  He is as big or bigger a liar than both Clintons put together.  He will say and do anything to accomplish the one and only thing about which he cares at the moment: Winning the election.  In the immediate context, that means telling the NRA leadership what it wanted to hear in order to glom its ill-advised and frankly giggly star-struck endorsement - the same one that it withheld for months from John McCain and Mitt Romney the last two presidential election cycles, two ACTUAL Republicans whose commitment to gun rights were orders of magnitude more credible.

So, to borrow the question Red Skull asked Captain America, "What makes [Trump] so special"?  Evidently that "he's not Hillary," even though he pretty much is.  Or Bill, at least.  Which is something that I've spent the past twenty-four years under the impression that conservatives didn't think was a good thing.  Why, exactly, has that changed all of a sudden?

That's what NRA #NoneOfTheAbovers would like to know:

The National Rifle Association made a last-minute decision to endorse Donald Trump on Friday — and some members are slamming the move because it comes so early in the process.

"I have no clue why they did it," Brian Abney an NRA member from St. Louis, told Politico.

He was among a group who came to the association's Annual Members Meeting on Saturday, seeking answers about the endorsement.

Abney said he agreed with NRA officials that Hillary Clinton should be defeated but questioned the Trump announcement.

"I don’t trust her," Abney said of the likely Democrat nominee. "It seems like scandal follows her around."

But he told Politico of Trump: "I think of him about the same way I think of Hillary," since the developer has changed his position on gun rights over the years.

He said that he was weighing a vote to a third-party candidate. [emphasis added]

Mr. Abney is thinking, in other words, and the NRA leadership is not.  And the fact that the latter category has so many more inhabitants than the former is the terminal vital sign that signals the death knell of the conservative movement and the Republican Party.  And who benefits from that more than the American Left?

Donald Trump has divided and debased and discredited the Right for the past eleven months and rolls forward towards his spectacular endgame of electoral destruction.  But in every group and wing and category, there is a #NeverTrump remnant, and that remnant is still disproportionately large in the category that needs to be topmost in Il Douche's mind right now: fundraising:

Many large Republican Party donors — representing billions of dollars — are extremely wary of Donald Trump's presidential campaign, with many attacking the presumptive nominee's policies and some even dismissing him over Democrat Hillary Clinton.

"If it is Trump vs. [Mrs.] Clinton, I will be voting for Hillary," William Oberndorf, a California hedge fund manager, told the New York Times. He has backed Mitt Romney and Jeb Bush.

Thus my distinction between #NeverTrump and #NoneOfTheAbove, as the former was in the context of the GOP primary campaign and the latter should be its manifestation in the general.

Michael Vlock, a Connecticut investor who has donated almost $5 million to Republicans in national races since 2014, called the developer a dangerous person.

"He’s an ignorant, amoral, dishonest and manipulative, misogynistic, philandering, hyper-litigious, isolationist, protectionist blowhard," he told the Times. [emphasis added]

I'd say that pretty much sums up Trump in a nutshell.  Well done, Mike.

The obvious resistance, culled from interviews and email correspondence with fifty of the GOP's largest donors, or their representatives, could impede Trump's ability to raise $1 billion to defeat any Democrat in November, according to the Times....

More than a dozen top Republican contributors and wealthy families told the Times that they would not raise money for or contribute to Trump.

The group has donated as much as $90 million to conservative candidates and efforts in the last three national elections, primarily through super PACs supporting Republican candidates.

Besides Oberndorf, these include Paul Singer, the New York investor who has spent $28 million on national Republicans since the 2012 election; Joe Ricketts, the founder of TD Ameritrade, and his wife, Marlene, who have spent nearly $30 million in the same period; Seth Klarman, a Boston hedge fund manager; and Mike Fernandez, the Florida hospital executive. [emphases added]

Talk is cheap, in other words.  General election campaigns are not.  One would think that wealthy Republican donors who earned their fortunes, as opposed to inheriting them like Trump did, would be sharp enough to spot and resist an obvious conman.  And nobody is a more obvious conman than Donald Trump.  Whether these fifty top GOP donors can be corrupted into falling into line over the next few months is anybody's guess - there are some wealthy GOP donors who already have been, after all.  But if the "#NeverTrump Fifty" can hold firm to their principles, the question becomes from where is the other $900 million a Trump general election campaign is going to need going to come?  Especially since The Donald has totally blown off his "iron-clad" self-funding promise, to the extent of categorizing the $43 million he put into his primary campaign as a "loan" that he intends to pay himself back from whatever general election fundraising he does manage to accumulate.  Because without those resources, he simply will not be able to compete with La Clinton Nostra even in the "winging it", top-down, one-size-fits-none national media-focused campaign he wants to run that is a repeatedly-proven failure.

The old axiom goes, "A fool and his money are soon parted".  Most Republican donors, so far at least, are proving themselves to not be fools.  Unlike the leadership of the National Rifle Association.  Which tends to be the case when one's own money is involved.  A language one would think Donald Trump himself would understand explicitly.

Oh, one other thing: Dr. Ben Carson is a fool no matter the size of his bank account, so much so that Trump has fired his ass from his veep search effort:

Since the former neurosurgeon has taken up the role of working on Donald Trump’s vice presidential team, he has suggested that the candidate may pick a Democrat running mate, dropped she-who-must-not-be-named Sarah Palin as a potential pick and earlier generally questioned a number of the presumptive nominee’s habits from his Twitter use to lack of pragmatism.

So he was off the VP team in a hurry.

Last week, Armstrong Williams (his business manager and close confidant), told The Daily Beast that Carson left the team of his own volition. Carson had bigger and more important things to do, according to Williams, like preparing Trump for his meeting with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.

But three sources close to the Trump campaign said Carson didn’t leave on his own. He was pushed.

According to sources close to Trump’s campaign, Carson was demoted after Trump specifically wanted him to head up the VP selection team.

The latest example of "The Trump Effect" in action.

Or, as Obi-Wan Kenobi once put it....

I wonder if, when he was just starting to rise to national conservative political prominence, had Gentle Ben been able to look into the future and see the level of pathos and court jester-dom to which he was going to be reduced at the end of that path, he would have let discretion be the better part of valor and passed on the whole thing.

I could also wonder if his subconscious mind ever tells him the same thing.  Because his conscious one sure as heck isn't.

UPDATE (5/22): The inevitable "I'm not really a gun nut" Trump walkback begins.

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