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June 05, 2016


Millard Filmore

@Tomi: with enough lawyers and dogged outrage, I think the RNC could claw back some of the money from a Trump bankruptcy. Not sure either he or the RNC will survive the money pit that court case would become. As an example, (still alive but inactive) documents all the published court motions and documents of SCO's self destruction through bankruptcy.

Maybe the RNC can save themselves by demanding Trump pass a psychiatric evaluation before he gets the delegates.

Then "digby" has this idea about any pivot Trump might make for the general election:

"If Trump subscribes to the same wingnut stuff I do, this is what he's hearing: [...]

I think it's important to remember that all the things normal people find appalling about Trump are the things that his fans find appealing."

Here is a story about the origins of Trump University ...

"The booming industry of real estate investment seminar gurus—who by the early 2000s numbered in the dozens—made it clear that you could make big money selling a roomful of people at a time on the dream of easy riches. But seminar work itself was complex, ranging from managing teams of travelling crew members to keeping sales pitches just murky enough that law enforcement wouldn't butt in.

Trump wanted a piece of the action, so he struck a licensing deal with the Milins in 2006. The couple created the “Trump Institute,” using much of the same pitch material and some of the same pitchmen."

Stephen Reed

Best for Trump would be for the FBI to refer numerous sorts and counts of felony charges against Hillary Clinton after she has secured her nomination via a contentious and riotous convention rivaling Chicago 1968.

Best for Trump would be for Bernie supporters to be denied twice. Once at the convention as Bernie's plan for super delegates to vote according to the candidate which carried their state is thwarted. Second at the point nominee Hillary quits post-convention, is pardoned by Obama according to their pre-arranged deal, and Joe Biden is declared the democrat nominee by the super delegate backed DNC.

Millard Filmore

@Stephen: If your scenario comes to pass, there is a good chance both Republicans and Democrats will have an empty slot at the top of the ticket.

Stephen Reed


Explain please.

I do not believe there will be an empty spot at the top of the Democrat nor Republican ticket. It would be best for Trump to face Joe Biden with lots and lots of frustrated Bernie supporters, some of whom would vote for Trump.

West Virginia exit polls for example showed that many Sanders supporters would vote for Trump.

If the FBI refers charges before the Democratic convention and Hillary forced out, then Bernie has a case that he went to the voters in the contentious primary and that he should be awarded the nomination, even if Hillary instructs her delegates to vote for Biden.

Wayne Borean

The paranoia level in American politics has hit a high that we haven't seen in a century or more. Which makes this concept scarily plausible.

Talking about under-educated Trump voters, a Canadian politician has gone on record with his belief that schools are teaching non-Conservative values!

Millard Filmore

@Stephen: Its all a mater of timing. If Hillary's indictment comes too late for the states to change the ballots, I think she will drop out. Then the lawyers for all the states get involved to decide what happens to the voting process.

Trump has 2 big vulnerabilities. One is his Trump University ... did you read the link I posted above? Texas and Florida have attracted the attention of the press. I will dig up some links and post them in a few hours. The issue is that the 2 states had cases in progress against Trump U. ... the cases were dropped, and some time later a nice election contribution was made.

The Texas problem might slide, as I think the delay between dropping the case and the money was measured in years. Florida is much more interesting as the "donation" was maybe a month.

The other Trump issue is his personality. I think Hillary, or her successor, can push his buttons to the point where he goes postal.

Both parties might be minus the top of the ticket after passing the point of no return. Wouldn't that be a hoot?

Wayne Borean

We've been discussing electoral dissatisfaction. It is happening in Italy too.

Millard Filmore


Texas: case dropped, 3 years later $35,000 (the price of a Trump U 'elite' course!) donation. Maybe not a direct connection there.

Florida: This is the interesting one. Attorney general announces start of investigation into Trump U. From the second link below: "But three days later, a political action committee that supported Bondi received a check from Trump, and then nothing came of the investigation."


The police arresting a leading politician just before the election on anything other than the most clear criminal cases is generally considered a coup d'etat. It is pretty common policy for dictators and juntas.

We have already heard from legal professionals that the email case is not a criminal case.

I am very sure Democrats will see this exactly as the attack on democracy it would be.


Btw, Tomi, good story. Drumpf would make for the perfect Bond villain. Not only his looks and mental disorder, but also his air of perversion (his obsession for his daughter).

To continue in along the above lines. Trump might be preparing the Trump U case as his exit excuse. Driving the judge's roots as "prejudice" as a conspiracy by the Democrats to deny him fair elections.

Growing fear inside GOP about Trump

Trump is under fire for repeatedly accusing U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who is overseeing a lawsuit involving Trump University, of bias because of his Mexican heritage. Those concerns intensified Sunday after Trump said he would have the same concerns about the impartiality of a Muslim judge.



Also GOP and Dems would pass together with a new law which would be a "personalized" tax called Trump Tax, which applies only and only to Donald Trump. Something like 95% tax.

It may very well be that Trump game's from now on will be to take use the threat to quit the presidential race unless the GOP pays off all the debts (plus a nice fee) which he has accumulated during his campaign (by staying at Trump hotels).

Millard Filmore

@Oibur: I like the way you think! Extortion!

Despite any comments I leave here on this blog, I do not get warm fuzzy feelings for the prospect of one party rule for as many years that the Republicans will be in disarray.

The mischief and influence of the oligarchs will follow sirens' call of power over to the Democratic party.


" I do not get warm fuzzy feelings for the prospect of one party rule"

I do not think you need to worry. Contrary to what Tomi describes, I think that the Democratic party will split the moment the "threat" of the Republican party disappears. That is just human nature.


And we are not alone with our hunch that Drumpf might simply quit the race:

Hunch: Trump will quit the race if he thinks he'll lose by a wide margin

Tomi T Ahonen

Hi everybody

Great comments. I especially liked Oibur's contribution - yes, of course extortion. He's done that before, of course he will. How did I miss it, haha... great one Oibur!

To Millard's worries - I totally concur. Its so very true that power corrupts and total power corrupts totally. Hillary would be politically the most powerful President in many decades, but after also many decades where more power has been concentrated to the executive branch. A 'near saint' like say Jimmy Carter, might not take much advantage of all that, but a machiavellian and vengeful President like Hillary (with all the gripes they have with Bill going back to his Presidency) would only make her even more eager to consolidate and use (ie abuse) that power.

Now what do I mean political power? Gosh EVERYTHING. The Senate was with Repubicans. Its her coat-tails which mainly bring the Senate to the Democrats, but even more with the Senate, the previous Democratic boss there, Harry Reid is retiring so Chuck Schumer will be even more under the thumb of the White House. Then the House. Its a HUGE hole for the past 6 years where the DEMs have fallen. If Hillary can bring a tsunami-wave to overcome that gap, then even as its veteran wily Nancy Pelosi as the returning House Chair, she will have to admit its Hillary who brought her back to power and let the White House lead on her agenda too. Also Pelosi's fights with Obama in 2008-2010 were more around his initial bipartisan agenda and obsession to try to seek Republican bipartisan support to every law - rather than the DEMs pushing their advantage, where they even briefly had a filibuster-proof Senate. Pelosi's views are far more in line (on domestic matters at least) with where Hillary is and vice versa.

The big other key is 'mandate'. Obama could fairly claim a mandate when he won by 7% in 2008. Hillary is probably winning by 20 points and very very likely by at least 15% which is twice the size of the mandate Obama had. Hillary could be as far up as 25% on her mandate, meaning that by election result 'standard' the nation would have accepted her with more than King-like authority, its nearly God-like authority haha.

Again, this would be dangerous even if the President was a really really nice guy (Jimmy Carter) and nearly incorruptable. But if the President herself is ALREADY a corrupt and power-hungry person - then this is a very bad recipe. As I've written many times, the Obama years will be seen as unusually devoid of any scandals. The scandals will come back in the Hillary years, and they are likely to grow BIGGER and worse with time. This would be a great opening for Republicans if they still exist as a significant major party (ie Trump had not been able to destroy the party and enable the Libertarians to emerge as a viable alternative nationally). If the Republicans are so much in disarray - in the 'autopsy' stage of the demoralizingly massive Trump loss - then some will hold their Tea Party passions and missions of denial and obstruction but now with no power to deny or obstruct anything anymore - and the religious wing will insist on their purity - while the moderates will demand a shift to an open, large-tent, welcoming multicultural Republican party. This internal battle has to be resolved (to the moderate wing's success) before the party can hope to win in national elections again. And I think it won't even be possible before they nominate a Ted Cruz style extremist and 'pure' Republican, which should happen in 2020. That means the first election where a consolidated Republican party might emerge is mid-terms 2022 at the earliest, Presidential election of 2024 more likely.

But it means, that while the Hillary Clinton Presidency is likely to feature severe over-reach by her administration, pursuing vendettas, and various characters taking advantage - into real scandals - but as the Democrats hold all the cards, most of these will also be papered over with minor slaps on the wrist, not any major prosecutions etc, it also gives a feeling of invincibility to those in positions of power who are close to the White House. Its all a VERY bad prescription for honesty and good governance.

And thats before we consider that the Supreme Court switches balance, so even SCOTUS is far less likely to interfere with Hillary's activities..

I do believe that currently the 'do nothing' Republicans are acting like children and they deserve NOW what they have sowed. Once they grow up and reverse course, they should be able to get back into power. Unfortunately for the Republicans, this Trump situation will make their exodus from power far more widely-felt and long-lasting.

Now, a good major political scandal is a good way to help the 'other party' get back into power. Expect the standard refrain from all running in 2018, 2020, 2022 and 2024 - both on Republican and Libertarian tickets - to keep singing that song, that the Hillary administration is incredibly corrupt and full of scandals and must go. BUT... She will run through pretty much all the laws I outlined in the above, to change the political landscape of ELECTIONS by which the advantages now given Republicans are removed (gerrymandering, Citizens United, voter suppression etc). And the Republicans even before Trump troubles are the smaller party TODAY (before we consider defections to the Libertarians) and the demographics keep shifting against the 'classic' Republican voter base. So even if they have a good cause ie Hillary's scandals, they are likely too weak to really capitalize on it and get back into power.

After gerrymandering is removed, then the pattern of where the gains are most likely follow the pattern of - Presidency, House, Senate and SCOTUS. The Presidency can be captured by a party in very poor shape, if they have the perfectly appealing candidate and the rival party is in bad shape. Jimmy Carter coming from nowhere to take the Presidency in 1976 - because of the Nixon pardon aftermath. Bill Clinton coming from nowhere in 1992 after 12 years of Reagan-Bush scandals like Iran-Contra and of course, Read My Lips.

So even if the Republican party was destroyed, their CANDIDATE could run 'inspite of the party' and win. Imagine the best most appealing moments of Marco Rubio this past cycle, and imagine if that was run in 2020 instead of ruining so much of that youthful hope and promise now with the sillyness about Trump's penis size etc. So someone as exciting but honestly fresh and untested - and young, vibrant, Hispanic, hopeful - to run after 4 years of grumpy vengeful overpowering grandma Hillary in the White House. There is a huge bench of VERY competent election professionals on the right wing, including of course very competent Big Data professionals. Regardless of how much in disarray the national party might be, an individual and strong campaign could well emerge to challenge for the Presidency. And funding will be available. After Citizens United, not in obscene amounts to SuperPACS (but neither to the Democrats) and again, a young smart social-media oriented modern campaign, could do fund-raising like Bernie Sanders and get a big budget and be viable.

Now, the 2020 midterms will have Hillary the sitting President with all that power of the incumbency, who will REALLY know how to use it all. She also will have changed the political GAME with all the election law changes - which her team knows best, which have all been tested and run through her Big Data operation to tweak and adjust those legislative changes to maximize her re-election chances (its the only thing she cares about, she doesn't want to go down as a one-term President when Bill was re-elected). I don't think any sitting President has ever worked as hard and worried as much about re-election as Hillary has ALREADY TODAY before she has won the first election haha. Plus again, she has exceptional insights into how to do that via the inside view with Bill and on Obama's team (she quit the State Department only after the 2012 election if you remember, so she saw that election also from the inside).

Thats why its FAR more likely that the first genuine chance to steal the White House back is 2024 when Julian Castro is likely - but not certainly - the Democratic nominee. Its very possible if the scandals are bad, the economy is down, there are new nasty wars draining the nation's patience - that Castro is 'severely tainted' by Hillary's Administration and he'd want to run away from her, like Al Gore did from Bill Clinton (and Daddy Bush from Reagan). And the race for the Democratic nomination 2024 could be a heated contest - imagine Elizabeth Warren at her prime, a VERY strong candidate likely, at that time.

But yeah, Presidency is 'easiest' to recapture. Then the House is next easiest. It takes a wave election, a national effort, not just one campaign but something well planned and coordinated (like Newt Gingrich's Contract with America) but the good thing is, the House elections come every 2 years, giving a chance often. And you just need one success. Thats why its easier than the Senate.

The Senate is difficult to recapture in one good year, because only a third of the Senate is in play at any one election. So if one party is powerful, the rival has to make a long-term play, to take PART of the lead away in this cycle, then continue the attacks 2 years later, to narrow the gap more, and then maybe win another 2 years later.. And at any time, the other party may have a good year and reverse some of those gains.

The hardest to flip is the Supreme Court, because the appointments are life-time. So unless one dies in office, then its a very long haul to get rid of a Justice who might be on the 'other side' Conservative/Liberal - and often the oldest, nearing retirement Justices when they have their 'own side' in power in the White House (and Senate) will then retire so their own President can nominate their successor to continue that side. As we've seen its 40 years since the Supreme Court last switched its balance.

All this is why I said in my scenario, that the first pillar of power that the Democrats lose is the Presidency - to the Libertarians. That is a popularity contest and an exciting Presidential nominee can easily make it a real race. Imagine Nicki Haley, she is very well poised to be a viable Republican challenger for 2020 or 2024 now, with a far better chance of winning the Presidency than say Ted Cruz or Marco Rubio, even if Hillary Clinton is in a total swamp of a crashing economy, several new wars and conflicts, various riots back home, soaring gasoline prices, and a dozen scandals haha (including at least one about her, herself and probably another about Bill).

Once the Republicans (and Fox News and right-wing talk shows) are out of power totally, their ONLY way to be noticed is to scream and yell about how rotten she is. The attacks on Hillary will make the Obama years seem like a love-fest. And for good reason, she also will not pretend to be a bipartisan post-partisan. She will govern with the most partisan agenda we've seen in our lifetimes. She has seen how the Obama experiment was a total failure and thus, she will react by going the opposite. Not total bipartisanship; total partisanship. And holding all aspects of power, she can then ram that through with ruthless efficiency.

I totally agree with Millard that the future past years 2017-2018 will be likely quite nasty political years and her Presidency will not be viewed kindly with the hindsight of history, BUT where Obama was seen as weak and not accomplishing a lot, her Presidency will be seen as VERY strong and accomplishing a lot, BUT with all the damage that her style will do, and taking consolidation of power to a whole new level.

If Hillary campaigns on continuing the Obama agenda and years (while she won't) its VERY likely that Julian Castro will campaign in 2024 on a campaign of a kinder-gentler era, past the hostile Hillary years - and try to campaign on DIScontinuing the Hillary agenda and years (while he actually will mostly actually continue those anyway).

Thats partly why I had the Michelle Obama scenario written in. If the Democrats do achieve an astonishing uninterrupted 7 Presidential election wins in a row for their party, Obama-Hillary-Castro-Michelle, and running 2008-2036 in power (or up to 2040 if Michelle is re-elected) then SHE, Michelle HAS to run on a total break from Hillary-Castro years and corruption and abuse and foreign policy and severe partisanship. She could run everything Barack Obama ran in 2008 and it would ring true then, hope and change. Change by a Democrat, to change AWAY from a long reign of Democrats.

PS more likely, the Republicans (or possibly Libertarians) retake the Presidency in 2024, where a heated contested run where Castro tries to get the nomination leaves the Democrats torn and a hopeful young different - very 'pure' and very 'anti-war' and anti-globalist Republican (or Libertarian) would win. Being out of power brings a lot of motivation to focus and unite and fight. Year 2024 is VERY likely a change where the Democrats lose the White House.

Tomi Ahonen :-)


More who think Trump might just quit:
Start with the facts: Trump is a quintessential quitter. He had quitted marriages, business deals, enterprises, and campaigns. When things get rough, he reflexively abandons ship. He is labile, desultorily hopping from one harebrained scheme to another, one romantic union to its successor, one burst of self-promotion to a spectacular, implosive feat of self-destruction. Indeed, this is his brand: a feckless, reckless, daring, unpredictable, vicissitudinal Trump with a capital T.

From earlier:
Donald Trump said on Sunday that he will drop out of the presidential race if polling shows that he is going to lose.
"I'm not a masochist," the entertainer and Republican presidential candidate said on NBC's "Meet the Press." "And if I was dropping in the polls, where I saw that I wasn't gonna win, why would I continue?"
Throughout his career, Trump has demonstrated wild enthusiasm at the start of big projects, and ruthlessly pursued a profit agenda that, in many cases, has led him to ditch the deal when the risks, whether financial or reputational, start to outweigh the prospective reward.
The reason for Trump’s impending withdrawal is rather simple: He doesn’t want to disclose details of his financial empire.
There’s one other thing. All his life, Trump has had a deep need to be perceived as a “winner”. He always has to be perceived coming out on top. That’s why, ultimately, I don’t think he’ll ever put himself at the mercy of actual voters in a primary. To do so is to risk losing. And everyone will know it.

Tomi T Ahonen

PS two more thoughts

I esxpect the closest parallel to Hillary Presidency is Margaret Thatcher. She was VERY strong, ran the party and country in her iron grip, but she was NOT liked, not even within her own party. Considering her incredible list of accomplishments home and abroad, she left office in very much national fatigue and even the party wanted a total change>

BUT. The reason I said the abuses and scandals period of Hillary's 8 year administration start only from 2019 onwards, is because of the VERY populist easy wins she has early on, thanks to Republican ridiculous obstruction in the past 8 years. So Hillary has already telegraphed her early agenda and its all populist stuff that will be highly popular, the minimum wage, paid maternity, taxes on the richest, sensible gun-control laws etc. In addition to the popular changes to election laws, the first two years of her term will feature a huge list of 'easily achieved' laws which will be NOTICED - including some economic pandering (jobs for infrastructure) which will help either postpone the coming recession or quickly pull the US out of the one if it slipped into recession in early 2017.

So the first two years of her term will likely feature a TON of laws and governing that is POPULAR and she may well hold a positive popularity through the mid-terms of 2018 but I think that will be exhausted by about 2018 and from 2019 we start to see the bad sides, and the inevitable Democratic over-reaches. Once you have tasted the sweet taste of taxing the rich - that becomes a pattern - it won't be only one tax increase on the rich, and only on the millionaires, it will soon be a second and third tax increase, also on those earning more than 500,000 dollars, and then even those earning more than 300,000 dollars etc... a classic slippery slope. She'll bring the Democrats back to their roots on the area of being 'tax and spend liberals' partly because the budget deficits are so bad, they HAVE to raise taxes and partly because she is the hawk and doesn't want to cut the military spending nearly as much as her fellow Democrats would like.. This in turn, will help galvanize many to come back to Republicans (or now, haha Libertarians) calling for less taxes!

Yeah, it will be an interesting period, but the first 2 years of her Administration is VERY VERY much-needed emergency-style legislation to fix all that Republican obstruction - like say the Zika virus and dealing with that, etc.

Tomi Ahonen :-)


"I esxpect the closest parallel to Hillary Presidency is Margaret Thatcher."

If we take this parallel, then I expect Hillary to use her first term to cement her power to ensure her grip on the house(s) in 2018 and her reelection. Although she has the power in the executive and elected branches, she still does not have it in SCOTUS. She will also have to break the power of the Oligarch Billionaires (Koch brothers, Adelson). The Clintons were almost bankrupted by the relentless suing by Republican agents (e.g., Stark). She will want to make sure that will not happen again.

Therefore, I do expect the decay to only set in after her reelection when she starts to push the career of Chelsea.

Wayne Borean


Pam Bondi has close ties to the Church of Scientology. Makes you wonder if Donald Trump may also have ties to them.

Wayne Borean


You've mentioned corruption and the Clintons many times. I think that it may not be as big a problem as you assume.

Hillary Clinton is not a stupid woman. Nor is she a poor one. When Bill was governor of Arkansas the Clintons were not rich. Since that time they've become rich, and therefore knowing that everyone will be watching out for her and Bill to line their pockets, I suspect she'll play it straight.

Which doesn't mean I'm right. She probably is not as smart as I am!

Now as to scandals by Democratic insiders, she has less control over that sort of thing, but if she is smart she'll bring the hammer down hard on anyone who does get involved.

At least that's what I would do if I was her.

Now as to Veep choices, everyone seems to want to push Castro. While he might be a good choice, he shares his last name with Fidel, and Fidel is still the Devil to a lot of Americsns. Also he isn't very well known except to political junkies.

So let's accept that Hillary is not going to hand a Senate seat to a Republican Governor to fill. That limits the number of candidates. She will want to pick someone popular, who has a good grasp of policy issues, and preferably some White House experience. A Law degree would be a bonus. The candidate should also be a minority. A minority woman would be a bonus. A minority woman with countrywide name recognition would just about be perfect.

Using that set of requirements the perfect Veep would be (drum roll)

Michelle Obama!

Yes, Republicans hate her. Republicans will hate whoever Hillary picks, so this isn't going to change anything. But...

It solidifies the Black vote. It solidifies the Woman vote. It solidifies the Millenial vote.

I can't think of a single downside to picking Michelle Obama as Veep. No doubt someone else here can. I await your comments.

The comments to this entry are closed.

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