Donald Trump going to Mexico could have had a certain "Nixon goes to China" flavor about it, and he actually was getting some good reviews for crossing the very low bar of "not totally embarrassing himself or his country" -- at least for the first few hours. Then he went to Phoenix, and Mr. Hyde came back out.
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We have to admit, we don't know where we heard that subtitle, and we certainly can't claim original credit for it. We think we read it in a comment to a Washington Post article, but we're not certain. In any case, as the stream of Republicans fleeing the Donald Trump candidacy becomes a flood, it does seem the appropriate metaphor to use -- the ships are leaving the sinking rat this time, not the other way 'round. We'll get to all of these amusing developments in the talking points this week, because we're devoting the entire section to the "Dump Trump" theme this week.
To begin with, Great Britain is part of Europe. This is a cartological fact which anyone with a grade-school grasp of geography knows. One is a subset of the other. Three countries (England, Wales, and Scotland) make up the island of Great Britain, and when you add in Northern Ireland (more on them in a moment), you get the United Kingdom. All are located on islands, but those islands are undoubtedly part of the continent of Europe. While Britain may leave the European Union political federation, they will always remain European.
The last Democratic presidential debate was held tonight on CNN, broadcasting from New York City. This debate was not originally on the schedule the Democratic National Committee had approved, and was added due largely to popular demand. It will be the final time Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton face off against each other on a stage -- the next debate to happen will be between the Democratic and Republican nominees, later in the year.
We've reached the sparse and arid part of the primary calendar, which means that instead of another multi-state Tuesday, the political world is now focused solely on the Badger State. This follows last week, when (gasp!) no state voted on Tuesday, and will be followed by another two-week gap, before New York weighs in.
Honestly, how often is it that you get to write such a great headline? In a week that also included a Sarah Palin speech that dominated the news cycle (to say nothing of the late-night comic cycle), writing such snarky headlines is just icing on the cake, really. Good times... yes, good times indeed for Democrats watching the horrorshow that is the Republican presidential nomination process.
Hillary Clinton is right. Last night, on Seth Meyers's late-night show, Clinton had this to say about Donald Trump's candidacy: "I no longer think he is funny." Earlier in the week, the Huffington Post announced that it was un-banishing Trump from the "Entertainment" section and would now properly cover him under "Politics." Arianna and Hillary are correct -- what started out as a hilarious joke is no longer even the slightest bit funny anymore.
We took last week off for the holidays, so we've got a lot of ground to cover today. Sadly, this included two terrorist attacks in America, one in Colorado and one in Southern California. The truly sad part is that these mass shootings are becoming so common nowadays that within a few months most people will have forgotten them, as we all focus on fresher, more recent tragedies. Welcome to a very grim "new normal," in other words. Sorry to start off on such a heavy note, but such news is impossible to ignore.
Once again, a gunman has killed people for political reasons. Once again, he is described in the mainstream media using words and phrases such as: deranged, mentally disturbed, homicidal, gunman, shooter, criminal, murderer, and lone wolf. He may have been all of that, but one key descriptive word is conspicuously missing from most of the commentary: terrorist. Killing people who don't believe what you believe in order to further your political aims is, indeed, one of the definitions of terrorism. If the suspect involved had recently arrived here from Syria (or anywhere else in the Middle East, really), would the news networks be so cautious about calling him a "terrorist"? I seriously doubt it. In fact, if that were the case, he'd likely be quickly labelled an "Islamic terrorist."
Since it's such an auspicious day, perhaps it's time to have a discussion about the increasingly-real possibility that Donald Trump or Ben Carson could actually become the Republican nominee for president next year. It's a scary, scary thing for most to contemplate, but the punditocracy's inside-the-Beltway strategy of just clapping our hands real hard and hoping that Tinkerbell quietly lies down somewhere to die just doesn't seem to be working. Pretty much every pundit under the sun -- from the hard left to the hard right -- has so far written a column this year predicting Trump's imminent political demise. To date, none of them have proven even slightly true. Trump is now challenged for the lead, but he's still polling at roughly the same level of support that he has pretty much ever since he got in the race. Ben Carson has risen to Trump's level in the polling much more than Trump has fallen back. The "Trump (and now, Carson) is going to fade -- it's inevitable" line of thinking is getting more and more divorced from the polling realities. So perhaps it's time to start thinking the unthinkable: either of these two men could actually become the Grand Old Party's nominee for the highest office in the land.