Thursday, August 11, 2022

A few late night thoughts on recent events and the state of the Grand Old Party

1. The counter-intuitive take is usually wrong. That's why we have it. If the intuitive was wrong most of the time, natural selection would have removed intuition from the gene pool long ago. 

In 2015 and early 2016, armies of political pundits and data journalists assured us that counter-intuitively being consistently ahead in the polls was bad news for a candidate. In 2022, lots of those same experts are arguing that being raided by the FBI in a corruption case is good news for a politician (or at least bad news for his opposition. 

Counter-intuitive takes can be right. but they make for poor default positions. 

2. At this point, speculating about the nature of the documents or the details behind the raid is one of the least productive ways you can spend your time. The ratio of words to facts is already way to high.

3. All those articles and op-ed pieces about the GOP moving past Trump conveniently assumed he would let them. A large chunk of the party is personally loyal to Trump and at any time, he can turn them against the Republicans. As he has been for almost seven years, Trump remains the man with the grenade.

4. The more frightened Trump becomes, the more he will demand that Republicans and the conservative establishment leap to his defense. Of course, the things that he is currently afraid of have the potential to make him politically toxic in the near future. 

5. The Republican response has basically broken down into two camps: the first goes on Fox and threatens retaliation; the second burrows deep into the ground. No one in the GOP believes it is safe to attack or even distance yourself from Trump. Chaney is a cautionary tale. 

6. Some parallels to the Dobbs decision. The Republicans worked to make that story about the leak not the contents of the decision. In this case to make it about the raid and not the crimes being investigated. In the first case, the strategy initially worked with the press but the public didn't buy it. We'll see how this one plays out.

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