RUSH: David Brooks in the New York Times. Oh, this is great, it’s great. Headline: “No, Donald Trump WonÂ’t Win.” David Brooks did not see a sharp crease in Trump’s slacks, and, as such, thinks he’s not as qualified as Obama. I’ll tell you, this is amazing, the insiders, the so-called conservative Republican establishment insiders, media and otherwise, they are just writing tons of words trying to console themselves. They are writing these words for each other. They are writing these columns so that other Republicans see them.
They’re all trying to maintain their sanity. They’re trying to prove to themselves that Trump is gonna fade, that he’s gonna flame out. Brooks says, “A little while ago I went rug shopping.” Well, now, isn’t that a great lead to a column. “Rug shopping.” I wonder how he did it. Did he do it online? Did he go to a rug store? Well, let’s find out.
“A little while ago I went rug shopping. Four rugs were laid out on the floor and among them was one with a pink motif that was dazzlingly beautiful. It was complex and sophisticated. If you had asked me at that moment which rug I wanted, I would have said the pink one.”
Okay. Pink rug. But he said, don’t worry, “This conviction lasted about five minutes. But then my mentality flipped and I started asking some questions. Would the furniture go with this rug? Would this rug clash with the wall hangings? Would I get tired of its electric vibrancy?”
We’re seriously to believe that this happened, that David Brooks goes rug shopping, sees a pink rug, is dazzled by it, and for five minutes loses all connection to reality, and then after five minutes begins to ask the very relevant questions, will it work in my house?
“Suddenly a subtler and more prosaic blue rug grabbed center stage. The rugs had not changed, but suddenly I wanted the blue rug. The pink rug had done an excellent job of being eye-popping on its own. The blue rug was doing an excellent job of being a rug I could enjoy living with.”
Hang on. “For many Republicans, Donald Trump is their pink rug. He does the job that they want done at this moment. He reflects their disgust with the political establishment. He gives them the pleasurable sensation that somebody can come to Washington, kick some tail and shake things up. But decision-making is a journey, not an early December snapshot. It goes in stages. … Over at the FiveThirtyEight blog, Nate Silver –” who, by the way, the establishment just loves this guy and they invest everything in him.
He analyzes polling data and makes predictions. “Over at the FiveThirtyEight blog, Nate Silver looked at campaign-related Google searches in past years in the weeks before the Iowa caucuses. Until a week or two before the caucuses very few people are doing any serious investigations of the candidates. Then just before and after the caucuses voters get engaged and Google searches surge.
“Silver produced a chart showing what this yearÂ’s polling would look like if we actually took the current levels of casual attention and uncertainty seriously. In that chart ‘Undecided’ had 80 percent support. Trump had 5 percent support; Carson, 4; Cruz, 3; and Rubio, 2.” David Brooks says that’s about the best description of where the Republican race is right now. So over here they’ve got polling data that up ’til now they believed like it was the Bible. Every year, every poll, no matter what, was given earth-shattering attention.
Now — out of the blue and with the aid and assistance of Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight — all of a sudden the polls don’t say what they say and don’t mean what they say, and in fact what it all adds up to right now is 80% of you don’t know what you’re gonna do, you haven’t decided, and only 5% of you actually support Trump, and this is what the establishment is telling itself is the reality vis-a-vis the David Brooks column today. He says: No, really, guys. The voters will flip in the very end. They’re not gonna vote for Trump, I swear it.
“When campaigns enter that final month, voters tend to gravitate toward the person who seems most orderly.” Who? Who is that? “As the primary season advances, votersÂ’ tolerance for risk declines. They focus on the potential downsides of each contender and wonder, Could this person make things even worse? When this mental shift happens, I suspect Trump will slide. All the traits that seem charming will suddenly seem risky.” This is… There’s more to this, but that’s enough.
There’s a factor Mr. Brooks is not mentioning, and that is for all of this polling data and all this other analysis to mean anything, there has to be a relevant player to make it happen, and that relevant player is the media. And Donald Trump owns the media. This is the great — whatever you want to call it. The thing distorting this race more than anything, I think — the great unleveler, or the thing that keeps this thing from being on an equilibrium that they can all understand — is the media.
They all look at the press, the media to control the outcome of events and to shape people’s thinking. That is not happening where Trump is concerned. That’s the wild card, and it’s never happened, and they don’t know how to deal with it. And so all of this voter behavioral analysis predicated on previous campaigns? They have to throw that out the window, because what makes all that happen? What makes a voter all of a sudden get serious right before a vote takes place whereas months before the voter is frivolous and doesn’t care?
It’s the media, and Trump is immune. He owns the media. The media is following Trump around. I’m telling you, it is. It’s the great unspoken aspect of this campaign, what Trump has been able to do is two things with the media. Basically rendering them absolutely harmless to him, while at the same time turning them into his biggest promotion vehicle. It’s never happened. Despite themselves. They don’t want to be, but they are, and Trump’s not paying a dime for it.