The company Trump keeps

Donald Trump, speaking to reporters at the reopening of his golf course in Scotland, had something to say about yesterday’s British vote to quit the European Union, the so-called Brexit:

I think it’s a great thing that’s happened. It’s an amazing vote, very historic.

Before going further, let’s take stock of the first day’s Brexit economic damage:

  • Dow down 610 points, or 3.39 percent
  • NASDAQ down 202 points, or 4.12 percent
  • US banking stocks took a pounding (Morgan Stanley -10.15%, Citigroup -9.36%, Bank of America -7.41%)
  • Japan’s Nikkei down 7.92 percent
  • Germany’s DAX down 6.82 percent
  • Moody’s downgraded the UK’s credit outlook from “stable” to “negative”
  • Value of the British pound fell 11 percent to a 30-year low against the US dollar
  • £40 billion was wiped off the bottom line of British banks, equivalent to about $55 billion

So in case you’re wondering, this financial catastrophe, the biggest since the global economic meltdown of 2008, is what Donald Trump was applauding when he congratulated UK voters for walking out of the European Union.

But Trump sees the collapse of Britain’s currency is nothing less than a personal windfall:

When the pound goes down, more people are coming to Turnberry, frankly. For traveling and for other things, I think it very well could turn out to be a positive.

Of course Trump is not the only one lauding the United Kingdom’s voters for ditching the EU, and that’s the real point of this post. Let’s take a look at the company the presumptive GOP nominee for president is keeping.

European far right parties are fully on Trump’s side

  • In France, the National Front’s Marine Le Pen hailed Brexit as a “Victory for Freedom.”
  • In the Netherlands, far right anti-immigration leader Geert Wilders said, “I think it could also have huge consequences for the Netherlands and the rest of Europe. Now it’s our turn.”
  • In Germany, Beatrix von Storch, of the right wing populist Alternative für Deutschland party said, “The 23 June is a historic day. It is Great Britain’s independence day.”
  • In Greece, the neo-Nazi Golden Dawn, Europe’s most violent right wing party, released this statement: “Golden Dawn welcomes the victory of the nationalist and patriotic forces in Great Britain against the European Union, which has been transformed into the doleful instrument of loan sharks.”

But that’s not all. On our side of the Atlantic, the racist right is also on the same page as Trump, responding to the UK vote with, as the Southern Poverty Law Center puts it, “euphoric delight”:

“This is VICTORY DAY, brothers,” Andrew Anglin, editor of the anti-Semitic website Daily Stormer wrote on Friday. “Nothing can stop us now. But the fact is, brothers: nothing ever could stop us. God and nature are on our side. The stars themselves declare our ULTIMATE VICTORY over the (((forces of darkness and evil))).” (The parentheses are a new online trope used by racist trolls to single out names and things they believe are Jewish.)

So that’s the company Donald Trump keeps. European fascists and neo-Nazis. American racists and anti-Semites.

And that’s the man Republicans are poised to nominate for president a month from now in Cleveland.

Dump Trump? Don’t bet on it


As Nate Silver points out this morning, betting markets are now giving Donald Trump a 14 percent chance of not being the Republican nominee once the dust settles from the party convention in Cleveland next month.

As the day wore on came news that Trump had parted ways with campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and another top campaign advisor resigned after mocking Lewandowski’s firing on Twitter (Sad!). You would expect these developments to hurt the Trump campaign if there was an actual Trump campaign to hurt.

And buzz continued to surround the “Free the Delegates” ploy to change the rules ahead of the convention so that delegates can “vote their conscience,” as House Speaker Paul Ryan suggested on Sunday, and deny Trump the nomination on the floor.

If any of this is giving you hope that somehow the Republican Party can find a way out of this nightmare of their own making, I have a series of fool-proof real estate seminars I’d like to sign you up for.

For his part, having snatched the GOP away from its establishment leaders (hey, how’s it feel Speaker Ryan?), Trump still manages to talk about the party as if he were fighting against it rather than being its standard bearer.

At a rally a week ago in Florida, Trump unleashed this broadside against what is theoretically his own party:

I mean, I’ve had more opposition from the Republican Party than I do from the Democrats. The Republican Party has to be tough and has to be smart. And if they’re not tough and smart, I’m going to win, but a lot of other people won’t.

The crowd responded with a chorus of boos for the GOP.

No, the Republicans won’t dump Trump because, as Paul Krugman argues in the New York Times today, Trump’s bloated persona has swelled to fill the hollowed out shell of a once proud political party:

Do you remember what happened when the Berlin Wall fell? Until that moment, nobody realized just how decadent Communism had become. It had tanks, guns, and nukes, but nobody really believed in its ideology anymore; its officials and enforcers were mere careerists, who folded at the first shock.

It seems to me that you need to think about what happened to the G.O.P. this election cycle the same way.

The Republican establishment was easily overthrown because it was already hollow at the core. Donald Trump’s taunts about “low-energy” Jeb Bush and “little Marco” Rubio worked because they contained a large element of truth. When Mr. Bush and Mr. Rubio dutifully repeated the usual conservative clichés, you could see that there was no sense of conviction behind their recitations. All it took was the huffing and puffing of a loud-mouthed showman to blow their houses down.

The Republican Party can’t dump Trump because Trump is the Republican Party. Trump may have fired his campaign manager, but who will fire Trump?

Yeah. That’s what I thought.

Trump foreign policy explained


While Republican insiders were, as Politico put it, “scratching their heads” at the list of names Donald Trump put forward as constituting his foreign policy brain trust, your faithful correspondent has been busily tracking down the real source of the presumptive nominee’s foreign policy agenda.

It’s taken awhile, but I finally figured out where Trump found his blueprint. And boy do I feel safer and more secure as a result.

Here are the lyrics, in case you need a transcript the next time Trump makes a big foreign policy speech.

No one likes us — I don’t know why
We may not be perfect, but heaven knows we try
But all around, even our old friends put us down
Let’s drop the big one and see what happens
We give them money — but are they grateful?
No, they’re spiteful and they’re hateful
They don’t respect us — so let’s surprise them
We’ll drop the big one and pulverize them
Asia’s crowded and Europe’s too old
Africa is far too hot
And Canada’s too cold
And South America stole our name
Let’s drop the big one
There’ll be no one left to blame us
We’ll save Australia
Don’t wanna hurt no kangaroo
We’ll build an All American amusement park there
They got surfin’, too
Boom goes London and boom Paree
More room for you and more room for me
And every city the whole world round
Will just be another American town
Oh, how peaceful it will be
We’ll set everybody free
You’ll wear a Japanese kimono
And there’ll be Italian shoes for me
They all hate us anyhow
So let’s drop the big one now
Let’s drop the big one now