Making TV great again. Trump show rolls on; Cruz auditions as summer replacement

Good day Austin:

About halfway through Donald Trump’s 43-minute victory speech/press conference last night at Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Florida, I felt like I was watching a relaxed second-term press conference at the Florida White House, with Helen Thomas replaced by a woman with an appreciative cackle.

Good stuff, and, I thought, another Trump innovation by mixing fans in with reporters at his news conferences.

Make America Great Again?

Yeah. Right.

As an enemy of modernity, my nostalgia is for the unifying American greatness of Ed Sullivan, Walter Cronkite and Johnny Carson, when all Americans watched the same shows and had common cultural touchstones, of an America before the atomizing of the culture into so many shards of narrowed interests and  divisions.

But Trump wins a couple of big primaries yesterday – in Mississippi and Michigan! – and we’re all watching the Donald Trump Show. Fox, CNN and MSNBC put Trump on and never left him, would be with him still if he hadn’t, after what amounted to a full hour-long show once you add commercials, called it a night.

Word is that Hillary Clinton spoke to supporters last night, but no one who was not actually there knows for sure because it fell during the Trump Hour and was as well-covered as a tree falling in an Upper Peninsula Forest.

Saw a little John Kasich, who seized the moment before he slipped from second to third behind Ted Cruz in Michigan, to give an upbeat speech with the steady affirmation of his nodding wife behind him.

Also caught a little Bernie Sanders -who won a stunning victory over Hillary Clinton in Michigan (and the expected shellacking in Mississippi) – in what appeared to be a hotel hallway somewhere, on his way to checking in.

But this is all  a quibble.

We’re all tuned in to Trump, love him or hate him, and he really delivers so much more than the usual politician.

It begins with the Trump monologue, studded with the Trumpian mix of self-congratulation, insults and humor.

And then, like Carson, he does  a post-monologue bit.

Carson had Carnac.

Screen Shot 2016-03-09 at 5.59.58 AM

And Art Fern.

Last night, Trump debuted his QVC bit, which was essentially a rebuttal to Mitt Romney’s dissing his product line. That Trump used fake Trump products to prove that the products that Romney said no longer exist still exist was purest Trump.

Props to the props department.

From the Daily Mail.

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There’s no parody like self-parody.

There was also the surprise celebrity drop-by.

On Carson it was usually Bob Hope, but, also, here, Groucho Marx.

For Trump last night it was Yankee Great Paul O’Neil, though the camera never swung around to prove he was actually there.

Then there was the free-wheeling press conference replete with joshing insults of the reporters – “Jeremy, nobody ever listens to you.”

What was missing?

A sidekick. A jovial sidekick.

An Ed McMahon.

“Chris Christie’s here someplace,” Trump said at one point last night. “Where’s Chris?”

The question was never answered.

Yesterday was a very good day for Trump.

 

CNN

CNN

 

 

And Michigan.

CNN

CNN

Winning both Mississippi and Michigan is an impressive indication of the breadth of Trump’s support.

And, for good measure, he won Hawaii.

CNN

CNN

 

It was obviously a miserable night for Marco Rubio, who risks slipping below the foam before he even gets to the showdown he has pledged to win next week in his winner-take-all state of Florida with its 99 delegates.

He’ll probably bob up for the Florida vote. But he may end up being fed to the sharks.

What went wrong?

From Trump last night on “little Marco:”

He became hostile about two weeks ago and it didn’t work. See, hostility works for some people, it doesn’t work for everybody. Okay? No, but he became very hostile. You know what, it doesn’t work for him. He was better. He would have been better off had he kept the original pitter patter going, but this didn’t work

On MSNBC this morning, Kellyanne Conway, who heads a Ted Cruz super PAC, called on Rubio and Kasich, but mostly Rubio to quit the race quickly.

The anti-Trump or no-Trump vote has a solid bloc of support, but right now it’s fractured.

Rubio and Kasich, do you want to be a spoilers or do you want to be kingmakers. These next couple of days are huge. Rubio’s best day, his best leverage, is today and this weekend. It’s not next Wednesday after he loses. 

We want Sen. Rubio out and endorsing Ted Cruz and campaigning with him and helping him win Florida.

For Ted Cruz it was a pretty good night.

Passing Kasich for second in Michigan was eye-catching.

He won Idaho.

CNN

CNN

Trump won 68 delegates yesterday to 58 for Cruz, 16 for Kasich, and nothing for Rubio.

Trump still has the most delegates, but Cruz is a solid second.

AP delegate tracker

AP delegate tracker

 

From Nate Silver at FiveThirtyEight;

Cruz’s evening was reasonably good also, however, with two second-place finishes (very narrowly in Michigan ahead of Kasich) along with what looks like a fairly emphatic win in Idaho. He won’t lose many delegates to Trump — he’s down about 10 as I write this, with a chance to gain some back in Hawaii early this morning. Cruz had a reputation for being a regional candidate, but he now has won states in all four regions of the country: the Northeast (Maine), the Midwest (Iowa and Kansas), the South (Texas and Oklahoma) and the West (Idaho and Alaska). His chances look pretty good of emerging as the main challenger to Trump, much to the GOP establishment’s chagrin

Cruz is heading into the heart of Rubio country with a rally this morning at Miami Dade College, in hopes of sealing Rubio’s fate and getting closer to the one-on-one showdown with Trump he wants and needs (there’s still the matter of Kasich, who, like Rubio, has everything riding on  his winner-take-all home state primary Tuesday) if the race is to become the referendum on Trump that the anti-Trump, polls suggest, might be able to win.

But he really, really could have used a win in Mississippi last night. Outside of Texas, Trump is on his way to having swept the South. The idea that Ted Cruz is going to lose the South but then thwart the South’s choice by defeating the New York billionaire in New York and New Jersey and Illinois and Pennsylvania and California seems, on the face of it, far-fetched.

From Eliana Johnson & Alexis Levinson  at the anti-Trump National Review.

Going into Tuesday’s primaries, the last elections before the race enters its final and determinative phase when Ohio and Florida award 165 delegates on a winner-take-all basis next week, Trump’s enemies had hoped to stall his momentum. In particular, they hoped that Ted Cruz, whose campaign is based in large part on his appeal to Evangelical voters, could throw up a roadblock in Mississippi, and that John Kasich could arrest Trump’s momentum in Michigan.
Both Cruz and Kasich failed. And as they did, the slow death of the Republican party ground onward. Hope of preserving the conservative movement that has sustained it for nearly four decades diminished further. In the Magnolia State, Trump came dangerously close to 50 percent of the vote, routing Cruz, who had the endorsement of the state’s governor, 48 to 36 percent.

His easy victory put to bed the idea that he is starting to struggle with the South’s conservative voters, or that Cruz is gaining enough momentum to overtake him. Exit polls suggest that Trump continues to best Cruz among all but the most conservative voters, and continues to defeat him among the Evangelicals who were supposed to be the heart of his electoral coalition. Trump handily won the 84 percent of Mississippi primary voters who identified themselves as born-again or evangelical Christians: He took 49 percent of that group to Cruz’s 37 percent. And though Cruz continued to best Trump among self-described “very conservative” voters, that group once again proved too small to carry the day.

From the Trump Show last night:

Ted Cruz, it’s interesting because he’s always – I mean, he’s always saying, I’m the only one that can beat Donald Trump, you have to vote for Donald Trump and you’re going to vote for Donald Trump and you’re going to be miserable, you have to vote for me. But he’s the only one that can beat Donald Trump and I’ve heard it so many times and I said, but he never beats me. I mean, take a look, he never beats me. Meaning he rarely beats me. The fact is that we’re going to do well. Ted is going to have a hard time when he gets to certain states, he’s going to have a hard time. One of the things we do is we get up to New York, I’m going to do great. We get to New Jersey.

And:

By the way I can be very presidential. If I want to be, I can be more presidential than anybody. You know when I have 16 people coming at me from 16 different angles, you don’t want to be so presidential. You have to win, you have to beat them back. right? But I would say, and I’ve said this a couple of times, more presidential, more presidential than anybody other than the great Abe Lincoln.

He was very presidential.

Trump coloring book

Trump coloring book

Trump also said he liked a negative attack ad against him and his profanity so much, that he hopes they keep it on the air.

Stay tuned.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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