The Mike Tyson theory of Donald Trump

by on March 3, 2016 at 7:28 am in Current Affairs, Education, Sports, Uncategorized | Permalink

Mike Tyson rose to rapid prominence and became heavyweight champion of the world; his opponents quite literally did not know what hit them.  He lost the title, went to prison for rape for three years, and later won the title back.  But not for long. as Wikipedia puts it: “Their 1997 rematch ended when Tyson was disqualified for biting part of Holyfield’s ear off.”

It can be said that Mike Tyson was his own worst enemy, and that a string of dramatic victories led him to take ever more dangerous risks.

By 2003 Mike Tyson was bankrupt.  Later he ended up doing product endorsements.  He has had second, third, and now fourth “acts.”

Mike Tyson was born in Brooklyn, he has been married three times, and in 2015 he announced that he is supporting Donald Trump for president.  There is even a direct link between the histories of the two men:

Tyson had fought some of his biggest bouts at Trump hotel-casinos, and Trump even bid a record $11 million site fee for Tyson’s 1988 showdown with Michael Spinks, which at the time was the richest fight in boxing history. When Tyson was later convicted of the rape of 18-year-old Desiree Washington and sentenced to six years in prison, Trump proposed that Tyson should be allowed to keep fighting, with the proceeds from his bouts going to rape victims (and Trump, naturally). The arrangement would have greatly benefitted Trump’s casinos at a time when he was suffering financial woes, but officials deemed it inappropriate.

There is a 0.26 chance that Donald Trump is the Mike Tyson of politics, and he will voluntarily self-destruct in a way which will astonish us.  What does Tyson say about Trump?:

“We’re the same guy,” he continues. “A thrust for power, a drive for power. Whatever field we’re in, we need power in that field. That’s just who we are.”

Then, Tyson starts to lose me a bit. “Balls of energy. We’re not even who we think we are. We’re fire. We’re made of this crap—water, motion, dirt, diamonds, emeralds. We’re made out of that stuff, can you believe it?”

Trump, on his side, claims he once bet $1 million against Tyson and for Evander Holyfield, receiving a lucrative payout.

But whose ear will Trump bite off, so to speak?  And which products will he end up endorsing?

I view the KKK fracas as raising the probability of Trump as Tyson, since I do not think it had potential upside for him.

Here are related remarks from Megan McArdle.  For a discussion of these points, and of Tyson, I thank Dan Klein.

1 Roverto March 3, 2016 at 7:34 am

Mike hit hard and fast, punches in bunches as Teddy Atlas described it, 7 and 8 punch combinations, and was elusive with his body, hence was hard to hit. It worked like a charm until he encountered Ruth Roper and her daughter, Robin. The rest is history.
If it isn’t obvious what that has to do with Donald Trump, think about it a little more.

2 Heorogar March 3, 2016 at 8:48 am

My impression is that Tyson became close to Cuss D’Amato who was a good match as his trainer and may have been a “father figure” When Cuss died, it seemed Mike lost his “anchor.”

Trump’s only qualification is he is not a pathological liar and sociopath who will be in prison in 2017.

3 josh March 3, 2016 at 9:37 am

Why will he be in prison?

4 bluto March 3, 2016 at 9:58 am

The comment was implying that Hillary will be in prison in 2017.

5 josh March 3, 2016 at 10:17 am

Oh, right. Reading is hard.

6 Moreno Klaus March 3, 2016 at 10:23 am

Let me correct this for you: Trump’s only qualification is he is a pathological liar and sociopath who will NOT be in prison in 2017

7 msgkings March 3, 2016 at 11:25 am

I wouldn’t bet the house on the last part of that statement.

8 JWatts March 3, 2016 at 9:06 pm

So if Hillary Clinton get elected she starts going after opponents? Hmmm, it would be within character for her. Still I’m doubtful if she’d be arrogant enough to think she could get away with it.

9 prior_test1 March 4, 2016 at 11:25 am

‘So if Hillary Clinton get elected she starts going after opponents?’

You seriously think Clinton cares about Trump enough as an ‘opponent’ to bother even thinking about him if she wins in 2016? Trump is probably sitting somewhere below the first million or second million people Clinton considers an opponent.

10 Steve Sailer March 3, 2016 at 9:21 pm

Probably a better comp for Donald Trump is Vince McMahon, CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, whom the Donald fought at the 2007 Wrestlemania Battle of the Billionaires. They’re pretty similar in terms of inheriting the family business and making it bigger, comfort at playing a character on live TV, geographic location, private lives, and politics. For example, Mrs. McMahon won the GOP nomination for US Senate from Connecticut a few years ago, but lost the general election.

McMahon has had a long, successful career, although probably his peak, financially and artistically, was around 1999-2001 when he played heel to The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin.

11 MEH 0910 March 3, 2016 at 11:05 pm

And Trump hasn’t starred in a cartoon with the non sequitur hilarity of “Mike Tyson Mysteries”.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Tyson_Mysteries
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P58WJ-4PxcU

12 Jon March 3, 2016 at 7:42 am

But what if he bites the ear off a year after the general election?

13 Jeff R. March 3, 2016 at 9:07 am

The US government survived Nixon; and he was a much more formidable figure than Donald Trump.

14 msgkings March 3, 2016 at 11:26 am

Is that the bar we’re setting, the government has to ‘survive’ Trump? I’d prefer to aim higher.

15 Jeff R. March 3, 2016 at 12:04 pm

I’m with ya, but the way I’d prefer the world to be and the way it is are unfortunately to rather different things. I’m just saying I think American democracy is more robust than it’s being given credit for by many folks, even if some undesirables manage to slip into its higher offices from time to time.

16 msgkings March 3, 2016 at 12:19 pm

I agree with this. I’m embarrassed that Trump has gone this far, but I don’t think the world would end if he got elected. And he is exposing some things about our politics that needed exposing. It’s a shame his opponent is so terrible in her own right. Is this the best both parties can do? Maybe so, I’ve always said the way our democracy works you can’t possibly get good, smart, honorable, effective people to want to be president. Why would you?

17 Urso March 3, 2016 at 12:31 pm

We’ve also gotten to the point where EVERY opposing candidate is the end of America as we know it. It was true of GWB, it was true of Obama, and at some point you start to tune it out.

The Internet was really an awful invention.

18 msgkings March 3, 2016 at 12:54 pm

@ Urso: agree on the first part. Not sure I’m as anti-internet. Things change, and old folks like me sometimes have trouble making sense of the new world. I’m probably of the last generation of people to think there’s no need to be on social media for example.

19 Urso March 3, 2016 at 1:52 pm

That comment was somewhat glib, but if I ask myself, “would my standard of living be higher or lower if the internet had never been invented,” I honestly think the answer is higher. Easy to speculate of course.

20 CorvusB March 3, 2016 at 12:37 pm

I don’t care whether you pick Clinton or Trump – we’re going to have to “survive” the next 4 years whichever one you pick. I actually think that Sanders stands a better chance of not being a polarizing and divisive figure, but I’d put his chances of winning at very long odds.

Given Cowen’s next to last sentence, about the KKK, I think he would benefit from reading Scott Adams’ (author of Dilbert) blog posts about Trump. They go back to last year, the “Trump Persuader” series, but would be a quick read.

21 Thor March 3, 2016 at 4:34 pm

Tyler has linked to Adams’ series on Trump, I believe.

22 Todd March 3, 2016 at 7:43 am

I dunno. Tyson was born very poor and turned to street crime as a juvenile. His home life was so bad, his boxing trainer became his guardian. All of these things Tyson had to overcome just to get a chance at success in his one area of natural talent. Trump, however, was born on third base, and has spent the rest of his life yelling at anyone who would listen that he actually hit a home run.

The fact that both of these celebrities have had second and third acts in popular culture possibly speaks to the weakness or vulnerability of that culture. They are also similar in that neither of them are remotely qualified to be President.

23 efcdons March 3, 2016 at 8:04 am

Exactly. Mike Tyson was a wretchedly poor young man who was (and probably still is) suffering from mental illness or maybe some from of PTSD related to his upbringing. Tyson was exploited by promoters and managers who used Tyson’s trust and naiveté to make millions off his back. Tyson was finally able to find some peace later in life.

Compare that to Trump who was born, given the modern equivalent of hundreds of millions of dollars, and acted like an entitled a hole the rest of his life.

Not really seeing many similarities between the two.

24 Cliff March 3, 2016 at 12:27 pm

“given the modern equivalent of hundreds of millions of dollars”

Wrong

25 Ed March 3, 2016 at 12:55 pm

$40M in 1974 = $192M in 2016. efcdons looks right to me.

26 AlanHan March 3, 2016 at 3:59 pm

Fred Trump did not die until 1999. He didn’t leave Donald 40 million, but rather left the majority of his estate in trust. There are so many lies spread about Trump.

As for the KKK bit: Trump has publicly disavowed David Duke many times, including on the Friday before the infamous Sunday confusion. The only thing that the Tapper interview provides is this, a test of a person’s pre-existing antipathy for Trump. If you were against him, you make a big deal of the confusion and try to paint Trump as pro-Duke, which is absurd on its face.

27 prior_test1 March 4, 2016 at 2:46 pm

‘If you were against him, you make a big deal of the confusion and try to paint Trump as pro-Duke, which is absurd on its face.’

Yep, the Speaker of the House is a naked partisan – https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2016/03/01/paul-ryan-fires-a-warning-shot-at-trump-and-at-his-own-party/

Probably the sort of naked leftist partisan which will destroy America unless Trump is able to restore the country’s greatnes.

28 Jeff March 3, 2016 at 1:28 pm

I agree with Todd and will add that Tyson’s initial fall from grace probably had less to do with him taking increasing risks and more to do with people preying on him because of his money and celebrity (see King). The Holyfield bite was a desperate act from a man already in a desperate position. I think the post outlines a likely future path for Trump but that does not match Tyson’s history.

29 Brent March 3, 2016 at 7:47 am

Tyson is so erratic because he has suffered serious brain damage over the years by participating in one of only two sports in the world where there is scientific evidence that the sport makes you more stupid the more you participate.

30 Cliff March 3, 2016 at 12:28 pm

The other being soccer?

31 The Original D March 3, 2016 at 3:06 pm

The other being commenting about politics on the Internet.

32 msgkings March 3, 2016 at 5:02 pm

Winner! And in a long thread too.

33 Cliff March 3, 2016 at 12:28 pm

By the way Tyson rarely took a punch in his early matches and most were one-rounders

34 education realist March 3, 2016 at 7:57 am

Tyson fought his first bout at 18, won the WBC at 20. At 24 he lost his title. At 26 he was in jail. At 30, he won the title back. A few months later, he bit Holyfield’s ear and everything since has been pretty bad.

At 30, Donald was marrying Ivana. He had 40 years of being one of the most famous men in the world, and of being a moderately successful rich guy, still in front of him.

You’re right. I see the parallels.

35 The Anti-Gnostic March 3, 2016 at 8:30 am

From what I’ve seen (not much; I barely watch TV) Tyson has managed to carve out a pretty good life for himself after wrecking his young adulthood.

Anyway, I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting and hoping for Trump to crash and burn. He’s getting better at politics, not worse, which is what bright people do when they take up a new vocation. He’s got a simple message: build a wall, no Muslims, fair trade not free trade. Make America great again! Everybody else puts out position papers filled with weasel language. I’m reminded of Carville’s single-minded brand: it’s the economy, stupid!

Trump has singlehandedly shifted the Overton frame on immigration and revealed the wide-ranging and bitter, visceral conflict between the elite and the hoi polloi. My money’s not on the elite for this one. If the elite pull the rug out at the convention, things will really get ugly.

36 Lord Action March 3, 2016 at 8:54 am

+1

I wish I knew Trump’s thoughts on, you know, actual policies and stuff… I have only a limited view on that. Anyway, he’s the best natural politician we’ve seen in a long time.

Tyler should write an article comparing him to Boris Johnson. At least they have similar hair.

37 Art Deco March 3, 2016 at 9:07 am

If the elite pull the rug out at the convention,

Unless they try some chicanery with the credentials process, that can only happen with a hung convention. Not bloody likely.

38 anonners March 3, 2016 at 9:26 am

“Trump has singlehandedly shifted the Overton frame on immigration and revealed the wide-ranging and bitter, visceral conflict between the elite and the hoi polloi. My money’s not on the elite for this one.”

+1.

39 Cyrus March 3, 2016 at 10:08 am

If RNC decided that running Trump was a worse outcome than forfeiting any chance at the Presidency, is the party actually required to nominate anyone?

40 CorvusB March 3, 2016 at 12:42 pm

Wouldn’t matter. If RNC decides not to put Trump up as their candidate, Trump has enough money to switch to his own 3rd party.

If it comes to something like that, I would forecast that his would be the best 3rd party running since Teddy Roosevelt.

41 AlanHan March 3, 2016 at 4:02 pm

Your comment says everything I would have, and says it well.

42 Aaron March 3, 2016 at 4:34 pm

Anyway, I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting and hoping for Trump to crash and burn. He’s getting better at politics, not worse, which is what bright people do when they take up a new vocation. He’s got a simple message: build a wall, no Muslims, fair trade not free trade. Make America great again! Everybody else puts out position papers filled with weasel language. I’m reminded of Carville’s single-minded brand: it’s the economy, stupid!

Mexicans will pay for the wall, why? Dunno.

Ridiculously massive tax cuts, who will pay for those? Dunno.

Will he invade Syria and steal their oil or stay out and let the Middle East solve ISIL? No idea.

Is he deliberately courting all the white supremacists backing him? Don’t know.

How much money does he have? 10 Billion? A few hundred million? Don’t know.

Trump uses simple language but his platform is by far the most weaselly and ambiguous.

43 Jeff R. March 3, 2016 at 10:52 am

Probably the better boxing analogy here is GOP primary voters are like an aging Tyson: frustrated by a more agile and skilled opponent and losing on the scorecards, they start dropping their guard and throwing wild power punches in an effort to change the complexion of the fight. Democrats/Progressives are the opponents; Trump is the wild power punch.

44 Thor March 3, 2016 at 4:38 pm

True.

However, if he had received his facial tattoo earlier, it could have become his signature look, the way Trump’s hair has become DT’s signature look.

(I suppose both are a form of signalling: I would like attention, but I don’t give a damn about how I get it.)

JAMRC, off hand I can’t think of a single “name” white heavyweight Tyson fought.

45 duderino March 3, 2016 at 8:19 am

This story is more a testament to Trumps ability to flatter and beguile almost everyone he personally engages with. All the stories from people that know him come off like he makes people feel like a million bucks.

46 Brian Donohue March 3, 2016 at 8:48 am

Wasn’t this Bill Clinton’s special talent too?

Does Mike Tyson do this?

47 duderino March 3, 2016 at 9:09 am

Nope. But Tyson is seeing himself in Trump because Trump is a high status guy who told Tyson he was great. They’re greatness and egos are tied to each other, similar to all the Apprentice contestants and athletes that love him.

48 charlie March 3, 2016 at 9:23 am

It is Mr. Trump to you.

49 Brian Donohue March 3, 2016 at 9:28 am

Heh. You must be referring to Christie. From the moment Christie threw in his lot with Trump, Donald has treated him like his personal bitch. I do find this kind of impulsive need to dominate and crush the vanquished worrisome, and I worry about handing over the keys to such a character.

50 Urso March 3, 2016 at 10:20 am

I’ve heard the same about Bill Clinton and George W. Not – it should be noted – about Hillary or Jeb. (Or Romney, or John Kerry, etc etc).

51 rayward March 3, 2016 at 8:21 am

Does Trump really want to be president? I don’t believe he does; he’s merely marketing his brand. Free! Of course, there’s the risk (i.e., his risk) that he is nominated by the Republicans and elected president. Remember the 1972 Redford film The Candidate, who, once elected, was at a complete loss as to what to do next. Maybe Trump is The Candidate, but he is no Mike Tyson.

52 Ray Lopez March 3, 2016 at 9:29 am

According to an article TC linked to a while ago, Trump’s brand has suffered ever since he’s run for president, since the rich Democrats have stopped using his products. This refutes your speculation.

53 j r March 3, 2016 at 10:01 pm

My guess is that Trump entered the race partially for PR/ego reasons and once things started going well probably pivoted to committing to win the thing. The NPV of the Trump brand may take a hit, but he probably cares less about that then the giant ego boost that comes from his campaign.

Other very rich guys hit a point and decide to give their money away to charity. Trump hit that point and instead decided to go on an ego bender.

54 Jeff March 3, 2016 at 8:24 am

Trump face tattoo! Trump face tattoo!

55 Foreplay March 3, 2016 at 8:26 am

Yes, yes, we know all good people oppose him and there is nothing too extreme one can say against him. But let’s look at the silver lining that comes with this big spooky storm called Trump. If our system of government is indeed so weak that the election of a single man can wreak havoc, maybe his election would get folks thinking seriously about some constitutional reforms? Obama ordered the extrajudicial drone assassination of an unarmed teenaged US citizen overseas and has faced zero consequences. Maybe a vindictive President might end the logrolling and insure that Obama stands trial? Not only would that be a nod to justice but future politicians might think twice before killing US citizens. Similarly with Obama’s numerous other war crimes. For example, http://dailycaller.com/2015/11/30/us-special-forces-allegedly-deliver-isis-prisoners-to-kurds-who-torture/ The US finally got around to taking a live ISIS prisoner http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/01/politics/special-ops-captures-isis-detainee-iraq/ Maybe a little investigation would uncover whether or not US forces had been previously ordered to not take live prisoners would be in order. Similarly, some sunlight might be shed on abuse of the regulatory state if a sufficiently vindictive President were calling the shots. And Gibson Guitar and countless other firms politically targeted by the IRS, might be willing to invest again if the IRS’s political reign of terror was ended. Occam’s razor suggests the explanation for John Robert’s spectacular repudiation of the rule of law is blackmail. Public confidence in the Supreme Court might be improved if a vindictive President had the stones to investigate. In short, there are a lot of rotten apples in the federal cart and it really might not hurt all that much to upset it. So keep on giving Trump every reason in the world to not need or want the favor of the chattering classes. You just might ensure he does something useful. The Republic withstood Obama more or less: a President Trump will be a stroll in the park.

56 jim jones March 3, 2016 at 8:29 am

“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.” Just about sums up Life.

57 Lord Action March 3, 2016 at 8:56 am

That’s one of my favorite quotes. In many respects, Tyson was quite clever. He had a lot to overcome.

58 Brian Donohue March 3, 2016 at 9:03 am

If Cus D’amato had lived another 10 years, Tyson’s life would have been completely different.

59 Ted Craig March 3, 2016 at 8:42 am

Tyler,

You will never understand Trump until you change your thought process. You look at Trump and all you see are negatives. Obviously, hundreds of thousands of other people look at Trump and see positives.

I don’t support Trump, but I think I understand his candidacy better than you do because I am willing to look at him the way a supporter would. And you always have to respect those supporters, not view them as fearful, racist losers, but rather people with legitimate concerns.

Also, you need to stop looking at Trump as an anomaly and look at him rather as a continuation of a trend. Look, for example, at the way the Obamas have used popular culture.

Come on, Tyler, I know you can do this. Just try.

60 Art Deco March 3, 2016 at 9:13 am

And you always have to respect those supporters, not view them as fearful, racist losers, but rather people with legitimate concerns.

You’re assuming that the likes of David Henderson, Bryan Caplan, Scott Sumner, Alex Tabarrok, and Tyler Cowen have the intellectual and emotional wherewithal to accomplish that feat. The smart money says no.

61 ed March 3, 2016 at 10:19 am

Art Deco gadfly commenter on blogs of people he considers intellectual lightweights. What a retirement!

62 Effem March 3, 2016 at 9:27 am

+1

Which other candidate (from either side) has proposed a single thing that would help the very large swathe of America that has been hurt very badly on a relative basis by progressive ideals (free trade, financialization of the economy, monetary policy)? And no, to these people more entitlements are not the answer (financially positive, but negative utility when the negative emotional impact is accounted for).

63 Art Deco March 3, 2016 at 9:40 am

(free trade, financialization of the economy, monetary policy)?

Trade liberalization has been ongoing since 1933. It would injure primarily those who produce the most undifferentiated goods, i.e. agriculture, not industrial workers. The share of value added attributable to the insurance subsector hasn’t changed much in the postwar period. That attributable to the real estate sector hit a plateau in 1985 and hasn’t changed much since. That attributable to finance hit a plateau around about 1998.

64 It's Over March 3, 2016 at 9:48 am

“Continuation of a Trend.” This. I remember 8 years ago when seemingly intelligent people were getting legitimately excited over the words “Hope and Change” and Obama’s completely manufactured brand. Adults wore Obama shirts, and not in ironic hipster fashion; these people were serious! Grown men like Chris Matthews and David Brooks openly proclaimed their physical attraction to the guy, and even the typically cynical Alex proudly stated on this blog that he voted for the first time ever!

But now investigations into the rise of Trump lead to silly analogies about boxers or whatever. Trump is the continuation of a trend. Obama was a brand that completely hooked not only dumb 22-year olds and partisan Chris Matthews types, but even normally sane academic Alex Tarrabok types. It was strange to watch. Now literally the exact same thing is happening, but the affect is on a different group of people, so Tyler and Tyler types are mystified. It’s also strange to watch.

65 anon March 3, 2016 at 9:59 am

You guys might have a more comfortable framing, but I think Scalzi calls it better:

http://whatever.scalzi.com/2016/03/01/dear-gop-we-cant-save-you-if-you-wont-save-yourself/

66 Ted Craig March 3, 2016 at 10:08 am

I don’t see where that is any way related to my comment, but I’m gad you found something you agree with.

67 anon March 3, 2016 at 10:13 am

I was responding to another comment. Did that take it further than you wanted to go?

This Obama as empty shirt thing is indeed part of the illegitimacy thing, the obstructionism, the government held hostage, that led to the ultimate madness of Trump.

68 Ted Craig March 3, 2016 at 10:32 am

No, the “responding to another comment” explains everything. I thought that might be the case. By the way, I very much agree with this line from Scalzi:

“Also, you know. If I were the paranoid type, I’d look at the pundit class begging the rational portion of the electorate to save the GOP from itself as a suspicious bit of political theater orchestrated by the shadowy cabal that really runs the nation. ”

I don’t necessarily see a cabal, but I do agree that the pundits fretting over Trump is part of his appeal.

69 Axa March 3, 2016 at 10:08 am

Today: Clinton 4/7 Trump 2/1 https://www.sportsbook.ag/sbk/sportsbook4/politics-betting/president.sbk For the last 3 months Dems have been around 60% prob of winning, Reps 35%. http://predictwise.com/politics/2016-president-winner

Obama was on top in the betting odds for most of 2008 election. http://predictwise.com/politics/2016-president-winner

If Trump win betting odds get below 1/1 you can start talking about the rise of Trump. So, where’s the rising trend?

70 Ted Craig March 3, 2016 at 10:14 am

Here:

“The odds of Donald Trump winning the Republican nomination are up from 1% in late July to 19% now on Pivit, an interactive prediction marketplace that combines public opinion, news and data to predict the live odds of election outcomes.”

http://www.cnn.com/2015/08/24/politics/donald-trump-gop-nomination-pivit/index.html

That doesn’t mean he wins the general, but he had no chance of winning the primaries a little over six months ago.

71 Axa March 3, 2016 at 10:47 am

Candidates rise that way, even 2008 McCain http://understandinguncertainty.org/node/222

72 Jan March 3, 2016 at 10:04 am

But unfortunately the trend of which Trump is a continuation is: alienation, xenophobia, the war against political correctness and American exceptionalism above logic.

It’s something a large, and growing, swathe of the Republican party started (yes, this brand appeals to some liberals too) and now they’ve suddenly decided it’s just too much.

73 Ted Craig March 3, 2016 at 10:10 am

I’m afraid you fail, as well, Jan. I was taking about a trend toward pop culture and you drag out the negatives.

74 Jan March 3, 2016 at 10:13 am

I know what you meant, and I’m saying you’re dead wrong.

He was capitalizing on the shady stuff establishment R’s have kept saying–dog whistle stuff–but which they likely didn’t really mean. And now Trump has taken that stuff and run with it, and he is decimating them. Oops.

75 Ted Craig March 3, 2016 at 10:17 am

No, I’m right, but your mood affiliation is too strong to see that.

76 Jan March 3, 2016 at 10:27 am

I’m sorry you are in denial, but the base of your party, or at least some critical mass of it (and yes a few Dems, too), finds these things very appealing.

Fascists and xenophobes have existed in societies across the world for a long time–why is it so hard for you to believe a good chunk of your tribe share those sentiments?

77 Ted Craig March 3, 2016 at 10:34 am

Ok, we’re done. You’re off on a tangent.

78 Urso March 3, 2016 at 10:34 am

Jan’s not wrong but there’s a lot of framing here. “Xenophobia” has been suddenly redefined as “looking out for interests of the United States of America at the expense of other countries.” And that is xenophobia, in a sense, and always has been, but it’s only very recently that it would be described in such negative terms.

79 Jan March 3, 2016 at 10:40 am

Ted, your only argument was “no, I’m right. popular culture.” Christ, if that was differentiating factor, Palin would have been the ticket to success.

80 Jan March 3, 2016 at 10:45 am

Urso, does one’s fear or dislike of foreigners somehow preclude him from supporting candidates or policies that they truly believe are “looking out for interests of the United States of America at the expense of other countries”?

81 Urso March 3, 2016 at 10:55 am

No, I’m agreeing with you. Advancing America’s interests at the expense of other countries (instead of in tandem with other countries, which is probably how Obama would frame his own approach), is a form of xenophobia. But in 1962 it wouldn’t have been considered “bad” for a US president to act that way. In 2016 is it, at least among a particular set of people including the good Prof. Cowen.

82 Urso March 3, 2016 at 10:23 am

This is very similar to what I posted last week – Cowen sees Trump’s popularity and simply can’t comprehend it. The question he needs to ask is *why* he can’t comprehend it or, alternatively, what is it that millions of Americans see that he simply can’t? The GOP establishment refuses to ask itself this question, and it’s why it’s getting its ass kicked by a guy who is, almost literally, a buffoon. I would have thought Prof. Cowen was more self-reflective than that.

83 anon March 3, 2016 at 11:00 am

I am going to make something up. It is about a certain kind of libertarian. It probably is not about anyone in particular. But perhaps as a fairy tale it works.

I think a certain kind of libertarian had trust in the Republicans. Sure they were crazy, but not that crazy. Perhaps this kind of libertarian was not that attached to God or guns, but gave them that. Perhaps the various wedge issues Republicans used were not that interesting, but at the end of the day Republicans could be counted on as a safe vote against expansive goverment.

Trump shakes that whole world view. Not only are the Republicans less predictable, they are less safe as a force against big government. Suddenly they are backing a man who wants to do big things and put his gold initials on them.

Of course that’s scary.

84 Urso March 3, 2016 at 11:06 am

I think this is right – a lot of libertarians seem to approach issues from first principles. There’s a fundamental concept that government should be small, and whether the practical effects of that might be good or bad, who cares – a smaller government is good *in and of itself.* And maybe they assumed that the general mass of Rs and blue dogs feel the same. But those Rs and blue dogs really only want a smaller government to the extent that it benefits them; they don’t have this concept of ideological purity that libertarians seem to love. And I will note that an insistence on ideological purity is, in a way, a luxury good.

85 msgkings March 3, 2016 at 11:40 am

Agree with both of you. Trump isn’t destroying the GOP. He’s replacing the libertarian and establishment wings with nativists and white uneducateds that weren’t very political before now. The GOP is changing, and it’s fascinating.

86 Urso March 3, 2016 at 12:35 pm

Yes, and at the same time Hillary is bringing 1%ers (or at least 2-10%ers) back into the Democratic tent. I think a lot of these Romneyesque GOP’ers are going to flip to her once Cruz & Rubio drop out. So you are going to have this insane circumstance where union blue collar guys are voting for the Republican and well-off white collar folks pull for D. Blip or reset? That’s the question.

87 Cliff March 3, 2016 at 12:40 pm

But has Cowen ever voted for a Republican presidential candidate?

88 msgkings March 3, 2016 at 1:00 pm

@ Urso: it was already happening before this cycle, a lot of rich folk support/supported Obama. If ‘Trumpism’ sticks, the GOP will no longer be the party for the rich. Dems will be for the rich and minorities and some of the middle class, the Reps will be poor whites, most middle class whites, and a very small remaining contingent of libertarians, a few minorities, and a few left over rich folk.

89 Hazel Meade March 3, 2016 at 5:29 pm

I always thought that when the axes of the political spectrum rotated, that it would be the GOP that would end up closer to the libertarian end, but now it looks increasing likely it will be the opposite.
The GOP will remain the party of religious conservatives, but instead of allying with libertarians, they will ally with the white working poor, maybe even some poor Hispanics, and middle-class blacks.

The Democrats will become the party of elites, favoring free trade and market-esque social-welfare programs like the ACA, rich whites, and identity politics.

90 asdf March 3, 2016 at 6:13 pm

Hazel,

That’s basically the plan, and many libertarians will move to the Dems. They’ll learn to love taxes around Current/European rates and the welfare state. Don’t we already have a blueprint in Cameronism.

Articles will be written about how Mises and Hayek liked the idea of a social safety net. Lots of think tank ink will get spilled shilling for things like universal income to replace current welfare, but in the end that won’t happen because it will threaten government cheddar and jobs (they may manage to add a new direct payment on top of existing welfare).

Many of them will get sinecures justifying “nudge” programs that “use mild government intervention to bring out the nature of the true free market.” There is already a movement along these lines called liberal-tarians. This will be justified as “better then some full blown government heavy alternative”. We’ve already got people writing articles about how Bernie Sanders is the real libertarian because he wants to legalize pot or something, this stuff will come easy.

Getting on board with PC an micro-aggressions will be the hardest part, because almost all libertarians are white men, but accommodation will be found, if it will be a little emasculating and uncomfortable. Unprincipled exceptions will be allowed for elites, and getting into the elite to access such exceptions will be a way to keep people in line.

This will continue at least within their own professional lifetimes. Once we reach true non-white majorities they will do a pivot to whatever works then.

91 Ricardo March 4, 2016 at 5:14 pm

Hazel and msgkings, Andrew Gelman shows that this notion that the Republicans are becoming the party of working class whites while the Democrats are the party of elite whites is simply incorrect: http://themonkeycage.org/2012/03/voting-patterns-of-americas-whites-from-the-masses-to-the-elites/

The grain of truth contained in this is that whites who have graduate degrees lean Democrat by very wide margins while whites with only high school diplomas lean Republican. But once you look at education and income separately, it is clear that wealthier people vote Republican and that there is a non-linear relationship between education and voting patterns that is not being driven by income.

92 msgkings March 4, 2016 at 10:38 pm

@Ricardo:

We’re talking about what’s changing now, not how people voted in the past. It feels like a realignment happening, because they do happen. Could be a head fake of course, it might be a Trump thing and in 2020 things will go back to ‘normal’, but you have to admit something is different now….

93 Nathan W March 3, 2016 at 7:50 pm

They have legitimate concerns, but I don’t respect them because those concerns manifest as racism and demands for counterproductive protectionism. Just because it is possible to understand them does not mean one has to respect them. Some people have the best of intentions in supporting Trump, namely to ignore his blatant xenophobia and ignorant demands for protectionism, not to mention his proclivity for attacking any and everyone with the nerve to mount the least criticism of him, and instead to focus on the potential that he will upset the essentially corrupt aspects of the electoral system – HOWEVER, nothing whatsoever that he proposes would do anything at all to upset the systematical and legal aspects which contribute to those very problems.

Respect them as humans with legitimate concerns and interests, but not as racist xenophobes. Obviously, then, I am not speaking of people who support him for other reasons and ignore the more outrageous aspects out of hope that they would not lead to anything crazy.

Similarly, I do not respect a gangster’s violence, but can respect and understand him/her as a person whose social context contributed to altogether unsavoury behaviours, and the trials and tribulations they must have gone through.

Respect people who cheer when minorities are manhandled at rallies? No. Never. Understand their concerns? Yes.

94 Axa March 3, 2016 at 8:49 am

I think Megan McArdle comment is better this time. People don’t get distracted by Tyson´s failures.

At the end it just how risk is managed. I wouldn’t use Mike Tyson, there’s a better example in the last week: Lindsey Vonn (donwhill ski). The more risk she took the faster the descent and earned enough victories to lead the world cup. But, last week all that successful risk taking yielded a knee breaking fall……..the season is over and the (cautious?) 2nd place will win the world cup.

Perhaps that’s why modern politicians are as bland and boring as Olive Garden, to please as most people as possible and minimize the risk of a fall.

95 anon March 3, 2016 at 10:36 am

What I like about McArdle is that it also asks Republicans to accept responsibility. Maybe not enough, but some.

The obstruction party never transitioned to a cohesive action party. That made a crzay ideas man sound good. I mean, if “make Mexico pay for the wall” sounds good, then it’s only because there’s nothing to compare it to.

Much as been made of the idea that Republican leads have different goals than the rank and file voter, but that’s not it really. The Republican Party was out of ideas.

96 Agra Brum March 3, 2016 at 8:30 pm

2nd place in the downhill world cup pushes just as hard. Von just had some bad luck. Those risks are intrinsic to the sport.

97 PV van der Byl March 3, 2016 at 8:50 am

Didn’t Mike Tyson convert to Islam?

98 msgkings March 3, 2016 at 11:41 am

Good point. Can some of the Trump fans here help me understand something, does Iron Mike get deported when Trump is president or is he simply stuck not leaving the country because he won’t be allowed back in?>

99 Brian Donohue March 3, 2016 at 1:05 pm

Is Trump planning to deport citizens or restrict their travel now?

100 msgkings March 3, 2016 at 1:24 pm

That’s what I’m asking. What’s his policy on Muslims, deporting them? Or just not letting any into the US, even if they are returning citizens, or what?

101 Brian Donohue March 3, 2016 at 1:58 pm

Why so disingenuous? Tyson was born in the USA. Where the fuck would he be deported to?

You’re better than this.

102 Art Deco March 3, 2016 at 3:28 pm

[chuckles]

103 msgkings March 3, 2016 at 5:09 pm

OK so Muslim citizens are allowed to stay. Will Trump allow Muslim citizens to return from abroad? I’m not being disingenuous so much as seeing if Trump supporters are aware of the meaning of their guy’s buffoonery. Maybe you guys think he doesn’t mean any of his bullshit. But if you do, just how do you expect him to make it work?

Look, I’m not one who thinks Trump will be the end of the world if he gets elected. But he’s so obviously awful that it disturbs me to see otherwise smart people so blinded by partisanship that they try to justify supporting the guy just because he’s Team Red (only just recently of course). I hate the partisanship.

Team Blue is no better these days, I’m not voting for Clinton either.

104 Brian Donohue March 3, 2016 at 5:32 pm

Where did I say I supported Trump?

I’m sure I never said it, because I never have.

Lots of commenters here seem to be arguing against voices in their own heads.

I think of myself as right-of-center, but the Republicans won’t have me. I grew up a solid Democrat. I voted for Obama in 2008.

Lotta knee-jerk bullshit going around.

105 msgkings March 3, 2016 at 6:28 pm

Well sure, Brian, it’s political silly season, This is fun though, it’s why we post here. And it’s hard to know who someone supports unless they say so, sorry to lump you in with them. I was just pointing out that my ‘disingenuousness’ was to get Trump supporters to think about something, even if you aren’t one of them. I too voted for Obama in 2008, and 2012, but would have been fine with Romney winning. McCain hell no.

I’m hoping for a brokered Rep convention with Romney getting the nod and voting for him over Hillary. If it’s Hillary vs Trump I’m writing in someone….

106 Nathan W March 3, 2016 at 10:49 pm

ID cards and badges, no? Tyson would have to wear a Muslim badge if Trump gets his way. No historical analogies at all come to mind ..

107 Brian Donohue March 3, 2016 at 8:57 am

I understand, and applaud, what you are trying to do. The protracted election process in the US is a test, a tire-kicking. By all means, keep kicking away.

But so far, you’re coming up empty. What’s Mike Tyson’s most famous quote? “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” See Jeb Bush nodding over there.

For decades, politics-speak has been roboticized. Rubio is just an extreme example. Watch Cruz’s and Clinton’s speeches after Super Tuesday.

Cliche. Pause. Cheer. Repeat.

Trump talks like a person (so does Sanders.)

And I really like McArdle, but she misses badly too. Her argument that Trump’s style is suited to winning a Republican primary is completely backward.

The guy said nice things about Planned Parenthood. Can anyone imagine a Republican getting away with such stuff.

And on immigration. (Disclaimer- I’m generally sympathetic to immigrants.) Not so long ago, this was not a left/right issue. Big business has always been pro-immigration. Cripes, read The Jungle. And organized labor has always been anti-immigration. You can’t tell me with a straight face that immigration is a blessing to black America.

Immigration is the issue in which the elites of both parties have made common cause against the rabble in both parties, just like in Europe.

Keep trying though. Maybe somebody will figure out how to punch Trump in the mouth, but no one has been close yet.

108 charlie March 3, 2016 at 9:25 am

“Trump talks like a person (so does Sanders.)”

Sanders is a robot too, but he screams authentic hand brewed Brooklyn. So we give me a pass.

Biggest factor: Trump is doing his tweets himself.

109 Brian Donohue March 3, 2016 at 9:30 am

Disagree. Sanders described his loss in one state thus: “We got decimated.” Robot politicians would never say such a thing.

110 Lord Action March 3, 2016 at 9:47 am

+1

“Rubio is just an extreme example.”

I want to like Rubio. But he reminds me an awful lot of Obama. At least Chris Christie stood up to Rubio, so we didn’t have to find out from Vladimir Putin that we’d elected a child.

111 Jan March 3, 2016 at 10:10 am

Like Obama. Plus the small dick jokes, I guess.

112 Art Deco March 3, 2016 at 3:27 pm

He’s a lawyer without executive experience and too wet behind the ears for the Presidency. He also has some skeezy associates. That’s the similar part.

The differences: Rubio’s social background is much more common-and-garden (wage earner parents), Rubio’s lower on the psychometic scale than BO by all appearances. No one ever gifted him a law school sinecure. When he was out of office, he was in solo practice, something BO never attempted. He also has good people skills in the setting of a legislative body, which is why he was the Speaker and BO has a long record of non-performing re working with legislators.

113 El Gringo March 3, 2016 at 9:03 am

“I view the KKK fracas as raising the probability of Trump as Tyson, since I do not think it had potential upside for him.”

^^^ This was pure MSM stirring it up. Trump disavowed Duke & the KKK a few times already and was sick of getting asked the question by the news people so he gave them (tapper?) a stupid answer. Good for him.

Trump put out is health plan yesterday. The best plan I’ve seen. Probably a lot like the Whole Foods CEO put out in the WSJ a few years ago. Very free-market oriented.

114 anon March 3, 2016 at 11:47 am

I think the plan is conventional and good, though less of a change than it seems.

When you eliminate the “mandate” but “make premiums fully deductible” you are in much the same place for working Americans. Maybe you unburden the marginally attached workers – but if you are serious about people not dying in streets you have to support them again. Making this more socialist than before?

115 Nathan W March 3, 2016 at 10:55 pm

He “disavows” in the most insincere manner. “I disavow, OK, I disavow”, like he has been brownbeaten into it and does not mean it in the slightest.

I mean, this guy attacks and disparages all manner of people without the slightest hesitation, but has to think very long and very hard before he can mount the slightest criticism of the KKK support. Also, another flat out lie with unquestionable historical documentation. In 2000, he publicly called David Duke a racist – in 2016, he claims to know nothing at all about the guy.

116 Rich Berger March 3, 2016 at 9:16 am

Next, Tyler will do a series of posts on Hillary!’s shady history. I can’t wait.

117 Bill March 3, 2016 at 9:29 am

You’re right, he will self-destruct, but not before he get’s the winning number of delegates to be nominated.

I asked a friend of mine in DC–a Republican in the Establishment–what was the secret strategy that would be used to deny Trump the nomination on the floor of the convention.

His answer:

The rosary.

118 Gafiated March 3, 2016 at 9:30 am

But seriously, who’s more handsome: Barack Obama or Justin Trudeau?

119 Derek March 3, 2016 at 9:58 am

This. You get your vacuous twit, then I get mine.

Maybe, just maybe it will sink in that these guys are all the same and it is best not to let them not have enough power to ruin your life.

But no, the more educated you are the more you go in for the quest for the great man.

120 Jan March 3, 2016 at 10:07 am

Honestly,Trudeau. But Obama is likely a top 1% IQer, while Trudeau is a bit of a dullard. So maybe it all evens out?

121 TMC March 3, 2016 at 12:43 pm

“Obama is likely a top 1% IQer” Must be saving it up for something special.

122 Ed March 3, 2016 at 12:48 pm

Another fat guy in a bar yelling at the TV that a pro football player is a terrible athlete.

123 Art Deco March 3, 2016 at 1:15 pm

A bibliography of Obama’s scholarly articles published during 12 years drawing a paycheck from the University of Chicago is as follows:

124 Art Deco March 3, 2016 at 1:16 pm

Law firms which awarded Obama a partnership are as follows:

125 Art Deco March 3, 2016 at 1:17 pm

Appellate judges who hired Obama as a clerk are as follows:

126 Art Deco March 3, 2016 at 1:18 pm

Obama’s areas of expertise manifest in legislation and committee service during 12 years in legislative bodies:

127 msgkings March 3, 2016 at 1:27 pm

Art Deco’s demonstrations of intelligence or impact on anything ever are as follows:

128 Ed March 3, 2016 at 2:18 pm

Where can I find a list of scholarly articles published by Art Deco, law firms which awarded him partnerships, appellate judges that hired him as a clerk, or a record of his accomplishment during his years of legislative service?

Like I said fat guy sitting at a bar.

129 Art Deco March 3, 2016 at 3:21 pm

I’m not running for town clerk, much less President of the United States. I am neither an academic nor a lawyer, so the professional milestones of academics and lawyers would be pretty irrelevant to assessing me. If you’re going to waste pixels insulting me, you might work on making them non-stupid insults.

130 Ed Sitting at the Bar March 3, 2016 at 3:44 pm

My pint tastes horrible, like someone might have pissed in it when I stepped to the bathroom or when I was busy giving dirty looks at the hoi polloi making noises toward the TVs. Oh well, I’m not an expert on beer, so I guess I’ll just keep it to myself and drink it all.

131 Ed March 3, 2016 at 4:44 pm

The bottom line is that evidence for Obama’s high intelligence vastly outweighs the evidence for “Art Deco”‘s high intelligence. Same goes for Tyler and all the other people you like to malign.

132 Lord Action March 3, 2016 at 5:04 pm

“The bottom line is that evidence for Obama’s high intelligence vastly outweighs the evidence …” [BLAH BLAH AD HOMINEM]

What the hell does that matter? I don’t need to be fast to tell you Usain Bolt is fast.

133 Art Deco March 3, 2016 at 5:18 pm

you like to malign.

The word ‘malign’ does not mean what you think it means, nor would anyone outside certain professions ever malign someone for an intellectual deficit not conjoined to some other shortcoming.

What’s notable about Obama’s life is that it hardly matters whether he’s intelligent or not in some controlled setting. He does little with whatever intelligence he has. His wife’s not too different. Worked out for them financially, though.

134 Ed March 3, 2016 at 5:34 pm

Art Deco is not impressed with the accomplishment of becoming President of the United States. His own career was much more distinguished. What was that career again?

135 lemmy caution March 3, 2016 at 5:41 pm

Obama was the first black person voted to head harvard law review. I remember when it happened because I was in law school at the time.

http://www.nytimes.com/1990/02/06/us/first-black-elected-to-head-harvard-s-law-review.html

pretty sure he could have gotten a clerkship if he wanted.

136 Art Deco March 3, 2016 at 6:52 pm

Obama was the first black person voted to head harvard law review.

He was the “President” of the review, some sort of office-political position, not the Editor. After some digging, a single case note he authored was identified. That’s the sum of his scholarly publication.

No clue why he had no clerkship, no legal employment at all for a year, and no employment in a firm for two years after completing his degree. The most concise inference offered by a general practice attorney of my acquaintance is that the man simply never had any interest in practicing law (or in much else, it would appear).

137 Art Deco March 3, 2016 at 6:54 pm

Art Deco is not impressed with the accomplishment of becoming President of the United States.

He’s been on air talent for David Plouffe. I’ve no objection to TV newscasters. I’m more impressed with engineers.

138 Ed March 3, 2016 at 7:04 pm

Where’s the list of your accomplishments again?

139 FUBAR007 March 4, 2016 at 11:27 am

@Ed: “Where’s the list of your accomplishments again?”

Don’t waste your time. He doesn’t have any. Not that anyone around here other than Tyler or Tabarrok are in any position to throw stones on that count. Accomplished people don’t spend their time in internet comments sections arguing, venting, and calling each other names like we do.

To hazard a guess as to Art Deco’s profession, I say actuary or maybe accountant. It would fit his faculty for statistics and stratospheric level of anal retentive fussiness. Given his intense hatred of educators, I also suspect a stint working in a university or school system, probably Catholic.

Deco strikes me as one of those guys who had the intellectual horsepower for the Ivy League, but comes from the white working or lower-middle class and so didn’t have the pedigree, connections, or demographic diversity to get in. So, he ended up going to a middle-class college or university and landing in a bland middle-class, white-collar job in the region he grew up in. On the surface, he wears this as a badge of pride, hence his persistent and vocal loathing of anything and anyone “cosmopolitan”. Deep down, though, he resents it, and that’s the reason for his overly flowery vocabulary and snotty attitude.

140 Cliff March 3, 2016 at 12:51 pm

If he were, don’t you think he would release his transcripts?

141 anon March 3, 2016 at 2:42 pm

I think a 1%er would approach that differently, Cliff.

“I am winning two terms as President of the United States, do I need to give them anything?”

I think the transcripts plea came as much after the guy was elected as before, it was a whine from losers. Twice losers.

I hope you don’t think transcripts would have cleared obstruction. “Oh gosh, you are smart. Now we’ll fall in line.”

142 Thomas March 3, 2016 at 3:29 pm

We can already derive, based on the demographic breakdown of LSAT scores near Obama’s acceptance to Harvard, that Obama had a lower LSAT score than what surely must be multiple commentors here – and guaranteed to be less than the 99th percentile. Sorry guys.

http://isteve.blogspot.com/2013/05/obamas-lsat-score.html

143 anon March 3, 2016 at 4:46 pm

That reads like an analysis of Twin Tower beams, jet fuel, and hidden conspiracy. No one sane would expect to reverse-engineer Obama’s nature from group stats at Harvard .. but I don’t suppose we can be surprised that some lunatic fringe will organize to try.

144 Ed March 3, 2016 at 4:46 pm

What was your LSAT score, Thomas?

145 Brian Donohue March 3, 2016 at 5:41 pm

@anon,

It was actually pretty good detective work. From what I can tell, there were only two black Columbia grads that got into Harvard law that year, with LSATs in the 94-98th percentile.

The article goes on to say that Obama graduated near the top of his class at Harvard and ran the Law Review. Obama’s pretty damn smart. No one disagrees. Hair-splitting over top 1% vs. top 5% is for people who never grew up and think this shit is the end all be all.

146 SMPY Longitudinal Results March 3, 2016 at 6:10 pm

Brian, SAT results at age 12-13 even within the range restricted of the top 1% predict accomplishment 20 years later.

The top quartile of SAT Math-scorers at age 12-13 obtained double the STEM doctorate rates, double the patent rates, and something like 6x the professorship tenure rates as did the bottom quartile–and this is within a heavily restricted range of the top 1% tested at an early age.

https://my.vanderbilt.edu/smpy/files/2013/02/DoingPsychScience20061.pdf

Expanding the range and testing closer to adulthood would only strengthen the signal supplied by test results.

It’s not splitting hairs; ability variation at the top end matters, even within the 1% measured as early teenagers.

147 Art Deco March 3, 2016 at 7:01 pm

Brian, SAT results at age 12-13 even within the range restricted of the top 1% predict accomplishment 20 years later.

Obama’s deficits are not intellectual in character.

148 msgkings March 3, 2016 at 8:02 pm

@Art: Closest thing to a concession I’ve ever seen you make. Progress!

149 Das Raciss, Thomas March 3, 2016 at 3:50 pm

Despite affirmative action, blacks are just as smart as their Asians and white classmates at top schools.

The 200 to 300 SAT point gaps for enrolled/admitted students pointed out by crime-thinkers such as Arcidiacono, and Espenshade & Chung, are just the products of white racism.

150 Nathan W March 3, 2016 at 11:00 pm

The Canadian Conservatives have a habit of cherrypicking a handful of words which completely misrepresent the actual meaning of what Trudeau says, and then claiming he’s dumb.

If you talk political propaganda and misleading innuendo at face value, then yes, you probably think he’s dumb. I somehow doubt his IQ is over 130, but his EQ is through the roof – I mean, faced with opposition protesters at a rally, he handed them the mic, providing us all with the chance to see that the protesters didn’t actually have much of anything meaningful to protest about.

151 Ray Lopez March 3, 2016 at 9:32 am

CNTRL + F + “Buster Douglas” yields no hits?! (Wikipedia: The only casino to even make odds for the fight (all others declining to do so as they considered the fight such a foregone conclusion), had Douglas as a 42-to-1 underdog for the fight, making his victory, in commentator Jim Lampley’s words, “the biggest upset in the history of heavyweight championship fights”)

Who is Trump’s Buster Douglas?

152 Ray Lopez March 3, 2016 at 9:36 am

Down goes Frazier, down goes Frazier, down goes Frazier!!! – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZEIMQ42-oU

Where is today’s Howard Cosell? Or who is today’s George Foreman? Frazier?

153 Art Deco March 3, 2016 at 9:42 am

The multiplication of sanctioning bodies and weight categories precludes that analogy. Too many bloody ‘champions’.

154 Ray Lopez March 3, 2016 at 10:06 am

@Art Deco – I don’t know boxing, I’ve only have seen a handful of pay-per-view fights, in the USA and in the PH, but I think it’s always been that way, in that a 5 pound difference puts you into a different category (Olympic rules). Also consider that as time progresses, usually athletes get better, so arguably “The Greatest Boxer” is some obscure modern fighter. Not “The Greatest” in his era (like M. Ali) but physically ‘the greatest’. Same is true in chess: it’s been shown today’s’ masters make fewer mistakes than yesterday’s, ergo they are ‘greater’ than the storied legends of history, like Bobby Fischer for example.

155 Ted Craig March 3, 2016 at 9:37 am

Trump is Buster Douglas.

156 Urso March 3, 2016 at 10:37 am

I wonder what the odds were on Trump winning GOP nomination in June. 42-1 seems about right.

157 josh March 3, 2016 at 9:40 am

What exactly is the KKK fracas? Trump prudently did not condemn a person until he knew who he was. Is the argument that he should have simply taken the word of people who are clearly out to ruin him?

158 anon March 3, 2016 at 10:08 am

In that strange interview he actually repeated “KKK,” he heard it, and then said he didn’t know enough to answer.

EVERYBODY knows enough about the KKK to make an answer.

I interpret this as a personality tic. He didn’t want to be back-footed at that moment so he played dumb rather than smart. He had to catch up later in the day.

A personality flaw showing through maybe that he was too focused on himself, and not the easy answer that America should be a land of opportunity for all. How hard is that?

159 Derek March 3, 2016 at 10:11 am

Obviously someone who would suggest that having a flood of low priced brown people available to do your lawn and nanny your children is not a good idea must be connected to the KKK.

Who knows, next someone might start calling them servants. Those are trigger words.

Trump must be excluded from polite society. He says fine, I find you all to be stupid bores anyways.

This election season is delicious. The tide goes out and we find that most of these powerful influential Republicans have no privates at all, or are hiding them with ‘I love Hillary’ buttons.

I can’t wait to see what happens when Hillary is indicted.

160 anon March 3, 2016 at 3:47 pm

IF Hillary is indicted. If she loses, she could be very well indicted. If she wins, heads are going to roll in the FBI. Then we’ll see what a truly vindictive president looks like.

161 Nathan W March 3, 2016 at 11:05 pm

Funny, that this the the first time ever that he wished to apply such prudence.

What does it mean when he immediately attacks all manner of people for the slightest of offense, but has to think long and hard about sharing his opinion about the KKK? Duuuuh …

162 RPLong March 3, 2016 at 9:47 am

“Balls of energy. We’re not even who we think we are. We’re fire. We’re made of this crap—water, motion, dirt, diamonds, emeralds. We’re made out of that stuff, can you believe it?”

This makes Tyson seem more like Charlie Sheen than Donald Trump.

Also, TC, why do you write stuff like this: “There is a 0.26 chance that Donald Trump is the Mike Tyson of politics…” “…I view the KKK fracas as raising the probability of Trump as Tyson…” Even by “Bayesian inference” standards, these kinds of statements are silly. Either two people can be compared or they cannot be compared, there is no “chance” or “probability” that they can be compared.

163 Rich berger March 3, 2016 at 10:43 am

It’s almost as if Tyler got tired and started outsourcing these posts to David Brooks (unattributed).

164 anon March 3, 2016 at 3:49 pm

Complete with the photo of Tyson at the bottom of the post. Tyler is going for page views…same reason he interviewed Kareem.

165 msgkings March 3, 2016 at 5:15 pm

Guy runs blog, wants people to view it. Film at 11.

166 Mike March 3, 2016 at 10:13 am

See Bill Simmons on the the “Tyson Zone”. http://grantland.com/features/the-all-teo-mailbag/

167 Eric S. March 3, 2016 at 1:53 pm

Tyler – No offense but you basically stole your idea for this post from Simmons. I think you owe him some attribution.

168 Andrew_FL March 3, 2016 at 10:25 am

So does this mean in a few years we can expect Trump to get his own cartoon about him “solving mysteries”?

169 FE March 3, 2016 at 10:46 am

First he needs to appear in a classic Nintendo game.

170 Andrew_FL March 3, 2016 at 11:25 am

It’s not exactly Punch Out! But he has had games before.

171 Larry O March 3, 2016 at 10:35 am

I believe Trump’s KKK comments were directly aimed at Super Tuesday southern white voters. Don’t underestimate racism in the South and don’t underestimate Trump.

172 Urso March 3, 2016 at 10:39 am

Spoken like guy who has never visited the South for longer than a layover in Atlanta, but just KNOWS what all Southerners are secretly like.

173 Bruce Cleaver March 3, 2016 at 11:21 am

+10. Exactly so. This theme is so tiresome.

174 Larry O March 3, 2016 at 11:22 am

Spent 5 years in the military in the south and served with many southerners. Just my opinion.

175 josh March 3, 2016 at 1:16 pm

“Today, the [SPLC} estimates that there are between 5,000 and 8,000 Klan members, split among dozens of different – and often warring – organizations that use the Klan name.”

Yeah, that would definitely move the crowd.

176 anon March 3, 2016 at 10:44 am

If I were to find one thread in Trump’s message that I like it would be “run government like a business.” By that I mean run goverment in a businesslike way. I certainly don’t mean like reality TV. Maybe we need something like the post World War II, organization man, approach.

This is actually different from drown government in a bathtub, or obstruction for its own sake, this is governance.

Maybe rank-and-file Republican voters want governance.

177 Brian Donohue March 3, 2016 at 12:16 pm

You’re not talking about running government like a business.

Any business with $3.3 trillion in revenue and $3.8 trillion in expenses understands that job one is to fix this, because we ain’t gonna be in business long otherwise.

You’re just calling for some kind of managerial-corporatist-technocratic miasma that looks like a business from the outside to those who don’t know what a business is.

178 msgkings March 3, 2016 at 12:22 pm

Good thing the US is not a business but a sovereign nation controlling the world’s reserve currency, with the world’s biggest consumer market, and the most trusted capital markets. Of course, it does take some work to maintain those things. But the government budget is not like a business P&L nor is it like a household budget.

179 Brian Donohue March 3, 2016 at 12:56 pm

Dude, take a look at forecasts of entitlement costs. These are not economic guesses, they are demographic certainties.

The demographic “seven fat years” are receding into the distance and the cupboard is bare.

No new fun shiny things for government to do as far as the eye can see.

I’m trying to ensure that the anon’s of this world have some wherewithal to do stuff in the future.

“Governments aren’t households” does not suspend the idea of trade-offs.

180 anon March 3, 2016 at 1:23 pm

I think you misunderstand. Organizational men left GM to fight World War 2 we came home to take positions in government. They use the same business like skills all the way across.

We lost that at some point. When? Was it the Gingrich years? Weather after Obama “prompted” Republican shutdown?

At some point they stopped being about governance, they abandoned their business life skills. (“life” is a voice recognition error but I’ll keep it)

181 msgkings March 3, 2016 at 1:30 pm

Entitlements are a looming problem for sure, and there will be changes in the promises to reflect that. Even if the partisan bullshit continues, there will be a sequester or Simpson-Bowles like solution that everyone hates so you know it’s working.

182 anon March 3, 2016 at 2:23 pm

Sorry that message was more mangled by speech acquisition and inattention than I noticed. But I think you get the idea. It’s about when “obstruction” became the best some could hope for, that nothing better, not even better government on their terms, was possible.

183 Thomas March 3, 2016 at 3:37 pm

This obstruction theme is a lie. The Congress does not have to create new laws at any given pace in order for the government to function. Obstruction is a lie told by people who resent that our divided government is preventing the enactment of the many new laws they desire.

184 anon March 3, 2016 at 4:40 pm

Congressional approval rating: 14%

http://www.gallup.com/poll/1600/congress-public.aspx

Tell me again how you can “function” without passing laws.

185 anon March 3, 2016 at 4:43 pm

Actually, let’s be clear. Republicans expected Congressional approval (governmental approval) to bottom out with obstruction. They just thought that the obstructionists could flip it to win.

As I say, no. Trump creamed them because in the end no one likes the obstructionists.

186 anon March 3, 2016 at 1:11 pm

I think Brian overweights the top level balance sheet, but was there ever a year, say GM, retired all debt?

Why wouldn’t a businesslike government manage it’s debt for future growth?

187 Hoosier March 3, 2016 at 10:50 am

McCardle errs seriously if she thinks that Rubio scored points in the debate by taking the other side of Trump’s argument against disposing Gaddafi. Americans may not think he was a good dude, but there is no stomach at all in this country for using regime change as a way to conduct foreign policy. They see the disaster in Libya and Syria and want nothing to do with it. Obama realized this when he backed down from his Syria ‘red line’ rhetoric.

This is the problem with the republican establishment, they don’t see that many of their policies are genuinely unpopular.

188 S March 3, 2016 at 10:52 am

Does this make Jeb Mike Spinks?

189 Hoosier March 3, 2016 at 10:57 am

Just re-read her whole post, what a sore loser. Just another commentator pouting that the American public doesn’t see their golden boy Marco as the savior like they do. Does she actually think that the American people want a return to the Bush presidency? This is all Rubio is offering. His whole strategy was to use the Republican establishment to push him forward, while shredding Clinton for her email woes, and voila, the neo-cons have taken over the white house again! Just like when GW Bush got in with more people having voted for Gore.

And Cruz would be just as bad as Trump going up against Clinton, so she can’t be supporting him.

Reihan Salam wrote a post for Slate last week that listed some very common sense policy initiatives the Republicans could take to earn back support from blue collar workers. Of course Rubio and Cruz never showed any inclination of budging because they’re pure ideologues. There is a way forward and the first step is to not take the lead from Grover Norquist, the club for growth or the WSJ editorial page.

190 anon March 3, 2016 at 11:13 am
191 Lord Action March 3, 2016 at 11:19 am

The “elite” need to broker a deal with Trump to get a reasonable VP choice and a few policy positions and key appointments in exchange for acquiescing to his candidacy. The longer this brinksmanship goes on, the more that eventual compromise is going to favor Donald. Their legitimate concern is that Trump is basically a democrat with business credentials, and that he’ll sell them down the river. It’s not that he can’t win, because clearly he can. He’s a more likely general election winner than Cruz (too far from mainstream) or Rubio (inexperienced, not a clear leader). So compromise with him, get what you can, and try to win.

192 Donald Pretari March 3, 2016 at 11:10 am

It’s really too bad that Ike didn’t feel the need to boast about his achievements. But then, what were Ike’s achievements compared to Trump? And certainly Trump’s personal history is much more compelling than Bob Dole’s or John McCain’s. How silly it now seems that Ronald Reagan didn’t insult his detractors. But admiring these men is elitist, isn’t it? Better to emulate Strom Thurmond or George Wallace. They really stood up for the little guy. The only elites they supported were whites over blacks, etc.

And don’t start on liberals. What did that elitist George McGovern accomplish in life? Thank G-d he never tried to impress us with his uninteresting war record. Or JFK? Or John Kerry? He didn’t even earn those three purple hearts. We should take them away from him give them to a real hero like Trump. Trump…A rich kid who improved our country by owning casinos. Who thinks a presidential debate is a Friar’s Roast. I’m just too elitist to admire that resume, I guess. Silly me.

193 Alvin March 3, 2016 at 11:31 am

How can a black and (converted) muslim man like Tyson support Trump who wants to deport or put them internment camps?

194 Cliff March 3, 2016 at 12:57 pm

He wants neither of those things

195 GMC March 3, 2016 at 11:41 am

I second the comment about “Trump talks like a person,” above and disagree strongly with this piece. I am not a Trump supporter for all kinds of reasons, but I think that both his supporters and his detractors have thus far supported and opposed him based on mood affiliation. A general election might well cause people to listen to him and make their own decisions (although I doubt it) which could be good or bad (both for the country and for Trump).

Tyler’s post in particular smells mood-affiliationey to me.

196 Dan in Euroland March 3, 2016 at 11:53 am

What’s the Straussian reading of Tyler’s Trump posts? Note that TC does not address any of Trump’s policy positions, as he has done for other candidates. Is it simply trying to stay with in the good graces of the Ezra Klein journoList power structure? But then what are TC’s true feelings of Trump? Is TC a secret Tyson fan so this post is actually an endorsement of Trump?

Once you go Straussian the rabbit hole becomes endless. . .

Trump’s positions: https://www.donaldjtrump.com/positions/
Generally no more crazy than the rest of the field and much less crazy than Bernie.

197 Dmitri Helios March 3, 2016 at 12:08 pm

I love how McArdle pretends she’s some neutral observer of the #Nevertrump republicans, and not in fact, one of the very elites terrified by the rise of Trump, with her conservative Libertarian foundation backing and her Reason.com milquetoast libertarian boy husband. Aww Megan you butthurt Conservatism Inc libertarian.

198 msgkings March 3, 2016 at 12:25 pm

Some folks are Team Red (or Team Blue) no matter what jackass their party throws out there. I think the #Nevertrump crowd at least has some integrity in fighting partisanship and mood affiliation. If you can’t stand Hillary don’t vote for her or Trump. Write someone in. Your vote only counts if you live in one of the 10 or so battleground states.

199 Brian Donohue March 3, 2016 at 1:03 pm

Actually, your vote only counts if the election is tied otherwise.

200 msgkings March 3, 2016 at 1:33 pm

I guess but every vote counts in making it tied, and you don’t know if your vote will be the tiebreaker in close (battleground) states.

201 Dan Lavatan March 3, 2016 at 9:14 pm

If the election is close the supreme court gets to decide.

202 Hoosier March 3, 2016 at 1:44 pm

I’d argue its the opposite case as Trump threatens to actually break up the Team Red vs. Team Blue dynamic. McCardle’s a libertarian and, except for foreign policy, Rubio and Ryan are the perfect candidates for this crowd so she must be very worried about what would happen if Trump gets the Republican nomination or actually wins the presidency.

If the Trump critics looked in the mirror and made the honest assessment that their preferred policies didn’t provide tangible benefits to the majority of people in this country, then they’d begin to realize why Trump’s so popular.

You can think he’s an ass, and a bully, and I’d agree, but you can’t argue that he’s not speaking to people’s real concerns.

203 Jamie_NYC March 3, 2016 at 1:09 pm

“Trump is going to self-destruct, just like Tyson”.

What does professor Cowen think is the ratio of Trump to Tyson’s IQ?

204 Scott Richardson March 3, 2016 at 2:13 pm

You don’t think that hinting that he might just be kinda-sorta okay with the David Dukes of the world might’ve helped him consolidate his leads in some deep Southern states, coming as it did right before the Mar 1 voting? Reprehensible, obviously, but tactically effective … perhaps.

205 JK March 3, 2016 at 3:02 pm

Clearly Trump is in “The Tyson Zone” as created by Bill Simmons. Here’s its original use, from one of his mailbag columns:

Q: I think Ron Artest has entered rarified air now. He’s officially a person who, if a friend said, “Did you hear that (fill in celebrity’s name) just (fill in the insane behavior: urinated on a police officer, began breeding unicorns, etc.)?”, I would have no problem believing it was true. I think this space is occupied by Mike Tyson, Michael Jackson, Courtney Love, and the late, great ODB. Can you think of any others?
— Brendan Quinn, Philadelphia, PA

SG: First of all, fantastic theory. I think we should call this “The Tyson Zone.” Others who qualify: Dennis Rodman; Omarosa; R. Kelly; Landon from “The Real World”; Najeh Davenport; Suge Knight; Flava Flav; Brigette Nielsen; anyone in G Unit; Billy Joel; Andy Dick; Lindsay Lohan’s Dad; Anna Nicole Smith; Margot Kidder; Tara Reid; Lil John; Gary Busey; Ricky Williams; any pregnant female; the late Bison Dele; Liza Minnelli; Paris Hilton; and Henry Winkler.

206 Ted Craig March 3, 2016 at 3:11 pm

Interesting that Dennis Rodman, Omarosa and Gary Busey have all voiced support for Trump

207 The Original D March 3, 2016 at 3:11 pm

McArdle’s case is no different from all the other pundits predicting Trump’s downfall. “He can push the envelope only so far” without giving specific examples of what going too far is. Lots of charismatic dictators got where they are through scapegoating. It’s arrogant American exceptionalism to think we’re somehow better than that.

208 RPLong March 3, 2016 at 4:23 pm

+1

209 MyName March 3, 2016 at 6:44 pm

I’m pretty sure her point in the article was that he has *already* gone too far and is hurting his chances in the general election every time he makes some BS controversial statement. And for examples, she gave his comments on Libya, his failure to remark on the KKK. And Trump Univ., his past marital history, and some of his shadier real estate details as examples of how he has not been vetted as well as other candidates.

210 The Original D March 3, 2016 at 10:24 pm

Right, which is what pundits have been saying about him from literally the day he announced his candidacy.

Perhaps one of these things will be his downfall but so far each “gaffe” or “revelation” is either ignored by the public or sometimes even increases his support.

211 Rich Berger March 3, 2016 at 6:08 pm

#200. For a minute.

212 Noge_Sako March 3, 2016 at 9:52 pm

Its been about 7 months since Trump went against vaccines. Does the man want polio to come back?

How has he not been hit yet hard for saying something like that?

That should have crippled the support of every educated person.

213 Zach March 4, 2016 at 4:56 pm

There are (at least) two Mike Tysons. One is the entertainingly bizarre has been with a funny voice and a facial tattoo. The other was a boxer who was the best puncher of his generation.

I’ll buy Trump as the first, but if you want to compare him to Tyson the fighter, I want to see one thing that Trump does better than any other politician out there and can’t be summed up as “entertainingly bizarre.”

214 Ehsun Anwar March 5, 2016 at 7:10 pm

Almost all Tyson fans have no idea about the intensive psychological training that Mike received as a child. You can get the juicy details here: https://ehsunanwar.com/2015/02/01/why-floyd-mayweather-jr-is-the-most-skilled-boxer-of-all-time-part-1/

215 dave pv March 7, 2016 at 11:03 am

Depth of field. Tyson benefitted from facing and dominating a largely substandard pool of opponents. Trump, too?

216 Beulard March 17, 2016 at 12:19 am

I, like many other Americans, wholeheartedly believed that Donald Trump’s political suicide had unfolded the day he announced he was running for office. The hateful words he spouted toward illegal immigrants would certainly knock him out of any slight chance he might have at reaching the White House, right? Wrong. I was shocked to see Trump leading national polls not too much later and thriving in his unique political style of bold, outlandish statements and often humorous personal attacks against his fellow candidates. I simply could not believe that such a style stood firm in 2015/2016 and gained so much national momentum.

I was not a fan of Donald Trump at first. He seemed to be an insensitive, ignorant man who just said whatever happened to come to his mind. I think it was the second republican debate that I said to myself: “Let’s just see what Trump has to say, maybe I haven’t given him a fair chance.” Although he is certainly no sweetheart, Trump’s seemingly innate ability to answer the questions asked to him and to defend himself vehemently resonated with me immediately. I began to rethink my initial instinct to label Trump as an ignorant, perhaps racist candidate and started to see him for Donald Trump the man. I began to see a man who loves his country and hates the mere thought of illegal immigrants tainting its honor and taking opportunities from natural-born citizens as well as legal immigrants. I saw a man who does not feel the need to hide his true intentions under sugar-coated rhetoric and political jargon. I saw a man who cares about how America is viewed throughout the world, and fears a future where we are not considered a global power. I saw an incredibly successful businessman who just might be able to apply his leadership as commander-in-chief, and, against all odds, can perhaps truly make America great again.

I certainly do not agree with everything Donald Trump says, don’t get me wrong. I do sometimes wish he would tone it down with the childish insults and such, but I believe his political ideals are ones I can agree with and support for the most part. I do not doubt that Trump might have a “Mike Tyson” moment in him at some point, but I believe to some extent that he could say many outlandish and questionable things without losing his core supporters. To some degree, I respect him for that, but in other ways, I question his legitimacy as a leader. At the end of the day, I believe that Donald Trump is the best presidential candidate at this point in the race, and I will continue to support his cause.

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