How to Bribe Trump ...
#45: ... into not running in 2024.
We’re decontenting (automotive term) as fast as we can here at kausfiles. The leather upholstery’s been replaced with sturdy vinyl. The cassette player is gone, replaced with a picture of Wayne Newton. The glove box is lined with wax paper. Are we making it up with volume? This is a road test. …
Kamala D. Hopeless: Why are they sounding the tom toms of doom about Kamala Harris now -- in what seems to be a campaign spearheaded by an article in Dem-friendly CNN, featuring indirect testimony of “key West Wing aides?”
Worn out by what they see as entrenched dysfunction and lack of focus, key West Wing aides have largely thrown up their hands at Vice President Kamala Harris and her staff -- deciding there simply isn't time to deal with them right now,
Do I mean to suggest that Biden’s White House encouraged, maybe even proposed, CNN’s nasty take? Yes! But why? The answer seems to be: If Biden declines to run again, and Harris declares her candidacy in 2023 or even 2024, it will be very hard to stop her without being accused of racism and/or sexism and/or disloyalty. Biden himself will be put on the spot — endorse or not endorse? The time to short-circuit Harris is now, before she begins her run. Signal that you’re giving potential opponents time and political space to build up their reps and their networks.
This is what the Biden team, worried that Harris will be a loser, seems to be diligently doing.
I suppose that's obvious.
The Bribing of the President, 2022: The Republicans’ equivalent dilemma — the Trump Dilemma — seems completely insoluble. It doesn’t matter if Glenn Youngkin showed a Republican can win, and mobilize Trump voters, without being Trump. I mean, it's nice for the GOP to know they don’t need Trump— but they won't need to not need Trump because it looks as if Trump is going to run, whether he's needed or not. And he's heavily favored to win the party’s nomination (unless a Youngkin type can beat him within the GOP primary electorate, a much tougher job than winning Virginia’s general election).
So Trump gets the nomination. Then he will either a) lose in the November 2024 general or b) win. I leave it to you to decide which prospect is worse.
Time to think outside the envelope! Maybe rip the envelope apart and “weaponize” it. Could Trump perhaps be .... bribed. This isn't as unprecedented an idea as you might think. In some accounts, Dwight Eisenhower met with rival Earl Warren before the 1952 election and promised him a spot on the Supreme Court in exchange for Warren’s strong support. True, Trump seems an unlikely SCOTUS nominee. But what else might a committee of public-minded, patriotic Republican billionaires — not that hard to orgnize — offer him?
One million dollars! OK, that's not enough. One billion dollars? Might do the job. Now we’re haggling over the price — but it would be unseemly. A few tens of millions as a sort of earnest down payment, maybe.
A job for Ivanka: Trump destroyed his presidency to please the husband (and in-laws) of his favorite child. He's not going to agree to any deal that doesn't give Ivanka at least a potential step-up in establishing the dynasty he knows should be hers. Ambassador to he Court of St James? Done. Ivanka has very good manners.
Even this isn't enough. Trump seems too selfish to live vicariously through his children. And what he really craves isn't money, or maybe even power — but rather attention. Nothing gives you instant attention to your every word--”supposing you brought the light inside the body”--than the Presidency. Is there anything that's close? Well, how about this:
Give him Fox News.
It's only couple-of-billion-dollars-a-year business! The Murdoch son who runs it doesn’t seem wildly excited about doing that forever. (He reportedly doesn't spend much time in the Fox News headquarters. He has a full plate running the rest of Fox.) But it’s a cash cow — very profitable. For the right price, it could be a cash cow for the Committee of Patriotic Billionaires, who'd pocket a chunk of the profits to leaven their sacrifice while ceding Trump total day-to-day control. If Trump wanted to put himself on television every evening and fill the rest of the time slots with others who passed his loyalty test, he'd be free to do so.
Still not enough, you say? Even while reigning atop Fox, Trump would miss Air Force One? A final lagniappe, then: He can still run for President--just not in 2024. In 2028, if he's up to it, he could use Fox Trump News as a barely-legal base from which to stage his comeback. The bet (for some) would be that by 2028 he'll either be too old or someone else will have stolen his electoral fan base -- a bet not unlike the wager underlying the Iran nuclear deal (JSPOA), that Iran will have a regime- or character- change by the time it can develop nuclear weapons.
Might not work, of course. You got a better idea?
P.S.: Keep in mind that even if Trump doesn’t win the 2024 nomination, Republicans might nevertheless have to essentially bribe him to keep him from undermining the official GOP nominee.
Yes, there’s still an Undernews: I didn’t realize that Kevin McCarthy isn’t a shoo-in for Speaker of the House if Republicans win a majority. It turns out there’s a personal reason why McCarthy may be aiming to run up a big GOP total: if he only has, say, an 8 seat majority, any faction of 9 or more can try to block him. There’s also a bit of undernews in this story, namely McCarthy’s widely rumored but largely unreported-on affair with then-Congresswoman Renee Ellmers. The rumor hurt McCarthy when he considered (then abruptly abandoned) a run for speaker in 2015. It might hurt him again now. That’s the thing about Undernews: it affects the real news, like a ninth planet you can’t see.
P.S.: Can the Ellmers story really be Undernews if Politico (to its credit) has reported it? Well, it’s not news news. It’s something — demi-undernews?—as long as the rest of the MSM won’t touch it.
P.P.S.: I’m rooting for McCarthy. Unlike ex-Speaker Paul Ryan, he seems too dim to sneak through an immigration (amnesty) sellout. …
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