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Old 02-24-2020, 07:23 PM
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How easily could George W. Bush Stop Trump in 2020 Election?


I was sitting around thinking about the potential power of ex-presidents to persuade voters. I know that G.W. Bush does not seem to care for Trump very much; I wonder how easily he could affect the 2020 election with one brief public comment or a few sentences on Twitter. If Dubya were to endorse the Dem candidate over Trump surely that would gain enough votes to lead to a Democratic win.

Of course there's the whole matter of "Why in the world would he do that?" But this is a just a hypothetical "what if?" He has an immense amount of power, and Obama could do a similar job against the Dem nominee (again, but why would he?).

The Ex-Prez fraternity is pretty tight, I think, and they hold themselves to a high standard of not unduly influencing politics. Trump, however, is an unprecedented boor who has broken all the rules of civility and restraint. Might that lead to unprecedented electioneering by an ex-POTUS?

The main concept is: if in late October G.W. Bush tweeted "I am asking all Republican voters to not support Trump. If you can't vote for the Democrat, please just stay home." What would happen?
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Old 02-24-2020, 07:35 PM
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He publicly stated that he was not going to vote for Trump in 2016. He was one of the 4 out of 5 living GOP nominees that said that. That included the two former presidents. Bob Dole was the only exception. None of former nominees attended the convention. That was already unprecedented electioneering.

It didn't work.

Last edited by DinoR; 02-24-2020 at 07:35 PM.
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Old 02-24-2020, 07:40 PM
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Nothing would happen. George W. Bush has been out of office for a long time, was not terribly popular when he left (just before the 2008 election, his approval rating was 25%), and the typical Trump supporter isn't likely to listen to any member of the Republican "establishment" anyway.

You probably weren't listening to Rush Limbaugh during the 2016 campaign, but he was pushing Ted Cruz right up until Cruz gave up the ghost. If Trump voters didn't listen to Rush Limbaugh, why would they listen to to Bush.
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Old 02-24-2020, 07:49 PM
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His house might get firebombed, but that's about it.

Trump will get almost exactly the same number of votes as he got in 2016. I don't think anyone can change that. About 60 million Americans think Trump is the bee's knees.
Democrats have to turn out more voters, not convince Trump's base base.

As an aside, at some level GWB has to envy Trump. GWB had to run his gulags in secret; Trump does it in the open with no consequences. GWB had to work hard to make the tax code more regressive; Trump just implemented a national sales tax by fiat. GWB probably has to grudgingly tip his hat to Trump.

ETA: If only Trump would launch an unnecessary war based on lies, GWB would man a phone bank for him.

Last edited by Defensive Indifference; 02-24-2020 at 07:50 PM.
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Old 02-24-2020, 07:50 PM
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Anybody who cares that much about what GWB thinks will have already been turned into a never-Trumper by Trump’s constant criticism of the former president.
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Old 02-24-2020, 07:51 PM
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Add me to the hardly/not at all crowd. If Bush got into a pissing match with Trump, there’s more than enough orange juice to drown Bush in a pool of urine going strictly off the merits of his record, things that democrats and hard-right republicans can happily get behind and agree on. Democrats because it’ll be true (just one example: that whole Iraq thing, the ramifications of which are still ongoing), and republican hardliners because Trump will have said it. If anything, Bush's support for "not Trump" could be deflected to direct the blast onto whoever ultimately runs as "not Trump." Or so I would imagine.

Bush's record just has too many holes in it to stand against Trump.

Last edited by ASL v2.0; 02-24-2020 at 07:53 PM.
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Old 02-24-2020, 07:54 PM
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GWB had to work hard to make the tax code more regressive; Trump just implemented a national sales tax by fiat. GWB probably has to grudgingly tip his hat to Trump.
Cite for the national sales tax?
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Old 02-24-2020, 08:28 PM
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I don't think it would matter at all if George W. spoke up against Trump. In fact I don't think there is anyone on the Right that could stand up, denounce Trump, and have people change their opinion.

I think the only way some people would turn on Trump is if he made a major reversal on something.

Abortion is probably an issue evangelicals would abandon Trump for if he openly said the next Supreme Court justice he appoints has to be willing uphold the Roe v. Wade decision.

Or if he did complete reversal on gun control and said he would support repealing the Second Amendment.

It would have to be a drastic reversal on an issue though.
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Old 02-24-2020, 08:33 PM
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Cite for the national sales tax?
i assume this means tariffs...
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Old 02-24-2020, 08:33 PM
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Cite for the national sales tax?
Who do you think pays for tariffs?
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Old 02-24-2020, 08:47 PM
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Okay, but it's not a sales tax, so call them what they are; tariffs.
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Old 02-24-2020, 08:58 PM
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Okay, but it's not a sales tax, so call them what they are; tariffs.
Is synecdoche against board rules too, or just metaphor?

Tariffs are taxes that raise the price of consumer goods. They are regressive taxes tantamount to a national sales tax.

Is it OK if I call the CIA black sites and border prisons gulags even though they're not in Siberia?
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Old 02-24-2020, 10:30 PM
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Republican presidents and presidential candidates have virtually no power in the GOP as soon as they are out of the running. Nowadays, GWB, Romney, McCain (before he died,) etc. are reviled by Trumpers almost as much as Democrats themselves (if Facebook is any indication.)
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Old 02-24-2020, 11:39 PM
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Republican presidents and presidential candidates have virtually no power in the GOP as soon as they are out of the running. Nowadays, GWB, Romney, McCain (before he died,) etc. are reviled by Trumpers almost as much as Democrats themselves (if Facebook is any indication.)
Yup, Republicans have no problem throwing their president under the bus the second he leaves office. But don't you dare talk smack a second before.

No Republican has received permanent reverence since Reagan.
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Old 02-24-2020, 11:45 PM
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Yup, Republicans have no problem throwing their president under the bus the second he leaves office. But don't you dare talk smack a second before.

No Republican has received permanent reverence since Reagan.
Given that Trump has a cult-like following and conventional Republicans like Bush, Romney, McCain, etc. didn't, I am curious to see how long Trump will have a loyal following after he leaves office, or if his supporters will promptly ditch him for the new Republican president/candidate, whomever he or she may be, and revile Trump just like they did the others.
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Old 02-25-2020, 12:01 AM
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Good question. Given the unprecedented contempt Trump and his supporters have received, I think they might be a little less inclined to EVER admit Trump sucked. I don't think he will be enshrined as the next Reagan though. If he loses in November he'll take a huge hit because Republicans don't like losers. If he wins and the world hasn't exploded in 5 years, it will probably be a bit like it is now. The "cultists" will say he was the best ever, and the rest just won't say anything because I don't want to be outted as someone that voted for Trump. I think there's going to be a bad blood between Democrats and Republicans for a long time after this.
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Old 02-25-2020, 12:48 AM
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Even though this is about GWB, it's more about the current political climate and current politicians. With that, I think this will do better in Elections.

Moving thread from IMHO to Politics & Elections.

Last edited by engineer_comp_geek; 02-25-2020 at 12:49 AM.
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Old 02-25-2020, 01:14 AM
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If Bush wanted to hurt Trump, direct opposition won't do. Bush should imply he'd received some opposition intel during the 2000 election that suggested Trump was gay, and that Trump should just be honest about his true self, like Buttigieg is.
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Old 02-25-2020, 02:20 AM
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People look at GWB and they see a guy who started a bullshit war, who presided over the worst economy since the Great Depression, and who still got to retire in luxury to paint watercolours. That is, when he’s not dancing with Ellen or watching Wimbledon with the Obamas.

Meanwhile, they’re working deeper and deeper into retirement and rationing medication. Why would they give a damn what GWB thinks about anything?
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Old 02-25-2020, 06:47 AM
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Originally Posted by DinoR View Post
He publicly stated that he was not going to vote for Trump in 2016. He was one of the 4 out of 5 living GOP nominees that said that. That included the two former presidents. Bob Dole was the only exception. None of former nominees attended the convention. That was already unprecedented electioneering.

It didn't work.
How many undecided voters even noticed this? Had GWB, Romney and McCain instead blared their contempt for Trump in TV ads, they would have had some effect.

Perhaps they weren't to blame then. Many assumed Trump would just play golf and let a right-wing cabal run the country. But the reality is far worse. Shame on Bush and Romney if they fail to act more forcefully this cycle! But asking them to support Sanders is too much. A 3-man race is a real likelihood.
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Old 02-25-2020, 04:32 PM
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If Bush wanted to hurt Trump, direct opposition won't do. Bush should imply he'd received some opposition intel during the 2000 election that suggested Trump was gay, and that Trump should just be honest about his true self, like Buttigieg is.
This is more along the lines I was thinking of.

I was not thinking of the standard careful, reserved, mealy-mouth stuff that Ex-POTUS usually engage in. Dubya has already done some of that.

It's gonna be a close election. I can't believe that Dubya couldn't move 100,000 or so swing voters.
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Old 02-25-2020, 04:47 PM
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It's gonna be a close election. I can't believe that Dubya couldn't move 100,000 or so swing voters.
Which swing voters are those? The ones who didn't like Bush's handling of the Iraq war, the economy, or Katrina?

Let me put it differently. All the crap that's come out about Trump over the past three years -- all the golf weekends, pushing business to his hotels, paying off a porn actress, muscling the Ukraine, and all the other stuff that's too much to go into now -- all of that hasn't budged his approval numbers a bit. What do you expect Dubya to accomplish?
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Old 02-25-2020, 05:03 PM
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If Dubya launched an all out assault on Trump, it probably won't change the outcome of the election, and it might cause him to accidentally fly out of a window somewhere....
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Old 02-25-2020, 05:12 PM
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How many undecided voters even noticed this? Had GWB, Romney and McCain instead blared their contempt for Trump in TV ads, they would have had some effect.
It certainly made the major media sources... so quite possibly not many. It didn't seem to resonate with the more engaged to reach everyone else.

McCain's opposition was pretty regular, even after the election, until his illness pulled him out of DC. That seems like it would be harder to miss but ignorance is vast.

None of them would have had the kind of campaign or personal funds to make major national media buys to really move the needle on awareness. The Clinton campaign and major Democratic PACs would have had the funds and didn't pick up the ball. Bloomberg could have pushed it from petty cash. The statements were out there already. Since Trump's actual opponents didn't run with it, I would guess they didn't see any value in the attack.
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Old 02-26-2020, 06:13 AM
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How about a thought experiment. Imagine a magical being appears to you and says that at the stroke of midnight on Halloween 2020 you will suddenly be able to control G.W. Bush's mind and actions to any extent you care to until November 4, 2020.

Seeing an opportunity, you decide to use this ability to destroy Trymp's chance at re-election. But you gotta be smart... gotta plan this out... what to do, what to do? You could make some sort of public comment. Should it be clear and obvious? Or maybe subtle insinuation? Imagine that power! There are all sorts of fun things you could puppeteer Dubya into doing for fun and profit, but what about doing something for the greater good?

I think you guys are underestimating the amount of political and social capital an ex-president has. Theses guys can still make a lot of things happen, just now it's in the private sector. Mostly.

Ex-POTUSs are part of American Royalty along with the current prez is, his/her family, and Oprah.

Maybe he could spin a huge tale of CIA, FBI, LSD, Ukraine, bribery, car-chase intrigue. He wouldn't sound like a loon if he said the right things. It'd be taken seriously coming from a GOP prez.

If not that, got a better idea? What serious things could he say near the election that would siphon off at least 100 votes? And if 100, what about 1000? Etc.
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Old 02-26-2020, 10:06 AM
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Ex-POTUSs are part of American Royalty along with the current prez is, his/her family, and Oprah.
And just like British royalty, we like them because they don't get involved in politics.

Quote:
If not that, got a better idea? What serious things could he say near the election that would siphon off at least 100 votes? And if 100, what about 1000? Etc.
No, I don't have a better idea because I think your assessment that George W. Bush can say or do ANYTHING to affect the re-election of Donald Trump is wrong. Look at it this way. Bill Clinton is a lot more popular than GWB. What do you think he could say that would make swing voters who were leaning toward Bernie suddenly switch their votes to Trump?
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Old 02-26-2020, 11:11 AM
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and the typical Trump supporter isn't likely to listen to any member of the Republican "establishment" anyway.
That's probably the most telling thing; they're going to tend to view W as being half-assed in his policies relative to Trump, and regard anything he says as being the product of the deep state and establishment, not of a (presumably) older, wiser, more experienced political elder.

The single biggest thing working against anything like this is the cultish following that has developed around Trump- it's not just Republican vs. Democrat or Conservative vs. Liberal any more- it seems more personal for a lot of the Trump supporters. He's THEIR guy, not the party's guy. You see it around here (Texas) in the Republican primary ads- pointing out who's in cahoots with Trump is apparently a very positive thing according to the ads Somehow they've managed to wind Trump up with some sort of right-wing, evangelical/conservative Christian imagery- like he's been anointed by God to carry the torch for their particular views on things.

It explains why the rest of the GOP is so feckless and is sticking with him- his cultish followers are as likely to turn on them for lack of support as they are to defend vs. the Democrats. So they stick to him for lack of a better alternative I suspect- they either stick with him, or get denounced as a RINO and abandoned at the polls for someone who will stick with him.
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Old 02-26-2020, 12:34 PM
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Large swaths of the GOP electorate these days view George W. Bush as an establishment has-been. If you mention his name to many Republicans these days, even those who loved him and voted for him twice back in the 2000s, you'll likely be met with a chorus of "George who?"

And I seem to recall he campaigned pretty hard for Jeb! in South Carolina back in 2016. Jeb! still finished in fourth place.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryan Ekers View Post
If Bush wanted to hurt Trump, direct opposition won't do. Bush should imply he'd received some opposition intel during the 2000 election that suggested Trump was gay, and that Trump should just be honest about his true self, like Buttigieg is.
His supporters would scream fake news and say that George W. is just jealous of Trump's awesomeness.

Last edited by joebuck20; 02-26-2020 at 12:39 PM.
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