The Republican primary race has jumped the shark with #TheThing


During the period when Marco Rubio and Donald Trump and Ted Cruz were slinging crude insults at each other, observers hoped that the Republican primary race had finally hit bottom and could not descend any further into the muck. We now know that that is not true. The campaign has got sleazier by the day.

First we had an anti-Trump SuperPAC send out a photograph of Trump’s wife posing nude and asking Utah voters if this was what they wanted in a First Lady. Then we had Trump lashing out saying that he would ‘spill the beans’ about Cruz’s wife and also releasing a photo of her snarling like a film gangster. Then we had Cruz calling out Trump as a coward for insulting his wife and saying that real men did not attack women. He did not exactly challenge him to pistols at dawn but the sentiment was clear.

Now comes an explosive story today in the National Enquirer about Cruz having had five mistresses, featuring lightly obscured photos of all of them, three of whom have since been identified: one as a Trump spokesperson whom I have seen many times before, another being a contributor to CNN and conservative media outlets, and a third who was the campaign manager for Carly Fiorina. (Back in October, a superPAC supporting Cruz made an unusual donation of $500,000 to a superPAC supporting Carly Fiorina’s campaign, triggering questions by the Federal Elections Commission.)

The fact that the Enquirer made such little effort to mask the identities of the women means that they would be wide open to massive defamation lawsuits if they cannot make a truth defense. So either they have the facts on their side or they have been lured into a huge trap.

What is notable is that this fighting is taking place within the Republican party and has caused vicious and open warfare between pro-and anti-Trump factions, with the former running with this new story. Some are alleging that the Cruz affairs story has been around for a long time but was suppressed and that it was initially being pushed by the Rubio campaign (remember him?) when he was still in the running and seeking to eliminate Cruz as his rival for the anti-Trump position. The story was being obscurely referenced among the cognoscenti using the Twitter hashtag #TheThing. Now that Rubio is out of the race and his supporters see Trump as the main enemy, they are trying desperately to put the brakes on the locomotive that they themselves unleashed.

The Enquirer is hardly a reliable source but when it comes to sex scandals it has claimed some notable victims in the past like Gary Hart, Jesse Jackson, Tiger Woods, and John Edwards. In those cases, the mainstream media ignored the rumors until the tabloid put the story out into the open and we will see if that pattern holds here too.

So has the Republican race finally hit bottom? I wouldn’t bet on it.

Comments

  1. StevoR says

    Thought it jumped the shark with Sarah Palin – or before.

    Now we.. well do laugh or cry?

    Flippin’ worry either way. *these* douchebags are this close to how much real power again? Shit.

  2. doublereed says

    People always seem to think there’s a bottom to the barrel. There is no barrel and there is no bottom. We can always go lower.

  3. doublereed says

    Consider how much GWB was considered stupid and incompetent. And yet, I thought he would have been far better than Romney. And I think I would have taken Romney over any of the republicans in this race.

    And 4 years from now, I wouldn’t be surprised if we were nostalgic about how civilized Trump was. The Republicans have been running as complete barbarians recently. I see nothing stopping it.

  4. StevoR says

    @6. Marcus Ranum : Through lava, magma and the gravity well depths of a black hole?

    Er.. yeah. What spades the have ..

  5. StevoR says

    @5.doublereed : Well, nah.

    Its gotta be the Republican Sednan far rights extinction scream before they return to something vaguely approaching reasonableneness hasn’tit? Yeah?

    I mean after Trump and Cruz as leading pretenders how can it get worse?

    ***

    Its always worse on Jupiter.

  6. StevoR says

    We’ve them comparing dick sizes.

    What are they gonna do worse?

    Hold a belch off or try to see who can piss higher up a wall to get their party nom? (Almost morbidly curious. t see it.)

  7. StevoR says

    ^ D’oh! Sorry about the spoilers for the next Repubican “debate” here .. / time traveler (but not very far into the future)

  8. brucegee1962 says

    I see that NBCNews didn’t feel they could bring themselves to cover the accusation, but they covered Cruz’s denial.

    In a two-person race, mudslinging works. But in a three-person race, if two people sling the mud and the third refrains (with Clinton being the third), often she can get buoyed up. Here’s hoping Cruz and Trump destroy one another over this.

  9. doublereed says

    We’ve them comparing dick sizes.

    What are they gonna do worse?

    What, really? I’m disappointed by your lack of imagination.

    Here we have vague insinuations about each other’s wives. How about Trump tweeting out photoshopped pornography of Cruz’s wife? How about actually calling each other’s wives sluts and whores and saying that they slept with them themselves.

    In fact, we haven’t really had anything in terms of slurs in this election. Lots of racism and misogyny, but no slurs.

    We certainly don’t have the physique-focused show-offs that we could. Next election maybe they could get a bodybuilder like Schwarzenegger (although he’s not extreme enough for them), who could challenge opponents to physical fighting on the debate stage.

    Yes, we can go lower. We can always go lower.

  10. Pierce R. Butler says

    So has the Republican race finally hit bottom?

    Uh, not unless the Enquirer accused Teddy C of spanking one or more of the forlorn five…

  11. anat says

    doublereed, Romney was somewhat more politically competent (but not competent enough to consider that things he said in a closed forum might leak out), but we have no idea how he would have dealt with someone so outside the norms as Trump.

  12. anat says

    brucegee1962, all depends on whether the Rs will be able to support their nominee from their convention onward. If they unite then all that happens now won’t count.

  13. deepak shetty says

    Of all the things Ted Cruz has done and will do – a consensual affair might be the one to sink his candidacy ? We live in messed up times with messed up priorities.

  14. says

    His candidacy is founded at least in part on the idea that self-righteous Christian people should be able to dictate sexual values to others. If shown to be true, these accusations will completely sink him, and rightly so.

  15. Reginald Selkirk says

    The fact that the Enquirer made such little effort to mask the identities of the women means that they would be wide open to massive defamation lawsuits if they cannot make a truth defense. So either they have the facts on their side or they have been lured into a huge trap.

    I’m sorry, but I think you are too naive. There are other possibilities. “They wouldn’t dare do X because of the consequences”? Hur. Timing is important. It’s election season. The action has the desired effect now, but the consequences come later, when a full remedy is not possible, and probably is not as great s you think.

    Consider vote suppression in Florida and Ohio. Suppress them on election day, and maybe someone will be fined later, when it doesn’t matter. Go ahead, research how many people served prison time for the voter suppression that happened in Ohio and Florida.

    As you yourself noted, the Enquirer is not considered a reliable source. I’m going to wait until either the story is verified by someone more mainstream, or the Enquirer supplies incontrovertible evidence. Not that it really matters to me; there is no way I would have voted for Cruz anyway.

  16. deepak shetty says

    @Damon reinhardt
    If a republicans candidacy could be sunk due to hypocrisy (or a democrats for that matter) – we’d have no candidates.

  17. WhiteHatLurker says

    So Cruz has more mistresses than Trump? That’s gotta be a hit to Trump’s alpha maleness image.

    OTOH, nobody has been saying anything about Trump’s previous extramarital affairs. Why is that?

  18. lorn says

    We have gone from penis size to who has the hottest wife … sophomoric.

    Real men take the cinnamon challenge. On stage. Taped. So we can all have good laugh as they try to one-up each other … until they both puke their guts up.

  19. Dunc says

    Call me when one of the candidates is accused of publicly coming a lewd act with a severed pigs head…

  20. StevoR says

    @ ^ Marcus Ranum : Well, the election affects the whole world so yeah, I don’t think there’s anywhere on the planet that’s really able to laugh. OTOH, presented with the sort of farce we’ve had from the Repub campiagn and the fact that one of these klowns could become one the most powerful people on Earth, its laugh or cry so I’d rather do the former.

    Or were you alluding to the past or present Aussie elections and camapigns e.g. Abbott’s attacks on Julia Gillard and her partner and so on in the media? The worst of which was by media shock jocks and Murdoch press hacks rather than Abbott himself although Abbott’s comments on a lot of things were deplorable and not at all classy, not sure they were quite at that teenage locker room level of discourse.

    @16. doublereed :

    What, really? I’m disappointed by your lack of imagination.
    Here we have vague insinuations about each other’s wives. How about Trump tweeting out photoshopped pornography of Cruz’s wife? How about actually calling each other’s wives sluts and whores and saying that they slept with them themselves. .. (Snip) .. Yes, we can go lower. We can always go lower.

    Okay, yeah, good point.

    @24. WhiteHatLurker : “OTOH, nobody has been saying anything about Trump’s previous extramarital affairs. Why is that?”

    Very good question and I’m really not sure either especially with the direction the Repub “hungry for power games” has taken lately. Plus their whole “Christian values” schtick.

  21. sonofrojblake says

    nobody has been saying anything about Trump’s previous extramarital affairs. Why is that?

    I’d offer two reasons:
    1. it wouldn’t make any difference. The guy is on his third (hot) wife. Picture some prude (maybe one of the women from the hilarious “this is what Donald Trump has said about women” video) standing up and saying “this man has had… (indignant pause) extramarital affairs!!!“. Now picture Trump smirkingly replying “Yeah. So what?”. It would be like accusing him of not always telling the truth. It wouldn’t make a scrap of difference because it’s something the public already knows and very, very obviously doesn’t care about. The only possible response to said prude would be the single syllable “DUH.” It would have the additional bonus effect of making that prude and whoever put her up to it look like complete fucking idiots.

    2. even if it might make a difference – and even the dimmest bulbs in the GOP must surely know it wouldn’t – is the risk involved in going up against Trump on that worth it? His campaign takes no prisoners. Maybe, possibly, pragmatic Rs with an eye on the future are coming round to the inevitability of a Trump presidency and considering their places in that future.

  22. StevoR says

    @ ^ sonofrojblake : Hmm.. Yup.I guess those do make sense & explain it.

    Although the idea of an “inevitable”Trump Presidency really sends a shiver down my spine.

    It isn’t? Is it? I do think better of most Americans than that.

  23. sonofrojblake says

    I do think better of most Americans than that

    One of the most popular presidents of modern times was Reagan.

    George W. Bush won a second term in 2004.

    Just how tightly closed are your eyes, how tightly plugged are your ears, and how loudly are you going “lalalala”?

  24. StevoR says

    @25. Holms : “Oh hey, a hexapost, a new record.”

    Feel free to break it if you like & can. What’s wrong with that?

    Although pretty sure I’ve posted that many and more as have you and others.

    Note that the time zone and lack of editing capability might lay a bit of a part here in that I’m awake and posting when a lot of others aren’t and I can’t edit comments here and so my only option to clarify is additional posts plus also, yeah,my style is conversational and sometimes stream of consciousness albeit somewhat altered and,hey, you comment as you choose which that’s up to you and please let me do the same because who is it hurting to do otherwise?

    Besides ain’t it the case that more comments = better anyhow?

    Within reason an’all which I do kinda have.

  25. StevoR says

    @32. sonofrojblake : Well yeah.

    OTOH. I do know a few Americans. I’ve visited the USA (LA) once briefly. I’ve read up quite a bit from quite a number of places.. And I know the folks here somewhat. (Hard not to online really!) And I’m an optimist of sorts sometimes mainly and I like you guys and I know you can do better and deserve better.
    (Fuck knows I’m fucked up enough myself!)

    And what happens in your place, kinda makes a metric solid kiloparsec filled volume shit tonne to the rest of this planet and especially here in your loyal client Kingdom of Oz so.. yeah. It matters and affects me and everyone else on Earth too.

  26. StevoR says

    ^ That’s :

    .. what happens in your place, kinda makes a metric solid kiloparsec filled volume shit tonne of difference to the rest of this planet ..

    For clarity because I cannot edit here. Which sucks. But does add to the comment count if anybody’s counting.

  27. Nick Gotts says

    Just how tightly closed are your eyes, how tightly plugged are your ears, and how loudly are you going “lalalala”? – sonofrojblake

    Says the numpty blithely ignoring the polls showing Trump losing by clear majorities to either Clinton or Sanders.

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