Trump’s Big Gamble: Gimme or Gimmick?

Trump’s Big Gamble: Gimme or Gimmick?

The Briefing, Vol. III, Issue 42-

This week:

  • Trump’s big gamble.
  • Cruz’s rise is no fluke.
  • Gun control gimmick makes a surprising appearance in Obama security address


When a president decides to address the nation on national security, it is a solemn occasion. It is usually something that unites American’. Last Sunday’s address, occasioned by the terrorist attack in San Bernardino, Calif, should have been that sort of speech. It made sense for the chief executive to address the citizenry after such a shaking and shocking example of Islamic State inspiration of a mass shooting.

What made a lot less sense — and what makes Obama seem a much smaller figure than history demands — was his willingness to insert plain political gimmicks into such an address.

In recent weeks, Democrats have adopted a rhetorical proposal about keeping people on the terrorist watch list (who face no charges and have not been convicted of anything) from buying guns. The policy is nothing more than a rhetorical gimmick — there is nothing more impossible in U.S. policy than to deny constitutional rights to people not even accused of a crime. Yet somehow, Obama chose to mention this as if it were a serious proposal in his national address.

If this is how he wants to roll, then it’s up to him. He is, after all, the president of the United States. But this is not the way to unify the country in the face of a threat. It signifies what many have believed about Obama’s presidency — that it is a prolonged campaign, filled with lots of blow-hard rhetoric, and little in the way of substance.

President 2016

Trump-CruzWe have reached peak Trump — not in the sense that Trump has peaked in the polls (although he has done that too), but in the sense that he has finally out-Trumped himself.

Trump’s proposal to bar all Muslims from the U.S., including all tourists and visitors (not to mention refugees), goes too far in at least one sense: Even people who might support it in principle as a security measure will likely recognize it coming from him as a political gimmick, much like Obama’s proposal to bar people on the terrorist watch list from buying guns. And a political gimmick it is, in both cases.

The idea of barring people from the U.S. based on their religion is simply too far afield. It would never pass congressional muster. And there’s no good way to sidestep this by simply barring immigration from predominantly Muslim nations — that would fly in the face of the fact that Muslims with European citizenship appear to be more likely to radicalize.

In short, the outrage over the proposal might be amusing, but the proposal remains ridiculous. To be sure, those who seem most outraged about the statement that Islam is incompatible with The American Way are also likely to believe Christianity is incompatible with it. Even so, it’s just not something that can be supported by anyone who consistently believes in the idea of religious freedom — and especially not the part Trump had to walk back, about barring Muslim U.S. citizens from returning. (Once again, his dabbling with that idea demonstrated that he has no idea what his policy people are doing, because he doesn’t know anything about policy and cannot be bothered to learn.)

If you were wondering at all why Trump chose this moment to make his Muslim-free proposal — well after the San Bernardino massacre — look no further than Ted Cruz. Cruz is rapidly overtaking Trump in Iowa, and multiple new polls of the state add legitimacy to Cruz’s new frontrunner status there. In this context, Trump rightly sees that he needs to put all his money on a long bet, before Cruz finally eclipses him for good. The question is whether it’s a winning bet or a desperate gamble. We sense that it’s the latter.

The most important indicator was this weekend’s Seltzer poll, universally accepted as the best poll of the Hawkeye State. (Recall, for example, that it was the only one to predict Joni Ernst’s comfortable victory for Senate in 2014.) The poll showed Cruz rising to 31 percent and a full 10 points ahead of Trump. What’s more, Ben Carson still had 13 percent support in third place — that will fall, and with it the non-Trump candidates are likely to rise.

This begins the trend we expected two weeks ago when we wrote that Trump had reached his ceiling, and that the collapse of Ben Carson’s support would likely propel others ahead of him. And remember, once Trump has lost Iowa, it will affect the results in all of the state races that follow.

Trump has not yet fallen behind on the national level, but there are good reasons to think it will happen even before he loses in Iowa. The new NBC/WSJ poll showed Trump in the lead over Cruz nationally 27 to 22 percent, with Marco Rubio behind them at 15 — a result that is in line with our previously stated beliefs about Trump’s ceiling.

When combining voters’ first and second choices, Cruz topped Trump, 40 to 39 percent, with Rubio close behind at 33. That’s obviously not a precise measure of anything because it’s more than 100 percent –remember, it’s combining first and second choices. But what this shows is that Trump is the second choice of far fewer voters than either of the two Cuban-American candidates. (Jeb Bush, by the way, receives fewer first or second-choice voters than any of these.)

The poll then asked voters whom they would support in a field with only five candidates — a field that looks more like what we’re likely to have after Iowa — and here’s what they got:

Screenshot 2015-12-13 at 11.13.50 PM

The upshot here is that although Trump leads, he clings to an increasingly narrow lead. And that 13 percent remaining support for Ben Carson — and frankly, the 9 percent for Bush, whose overall operation has spent over $50 million with nothing to show for it — will have to migrate somewhere else in the next seven to ten weeks, by the time Iowa and New Hampshire are over. Put together, that’s enough even now for Cruz and Rubio both to finish ahead of Trump. And the Carson  support will most likely not go to Trump, who as we recently noted has been extremely petty toward the still-well-liked (but less-supported) Carson.

Trump has responded to Cruz’s rise by attacking him, as one would expect. The criticisms are curious in that they reflect precisely the sort of thing that critics say today about Trump: “The way he’s dealt with the Senate — where he goes in frankly like a bit of a maniac — you never get things done that way,” Trump said Sunday. “You can’t walk into the Senate and scream and call people liars and not be able to cajole and get along with people. He’ll never get anything done. That’s the problem with Ted.” Well, perhaps that is the problem with Ted, but he’s not making a very good argument here that anyone willing to vote for Donald will accept.

Cruz has very wisely remained unwilling to attack Trump directly. This is smart politics of the sort Trump didn’t get when he was the nominal frontrunner. When you’re really winning, you don’t want to hurt your chances by personally going negative on another candidate.

Cruz may or may not end up being the final flavor of the month in Iowa. Our belief is that he can definitely win the caucuses, whereas Trump would have a much better chance if the New Hampshire primary came first. Cruz is more than hype — he has a strong operation in Iowa and has garnered the most important endorsements from the social-conservative and immigration-hawk wings of the state party. That’s what matters in Iowa. Efforts by the ethanol lobby to stop Cruz in his tracks will either backfire completely (remember, the Iowa caucus is dominated by conservatives) or they will help other candidates besides Trump, since Trump voters don’t really care about such issues.

The important question in Iowa is always who exactly comes out to caucus. Remember, caucus-going requires giving up an entire evening. It is not at all like showing up to vote in a primary. As a result, the fields of Iowa are littered with the remains of candidates who, like Trump is doing now, base their hopes on bringing out large numbers of first-time caucus-goers. Think of Howard Dean and Ron Paul, both of whom promised to bring out tens of thousands more caucus-goers than they ultimately got.

The candidates who have succeeded in Iowa (think Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum and others) have usually been the ones who made the best inroads with established caucus-goers. On the Republican side, that is precisely where Cruz is making inroads.




  1. So glad you repeated the words Trump used to criticize Cruz. As I heard him actually say
    these words I was thinking that he is actually criticizing himself. Every word applies to him.

    • I guess Trump was so fired up after the tape went public with Cruz saying that he “”doesn’t think Trump should be president and have his finger on the button”””- So Trump just wanted to get back and didn’t think his words out.

  2. The Muslim temporary ban is NOT ridiculous! President Carter proclaimed a similar ban on Iranians in 79. The Iranians already were demanded to report to the nearest immigration office. We must secure our Country First! Go Trump Go!

    • The problem is with Trump himself. It was he who used the term “BAN” and applied it to Muslims. The term MORATORIUM did not enter his mind. That would have made the debate more realistic and directed to the issues. But Trump, not being a politician, was impolitic and now he is stuck with his statement, which will haunt him until he drops out of the Republican primary race.

      • Kind of like HRC’s comments on running under gunfire in Bosnia? The incident in Libya was due to a video? I only used one device to access my email? And she is a career politician.

        • That is why Neither you, nor Trump, is likely to be elected. The word “ban” means prohibit, while the word “moratorium” means to suspend. In any event, ban is a harsher word, while moratorium leaves room for hope. In short, as is his usual way of speaking, Trump was impolitic in the choice of his words and as this is his habit, he will lose partly because of the way he frames his ideas.

  3. Of course we should protect ourselves. The whole idea not to is ludicrous. This shouldn’t even be discussed. When someone’s trying to kill you, do you open the door and say come on in with your rifles and slaughter us all? No, of course not. You protect yourself, take cover, minimize the damage as much as possible. There isn’t anything wrong with banning people. Do we really want to import serial killers?

  4. Marco Rubio and some other so called senator introduced a bill to let ALL Muslims into the USA !
    That is the most responsible act of all time. How many people in California died, 14 ! Rubio should never be president or even senator. Trump is right to stop Muslim from coming here, until something can be done to find out who these people are and we the people can be safe. If Rubio’s bill passes, I can see more and more legal Americans buying guns and ammo, all they can buy. Rubio and other senator must be kicked out of office. I will vote for Trump if he is picked. Not sure if I will vote Republican if he isn’t. Trump is the only one who has the smarts and guts to protect this country !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • NO more “boy wonders”. Kennedy,clinton,W.bush, and blobama show that maturity is needed in that office. Not on the job training.

      • Obama the one that thinks we 58 states in the US and he said he had traveled them all. HE IS THE BIGGEST LIAR EVER AND HE WAS THE PRESIDENT. HOW

  5. What he said (and if elected would hopefully do) shouldn’t hurt him. At least NOT in my eyes. I have nothing against Muslims per se but the vetting process is….. well, may as well say there isn’t one. Until we get a vetting process that actually and truly works with competent people at the helm, access should be denied. As for denying people on the basis of religion, it’s not religion that is or would be the reason. It’s the ideology that’s the reason and it’s a valid reason. The ideology is NOT condusive to the United States Constitution or to any free people and that’s a problem. Their problem not ours. It’s all called self preservation. This is not the first time the US has had a problem with the Muslims. Check out Thomas Jefferson. You all remember hearing about him, I hope. And so how do you think “Tripoli” got into the Marine anthem?

  6. Trump needs to just keep being Trump cause thats what America is voting for…no more phony politicians and Bias MSM News people we have learned what a buch of liars they are ad we are fed up with them..The GOP better wake up and Support TRump or we will be Getting rid of more of them…Each election even if we have to let Dumocrats win..We are done with The Rino’s who side with Demonicrats who have allowed Obama to Ruin America..

  7. The Muslim ban is perfectly legal under USC 8 and the Constitution as a danger to National Security. And the President can order it. Not this muttlim mutt we have now…but the next one. God speed Mr. Trump. Save us from this Obamacide.

  8. ‘Evangelicals’ backed Carson and are now moving to Cruz, hence his rise in the polls. Trump should have let Carson alone to self destruct. He didn’t need Trump to push him over the cliff. That is Trump’s main weakness. He should be courting Cruz/Carson supporters, not offending them. Cruz will win Iowa. But NH and SC-South may go to Trump if he doesn’t attack Cruz too much. Strategy suggests that with 40 percent of the Republican vote, Trump needs to convert at least half of the remaining 60 percent to guarantee a ride to the nomination. Figuring that out should be his main intellectual effort over the next month.

    • That’s the easy answer…how about poll questions stilted to favor Cruz as a mechanism to unseat Trump’s popularity? This whole primary thing is being heavily manipulated behind the scenes by GOP establishment operatives and Dem operatives. Did I hear “brokered convention”? Now that’s a figment of Rince Priebus’ imagination…

  9. The media and political contenders are so focused on what Trump said about banning Muslims that they have missed the point. The point is why is no one asking Obama why he is not banning Muslims since it is constitutionally legal to do so.
    TRUMP 2016

  10. Help him or hurt him? My hope is that it helps him. I know it would help the U.S. and us. “Sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity is rampant in Congress The Senate would not approve a “moratorium” on Muslim “infiltration”. All I need to know about Islam I learned on 911. It is time to deIslamize the U.S.A. Islam is a theocracy masquerading as a religion. No Sharia law! Obama is a muslim.

    THINK about it.

    The Shoe Bomber was a Muslim

    The Beltway Snipers were Muslims

    The Fort Hood Shooter was a Muslim

    The underwear Bomber was a Muslim

    The U-S.S. Cole Bombers were Muslims

    The Madrid Train Bombers were Muslims

    The Bafi Nightclub Bombers were Muslims

    The London Subway Bombers were Muslims

    The Moscow Theatre Attackers were Muslims

    The Boston Marathon Bombers were Muslims

    The Pan-Am flight #93 Bombers were Muslims

    The Air France Entebbe Hijackers were Muslims

    The Iranian Embassy Takeover, was by Muslims

    The Beirut U.S. Embassy bombers were Muslims

    The Libyan U.S. Embassy Attack was by Musiims

    The Buenos Aires Suicide Bombers were Muslims

    The Israeli Olympic Team Attackers were Muslims

    The Kenyan U.S, Embassy Bombers were Muslims

    The Saudi, Khobar Towers Bombers were Muslims

    The Beirut Marine Barracks bombers were Muslims

    The Besian Russian School Attackers were Muslims

    The first World Trade Center Bombers were Muslims

    The Bombay & Mumbai India Attackers were Muslims

    The Achille Lauro Cruise Ship Hijackers were Muslims

    The September 11th 2001 Airline Hijackers were Muslims

    The Russian Airliner bombed by ISIS are Muslims

    The Paris Massacres ISIS Attackers are Muslims

    The San Bernardino Shooters were Muslims

    Think of it:

    Buddhists living with Hindus = No Problem

    Hindus living with Christians = No Problem

    Hindus living with Jews = No Problem

    Christians living with Shintos = No Problem

    Shintos living with Confucians = No Problem

    Confusians living with Baha’is = No Problem

    Baha’is living with Jews = No Problem

    Jews living with Atheists = No Problem

    Atheists living with Buddhists = No Problem

    Buddhists living with Sikhs = No Problem

    Sikhs living with Hindus = No ProblemHindus living with Baha’is = No Problem

    Baha’is living with Christians = No Problem

    Christians living with Jews = No Problem

    Jews living with Buddhists = No Problem

    Buddhists living with Shintos = No Problem

    Shintos living with Atheists = No Problem

    Atheists living with Confucians = No Problem

    Confucians living with Hindus = No Problem

    Muslims living with Hindus = Problem

    Muslims living with Buddhists = Problem

    Muslims living with Christians = Problem

    Muslims living with Jews = Problem

    Muslims living with Sikhs = Problem

    Muslims living with Baha’is = Problem

    Muslims living with Shintos = Problem

    Muslims living with Atheists = Problem


    **********SO THIS LEAD TO *****************

    They are not happy in Gaza

    They’re not happy in Egypt

    They’re not happy in Libya

    They’re not happy in Morocco

    They’re not happy in Iran

    They’re not happy in Iraq

    They’re not happy in Yemen

    They’re not happy in Afghanistan

    They’re not happy in Pakistan

    They’re not happy in Syria

    They’re not happy in Lebanon

    They’re not happy in Nigeria

    They’re not happy in Kenya

    They’re not happy in Sudan

    ******** So, where are they happy? **********

    They’re happy in Australia

    They’re happy in England

    They’re happy in Belgium

    They’re happy in France

    They’re happy in Italy

    They’re happy in Germany

    They’re happy in Sweden

    They’re happy in the USA & Canada

    They’re happy in India

    They’re happy in almost every country that is not Islamic! And who do they blame? Not Islam… Not their leadership… Not themselves…


    And they want to change the countries they’re happy in, to be like the countries they came from where they were unhappy and finally they will be get hammered!!!!













    Palestine Liberation Front: AN ISLAMIC TERROR ORGANIZATION




    AND A LOT MORE!!!!!!!

    Think about it…….. frown emoticon 20 signs that psychopath Muslims do:

    1] Kill any one who insults Islam or Moham-mad. (Quran.33;57-61).

    2) Kill all Muslims who leave Islam. (Quran.2;217/4;89/Bukhari.9;84-57).

    3) Koran can not be doubted. (Quran.2;1).

    4) Islam is the only acceptable religion. (Koran.3;85).

    5) Muslims must fight (jihad) to non-Muslims, even if they don’t want to. (Quran.2;216).

    6) We the non-Muslims are pigs and apes. (Quran. 2;62-65/Koran.5;59-60/Koran.7;166).

    7) We the non-Muslims cannot be friends with Muslims. (Quran.5;51).

    We the non-Muslims sworn enemies of Muslims and Islam. (Quran.4;101).

    9) We the non-Muslims can be raped as sex slave. (Quran.4;3 & 24/5;89/23;5/33;50/58;3/70;30).

    10) We the non-Muslims the vilest of creatures deserving no mercy. (Quran.98;6).

    11) Muslim must terrorized us (non-Muslims). (Quran.8;12 &59-60/ Bukhar).

    • I don’t recall FDR encouraging German or Japanese to come to the US, in fact we interred thousands of US citizens who even looked like they were Japanese and barred immigration from Europe – even the Jews fleeing the Nazi. Even the 3rd and 4th generation Chinese who built California and the Railroad ended up losing their possessions and joining the Japanese who were interred…

  11. It IS just a gimmick, like everything about Trump. Trouble is he is a superb “snake oil salesman” and will continue to attract a lot of bigots of various kinds. He is probably Clinton’s best hope to be elected. If I were a Democrat, I would crossover in the primaries and vote for him.

    • Actually any of the top 3 GOP candidates totally outshine the genius in the White House…And, not having made up my mind, I cannot discount someone who is capable of building the empire Trump did. Face it, that success indicates he has a lot on the ball, not to mention the ability to work with people – clients, competitors, staff, workers? $10Billionis not an easy empire to build. If he can apply even a fraction of that ability to rebuilding jobs and our economy, NO ONE will be talking about how ridiculous he sounds. Just sayin’

    • When a class of people openly say that they want to kill you, and are sneaking in this country and gaining in numbers, you actually think anyone trying to stop them are bigots? That’s funny….

      • And what “class” of people is that? It’s not funny at all. It’s really sad. At a time when we badly need a concerted effort by all citizens who have pledged allegiance to the Constitution, whatever their religion, race, ethnicity, etc., we have a bunch led by Trump who are trying to splinter us into endless antagonistic minorities. And that is bigotry. We need to defeat those who want to kill us. Track down those sneaking into and around within this country, reduce their numbers as completely as we can, try to prevent their entry with better screening and border control, with temporary residence in remote processing camps in places like Jordan, with separate treatment for refugees who just want to go back to their homes (in safety) and for those who actually want to immigrate to the US and become US citizens with allegiance to the Constitution before any religion. I don’t imagine you want to practice that allegiance.

        • The FBI has said that they have no screening process. There are no records to check from these Muslims., so the only smart thing to do is to not allow them in here until a process can be worked out. Obama won’t allow anyone to check their Facebook page.otherwise we could have caught the woman killer in California who said on her pages that she was sympathetic to ISIS. If you believe in our laws, as for the Mexicans, the legal Mexicans are supporting Trump because they don’t want illegals coming here to take their job when millions are out of work.

          • I expect the USMC has no screening process either. The people responsible for screening have methods of screening, They don’t work 100% of the time, but most of the time. The FBI doesn’t have a screening process for babies born in the US. A large part of the population has never been screened or declared allegiance to the Constitution, they are just born here, live here, and benefit from automatic citizenship. In the past 6 years Muslims in the US have killed about 60 people, some Muslims. Meanwhile, US residents (mostly non-Muslims, many purportedly Christians) have killed about 90,000 people (some Muslims, mostly Christians). Apparently the FBI doesn’t have a screening process for them, either. Should we deport all US Christians? There are some 1.7 million Muslim citizens in the US who have pledged allegiance to the US Constitution. We need their assistance in ridding the population of those relatively few terrorists who are purportedly Muslims. I didn’t write or imply anything about illegal Mexicans, but in both situations I believe we should support our laws and do our best to make them function in the manner they were intended. The “refugees” (whatever religion) from “Syria” are a mixture of refugees, immigrants, and terrorists. Each group is subject to different laws and we should do our best to sort them out and provide each individual appropriate justice whether it be beneficial or harmful to that individual. Equal justice for all is a basic tenet of the Constitution and your “solution” does not meet that test. Plain and simple – The Constitution comes first. Selfish egoism, hating, whining, and tyranny at the very end.

          • Where did Christians kill 90.000 people? Are you talking about Chicago thugs? Muslims pledging allegiance to the constitution doesn’t mean a thing. The quoran teaches them that they have permission to lie if it benefits them in their goal.

          • You might start by reading my post. I didn’t say Christians killed 90,000 people. I’m not talking about Chicago thugs specifically, though they contribute. The point was that in recent years purported Christians have killed a lot more Americans than have purported Muslims, yet you demonize Muslims and not Christians. That’s not equal justice for all. You have no way of knowing that pledging allegiance to the Constitution means to them. Many of them have demonstrated by decades of good citizenship obeying the Constitution that it meant something to them. The Quran does not teach “them” that any more than the Bible teaches them that. Like the Bible the Quran exists in different flavors. Both originally in a language, like Aramaic, that was used in the Middle East when the document was written. I’m willing to assert that you have never read any example of either in its original language and hence you really don’t know what either says. All you know, at best, is what is written in English as a third or later generation translation. I hazard an estimate that half of the nonsense that you write did not originate in any version of either book, but is just the wild bigotry of selfish, hating, whining tyrants that you read in threads like these.

          • In comparing Christians to Muslims, The Christians would shoot someone, I imagine, while the Muslims behead, cut off hands, drown, burn alive. A bit of a difference there as to who is more violent, and deserve demonizing.. I still don’t understand where you get it that Christians have killed 90,000 Americans in recent years. Chicago has the most killings …more than all other places combined….

  12. au contraire mon ami…Let’s see – Isis has passport machines and blank passports; Isis admits to infiltrating the refugee throng; some Muslims are moderate and DO NOT SUPPORT Sharia other radical Muslims are driven by Sharia; many Muslims are great people, some are bad guys who want to kill us – no prisoners. How do you tell the difference? My take is ban ALL immigration until (1) we can actually vet people and (2) we decide if WHO WE WANT TO COME INTO OUR COUNTRY rather than continue paying free benefits to the peasant populations flooding our country. So how ridiculous is Trump? Maybe not workable, but we are sure discussing the topic. I’d say that’s rather brilliant. Oh, remember his outlandish views on immigration? Well, maybe not so outlandish, right? This grand Liberal idea of extending the American dream to the world is a little short sighted. Although the Dems like the idea of packing populations in red states to tilt the Electoral College. So which is ridiculous? Trump’s suggested ban on Muslims? Liberals inviting the world to our table? Dem’s stacking the Electoral College deck? Hmmmm?

  13. Let’s not forget the folks who can immigrate freely from several Middle Eastern countries formerly under British rule or how folks can move about the EU without passports and have easy visa access to US?

  14. Trump did not attack Cruz because of Cruzs rise. Cruz wouldn’t face Trump and attack him, but he did do it behind closed doors at a private fundraiser. He said that The didn’t trust Trump to be president and have his finger on the button, and it was all taped. He was sneaky and wouldn’t say it to Trumps face, so I don’t blame Trump for going after hi.m. After all, they were supposed to be friends. I can’t stand someone that says they won’t talk about another, then does it in private.

  15. Contrary to all the political correctness and polls, Trump is saying what people are afraid to say even in a poll. But when casting a secret ballot they will vote their beliefs.

  16. Trump is smart enough to figure out what to do next. We support him and so do most non-PC Americans. This campaign has a long way to go so relax and enjoy the game.

  17. We dont want politicians to run this Country we want a real man like Trump, NO MUSLIMS , get rid of them and dont let more in

  18. A nationwide poll released today by Monmouth University shows Trump going to FORTY ONE percent. The nearest (2nd) challenger was Cruz at 14 percent. The last 2 republican “winners” of Iowa were Santorum and Huckabee. Iowa means nothing except for a media springboard to opine their buiishlt.

  19. Why should we admit people whose belief system licenses and mandates them to attack and plunder us? Its Islam, Stupid!! 3:151, 8:12,39,57,60,65,67, 9:5,29,38, 39,111,120,123, 33:26,27, 47:4,49:15, 59:2,13, 61:10-13; Sahih Bukhari 1.7.331 & 4.52.220. What part of that do you not comprehend?

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