What have the experts learned? In the case of Charlie Cook, not one damned thing.
Cook does the Cook Political Report which handicaps races. Thirty years ago, Bob Schieffer of CBS News called the Cook Political Report "the bible of the political community."
Let's take a look at Cook 7:2015, in which he wrote on July 24, 2015:
It was inevitable: If given enough rope, Donald Trump would hang himself.
Trump's statement Saturday in Iowa that Sen. John McCain was no war hero was all it took. This was so predictable; nobody knew exactly how Trump would self-destruct, but there was no doubt that he would. He can't help himself.
As Republican Party leaders prepare to breathe a sigh of relief, it's worth thinking about Trump's surge and its meaning. At the time of his self-immolation, the real estate mogul was pulling between 13 and 18 percent of the Republican vote in July surveys—ahead of Jeb Bush in some polls, just behind him in others, but still firmly in second place. (A new Washington Post-ABC News poll released Monday showed Trump with a clear lead over the national GOP field, though it also found that support for Trump dropped in interviews conducted immediately after he made his McCain comments.)
It's inexplicable to me that anyone could take seriously someone displaying such buffoonish behavior, but the fact that he was drawing more support than, at the very least, all but one of his rivals is worth contemplating for a moment.Yes, that ended Trump's campaign.
By the way, McCain -- in a tight re-election primary -- endorsed Trump.
Cook did not figure out that Trump tapped into Republican voter angst. They held their nose, voted for the moderate McCain, and he lost anyway. On top of that, he later called the Tea Party the "whacky birds." No love lost there. Trump reached out to those burned by McCain, which included many, many veterans.
So has Mister Cook learned his lesson?
Of course not. In fact, Cook is very angry that Republicans nominated Trump.
On July 8, 2016, Cook wrote:
Rather than settling a lingering question hanging over this presidential race, FBI Director James Comey’s recommendation not to prosecute Hillary Clinton, and subsequent word from Attorney General Loretta Lynch that the Justice Department was closing the investigation, have conversely amped up anti-Clinton feelings among conservatives, Republicans, and other critics of the presumptive Democratic nominee.
My reaction is not terribly sympathetic. If Hillary Clinton is such a horrible person, so ill-suited for the presidency, why didn’t they unite behind somebody, anybody, while there was still time to beat her? After Donald Trump lost the April 5 Wisconsin primary to Ted Cruz, the door was open. But when Trump swept the Acela primaries on April 26, winning not only Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island, but every county within each state, the race was over. The door had slammed shut.
The truth is that Republicans were not in a mood to nominate Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, John Kasich, Marco Rubio, or any other establishment-oriented candidate. They also despised Ted Cruz so he would never do. None of the other alternatives measured up. They were so angry with the government that they wanted to fire a shotgun blast at Washington. They ended up shooting themselves in the foot. They got Donald Trump and a gimpy party.Yes, Cook is that dumb. He still thinks that Trump cannot win. He does not couch this as being a longshot, but rather that Trump cannot win, ending the column, "The Clinton haters are crying that the whole thing was a setup, but where were they when they could have nominated someone more electable and exploited her troubles?"
Cook knows nothing, but he influences the political experts who dominate cable news and give the nation some of the worse political analysis available. In his annual year-end roundup last December, Dave Barry's June 2015 entry was “On the political front, the big story is Donald Trump, who declares his candidacy for president and lays out a bold, far-reaching vision for America consisting of whatever thought is flitting through his mind at that particular moment. Trump is deemed to have no chance by veteran Washington-based political experts with vast knowledge of what all the other veteran Washington-based political experts think.”
The difference is Trump has learned to depend on the teleprompter more, and what's flitting through his mind less.
Cook and others haven't.
He's in my book.
"Trump the Press: Don Surber's take on how the pundits blew the 2016 Republican race," is now on sale.
Please purchase "Trump the Press" through Create Space, as I get a larger royalty. It is a subsidiary of Amazon.
The book also is on Amazon.
And its Kindle release is on July 25. Pre-order here, please.
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