How Real People Play Dodgeball

The Republicans are concerned about Donald Trump. Not only could he implode his own campaign, he could take others down with him. And nothing gets the attention of a down-ballot candidate quite like the possibility of being torched by the guy at the top of the ticket.

What to do?


Let’s write a memo.

Yup, that’s the ticket and and here it is.

Memo on Donald Trump from Ward Baker to NRSC senior staff

It is seven pages long but it is a quick read. BTW, the NRSC is the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

Baker really brought out the heavy artillery.

  • Trump says what’s on his mind that’s a problem
  • Run your own race
  • Show your independence
  • Turn your biography into a compelling narrative
  • Own the future
  • Avoid Washington speak
  • Line up the citizen narrators or storytellers now
  • Story-based messaging allows you to plow new ground and own the field

At this point, I stopped reading and consulted my health insurance policy to determine whether injuries resulting from excessive eye rolling were fully covered.

Is this the best the Republicans can do?

Even the Yale Coalition for Safe Spaces or the Anti-Micro-Aggression Alliance would laugh at them.

Try this Reince Priebus (Head of the Republican National Committee) and Ward Baker.

Hi Don. You are supposed to be a hotshot dealmaker at least that is the way you portray yourself. One of the hallmarks of a good negotiator is having a clear understanding of the cards in his opponent’s hand.

You threaten to bolt and run as an independent. Obviously, it is not necessary to tell us what that would do to our real candidate.

Well Don, here’s what is going to happen if you do that.

As you know, 30 state governors are Republicans. Our party controls even more state legislatures.

Guess who writes the election laws?

Yup, the states write them.

The moment you start a third-party bid, legislation will be introduced in all of those states to keep your name off of the printed ballot. As your advisors will have told you the average voter is barely smart enough to check a box let alone write in the name of the candidate. But we will make it even more difficult by requiring that write-ins be spelled out in Sanskrit, Urdu or an Ethiopian tribal dialect. Written in blood maybe?

That’s the nice thing about having power. You can use it. And we will. Election laws have been manipulated since there have been elections.

You will be crushed. Your reputation for invincibility will be destroyed. Your brand will be worth zero. Most importantly you will be personally humiliated.

You can take your sniveling about fairness up to Yale where a few whimpering students seem to appreciate that kind of thing, but when you deal with the powerful — and we are — you learn how real people play dodgeball.

13 Responses to “How Real People Play Dodgeball”

Ashley Higgins, December 19, 2015 at 9:20 am said:

If you believe that Reince Priebus and Ward Baker have this kind of power, you need to get out more. Their power is the power to lose presidential elections. Their power is the same power that Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell have–the power of surrender.


Haven Pell, December 19, 2015 at 9:48 am said:

I accept the advice especially as it is an undeserved lovely day here in Washington. If weather was earned by good behavior, Washington would never have a lovely day.

I agree about the power to lose elections. We have seen that countless times.

I think there is one logical step missing before concluding they don’t have the power.

Just because they have not used it (and I agree they have not), does it mean they don’t have it?


Ashley Higgins, December 19, 2015 at 10:09 am said:

Governors are not controlled by the national party. They are elected by the voters in their states. The voters in their states include Trumpians. Governors do not want to alienate their Trumpians for the national party or for any loser nominee chosen by the national party. Governors generally want to be re-elected. Besides, there is some 14th Amendment law that limits states’ abilities to exclude third parties.


Haven Pell, December 19, 2015 at 10:52 am said:

Control is such a harsh word. Bribe seems much kinder and gentler.

Silly me, I thought the Constitution was on hold for the remainder of the Obama presidency.


Ashley Higgins, December 19, 2015 at 9:22 am said:

Oh, by the way, you have the power, apparently, to divert my attention and make me burn my breakfast bacon, damn it.


Haven Pell, December 19, 2015 at 9:50 am said:

Now, that is a major problem and my heart goes out to you. (Perhaps ill advised to use the word heart in a comment involving bacon.)

Sure enough there is a bacon website If you will provide your address, I will have replacement bacon sent your way.


Ashley Higgins, December 19, 2015 at 10:23 am said:

I ate it. Burned is better than none. Are you seriously suggesting that it would be remotely rational to have bacon sent from California to a pig hunter in the South? With respect to the heart, mine got damaged by practicing law too intently. I now treat it with kindness and red wine. My theory is that the red wine also off sets any possible ill effects of nitrates.


Haven Pell, December 19, 2015 at 10:26 am said:

No, it would clearly not be rational. But I thought you worshiped pigs. Or is that only razorbacks? and only on Saturday afternoons?


Ashley Higgins, December 19, 2015 at 10:32 am said:

I worship pork products and thank God for pigs. I shoot razorbacks. It is a religious thing.

Jonathan Pardee, December 20, 2015 at 9:36 am said:

Ashley is a delightful addition: knowledge, wit, precision – and, she loves bacon. Like a fine oil stone and a well used hunting knife, you’ll keep each other sharp and entertaining whether blogging or field-dressing a pig. Yes, thank you, pun intended…


Haven Pell, December 20, 2015 at 10:31 am said:

Ok, I am guessing the time has come to introduce Ashley. My sister in law called yesterday “just asking” about who this girl was. Not sure if she was calling for me or my wife.

Now Jonathan, another long time friend, is making “assumptions.”

I don’t KNOW if Ashley is a guy or a girl but Ashley was a member of the class of 1964 at St. Paul’s. Not dispositive you say? Well, St. Paul’s did not go coed until 1971 and there is a famous picture of Ashley with a Mohawk haircut.

All these years I have gone on the assumption that Ashley is a guy. That helps explain the whole bacon thing and possibly field dressing a razorback.

The key is that Ashley is different in a different way. He has lived his life in Arkansas and he is the antithesis of the Acela Corridor that dominates political thought in this country. Maybe I should have used “bombast” instead of “thought?”

The scars are heeling from the beating he inflicted several years ago when I referred to David Brooks as a public intellectual.

But you are right, he is a delightful addition.


Ashley Higgins, December 20, 2015 at 12:10 pm said:

Haven, you should have just said that she/he is psychotic, but delightfully so. She/he is psychotic because half of her/his genetic makeup comes from Newburyport, Massachusetts, and is in relatively good standing with The Hereditary Order of Descendants of Colonial Governors. The other half hails from West Virginia, from whence her/his paternal grandmother’s surname became her/his second given name. The first given name is Lovell, another surname from which it is appropriate to surmise that there was a Welshman transported to the Americas, and the less said about that the better.


Haven Pell, December 21, 2015 at 2:50 pm said:

I love it when people do my writing for me. Thank you Ashley.


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