"[C]andidacy is about...persuasion. Reps are constantly caught in the cross-hairs of the Dem Media, looking mean and/or stupid when faced with sad refugee children, widows, orphans, devoted old gay couples who can't get married. etc etcetcetcetc. The list never ends because, of course, the victim parade is politically expedient and opportunistic. Of course it's not fair, but it is the reality. THEREFORE, effective Rep candidates MUST be able to deal with this effectively, turn it around, spin it on its ass (including but not limited to pointing out how obviously political and opportunistic and infinite the Dem party's interest in their victimhood is), argue the facts and the law, and do it with consummate ease, and (IMHO) without looking like a holy roller or some other nut...I'm advocating for an effective presentation of actual conservatism. Yes we can."
Josh Marshall, TPM:
"...[I]ntra-Republican political battles are really about demonstrating dominance - not policy mastery or polling leads but a series of symbols and actions that mark the dominating from the dominated.
...Trump doesn't apologize. He hurts people and they go away. He says things that would kill a political mortal (ban members of an entire religion from entering the country) and yet he doesn't get hurt. Virtually everything Trump has done over the last six months, whether it's a policy proposal or personal attack, has driven home this basic point: Trump is strong. He does things other people can't.
This is why Trump has so shaken up and so dominated the GOP primary cycle, at least thus far. As I've said, this kind of dominance symbolism is pervasive in GOP politics. It's not new with Trump at all. Most successful Republican politicians speak this language. And yet somehow for most it is nonetheless a second language. But it's Trump's native language. I still believe it's rooted in the mix of the hyper-aggressive New York real estate world, his decades of immersion in the city's febrile tabloid culture and just being, at the most basic level, a bully. Wherever it comes from, he seems to intuitively get that for this constituency and at this moment just demonstrating that he gets his way, always, is all that really matters. Policy details, protecting the candidate through careful press releases and structured media opportunities ... none of that matters. Trump doesn't kiss babies. Babies kiss him. He doesn't have a billionaire backer; he is a billionaire. Trump doesn't ask for support. He just tells you that you need to stop being a loser and get on board.
So this debate power play is all of a piece. He can just take the table, flip it over and walk out of the room. It's all about him."