Bottom Story of the Day

Daily Best of the Web   —   Posted on February 2, 2016

Bottom Story of the Day

Democratic presidential candidate Martin O'Malley

The following is an excerpt from OpinionJournal’s “Best of the Web” at WSJ written by the editor, James Taranto.

Bottom Story of the Day
“Defiant Martin O’Malley Insists He Won’t Play Iowa Kingmaker”—headline, Politico .com, Jan. 31

Question and Answer

  • “Did the NOAA Cook the Books to Show Warming During Hiatus?”—headline, PJMedia .com, Jan. 29, 2016
  • “Is the Pope Catholic?”—headline, Guardian (London), Sept. 20, 2013

Never Say Never
The weighs in with another effort to reassure its young-adult readers, a piece by David Roberts titled “Why I Believe Donald Trump Will Never Be President.” Here’s how it opens:

As Donald Trump continues his pundit-defying dominance of the national polls, with early primaries just days away, the once-unthinkable has become all too thinkable: Could Trump actually pull this off? Could he become president?

I’m going to stake out a firm answer: no. Absent extreme and unlikely circumstances*, Trump will never be president.

That’s quite an equivocation, isn’t it? In fact, it’s a classic No True Scotsman move. What Roberts is really saying isn’t much more than that it would be unusual if Trump became president—an assertion even Trump’s most ardent supporters likely wouldn’t dispute.

Note Roberts’s asterisk, which refers to this footnote:

*I can think of two scenarios that would fit the bill. One, Trump faces [Hillary] Clinton, and late in the race something happens to render [Mrs.] Clinton unelectable. Two, Trump faces [Bernie] Sanders, and [Michael] Bloomberg jumps in, splitting the left vote and throwing the election to Trump.

Both seem highly unlikely to me, the first because [Mrs.] Clinton is already the most intensely vetted figure in US politics, the second because Sanders is unlikely to win the primary.

OK, so Roberts’s two “extreme and unlikely circumstances” are (1) the Democrats nominate Mrs. Clinton and (2) the Democrats nominate Sanders. To which we’d add a third. It would also be extreme and unlikely if the Democrats end up nominating someone who hasn’t even announced a candidacy this late in the cycle.

To sum up: Trump will never win unless he is the Republican nominee and is running against a Democratic nominee. …

For more “Best of the Web” click here and look for the “Best of the Web Today” link in the middle column below “Today’s Columnists.”