After the final debate last week I wrote a rather dark and ominous piece predicting that Donald Trump’s abandonment of the democratic norm that the loser of the election accepts the results portended serious trouble. I quoted Republican strategist Steve Schmidt who said this on MSNBC in the wee hours of the morning:
I think he plans on being martyred. I think in his martyrdom he’s going to wave the bloody shirt and he’s going to go out and say through a party of grievance and resentment that “we were cheated and this was stolen,” and he’ll have a critical mass for a UKIP-style third party that splits off from the Republican Party. Who knows where the funding for Trump TV will come from, but it will be a media designed to undermine the democratic foundations of the United States and the credibility of our elections processes. Vladimir Putin couldn’t hope for anything better than that.
It sounded over the top, but not any more over the top than anything else Trump has done in this election. After all, Nigel Farage, leader of Britain’s right-wing UKIP party, has appeared at rallies with Trump and was seen in the spin room at the debates. Trump’s campaign CEO, and by all accounts, his chief strategist in the closing days of the race, is Breitbart chief Steve Bannon, a major figurehead of the American alt-right, who is closely aligned philosophically with European white nationalist groups like UKIP. So Schmidt’s prediction may have some truth to it.
On Thursday, Joshua Green published an inside look at the GOP candidate’s campaign operation in Bloomberg Businessweek and it reveals that Trump and company have some big plans after the election, whether they win or lose. Those plans and may very well involve something along the lines that Schmidt outlined.
The big headlines that came out of the piece were about an anonymous staffer spilling the beans that the campaign hopes to suppress the vote among three key groups of the Democratic base: millennial Sanders voters, younger women and African-Americans. There was a lot of breathless commentary about this, and understandably so since the Republicans have made a fetish of vote suppression for decades. They are doing it all over the map this time too, including organizing for intimidation at the polls.
But the “suppression” they’re talking about in the Bloomberg article isn’t technically what we think of as vote suppression. They’re just targeting a very negative campaign at certain Clinton voters to try to get them to stay home or vote third-party. This isn’t really news. I wrote about it a couple of weeks ago, although I couldn’t have imagined at the time they would seriously try to target African-Americans, the most loyal Democratic voting bloc.
Trump’s campaign has been relentlessly negative all along, so this isn’t really much of a shift. This is the candidate who claimed in a national presidential debate that Hillary Clinton has “tremendous hate in her heart,” and compared her to the devil. He routinely says she is “guilty as hell” of unnamed crimes and promises to send her to prison if he wins the election. It’s hard to get more negative than that. Bringing up her speeches to Wall Street or some quote from the 1990s or her husband’s past behavior is actually pretty tame. And it’s also ridiculous. Millennials, younger women and African-Americans are more committed than other demographics to Clinton at this point. They are far less likely to bolt her campaign than, say, white independents who’ve drifted to the Democrats because of Trump’s terrible campaign. But addressing that group would require Trump to change course in some way, and that’s just not something he’s willing to do.
The real story in Green’s piece was what the organization built around the Trump campaign plans to do next if Trump doesn’t win. Trump’s “entrepreneurial” history is pretty spotty as we know, and he doesn’t seem to have affiliated with people who are any sharper than he is, so this whole thing may end up being just another right-wing grift when all is said and done. In fact, I would say the odds favor that outcome. Trump sees a revenue stream, with all those groupies coming to rallies and sending money to the campaign, and figures he can keep the con going for a while. His brand is in major trouble and he’s going to have to find some other way to keep the cash flow going. Apparently his fundraising has dried up, which can’t be good news.
But on the off chance that Steve Bannon or Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner are actually serious about building a real political movement out of the ashes of this bonfire, this article offers some insight into what they have in mind. It focuses on the digital campaign called “Project Alamo” they’ve built with the help of the Republican National Committee (which seems to have foolishly turned over its donor list to Trump). Trump’s operatives believe they rule the internet through Reddit and Facebook and see a formidable political empire in the making. By partnering with Bannon’s Breitbart operation, the budding global arm of the alt-right media, they think they can expand their populist uprising. Apparently, it’s already happening in Britain:
In early October, the editor-in-chief of Breitbart London, Raheem Kassam, a former adviser to Nigel Farage, announced he would run for leader of UKIP. His slogan: “Make UKIP Great Again.”
Is this a realistic goal? It’s hard to say. But it must be keeping the GOP establishment up at night. If the Trump campaign has been about anything, it’s been about lighting a match to the Republican establishment and setting it on fire. If these alt-right arsonists manage to splinter the party for their own power and profit, they may end up winning even if they lose.
The Republican Party's post-mortems have already begun. Cause of death: "blunt force trauma with a loud, orange object." So writes Julia Ioffee in Politico.
The candidacy of Donald Trump has exposed much of conservative ideology as as much a Potemkin village as Trump's campaign. Free trade and supply-side economics were only the lipstick applied to a much uglier Republican base. The neocons have "broken off," says
conservative political scientist and commentator Peter Berkowitz. Gen-X "reformicons" who might have been the party's ideological future now see older party pragmatists willing to go along to get along as "collaborators." Mike Pence has disgraced himself in their eyes:
With less than two weeks until election day, this is what Republican agony sounds like. “I’ve never seen so many really smart people at a loss for what to do,” says the head of one prominent conservative think tank. “They’re pulling their hair out, to the extent they have any hair left.” Douglas Heye, a former RNC official and Eric Cantor staffer, rejects the word “collaborator.” “I don’t like that language. I don’t think it helps,” he told me. “I’ve been watching a French TV series about World War Two, and now I’m watching the part about the aftermath of the war where they’re trying to figure out who’s a collaborator, shaving women’s heads, etc.” The echo scares him. “I would like to see us sort out our difference in non-punitive ways,” he says.
The task ahead to salvage what is left of the party is daunting. Pete Wehner, a senior fellow at the conservative Ethics and Public Policy Center, is apalled by what Trump's candidacy has revealed:
“The ugliness of those forces is real. The number of people who supported Trump is alarming. It turned out that those forces within the Republican Party were larger than what I had imagined.” He sees “a moral necessity” to hand Trump a humiliating defeat and to scrub out the uglier things he brought to the surface of American politics. But, like Soltis Anderson, he recognizes that splitting the two may prove a Solomonic task. “Is there a way to repudiate the worst of Trump—the nativistic, racist, misogynistic elements—and appeal to people whom he brought because of economic anxiety?” he asked. “It won’t be easy because he has loyal following. If you morally repudiate him—which has to happen—those people may decide they don’t want to be part of that.”
That economic anxiety is real. Neither party has adequately addressed it. Free college and debt forgiveness might appeal to millennials, but what of the working-class? Neither party has yet to address their concerns both for themselves and for their grandkids.
While I was electioneering the other day, a Republican candidate tried to start a debate over what to do about the changing economy. Automation is reducing the number of people needed to produce goods, he observed. He hinted at the same, old GOP concerns about government supports engendering dependency, and people needing incentives to work. But Republican orthodoxy either places blind faith in entrepreneurship as a cure-all, or consigns those without the gene for it to the ravages of social Darwinism. What do you do with all those people, I asked, how do we as a society adjust to a world in which there are no jobs for a large portion of 7 billion people? Thus ended the "debate." It is a question David Atkins has addressed here and here, and one which neither Republicans nor Democrats have yet engaged.
But getting back to the Republicans' conundrum, Grover Norquist argues (unintentionally in a Monty Pythonish way) that the GOP is not dead yet. As much as I hate to cite Norquist, he makes a point that too many progressive non-activists fail to grasp about the importance of down-ballot races for their futures:
“Back up and look at the map of 50 states,” says Grover Norquist, head of Americans for Tax Reform, the activist who has badgered hundreds of Republican politicians into signing a pledge never to vote for tax increases. “There are 31 states with Republican governors. Thirty-one where we have both houses of legislature; twenty-three where we have both houses of the legislature and the governorship. The Democrats have all of seven states where they have all three. That is a depth of Republican strength that is enduring. We really ought to have 60 senators on a bad day. The focus on the Presidential race alone give people a strange view of the miracle strength modern Republican Party.”
Miracle or not, those of us in states recently taken over by Republican and T-party legislatures know what damage this wounded party can still do. Damage neither President Hillary nor President Bernie can wipe away by executive action. Winning the hearts and minds of voters and regaining lost trust is a project both Republicans and Democrats need to undertake. The left will have to get over its fixation on the White House and focus more on the state house. For Republicans, Ioffee writes, repairing internal rifts will be harder if the "loud, orange object" starts a media company with a business model based on keeping the wounds open. He could prevent "Trump fans, the stand-pat establishment, and the conservative Jesuits" from resolving their differences.
If it was anyone but Trump I might believe there was some sort of foreign policy philosophy behind it. But it is just plain ridiculous that the man who literally trash talkes everyone on the planet except his own children thinks we should be more "diplomatic" toward Putin. He is a bull in a china shop on every topic, saying everyone is a "disaster" and commanding them to bow down to American power. Except Vladimir Putin.
He may be right that being belligerent toward Russia isn't a good idea, but if so, it's a coincidence. He hasn't got a clue about international diplomacy or geopolitical strategy. There's some other reason he's saying this because it's so completely out of character. I'm not putting forth any conspiracy theories because I haven't a clue why he's so concerned about not offending this one person but it's very weird.
If you listen to Trump these days, you'd think he was running with Bernie Sanders as his running mate he mentions him so often. (In fact, he never mentions his actual running mate, Mike ... who?) And yesterday, he extolled Michael Moore after Moore said that the votes for Trump were going to be the biggest "fuck you" ever recorded.
I was driving somewhere and listening to the show in my car, and I about had to pull over to the side of the road. On and on he gushed and re-gushed: “I am serious. In 1993, this woman decided to risk everything and put it all out there so that we could all have universal health care. And she went for it. And she was attacked and humiliated...she was the first one out there trying to do that...I have felt for a long time that she was a force for good, that what she believed in and the things and people she cared about...” He did note that he’s had his disagreements with Clinton and backed Bernie Sanders in the primary, but he wouldn’t even say when Chris Matthews asked that he’d prefer that Bernie be the candidate. “No,” Moore shot back. “He lost!”
Well. What’s going on here? I don’t know exactly, but I have a guess. It’s called sanity. And a proper sense of historical responsibility.
This happens to be the case with pretty much the entire center-left coalition of voters in the country. The third party vote is either genuine Libertarian party voters and disaffected Republicans voting for Johnson or genuine Greens voting for Stein as they would have in any case. In other words, the bitterness of the primary has largely dissipated among the electorate (if not on social media) and the center left has coalesced around Clinton, whether out of genuine admiration as Moore shows or a simple recognition that allowing a fascist demagogue to win is unwise.
And Moore also mentioned something on Matthews that is beginning to bubble up a little more in the media narrative as being a salient point within the electorate:
“First of all, on a macro level, it isn’t being said enough that we’re going to elect our first woman president. This is huge. For the country, for the world, for the future, for our daughters, our granddaughters.”
At this stage, it appears that she is reshaping the youth electorate: Specifically, more young women appear more likely to vote today than they did four years ago,” Mr. Della Volpe said. “That’s significant because she has the biggest advantage among young women.”
It's also just significant that she's exciting new voters. I realize they are just "young women" who apparently aren't worthy of more than an afterthought, but they are a loyal Democratic voting bloc and bring more of them out is very good news for the Democratic party. I would guess that at least a few of them are excited about the prospect of a woman president and are equally appalled that the GOP has put up a misogynist fascist to oppose her.
And Hillary was the enthusiastic warm-up act for Michelle, which is extremely unusual and shows that she has the smallest ego of any presidential candidate well... ever. I've never seen anything like that. Michelle is, of course, magnificent.
If you're a Clinton voter you'll enjoy it. It's positive, upbeat and fun in front of a gigantic excited crowd. If you're a Trump voter you can find his speech today on Youtube. I watched it too. It's dark, ugly and full of anger and bile in front of a gigantic, excited crowd. That's America right now.
"None of this was hidden," Stern said. "This is who Trump is. He was always bombastic. He always rated women. He always talked in a misogynistic, sexist kind of way, but he did it sort of proudly and out in the open; and he still won the Republican primary. In one sense, the fact that we do an interview and people's personalities come out, I'm very proud of that."
What he's saying is that these are things his followers like about him. And it's true. Add in the racism, xenophobia and simplistic nationalism and you pretty much describe the package the GOP signed on for and enthusiastically cheered at that Nuremberg convention back in July. They knew what they were getting.
One of the emerging themes of the last weeks of the presidential campaign is the resurgence of the right’s “unskewed polls” theory, which holds that when Republicans are behind it’s because the pollsters are sampling the wrong people.
In 2012 this was taken so seriously that Election Night on Fox News was a legendary train wreck as Karl Rove and other guru pundits had to eat their words. There are other theories about “missing white voters” who are being activated by the appeal of Republican nominee Donald Trump to their economic anxieties and the “shy” Trump voters who are afraid to tell pollsters that they really like him.
My colleague Matthew Sheffield analyzed all the data about these theories in his Salon piece a few days ago and they don’t seem to be borne out by any existing evidence. This sort of poll skepticism isn’t unusual among those working for losing campaigns generally. Given one in which the candidate himself is saying the polls are being systematically rigged against him by a cabal of media and political elites from the other party, it would be surprising if there weren’t abundant conspiracy theories to explain the polling.
That’s not to say it’s impossible that there might be voters who are afraid to confess their allegiance to a particular candidate in this election. It’s the most contentious one we’ve had in many years. I suspect most of us have had personal or professional situations where we just avoided the topic of the election altogether for fear of a brawl.
But the idea that Trump voters are hiding their true allegiance in large numbers strikes me as implausible. It just doesn’t track with the swashbuckling, politically incorrect, in-your-face ethos of the Trump movement. Considering the huge gender gap, one would have to assume the shy voters would be a hidden group of Trump men who are telling pollsters they’re voting for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. If you’re the kind of man who likes Trump, you’re probably not the kind who feels the need to hide it.
On the other hand, there could be some “shy” Clinton voters out there who say they are voting for Trump in order to keep the peace with their aggressively pro-Trump husbands and maintain their standing in their conservative communities.
These would be the type of women described in this fascinating piece in Marie Claire by Lyz Lenz. who lives in Iowa Trump country. She describes herself as a “pro-choice, same-sex-rights advocating, Christian-identified feminist” who is known in her community as the “crazy liberal.” She found out something interesting when she went to caucus for Hillary Clinton last winter:
As I made my way to the Clinton section, I saw the unmistakable wide smile of my neighbor Melody, a Christian mother I have always assumed votes Republican. Melody is the former director of a local Christian non-profit — a revered religious leader in our town. And the last person I expected to see out here supporting Hillary.
I was stunned. “This is our little secret,” she said as she gave me a warm hug. We laughed nervously.
Over the course of the 2016 presidential election, I’ve come to find that Melody is not the only conservative woman in my community who’s secretly voting Democrat. While nodding along with their husbands’ politics and passing as Trump supporters in their neighborhoods, there’s a group of women making fervent plans for what happens when they’re finally alone in the voting booth.
Iowa is a swing state that that has leaned toward Trump throughout this campaign. According to polling and focus groups, Clinton is deeply unpopular among this population of conservative white religious voters. It seems odd that they would prefer the crude, thrice-married libertine, but Clinton’s challenge to traditional gender roles seems to have “trumped” those concerns. Among the most socially conservative evangelicals there is a tradition of wifely submission that requires women to adhere to their husband’s choices in worldly matters, and the men of Iowa love Trump.
Lenz reported that there are many clandestine “women for Hillary” groups out there:
There are hundreds of private Facebook groups with names like “Secret Hillary Club,” most of which were formed during the caucus, when Clinton supporters felt alienated by ardent Bernie Sanders fans. But now, these online groups have coalesced into places of support and encouragement for counties that burn predominantly red in the polls. Cynthia Silver, a director and acting teacher living in New York City, started her pro-Hillary private Facebook group after a heated social media argument with a former student. Since Clinton won the nomination, Silver has been surprised to see the group grow to well over 2,000 members from all over the country.
Last spring, Slate’s Michelle Goldberg wrote about how surprised she was to find out that her New York neighborhood voted for Clinton when it seemed that all her neighbors were feeling the Bern. She spoke with several Hillary voters who said they had just decided to keep quiet to avoid confrontation. Imagine how it must be in Trump enclaves with people who wear “Hillary for Prison” T-shirts (or worse).
There is some empirical evidence of a hidden female vote making a difference — for example, in the 2008 New Hampshire primary, in which Clinton won big over Barack Obama even though polls showed her trailing. It’s impossible to prove what really happened, but some online wags (including me) dubbed it the “Tweety Effect” after an internet nickname for MSNBC’s Chris Matthews. The press, including Matthews, had displayed brutally sexist attitudes toward Clinton in the days leading up to the vote, and that may have made women angry enough that they came out in greater numbers than usual, perhaps even prompting some to switch their votes in order to send a message.
According to the polls, the gender gap in this election is already profound. Clinton is the first female presidential nominee from a major party, and the opposition chose an aggressive, rank misogynist to oppose her. The fact that in the face of Trump’s overheated followers, some women are reluctant to support her openly — especially women who normally vote Republican — is a perfect example of why the secret ballot is so important.
No matter what your community or your family or your employer says, your vote is your private decision. There may be quite a few women like those Iowa evangelicals who will cast a vote for Hillary Clinton this year and never tell a soul. digby 10/27/2016 10:00:00 AM
Survey says: Suppression
by Tom Sullivan
State summary data for NC early voting through 10/25.
There also aren’t many states with better election data than North Carolina. The state releases detailed, individual-level information on every voter in the state. It even publishes a daily account of who has voted early, either in person or by mail.
It's terribly useful data. The Times is conducting an experiment in projecting results from the party affiliation of those who have already voted and from its Upshot/Siena survey:
Already, about 812,000 people have voted in North Carolina, out of about 4,425,000 we think will eventually vote. Based on the voting history and demographic characteristics of those people, we think Hillary Clinton leads in North Carolina by about 6 percentage points. We think she has an even larger lead – 22 percentage points – among people who have already voted.
Those early voters tend to be older Democrats. But as the Times observes, this is not a reliable predictor of how they vote in national elections, "a significant slice of them are conservative, older white Democrats who have been voting Republican in presidential elections." Nonetheless, while both major parties have lost registration in recent years, population growth and registration still favor Democrats, and the ranks of UNAffiliated voters are growing. There is concern about turnout in the hurricane-impacted areas along the coast. The Times continues:
Two things have changed, albeit slightly. First, our estimate for the final turnout has gradually declined. That’s because early voting has been a little slower this year than in 2012. Part of the reason is that there are some North Carolina counties where the number of in-person early voting stations has been scaled back. This has clearly reduced the number of early voters. We have made no adjustment for this effect, which should gradually diminish once more polling stations open on Oct. 27.
The block of early voting sites that opens today includes some of the largest counties in the state. As I noted in September, there is more to this than the Times explains:
The executive director of the North Carolina Republican Party, Dallas Woodhouse, last month urged Republican Board of Elections appointees across the state's 100 counties to “make party line changes to early voting” to limit early voting sites and hours. In its July ruling that threw out much of the the state's massive voter suppression law, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals restored a week of early voting the law cut from the fall schedule. Local election plans had to be reworked, and nearly a third of county boards did just what Woodhouse asked. (With a Republican in the governor's mansion, 3-member county boards across the state are weighted 2-1 Republican to Democrat.) Another NCGOP official urged Republican county board members to provide only a single voting site for the extra week and the minimum hours allowed by law.
Many did. The impact of that effort to suppress the vote is clear:
Perhaps the most egregious county is Guilford, a county of 517,600 people, of which 57.9 percent is White, and gave Obama 58 percent of the vote in 2012. The county opened 16 in-person early voting locations in 2012, but has only their central election office open in 2016. The number of in-person voters on the first Thursday and Friday was 21,560 in 2012, but was only 3,305 in 2016, a decrease of 18,255 or 85 percent.
Bill Busa illustrates the suppressive effect starkly at Insight(u)s:
Nonetheless, the Times' chart shows Clinton widening her margin against Trump as voting continues. But Republicans tend to "bat last" in North Carolina. An early lead can be as deceptive as the numbers of registered Democrats who vote Republican for president. Still, if the trend continues, Republicans will have a greater and perhaps insurmountable deficit to make up in the bottom of the ninth (Election Day).
Today, Guilford County goes from 1 early voting site to 25 and Forsyth goes from 1 to 17.
“You’re going to still have a clamor for a serious criminal investigation of Mrs. Clinton’s conduct with respect to her emails and the [Clinton] Foundation,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton told NBC News. “There’s been no systematic investigation of various issues.”
He added, “I know this generation of Republican leaders is loathe to exercise these tolls, but impeachment is something that’s relevant. They see [the oversight process] as an opportunity in some measure to keep their opponents off-kilter, but they don’t want to do the substantive and principled work to truly hold corrupt politicians, or the administration, or anyone accountable.”
This isn’t the first time that a potential Clinton impeachment has been suggested. When allegations emerged that the FBI and State Department engaged in a quid pro quo to reclassify one of Clinton’s controversial emails, House Speaker Paul Ryan announced that “a senior State Department official’s attempt to pressure the FBI to hide the extent of this mishandling bears all the signs of a coverup. This is why our aggressive oversight work in the House is so important, and it will continue.”
Similarly, back in August, more than 50 House Republicansurged the Justice Department to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate whether Clinton Foundation donors had unusual access to the secretary of state during her tenure.
The media's already eating up everything Judicial Watch is feeding them. So I'd guess the wingnuts will feel confident they can follow through with this and get plenty of face time and lots of Trumpie love o make up for their past transgressions.
Update:More on this from Dave Weigel. This will be spearheaded by the oleaginous Jason Chaffetz, the camera hog of the century. They're going to put on a really big show.
That millennial survey I noted earlier shows that younger Latinos are the one group that isn't fully in Clinton's corner. I have no idea why that is but when it comes to the issue of immigration there is just no comparison between Clinton and Trump. Clinton's coalition includes Latinos in a big way which means she has obligation and concern. Trump's has none --- and it's full of people who are actively hostile to Latinos and all immigrants. There is no choice on this issue.
The Trump family cutting the ribbon on their new hotel today.
I wish I understood why this hasn't been a bigger deal in the campaign. It's such an obvious disqualifier and yet the press has just glossed over it like it's perfectly normal even as they examine every donation to the Clinton Foundation as some kind of corrupt bargain to line the Clintons' pockets. It's mind-boggling. This happened today, less than two weeks from the election:
Trump stood on a ballroom stage alongside three of his children who oversee his hotel projects at what was billed as the official grand opening of Trump International Hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue, just blocks from the White House. Trump’s co-mingling of his business interests and presidential aspirations were on clear display in and around the glitzy ballroom where he spoke.
A staffer employed by the campaign put the finishing touches on the podium on stage. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), a top Trump surrogate, was on hand and spoke to reporters about the campaign. Gingrich sat in the front of the room.
Speaking after daughter Ivanka, who has overseen the redevelopment of the Old Post Office building, Trump said the project “shows how to work with our government and to get things done. My theme today is five words: under budget and ahead of schedule. So important. We don’t hear those words too often in government — but you will.”
He noted afterward that he would campaign later in the day in North Carolina before visiting other battleground states.
It was one of many instances in which he has simultaneously promoted his business and political interests. The last time Trump held a major public event at his hotel in the District was last month, when he acknowledged for the first time that President Obama was born in the United States.
He'll say he's just supporting his kids and isn't that nice. Don't worry he assures everyone that he won't make any decisions that would particularly benefit the family business when he's president so it's ok. Just trust him.
And anyway, if people do nice things for him and it benefits his family fortune, well, that's win-win, amirite??? L'etat c'est Trump.
I wrote about this for Salon last month. Trump's conflict of interest is overwhelming and he's so obtuse that he doesn't even realize it. That nobody gives a shit about this tells us a lot about the media's priorities. The news organizations have put dozens of people on the Wikileaks emails searching for a "bombshell" to take down Clinton. They're just baby birds with their little beaks open waiting for mommy to feed them. This story, which breaks every norm in American politics, even beyond what the crazed Republicans have been doing for the last couple of decades, is almost completely ignored.
If he becomes president, Donald Trump will effectively be running an international business from the Oval Office and nobody cares.
The New York Times ran an interesting story this week featuring some 2014 audio interviews for a proposed biography of Donald Trump and a long interview with Michael D’Antonio, the author who conducted the interviews. When asked for comment by the Times, Trump said they were “pretty old and pretty boring stuff. Hope people enjoy it.”
They aren’t old and they aren’t boring, and nothing about Trump is exactly enjoyable. But they are worth our attention.
These audio recordings are published in snippets within an interview with D’Antonio on the Times’ “Run-Up” election podcast. They concentrate mostly on Trump’s psychological makeup, which is — no surprise here — stunningly weird. Trump is uncomfortably revealing while simultaneously displaying absolutely no self-awareness. The disturbing if familiar portrait painted in this story is that of a manipulative, grandiose narcissist with no self-control.
Trump doesn’t want to evaluate his mistakes; in fact he doesn’t believe he’s made any. Everything is other people’s fault; and he refuses to listen to anyone, so he repeats the same errors over and over again. As I read the story and listened to the snippets of interviews and the accompanying commentary, it occurred to me that when Donald Trump says, “I don’t like to analyze myself because I might not like what I see,” he truly is the living embodiment of the base of the Republican Party.
Think about it. The GOP has lost the popular vote in all but one presidential election in the last quarter century. The elders of the party know they have a problem with their overwhelmingly white voter base and its hostility to the emerging demographic changes in the country, and they know the party’s ideology has to be updated to accommodate the modern world. Their laissez-faire economic policies failed and their small-government philosophy is inadequate to greet such global challenges as climate change and mass migration.
But their voters don’t want to hear it. Party elders all gathered in the wake of former Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential election defeat to conduct an “autopsy” and set out a plan to adapt their philosophy to changing circumstances and relax their rigid adherence to certain tribal prerogatives, in order to appeal to a broader spectrum of the public. They stressed that they needed to be more open to minority concerns and women’s issues and understood they had to find a way to deal with the challenge of immigration in a more humane way. As the report’s authors rightly advised:
If Hispanic Americans perceive that a GOP nominee or candidate does not want them in the United States (i.e., self-deportation), they will not pay attention to our next sentence. It does not matter what we say about education, jobs or the economy; if Hispanics think we do not want them here, they will close their ears to our policies.
Like Trump, the voters have had no interest in such introspection and no desire to to change anything. Indeed, they wanted to double down on xenophobia, racism and sexism and crudely reject anyone who wasn’t exactly like them. And like their new leader, they romanticize violence and keep scores against their enemies. Trump, with his promise to take America back to its overwhelmingly white, male-dominated past, was just what the doctor ordered.
Trump goes on and on in the interview about how winners have to learn how to “acclimate” to new circumstances and sells himself as someone who is particularly good at that. But his performance as a presidential candidate illustrates his self-deception. He has been constitutionally unable to summon the discipline required to stay on message, create a working organization and resist the impulses that drive him to create havoc with his strategy. His campaign has been a train wreck mostly because he has insisted on running it by the seat of his pants, trusting that his instincts are so superior that he didn’t need to learn anything from anyone.
This trait is also reflected in the GOP’s base of voters, who refuse to accept that the world is changing and they have to change with it. Instead, they cling obstinately to a privileged status that no longer exists and close their minds to the reality that it really isn’t necessary in the first place. As Salon’s Matthew Rozsa pointed out this week, they yearn for a return to a time when America was dominated culturally and economically by white people and led exclusively by men.
In a survey published by the Public Religion Research Institute, 72 percent of likely voters supporting Republican nominee Donald Trump say America has changed for the worst since the 1950s. By contrast, 70 percent of likely voters supporting his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton say that America has changed for the better since that decade.
All but the oldest among them have no idea what it was like in the ’50s, other than the fact that uppity people of color and women knew their places. They are anything but “acclimated” to the modern world.
So Trump is the perfect candidate for this group. It’s not just that they are aligned in their xenophobia and bigotry, they are aligned psychologically. It’s essentially about an outsized fear of humiliation and the inability to accept loss, particularly at the hands of people they regard as inferior.
One anecdote in the Times story really encapsulates those underlying dynamics of this race. Trump’s first wife, Ivana, recalled that when she and Donald were first dating they went to a ski resort and she failed to tell him that she was an excellent skier. He went down the hill first and waited for her at the bottom. She said:
So he goes and stops, and he says, “Come on, baby. Come on, baby.” I went up. I went two flips up in the air, two flips in front of him. I disappeared. Donald was so angry, he took off his skis, his ski boots, and walked up to the restaurant. . . . He could not take it. He could not take it.
Unfortunately for Trump, Clinton just ripped and shredded her way down the double black diamond slope of presidential politics — and he’s standing there watching her fly by. And he cannot take it. It still had not occurred to him that a woman could be better than him at anything. RecommendShare/export
I have to say that it's a little disappointing that white millennials cite the "national debt" but not racism as a top concern. It's good to see that 24% name climate change though. That's the issue of their generation.
But it's interesting to see the way these issues divide among the different demographic groups. It doesn't mean they all don't care about the same things. But priorities matter. If anyone had done this sort of thing among baby boomers when they were all under 35, they would have likely named the Vietnam war as a common priority --- but it wouldn't have told you whether they were for or against it. There were plenty on either side. It looks like the millennial generation is similarly diverse in its thinking.
James Franco teamed up with EMILY’s List, Priorities USA and Schlep Labs to launch #MostInterestingWoman Campaign in Support of Hillary Clinton and said in a statement, “I am excited to work with an amazing team to create and distribute this unconventional endorsement of Hillary Clinton for president.”
He added: “Hillary Clinton has led an amazing life; it is not a stretch to describe her as ‘the most interesting woman in the world.’ I wanted more people, particularly younger people, to get to know an extraordinary woman who has, through a lifetime a work, earned our trust and support.”
It's the sort of line we've seen in many a forgotten film. Old films. The kind of films portraying a time when America was "great" in the Trump ball cap sense. It may be its namesake's greatest appeal.
The New York Times has examined a revealing trove of interviews with Donald Trump. Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Michael D’Antonio made the tapes in 2014 for his Trump biography, “The Truth About Trump.” Michael Barbaro writes:
The recordings reveal a man who is fixated on his own celebrity, anxious about losing his status and contemptuous of those who fall from grace. They capture the visceral pleasure he derives from fighting, his willful lack of interest in history, his reluctance to reflect on his life and his belief that most people do not deserve his respect.
Frankly, that might describe a lot of us.
Trump likes to cite Gen. George S. Patton and likely remembers (from the movie, of course) Patton's speech to the Third Army, "Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser." What Trump truly fears more than anything is being that loser, "being ignored, overlooked or irrelevant." Falling from grace is unpardonable:
There is little trace of sympathy or understanding. When people lose face, Mr. Trump’s reaction is swift and unforgiving.
Through much of this election cycle, the Trump phenomenon seems to have been driven by his wealth and celebrity. Americans are attracted to it like moths to a flame. But we might wonder if wealth and celebrity are mere stand-ins what wealth and celebrity really confer: privilege.
"Make America Great Again" says as much about his followers as it does about Trump. He was born into privilege and never lost it. In Trump, many Americans see a promise to restore a greatness — and privilege — they feel they have lost. To foreigners and foreign powers, and to racial and religious minorities, to be sure. But what we also crave is the cocksuredness to insist again, "You can't do this to me, I'm an AMERICAN."
Writing for Slate, Susan Matthews wonders if the focus on Trump's narcissism is misdiagnosis. It is comforting to put a name on the monster, but what needs treatment, she writes, is not his mental health. He seems to excel in spite of it.
What enables him to, psychologist Nigel Barber wrote in Psychology Today, is that "his birth to money and life as a plutocrat that guarantee contact with high-status persons and being fawned over as a VIP.” Matthews writes:
I’d go further than Barber: I think the privilege into which Trump was born has exempted him from the operating rules of civilized society. Whether he’s bragging about sexual assault, denying reality during the debates, or promising to reject the democratic process itself if it does not happen to favor him, the thread that connects them all is privilege. The impunity he has enjoyed is chilling, and so is his blithe certainty that it will always be there for him. The privilege he derives from his gender and his fame and his father and his class and his race seems to have granted him a lifetime pass. The result of such a life is a man whom we cannot help but pathologize.
Joni Mitchell, Big Yellow Taxi (1970):
Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got
'Till it's gone
Trumpsters want their lifetime passes back. Sure, they would like to be Trump, to have his wealth and celebrity. But they will settle for the privilege of swaggering down the street with large guns, just to show you they can. They will settle for their country engaging in torture while condemning other countries for it, to be exempted from the rules others must follow. They will settle for screaming at "foreign-looking" American-born neighbors to go home to wherever they came from and protesting, "You can't do this to me, I'm an AMERICAN" while traveling abroad. Trumpsters bristle at the idea they benefit (or benefited) from any sort of white privilege. But they seethe at seeing it slip away to people they look down on. In Trump, they see what they have lost and a promise of restoration. Trumpsters will follow him, star-spangled, to the ends of the constitution to get their mojo back.
That's from Democracy Corps which very accurately called the 2012.
They also have some advice for the down ballot candidates:
Overall, the current strategy of linking Republican candidates to Donald Trump and not opposing him produces the biggest overall shift down-ballot. That is an effective message and moves Republicans and independents.
But when Democrats echo the economic message that Clinton used in the debates – vowing to build an economy for everyone and raise taxes on the rich, in contrast with an opponent who wants more trickle-down economics – there is dramatically more consolidation with Democrats and the Rising American Electorate, particularly unmarried women and white unmarried women and millennials. There is room for more consolidation among Democrats down-ballot and at the top of the ticket and this economic message will help Democratic candidates get there.
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said on Tuesday that President Barack Obama must be investigated over a private email server Hillary Clinton used while secretary of state, saying Obama “knew all about” her email arrangements.
“That’s why he stuck up for Hillary, because he didn’t want to be dragged in. Because he knew all about her private server,” Trump said of the Democratic president in an interview with Reuters. “This means that he has to be investigated.”
Clinton, Trump’s Democratic rival in the Nov. 8 election, was Obama’s first secretary of state from 2009 to 2013.
Wikileaks on Tuesday released a batch of hacked emails from the account of Clinton’s campaign manager, John Podesta, which showed her Democratic presidential campaign reacting after Obama said in a television interview that he learned of the private email server through news reports.
“We need to clean this up – he has emails from her – they do not say state.gov,” Cheryl Mills, a longtime Clinton aide, wrote in an email to Podesta after Obama made the comments in a March 2015 television interview.
Obama’s spokesman, Josh Earnest, clarified the remarks after the 2015 interview, saying that while the president had Clinton’s personal email address, which she used instead of government systems, he did not know details about its setup.
It's tempting to think this is all funny stuff but it really isn't. He's introduced this idea that political rivals should be jailed and his yahoo followers don't understand it as rhetorical excess. It's going to be hard to wring this poison out of the body politic.
Critics of Donald Trump are urging shoppers to boycott the clothing line of the Republican candidate’s eldest daughter, Ivanka Trump, and the stores that carry it.
San Francisco marketing specialist Shannon Coulter launched the #GrabYourWallets campaign after a video surfaced on Oct. 7 of Trump talking about groping women. Coulter told the Guardian she has experienced sexual harassment at work before and felt she needed to act.
“If Ivanka Trump had distanced herself from the campaign, I would not be boycotting her,” she said in an interview with the Guardian. “But something changed for me when that tape was released.”
Some Twitter users have expressed support.
Coulter also keeps a running Google Doc list of all the stores that sell the products. The stores include Nordstrom, DSW, Zappos, Amazon, Macy’s and several more. She also encourages others to call stores and ask if they sell the products, to keep the list growing.
I wouldn't buy anything with her brand. There are plenty of other's selling similar stuff and plenty of other places in which to buy it.
By the way, they've decided to stop using the Trump brand for their new hotel licences. They're calling it "Scion" in case you want to put that on your "never stay" list.
We're seeing some positive movement in some of the swing states. And I think some of the polls will tighten, John, because the debates are a very unique opportunity for all of America to see these candidates side by side and I wish there were more debates frankly.
I think Donald Trump would challenge Hillary Clinton to another debate for a very simple reason I mean, unless you're a money donor, you're not going to have much access to Hillary Clinton out on the stump now and so, you have -- to give people a free opportunity to see them side by side and really mix it up on the issue, to me is the purest for of democracy.
I'm a big fan of debates so I really feel like the country benefits from those type of forum and we'd be willing to do another one if they can squeeze it in.
Donald Trump-loving sycophant and ardent conspiracy theorist Wayne Allyn Root was a guest on “The Real Side” radio show last week, where he told host Joe Messina that Trump has never groped a woman in his life, despite having been recorded bragging about doing so, because he is “one of the handsomest billionaires that’s ever lived” and has been sent by God to “save us all.”
Root rejoiced that Trump’s army of “deplorable” supporters have now taken over the GOP, warning that these “savages” are intent on burning Washington, D.C. to the ground.
“Donald Trump is a middle finger to Washington, D.C.,” Root crowed, before warning Christians that they cannot sit on the sideline in this election because Hillary Clinton and the Democrats “are coming to take our Bibles away.”
“If you’re a Christian, you just can’t spend your life worrying about the words of Donald Trump from 11 years ago,” Root said, “or what women he groped 30 years ago. I don’t believe any of it anyway. I believe Donald Trump is one of the handsomest billionaires that’s ever lived; I don’t think he ever had to grope a single woman ever. I think they threw themselves at him, so it’s all a lie.”
“The man isn’t a perfect Christian,” Root admitted, but he is “the perfect guy sent from God and from central casting to be the vicious guy we needed to save America, save capitalism, fight the Clinton crime cartel and save Christianity from these vicious, vicious people. They’re terrible, dirty people and a nice guy could have never won this war. Only a dirty player could win the war, so I think Donald’s the perfect guy, sent by God to fill the perfect role and save us all.”
Ok, it's one thing to say Trump is the vicious, dirty guy sent by God to smite the evil Hillary Clinton. But to call him "one of the handsomest billionaires that’s ever lived?" That's just plain crazy.
As he sinks further in the polls, Donald Trump is ratcheting up his insistence that the election is being rigged against him in every possible way. The media are all conspiring with “Crooked Hillary,” mass voter fraud is being plotted as we speak and the polls are all phony and designed to keep his voters from turning out on Election Day.
Voter fraud is all too common, and then they criticize us for saying that. But take a look at Philadelphia, what’s been going on, take a look at Chicago, take a look at St. Louis. Take a look at some of these cities, where you see things happening that are horrendous.
You’ll notice he only mentions cities with large African-American populations. He’s not even trying to be subtle about it. And that could spell some trouble for his campaign and the Republican Party, which is under a consent decree that goes back to the early 1980s, when the Justice Department barred the GOP from “ballot security efforts” due to its unseemly habit of intimidating voters in minority areas. The RNC is prohibited from challenging voters at the polls through “caging” and other vote-suppression efforts without following a designated process.
The good news is that Trump’s organizing effort doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. The New York Times reportedthat much like the rest of his campaign it largely seems to be a “Potemkin effort.” Election officials in the cities and states he often cites as hotbeds of voter fraud report very few inquiries for volunteers to become poll watchers. But as election law expert Rick Hasen told the Washington Post, even if there’s no coordinated intimidation, one of the things this rhetoric can do is “get rogue people riled up. Trump sets the fuse and lets someone else do the explosion. It strikes me as a very dangerous thing to be suggesting, because it does lend itself to the possibility of violence at the polls.”
The Boston Globe reported on a few who said they planned to informally “observe”:
“I’m going to go, for sure,” said Steve Webb, a 61-year-old carpenter from Fairfield, Ohio. “I’ll look for … well, it’s called racial profiling. Mexicans. Syrians. People who can’t speak American. I’m going to go right up behind them. I’ll do everything legally. I want to see if they are accountable. I’m not going to do anything illegal. I’m going to make them a little bit nervous.”
On Monday it was “reported” by scam artist James O’Keefe that Hillary Clinton had personally ordered a man in a Donald Duck costume to taunt Trump at his rallies about “ducking” the release of his taxes. Trump spokesman Jason Miller released this statement:
Recent revelations surrounding Hillary Clinton’s corrupt campaign further illustrate that she will stop at nothing to secure the presidency. On a totally disqualifying act that is a violent threat to our democracy, Hillary Clinton directly involved herself in inciting violence directed at Trump supporters.
That is incredibly silly — we’re talking about a man in a Donald Duck costume — but it adds to the fury and sense of grievance Trump is stoking among his supporters, and that’s potentially dangerous.
He insists that Clinton is an illegitimate candidate because she is “guilty as hell” of unnamed federal crimes for which he promises to jail her if he wins the election, inspiring lusty chants of “Lock her up!” at all his rallies. Refrains of“Hang the bitch!” and “Kill her, kill her!” are heard as well. An adviser to the campaign even told a radio station Clinton should be shot for treason. (He remains in Trump’s good graces.)
The candidate himself has made some veiled threats from the podium in the past, suggesting that “Second Amendment people” might take matters into their own hands against Clinton should she win the election. He gins up their anger by suggesting that she plans to confiscate their firearms, which they are more than willing to believe. The far-right anti-government Oath Keepers published an essay last spring predicting “outright civil war” if Clinton wins because “the level of hatred among conservatives for that woman is so stratospheric.”
And if they weren’t agitated before, they surely are now after this dark dystopian rant from National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre’s “get out the vote” video. He spends the first few minutes relaying the horrors of the Obama years, including America’s surrender to ISIS and the ayatollahs, and then assures his members that it’s only going to get worse:
So feel free to mark my words: If, God forbid, Hillary Clinton is elected, she will launch an all-out war on the Second Amendment. She will come for your guns, she will attack your right to carry, she will attack your most basic right to defend your family with a firearm in your home. And she will continue the disastrous policies of this administration to their inevitable conclusion: the creation of a new, post-freedom America that you won’t even recognize.
There is no red line President Hillary Clinton will not cross when it comes to attacking your rights and forcibly taking your guns. She dreams of twisting a knife into the heart of the one freedom that separates us from the rest of the world. The only thing that can stop her is you. The NRA’s 5 million members are history’s most committed, most elite defenders of freedom. You are the Special Forces that swing elections, and I need you now more than ever.
Never accuse LaPierre of understating his point.
The truth is that most NRA members support the sensible gun regulations Clinton and the Democrats have proposed. But there is a large minority of zealots who are convinced by people like the paranoid LaPierre and the feckless Donald Trump that any regulation of guns is tantamount to a total ban. If they believe the election has been stolen through a conspiracy with the media and election officials to rig the results, some of them might get it into their heads that it’s their patriotic duty to do something about it.
Trump and his supporters’ loose talk goes way beyond normal campaign rhetoric, and it’s aimed directly at people who are armed to the teeth. It’s hard to imagine anything more irresponsible.
With apologies to Kenny Rogers, I woke up this morning with the sunrise shining in. For the first time in memory, the New York Times doesn't have a Donald Trump story prominently on its landing page. Springtime for Donald is over.
The Washington Post's "The Fix" (no irony there) declared Monday that "Donald Trump’s chances of winning are approaching zero." Nevada moved from "toss up" to "lean Democratic." Cillizza and Blake write, "We’re also moving Utah — yes, Utah! — from 'lean Republican' to “toss-up.” In their calculus, even Texas is now merely a "lean Republican" state.
Even Florida. Even private polls by Republican-leaning groups show Hillary Clinton's "raw vote lead over Trump could end up being 275,000 to 460,000 votes." Politico cites a conservative business leader from Florida this morning:
“This is in all reality a landslide in our great state,” Tyson wrote, echoing the concerns of numerous Florida Republican insiders and experts. “Based on his consistent failure to improve his standing with non-white voters, voters under 50 and females, it seems fairly obvious to us that Mr. Trump’s only hope left in Florida is a low turnout.”
Mr. Trump's only hope in Florida is closing off voting to everyone except early bird diners. https://t.co/I3Bm7wvR1z
November 8 is beginning to look less like an election and more like an exorcism. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren campaigned in New Hampshire yesterday beside Hillary Clinton and Senate candidate Maggie Hassan. Warren sounded as if she was ready to battle a demon:
"Nasty women have really had it with guys like you," Warren said to Trump. "Get this Donald: Nasty women are tough, nasty women are smart. And nasty women vote!"
"And on November 8, we nasty women are going to march our nasty feet to cast our nasty votes to get you out of our lives forever!"
WHAP! Come OUT and be GONE!!
Frankly, a national exorcism is what's needed on November 8. The rise of the alt-right has felt more like a descent, beginning with Trump descending that escalator in June 2015. Like Mussorgsky's Chernobog calling forth wraiths and demons unto himself, Trump has unleashed the darkest impulses in the American psyche and proposes giving them rule of the night.
Given recent polling, many progressives unhappy with their presidential choices will be inclined even more, if they reside in safe, blue states, to cast some form of protest vote, believing their choice will send some inchoate message to the establishment and have no harmful effect on the Electoral College outcome. But the message their votes can and must send is that racism, religious intolerance, misogyny and bigotry are unacceptable in this country. It is not enough for Trump to lose and Clinton to win in the Electoral College. Decent Americans across all 50 states must deliver a crushing popular-vote defeat for Trumpism. It will not disappear overnight, of course. But with our votes November 8 we can send the wraiths and demons back underground to the darkness. Send a message as clear as a church bell.
(Early voting is already underway in Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Massachusetts, Texas, Wisconsin and some parts of Florida.)
Not that it wasn't obvious to any sentient being. The man is a sniffing, whining, petulant, authoritarian enfant terrible who can't be bother to learn about anything but what they're saying about him on CNN and Fox News. She, on the other hand, is a seasoned professional politician who takes the job of president seriously.
Everyone saw that clearly in the three debates and have had to do a gut check about whether or not to put the most powerful job on earth into his hands. It's still highly disturbing that so many millions of Americans are still willing to do that.