Trump’s first 100 days according to the group that matters most: ‘Many people’


April 24 at 2:51 PM

President Trump won his election thanks in large part to the strong support of white voters without college degrees, a group that stood with Trump’s candidacy nearly from the outset and never wavered. But no group has been more supportive of Trump, on nearly every issue and comment, than “many people.”

Who is “many people”? Well, it is a group that is a lot of people, presented by Trump as evidence that he is reflecting the will of the people without going through such cumbersome details as identifying who they are or pointing to polling that backs up his claims. For example, Trump said during a debate in September 2015 that many people — most people, even — apologized to him when they discovered that his campaign-launch speech’s claims about crime perpetrated by immigrants in the country illegally was correct. Granted, studies suggest that his claims were incorrect, but who cares what a “study” says when, in contrast, many people went so far as to apologize to Trump for thinking him incorrect?

With Trump’s 100th day in office arriving this week, we figured we’d evaluate his presidency so far through the lens of what this nebulous-but-critical constituency is saying. Here, according to Trump, is what most people or many people or, at least, a lot of people are saying about his presidency and his politics.

Many people agree that there might be millions of votes cast illegally last year. (Interview with David Muir, Jan. 25.)

People loved his speech at the CIA. (Muir.)


People loved and liked his inaugural address. (Muir.)

Many people thought that his inaugural address was optimistic. (Interview with CBN, Jan. 26.)

Many people have come out and said that Trump is correct about his claim that millions of people voted illegally last November. (Interview with Bill O’Reilly, Feb. 5.)

A lot of people say that Trump was only kidding about the wall but they are wrong. (Speech at MCCA, Feb. 8.)

A lot of people are liking Neil M. Gorsuch very much on the other side of the political aisle but they may not vote for him because of politics. (Roundtable discussion, Feb. 9.)

A lot of people consider Supreme Court picks to be one of the more important presidential duties. (Roundtable.)

A lot of people are very happy right now because of the deportations his administration has effected. (Remarks at a news conference with the prime minister of Canada, Feb. 13.)

A lot of people are happy he’s following through on campaign commitments. (News conference, Feb. 16.)

A lot of people don’t know that the Air Force One proposal involves building two airplanes. (Rally in Florida, Feb. 18.)

A lot of people think that the increase he wants to make to military spending is a lot of money. (“Fox and Friends” interview, Feb. 27.)

A lot of people understand that he said that the U.S. needed to deport criminals in the country illegally. (“Fox and Friends.”)

Many people have said that federal regulations have been catastrophic. (Comments at the White House, Feb. 27.)

Betsy DeVos has had such support from so many people. Many people were calling her and saying she will do a fantastic job. (Comments.)

A lot of people were surprised he won Michigan in last year’s election. (Roundtable discussion in Michigan, March 15.)

A lot of people thanked him for eliminating “anti-coal legislation.” (Rally in Kentucky, March 20.)

Many people and companies are into what NASA stands for. (Comments at a bill-signing, March 21.)

A lot of people don’t know that Abraham Lincoln was a Republican. (Speech at a National Republican Campaign Committee dinner, March 21.)

A lot of people don’t realize how good the Republican health-care bill was because they were only looking at the first phase of it. (Remarks from the Oval Office, March 24.)

A lot of people don’t know that Jeff Sessions was a U.S. attorney. (Roundtable discussion, March 28.)

A lot of people don’t know that Mar-a-Lago was built to be the Southern White House. (Roundtable discussion, March 31.)

A lot of people are saying that the New York Times’ Maggie Haberman was a P.R. person for Hillary Clinton. (Interview with the Times, April 4. “Mostly you,” Haberman replied.)

So many people are apologizing to him for having been right about Susan Rice. (Interview with Fox Business, April 11.)

A large number of people want to hear the story of how he told the president of China that he was launching missile strikes against Syria. (Fox Business.)

Many people come to see him and say they are unable to borrow from banks. (Roundtable discussion, April 11.)

Most people don’t know that he has to approve payments to insurers to cover Obamacare subsidies. (Interview with the Wall Street Journal, April 12.)

A lot of people don’t know that Italy is one of America’s largest trading partners. (Remarks welcoming the prime minister of Italy, April 20.)

A lot of people are liking the Republican health-care bill a lot because it gets better and better and better. (Prime minister remarks.)

Many people — human rights people — are talking about how Trump negotiated the release of charity worker Aya Hijazi. (Interview with the Associated Press, April 24.)

People have given Trump credit for having great chemistry with all of the world leaders, including Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi. (AP interview.)

A lot of people have said that his joint address to Congress was the single best speech ever made in that chamber. (AP interview.)

A lot of people don’t watch CNN any more. (AP interview.)

Here’s why Comey may have stayed silent on the Russia probe before we voted — and it should terrify Trump

On Oct. 28, 2016, four months after declining to bring a case against former Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton for her use of an unsecured e-mail server during her time as secretary of state, FBI director James Comey wrote a stunning letter to members of Congress, informing the legislative branch that the bureau was reviewing new documents pertinent to that investigation.

On Nov. 7, 2016—one day before the 2016 presidential election—the FBI director announced the bureau found nothing new in those documents. The following day Donald Trump, Clinton’s rival throughout the campaign, was elected president.


The circumstances surrounding Trump’s election cannot be singularly attributed to Comey’s re-upped revelation of an FBI probe into Clinton’s emails. But one thing is certain: when voters went to the polls on Election Day, they did so under the false narrative that only one of the candidates had been the subject of a criminal investigation. In fact, in July 2016, around the same time that Comey originally declined to bring charges against Clinton, the FBI began investigating the Trump campaign’s connection to Russian operatives actively trying to influence the U.S. election.

The stark difference between FBI director Comey’s radio silence on the bureau’s continuing investigation into then-candidate Trump, and the director’s willingness to discuss the investigation into former Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton’s private email server raises serious questions—chief among them, why? What was behind the unwillingness to disclose an ongoing investigation into Trump’s ties to the Russian government?

According to a WhoWhatWhy exposé, published Thursday on AlterNet, the FBI declined to inform the U.S. public about ties between Trump and the Russian government for fear of exposing informants and “[jeopardizing] a long-running, ultra-sensitive operation targeting mobsters tied to Russian President Vladimir Putin — and to Trump.”

A two month-long investigation by the publication revealed that FBI agents likely feared exposing an ongoing operation against “an organized crime network headquartered in the former Soviet Union.” This Russian mob “is one of the Bureau’s top priorities,” spans several decades, and is intricately linked with associates of Trump and businesses the president owns.

As the report notes, federal officials were intent on protecting an FBI source—a convicted criminal with deep links to the organized crime network—upon whom the bureau came to rely for information. Some federal officials “were so involved in protecting this source” they later became a part of his personal defense counsel; upon his conviction government attorneys urged for “extreme leniency” toward this man.

The article further reveals that among the many details Comey was unable to discuss during his Mar. 20 testimony to Congress was the fact that “for more than three decades the FBI has had Trump Tower in its sights,” monitoring its occupants’ deep ties to organized crime networks. According to the report, one former Trump Organization adviser, Felix Sater, fits the bill for the FBI’s source into the Russia-based crime ring.

Sater, a Russian-born real estate developer, is a convicted felon; in 1998, he was charged in a massive $40 million stock fraud scheme involving members of the Genovese and Bonanno families. According to the Miami Herald, shortly thereafter, Sater “began spying for the CIA” and a “was able to track down a dozen Stinger missiles equipped with powerful tracking devices on the black market.” In return for buying the missiles, Sater avoided jail time. According to WhoWhatWhy, separate legal filings on Sater’s behalf indicate “he ‘reported daily’ to the FBI for many years.”

Sater later altered his public name to Satter and became a senior adviser for Bayrock Group LLC, a real-estate development company based in New York. Through his work with Bayrock, Sater worked on Trump SoHo, and was a senior advisor to Donald Trump and The Trump Organization beginning in 2006.

In 2009, Sater was formally sentenced in the racketeering case, and was asked to pay a $25,000 fine with no prison time. The Herald notes that Sater also avoided paying the victims of his scheme, which given the scope of his conviction, is “mandatory under federal law.”

Much of Sater’s background was sealed, preventing fellow investors and clients from learning about his criminal past. Civil lawsuits brought against Bayrock charge the company with “concealing Sater’s 1998 $40 million federal racketeering conviction, and subsequent 2009 sentencing.” As investors sought to reveal Sater’s criminal background, federal agents argued that exposing it would undermine national security. As the Herald reports, at one hearing, the judge presiding the case said it had made it to the top levels “of a national law enforcement security agency. I should say agencies—plural.” The judge also dubbed Sater “John Doe” to “protect the life of the person.”

Fred Oberlander, an attorney who represented a former Bayrock employee suing the company in civil court, was provided access to highly sensitive documents involving Sater’s work as a government informant. According to WhoWhatWhy, on Feb. 10, 2012, the US Court of Appeals instructed Oberlander he could not “inform the legislative branch of the United States government what he knew about” Sater.

Oberlander’s attorney Richard Lerner, in a statement to WhoWhatWhy, said his client being forbidden from speaking with Congress “may well be the first and only hyper-injunction in American history.”

“If there are others who have been scared silent by judges who wish to nullify Congressional and public oversight, we may never know,” Lerner added. “That is frightening.”



Even More Countries Mock Trump with Wickedly Funny Parody Videos [Updated]


UPdate (February 6, 2:34 P.M.): The trend has officially left Europe: Just one day after Luxembourg joined in on the fun] on Sunday with a video from Eldo TV, a YouTuber named Marouane Lamharzi Alaoui has submitted his own video on behalf of Morocco.

The original post, with the new videos embedded, continues below.

By now, we all know that under Donald Trump’s administration, the United States’s guiding principle is going to be “America first”—as the president stressed in his dystopian inauguration speech. The world got the message loud and clear—and now, European countries are beginning to counter with rallying cries of their own.

The trend began with a viral parody video from the Netherlands, courtesy of the news satire show Zondag met Lubach. The clip, a faux introduction to the Netherlands that mocks Trump by imitating the president’s signature verbiage—”We’ve got the best words. All the other languages failed”—has racked up more than 16 million views on YouTube since last week.

Now, several other countries have hopped on the bandwagon, all sarcastically clamoring to come in “second” to America’s interests by making their cases in terms Trump can understand.


Over in Germany, the satirical late-night talk show Neo Magazin Royale offered, “This is the Oktoberfest. It’s the best beer fest God ever created. There is pee everywhere. You would love it. Just saying. Great pee. German beer pee. Or as we call it in Germany, Bud Light.”





An Open Letter to Donald J. Trump Before, During, and After the Swearing- In, from Future Progress USA (FP-USA)

statue-of-liberty-weeping                                                                    00trump-new-yorker-classic-cover



Dear Mr. Trump,

  1. You have awakened the Progressive community to the fact that many white working folks—especially—have been (politically) neglected; many turned out for you, when needed groups supporting your more qualified opponent (or at least enough) did not for her—and You Know Who You Are 😉
  1. You “Seem” to have won the biggest electoral upset in American history; all the more impressive as you have an unusual sort of charisma and not the best qualifications for the office, perhaps 45th? among U.S. presidents
  1. At first, although a supporter of “the Other Party”, I was intrigued by your unfiltered remarks, and some good comments about the 2 trillion dollar Mideast Wars, killing more than 7000 young Americans in the process, and in the process majorly ruffled the Bush family’s feathers,
  1. I certainly to not need to repeat the long list of insults and tomfoolery that has marked your rise and that those who rejected you (the 3 million more than you got votes who went to Sec. Clinton) and those who seem to see you as their great white hope: these are the people whom you now must not let down, as I hope you realize
  1. And as I traveled to New Hampshire to try to be one man helping millions of others block your path to a place you should not be, and talked to people on a post-(your) election trip across 16 states, most of them red, I began to understand that your people truly do believe in you, your JOBS, your swagger, your promises that do not add up, but to your short-term credit, they do not seem to care,
  1. I hope that you will be able to deliver one tenth of what you promise to the 45 million people who voted for you in your “landslide”… because if you don’t, you will hurt them, and your top appointments most certainly will hurt their interests, also striking back at what they think of as the (not really so) Liberal Establishment: Clintons, Obamas, Bidens—those people
  1. You know that with the help of Putin and Comey—but also your own very strange sort of charm and bravado, you have done what all of the polls thought was nearly impossible… And you deserve a certain amount of grudging credit—maybe you really will make “the trains run on time”
  1. So the country is watching, Mr. Trump—and Mr. Pence—as what for many on both sides of this election thought was impossible; you will be sworn in and, and, and—then your troubles will begin, but they will not be as great as ours. Today, January 20, half the country will be in mourning in a way never witnessed before.

9.     The other half may be dancing in the streets. I would like to believe we might all be dancing one year from now. Like to believe? Yes, but do not believe. What kind of country will you and your whistling in the dark Party create for us in 2017? I am not optimistic. Nobody but your fiercest 10 million enemies wants to see a train-wreck. But with you behind the throttle, I am not sure about the alternatives.

10. The country does not need to be ‘Made Great Again’. It is truly great–for now.

2016 Presidential Campaign Lessons Neglect (Even Benign) No Longer an Option: A. Lerman: A Now-Relevant Re-blog

2016 Presidential Campaign Lessons Neglect (Even Benign) No Longer an Option: A. Lerman


We offer here an essay by Professor Arthur Lerman that is really worth getting into. Why are/WERE so many people so Angry in this election?. More than usual. “Angry Populism.” This has been/WAS “used” in very different ways especially well by Bernard Sanders and The Donald Trump.

Some explanations have been offered in previous pieces in this blog, like the review of Thomas Frank’s LISTEN, LIBERAL!. Is it true that a kind of anarchism or at least obstructionism is growing among us? And see what you think of Lerman’s solutions or solutions “out there” that he identifies.

Note: this will be re-blogged with further comments and perhaps Dr. Lerman’s and Your “comments on those comments!”

Also note: Prof. Lerman stresses that this is a Draft, that may be influenced by comments and his own further thinking

2016 Presidential Campaign Lessons Neglect (Even Benign) No Longer an Option ©

In the past, there were cases in which groups or individuals could be ignored and/or exploited by ruling classes, because the ignored/exploited had learned to accept their difficult position as part of the natural or religious order, or because they saw no hope of change–including the prediction that any attempt at change will make their situations even worse–e.g., severe/immediate repression from the ruling classes, for example.
Of course, throughout history, there were many cases in which groups or individuals did not accept their difficult positions as inevitable, so history is full of rebellions and revolutions—upsetting and overthrowing numerous ruling elite regimes.

In our modern world, with the spread of the power of groups and individual to threaten and ultimately disrupt the peace and security of socially privileged classes and, more importantly, with the spread of the consciousness of this power, this ability to blithely ignore and exploit is even less of an option.
This increased disruption capability, and awareness of such capability, has come with such new conditions as:

  1. the spread of rights of peaceful political action–voting and communicating about voting to others.
  2. the spread of technology for communicating to wide audiences.
  3. the increase in social complexity, making it easy for individuals or groups to “throw a monkey wrench into the works”, e.g., putting an orange traffic cone in front of an entrance to the George Washington Bridge.
  4. the increasing availability of the tools of violence to allow individuals and groups to wreak havoc.

(Interesting side note: In the mid-1960s, in graduate school, I remember a renowned sociology professor saying that social control has become so intense that the individual was already incapable of independent action that could disrupt society in any way. Seems the above conditions, especially b, c and d would reverse this judgment.)

So in our day, it is ever more perilous for political elites to allow groups (or even individuals) to fall into difficult social circumstances. And, therefore, we come, during the current presidential campaign, to the phenomenon of Donald Trump.

Of course, he is not unique. Angry populist movements abound in recent history. What is interesting is, that the workings of democracy should have precluded the rise of angry populism.

One could conceive of the workings of democracy as parallel to the workings of a market economic system—if there is a demand, producers will automatically act to supply it. So, if there is a political demand, political producers—i.e., creators and implementers of policy—should automatically act to meet the demand.

In such a case, the political producers would be continuously surveying the demands of all voting groups (if not the demands of isolated, unrepresentative individuals) to make sure they are supplying what is necessary to keep these groups supporting them..

Moreover, similar to a market system, it’s not just one political producer in play. Like in a competitive economy, anyone can present him/herself as a political producer, proposing ways to meet demands. In the U.S. that has pretty much meant that two organizations of political producers—the Republicans and the Democrats—have been the ones to respond to demands, keeping groups needs met and ensuring social stability.

In the recent U.S. past, for example, political producers responded to the Great Depression of the 1930s with Social Security and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, to the 1950-1960’s demand for racial equality with the civil rights bills of the 1960s, and to the 1960’s health problems of seniors with Medicaid and Medicare.

But, as with economic markets, the theory does not always work out in practice.

Markets are plagued by lack of accurate knowledge, so producers may produce what is not demanded, or neglect to produce what is in demand.

(Of special note—one of the most difficult areas of the market economy is those who have demands, but do not have the resources [money, goods, services] to make their demands effective.)

Political markets are also plagued by lack of accurate knowledge. Some of this is simply lack of information about groups and their needs—perhaps because of poor information gathering, or, perhaps because of not knowing where to look or what to look at, or, preconceptions about what exists. And there is also the difficulty that, one may know what exists, but one’s ideology suggests an improper response.

So, we have the rise of angry populism, personified by the candidacy of Donald Trump, presumably because our political producers—the Republicans and Democrats—lacked the requisite information about how to meet the demands of Trump supporters, or have offering the wrong “product” for meeting the demands.

(There is also a “Blame the Victim” angle here. Perhaps political producers have been offering the proper product, but those making the demand do not realize their demand is being met–i.e., economic progress during Obama’s administration?)

So let us explore the groups and the demands involved.

Trump’s support is coming from white voters with a high school education or less. Their clear economic demands are for secure, well-paying jobs. The analysis is that many of their jobs have been transferred overseas, leaving them unemployed, or employed at lower wage, less secure—often retail—jobs.

The obvious response of political producers would be to find other ways to provide secure, well-paying employment. Ways to do this would be to:

1. Create alternative venues to work in—or promote private sector efforts to do so.

2. One example is rebuilding the country’s infrastructure—everything from transportation (roads, bridges, mass transit facilities) to public buildings (hospitals, schools).

3. And there are the new tech industries that are coming out of the Silicon Valleys of our land.

4. And there is the possibility of reclaiming industries that have moved abroad through new technologies, including robots, which can compete economically with foreign sweat shops.

5. Afford opportunities to upgrade skills to fit oneself into such new industries.

6. And the government could always be an employer of last resort. The idea that there is nothing worth paying the unemployed to do is false. And given that the country as a whole (through our companies that offshore their production) is still making immense, profits, indicates that the means do exist to employ individuals elsewhere where they are needed—for example, putting more teachers in the classroom or healthcare workers in our hospitals and clinics.

Yet, our two main political producers—at least the more typical, “Establishment” Republicans and Democrats—have not placed these employment products on the political market—resulting in the angry populism that is supporting the “anti-establishment” Donald Trump.

The question is why? Is it not an axiom of the market place—economic or political—that the self-interest of the producer will move him/her to provide the product to meet the demand?

Above, we have noted some explanations—lack of information, misperception, interpretation. To these we may add lack of ability to produce.

For the Republicans, some of this is interpretation. The Republican ideology is that government—including the political producers running the government—is not supposed to be responding to economically based demands. The ideology is that when government gets involved, things get worse—the government creates and runs incompetent and corrupt programs, and the individual becomes dependent on government, becoming a burden instead of an asset to society. . It is for the individual to respond to the market on his own, creating the economic opportunity to respond to such things as international economic competition.

(One thinks of articles by Thomas Friedman in the NY Times, urging individuals to retool themselves through advancing their education to meet the modern economy. Of course, Republican ideology does not promote government support for such, or government guidance on what retooling for what end. And then, what if in a few years, new products and competition from abroad necessitate another course of retooling. And how many times can an individual go through such a process. What of the psychological burden?)

The Democrats (full disclosure—I’m a loyal Democrat) do believe that the government can effectively meet these demands—but they have only limited ability respond—since they don’t control the Congress. Yet, since they control the executive, they still get lots of blame, since it’s the executive that’s the “face” of the “not-responsive” government.

Also, there is the analysis of Thomas Frank, brought home in his most recent book—Listen Liberal, that the Democrats have written off the white, high school educated working class—seeing them as having turned against the Democrats for their devotion to non-White minorities—who are as threatening to them as are overseas sweatshop workers—and having become a party of the meritocratic upper-middle classes—leaving the needs of the white working class to no one to respond to.

Oh! Yes, the Republicans have responded—but not with an economic product. They have responded to the psychology of the white working class that sees itself as having lost its status as having defined American. The white working class was psychologically supported, not only though solid economic jobs, but also with identification with the greatness of America. I’m great because America is great.

But now, America is more and more depicted as a mélange of whites and non-whites, in which white workers are just one more of America’s mélange of social groups. Loss of economic status (a secure, well-paying job) has been accompanied by loss of prestigious identification. And Obama, a black president, becomes the notorious symbol of this loss—explaining some of the vehement opposition to him—and anything he does, even when trying to compromise with the Republicans.

The Republicans have responded to this by their campaign of the loss of America’s power and prestige in the world and the loss of American morality at home—even before Trump—corralling the white vote for itself.

But, till Trump, the Republicans have not been able to improve things for the white working class—it only continued to play on the theme of resentment for loss of status.

Thus, they were open for someone who plays much more clearly and openly on these resentment themes.

So we have the angry populism that the Republicans were promoting—more clearly and angrily presented by Trump—he’s got the product and the white working class are buying.

Do the Democrats have an alternative? Hillary and Bernie both offer more concrete economic products, but is the white working class even looking at them?

Certainly some are—though many have long been in the Republican fold, seeing the Democrats as the friends of the minorities and sweatshop foreigners, as well as of elite upper-middle class types. So they are not listening.


A great challenge would be for Hillary (maybe riding on Bill’s charisma) would have been to get them to listen again.

And Bernie—in his clear dedication to the workers—if he can get them to listen.

This is important, to go back to our beginning. Both producers in our political market place have neglected—failed to respond to– a major part of our society. And, given the easier ability for social groups to disrupt and threaten—not just the social elites, but everyone else—it is important to provide a product that will meet their own needs, while being compatible with the needs of all others in society.

Alternatively, they can be led by a demagogue—either to continuing ineffectual venting of anger (which the Republicans have been leading them on to do for years), or, more dangerously, to much more disruptive social action.

    • << span=””>on April 19, 2016 at 10:20 pm said:

      Will do ASAP Art. I hope Wed. Going to DC Thu. Thru Sat. Best Rick

      ps happy to do this but do you still have password and username for your own access?___












This blog does not really want to add to the storm of commentary on the Republican candidates troubles in last night’s debate (#1). I choose below to offer the WASHINGTON POST’S daily spin on events, because the young conservatives who do most of the commentary for that paper are probably more revealing than the predictable head shaking and “we told you so’s” from the NEW YORK TIMES. Today I want to see what newspapers in other parts of the country are saying.

It would be easy to gloat, but instead I want to offer 4 pluses for Trump out of an evening that even his friends are focusing on the blizzard of minuses:

  1. Mr. Trump referred to his opponent respectfully as Secretary Clinton; she called him “Donald.”   She needs to fix that
  2. Mr. Trump scored some early points that few commentators caught, by referring repeatedly to jobs lost in Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, which will resonate with people there. The fact that he didn’t have a specific plan to bring jobs back to those states, and the fact that he is very unlikely to win in the second and third of the above states may not matter. In his way he struck the right tone for fed-up working people.
  3.  I am worried about what might be called the “Rocky Effect” hearkening back to the Sylvester Stallone movie about the boxer who was down for the count at the beginning and then staged a come-back…  Trump is far from stupid, just mightily disorganized. He bordered on the unstable in Debate One. But then Nixon and Obama in 1960 and 2012 did not have good first debates.
  4. Like so much with the Republican candidate, a unique personality for sure, in this surreal, fiercely polarized year, it may not matter even as much as head-shaking Republicans might think. Their candidate has repeatedly shown that he can be showered by bullets–many from his own weapon– and keep coming in a way that bolsters his supporters.

My final point is that in a Real World, rather that SURreal– and I am not sure which we are living in right now in this country, Clinton should be winning polls in double digits. I do not think either of the candidates is as “off-putting” to voters as the media have spun them to be. There is something refreshing about Donald Trump. Really. But last night reinforced this reality: “refreshing” does  point to somebody who is not remotely qualified to be President.

And a P.S. For those of us who enjoy the occasional “wicked,” perhaps the most tasty comment came from the National Review rpt. NATIONAL REVIEW staff writer David French: “Why didn’t he have a better answer ready for the birther nonsense? Has he still not done any homework on foreign policy? I felt like I was watching the political Titanic hit the iceberg, back up, and hit it again. Just for fun.




The Daily 202
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Why even Republicans think Clinton won the first debate
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump meet for their first debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York.&nbsp;(Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post)</p> Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump meet for their first debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post)

With Breanne Deppisch and Elise Viebeck

THE BIG IDEA: The consensus that Donald Trump badly lost the first debate gelled overnight. Liberals predictably panned the GOP nominee’s performance on Long Island, but some of the harshest reviews are coming from conservative thought leaders who had been starting to come around.

— Instant reaction:

Republican pollster Frank Luntz conducted a focus group of undecided voters in Pennsylvania. Sixteen said Hillary Clinton won. Five picked Trump, per CBS News.

In a Florida focus group organized by CNN, 18 of 20 undecided voters picked Clinton as the winner.

Not one of 29 undecided voters in an Ohio focus group organized by Park Street Strategies thought Trump prevailed, while 11 picked Clinton and the rest said neither. By a two-to-one margin, the group thought Clinton had the better tone and, by a three-to-one margin, they thought she came across as more knowledgeable candidate on the issues.

A CNN/ORC flash poll found that 62 percent said the Democrat won, compared to 27 percent who picked Trump. That’s on par with 2012, when Mitt Romney was seen as the winner of the first debate.

In a separate instant-poll from the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling, 51 percent said Clinton won and 40 percent picked Trump.

Eight in 10 insiders in the key battleground states thought Clinton performed better, including 57 percent of Republicans, according to the Politico Caucus survey.

Trump complains of ‘defective mic’ after first debate

— Trump’s surrogates in the spin room were downbeat, and the candidate himself has already begun making excuses: “They gave me a defective mic,” he complained to reporters during a gaggle. “Did you notice that? My mic was defective within the room. I wonder, was that on purpose?” There was no clear problem with his microphone during the debate, Jose DelReal notes.

Trump was supposed to stop by the Nassau County Republican Committee’s watch party on his way home. He skipped it. Clinton, meanwhile, celebrated with hundreds of supporters in Westbury.

And Rudy Giuliani, a top Trump surrogate, even suggested that Trump should skip the next two debates unless he gets concessions. “If I were Donald Trump I wouldn’t participate in another debate unless I was promised that the journalist would act like a journalist and not an incorrect, ignorant fact checker,” he said.

If you missed it, here’s the debate in three minutes:

The first Clinton-Trump debate, in three minutes

— It was a debate about Trump. Like the whole 2016 cycle, the GOP nominee sucked up all the oxygen. Facebook says eight in 10 posts about the debate focused on him. Twitter said 62 percent of debate-related tweets were about him.

— But Trump’s lack of preparation showed. There were too many missed opportunities to count.

“I’m not positive Hillary actually won the debate. But I’m sure Trump lost it. He choked,” writes Weekly Standard Editor Bill Kristol.

“Even if you are a Trump supporter, you have to think that he left a lot on the table,” writes GOP supper lobbyist Ed Rogers, a veteran of the Reagan and Bush 41 White Houses. “He didn’t see the openings and he didn’t swing at the softballs that came his way. He never used the word ‘change,’ he didn’t bore in on Hillary’s email scandal and he never got around to the Clinton Foundation and Hillary’s suspect integrity. Trump was inarticulate and rarely hit the bull’s eye.”

“He was exciting but embarrassingly undisciplined,” writes New York Post conservative columnist John Podhoretz. “He began with his strongest argument — that the political class represented by her has failed us and it’s time to look to a successful dealmaker for leadership — and kept to it pretty well for the first 20 minutes. Then due to the vanity and laziness that led him to think he could wing the most important 95 minutes of his life, he lost the thread of his argument, he lost control of his temper and he lost the perspective necessary to correct these mistakes as he went. By the end … Trump was reduced to a sputtering mess blathering about Rosie O’Donnell and about how he hasn’t yet said the mean things about Hillary that he is thinking.”

“After the first 20 minutes, it may have been the most lopsided debate I’ve ever seen — and not because Clinton was particularly effective. But you don’t need to be good when your opponent is bad,” writes National Review’s David French, who considered running for president as an independent. “Why didn’t he have a better answer ready for the birther nonsense? Has he still not done any homework on foreign policy? I felt like I was watching the political Titanic hit the iceberg, back up, and hit it again. Just for fun.”

The Fix’s Chris Cillizza notes in his piece on the night’s winners and losers that Trump never even mentioned the phrase basket of deplorables. “Trump was simply not prepared well enough for this debate,” says Cillizza. “His [birther answer] was like watching a car accident in slow motion.”

As Dana Milbank writes, “Trump ostentatiously avoided preparation — playing the proverbial high school slacker drinking beer behind the bleachers while the teacher’s pet was in the library. But Monday night was the revenge of the nerd.”

From the chief strategist of Mitt Romney’s 2012 campaign:

From the chief strategist of John Kasich’s 2016 campaign:

Trump’s web site was not even ready for the deluge of traffic. It crashed.

— Trump got worse with each passing exchange. “In the early stages, Clinton and Trump seemed evenly matched, but the longer it went on, the more she was able to score against him,” writes Dan Balz, The Post’s chief correspondent.

Trump took the stage subdued, trying to show he’s serious, but he became peeved as he allowed Clinton’s attacks to get under his skin. “Within minutes of the opening bell, Clinton’s attacks forced domesticated Donald to go feral – he bellowed, interrupted her repeatedly, grunted, and toward the bedraggled end, became muted and pouty,” writes Politico’s Glenn Thrush.

“’I did not! I did not! I do not say that,’ he shouted as Clinton accused him of calling climate change a hoax, which he has said on numerous occasions,”Jenna Johnson recounts. “‘Facts!’ he yelled as Clinton began to question the accuracy of his assertions. ‘Wrong! Wrong!’ he said as Clinton stated that he initially supported the Iraq War, which he had. ‘Where did you find it? Oh really?’ Trump said as Clinton referred to a beauty pageant contestant who has accused Trump of calling her ‘Miss Housekeeping’ because she is Latina.”

“Trump needed to conceal his temper … and appear ready to be president. He didn’t,” writes conservative blogger Jennifer Rubin. “There were too many instances in which the real Donald showed through. Clinton wasn’t emotive, but she was cool and efficient in drawing blood.”

“If her goal was to get under Trump’s skin — you know, sniff out his weakness, and bait him into losing his temper — it worked,” adds conservative columnistMatt Lewis. “She got under that thin skin by talking about his inherited wealth and questionable status as a billionaire.”

Trump asks Americans to ‘call Sean Hannity’ to verify his Iraq War position

— Trump played to his base. He did nothing to win over fresh converts or reassure recalcitrant Republicans. Sean Hannity’s audience is not who he needs to win over.

“Unpersuaded college educated white women didn’t come away from this debate — at least not in large numbers — feeling reassured by Trump,” conservative Jonah Goldberg writes in National Review.Clinton was narrowcasting at the voters she needs. Trump was broadcasting to the voters he already has. If you’re truly pro-Hillary or pro-Trump it doesn’t matter what you thought tonight. Your vote is baked in. But if you’re on the fence or thinking about not voting at all, your impression matters — a lot. And in this regard, I think Clinton was the winner.”

“Hillary was well-informed and unflappable; Trump got across his major themes but was probably too Trump to widen support,” National Review executive editor Rich Lowry concludes. “I thought Trump might save a weak substantive performance with some big moments, but he didn’t have any that cut his way.”

It is hard to imagine that there was a single moment in the debate that would have convinced a wavering college-educated woman in the Philadelphia or Cincinnati suburbs to vote for Trump,” writes Roll Call columnist Walter Shapiro. “In fact, Trump seemed to be debating with the single-minded goal of turning his gender gap into a canyon. … In 1973, a trash-talking, over-age self-described ‘chauvinist pig’ named Bobby Riggs took on Billie Jean King in a tennis match in the Houston Astrodome that was billed as The Battle of the Sexes. King won in straight sets. History repeated itselfMonday. … Clinton defeated Trump in straight sets.”

Trump, Clinton go back and forth on birther questions

— Clinton’s performance, in contrast, will excite her base and put a pause to some of the recent bedwetting about a tightening race.

“Clinton’s calm dissection of her foe reassured jittery supporters,” writes liberal Post columnist E.J. Dionne. “Clinton shifted the contest her way during her party’s convention. She did it again during Monday night’s debate.”

“Clinton was not great at times; her language was occasionally stilted; she missed some obvious moments to go in for the kill; but she was solid and reassuring and composed,” New York Magazine’s Andrew Sullivan concludes. “I was afraid that Trump’s charisma and stage presence and salesmanship might outshine Hillary Clinton’s usually tepid and wonkish instincts. I feared that the facts wouldn’t matter; that a debate would not take place. And it is to Clinton’s great credit that she prepared, and he didn’t, and that she let him hang himself.”

The contrast between an obviously and eminently qualified public servant and a ranting bully was as stark as any presidential debate in American history,” adds Jonathan Chait, his colleague at the magazine.

Trump’s failure to offer an improved explanation for his years challenging Barack Obama’s legitimacy could also help galvanize African American voters. “He has a long record of engaging in racist behavior, and the birther lie was a very hurtful one,” Clinton said during the debate, twisting the knife. “Barack Obama is a man of great dignity, and I could tell how much it bothered him and annoyed him that this was being touted and used against him.”

Trump to Clinton: ‘That’s called business, by the way’

— Trump also gave ad-makers tons of fodder for fresh attack ads. Clinton, on the other hand, made no gaffes that could be used in a negative ad



 “Chet Farmer is a lifelong progressive, naturalized Texan, and obsessive cyclist based in Houston. He and Mr Shiels share a Magnolia origin. Follow him @chetman, or his personal blog at”


I’m with her.
And not just because she’s not-Trump, either.
I’m with her because I’m not afraid of Muslims, and I don’t think we need to betray our values because we’ve become afraid. The Statue of Liberty speaks for me; we’re stronger because we’re a nation of immigrants, many of whom came here because their original homes became unsafe or unstable.
I’m with her because I believe, as her husband once said, that abortion should be safe, legal, and rare, and that the best way to achieve the last goal is to ensure that everyone has access to family planning services and scientifically accurate information — regardless of employer beliefs.
I’m with her because I believe Federal agencies like the EPA and the Department of Education provide valuable services to our Republic, and that the absence of the regulations provided by those agencies would materially damage our country.
I’m with her because I believe 99% of the world’s climate scientists when they tells us what a problem we have with climate change.
I’m with her because I believe that when a full-time worker still qualifies for Federal anti-poverty programs, that employer is getting a free ride from the taxpayer. That shit has got to STOP.
I’m with her because I believe our LBGTQ friends and family deserve equal rights and protection before the law.
I’m with her because our work with health care reform isn’t done, and the way forward involves improving, not repealing, the ACA.
I’m with her because I see her resume, and I see what people who have worked with her in Washington and New York have said about her, and it’s a long damn way from what the Right Wing noise machine has been saying since the early 1990s.
I’m with her because, like her, I see America as an exceptional place, where people come from all over to seek their fortunes, and because I want that to continue.
I could go on and on, but I won’t because I recently got dinged for overlong posts. But this is an election, as John Scalzi notes, between mostly-normal and completely-fucking-abnormal. It’s not a race between a center-left Democrat and a center-right Republican. It’s a race between a center-left Democrat — with a solid resume, and well liked even across the aisle — and a multi-bankruptcy charlatan who’s never held elected office, and who proves daily that he has a terrifying relationship with both his own temper and reality.
Maybe you hate Hillary, for whatever reason. But Hillary isn’t going to start a war in a fit of pique. Hillary isn’t going to sell out our NATO allies, as Trump has threatened to do. Hillary isn’t seeking to reign in the free press, as Trump has mentioned. Many honorable Republicans are horrified this cycle, and more than a few have said either that they won’t vote for Trump, or they’ll definitely vote for HRC instead. That’s how outside even the GOP mainstream Trump is.
We don’t have a parliamentary system here; votes for third party candidates in 2016 are wasted. Come January, either Hillary or Donald will move into 1600 Pennsylvania. Pick one.
As I said, I’m with her.

from the daily kos: “the ground game”


Enos & Fowler’s Map of Overlapping Media Markets in Battleground & Safe States

The title of a recent WaPo article asks a pertinent question: “How many votes will Trump give up by not running a professional campaign?” The whole article is well worth reading, but the article’s conclusion can be summarized in the two words that complete the title: “A lot.” Still, exactly how much is “a lot”? That’s the million dollar question. This diary will attempt to get a little closer to an answer to that question—though we’ll need to wait until election day to know the exact impact of the vast difference the the two campaigns field operations.

I looked at the essay by political scientists Ryan Enos and Anthony Fowler on GOTV referenced in the WaPo piece. Their basic method was to look at segments of adjoining states with a shared TV market, but with one state a battleground and the other not. TV advertising would be the same, but one would see heavy GOTV and the other wouldn’t. The map at the top of this diary shows the areas studied. The areas studied are enclosed in black lines. The darker the area is colored, the greater the likely GOTV effort. One can clearly make out from the map that, for instance, hotly contested NH would likely get lots of GOTV effort, but adjacent VT, MA and ME (all safe D) would not. Similarly, northern NV would get intensive GOTV efforts, but overlapping media markets in CA & OR (safe D) and Utah (safe R) would not. And in fact the darkly shaded areas—the likely targets of GOTV— showed significantly increased turnout over the light gray areas.

 The gist of the study is neatly summarized by WaPo: 

They show that the effect of the 2012 presidential campaign on voter turnout was quite large, about 7-8 points overall. 

Now 7-8 points sounds like an awful lot. But what the study claims is not that one side beats the other by 7-8%, but that EACH side, if they have equal operations, turns out an extra 7-8 by a serious GOTV effort. If so, that would suggest that an awful lot of GOTV effort could be considered defensive—you’ve got to at least equal what the other side is doing, or you’re going to get buried. 

So the 1-2% margin we often see mentioned as a GOTV effect might be the difference between an outstanding GOTV effort vs. just a garden variety effort: one side is getting out only an extra 6% and the other is getting out an extra 7% or 8%.

On the face of it, this makes a lot of sense—could all those phone calls and pavement pounding and personal visits really only amount to a measly 1%? It seems intuitively right that this 1% margin would actually the net effect of two operations at work, one just a tad better than the other. 7 to 8% could be considered the gross effect. All of this means kudos to the people working hard in field operations—you’re adding 7-8% to total turnout, and without it, we wouldn’t have a prayer. BTW, Enos & Fowler credit both Obama & Romney with having effective GOTV efforts, so if Obama had an edge, it might well have been in the 1 or 2% range. 

But if Enos & Fowler’s analysis of the gross impact of GOTV efforts is correct, then this might suggest that Trump’s neglect of GOTV will have a much larger impact than many people think. Of course, Hillary probably won’t outdo the polls by 7-8%, since the RNC and state party machines have their own GOTV efforts going.

But we might reasonably expect a much bigger effect in the battleground states this year, based on Clinton’s vastly superior operation, than the traditional estimate of 1-2% for a better field operation. Of course, we won’t really know until election day.

But however you slice it, we can regard the present election as a living, breathing experiment in the impact of GOTV. This makes me a bit more optimistic about the possibility of flipping some Senate and House seats that might otherwise might be out of reach. So let’s all keep working hard, not just for that slim 1% but for a potentially much larger slice of the pie!




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