Der Speigel, Germany’s premier news magazine. is determined to fight for our liberty even if roughly half of Americans cannot be bothered to vote:
Der Speigel, Germany’s premier news magazine. is determined to fight for our liberty even if roughly half of Americans cannot be bothered to vote:
|OK, so Trump has no management skills — can anyone who has read his long history of business failures find that surprising? Little wonder he and his so-called “transition team” cannot come up with a plan to staff the new administration; they could barely even develop a game plan for the campaign. Take the “game” out of it, and they are suddenly dead in the water. They clearly are unaware that the Ship of State is steaming straight for Trump Tower, on a collision course. The current confusion and disarray ensures that the new administration will hit the ground bumbling.
Again, no surprise. Trump got his win by lying and reality-show gimmicks, not through the diligent efforts of a skilled campaign team. Now that the exit-polling data from the election is beginning to come to light, we know that:
Most galling of all,
Call it Brexit 2, call it the triumph of the mob, call it an American tragedy. What we label this stunning defeat of rational governance doesn’t matter, won’t make us feel any better, will not soften the hard truth we learned last night: Exactly one half of the voters in this country have taken it away from the other half.
How did it happen? That’s for another essay, or five, and I may choose not to write it/them. The crushing fact is that I, along with all other self-styled “experts” and “political scientists” relied on polls to tell us what the people were thinking and feeling, and the polls were disastrously off. The polls did not include the views, the hatreds, the frustrations, the despair of millions of angry White working class and rural people. These folks, especially the ones in the Battleground states, saw the pollsters as part of the established governing and economic order, and refused to play the polling game. They hid in the weeds of our broken economy, and waited. They waited for November 8th, and the chance to grab a pitchfork and stick it the heart of the democracy that had failed them for thirty years and more.
They received an unexpected assist by FBI Director James Comey, when, on October 29th, he announced the discovery of 650,000 emails, some of which might be related to Hillary Clinton. It must have seemed to Trumps’ bumbling campaign team at that moment that there was a God, and that He was White. Overnight, the “discovery” energized Trump supporters, the ones who’d been polled, and the ones who hadn’t. “They’re gonna nail her!” went the internet, Sure, nine days later, Comey dropped the new “investigation”, clearing Clinton of the renewed suspicion. But the damage was done.
Trusting the polls, I made a model that at one point suggested a potential tsunami of votes for Clinton. I was wrong: the polls we were all looking at didn’t include about 5% of the country’s likely voters, all those hidden Trump supporters. The wave came, alright, but we were the ones who were drowned. Mea culpa.
Now, we have a con man about to bring his clownish confederates into the White House. May the native wisdom and courage of the better half of the country protect us, for it’s a certainty God won’t — he is White, and wants to resurrect a past when He was worshiped by ignorant masses.
Where is Mark Burnett when we really need him? Oh yeah — he’s guarding the MGM vault where all the “Apprentice” production videos are hidden. Pity. Thanks to iron-clad legal agreements between the show’s principals, chances are we’ll never even see so much as a snippet from those thousands of hours full of Trump’s disparaging, bullying, sexist remarks.
No doubt most voters will be glad to hear that another video tape starring Trump at his boorish worst is unlikely before November 8th. Me, too, at least on one level. But the statistically inarguable truth is that were we all to see the unreal reality star on tape, joking about forcibly f**king or molesting a cringing female cast or production staff member to her face, it would be the end of Trump’s candidacy. Period, as Ryan likes to say. Full stop.
Of course such a videotaped revelation would also mean the likely end of a Republican House majority, period. Full stop.
So we’re left with the latest unprovable if emotionally-charged accusations against the sleazy buffoon. Will these allegations be enough to cause his few remaining educated female supporters to either switch their support to Clinton, or, if not, stay home on voting day? What proportion of them might go to the polls, simply skip the Presidential box and vote for the Republicans down-ballot?
These and similar possibilities make predicting the contests extraordinarily difficult this year. And we’ve not yet factored in other fallouts from the two sexist jerks on a bus video. Like Republican and Independent adult males, for example. It’s one thing, your Truthteller contends, when Humpty Trumpty spews his bigotry about immigrants and Latinos, and quite another when he brags about sexually assaulting our precious white girls and women. The notion he could have invaded the dressing rooms of naked teen beauty contestants for all those years he owned all those pageants is enough to turn any father’s or uncle’s or brother’s stomach. If anything, the men who heard that tape and now, these latest reports, may turn out to be even more opposed to him when they enter the polling booth than the women.
It’s no wonder, therefore, that the Trump brain trust has decided to adopt, as they put it, a “Scorched Earth” strategy. Since Trump has burned his last bridges with possible new supporters, Bannon and his Queen of MissMisDirection, Kellyanne Con, will now try and make Hillary Clinton stink of even more sexual perversity than their combed-over clown candidate. Their hope? To make so many Clinton supporters so angry at her that they’ll stay home on Election Day, thus enabling Trump to squeak through to a victory.
It won’t succeed. It will only serve to motivate parents of all persuasions and their adult kids to vote in even larger numbers than the Dems are now envisioning. No one wants their daughters, sisters, wives, and moms to be subjected to the tawdry remarks and insulting behavior represented by Donald Trump. The thought that such a girl-ogling, sexually sick monster could somehow be sitting next year in the Oval Office, pushing reactionary Supreme Court Justices, promoting anti-woman legislation, and helping Ryan and Company further degrade our rights, threaten our families, stick us and our children with new federal deficits as they cut taxes on the super rich will mobilize the progressive and independent voters in numbers unseen even by President Obama.
Swing vote predictive tool update
With two full weeks (14 days) under its belt, the new model is stabilizing nicely. It clearly shows the evolving, highly dramatic shift in voter preferences toward Clinton in the twelve Battleground states. I want to incorporate the next two days of state inputs before explaining it here, so please be patient! It should be worth the wait, since Wednesday’s and Thursday’s polls will tell us more fully the real cost to Trump from his tape and his terrible 2nd debate performance.
Amidst the media and Republican howling over Pussygate and the ancient alleged sexual crimes of the Clintons, it’s easy to become depressed. Does anyone really care about the true issues in this contest?
We know the media don’t, since they’re making millions from the sales of TV ads in these final, hottest, most disgusting weeks before November 8th. And Trump and his minions have never seriously discussed any plans for the country’s future. Why would they start now, when, except for a plan to make the wealthiest 1% even wealthier, they basically have no plans?
In contrast, Hillary’s campaign team has a comprehensive set of policies and plans on her web site. It’s up to voters to go read them. Some will say that she should be spending her huge television budget on promoting her plans, instead of relentlessly attacking Trump’s character, or rather, lack of it. In their eyes, the Clinton tactics serve mainly to make her out to be as “dirty” a candidate as he is.
I respectfully disagree: Trump’s messaging, delivered via his billions of dollars worth of free media time, is like an all-out missile barrage. The Clinton team has had no choice since June but to mobilize an airwaves defense strategy more extensive than any we’ve ever seen since modern media was invented after WW2. Had they failed to react to his onslaught of lies and insults with such focus and determination, he might well have successfully made the transition from clown candidate to change candidate.
To her team’s credit, they’ve been able to use Trump’s own verbal garbage as the main ammunition in their counterattack. Instead of getting bogged down in the turgid details of his lies and tirades, they’ve simply let the ads quote the windbag’s foul wind baggage.
Americans have gotten it. Even before the disgusting revelations of last Friday and Trump’s loutish behavior since, 50% of voters were determined never to vote for him.
This percentage will only go up from now through October. But we’re not finished, yet. His candidacy is dying, but still has enough rancid breath to rail against the truth, and enough die-hard supporters to try and trash our democracy as they descend into the cesspit of demagogic history.
Keeping our eye on the (Supreme) prize
All the sound and fury must not divert us from the major fundamentals of the contest:
The Election is not about electing Clinton, as wonderful a victory for women (and the rest of us) as that will be. The election is about defeating the Republican forces of legislative obstruction, and reversing the backward momentum forced upon us by the Tea Party and religious Conservatives.
Found in an email:
Humpty Trumpty was born to prevail,
at business, at building, no way he could fail.
No height in Manhattan Daddy’s wealth couldn’t scale,
and no female living the man couldn’t nail.
Humpty Trumpty could always get laid.
On models, on others, he endlessly preyed
He touched and he groped, hands wandering far,
“It’s OK, they love it! I’m rich! I’m a star!”
Humpty Trumpty rode on a bus,
cruising for women to abuse in his lust;
bragging of conquests, of his smooth gift of gab–
just show him a skirt; he knew where to grab.
Spying a victim, he quivered with heat.
“Quick! Gimme a Tic Tac! I need to smell sweet!
And no worries, sport, I’ve a license to grope.”
Which he really believed, the fat boorish dope.
Then he stepped off the bus in a hurry to meet
the young woman who waited, a celebrity treat.
Big smile, clever chatter, he began his routine;
he was sure she’d give in like some starry-eyed teen.
This was right, only fair, it was what he deserved.
But Oops! Oh no! He’s been stymied, unnerved!
In the midst of the hunt, he’d forgot he was wired.
Now he’s on the carpet, about to be fired!
Humpty Trumpty went on the TV
denying and lying: “Hey that was not me!”
But too many times the truth he’d denied;
“Dump the odious Trumpty!” his backers now cried.
And all of the spineless, those still on the fence,
from McConnell to Cruz, from Ryan to Pence,
all look down on the mess they’ve created,
staring at chaos, and voters’ rage, unabated.
Humpty Trumpty had buildings so tall,
but his power and wealth could not stop his great fall.
Now all the Koch forces, and all Ryan’s men,
can never put trumped-up Humpty together again.
With Truthteller’s best wishes for the good eggs, everywhere.
Thank you, New York Times
Once again, real journalism has come to the rescue of our messy, complex, obsolete voting system. This morning’s bombshell by the NY Times showing how Trump managed to avoid paying taxes on at least $916 million dollars in income may well move Trump’s refusal to show his tax returns from the back burner to its rightful position as the number two or three issue in this contest, just after the Supreme Court appointments threat, and Trump’s lack of emotional, intellectual, and civil fitness for the Oval Office.
Most Americans are reasonably tolerant, but when they learn that the Orange windbag has been living a life of extreme luxury and not paying a nickle for it for most of the past twenty years, they will realize we’ve been totally conned, and the repercussions for Trump’s fumbling candidacy will be devastating.
Mind, the hard-core Trump supporters, the roughly 15 million who have been in denial of his utter incompetence, callousness, and double-dealing past will overlook this, too. In fact, Giuliani and Christy have already labeled Trump’s ability to game the tax system sheer “genius”, since his tax-free billion dollar profit was completely legal, apparently.
But it’s not the legality or lack of it that will grate on Mr. and Ms. America — it’s the utter hypocrisy when Trump calls Washington rigged, after getting his, then proposes programs that will simply make the rigging even more to his and his cronies’ advantage.
Thanks to the diligence and professionalism of the New York Times, we now have a simple list of three compelling reasons not to vote for Trump, and, if one is a true patriot, to vote instead for Clinton:
“October Surprises” redux
Here’s a comment I made on another blog yesterday, in a discussion about possible “October Surprises”. Since it concisely summarizes my “3PU” logic for Clinton’s win in November, I’m republishing it here for your consideration.
Not much point in us worrying about an October Surprise, so long as the Clinton team has made a list and pre-planned response strategies. I’m more interested in the November Surprise, when it turns out that the expected split of 3rd Party and undecideds is not 50/50, with half going to each candidate as in normal years.
We have fifteen percent 3rd partiers and undecided as of today. Count on as many as 4% hard-core 3rd party holdouts and stay-at-home refuseniks when all the votes are tallied.
The Surprise? From today through October and into the night of November 8th, expect to see from two thirds to 75% of the rest going to Clinton. What makes me so confident? Most of the present 3rd partiers went to them to avoid Trump or Clinton. Ditto the undecideds. Now they’re up against the threat of a thirty or forty year right-wing Supreme Court, and a twenty year backward march in civil, women’s, and minority rights. No way they’ll break 50/50 in the end.
Assuming 11% of the 15% turn out to vote, that means roughly 7 to 8 percent will be going to Clinton, added to her present 44 percent nationally, putting her well above 300EVs, and giving the Dems enough to seal the deal in at least six of the nine currently contested Senate seats.
Note that this doesn’t include the likely additional slippage in Trump’s totals through October, as he fails to connect with the real people in the town hall and viewers nationally in the second debate and — my guess — skips the third. Nor does it include his potential slippage as it sinks in to undecided and 3rd party voters that he’s not simply a racist misogynist, but a business fraud and tax law abuser.
We see today in our TT tracking model that during this past week Trump’s support fell in direct proportion to the increase in Libertarian support. Disgusted Republicans going to Johnson, for the moment, I suggest. In the same week we see Clinton support increasing as Green and undecided support decline. We’ll be watching these trends closely of course, but as of today, the behavior of the 3PUs seems to be playing out as predicted.
If you happened to be on vacation the past few days, or visiting your sick aunt in Sri Lanka, or doing, well, you know, real stuff, and you see the polls this morning and through the weekend, you may be wondering why we’ve gone from “the tightening” to “the rightening” in less than a week.
The quick answer is Trump and Clinton had a debate, he got thumped good, and then he spent the next few days trying to re-write the reality, only managing to confirm what the debate showed: he is totally unequipped to be President.
To get the complete answer one would need to hear the full ninety minutes. But there are dozens of web sites with the many highlights and lowlights. Incapable of answering a question, Trump tried to harangue, divert and lie his way through a thicket of issues. Ultimately he showed himself as the shallow, bombastic, threatening phony he is, even trying in vain to bully Clinton as she crushed him in exchange after exchange.
The people have decided that Clinton beat the windbag by an average of two to one, and now the polls are beginning to reflect that judgment. By Friday she should be leading again by about 5% nationally, and the most important Battleground states should be seeing her comfortably ahead. So much for the “tightening”.
The most important point
If you didn’t catch the debate, you missed what your Truthteller suggests is the single most important exchange. In the transcript of the debate, you’ll see that Trump boasted he’d earned $694 million last year. Here are his exact words:
“But you will learn more about Donald Trump by going down to the federal elections, where I filed a 104-page essentially financial statement of sorts, the forms that they have. It shows income — in fact, the income — I just looked today — the income is filed at $694 million for this past year, $694 million. If you would have told me I was going to make that 15 or 20 years ago, I would have been very surprised.”
Then during Clinton’s barrage re: his tax returns a few minutes later, he brags about not paying taxes. He actually says it’s smart. (He should say his tax lawyers and accountants are the smart ones, but Trump is incapable of admitting that.)
We can only hope the Clinton campaign will run ads asking the essential questions and exposing him for the greedy money-grubber Elizabeth Warren labels him. If I were writing copy for Clinton’s team here’s what the ad would say:
“Donald Trump brags that he pays no Federal taxes. He says it’s smart to screw the American people if he can legally get away with it. Just how smart? Last year he boasts that he earned $694 million. And he wont tell us how much he paid in Federal taxes, or how much he donated to charity. Was it zero? He takes in nearly 700 million, and manages to keep it all for himself by being “smart”? No wonder he doesn’t want you to see his tax returns. No wonder he wants to eliminate the Estate Tax. No wonder he wants to keep his business practices hidden, and keep all his hard-working supporters in the dark, too.”
If “pivot” means do a one-eighty, then of course a pivot by Trump has to be twice as great. And sure enough, he’s done a full 360 turn, taking him and his unfortunate watchers full circle, where we can expect him to be just as mindless and ignorant as before, but with teleprompters and a ramped up volume.
Proof? Just a few days after bringing on his new campaign leadership team, we see the “new” Trump on full-throated display, as he shouts his meaningless or outright lying claims from behind teleprompters. I mean, readers, he literally shouts, as if his voice and tone were somehow going to be anything but scary to those his campaign needs to be persuading at this late stage.
“Believe me!” he yells at African-Americans, “I’m your friend! I promise you! Trust me!” he insists, in spite of the history of the Republican Party, which has totally ignored the needs and issues of Black Americans for the past forty years and more.
Of course, we all, I hope, understand that Trump’s not really “outreaching” to all those Black voters safely not seated in his rally audiences; he’s speaking to on-the-fence White voters, ostensibly re-assuring them that he’s not really the racist his sociopath mouth has projected these past 15 months. His real message? He’s suggesting he can make up wholesale lies, undersigned by a phony promise of support for African-American concerns, then sell it to them because, as he and his white-supremacist pals will tell you, these ignorant Black voters will believe anything.
They won’t, Donald. Especially coming from you, who’ve made your racist notions and bigotry clear to all who care to listen. And, more to the point, the 95% of Black voters who support Clinton won’t simply walk away from her; they remember how she and her husband have advocated for all America’s minorities for all those same decades of Republican disdain and hate-based neglect.
Enter the Chief Executive Hatemonger
As if we needed more evidence of Trump’s willful determination to raise his campaign’s level of irrational hate and ignorance, we note how he’s turned over the leadership role to Stephen Bannon, the boss and ideological head of Breitbart News.
Trump has named Bannon as the “Campaign CEO”, although it isn’t clear what a political-type CEO might be–in our mind the “CEO” of a political race is the candidate. But in a case like this one where the candidate appears to have no brains, or will to work, or patience with campaigning, maybe turning all this boring detailed stuff over to an experienced political operations manager is a typically brilliant Trumpian move.
Stephen Bannon has exactly zero experience in directing a major political campaign, much less in turning one around that’s drifting toward the rocks. What he does have is years of experience in publishing hit jobs targeting Hillary Clinton. And years of experience running hard core right wing racist, xenophobic web sites. And a radio show specializing in promoting conspiracy theories. And the first name of Steve, to go with all those other Steves Trump recently named to his “Economics Advisory” team, even though their history is one of ripping off economies, not fixing them. Bannon’s an ideal Steve for Trump, in short.
For sure, Bannon’s a perfect choice for managing a web-based 80 day hate-burst directed at Clinton, the liberals and progressives backing her, and the huge group of Republican establishment and moderate sell-outs and traitors undermining Trump. But he’s suspect as an actual manager of a full-on national campaign team. Meaning Trump needed to also appoint an experienced political campaign manager.
Step on down, Kellyanne!
Polls going down? Leading Republicans racing for the exits? Women still strongly opposed to the man who would be il Douche? Time to turn up the nasty. Adios, Reince, Ryan, and Mc-Mc-McConnell; Bye bye, Mr. Manaflub; hello, Ms. Kellyanne Con.
Kellyanne Conway! Wow, someone with polling and campaign strategy chops! Now, we’re talking! And talking. And talking. And talking. Which she does really well, provided she is not forced to say anything factual, answer a direct question, or give a rational explanation of Trump’s latest idiotic rant or thoughtless comment. She is really something at saying nothing!
Which explains why Conway is far and away the star performer among Trump’s media surrogates. She’s so accomplished at spreading misinformation on the cable news channels that it’s surprising Trump would pull her off the air. Oh, but he needs a campaign manager, right.
But the problem is, she isn’t one. She’s a mid-rank pollster who’s never managed a campaign of any size, much less a national one. Her role will be the latest in a long, unsuccessful line of Trump whisperers, riding on the plane with him, calming his inner Beast. “Everything’s good, Mr. Trump! Forget those dozens of mean, biased polls; look at these two!…See?! The sun’s coming up, Mr. Trump! The rally tonight in Beyond Hope, Florida, will be a great success, I just know it will! But please try not to speak quite so loudly this time over the teleprompters, OK?…Yes we can sleep at Mar-a-Lago, tonight, poor tired baby.”
What we’re witnessing is supposedly a “new” Trump campaign, but what we’re actually seeing is the same old campaign, namely the non-campaign presided over by Lewandowski, then Manafort. Neither Mr. Hate nor Ms. Sunshine is going to be paying any serious attention to campaign financing, implementing a ground game, or getting the loose-lipped candidate prepped for the debate with one of the true barracuda debaters of our era.
And no, in case you’re wondering, Roger Ailes may try to coach Trump a bit before Clinton slices him up like a pouting, whining, overripe orange persimmon, but Ailes is not going to allow himself to be closely connected with the campaign; he knows it’s basically a lost cause, and he doesn’t need that after being booted from Fox.
The net result? No effective campaign means no change in the likely outcome, which Dr. Sam Wang, the best election pollster for this Truthteller’s money, this morning says is a 95% probable win for Clinton.
Yeah, yeah, I know: “We mustn’t be over-confident! He could possibly make a come-back! Florida isn’t a lock!” The first being wise, and the third being true, for now, but the second being nonsense. Confidence comes from rational, detailed analysis, assisted by solid data if one is lucky or persistent enough to have it. Overconfidence reflects the absence of qualified analysis. A comeback? A great horse may be able to make up three or four lengths with a powerful stretch run, but an inferior candidate is not going to succeed in walking back the mountain of stupid, hateful, insulting, lying, self-destructive words he’s shouted for over a year. Especially if he has to waddle all the way.
With apologies, readers, an overdue conclusion to this brief series:
My intent in this post was to contrast the dark world projected by Trump with the positive vision of Clinton and her stupendously qualified convention speakers. Then, as has happened to me and other commentators throughout this year, Trump’s motor mouth swamped my draft of “Part Three” with his unbelievably stupid attack on the parents of Captain Humayun Kahn, who died a hero’s death in Iraq in 2004.
Trump’s irrational, insensitive, unpatriotic reaction to Mr. Khizr Kahn’s stunning few words in his brief speech to the DNC just a few hours before Clinton’s acceptance speech on the last night of the convention, quickly proved to be the orange blowhard’s biggest error yet.
Like most, I was shocked; not so much at his lack of empathy and care for the incredibly brave, selfless Captain’s still-grieving parents, but at his utter lack of political smarts in launching such a self-destructive assault, one that will doubtless go down in U.S. election history as one of the three or four greatest self-inflicted campaigning disasters ever.
I confess in despair I put this post aside temporarily, and went back to my primary concern, the scale of Clinton’s coming victory, and whether or not it could give the Democrats control of both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Just as well I did, in retrospect.
For in the following two weeks, Trump has gone from unforced error to unforced error. Which, given the clownish nature of his inept campaign, should simply be funny at this point. But his post-convention performance has been anything but.
His reaction to being asked pointedly by Mr. Kahn if he, Trump, had even read our Constitution was to rage that Mr. Kahn had no right to ask him such a question, suggesting that Trump had in fact not read the document! Still grumbling about his utter humiliation by the dead war hero’s grieving parents, Trump lumbered on for several inconsequential rallies, and then suggested that “Article 2 people” might have to put a stop to President Clinton and her Supreme Court nominees.
This was classic Trump. First, tell an outright lie: Clinton wants to destroy Article Two, and take everyone’s guns away. Then rant a stream of fearspeak: for example, that we won’t have any way to defend ourselves when the home invaders come. Um, excuse me? Ohhh, right, he means the Black and Hispanic bad guys, or the Islamic terrorist secretly living in your trailer park. Then blame Clinton for the imminent attack on your family; along with every other bad thing that might happen anywhere on the planet should we foolishly elect her.
Side note to Agent Orange:
That last sentence is an example of sarcasm, Donald. You may want to make a note for future instances where you have to try and persuade us that you have been misrepresented by the evil, crooked, rigged media. Oh, and a compliment: “home invasion” is a super way to load your made-up charge against Clinton with racist innuendo.
What’s that, Donald? No, that was not a compliment, dummy: that was sarcasm. See above.
And as if that call to someone else’s arms was not enough for one week, Trump felt compelled to invent his biggest whopper yet, to try and cut off media and practically every other semi-thinking person’s negative reaction to his flippant suggestion that Clinton be assassinated.
Now, to get people of all stripes to stop talking about his seditious Article Two statement was not going to be easy. He’d need a really major charge to put forth in the national court of public opinion.
And as we all now know, Trump made up a really big one.
Thanks to his inventiveness with lying, we’ve all learned that President Obama and Secretary Clinton were — who could have imagined it?! — the founders of ISIS.
Yes, I know, the old Trump switch and bait move, just more stupidly and ineptly done this time. But it wasn’t merely laughable, reader.
Intentionally or not, over the course of 48 short hours, Trump has accused the President and Secretary Clinton of treasonous behavior. And he has called the fanatics among his well-armed supporters to be ready to set things to rights. All the while insisting to his ignorant supporters that the election is “rigged”.
Do you read this the way I am?
With his comedic, clownish jibes and lies, is Donald Trump attempting to put events in motion that could result in the murder of Hillary Clinton and others? Knowing now that he cannot win this contest, could his chaotic, adolescent, resentful, disordered brain be whispering to him that he must, to avoid being beaten by a woman, make sure that if he cannot win, then she must not, either?
A Comedy of Terrors, indeed.