Archive

August 22nd, 2016

Trump is tanking among women and college-educated whites

    Two states very much worth watching as signs for the Trump-pocalypse are Virginia and Colorado. They both represent, in somewhat different ways, the demographic challenges that Republicans face in national elections these days -- challenges that Trump is making a whole lot worse.

    A new batch of Quinnipiac polls neatly illustrates the dynamic. They find that Hillary Clinton is leading Trump among likely voters in Virginia by 50-38, and leading in Colorado by 49-39. In Iowa, a less diverse Midwestern state, it's much closer, with Clinton ahead by 47-44.

    But it's the numbers among key demographics that are really striking. In both Virginia and Colorado, Clinton holds huge leads over Trump among women and college-educated whites. Notably, in both states, more than 60 percent of both these voter groups have strongly unfavorable views of Trump. Not just unfavorable views of Trump. Strongly unfavorable views of him.

    The numbers in Virginia:

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Holding Trump to a lower standard

    The debate over Donald Trump's tax returns overlooks an important point: The lack of any mechanism to require presidential candidates to disclose their returns means that our system holds candidates for the nation's highest office to a much lower standard than many applicants for lesser federal positions.

    Dozens of nominees to Cabinet- and sub-Cabinet-level positions in the Treasury Department, Social Security Administration, Department of Homeland Security, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and other agencies are required to submit their tax returns to the Senate, where they are reviewed by the relevant Senate committee, sometimes working with the Joint Committee on Taxation.

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Gretchen Carlson is close to settling her case against Ailes; let's hope she doesn't

    For Gretchen Carlson, a big settlement in her sexual harassment lawsuit against Roger Ailes might be the best outcome personally.

    The former Fox News host would get to make her point, pick up an eight-figure check, pay her legal bills and move on with her life, which includes raising two middle-school-age children.

    But, although I wish her well, I hope that she doesn't do that.

    Already, the righteous wound she has inflicted on a misogynistic culture has begun to scab over. There are signs that not much has changed or will change. Consider:

    -Ailes is out of Fox, but the longtime news executive reportedly is re-emerging as a consultant to Donald Trump's presidential campaign.

    -Fox News apparently has not cleaned house in any substantial way, and there are signs that it has no intention of doing so.

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Donald Trump, Omar Mateen's father and the question of belonging

    In the course of American history, a relatively shortlist of naturalized citizens have been stripped of their U.S. citizenship and the rights that come with it, then forced out of the country.

    These individuals have, in the eyes of the U.S. government, so violated the laws of this country, so completely embraced an ideology counter to national interests or offered such critical support to enemy causes, that the pact between the individual and the nation has been irrevocably broken. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump may have just offered a potential addendum to that list.

    His name is Seddique Mateen. He is the father of Omar Mateen, the gunman who shot and killed 49 people in an Orlando gay nightclub. Seddique Mateen is also a naturalized U.S. citizen, spotted at a Hillary Clinton campaign event last week. And he's a man about whom Trump was speaking during a Fox News town hall aired Wednesday night when the GOP nominee said he would "throw him out."

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A socialist hankering for a lakefront view

    As his campaign for president gathered steam, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, went on CNBC and challenged the business news network's audience.

    "You can't just continue growth for the sake of growth in a world in which we are struggling with climate change and all kinds of environmental problems. All right?" he said. "You don't necessarily need a choice of 23 underarm spray deodorants or of 18 different pairs of sneakers when children are hungry in this country. I don't think the media appreciates the kind of stress that ordinary Americans are working on."

    What a surprise, then, to learn last week that the Bern and his wife, Jane, have determined that what they need is a third piece of residential real estate.

    To go with places they already own in Washington and their hometown of Burlington, Vermont, the Sanders family has purchased a vacation home on an island in Lake Champlain. Price: $575,000, nearly triple the average cost of a house in the Green Mountain State.

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A memoir from inside Donald Trump's base

    When I caught up with J.D. Vance, he still sounded a bit bemused by the success of his colorfully titled book, "Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and a Culture in Crisis."

    "I was just hoping to get some attention," he told me in a telephone chat as he prepared for a network TV appearance in Washington. "I wasn't expecting nearly this much attention."

    No, but nobody was expecting Donald Trump to be the Republican presidential nominee, either -- especially not as a populist hero to a base of white working-class, non-college-educated voters.

    That's why, although Trump's name appears nowhere in Vance's book, it quickly rose to Amazon's top 10 amid glowing reviews as a narrative that helps to explain Trump's surprising appeal to the white underclass, the underprivileged group from which its author emerged.

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Why Blacks Loathe Trump

    So now Donald Trump is campaigning for the black vote. (Long, awkward pause.)

    Like so much of what Trump has said and done, this new outreach forces writers like me to conduct scatological studies, framing Trump’s actions in their historical and intellectual absurdity.

    But, here we go.

    Trump, who got a shocking 1 percent of support among black voters in a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, has been urged to reach out to black voters.

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Who would win a global currency war today? No one: Satyajit Das

    It's been a year since a sudden, 1.9 percent decline in the Chinese yuan rattled global markets and prompted fears of a global currency war. China has mostly soothed nerves by moderating the renminbi's swoon since then. But what should really put minds to rest is the knowledge that no one -- not even China, which arguably did power its rise, at least in part, on the back of an artificially depressed yuan -- could win a true currency war today.

    The temptation to gain an advantage over competitors with a cheaper currency hasn't diminished, of course. First and foremost, devaluation holds out the promise of boosting exports by making them less expensive. Where a country has substantial external borrowing in its own currency, a weaker currency also engineers a transfer of wealth from foreign savers, as the value of those securities falls in dollar terms. Devaluation may also stimulate inflation as the higher cost of imported products pushes up price levels.

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Unpopularity of presidential candidates harms both party brands

    Much has been written of the damage Donald Trump has done to the Republican Party brand with his disruptive rhetoric and antics. But Hillary Clinton may also have put the Democratic Party brand in some peril with her secretive and evasive ways.

    Clinton's unfavorable poll ratings may have a severely negative impact on the down-ballot fight for control of both the House and Senate this fall, as she strives to reclaim a working majority in a Congress for the Democrats. In GOP hands, Congress has plagued President Obama for six of his nearly eight years in the Oval Office.

    If the strong Republican disfavor of Clinton bordering on hate generates a massive focus on maintaining party majorities in the Senate and especially in the House in November, as president she could face a continuation of the Republican legislative obstructionism that doomed much of the Obama agenda for so long.

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The whopping $1.2 trillion omission in Trump's tax reform plan

    When Donald Trump made his widely ballyhooed economic policy speech to the Detroit Economic Club last week, people came away with the idea that he was endorsing the tax reform plan recently proposed by House Republicans.

    But it turns out that he isn't endorsing one of the plan's major provisions - something that seems to have gone pretty much unnoticed.

    When you ask the right question - as I did - you find out that there's a 10-digit difference between Trump's proposal and the one House Republicans unveiled in June.

    We're talking a difference of $1.2 trillion. Even by the standards of today's big numbers and hyperbolic rhetoric, that's serious money.

    Let's step back, and I'll show you what I'm talking about.

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