Archive

October 29th, 2016

How angry does Donald Trump make me? Angry enough to steal 40 Trump signs.

    I committed a crime this month, along with two of my friends. I'm not the lawbreaking type. In fact, as a 52-year-old mom, my life is pretty predictable and boring. But this election, a particular candidate's boasts about women pushed me over the edge.

    In the suburban, upper-middle-class part of Maine where I live, Republicans and Democrats live together mostly in harmony. In every election cycle, there's some tension. But the 2016 presidential campaign has been different. Tensions in my town are running at a fevered pitch.

    Which is how three middle-aged moms came to be running down the road, tearing up the Donald Trump signs along our version of Main Street. We'd been talking about the infamous Billy Bush tape and the women who have since come forward to share their own stories of abuse. We were angry. Getting Trump's name off our median strip seemed like the best way to express our rage.

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Hillary Clinton’s Resounding Mandate

    I hear two observations about the 2016 presidential race so incessantly that they’re like hit songs at peak ubiquity. The lyrics are seared into my brain.

    One is that the Republican and Democratic nominees leave voters with no real choice. That’s nuts, because it implies that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are equally unpalatable and it misunderstands “choice” as profoundly as Trump misreads polls. He and Clinton may not be the political buffet of our dreams. But one entree is perilous, while the other has tired ingredients in a suboptimal sauce. Salmonella or salmon with cucumber and dill: That’s a choice. I know what I’m putting on my plate.

    The other observation is that when Clinton is elected — sorry, if Clinton is elected — she’ll have shaky authority and murky marching orders, because she’ll be the beneficiary of an anti-Trump vote, not a pro-Clinton one. This, too, misses the mark. Even if we grant that voters aren’t so much rushing to her as fleeing him, they’re fleeing for specific reasons. They’re expressing particular values. Those reasons and values are her marching orders, and there’s nothing murky about them.

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Higher education should be a public good, not a private commodity

    The ideal of higher education as a public good - once inextricably linked to the American Dream - has been all but abandoned in favor of the college degree as a private commodity. The narrow focus on earning power, coinciding with demographic shifts in the number and diversity of college students, has fueled the understanding of college as a purely private benefit rather than a good for all.

    Our colleges should instead be seen as a means of strengthening our democracy as well as bolstering our nation's economy. The next president should work with leaders in higher education to reclaim the mission of higher education, which should allow us to pinpoint the costly factors that are driving up prices and crowding out under-served student populations.

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Federal student aid shouldn't be a blank check for state budgets

    The United States will never successfully address rising college prices if the federal government continues to go it alone on higher education funding.

    Each year, the U.S. Education Department hands out around $120 billion in grants and loans to students. This financial aid makes it possible for students to seize educational opportunities that would otherwise be out of their grasp. But for colleges - and especially states - this federal aid is a blank check.

    Unlike other types of federal funding, such as K-12 education or health care for low-income individuals, states and institutions are not expected to match student financial aid dollars with their own. Nor are they required to ensure this federal financial aid does not displace other state or institutional aid or cover any out-of-pocket tuition prices students face.

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Donald Trump, Alien to All That’s Great

    It’s taken me a while to put my finger on exactly what political label best describes Donald Trump as his presidential campaign snarls and spits to a finish. I think I’ve finally got it: Donald Trump is a “legal alien.”

    That’s right, the man who has spent the last year railing against those dastardly “illegal aliens” supposedly wreaking havoc on our country turns out to be a legal alien — someone born in America but whose values are completely alien to all that has made this country great.

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Donald Trump will claim the election was stolen. This new poll shows GOP voters may believe him.

    There's a simple reason Donald Trump keeps claiming that rampant voter fraud ensures a rigged election whose outcome will be illegitimate, if he loses: Republican voters, and Trump supporters, are inclined to believe him.

    The Public Religion Research Institute released a remarkable new poll Tuesday morning that confirms the point. It finds that a huge majority of Republican respondents say voter fraud is a bigger problem than restricted access to voting is. And there is a striking racial divide on this question as well -- more on that in a moment.

    The poll finds that among Americans overall, only 43 percent have a great deal of confidence that their votes will be counted accurately. That's unfortunate, to be sure. Meanwhile, the partisan divide is notable: 55 percent of Democrats have a great deal of confidence in the vote counting, while 44 percent of Republicans and 41 percent of Trump supporters feel the same way.

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It's time to go after tax-dodging companies

    Front and center in the presidential campaign is tax avoidance by very wealthy individuals such as Donald Trump and highly profitable corporations such as Apple.

    Use of unjustified tax loopholes by individuals and tax havens by multinational corporations has been tolerated for too long. Trump's tax-avoidance schemes will remain at least partially hidden as long as he gets away with keeping his tax returns secret. But Apple's tax gimmicks are well known.

    The profits from Apple's overseas sales of products designed and developed in the United States should be taxed in the United States. But Apple has until now dodged such U.S. taxes by transferring the rights to its intellectual property to itself in Ireland, through shell "subsidiaries" with few employees and little physical presence or tangible economic activity.

    Apple even had the chutzpah to claim those Irish subsidiaries had no obligation to pay taxes anywhere, other than the token less than 1 percent it paid to Ireland under a special arrangement.

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Dear Republican Voters...

    You are a Republican.

    You believe President Barack Obama has been a disappointment if not a failure. You think Hillary Clinton is wrong on most issues, and you worry about her judgment.

    You are agonizing about what to do this year, and I understand why. Donald Trump is clearly distasteful. Yet he at least seems likely to appoint conservative judges and sign Republican bills. So what are you supposed to do?

    Allow me to tell you about my grandparents.

    They grew up as middle-class children of the Depression in Philadelphia. My grandmother was a star athlete who went on to raise a tightly knit family filled with laughter. My outgoing grandfather first sold pens door to door and later sold ads for The Saturday Evening Post and Business Week.

    My grandparents believed in American business, and they were small-c conservative. They voted Republican, year after year.

    Until 1964.

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Why voters want Trump is a question deserving serious reflection

    With Donald Trump's chances of winning the White House narrowing, it's not too soon to ask: If Hillary Clinton wins the presidency in November, what attitude should Democrats and Republicans alike take toward Trump voters? It will be tempting to excoriate or patronize them, or to woo them to your cause. But all of these approaches would be mistaken. A much better strategy -- for both parties -- is to engage in selective memory, and to treat Trump voters as though the whole sorry episode of his candidacy never occurred.

    That may seem counterintuitive, especially because there's no doubt that Trump's candidacy shows the system needs fixing. But it's based on the solid intuition that Trump voters, many of them alienated already from mainstream party politics, will only be further alienated by anything that associates them with a candidate whose brand was victory and who delivered defeat.

    Even assuming a convincing Clinton win, many, many Americans are going to vote for Trump on Nov. 8. They will do so for various reasons, and I don't want to make the mistake of assuming that those reasons can be captured in a few sentences.

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October 28th

As Donald Trump stares a loss in the face, even his favorite lies are failing him

    Donald Trump has begun to contemplate the unthinkable: he might lose. At a rally in Florida on Sunday, Trump lapsed into an uncharacteristic moment of self-doubt, diverging from his script to wonder aloud whether running for president was a good idea: "I'll let you know on the evening of November 8th." And two days earlier, Trump actually uttered the words, "if I lose. . ." before trailing off.

    Nonetheless, Trump continues to repeat his favorite lies with supreme confidence in their effectiveness. In his last few appearances, Trump again claimed that rampant voter fraud ensures a rigged election, that the media is in on the conspiracy to rig the outcome, that Clinton is physically weaker and sicker than we all think she is, and that Clinton has been allowed to skate on lawbreaking that should have disqualified her from running at all.

    New polling from ABC News suggests these lies are failing him.

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