Archive

November 15th, 2016

Hillary Clinton lost. Bernie Sanders could have won.

    Donald Trump's stunning victory is less surprising when we remember a simple fact: Hillary Clinton is a deeply unpopular politician. She won a hotly contested primary victory against a uniquely popular candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders. In her place, could he have beaten Trump?

    That Clinton has unusually high unfavorables has been true for decades. Indeed, it has been a steady fact of her political life. She has annually ranked among the least-liked politicians on the national stage since she was the first lady. In recent years, her low favorability rating was matched only by that of her opponent, animated hate Muppet Donald Trump. In contrast, Sanders enjoys very high popularity, ranking as the most popular senator for two years in a row. Nationally, his favorability rating is more than 10 points higher than Clinton's, and his unfavorability rating is more than 15 points lower. This popularity would have been a real asset on the campaign trail.

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Don't blame Comey for Clinton's defeat

    Donald Trump pulled off a stunning upset victory over Hillary Clinton on Tuesday night, rallying what he called the "forgotten men and women of our country" to win states such as Pennsylvania and Michigan that had not voted for a Republican presidential candidate since 1988.

    But Democrats had a simpler answer for why Clinton lost. As one Democratic strategist close to Clinton told The Post, it all came down to "one word: Comey."

    Too bad for Democrats there are zero electoral votes in the State of Denial.

    FBI Director James Comey did not use a private email server to conduct official State Department business and put 110 classified emails on that unsecured server. Comey did not fail to turn over some 14,900 emails to the FBI after assuring Americans that "I turned over everything I was obligated to turn over." Comey did not lie repeatedly about his emails -- first declaring that there was "no classified material" . . . then that there was nothing "classified at the time" . . . and then that there was nothing "marked classified" in them.

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Blocking traffic won't block Trump's agenda

    Dear Protesters:

    I'm glad you were able to march. It's empowering and cathartic and washes away some of the anxiety that the election has generated.

    I understand why you are upset. You thought your nation was moving in your direction, toward the kind of multiracial, culturally laissez-faire pluralism that you take for granted. And it was heading that way! It even elected that Obama guy! And though it doesn't count for much, Hillary Clinton still won the popular vote.

    But every action has a reaction. And the blowback this time is exceptionally fierce.

    People who feel they are losing status, and losing their hold on American culture, want to "Make America Great Again" in a way that you think is not so great. We all knew the Trump voters were really, really angry; they've been telling us so through the entire Obama presidency.

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Americans finally are receiving bigger paychecks

    Earlier this year, the U.S. Census Bureau delivered some good news. Finally, after years of what seemed like a sluggish and uncertain recovery, American incomes were rising strongly again. Median household income jumped by more than 5 percent in 2015, and the lion's share of the gains went to middle-class and lower-income folks. Employment rose strongly, and poverty fell faster than it had in any year since the 1960s. The gains were felt in both cities and rural areas.

    What's more, every age group had gains. Overall income statistics are muddled by the aging of the population. As economist Robert Shapiro has shown, the years from 2013 onward have lifted the incomes of boomers, Gen Xers, and millennials at rates that compare favorably to anything seen since 1980:

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A Time to Keep Fighting

    As I watched the unfolding electoral disaster on Tuesday night, a banner appeared on the New York Times website for the musical “Hamilton.”

    It made me wonder what Alexander Hamilton would think of the state of the nation he helped create and the man who just took the White House. But even more, it reminded me that the battle that has consumed, tormented and once almost destroyed our country is still raging.

    It is the battle between rural and urban, between those who want to keep things as they are, and those who are not part of that order and want a new one. It started when the country was born, and it has been bound up inextricably in race. It’s a battle of culture and religion, too, but race — starting with the implacable evil of slavery — has primarily driven the divisions in this country since 1789.

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A time of 'charismatic authority'

    For those of us who viewed a potential Donald Trump presidency with alarm, the only thing more troubling than his victory Tuesday is the manner in which he won.

    If Trump had run a more-or-less conventional campaign, and if it had earned him a lead in the polls for weeks before Election Day, then his triumph would have been a more-or-less normal event, in the eyes of both his supporters and his foes.

    Instead, he broke all the rules of American politics (and politesse) on his way to proving false a near-unanimous expert consensus that his election was not possible.

    As his rambling wreck of a campaign rolled on, only he and a hardy few true believers insisted to the end that he knew better, and was going to win - and, well, now no one can argue with his success.

    Therefore, this victory is also a vindication - confirmation, in the eyes of the millions who evidently wish to believe it, that "Mr. Trump" is gifted with special insight and a special connection with the people.

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Ten-Step Program for Trump Trauma

    Well, wow. We’ve got a president-elect who a great many Americans regard as the spawn of Satan. A dimwitted, meanspirited spawn embodying the nation’s worst flaws, failings and nightmares.

    But on the lighter side ...

    The question today is how to deal with the reality of Donald Trump, next president of the United States. Remember, we’re doing this for your mental health, not his.

    The bottom line is to presume the best while preparing for the worst. “They killed us but they ain’t whooped us yet,” said Tim Kaine, channeling Faulkner in one of the losing team’s biggest applause lines.

    Forget about moving abroad. Of course it sounds tempting, but you’d be surprised how many countries are unenthusiastic about acquiring new former-American citizens. The Canadians will just keep telling you about their terrific, sensible, well-adjusted young prime minister. Plus there’s that terrible housing bubble in New Zealand.

    Let’s get more practical. Here goes:

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November 12th

Who Won in 2016? Big Money.

    In one of Agatha Christie’s murder mysteries, the key clue that solved the whodunit wasn’t something that happened, but something that didn’t — specifically, a dog that didn’t bark.

    That plot fits one of the great mysteries of this year’s Trump-Clinton race for president: There was no barking at the democracy-murdering power of big corporate money in our politics.

    Record expenditures of at least $6.6 billion flooded into this national election, most of it from a handful of plutocratic interests blatantly buying controlling shares of the White House and Congress.

    That’s why a phenomenal 78 percent of the public is united in support of overturning the Supreme Court’s disastrous Citizens United decision. That ruling opened the floodgates to this corrupting torrent of cash, producing public policies that profit corporations at the expense of the common good.

    With so much at stake and such overwhelming public agreement for stopping this wholesale purchase of America’s democracy, how odd that neither major candidate barked much at Citizens United.

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Why technology may prevent Trump from delivering on his jobs promise

    As the election results rolled in last night, it became increasingly clear that America -- and the world -- would never be the same. The American people overlooked all of Republican nominee Donald Trump's faults and elected him to office in the belief that he will fix the nation's deep-seated problems of inequity and injustice. And they rebelled against the business interests and corruption that they believed Hillary Clinton represented.

    Trump's victory was enabled by technology -- everything from his use of social media to Clinton's email scandals to Russian hacking. But advancements in technology and how they reshape our economy may also keep him from delivering on some of the major promises that made him so popular during the campaign season.

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What Now?

    Many Americans feel sick Wednesday. The country they thought they knew doesn’t seem to exist. Many of them are worried in a way they never have been before. I share a lot of those worries.

    But what now?

    Here’s my immediate answer: No task has become more important than persuading a much larger number of Republicans that the health of the planet matters for their children and grandchildren too.

    Yes, of course, there are other vital issues, especially the constitutional and civil rights that Donald Trump has at times disdained. And, yes, Democrats need to begin plotting their comeback for 2018 and beyond. Yet we also need to recognize that the climate is like nothing else.

    Most issues are part of the historical push-and-pull of politics. One side makes gains; the other can reverse them later.

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