Archive

October 6th, 2016

It's all about the heart, not the head, for the average Trump supporter

    Explaining Donald Trump's appeal sits at the heart of understanding not only this election but, more broadly, the electorate that has produced this most unlikely of presidential candidates.

    The easy answer - and the one favored by many Democrats - is racism. Racial animus, they argue, is the thread that ties all of Trump's support together. I don't buy that. Sure, there is an element of racially coded language employed by Trump, and, without doubt, there are avowed racists who support him. But is everyone who supports Trump a racist? I find that very hard to believe.

    On MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Friday, Chris Matthews gave the best explanation of what's behind Trump's appeal that I've heard in this entire election.

    Here's the key bit:

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When Whites Just Don’t Get It, Part 7

    Let me raise an uncomfortable topic: We all know that in some fundamental way, this presidential campaign is in part about race.

    Supporters of Donald Trump are more likely than other voters to tell pollsters that blacks are “lazy,” “violent” and “unintelligent.” Four out of five Trump backers say that discrimination against whites is as big a problem as discrimination against blacks. And only 39 percent of Trump supporters believe that President Barack Obama was born in the United States.

    Polling and analysis by The Economist found that Trump is propelled in part by a wave of white “racial resentment” that blacks are coddled whiners, protected by a stifling political correctness.

    As for Trump himself, we shouldn’t lightly call anyone a racist, but he has compiled such a comprehensive record of discrimination and bigotry over 45 years that I don’t know what else to call him.

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Trump’s Pathetic Fraternity

    Over decades of writing about politics, I’ve crossed paths with many candidates and office holders who impressed me, but few who blew me away.

    Chris Christie blew me away. This was 3 1/2 years ago, well before all the trouble. The New Jersey governor was addressing a group of education reformers. And he did what looks easy until you try it yourself: talked without notes, slogans, stammers or any other clumsiness for close to a half-hour. It was too specific a speech to be one that he’d pulled from memory; he was thinking on his feet, in shapely paragraphs. He radiated conviction. He oozed authority.

    What in God’s name happened to him? To his potential? Yes, yes, I know: the George Washington Bridge happened. And the downgrade of New Jersey’s credit rating happened — again and again and again.

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October 5th

Sept. 11 families may not be able to sue after all

    The fate of the Sept. 11 families' lawsuit against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia may depend on the Partridge family. The Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, enacted by Congress on Thursday over President Barack Obama's veto, is supposed to let the suit go forward. But for the federal courts to have legal authority, the families will most likely have to show that the Sept. 11 attacks were "effects" of actions taken by the Saudi government. And the leading U.S. Supreme Court case governing what counts as effects involved the actress Shirley Jones, known for her role as Shirley Partridge in the 1970s show "The Partridge Family." Jones sued a writer and editor for the National Enquirer where she lived in California over a libelous article that was written in Florida.

    The legal issues are technical, but they're important for whether the act is a real threat to Saudi Arabia or merely an empty symbolic gesture by Congress. The Saudis clearly think the threat is meaningful. And the president argued in vetoing the law that it would set a bad precedent for other countries that want to allow suits against the U.S. government. But none of this will matter much if there's a loophole that ensures the Sept. 11 suit can't go forward.

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My grandfather and the First Amendment

    "All things considered, it would seem like a good idea to write about my dog," wrote James T. Neal.

    It was Tuesday, July 20, 1965. Neal was editor of the Noblesville Daily Ledger, a small Indiana newspaper. The day before, he had been arrested and charged with contempt of court for a column he had written criticizing a judge's new policy to crack down on traffic violations.

    The case made local, then national headlines: "Editor at Noblesville Raps Judge; Arrested" (Rushville Daily Republican of Rushville, Ind.); "Charge of Contempt Filed Against Editor" (Indianapolis Star); "Irked Jurist Has Editor Arrested" (The News-Palladium of Benton Harbor, Michigan).

    Neal had not expected to make national news defending freedom of the press. He had not expected his "County Line" column to make news of any kind. As he told the Kokomo Morning Times, "I write a 700-word piece for the County Line almost daily so I never know what to expect from each paragraph."

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Girl Talk at Trump Tower

    Let’s stop being so hard on Donald Trump.

    He has done us an enormous public service.

    After this down-and-dirty battle of the sexes, we will never look at gender in politics the same way.

    For centuries, women were seen as unfit to hold public office. Ambition, power and business were the province of men. Unlike gossipy feminine chatter in the parlor, manly discourse was considered impersonal, unemotional, forthright and reasonable.

    Every minute of every day, Trump debunks that old “science” when he shows that the gossipy, backbiting, scolding, mercurial, overly emotional, shrewish, menopausal one in this race is not the woman.

    Trump is surrounded by a bitchy sewing circle of overweight men who are overwrought at the prospect of a distaff Clinton presidency.

    Newt Gingrich, Chris Christie, Roger Ailes and Rudy Giuliani are the Really Desperate Housewives of Trumpworld. They are so shrill that Trump sometimes needs to remind them that he’s the Queen Bee.

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A Trump victory may lead to reconstruction of the racist past

    How about we hold off on dancing in the end zone in celebration of the new National Museum of African American History and Culture? And let's quit wasting time in pursuit of black celebrityhood. What about the danger staring us in the face?

    The prospect of a Donald Trump White House presents African-Americans with the most consequential presidential election since the 1876 race between Republican Rutherford B. Hayes and Democrat Samuel J. Tilden. That 19th-century contest ultimately derailed efforts to extend the full rights and privileges of citizenship to freed African-Americans. Unless folks of color get off our duffs, history may well repeat itself.

    To recall, the 1876 election wound up in an electoral-college dispute over ballot returns from three Southern states under Reconstruction control. To break the stalemate, Republican surrogates of Hayes met with a delegation of Southern Democrats to hammer out a deal: The Southerners would not stand in the way of a Hayes victory if Hayes agreed to withdraw all federal troops from the South, thus leaving former slaves unprotected.

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How Could Anyone Vote for Trump?

    That first debate seems to have helped Hillary Clinton move ahead of Donald Trump in the polls. However, I know that many of you are asking yourselves: Why is this even a question?

    Why isn’t she leading 3-to-1? This is not a normal race between a Democrat and a Republican. One of the candidates has made it clear that he has no attention span or self-control. World security experts in both parties are terrified by the idea of a Trump presidency. He’s screwed small contractors in his business dealings and bought dumb presents for himself with money from his charitable foundation — a charitable foundation, by the way, that appears to have been managed by a team of gerbils. Also, he keeps changing his positions on critical issues and has paid settlements to people alleging he discriminated against them on the basis of race or not being attractive enough.

    And you know that’s just the beginning.

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Trump's last tweet?

           Donald J. Trump has performed a genuine service to our nation. He has now driven home, in a way no apologist, enabler or timid analyst can plausibly deny, that he is far too nasty, immature and frighteningly undisciplined to be president.

     And thanks to Hillary Clinton for the assist: By using the first debate to bring up the case of a Miss Universe who, Trump decided, had put on too much weight, the Democratic nominee unleashed the ugly inner Donald -- the man whom the candidate and his handlers have been trying to hide.

     This should be a wakeup call to political analysts who have gone out of their way since Trump first announced his candidacy to pretend that he was the ingenious creator of a political special sauce who deserved our respect for "speaking his mind." No, Trump all along has been a clinically self-involved con man who never took the issues, the presidency or the future of our country seriously. Can there be any doubt that his campaign is a branding exercise gone, quite literally, mad?

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How Donald Trump gets stop-and-frisk wrong

    As with many topics, Donald Trump doesn't know much about the policing policy widely known as "stop and frisk," but that doesn't deter him one bit from Trump-splaining it to us with unbridled self-confidence.

    The policy, which involves warrantless stops of people who are suspected of criminal activity to search them for weapons, became a highlight in Republican Trump's first debate with his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton.

    As his lack of preparation quickly became apparent, the reality-TV star tried to make up for it with a flurry of exciting half-truths and overgeneralizations. He called for Chicago in particular to begin using "stop-and-frisk" tactics to put the brakes on what he has been calling a "crime wave."

    He apparently didn't know that Chicago, like his native New York, has not abandoned stop-and-frisk. The city only has tried to make it less racially and ethnically discriminatory, a policy with which Trump has not shown himself to be very impressed.

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