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“Donald Trump, The Candidate For The Ladies”: Trump Is Not Just Sexist, But ‘Spectacularly Sexist’

Donald Trump is ready to throw down with Hillary Clinton over the issue of sexism. Being a big fan of the ladies (at least until they hit their 40s), Trump is not going to sit back and take any criticism from Clinton on this subject:

Donald Trump on Sunday accused Hillary Clinton of unfairly trading on her gender while declaring Bill Clinton to be “fair game” as the former president hits the trail to campaign for his wife.

“She’s playing the woman’s card,” Trump said during an interview on Fox News, before turning his attention to Clinton’s husband, declaring him “fair game because his presidency was really considered to be very troubled because of all the things that she’s talking to me about.”

There are a number of things to unpack here. Is Clinton “playing the woman’s card”? Well, yes. In this campaign, much more so than when she ran in 2008, she has talked a lot about how it’s long overdue for a woman to be elected president. She has also stressed many issues that affect everyone but are particularly important to women, like family leave. And she hasn’t shown any reluctance to call out sexism when she sees it.

All of which seems perfectly legitimate to me, though you might feel differently. The truth is that for her entire time as a public figure over the last two-plus decades, Clinton has been the target of sexist venom that has no parallel in both its volume and intensity in our recent history. There are a number of ways one can react to it — ignore it, acknowledge it but pretend it doesn’t bother you, call attention to it — all of which she has done at one time or another. You can argue that no one should vote for her solely because she’s a woman, and I doubt she herself would disagree. But you can’t say it won’t be an issue if she’s the Democratic nominee.

And if Trump ends up being the Republican nominee, sexism will be a much bigger issue than it would be with any other GOP candidate. That’s because — let’s be honest here — Trump is not just sexist, but spectacularly sexist. He constantly comments on women’s appearance, treats women differently than men (you’ll remember how, during one of the debate shout-fests, he singled out Carly Fiorina: “Why does she keep interrupting everybody?”) and is plainly horrified and repulsed by women’s bodily functions, whether it’s breastfeeding, menstruation or peeing. And oh yeah, he seems to have a creepy interest in his own daughter.

You can rest assured that if Trump and Clinton are the nominees, there will be multiple occasions on which Trump will say something unbelievably sexist about Clinton or someone else, Clinton will express her outrage, and it will be the topic of extended discussion in the media. Which will serve to reinforce what a big deal it would be to have our first woman president.

But what about Bill Clinton? If you look at what Trump has said in interviews and on Twitter, he’s arguing that not only shouldn’t Hillary Clinton talk about sexism, but Bill Clinton shouldn’t even campaign for her, given his past. The idea that Clinton shouldn’t talk about sexism because she stayed with her husband after he had an affair with a 20-something White House intern has been raised before, but it doesn’t make any more sense now than it ever has. It’s not as though she ever excused his behavior, and it’s hard to believe there are too many voters who abhor sexism and will vote against Hillary Clinton because of her husband’s personal failings.

When Bill Clinton campaigns for her, that’s not going to be what he talks about, and when he does get asked about it, he’ll surely dodge the question with little difficulty. And on the whole, Bill will be an effective surrogate for her. He’ll be able to remind everyone of the successes of his presidency, particularly on the economy, and while Hillary may not be able to claim credit for them, she can certainly argue that she’ll be following a similar approach that will produce similar results.

Yes, there will be questions about his post-presidential activities and what he’ll be doing if he becomes First Spouse. And there’s always the chance that in the heat of political battle he could make mistakes, as he did at certain points in 2008. But Bill Clinton remains extraordinarily popular — in fact, he’s almost certainly the most popular partisan political figure in America. In a national Bloomberg poll last month, 60 percent of Americans said they had a favorable opinion of him (well ahead of the much-improved 45 percent George W. Bush got).

You can argue that candidates’ gender shouldn’t matter at all, or that while it would be good to have a woman president, Hillary Clinton shouldn’t be that woman. But what you can’t say is that Donald Trump is the candidate to support if you want to strike a blow against the kind of sexism Hillary Clinton represents. The only person crazy enough to believe that is Donald Trump.


By: Paul Waldman, Senior Writer, The American Prospect; Contributor, The Plum Line Blog, The Washington Post, December 28, 2015

December 29, 2015 Posted by | Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Sexism, Women | , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Discarding The Playbook”: Can A Campaign That Breaks Every Rule Still Win?

About four months ago, the University of Virginia’s Larry Sabato, a prominent political scientist, co-authored a piece on Donald Trump’s electoral prospects. “If Trump is nominated,” the analysis said, “then everything we think we know about presidential nominations is wrong. History has shown that presidential nominations tend to follow a certain set of ‘rules.’”

And in Trump’s case, those rules are being challenged in ways without modern precedent. Sabato focused on some key structural and institutional constraints, but one of the “rules” appears especially important now: “[A] likely nominee needs a layered, professional organization that has been carefully constructed at the national level and in each of the early critical states.”

It’s important at this stage to appreciate how far short Team Trump is falling on this front. The New York Times ran a piece the other day that surprised me – because while I knew Trump was blazing his own trail, I didn’t fully understand the degree to which he’s breaking with Campaign 101 orthodoxy.

His advisers have not revealed the existence of any pollsters on their staff or any advertising team. He has no real research operation to examine his own vulnerabilities or those of his opponents and, based on Federal Election Commission filings, little in the way of a voter contact operation to identify and turn out his supporters. […]

[He] has conspicuously opted against spending in conventional ways that could fortify his lead or harm weak rivals, discarding the playbook that winning candidates have used for many decades.

A Washington Post article added over the weekend, “[J]ust as Trump doesn’t spend money on pollsters or focus groups, the campaign has yet to purchase databases of potential voters, a key organizing tool used by most campaigns. Instead of buying such a tool from a private contractor, the campaign has compiled its own database using contact information from every rally attendee, either when they registered online or showed up at the door.”

Not to put too fine a point on this, but as national campaign strategies go, this appears to be bonkers.

We’re not talking about exotic, outside-the-box expenditures. Bakers understand that to make a good loaf of bread, they’re going to need some flour. Guitarists understand that to perform a good song, they’ll need a set of strings. And modern, competitive presidential campaigns – in both parties – understand that to compete nationally and in early nominating contests, candidate invest in some basic elements.

Team Trump simply isn’t making these investments, evidently because the candidate and his aides believe they don’t have to.

At a certain level, Trump and his backers may not see any real value in traditional campaign “rules.” Indeed, breaking those rules may serve as a point of pride. It’s a “movement” in which the Old Way is being replaced with the Trump Way. And if the polls are correct, why mess with success?

The answer, or at least one possible answer, is that the race is entering a more difficult phase, and if Trump lacks necessary infrastructure, he won’t be able to capitalize on his dominant position in the polls.

Over the weekend, the Washington Post highlighted a middle-aged Iowa couple, Bonnie and Randy Reynolds, who’ve bought “Make America Great Again” hats, put on the Trump T-shirts, and who are ready to support the GOP candidate “100 percent.”

So, obviously, the couple plan to caucus for Trump on Feb. 1?

“We’re going to see,” Reynolds said. “With kids and grandkids and all this, it’s kind of hectic…. We’ll look into it. If our time is available, then yeah, maybe we’ll do it. Maybe. We’ll have to see.”

A meaningful campaign infrastructure takes shape in order to make sure folks like Bonnie and Randy Reynolds show up at the campaign rally and at the caucuses.

Trump’s rivals have tried and failed to find ways to slow the frontrunner’s momentum, but perhaps the more pertinent question at this point is whether Trump has found ways to undermine his own chances by choosing such a deliberately nontraditional path.


By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, December 28, 2015

December 29, 2015 Posted by | Campaign Organization, Donald Trump, GOP Presidential Candidates | , , , , | 1 Comment

“Marco Rubio’s Big Problem — And His Party’s”: It’s Sort Of Like Being Cured Of Your Electoral Syphilis By Contracting Gonorrhea

Believe it or not, the Iowa caucuses are just over a month away. And Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) — establishment darling and the cognoscenti’s assumed front-runner — is heading to Iowa for a bus tour, bringing along a shiny new endorsement from Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, head of the special committee on Benghazi. Can you feel the excitement?

Probably not, which is why this is an excellent demonstration of Rubio’s problem, and the problem the GOP is facing as the actual voting approaches. While everyone waits for the voters to finally figure out that they ought to be supporting Rubio, the only candidate who at the moment looks like he might be able to defeat Donald Trump is Ted Cruz. From the perspective of the party’s fortunes in the general election, that would be sort of like being cured of your electoral syphilis by contracting gonorrhea.

On one hand, it’s understandable that the Rubio campaign would try to make a big deal out of Gowdy’s support, since Republican politicians have been stingy with endorsements this year and Gowdy is well-liked among his colleagues on Capitol Hill. But when Trump dismissed the endorsement by saying that Gowdy’s Benghazi hearings were “a total disaster,” you could almost hear Republican voters nodding in agreement. The special committee was just one more iteration of the pattern that has Republican voters so disgusted with their Washington leadership: touted as the vehicle to bring down Hillary Clinton, it ended up backfiring and doing nothing but make Republicans look foolish. So once again, Capitol Hill Republicans overpromised and showed their constituents that they’re ineffectual. It’s hard to imagine that too many base voters, in Iowa or anywhere else, are going to say, “Well, if Trey Gowdy likes Marco Rubio, that’s good enough for me.”

For a contrast, look at the Iowa endorsements Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) has gotten. There’s Rep. Steve King, who’s an embarrassment to the national party but is also perhaps the single most anti-immigrant member of Congress, a good thing to be right now (particularly given that immigration is Rubio’s area of greatest vulnerability among primary voters). There’s Bob Vander Plaats of the Family Leader, probably the state’s most influential evangelical activist. And there’s Steve Deace, the state’s most important conservative talk radio host. It’s an anti-establishment triumvirate, each with a genuine ability to bring voters along with them, all backing Cruz.

Of course, as much of a boost as a candidate can get from winning Iowa, it doesn’t guarantee anything, as Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, the winners of the last two caucuses, can attest. (Little-known fact: both Huckabee and Santorum are running for president this year.) But unlike them, Cruz has laid a foundation in money and organization to take advantage of all the attention a win in Iowa would produce.

If you’re a Rubio supporter, you’re probably frustrated with the fact that your party’s base seems stubbornly unwilling to recognize Rubio’s obvious advantages for the general election. By now, a vigorous debate about electability should have been in full swing, with Republican voters trying to determine which candidate would have the greatest appeal to independent voters and do best against Hillary Clinton. But that discussion has been pretty quiet, for the simple reason that the voters don’t seem to care very much. They’re angry about the state of the country and they’re fed up with their party’s leadership, so telling them that Rubio has more crossover potential than Cruz isn’t going to be all that persuasive.

So Marco Rubio can have Trey Gowdy vouch for him, but at this moment, and for the purposes of the election’s first contest, it probably won’t do any good. That isn’t to say that things won’t change — it never hurts to remind ourselves that the voting hasn’t started yet, and there will almost certainly be a few twists and turns before the party picks its nominee. But the anger of the Republican base at the party’s leadership has all along been the driving force of this campaign, and that’s one thing that probably isn’t going to change. The question is who can best turn it to their advantage.


By: Paul Waldman, Senior Writer, The American Prospect; Contributor, The Plum Line Blog, The Washington Post, December 28, 2015

December 29, 2015 Posted by | Establishment Republicans, Iowa Caucuses, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Ethical Canons? So Much For Promises”: Tamir Rice Decision Shows; You Can Get Away With Murder

You can get away with murder.

You can shoot a child in an open park. You can lie about the incident. You can refuse to cooperate with investigators. You can, if a Cuyahoga County prosecutor and grand jury are to be believed, escape indictment even when the entire episode is captured on videotape.

Tamir Rice did not deserve to die. The man who killed him, Cleveland police officer Timothy Loehmann, will never spend a day in prison.

It has been 13 months since Rice was gunned at a Cudell Recreation Center last winter. He was carrying a toy gun, playing imagery games in the snow Nov. 22, 2014, when someone dialed 911 to report a “guy with a gun.” The dispatcher was advised that the “gun” was likely a toy.

Authorities promised a full and fair investigation. In the end, after months of fact-finding, a grand jury refused to indict Officer Loehmann or his partner Frank Garmback, even though the shooting was initially ruled a homicide.

Loehmann shot Rice once in the torso. But that wasn’t his only misdeed that night. Even after he and Garmback realized their mistake—after it dawned on them that Rice was a child, not a “guy,” armed with a toy, not a “gun”—neither man rendered medical aid, as the boy lay mortally wounded on the concrete.

When Rice’s older sister struggled to get to his side, they handcuffed and stuffed her into the back of their cruiser— rather than address her with the compassion she deserved. And, while Tamir lay dead in the morgue, the officers filed criminal charges against him.

During a press conference Monday, Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty said he recommended that the panel decline to indict. McGinty claims that the officer’s actions were “not criminal,” but the result of “a perfect storm of errors.”

The grand jury, which has been meeting since October, agreed with McGinty.

But, who can believe the words of a man who once accused a grieving mother of attempting to profit from their child’s death?

“The law gives the benefit of the doubt to the officer who must make split-second decisions,” he told reporters, “when they reasonably believe their lives or those of innocent bystanders are in danger.”

“The Supreme Court,” McGinty proclaimed, “prohibits second-guessing police tactics.”

Throughout the Monday press conference, McGinty repeatedly referred to a “guy with a gun.” That “guy” was a boy who hadn’t been on his first date yet, never kissed a girl and now will never get married or have children of his own. He didn’t get the benefit of the doubt. Rice will not get a second chance or the opportunity to second-guess the actions of that officer.

A surveillance video shows Loehmann, the patrolman, a rookie with a troubled training record, shooting Rice within two seconds of encountering him. The shots rang out even before Garmback could bring the squad car to a full stop. Loehmann, according to investigators, ordered Tamir to drop his weapon—an AirSoft pellet gun that was tucked in his pants—multiple times. At least, that was the claim. But there was simply no time for him to have uttered those words, no time for Tamir to respond, no time for him to understand what was happening to him.

The gun was out of the holster before Loehmann got out of the car. Rice died the next day during surgery.

McGinty said during his press conference that Rice must have been scared. Maybe Loehmann was too. The question is: Was that fear “reasonable”? Would an appropriately trained and skilled police officer have made the same call? How did a police trainee fail multiple field and firearms tests and then go on to get a job with a neighboring department? When will that investigation begin?

It is nearly impossible to come up with any sympathy for Loehmann. He and Garmback no doubt spent Christmas with their respective families. Samira Rice, Tamir’s mother, spent that day—as she will every other—without her son.

“The death of Tamir Rice was an absolute tragedy,” McGinty explained. “But it was not, as the law that binds us, a crime…Bringing charges would violate the ethical canons” of the justice system.

We should not be surprised at the outcome.

Criminal charges against a police officer, suspected of brutalizing or killing a suspect, are extraordinarily rare—in Ohio and everywhere else in the country. When there is an indictment, the probability of a conviction is even smaller.

Convincing 12 people that a member of law enforcement acted with illegal force in the killing of a suspect is a steep hill to climb. When the officer is white and victim is black, the pathway to justice grows that much steeper.

However, if the roles had been reversed—if Tamir (who officers believed was in his “20s”) had shot a plainclothes Loehmann in a park because he feared for his life— we would have seen an indictment within days. Even in an open-carry state, Tamir would likely have been charged as an adult.

“We have never seen a prosecutor try so hard to lose a case,” said Jonathan S. Abady, a Rice family attorney, told The New York Times. The officers were reportedly allowed to read personal statements to the grand jury panel “without being cross-examined.”

McGinty is wrong. The law “that binds us” says a boy should be able to play in a public park without the fear of being shot. Failure to aggressively seek charges against the police officers involved violates “the ethical canons” of the justice system.


By: Goldie Taylor, The Daily Beast, December 28, 2015

December 29, 2015 Posted by | Criminal Justice System, Tamir Rice, Timothy Loehmann, Timothy McGinty | , , , , , | 1 Comment


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