mykeystrokes.com

"Do or Do not. There is no try."

“Simply No Equivalence”: Trump’s Poll Numbers Are Historically Awful. And He Doesn’t Even Know It

Donald Trump’s slide in the national polls is becoming so obvious that even he may not be able to deny it for much longer. Or will he?

Politico’s Steven Shepard has a good analysis of all the recent polling that makes two basic points. First, the polls now “unanimously” show that Hillary Clinton is building a real lead over Trump. And second, a look at all the recent polls showing him upside down — which are detailed at length in the piece — reveals that Trump’s personal unfavorable numbers are not just bad. They are actually “setting modern records for political toxicity.”

But there are two additional key points. First, note the intensity of dislike of Trump:

It’s not just the overall unfavorable numbers — it’s the intensity of the antipathy toward Trump, and the lack of enthusiasm for him. In the ABC News/Washington Post poll, 56 percent of respondents had a “strongly unfavorable” opinion of Trump, compared to just 15 percent who had a “strongly favorable” opinion. In the Bloomberg poll, 51 percent had a “very unfavorable” opinion of Trump, with only 11 percent having a “very favorable” opinion.

And the second key point is that, while Hillary Clinton is also disliked, there is just no comparison to Trump:

Clinton’s image ratings are also “upside-down” — but compared with Trump, she’s more than likable enough. The ABC News/Washington Post poll pegs her favorable rating at 43 percent (25 percent strongly favorable), with 55 percent viewing her unfavorably (39 percent strongly unfavorable).

Crucially, note that in the WaPo and Bloomberg polls, a majority of Americans has a strongly unfavorable view of Trump. But the WaPo poll shows only a minority of 39 percent has a strongly unfavorable view of Clinton. That’s true of the Bloomberg poll, too, in which 40 percent view her very unfavorably.

This is another way in which there is simply no equivalence in how disliked Trump and Clinton are, which cuts against one of the punditry’s cherished narratives, i.e., that gosh, it’s just so awful that the parties are foisting two deeply hated candidates on the poor voters!

One is strongly disliked by a majority of Americans (at least in those two polls), and the other isn’t. That’s a key distinction: It suggests that Trump could be inspiring a level of mainstream antipathy and even revulsion that could prove harder to turn around than the less intense dislike Clinton is eliciting.

Yet all indications are that Trump is still so caught up in the glow of his GOP primary victories that he may not even be capable of acknowledging what’s happening right now. In a key tell, Morning Joe aired some footage of Trump at a rally in Dallas last night, in which he launched a lengthy soliloquy about how the polls had underestimated his strength in the primaries. At one point, he said this about those polls:

“When I run, I do much better. In other words, people say, ‘I’m not gonna say who I’m voting for’ — don’t be embarrassed — ‘I’m not gonna say who I’m voting for,’ and then they get in, and I do much better. It’s like an amazing effect.”

It would not be surprising if Trump is telling himself something similar about the general election polling, if, that is, he even takes it seriously enough to bother thinking about it at all.

 

By: Greg Sargent, The Plum Line Blog, The Washington Post, June 17, 2016

June 21, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, General Election 2016, Hillary Clinton | , , , | Leave a comment

“Don’t Believe It For A Minute”: Are The NRA And Trump Moderating On Guns? Not On Your Life

The headlines today are full of surprising news on guns, from some of the least likely sources: Donald Trump, the Republican Party, and the National Rifle Association. “Trump to meet with NRA about banning gun sales for terror watch list.” “Trump Veers From Party Line on Gun Control.” “In wake of Orlando shootings, gun control getting a fresh look from GOP.” And even “NRA Announces Bizarrely Sane Position on Selling Guns to Terrorists.”

Don’t believe it for a minute. This new effort to make it more difficult for people on the federal government’s terrorism watch list to buy guns is going to meet the same fate as every other gun control measure in Congress.

Yesterday, Trump tweeted, “I will be meeting with the NRA, who has endorsed me, about not allowing people on the terrorist watch list, or the no fly list, to buy guns.” He can talk to them about that if it’s what he wants (which I doubt it is), but it won’t change their minds, because the NRA has a very specific position on the question of banning gun sales to those on the watch list, one you have to read carefully to understand. Here’s what they say:

The NRA believes that terrorists should not be allowed to purchase or possess firearms, period.  Anyone on a terror watchlist who tries to buy a gun should be thoroughly investigated by the FBI and the sale delayed while the investigation is ongoing.  If an investigation uncovers evidence of terrorist activity or involvement, the government should be allowed to immediately go to court, block the sale, and arrest the terrorist.  At the same time, due process protections should be put in place that allow law-abiding Americans who are wrongly put on a watchlist to be removed.  That has been the position of Sen. John Cornyn (R.-Tex.) and a majority of the U.S. Senate.

So: if someone is proven to be a terrorist, the NRA is opposed to letting them buy a gun and would prefer that instead they be arrested. Good to know! Now what about that investigation they want the FBI to undertake before the sale is completed? The reference to John Cornyn is important, because what the NRA supports is an amendment Cornyn proposed back in December, which was defeated in the Senate. It said that when someone on the watch list tries to buy a gun, the Justice Department would have 72 hours to file an emergency petition to a court, inform the gun buyer, allow the buyer to participate with counsel, then convince the judge that there is “probable cause to believe that the transferee has committed or will commit an act of terrorism.” Only then would the sale be stopped.

In practice, how often is the government going to be able to conduct an investigation, assemble an ironclad case, get in front of a judge, and get the judge to rule that the buyer has already committed terrorist acts or is about to, all within 72 hours? Basically never.

That’s in contrast to this amendment from Sen. Dianne Feinstein that Democrats now want to pass, which would allow the Justice Department to stop a gun sale not only to anyone on the watch list but anyone who had been on the watch list in the last five years (Omar Mateen had been on the watch list but had been removed), based on a “reasonable suspicion” (a much lower standard than probable cause) that the person had been engaged in or prepared for some involvement in terrorism.

In other words, Feinstein’s amendment would allow Justice to stop a gun sale to pretty much anybody on the watch list they suspected was a threat, while Cornyn’s amendment would make it almost impossible for Justice to stop a sale to anyone who didn’t already have a bomb strapped to their chest.

We should acknowledge that there are legitimate questions about the watch list itself. Many critics argue that it’s too broad and is full of people who have no involvement with terrorism. And there’s a positive and negative side to Feinstein’s five-year provision. It would mean that someone like Mateen might be identified, but it could also mean that a lot of people who justifiably got themselves off the watch list, and should never have been on it in the first place, could now face bureaucratic hassle and extra government attention they don’t deserve when they want to buy guns. So perhaps this debate could lead members of both parties to take a good look at how the list is operating and come up with a plan to reform it so that it focuses only on people who are genuinely suspicious.

But to return to the NRA and the Republican position represented by the Cornyn amendment, it has a gigantic loophole, one they themselves created. Let’s say you’re on the watch list, and you want to buy yourself an AR-15. You go to your local gun store, but the sale gets stopped by the government. What do you do now? Well, all you have to do is go to a gun show — there’s probably one in your area this weekend — and buy from one of the sellers in attendance who aren’t federally licensed dealers. Or you could go to one of the many online gun marketplaces, and get one there. Or you could find someone in your area selling guns privately, and buy it from them. Because we don’t have a system of universal background checks — which the NRA bitterly opposes and helped kill after the Newtown massacre when it was moving through Congress and had the support of up to 90 percent of the public in polls — there are multiple ways to get just about whatever gun you want no matter who you are.

That’s how the NRA wants it, and that’s how they’re going to work to keep it. And the Republican Party is their partner in this effort. Despite the fact that many kinds of restrictions on guns are broadly popular, even with Republican voters and gun owners themselves, the GOP has not only adopted the NRA’s categorical opposition to any and all restrictions, it has moved that belief to the very center of Republican ideology, along with the commitment to low taxes, small government, and the elimination of abortion rights. While we might see a Republican officeholder here and there buck the party and the NRA on this issue — for example, Rob Portman of Ohio, a vulnerable senator up for reelection this year, is now offering some conditional support for keeping those on the watch list from buying guns — their opposition to both Feinstein’s amendment and a companion Democratic proposal for universal background checks will remain nearly unanimous.

Finally, there’s the question of what Trump actually believes on this issue, and what positions he’ll take. Here’s my prediction: Within the next day or two, Trump is going to walk back his implied support for something like what Democrats are advocating and adopt the NRA position. I suspect this will follow a pattern we’ve seen before, in which out of simple ignorance Trump says something that alarms Republicans, then gets told what his position should be, at which point he changes it. The classic case was when he said women should be punished for getting abortions, and was then told that anti-choice ideology has it that women are helpless victims with no agency, so he walked it back.

For all his transparently phony commitment to the Second Amendment, Trump probably hadn’t thought about this particular issue before, so he didn’t know what he was supposed to say. Once he does, he’ll fall in line. Republicans will kill the Democratic proposals, and we’ll be right back where we started.

 

By: Paul Waldman, Senior Writer, The American Prospect; The Plum Line Blog, The Washington Post, June 16, 2016

June 21, 2016 Posted by | Diane Feinstein, Donald Trump, Gun Control, John Cornyn, National Rifle Association | , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Trump Lies The Way Other People Breathe”: The Challenges In Covering Trump’s Relentless Assault On The Truth

Donald Trump must be the biggest liar in the history of American politics, and that’s saying something.

Trump lies the way other people breathe. We’re used to politicians who stretch the truth, who waffle or dissemble, who emphasize some facts while omitting others. But I can’t think of any other political figure who so brazenly tells lie after lie, spraying audiences with such a fusillade of untruths that it is almost impossible to keep track. Perhaps he hopes the media and the nation will become numb to his constant lying. We must not.

Trump lies when citing specifics. He claimed that a “tremendous flow of Syrian refugees” has been entering the country; the total between 2012 and 2015 was around 2,000, barely a trickle. He claimed that “we have no idea” who those refugees are; they undergo up to two years of careful vetting before being admitted.

Trump lies when speaking in generalities. He claimed that President Obama has “damaged our security by restraining our intelligence-gathering and failing to support law enforcement.” Obama actually expanded domestic intelligence operations and dialed them back only because of bipartisan pressure after the Edward Snowden revelations.

Trump lies by sweeping calumny. “For some reason, the Muslim community does not report people like this,” he said of Omar Mateen, the shooter in the Orlando massacre. But according to law enforcement officials, including FBI Director James B. Comey, numerous potential plots have been foiled precisely because concerned Muslims reported seeing signs of self-radicalization.

Trump lies by smarmy insinuation. “We’re led by a man that either is not tough, not smart, or he’s got something else in mind,” he said of Obama. “There’s something going on. It’s inconceivable. There’s something going on.” He also said of Obama: “He doesn’t get it or he gets it better than anybody understands — it’s one or the other and either one is unacceptable.”

You read that right. The presumptive Republican nominee implies that the president of the United States is somehow disloyal. There is no other way to read “he gets it better than anybody understands.”

Trump claims that Hillary Clinton, the all-but-certain Democratic nominee, “wants to take away Americans’ guns and then admit the very people who want to slaughter us.” Clinton has made clear that she doesn’t want to take anyone’s guns away, nor does she want to eliminate the Second Amendment, as Trump also claims. And the idea that Clinton actually wants to admit would-be slaughterers is grotesque.

I write not to defend Obama or Clinton, who can speak for themselves — and have done so. My aim is to defend the truth.

Political discourse can be civil or rowdy, gracious or mean. But to have any meaning, it has to be grounded in fact. Trump presents a novel challenge for both the media and the voting public. There is no playbook for evaluating a candidate who so constantly says things that objectively are not true.

All of the above examples come from just five days’ worth of Trump’s lies, from Sunday to Thursday of this week. By the time you read this, surely there will have been more.

How are we in the media supposed to cover such a man? The traditional approach, which seeks fairness through nonjudgmental balance, seems inadequate. It does not seem fair to write “Trump claimed the sky is maroon while Clinton claimed it is blue” without noting that the sky is, in fact, blue. It does not seem fair to even present this as a “question” worthy of debate, as if honest people could disagree. One assertion is objectively false and one objectively true.

It goes against all journalistic instinct to write in a news article, as The Post did Monday, that Trump’s national security address was “a speech laden with falsehoods and exaggeration.” But I don’t think we’re doing our job if we simply report assertions of fact without evaluating whether they are factual.

Trump’s lies also present a challenge for voters. The normal assumption is that politicians will bend the truth to fit their ideology — not that they will invent fake “truth” out of whole cloth. Trump is not just an unorthodox candidate. He is an inveterate liar — maybe pathological, maybe purposeful. He doesn’t distort facts, he makes them up.

Trump has a right to his anger, his xenophobia and his bigotry. He also has a right to lie — but we all have a duty to call him on it.

 

By: Eugene Robinson, Opinion Writer, The Washington Post, June 16, 2016

June 21, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Journalists, Voters | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Dump Trump!”: Trump Winning Could Do More To Destroy The Republican Party Than A Messy Convention Fight In Cleveland

Have you noticed Donald Trump isn’t bragging about his poll numbers anymore?

With Trump down 12 points to Hillary Clinton in the latest Bloomberg poll, all of the clever-dick theories about the strength and momentum of the Trump campaign are disintegrating one after the other. There is no evidence that Trump is changing the configuration of the electoral map. There is no evidence that he is bringing in a huge new bloc of previously disaffected voters — instead it’s just the opposite. The theory that a terrorist attack would help Trump? Refuted when his polls continued to tank after the most deadly mass shooting in American history. Even the core “Trump voters,” non-college-educated white men, are turning on him. In a recent Washington Post/ABC News poll, 53 percent of them rated Trump unfavorably. Trump has to do light years better than Mitt Romney among this group to win. He’s failing, and he’s failing faster than any major party nominee in modern history.

The Republican Party should seek to deny him their nomination in Cleveland. Even if it means a messy convention fight in prime time. Even if it hobbles the nominee that eventually replaces Trump.

Their nominee is already hobbled, because he is Trump. Since Hillary Clinton secured the Democratic nomination, it turns out that it was not just a few right-leaning ideologues and scribblers who think Donald Trump is unfit to be president. A significant portion of the GOP’s traditional coalition simply will not let Trump represent them. Many elected Republican officials think Donald Trump cannot be trusted with the awesome powers of the presidency. Trump’s disloyalty to Republican orthodoxy and the cartoonishly aggressive style that made him electrifying to his core group of primary supporters turn out to be enormous general election liabilities.

Some Republicans are quietly hoping Trump loses in November, and loses badly enough that the party can just move on afterward. But there’s a problem with this line of thinking. Trump has shown himself willing and able to inflict more damage on the party even after securing its nomination. He still refuses to bury the hatchet with Paul Ryan and other leaders. He will drag other Republicans to defeat with him, and he will wreck the party’s image for years to come.

Besides, there is still a minor risk that some other exogenous event makes Hillary Clinton unelectable. Say a terrorist attack happens featuring weapons from former Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi’s unsecured stash. Or Clinton has a debilitating but not fatal stroke weeks before election day and simply disappears from the campaign trail. If his past is a preview of his presidency, Trump winning could do more to destroy the Republican Party than a messy convention fight in Cleveland.

Stopping Trump before the convention may not just be the civic-minded thing to do, it may be in the best interests of the Republican Party long term. If Clinton’s campaign somehow fails, Trump’s failures as president will still belong to the GOP.

Of course, a convention coup is likely to fail. Republicans have been notoriously slow-footed and uncoordinated in responding to Trump. And there are two major obstacles to its success. The first is the moral obligation that convention delegates feel to vote for the winner of their state or district. Trump may have only won a plurality of primary voters, but even if the Rules Committee unbinds the delegates, many will still feel morally obligated to vote for him on the first ballot. If that’s the case, Trump will be close enough to prevailing that the effort to deny him may stall out immediately.

The second obstacle is more familiar. His name is Ted Cruz. The Texas senator will come in with the biggest anti-Trump weapons, the loyalty of delegates who are pledged to him and the many party activists who admire him even if they are bound to Donald Trump. Cruz would be essential to organizing any coup at the convention. And as the next leading vote-getter, he would have demands — possibly including the nomination itself. While Cruz may be more electable than Donald Trump, it is by a margin so slim that the risks of a convention coup and riot in Cleveland may not seem worth trying. Many elected Republicans and big GOP donors view Cruz as treacherous and repellent. They won’t give his candidacy much more support than Trump’s.

Republicans will have to regroup as a party after 2016 anyway. The Trump challenge showed the deficiencies of Republican orthodoxy, and those must be addressed. But in the meantime, the best thing that the party can do is send Trump back to what he does best, welching on his creditors and selling over-priced garbage with his name on it.

 

By: Michael Brendan Dougherty, The Week, June 16, 2016

June 21, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Republican National Convention | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Remembering The GOP Before Its Radicalization”: The List Of Officials Quitting The Republican Party Keeps Growing

Two weeks ago, an Iowa state senator who’s had a lengthy career in public service as a Republican announced he just couldn’t take it anymore: citing Donald Trump as a contributing factor, the lawmaker quit the GOP and changed his voter registration to “no party.”

A few days later, the Republican mayor of Hackensack, New Jersey, announced he too is giving up on the GOP, and he was joined by his deputy mayor. Both mentioned Trump in their statements and both switched their registration to “independent.”

Over the weekend, the Charleston Gazette-Mail in West Virginia reported on another joining the club.

Charleston Mayor Danny Jones, who has been a Republican for 45 years and has been elected mayor four times as a Republican, has left the party.

Jones announced Friday that he has switched his party registration to “unaffiliated.” He pointed to multiple factors, specifically the social conservative bent of the West Virginia House of Delegates and the rise of Donald Trump as the party’s presidential nominee.

In addition to his opposition to Trump’s candidacy, Jones noted the “obsession” among West Virginia Republicans to allow private-sector discrimination again LGBT Americans as one of the reasons he’s walking away from the party.

Jones, the mayor of West Virginia’s largest city, added, “I plan to complete my current term, and have no plans to run for any office ever again. I am not trying to pick a fight with anyone.”

It’s important, of course, not to overstate matters based on a handful of examples. Four local officials do not necessarily a trend make.

But every time I read about someone like Danny Jones, I wonder how many other Danny Joneses there are out there: Americans who’ve long considered themselves Republicans, who remember what the GOP was like before its radicalization, and who may be tempted to give up on the party in light of Trump’s nomination and antics.

It’s just not common for elected officials to abandon their party in an election year. The fact that these folks have abandoned the GOP this year probably isn’t a good sign.

 

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, June 20, 2016

June 21, 2016 Posted by | Discrimination, Donald Trump, GOP | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: