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“Did Sanders Wait Too Long?”: At Some Point, Sanders Can Either Get On The Train Or Get Left Behind

In a live-streamed video message to his supporters last night, Bernie Sanders laid out what he wants. It includes all of the proposals he’s been talking about, like a $15 minimum wage, stopping bad trade deals, a modern-day Glass-Steagall, breaking up the big banks, free tuition at public colleges and universal health care. There were lots of other things he listed – all of which Hillary Clinton agrees with. On these that I listed, Clinton’s proposals include the same goals – but a different approach to getting there. When it comes to where his campaign goes from here, this is what Sanders had to say:

The major political task that we face in the next five months is to make certain that Donald Trump is defeated and defeated badly. And I personally intend to begin my role in that process in a very short period of time.

But defeating Donald Trump can not be our only goal. We must continue our grassroots efforts to create the America that we know we can become. And we must take that energy into the Democratic National Convention on July 25 in Philadelphia where we will have more than 1,900 delegates.

Sanders neither congratulated Clinton on becoming the Democratic presumptive nominee, nor did he endorse her. In other words, he is holding out on such a statement in order to continue negotiations on the issues he outlined.

I look forward, in the coming weeks, to continued discussions between the two campaigns to make certain that your voices are heard and that the Democratic Party passes the most progressive platform in its history and that Democrats actually fight for that agenda.

The question becomes: did he wait until too late? What is his leverage in those negotiations? The big question leading up to this point was whether or not there would be party unity going into the convention this summer. Once Clinton overwhelmingly beat Sanders in the California and New Jersey primaries, that became less of an issue. Democrats who had waited on the sidelines – like President Obama, VP Biden and Sen. Warren – endorsed her. And those who had supported Sanders – like Sen. Merkley and Rep. Grijalva – did so as well. In the last few days, we’ve also seen Clinton endorsements from groups such as MoveOn and the AFL-CIO.

Beyond that, the specter of candidate Trump is beginning to cause talk of a landslide election in Clinton’s favor. What does she gain by embracing Sanders’ agenda in order to win his endorsement, while abandoning her own that led to a victory in the primaries?

I imagine that Clinton will be very gracious to both Sanders and his supporters. But as Sen. Warren said, she’s a fighter and has spent her whole life working on the kind of vision she has put forward during the primary. Sanders can either get on that train at some point, or get left behind.

At the end of his speech, Sanders talked about the kind of effort that is actually needed in order to transform America.

We need to start engaging at the local and state level in an unprecedented way. Hundreds of thousands of volunteers helped us make political history during the last year. These are people deeply concerned about the future of our country and their own communities. Now we need many of them to start running for school boards, city councils, county commissions, state legislatures and governorships. State and local governments make enormously important decisions and we cannot allow right-wing Republicans to increasingly control them.

It’s never too late for that!

 

By: Nancy LeTourneau, Political Animal Blog, The Washington Monthly, June 17, 2016

June 19, 2016 Posted by | Bernie Sanders, Democratic National Convention, Hillary Clinton | , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Oh, The Irony”: Donald Trump Just Asked Judge Gonzalo Curiel For A HUGE Favor

Oh, the irony.

After calling Judge Gonzalo Curiel a “Trump hater” and casting aspersions on his objectivity because of his “Mexican” heritage, Donald Trump is now asking Curiel to help him out by not releasing video footage of his depositions in the Trump University wealth seminar lawsuits over which Curiel is presiding.

As reported by Politico, the presumptive Republican nominee’s lawyers are doing everything they can to stop the public from seeing the tapes, arguing that the videos should be kept hidden because of Trump’s status as a presidential candidate. “Undoubtedly, these videos…will be used by the media and others in connection with the presidential campaign,” read a motion filed on Wednesday night with Judge Curiel. From Politico: 

“‘[V]ideotapes are subject to a higher degree of potential abuse than transcripts. They can be cut and spliced and used as “soundbites” on the evening news or sports shows….’ And unlike in other cases where it was unclear that ‘out of context snippets’ would be broadcast because the ‘media frenzy’ around the case had died down…the ‘media frenzy’ surrounding this case is certain to continue through the election,” Trump’s legal team added, quoting cases from federal trial courts in Indiana and New York.

To support their point, Trump lawyers cited several federal appeals court rulings rejecting the release of videotaped depositions by Bill Clinton when he was a sitting president.

“These same cautions and concerns apply with full force here to a presidential candidate whose every move is being covered by the media. Mr. Trump may be a sitting President by the time [one of the Trump University’s suits] goes to trial, in which case these principles apply with even greater force,” wrote Trump’s lawyers, lawyers referring the November 28th trial date that Judge Curiel has set.

The Trump camp’s move comes after a coalition of major media organizations, including The New York Times and Chicago Tribune, filed a motion for the footage’s release on June 11. Even Fox News joined their effort on June 16.

 

By: Germania Rodriguez, The National Memo, June 17, 2016

June 19, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Gonzalo Curiel, Trump University | , , , , , | Leave a comment

“An Alarming History”: Trump Needs To Clear A Higher Bar When It Comes To Women

The New York Times published a rather brutal piece over the weekend on Donald Trump’s problematic history with women. It painted a painful picture:

The New York Times interviewed dozens of women who had worked with or for Mr. Trump over the past four decades, in the worlds of real estate, modeling and pageants; women who had dated him or interacted with him socially; and women and men who had closely observed his conduct since his adolescence. In all, more than 50 interviews were conducted over the course of six weeks.

Their accounts – many relayed here in their own words – reveal unwelcome romantic advances, unending commentary on the female form, a shrewd reliance on ambitious women, and unsettling workplace conduct, according to the interviews, as well as court records and written recollections. The interactions occurred in his offices at Trump Tower, at his homes, at construction sites and backstage at beauty pageants. They appeared to be fleeting, unimportant moments to him, but they left lasting impressions on the women who experienced them.

The article, according to a spokesperson for the Times, is the most read political story the newspaper has published in 2016.

In response to the piece, we’ve seen some curious reactions from women close to the Republican candidate. His spokesperson, Katrina Pierson, said yesterday, for example, “Women know Donald Trump is a very successful businessperson. He’s raised a wonderful family. His own wife endorsed him for president.”

In a separate interview, Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, said, “I’m not in every interaction my father has, but he’s not a groper.”

And Melania Trump, the candidate’s third wife, added in a different interview, “We know the truth. He’s not Hitler.”

So, let’s review. The presumptive Republican presidential nominee has an alarming history with women, but (a) he’s not a genocidal groper; and (b) he’s capable of picking up a campaign endorsement from his own wife.

Maybe, when looking for a national leader, Americans may look for a presidential candidate who can clear a higher bar, but this is nevertheless where things stand in the 2016 race.

As for the embarrassment this may cause Trump’s party, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus argued over the weekend, in reference to a question about the Times article, “I’ve got to tell you, I think that all these stories that come out – and they come out every couple weeks – people just don’t care.”

Well, Republican primary voters didn’t seem to care, but the national electorate may bring a very different perspective to the table.

Postscript: One of the notable parts of the Times article highlighted an anecdote in which Trump asked Brook Antoinette Mahealani Lee, Miss Universe at the time, for her opinion about his daughter’s body.

” ‘Don’t you think my daughter’s hot? She’s hot, right?’ ” Lee recalled him saying. ‘I was like, ‘Really?’ That’s just weird. She was 16. That’s creepy.”

Olivia Nuzzi explained why Trump may have said something like this: “Trump says creepy things about Ivanka being hot because, to him, hot is the most valuable thing a woman can be. It’s not about wanting to sleep with his daughter. It’s about his daughter’s worth and, by extension, his own worth.”

 

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, May 18, 2016

May 19, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, GOP Presidential Nominee, Reince Priebus | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Republicans Are Architects Of Their Present Misfortune”: What’s Coming In November Is A Reckoning, Long Overdue

So it has come to this: Trump 2016.

What first seemed a joke, then an unsettling possibility and then a troubling likelihood, became a grim certainty last week as Donald Trump, real estate developer turned reality show ringmaster turned would-be president, won an emphatic victory in Indiana’s Republican primary. His last remaining rivals, Ted Cruz and John Kasich, both dropped out within 24 hours, leaving Trump the de facto nominee of what used to be called, with some pride, the Party of Lincoln.

In response, a remarkable constellation of Republican officials and enablers have pronounced themselves unalterably opposed to the duly selected leader of their party.

“Never, ever, ever Trump” tweeted Tim Miller, a former spokesperson for Jeb Bush.

“With God as my witness,” wrote GOP strategist Rick Wilson, “I will never vote for Donald Trump.”

A Washington, D.C., blogger tweeted an image of his voter registration card burning. The governor of Massachusetts and the former head of the state GOP both said they will not vote for Trump. “I have no plans of supporting either of the presumptive nominees,” said Miami Rep. Carlos Curbelo.

And, the unkindest cut of all: A number of Republicans say Trump’s candidacy will drive them into the arms of someone the party has long regarded as the very embodiment of evil. “I’m with her,” tweeted GOP speechwriter Mark Salter, invoking the campaign slogan of the dreaded Hillary Clinton.

One is tempted to draw an analogy to rats deserting the Titanic, but that would unfairly malign the rats. After all, they didn’t drive the ship into that iceberg. The Republicans, though, are very much the architects of their present misfortune.

When you spend decades stoking people’s insecurities, resentment and outrage, when you devote thousands of radio and television hours to scapegoating the marginalized and demonizing the vulnerable, when you campaign on coded appeals to xenophobia, racism and misogyny, when you make facts optional and lies routine, when you prioritize expedience above integrity and embrace ignorance as somehow more authentically American, you may not credibly profess surprise when you produce a candidate who embodies all those traits.

The damage the party has done itself is manifest and may be irreversible. But the bigger concern, by far, is how much damage the party has done to this country. It’s a question that has loomed for a very long time.

In pondering Election Day, then, one is reminded of the person who finally makes a doctor’s appointment six months after discovering a mysterious lump. Sometimes, people behave as if avoiding knowing about the bad thing avoids the bad thing itself.

But of course, it does not. You either have cancer or you don’t. Visiting the doctor does not affect that one way or another. It simply tells you what you’re dealing with.

Similarly, this country has either lost itself down a rabbit hole of ignorance and lies, fear and fury, or it has not. Certainly, the symptoms have long been obvious. From faith-based foreign policy to cynical obstructionism to economic hostage-taking to birther nonsense, right up to Donald Trump’s neo-fascism, it has long been clear that something was wrong with the GOP, that it had become a fundamentally unserious haven of cranks and kooks.

Now, the party offers us its kookiest crank as president. Make no mistake: Any country that would elect Donald Trump as president deserves Donald Trump as president. But the question is: Are we that country? Are we that far gone? Whether we are or are not, it’s past time we knew. So fine, let’s do this.

What’s coming in November is not an election. No, it’s a reckoning, long overdue.

 

By: Leonard Pitts, Jr., Columnist for The Miami Herald; The National Memo, May 8, 2016

May 8, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, GOP, GOP Presidential Nominee, Republicans | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“In A Better Position To Rebuild”: Should The GOP Establishment Be Rooting For Cruz To Lose In November?

Last week I argued the true nightmare scenario for Republican elites was a Donald Trump general election victory that would place an alien figure in the White House and give Democrats a heaven-sent opportunity for a big comeback sooner rather than later. Peter Beinart now persuasively argues that the best the GOP may be able to make of a bad situation is for Trump to lose to Cruz, who in turn will lose to Clinton, who in turn will lose to a revived mainstream GOP in 2020.

Beinart’s point of departure is that if Trump beats Cruz in Cleveland and then predictably goes down the tubes in November, the Texan will be in a fine position to inherit the nomination in 2020 as the guy who will finally show what a “true conservative” can do. If Cruz wins in Cleveland, though, he’ll discredit the longstanding belief of the Right that offering a “choice not an echo” is the path to party  victory.

[A] Cruz defeat at the hands of Clinton this November leaves the GOP in a better position to rebuild than a Trump loss to Clinton does. By conventional standards, Trump isn’t all that conservative. That means, if Trump loses this fall, conservative purists can again make the argument they made after John McCain and Mitt Romney lost: The GOP needs to nominate a true believer. And they’ll have such a true believer waiting in the wings as the early front-runner in 2020: Ted Cruz. After all, losing the nomination to Trump would put Cruz in second place, and the GOP has a history of giving second-place finishers the nomination the next time around (Bob Dole, McCain, Romney). Plus, after building the best grassroots network of all the 2016 candidates, Cruz—who’ll be barely 50 years old in four years—would enter 2020 with a big organizational edge. Thus, the GOP would remain at the mercy of its extreme base.

[A] Cruz loss in November would undercut the right’s argument against choosing a more moderate nominee. To be sure, some grassroots conservatives would find a way to rationalize Cruz’s defeat and preserve their belief that a right-wing ideologue can win. But more pragmatic conservatives would be confirmed in their belief that the next GOP nominee must reach out to Millennials, Latinos, and single women, and offer more to working-class Americans than just less taxation and regulation. A Cruz general-election defeat would strengthen the “Reformicons” who are trying to reform the GOP in some of the ways New Democrats reformed their party in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

I’d add to Beinart’s argument, of course, that a Clinton victory in November would set up mainstream Republicans—under the congressional leadership of their not-so-secret favorite Paul Ryan, for a very good midterm election in 2018, showing once against that “pragmatic” conservatism is the ticket to ride. Clinton, meanwhile, having already broken the glass ceiling by becoming the first woman to serve as president, would be ripe for defeat in 2020 as America tired of twelve straight years of Democrats in the White House.

Would GOP elites trade this complex scenario for a Paul Ryan or Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio presidential nomination this year? In a heartbeat.  But that’s no longer on the table.  Ted Cruz is a known quantity who could dispose of the more alarming and unpredictable Donald Trump in Cleveland and then discredit hard-core conservatives without unduly damaging the ticket down-ballot. The remote chance he could actually win is a contingency the GOP can deal with on down the road.

 

By: Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, New York Magazine, April 14, 2016

April 15, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Establishment Republicans, GOP Primaries, Ted Cruz | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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