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“Add Native Americans To Team Trump’s List”: Casual, Everyday Racism Should Be Shocking, Not Routine

It can be challenging to keep track of every American constituency Donald Trump and his campaign have offended with insulting language. At various points, the Republican presidential candidate and his operation have alienated women, Latinos, African Americans, Muslims, veterans, and people with disabilities, among others.

But in case it wasn’t obvious before, Native Americans certainly belong on the same list.

But while Trump was hammering trade and his should-be allies-turned-adversaries, it was his opening act that picked up the mantle of attack against Democrats, specifically Elizabeth Warren. Taking a cue from Trump’s nickname of “Pocahontas” for Sen. Warren, conservative New England radio host Howie Carr took the moniker one step further during the pre-rally show.

“You know Elizabeth Warren, right?” Carr said, tapping his hand over his mouth in a mock tribal chant. The crowd loved it, some joining in with chants of their own.

Slate’s Josh Voorhees raised an important point about all of this: “In the big bucket of Trump-sanctioned racism, a mock war cry from a guy who introduced the guy who introduced the candidate is but a drop. Still, if this were anyone but Trump we were talking about, he or she would be pressured to condemn the remarks. Trump, though, has dulled everyone’s senses with a year’s worth of controversy, so this barely registers.”

And that’s a shame. Casual, everyday racism should be shocking, not routine.

It’s also true that for all the media chatter about the new, more mature Trump campaign operation – we’ve heard quite a bit about an alleged “pivot” and “Trump 2.0” – evidence of the purported shift doesn’t appear to exist.

But Carr’s ugly attempt at racial humor also serves as a reminder that when it comes to Native Americans, Team Trump’s record is tough to defend.

The subject has come up before, following Trump’s attacks on Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) family heritage, but it goes much further. The Huffington Post reported this week, for example, “Prior to being the GOP frontrunner, Trump was a real estate tycoon who was trying to hack it as a casino magnate. And while the LA Times reported that he would court Native American tribes when it worked to his advantage, he also routinely targeted their casino operations in hostile, racially provocative terms.”

Trump accused the Native-American-run casinos of being fronts for the mob to get unfair tax breaks and avoid anti-corruption regulations. But he didn’t stop there. He used racial epithets and funded secretive campaigns to drum up opposition to those casinos. Like with Warren, he questioned whether the main operators were actually Native American at all.

The most famous instance of this came during congressional testimony Trump gave in 1993, when he triumphantly declared: “They don’t look like Indians to me and they don’t look like Indians to Indians.”

Trump would go on to tell radio host Don Imus that same year that he would “perhaps become an Indian myself” if he felt that it might give him an economic advantage. “I think I might have more Indian blood than a lot of the so-called Indians that are trying to open up the reservations,” he said. Imus concurred: “A couple of these Indians up in Connecticut look like Michael Jordan, frankly.”

I’m sure there are minority groups that Trump hasn’t insulted with offensive language, but it’s getting more difficult to find them.

 

By: Steve Benen, The Maddow Blog, June 30, 2016

June 30, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Native Americans, Racism | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“The Last Berniebro?”: Sanders Runs The Risk Of Waiting Too Long, To The Point Where It No Longer Matters

“I’ve got this thing,” said the politician on a secretly recorded phone call, “and it’s f-ing golden. And I’m just not giving it up for f-ing nothing.”

That politician, as you probably remember, was Rod Blagojevich, then the the governor of Illinois, and the thing in question was the appointment to temporarily fill the Senate seat of Barack Obama, who was headed to the White House. But Blagojevich’s colorful sentiment could apply equally well to the way Bernie Sanders seems to think about his endorsement in this year’s presidential race. It’s golden, a precious jewel he has secured in a safe whose lock can only be sprung by one who has shown herself to be pure of heart, or at least one who has paid sufficient attention to Sanders and performed the proper rituals of supplication. Then and only then will the endorsement be presented, perhaps on a velvet pillow of deepest blue, with gold piping around the edges, all nestled in a handcrafted mahogany box. He’s not giving it up for nothing.

But what Sanders may not realize is that by the time he’s finally ready to hand over that endorsement, very few people are likely to care. He surely calculated that he would lose something if he endorsed Hillary Clinton too quickly, without getting something in return. But now he runs the risk of waiting too long, to the point where it no longer matters.

Appearing Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, Sanders waved away the idea that he was ready to endorse Clinton. And as for his supporters, “What we are doing is trying to say to the Clinton campaign, stand up, be bolder than you have been. And then many of those voters in fact may come on board.”

It’s unsurprising that there are holdouts among Sanders’s supporters, even as Donald Trump’s unique brand of horrifying buffoonery makes the stakes of the election clearer with each passing day. For a year now, they’ve been told not that their candidate is the best of a collection of reasonable options, but that they’re part of a revolution against a deeply corrupt establishment, embodied in the person of Hillary Clinton. To now ask them to make a pragmatic choice in favor of Clinton almost seems like a betrayal of everything they signed up for, no matter how ghastly the alternative to a Clinton victory is.

Yet that’s exactly the choice they’re making—and with little help from Sanders himself. In a new Washington Post poll, the number of Sanders supporters saying they’ll vote for Trump in the general election is at 8 percent, down from 20 percent just a month ago. “What’s more, the 81 percent of Sanders backers who are now behind Clinton is a higher number than in any poll of 2008 Clinton backers who rallied to Obama,” the Post writes.

This poll could be an anomaly; maybe it’s understating the degree to which Sanders supporters are going to withhold their support from Clinton. But on the other hand, maybe Sanders supporters as a group aren’t quite the doctrinaire revolutionaries we thought they were. Could it be that the passionate intensity (and, sometimes, outright douchebaggery) of a small number of Berniebros who make so much noise in social media convinced us that they were representative of Sanders supporters when they actually weren’t? Might it be that your typical Sanders supporter is a liberal Democrat who was attracted to Sanders’ ideas, but is also perfectly willing to vote for Clinton even if she wasn’t their first choice?

And might it be that it doesn’t really matter to them whether and when Bernie Sanders says the words “I endorse Hillary Clinton”?

One of the things Sanders had been holding out for was the writing of the Democratic Party platform, which he hoped would represent his views. The platform committee has finished working on the draft of the platform, and it looks to be the most progressive one the party has ever written, including calling for a repeal of the Hyde Amendment forbidding federal funds from going to abortions, a $15 an hour minimum wage, an expansion of Social Security, and the elimination of the death penalty. But because Sanders didn’t get absolutely every last thing he wanted (it’s almost as if somebody else won the party’s primaries!), he now cites the platform as another reason he can’t yet give Clinton his endorsement.

Not that too many people will actually read it (or that Clinton, if she becomes president, will be bound by it one way or the other), but I’m pretty sure that if most Sanders voters looked at the platform, they’d say, “Gee, that all sounds pretty good.” Nevertheless, there will be that vocal few who say it’s yet more evidence that anyone who supports Clinton is a Wall Street stooge. Liberal hero Elizabeth Warren got that reaction from an angry few when she endorsed Clinton, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Sanders himself, whenever he finally does make his endorsement, will hear that he has sold out his own revolution.

But how many Sanders supporters are there who won’t decide to vote for Clinton until Bernie says it’s OK to do so? The number gets smaller every day. And if he waits long enough, he could find that almost none of them are still waiting with him.

 

By: Paul Waldman, Senior Writer, The American Prospect, June 27, 2016

June 30, 2016 Posted by | Bernie Bros, Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Lying About Native Americans”: ‘Pocahontas’ Isn’t The Only Native American Trump Has Offended

Donald Trump’s rumored meeting with members of the Navajo Nation during his swing through Arizona will not occur, a staffer for the nation said Friday.

And that may be just as well, given Trump’s history of disturbing and offensive statements about Native Americans.

The Associated Press previously reported that the Trump campaign had reached out to the nation for a potential meeting Saturday.

It was not meant to be.

“There was never a commitment to visit… it’s not happening,” the staffer, who asked not to be identified, told The Daily Beast.

Like on many other matters, Trump has a long track record of distasteful statements and gestures towards Native Americans. It’s another signal of why Republicans who hope he will change are likely to be left wanting. Trump’s campaign did not respond to request for comment.

Trump has raised eyebrows recently with his derisive references to Sen. Elizabeth Warren as “Pocahontas,” which many Native Americans find abhorrent. When she ran for office, Warren was criticized for identifying as a minority during her academic career, citing Native American heritage. Warren, an outspoken critic of Trump, has been unable to provide evidence of her purported Cherokee ancestry, nor could genealogists.

Trump’s hostile relationship with Native Americans appears to have begun with his involvement in the casino industry, when his gaming businesses competed with tribe-owned casinos in the 1990s and 2000s.

His competitors, unlike him, operated tax free—something he objected to strenuously.

“I think I might have more Indian blood than a lot of the so-called Indians that are trying to open up the reservations,” Trump said in June 1993, on shock jock Don Imus’s radio show.

He later questioned whether some of the people who had opened casinos which competed with his were actually of Native American heritage: “I think if you’ve ever been up there, you would truly say that these are not Indians.”

“Organized crime is rampant on Indian reservations,” Trump bellowed during testimony before Congress a few months later, according to a contemporaneous report. “It’s going to blow. It’s just a matter of time.”

In many ways, his rhetoric before that House subcommittee in 1993 mirrors that of his views on Muslims today.

Referring to crime on Native American land, Trump said he refused to be “politically correct” and added, “What is happening on the Indian reservations is known by the Indians to a large extent.

“If you knew some of the characters that you are dealing with, I think they would be afraid to do anything about [organized crime],” Trump added, implying that Native Americans didn’t have the backbone to stand up to criminals.

For good measure, he implored the overflow crowd of onlookers: “Go up to Connecticut,” he said, “and you look” at the Mashantucket Pequots.

“They don’t look like Indians to me,” he remarked, according to the Hartford Courant.

“In my 19 years I have been on this committee, I have never seen such irresponsible remarks,” shot back Rep. George Miller, a Democrat from California. “You have cast on the Indians in this country a blanket indictment that organized crime is rampant. You don’t know this; you suspect this.”

An FBI section chief who appeared at the same hearing said his office found no evidence of criminal activity in Indian gaming. And other federal law enforcement officials said they had found no evidence that organized crime had infiltrated Indian gaming operations.

In 2000 Trump and his aides acknowledged that he had been the financier behind newspaper ads railing against casino gambling in New York, as the state considered a proposed Indian casino. The businessman agreed to pay $250,000 in penalties, and was forced to issue a public apology after failing to disclose to the state lobbying commission that he had financed seven advertisements that appeared under the auspices of the plainly-named Institute for Law and Society.

“Under a dark photograph showing hypodermic needles and drug paraphernalia, the newspaper advertisement warned in dire terms that violent criminals were coming to town,” The New York Times reported.

Trump also railed against the name change to the nation’s tallest mountain: in 2015, President Obama restored the historical name of Denali to the mountain formerly referred to as Mount McKinley. Trump called it a “great insult to Ohio,” since President William McKinley had hailed from that state. Denali had been the name that Alaskan Natives had originally called it.

The Navajo Nation may have initially reasoned that a visit could temper Trump’s worst instincts. But if history is any guide, Trump will be Trump—with all the ugliness that entails.

 

By: Tim Mak, The Daily Beast, June 18, 2016

June 19, 2016 Posted by | Casino Industry, Donald Trump, Mt Denali, Native Americans | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“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

“Over-Inflating Impressions Of Trump’s Strength”: Clinton’s Lead Over Trump May Be Bigger Than You Think

A fresh round of hand-wringing among Democrats broke out over the weekend, and at the core of it was the same old storyline that we keep hearing again and again: Donald Trump is unconventional and unpredictable! The normal political rules don’t apply! Democrats are getting caught off guard by this, and you should be terrified!

But what if Hillary Clinton’s national advantage over Trump is actually larger than it appears? And, more to the point, what if the reason for this is a thoroughly conventional one?

NBC’s Chuck Todd and Dante Chinni have served up a useful analysis of the current national polls that suggests this is a very real possibility. They looked at three recent polls that currently show the race very close: The NBC News poll showing Clinton up 46-43 among registered voters; the New York Times/CBS poll showing her up 47-41; and the Fox News poll putting Trump up 45-42.

But then Todd and Chinni took into account the fact that a sizable chunk of people supporting Sanders are now saying they cannot back Clinton. These are the “Sanders-only voters.” They took the additional step of assuming that Clinton wins back 70 percent of those voters. Here’s what happens to the national numbers:

In the NBC/WSJ poll, Clinton’s advantage over Trump goes from three points to eight points and she leads 51 percent to 43 percent….

In the latest CBS News/New York Times poll, Clinton’s advantage grows from six points to nine points with 70 percent of Sanders-only voters — she leads 50 percent to 41 percent. In the latest Fox News poll, where Trump currently leads Clinton, the Sanders-only voters make it a tied race — 45 percent to 45 percent.

Now, in my view, we shouldn’t place too much stock in national polling at this point, because it historically has not been predictive. But if we are going to obsess over it, let’s keep this in mind: In two of these polls, once you allow for the possibility that Clinton could win over many of Sanders’s supporters once he concedes and endorses her, Clinton holds sizable national leads, of eight and nine points. Nate Cohn has similarly concluded that, if Clinton can consolidate Sanders supporters behind her, she could gain a “considerable advantage” against Trump.

And we’ve seen this before: As Todd notes in his video presentation of these numbers, in 2008, Barack Obama picked up three points against John McCain in NBC polling after Clinton surrendered in the primaries.

If this is right, the point is that the tightening in the polls between Clinton and Trump — which is real — may reflect a particular moment in this race that may prove fleeting, in ways we’ve seen in the past. To be sure, Democrats should not underestimate Trump or imagine that defeating him will be easy. They should work to determine the true source of his appeal, i.e., his suggestion that our political and economic system is failing people and he’d snap it over his knee and get it working again. They should work on making an affirmative case for Clinton that addresses this voter dissatisfaction in addition to relying on the low hanging fruit of attacking his business past and highlighting his wretched comments. Nor does any of this mean that Clinton’s high negatives aren’t a real problem. Democrats should obviously be prepared for any manner of attack that Trump will throw at her, and they’ll need to figure out how to create a more positive narrative around her.

Rather, the point is that we should stop over-inflating impressions of Trump’s strength. We should stop ascribing magical political powers to Trump based on the questionable notion that his “unconventional” and “unpredictable” campaign makes him a more formidable foe than anyone expected. Trump will be difficult to beat, but that might be mainly because these elections are always hard. It is perfectly plausible that the “old rules” will end up applying to some degree. For instance, Clinton may be able to beat Trump, at least in part, by offering up more convincing policies and revealing his to be the nonsense that they are. Maybe assuming that Trump has rendered policy debates meaningless actually gives him too much credit. Maybe we shouldn’t accept Trump’s boasts of super-human appeal in the Rust Belt at face value: they may well run headlong into demographic realities. Meanwhile, we should keep focused on what the aggregate data is actually telling us.

One other point: The Todd/Chinni analysis could have important implications for the endgame of the Dem primaries. Once the voting is over in June, Sanders will have nothing left to do but win actual concessions in exchange for working to swing his supporters behind Clinton. You could see a real shift in how this race is covered, with more and more analysts — and high profile party leaders, such as Elizabeth Warren, and, yes, Barack Obama — pointing out that the failure to unite Democrats is making the prospect of a Trump presidency more likely. That could make it harder for Sanders to hold out. We don’t know if Sanders’s supporters will get behind Clinton in the numbers she needs, and she will have to do her part to make that happen. But despite all the tensions, Sanders, too, will probably end up doing all he can to ensure that it does.

 

By: Greg Sargent, The Plum Line Blog, The Washington Post, May 31, 2016

June 1, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, National Polls | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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