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“Trump Pivots To the General Election…By Attacking Women”: The Days Of Women Succumbing To Insults Are Long Over

It has been fascinating to observe pundits who claim that Donald Trump will change his stripes during the general election in a way that appeals to a broader constituency. I’ve always thought that those assumptions were based on the idea that he was simply playing a character during the primaries – much as he did on TV. But that ignores the fact that he has been a narcissistic bully for a very long time.

Now that Trump’s competitors have dropped out of the race and he is the presumptive Republican nominee, the bullying insults to anyone who challenges him have not stopped. Last night in New Mexico, his target was Gov. Susan Martinez – who happens to be the chair of the Republican Governor’s Association, the first Latina governor in the U.S. and the first female governor of New Mexico. But of course, this is what you get from Trump if you refuse to endorse him.

But the Donald wasn’t done.

Martinez was not the only powerful woman that Trump attacked at the rally. He also went after Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who has become an outspoken surrogate for Clinton — and one is not afraid to challenge Trump.

During the rally, Trump repeatedly referred to Warren as “Pocahontas,” a reference to the Native American heritage that she claims.

“She is probably the senator that’s doing just about the least in the United States Senate. She’s a total failure,” Trump said. “She said she was an Indian. She said because her cheekbones were high, she was an Indian, that she was Native American. And, you know, we have these surrogates — people like her, total failures.”

The pairing of racial slurs with personal attacks on females who challenge him are a two-fer for the Donald in that he manages to offend pretty much every constituency that isn’t white male. Trump’s ignorance and misogyny are on display when he spews this kind of nonsense and then says that he doesn’t want to lose the votes of women.

“They say I’m setting records with men — it’s so unexciting to me,” Trump said. “I want to set records with women, not with men.”

I suspect that he actually WILL set records with women. He’ll find that the days of women succumbing to insults like this are long over.

 

By: Nancy LeTourneau, Political Animal Blog, The Washington Monthly, May 25, 2016

May 25, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Women Voters | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“For 2016, Let Franken Be Franken”: Democrats Have The Perfect Trump Slayer: Al Franken

Now that the general election matchup is settled, the Democratic Party is starting to coordinate their anti-Trump strategy and messaging. As usual, their product is almost unbelievably lame: “Dangerous Donald.” Apparently that is the best slur they can come up with, so if you live in a swing state, get ready to hear that 900 times a day for the next six months.

But in the meantime, somebody else needs to actually come up with some decent Trump put-downs — something that at a minimum does not portray him as some sort of cool, leather-jacketed rebel. Elizabeth Warren has been putting together a reasonable first pass, getting in multi-day Twitter fights with Trump by ridiculing his pathetic business record and his extensive history of vile sexism.

However, there is one Democratic senator with the detailed, on the ground expertise this garbage reality show hellscape of an election requires. Someone, indeed, whose entire career has been leading up to this point. That someone is Al Franken, the junior Democratic senator from Minnesota.

The very obvious weakness of Trump when it comes to political trench warfare is that, like most bullies, he can dish it out, but he can’t take it. He can utterly humiliate a gutless patrician like Jeb Bush, but it’s extremely easy to bait him into undignified bursts of outrage. Alex Pareene managed it back in 2012 with a few paragraphs in Salon.

Lightweight reporter Alex Pareene @pareene is known as a total joke in political circles. Hence, he writes for Loser Salon. @Salon

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 15, 2012

On one level, Trump sort of thrives on this stuff. In the context of the Republican primary, stooping to his level of juvenility didn’t work for Marco Rubio or Ted Cruz.

However, the general election will be very different than the Republican primary. First, none of the other Republicans were any better than Bush at trading barbs. Marco Rubio sounded like a panicky high-schooler reading from a memorized sheet of insults his dad wrote down for him, and Ted Cruz sounds like a smug oleaginous weasel regardless of what he’s saying. Anyone who’s even slightly creative and self-confident ought to be able to do far better than that.

The general election will also be before a very different audience than the Republican primary electorate. Before GOP base voters, Trump’s bigotry and sexism played pretty well, or could at least be looked past. But before the rest of the country, he can’t afford to stoop to the vile slurs that are quite obviously right below the surface. He needs to look presidential as much as possible, and one way to throw a wrench in that effort is to bait him into saying vile stuff.

As I said, Elizabeth Warren has a good start. But Al Franken is, so far as I can tell, the only former comedian in Congress from either party. He was on Saturday Night Live for many years, and wrote several comedy books, including Rush Limbaugh Is a Big Fat Idiot and Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right — both genuinely funny and full of quite nasty insults. He knows this stuff backwards and forwards.

One thing Franken could do, aside from baiting Trump himself, is teach Democratic politicos how not to sound like the bloodless technocrats who have long since had the personality crushed out of them. He could knock together a few slideshows, hold a conference or two, and teach at least a few how to perform a reasonable approximation of “witty.” Because it’s probably best if people like Warren and Franken et al take point in mocking Trump, allowing Clinton to stay above the fray.

During his Senate career, Franken has been relatively modest and quiet, probably due to the personality-crushing mechanism (read: constant begging of rich people for money) I described above. But he surely remembers how to be mean to Republicans.

This election’s GOP nominee deserves his special talents more than any other in United States history. So for 2016, let Franken be Franken.

 

By: Ryan Cooper, The Week, May 13, 2016

May 15, 2016 Posted by | Al Franken, Donald Trump, GOP Primaries | , , , , , | 1 Comment

“All-Power-Or-No-Power Tea Party Stuff”: Purist Progressives Who Don’t Want Power Or Relevancy

I have already made what I consider a reasonable progressive case against a Clinton-Warren ticket, but there are some unreasonable progressive cases out there.

Even if Warren cut a deal to endorse Clinton and serve in her administration, it’s not clear whether all of her backers — or Sanders’ steadfast supporters — would automatically jump aboard the Hillary bandwagon.

“I find it highly improbable that a leading voice in the progressive movement, whether it be Elizabeth Warren or someone else, would want to be sitting in the vice president’s office or in the Cabinet,” said Jonathan Tasini, a New York-based Sanders supporter who isn’t ready to give up the fight for Bernie. “Would Warren or any true progressive be willing to make the obvious compromises that a moderate corporate Democrat Hillary would demand? I don’t think so.”

Politico might have mentioned that Jonathan Tasini ran in a Democratic primary against Clinton’s 2006 Senate reelection bid, but they didn’t. He got a whopping seventeen percent of New York state Democrats’ votes. Then he threatened to run against Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand in 2010 before deciding to wage a doomed House campaign against Charlie Rangel instead. I don’t begrudge the guy’s desire to challenge the Establishment in New York, but he’s lucky if he speaks for 17% of the people there.

Progressives like Tasini are so anti-establishmentarian, and so reflexively suspicious of power, that they don’t actually want any for themselves. Not really. If you want to argue that Warren is more valuable as a senator than she could be as a vice-president, or that Sanders could get more done as the Chairman of the Budget Committee than he could cooling his heels in the Naval Observatory, I think those are entirely defensible arguments. But this dismissal of the value of having progressive champions chosen to be first-in-line to the presidency is something to behold.

It wasn’t too long ago that there were no Progressive Caucus members in the Senate. The Iraq War and its aftermath has certainly changed that. Former House progressives Ed Markey, Sherrod Brown, Tammy Baldwin, Mazie Hirono and Bernie Sanders are all serving in the Senate today, along with folks like Brian Schatz, Martin Heinrich, Tom Udall, Al Franken, and Jeff Merkley who are pretty progressive in their own right. When Elizabeth Warren looks around, she doesn’t feel like she’s all alone.

But, still, nothing says you’ve arrived like getting put on a presidential ticket. That’s the opposite of the pariah status progressives have suffered under since the Reagan Revolution kicked into full swing. From a progressive point of view, Warren isn’t necessarily a better pick ideologically than any of the others on the above list, but she’s more famous and a more gifted politician (at this point) than the others. She’s also a proven success at the inside bureaucratic game, which she proved when getting the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau set up in the face of withering opposition.

The idea that a “true” progressive wouldn’t sully themselves by association with a Clinton presidency is a rejection of the advances progressives have made, and it’s a recipe for continued marginalization and irrelevancy. What I object to is not the rational assessment that a particular progressive (whether Sanders, Warren or someone else) might be more influential in a role other than the vice-presidency. What I find galling is the idea that no good progressive should be willing to serve “in the vice president’s office or in the Cabinet” of a Clinton administration because it would involve making compromises.

As George W. Bush said, the president is the decider, and anyone who serves the president must accept that they sometimes have to salute decisions they didn’t recommend. This all-power-or-no-power no compromise attitude is Tea Party stuff.

It’s laughable.

 

By: Martin Longman, Political Animal Blog, The Washington Monthly, May 12, 2016

May 14, 2016 Posted by | Hillary Clinton, Progressives, Sanders Supporters | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Donald Trump Can’t Win Without Women”: Trump’s Crude Sexist Spiel Has Backfired

Donald Trump, the Republican Party’s freshly-minted presumptive nominee for president, has called his Democratic counterpart Hillary Clinton a weak candidate lacking in stamina whose only asset is the “woman’s card.”

“And the beauty of this is that women don’t even like her,” he claimed after he won the Indiana Republican primary.

Harsh words, but not totally surprising from an unrestrained rich guy who has called Rosie O’Donnell a “fat slob,” among other epithets, and suggested that Fox News host Megyn Kelly was menstruating when she asked him tough questions at the first GOP Debate. (“She had blood coming out of her whatever.”)

Clinton, however, is betting that Trump’s crude sexist spiel has backfired, igniting opposition to him from women across the political spectrum.

“The whole idea of ‘playing the woman card,’ which he charged I was doing, and by extension other women were doing, has just lit a fire under so many women across the country,” she said during an interview with the editorial board of the Los Angeles Times posted yesterday.

“And I think it’s because they see his attacks on me, or Megyn Kelly or Carly Fiorina or whoever else he’s attacking at the moment as really a much broader attack on them. I think we are going to be pushing back and drawing the contrast whenever he does that. Because it’s just absolutely beyond the pale. He’s not going to get away with it, at least going forward.”

About half of Republican women (some 47 percent) say they don’t like Trump.

And several prominent female politicians in the Party of Lincoln are openly antagonistic to the foul-mouthed real estate mogul and his immodest proposals — like banning Muslims from entering the U.S. and deporting 11 million undocumented immigrants. Former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman, for one, has compared Trump and other GOP candidates to fascistic dicators like Hitler.

“Trump especially is employing the kind of hateful rhetoric and exploiting the insecurities of this nation, in much the same way that allowed Hitler and Mussolini to rise to power in the lead-up to World War II,” she wrote last December in Politico Magazine.

Whitman has also said she might vote for Hillary Clinton.

Carly Fiorina, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO and sole female in the GOP race for president before she dropped out, is no ideological sistah to Clinton. But she was quick to attack Trump for boasting about his endorsement in April from “tough” Mike Tyson, the former world heavyweight champion who has had seriously rocky relationships with women.

“Sorry, I don’t consider a convicted rapist a tough guy,” Fiorina told reporters in Indianapolis during her brief stint as Texas Senator Ted Cruz’s pick for vice president. She was alluding to how Tyson was convicted of raping a teenage beauty contestant in the same city in 1992. (He spent three years in prison.)

Fiorina, who antagonized Trump when she was still running for the GOP presidential nomination, noted: “And I think it says a lot about Donald Trump’s campaign and his character that he is standing up and cheering for an endorsement by Mike Tyson.”

Cruz made a similar point with far stronger language when he assailed Trump as a “serial philanderer” and “pathological liar” who supports rapists as voters headed to the polls in Indiana on Tuesday. After they handed the bloviating billionaire a big win, Cruz abruptly suspended his campaign.

He was furious with Trump for making the bizarre and unsubstantiated claim on Tuesday morning that Cruz’s father was somehow involved in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Trump’s proof? He had seem a picture in the National Enquirer of a man who looked like Cruz’s Dad standing next to Lee Harvey Oswald. Cruz seemed astounded: “This is nuts. This is not a reasonable position This is kooky.”

Cruz’s has depicted Trump before as “utterly amoral,” in his apparent bid for the evangelical vote. Those words are among the sound bites that appear in a brutal anti-Trump ad released by the Clinton campaign earlier this week. Clinton lets Trump’s former Republican rivals on the campaign trail and other detractors do the talking. (“A con artist,” summed up Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who lost to Trump in his home state; “a race baiting xenophobic religious bigot,” stated Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina who was among the first of 17 GOP candidates to drop out of the GOP contest).

Another Clinton ad shows Trump talking himself into further trouble with female voters, telling Chris Matthew’s of MSNBC’s “Hard Ball” that women should receive some sort of unspecified “punishment” for having abortions in the event the procedure becomes illegal. He’s also shown in an interview refusing to disavow an endorsement from KKK leader David Duke.

Trump’s popularity among GOP standard bearers is hardly whole hearted.

“There’s more enthusiasm for @realDonaldTrump among leaders of the KKK than leaders of the political party he now controls,” Senator Elizabeth Warren, Democrat of Massachusetts. wrote on Twitter. Warren, who has yet to endorse anyone, has become a one-woman scourge of Trump.

Meanwhile, a recent CNN/ORCA survey shows Clinton mopping up the floor with her fellow New Yorker, leading him by 54 to 41, a 13 point edge. That figure augurs well for the former two-term junior senator from the big blue state should she capture the Democratic Party’s nomination over Sen. Bernie Sanders in Philadelphia.

 

By: Mary Reinholz, Featured Post, The National Memo, May 6, 2016

May 7, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, War On Women | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“He’d Do Well To Stay There”: Bernie Sanders Should Stick To The High Road

Bernie Sanders started his campaign stumping for his ideals without savaging the likely Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton. That was an attractive combination.

Now that he’s done a lot better than anticipated (though way down in delegates), his people are wondering whether he has made a mistake by not lunging for Clinton’s throat.

The answer is no. He’d be even further down, because virtuous politicking has been the source of his charm.

Sanders has never been much of a team player. He is an independent, not a Democrat, but Team Democrat has respected his candidacy. And it has given him a platform he’d never have gotten on his own.

But the welcome mat shows holes. The impressive sums Sanders raises go to his campaign only. Clinton raises money for her campaign and for other Democrats down the ticket. Adding to an unpleasantness, the Sanders camp lashes out at Clinton’s fundraising as somehow sordid.

Exactly how are you going to get your liberal priorities passed without a friendlier House and Senate?

Not Sanders’ problem. Never has been. And that accounts for his modest accomplishments in Washington.

The Sanders campaign prides itself in speaking “the truth,” so here’s some:

Sanders did not fight alone for single-payer health care. He failed to attract a single co-sponsor for his recent single-payer bill, his fans explain, because the health care industry intimidated lesser liberals in the Senate.

But John Conyers proposed single-payer in the House and gathered more than 90 co-sponsors. (Conyers endorsed Clinton in the Michigan primary.)

Sanders recently accused Clinton of taking “significant money from the fossil fuel industry” — a claim for which The Washington Post awarded him three “Pinocchios.”

Oil and gas doesn’t even make the list of the top 20 industries contributing to the Clinton campaign. Fossil fuel money accounts for only 0.15 percent of her campaign and outside PAC sum. But Sanders gooses the numbers by dishonestly labeling donations from lobbyists who also work for other industries as fossil fuel money.

Sanders portrays himself as a one-man army fighting Wall Street abuses in the Senate. Actually, the one-man army has been one woman, named Elizabeth Warren.

Before joining the Senate, Warren championed the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — detested by predatory lenders for shielding the little guys. Clinton was among the bureau’s most enthusiastic boosters and pushed other Democrats to sign on.

Sanders would have certainly won the financial industry’s enmity if it took him seriously. The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page virtually ignores him, turning its wrath on the far more dangerous Warren.

Now, Clinton’s $225,000-per-speech fees from Goldman Sachs are fair game for the political opposition. But then the opposition has to show what Wall Street got in return other than her insights and her company.

A quid pro quo is hard to pin down. For example, the head of the D.E. Shaw group has given more than $800,000 to the Clinton effort. His company holds much distressed Puerto Rican debt and opposes letting the island file for bankruptcy. Clinton is for it.

Do note that the financial services industry is among New York state’s largest employers and is No. 1 for payroll. Clinton represented the state, and senators do confer with large hometown employers.

Speaking of which, Sanders waves his fist against wasteful military spending but voted to fund the $1.2 trillion F-35 fighter — one of the most expensive, most cost-overrun and most plagued weapons systems in U.S. history. Seems the maker, Lockheed Martin, employs a bunch of Vermonters.

Sanders looks best when he conducts politics from the high road. He’d do well to stay there for the sake of his legacy.

 

By: Froma Harrop, The National Memo, April 5, 2016

April 6, 2016 Posted by | Bernie Sanders, Democratic Presidential Primaries, Hillary Clinton | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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