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“The Dawn Of The Resistance”: Chicago Shows Americans Will Not Take Trump’s Outrageous Nonsense Lying Down

Desperate times call for desperate measures. The organized protest in Chicago that led Donald Trump to cancel a planned rally Friday may someday be remembered as the dawn of the resistance.

Trump has fueled his campaign’s rise with the angriest and most divisive political rhetoric this nation has heard since the days of George Wallace. No one should be surprised if some of those Trump has slandered or outraged respond with raised voices.

The Constitution’s guarantee of free speech applies to everyone, Trumpistas and protesters alike. Trump said over the weekend that he wants demonstrators who gate-crash his rallies to be arrested, not just ejected; he vows that “we’re pressing charges” against them. Someone should educate him: Peacefully disapproving of a politician and his dangerous ideas is not a crime.

Trump seems not to understand that demonstrators have the legal right to protest — and that a candidate for president of the United States has no countervailing right not to be protested. I’m talking about nonviolent demonstrations, of course — but nonviolent does not necessarily mean quiet, timid or small.

On Friday, thousands of Trumpistas gathered in the arena at the University of Illinois at Chicago for one of the candidate’s set-piece rallies. They knew what to expect from Trump — the bragging about the size of his lead in various polls, the dissing of rivals “Little Marco” Rubio and “Lyin’ Ted” Cruz, the ranting and raving about immigration, the repeated vow to “make America great again.” They might have anticipated that a few demonstrators would briefly interrupt the proceedings, giving Trump the opportunity to strut and preen in alpha-male splendor as he ordered security to “get ’em outta here.”

But what no one fully realized until too late was that the crowd had been infiltrated by hundreds of highly organized protesters. As this circumstance became clear to Trump’s supporters, tension mounted. The demonstrators held their ground, knowing they had as much right to be there as anyone else.

Aware that the demonstrators would do something but unsure of what that might be, Trump canceled the event. Announcement of the decision drew a big cheer from the protesters — and a howl of frustration from Trump supporters, who expressed their displeasure with epithets and shoving. Three people were injured in the skirmishes that ensued.

Trump later groused that “troublemakers” and “thugs” had violated his free-speech rights. But consider what he tells his audiences: Mexican immigrants are rapists, foreign Muslims should be barred from entering the country, the United States should reinstitute torture for terrorism suspects and “go after” their families. He has the absolute right to say these things. But those who believe in the hallowed American values of openness, tolerance, decency and the rule of law have the absolute right to say “No!”

Earlier that day, there were 32 arrests in demonstrations against a Trump rally in St. Louis; a large group of protesters had gathered to confront the candidate and his supporters. At almost every Trump event these days, in fact, at least a few individuals rise to protest — and face the rage of the crowds, which Trump stokes rather than soothes.

These protests are important because they show that Americans will not take Trump’s outrageous nonsense lying down. The hapless Republican Party may prove powerless to keep him from seizing the nomination, but GOP primary voters are a small and unrepresentative minority — older, whiter and apparently much angrier than the nation as a whole.

There is a school of thought that says, in effect, do not push back against the bully. Those who take this position argue that protests only heighten the sense of persecution and victimhood that Trump encourages among his supporters. And the net effect may be to win him more primary votes and make it more likely that he gets the nomination.

I understand this view, but I disagree. I believe it is important to show that those who reject Trumpism are as passionate and multitudinous as those who welcome it. Passivity is what got the GOP into this predicament in the first place; imagine how different the campaign might be if so many Republicans who abhor Trump hadn’t meekly promised to support him if he became the nominee.

Protests show the growing strength of popular opposition to Trump. They may not embolden Republicans to take their party back at the convention in Cleveland. But vivid displays of outrage might help energize voters to come out and reject Trump in November. That might be the last line of defense.

 

By: Eugene Robinson, Opinion Writer, The Washington Post, March 14, 2016

March 15, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, GOP Primaries, Non-Violent Protests | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

“A Phony GOP Parody”: Why The Democratic Candidates Need To Get Obama’s Record Straight

There is an imbalance in the argument at the heart of the 2016 presidential campaign that threatens to undercut the Democrats’ chances of holding the White House.

You might think otherwise. The divisions among Republicans are as sharp as they have been since 1964. Donald Trump may be building on the politics of resentment the GOP has pursued throughout President Obama’s term. But Trump’s mix of nationalism, xenophobia, a dash of economic populism and a searing critique of George W. Bush’s foreign policy offers a philosophical smorgasbord that leaves the party’s traditional ideology behind.

Jeb Bush, the candidate who represents the greatest degree of continuity with the Republican past, is floundering. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz, both Cuban Americans, are competing fiercely over who is toughest on immigration. So much for the party opening its doors to new Americans. As for the less incendiary John Kasich, he probably won’t be relevant to the race again until the primaries hit the Midwest.

Add to this the GOP’s demographic weakness — young Americans are profoundly alienated from the party, and nonwhites will only be further turned off by the spectacle created by Trump, Cruz & Co. — and the likelihood of a third consecutive Democratic presidential victory is in view.

But then comes the imbalance: If there is a common element in the rhetoric of all the Republican candidates, it is that Obama’s presidency is an utter disaster, and he is trying to turn us, as Rubio keeps saying, into “a different kind of country.” You’d imagine from hearing the Republicans speak (Kasich is a partial exception) that we were in the midst of a new Great Depression, had just been defeated in a war, had lost our moral compass entirely, had no religious liberty and were on the verge of a dictatorship established by a slew of illegal executive orders.

Oh, yes, and the president who brought about all these horrors has lost the authority to name a Supreme Court justice, no matter what the Constitution — which should otherwise be strictly interpreted — says.

You can laugh or cry over this, but it is a consistent message, carried every day by the media whenever they cover the Republican contest.

The Democrats offer, well, a more nuanced approach. True, Hillary Clinton has embraced Obama more and more, seeing him as a life raft against Bernie Sanders’s formidable challenge. In particular, she knows that African American voters deeply resent the way Obama has been treated by Republicans. (No other president, after all, has ever been told that any nomination he makes to the Supreme Court will be ignored.) Tying herself to Obama is a wise way of shoring up her up-to-now strong support among voters of color.

Nonetheless, because so many Americans have been hurt by rising inequality and the economic changes of the past several decades, neither Democratic presidential candidate can quite say what hopefuls representing the incumbent party usually shout from the rooftops: Our stewardship has been a smashing success and we should get another term.

Sanders, in fact, represents a wholesale rebellion against the status quo. He tries to say positive things about Obama and how the president dealt with the economic catastrophe that struck at the end of George W. Bush’s term. But the democratic socialist from Vermont is not shy about insisting that much more should have been done to break up the banks, rein in the power of the wealthy, and provide far more sweeping health insurance and education benefits.

A good case can be made — and has been made by progressives throughout Obama’s term — that if Democrats said that everything was peachy, voters who were still hurting would write off the party entirely.

But ambivalence does not win elections. Running to succeed Ronald Reagan in 1988, George H.W. Bush triumphed by proposing adjustments in Reagan’s environmental and education policies but otherwise touting what enough voters decided were Reagan’s successes.

Democrats need to insist that while much work remains to be done, the United States is in far better shape economically than most other countries in the world. The nation is better off for the reforms in health care, financial regulation and environmental protection enacted during Obama’s term and should be proud of its energetic, entrepreneurial and diverse citizenry.

If Clinton, Sanders and their party don’t provide a forceful response to the wildly inaccurate and ridiculously bleak characterization of Obama’s presidency that the Republicans are offering, nobody will. And if this parody is allowed to stand as reality, the Democrats will lose.

 

By: E. J. Dionne, Jr., Opinion Writer, The Washington Post, February 19, 2016

February 21, 2016 Posted by | Bernie Sanders, Democrats, GOP Presidential Candidates, Hillary Clinton | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Democrats, Don’t Blow It”: Ask Yourselves, Whom Would You Prefer To Name Future Supreme Court Judges?

The death of Antonin Scalia has set off yet another epic partisan struggle as Senate Republicans seek to deny President Obama his constitutional right to nominate the next Supreme Court justice. They want to wait out Obama’s last year in office, hoping his successor will be one of their own.

If the Democrats choose Bernie Sanders as their presidential candidate, Republicans will almost certainly get their wish. Furthermore, the Republican president would probably have a Republican-majority Senate happy to approve his selection.

The makeup of senatorial races this November gives Democrats a decent chance of capturing a majority. Having the radical Sanders on the ballot would hurt them in swing states.

Some Sanders devotees will argue with conviction that these purplish Democrats are not real progressives anyway, not like our Bernie. Herein lies the Democrats’ problem.

No sophisticated pollster puts stock in current numbers showing Sanders doing well against possible Republican foes. The right has not subjected Sanders to the brutality it routinely rains on Hillary Clinton — precisely because he is the candidate they want to run a Republican against. Should Sanders become the nominee, the skies will open.

One may applaud Sanders’ denunciation of big money in politics, but a moderate Democrat in the White House could do something about it. A democratic socialist not in the White House cannot. Campaign finance reform would be a hard slog under any circumstances, but a seasoned politician who plays well with others could bring a reluctant few to her side.

Some younger liberals may not know the history of the disastrous 2000 election, where Republicans played the left for fools. Polls were showing Al Gore and George W. Bush neck-and-neck, particularly in the pivotal state of Florida.

Despite the stakes, prominent left-wing voices continued to back the third-party candidacy of Ralph Nader. You had Michael Moore bouncing on stages where he urged cheering liberals to vote for the radical Nader because there was no difference between Gore and Bush. Republicans, meanwhile, were running ads for Nader. That was no secret. It was in the papers.

When the Florida tally came in, Bush held a mere 537-vote edge. The close results prompted Florida to start a recount of the votes. Then, in a purely partisan play, the conservative majority on the Supreme Court stopped the recount, handing the election to Bush.

The bigger point is that Gore would have been the undisputed winner in 2000 had Nader not vacuumed up almost 100,000 Florida votes, most of which would have surely gone to him.

Same deal in New Hampshire, where Nader siphoned off more than 22,000 votes. Bush won there by only 7,211 ballots.

Now, Sanders is an honorable man running a straightforward campaign for the Democratic nomination. One can’t imagine his playing the third-party spoiler.

But what makes today similar to 2000 is how many on the left are so demanding of ideological purity that they’d blow the opportunity to keep the White House in Democratic hands. Of course, they don’t see it that way. This may reflect their closed circle of like-minded friends — or an illusion that others need only see the light, and their hero will sweep into the Oval Office.

The other similarity to 2000 is the scorn the believers heap on the experienced liberal alternative. They can’t accept the compromises, contradictions and occasional bad calls that attach to any politician who’s fought in the trenches.

The next president will almost certainly be either Clinton or a Republican. Democrats must ask themselves: Whom would you prefer to name future Supreme Court judges?

 

By: Froma Harrop, The National Memo, February 16, 2016

February 19, 2016 Posted by | Bernie Sanders, Democrats, Hillary Clinton, U. S. Supreme Court Nominees | , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

“Meekly Accepting GOP’s Extreme Premise”: As Obama Moves To Replace Scalia, The Press Enables Radical GOP Obstruction

In the wake of Antonin Scalia’s sudden death, the Beltway press almost immediately began to seamlessly frame the unfolding debate about the Supreme Court justice’s replacement along the contours of Republican talking points. To do so, the press continued its habit of looking away from the GOP’s stunning record of institutional obstructionism since 2009.

Immediately after the news broke of Scalia’s passing, Republican Senate leaders, GOP presidential candidates, and conservative commentators declared that the job of picking Scalia’s replacement should be performed not by President Obama, but by his successor.

Quickly suggesting that Obama was picking a “fight” with Republicans by signaling he plans to fulfill his constitutional duty by nominating Scalia’s successor, the press aided Republicans by presenting this radical plan to obstruct the president as being an unsurprising move that Democrats would likely copy if put in the same position during an election year. (Given the rarity of the situation precedents aren’t perfect, but it’s worth mentioning that during the election year of 1988, Democrats actually did the opposite, confirming Justice Anthony Kennedy unanimously.)

The framework for much of the coverage regarding the GOP’s radical demand that Scalia’s seat sit empty for a year is this: It’s Obama’s behavior that’s setting off a showdown, and of course Republicans would categorically oppose anyone Obama nominates. But journalists often don’t explain why: Why is it obvious Obama would have zero chance of getting a Supreme Court nominee confirmed when every president in the past has been able to fill vacancies?

Is it unusual for a president to face a Supreme Court vacancy his final year in office? It is. But there’s nothing in the Constitution to suggest the rules change under the current circumstances. (Obama still has 50 weeks left in office.) It’s Republicans who have declared that all new rules must apply. And it’s the press that has rather meekly accepted the extreme premise.

Note that Republicans and their conservative fans in the media aren’t telling Obama that a particular nominee he selects to become the next justice is flawed and will likely be rejected after hearings are held. Republicans are telling Obama that there’s no point in even bothering to make a selection because the Senate will reject anyone the president names. Period. The seat will remain vacant for an entire year. That is the definition of radical. But the press still looks away.

For instance, Politico reported the president “was facing the choice between setting off a nasty brawl with Congress by seizing the best chance in a generation to flip the ideological balance of the Supreme Court, or simply punting.” The Politico headline claimed Obama had chosen to “fight” Republicans.

But Obama faces no real “choice,” and he isn’t the one who decided to pick a “fight.” As president of the United States he’s obligated to fill Supreme Court vacancies.

The New York Times stressed Scalia’s death had sparked “an immediate partisan battle,” suggesting the warfare ran both ways. But how, by doing what he’s supposed to do as president, is Obama sparking a “partisan battle”?

If Obama eventually decided to nominate an extremely liberal justice to replace the extremely conservative Scalia, then yes, that could accurately be described as sparking a “partisan battle.” But what could be “partisan” about the president simply doing what the Constitution instructs him to do?

Meanwhile, the Associated Press framed the unfolding story as Obama’s announcement being “a direct rebuttal to Senate Republicans,” without noting the Republican demand that a Supreme Court justice’s seat sit empty for at least a year is without recent precedent.

And BuzzFeed suggested Scalia’s vacancy is different because the justice was, “as one Republican put it, ‘a rock solid conservative seat,’ and given the divisions on the court conservatives will be adamant that one of their own replace him.”

But that’s not how Supreme Court nominations work. Obviously, while the Senate has the responsibility to advise and consent on nominees, the party out of power doesn’t get to make the selection. So why the media suggestion that Republicans deserve a say in this case, or else?

Again and again, the press has depicted Obama’s expected action in the wake of Scalia’s death as being highly controversial or partisan, when in fact it’s Republicans who are acting in erratic ways by categorically announcing they’ll refuse to even consider Obama’s next Supreme Court pick.

The sad part is this type of media acquiescence has become a hallmark of the Obama era. Republicans have routinely obliterated Beltway precedents when it comes to granting Obama the leeway that previous presidents were given by their partisan foes in Congress.

Yet each step along the way, journalists have pulled back, refusing to detail the seismic shift taking place. Instead, journalists have portrayed the obstruction as routine, and often blamed Obama for not being able to avoid the showdowns.

Today’s Republican Party is acting in a way that defies all historic norms. We saw it with the GOP’s gun law obstructionism, the sequester obstructionism, the government shutdown obstructionism, the Chuck Hagel confirmation obstructionism, the Susan Rice secretary of state obstructionism, the Hurricane Sandy emergency relief obstructionism, and the consistent obstruction of judicial nominees.

For years under Obama, Republicans have systematically destroyed Beltway norms and protocols, denying the president his traditional latitude to govern and make appointments. It’s sad that in Obama’s final year in office, the press is still turning a blind eye to the GOP’s radical nature.

 

By: Eric Boehlert, Media Matters for America, February 15, 2016

February 18, 2016 Posted by | GOP Obstructionism, Media, Press, U. S. Supreme Court | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Caught Between The Devil And The Deep Orange Sea”: Who Does The Republican Establishment Hate More, Trump Or Cruz?

Dear Republican establishment: The horns of your dilemma were laid bare this evening. You’ve spent the last few months worrying about the damage Donald Trump will do to the GOP brand; the latest debate proved that there is indeed a candidate who can take on the tyrant of Trump Tower directly and deftly.

But that candidate is Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who may actually stir more loathing in the Republican establishment breast than even Trump.

Oh what’s an insider Republican to do? They may end up trapped between the devil and the deep orange sea.

The Trump-Cruz tussle fizzled in the last debate but Thursday night sparks – and jabs, and even a comment about a candidate’s mother – finally flew between the GOP frontrunners.

The proximate cause of friction between the pair was the ongoing question of Ted Cruz’s birth status, an issue that Trump has been pushing in recent weeks as Cruz has steadily climbed in the polls. The Texas senator had a polished answer (OK, where Cruz is concerned “polished answer” is redundant), starting with the obligatory glad we’re focused on the important issues quip, pivoted to a shot at Trump noting that in the fall the former reality TV star had dismissed this as a non-issue.

“Since September, the Constitution hasn’t changed, but the poll numbers have,” Cruz said. “And I recognize that Donald is dismayed that his poll numbers are dropping in Iowa, but the facts and the law here are really clear.” Cruz even stretched his answer to include the fact that Trump’s mother was born in Scotland.

Trump came back with his claim that he doesn’t care about Cruz’s status but that those mean old Democrats are bound to bring suit on it. The claim is a transparent chuck-and-duck dodge and the crowd let him know they weren’t buying, booing him lustily. (They also booed him when he cited a poll showing that he had pulled back ahead of Cruz in Iowa.)

Point Cruz.

Trump did better in the evening’s second go-round with Trump, when the Texas senator was asked about his attacking the realtor for embodying “New York values.” Asked to clarify, Cruz said, “There are many, many wonderful working men and women in New York,” Cruz said. “But everyone understands that the value of New York City are socially liberal, pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage, focused around money and the media.”

Trump shot back: “When the World Trade Center came down, I saw something that no place on Earth could have handled more beautifully, more humanely than New York,” he said, noting New Yorkers’ fighting spirit and the lingering stench of death in lower Manhattan for months afterward. “Everybody in the world watched and everybody in the world loved New Yorkers.”

Point Trump, I think – though in a GOP primary, New York as modern day Sodom and Gomorrah may well play better at this point than any lingering sentiment of post-9/11 unity.

To wit, this Twitter exchange between uberconservative Erick Erickson of RedState and the Examiner’s Tim Carney, who is himself no liberal.

Would I be more American, Erick, if my home state had fought against America in the 1860s? — and lost? https://t.co/tcsGMyOrep

— Tim Carney (@TPCarney) January 15, 2016

And I’m just going to throw this one in as well because as a native New Yorker I think it’s right on target:

Real New York values: Losing 3,000 brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers to Muslim terrorists — and not resorting to Trump-style fearmongering

— Josh Greenman (@joshgreenman) January 15, 2016

Anyway, back to Cruz and Trump. The GOP establishment has spent months working itself into a lather about the danger Trump poses to the party. But no one has demonstrated an interest or an ability to stand up to him. Sure, there have been sporadic attacks from Jeb Bush, John Kasich and Rand Paul, but they’ve been clumsy and Trump has brushed them off. Cruz landed blows against The Donald tonight and the crowd was often on his side.

So the establishment should be delighted that a potential white knight may be riding in to save them from the ticking offense-bomb that is Trump, right? The only problem is that they may hate Cruz more than they hate Trump. They also worry that Cruz would prove a greater drag on House Republicans in November. Seriously.

So will any of the four establishment candidates – Sen. Marco Rubio and former Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida and sitting Govs. John Kasich of Ohio and Chris Christie of New Jersey – step up? The four remain bunched up in the polls – and don’t look now but Kasich has moved up four points in the last month.

Rubio had his usual smooth debate and a strong exchange with Cruz accusing him of being a run of the mill flip-flopper. Bush displayed more energy than in earlier debates but it’s too little and too late. Kasich managed to win plaudits from Trump, and Christie displayed his usual angry bluster and delivered his trademark complaint about senators debating legislative details.

New Hampshire had better be a culling ground; else the Republican establishment may find up that these horns and this dilemma leave them with a stinging prick.

 

By: Robert Schlesinger, Managing Editor for Opinion, U.S. News & World Report, January 15, 2016

January 17, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Establishment Republicans, Ted Cruz | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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