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“A Casual Yet Coldly Calculated Kiss-Off”: Dumping Donald Trump Would No Longer Be A Coup. It’s Just Common Sense

In a campaign season already twisted beyond all recognition, Donald Trump’s atrocious summer has offered shell-shocked Republicans a potential out: Where “Never Trump” has failed, a far more casual yet coldly calculated kiss-off could succeed.

Trump’s missteps, willful and otherwise, are now so severe that Republicans are justified — and would be legitimated — in throwing him overboard in Cleveland. Bye bye, agonized soul searching. Hello, cruel common sense.

All the GOP has to do is relax.

Throughout this presidential campaign, I’ve done my best to remain level-headed. Rather than fearing Donald Trump, rather than venting my loathing for that which is detestable about him, I have tried — and counseled others to try — an attitude of watch and wait. Trump’s pronunciations are not the surest path to civil disorder or public chaos. For that you need a critical mass of the rest of us to lose our nerve, turning panic into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Although many liberals and progressives I know have quietly shared their nightmare-like sense of certainty that Trump is going to somehow win come November, Republicans have had the hardest time trying to maintain sangfroid. Without question, the stakes are high; even a Trump win could prove disastrous to the GOP (and America, of course). And for principled conservatives, a thorny dilemma has grown around how to translate their conscience into political action, regardless of its impact on Election Day. Since Trump hit the magic number of delegates, it has seemed interchangeably counterproductive and embarrassing to field a third-party protest candidate, throw in with Hillary Clinton or perhaps Gary Johnson, or stay in bed with a bottle of bourbon and weep.

But Trump has now had his shot at rehearsing a general election campaign, and he has fallen flat on his face. It was bad enough that he blew his chance to assemble a team of respected foreign policy advisors, or that he swung incomprehensibly from pitching Latinos taco-bowl bromides to haranguing a thoroughly American judge for his Mexican heritage. These political farces were real, but they were not firing offenses. Then came June. Trump’s already discouraging campaign lurched full-tilt toward disaster, from preposterously staggering fundraising problems to public and protracted palace infighting. The kicker came when news recently broke that Trump — in addition to paying large sums to Trump companies themselves — also coughed up cash for a mysteriously inscrutable firm named after the advertising executives from Mad Men. As a matter of sheer political responsibility, nominating this man is madness.

Of course, Trump critics have been saying this since almost the beginning. But until now, the case against Trump has defeated and delegitimized itself because of its ideological grounding. You can’t just stage a convention “coup” because the candidate who clinched the delegates is mean, nasty, or bigoted. You can’t do it because he disrespects NATO or badmouths free trade. And you certainly can’t do it because you despise the rubes in your party who you somehow failed to keep in a box this time around. Sad!

You can, however, dump Trump for the clinical, confident reason that his campaign is collapsing of its own weight and whim. Yes, there’s still time for a miracle turnaround. Yes, the general election is still months away. And yes, some polls show that Clinton still leads by only a handful of points. But the convention is the closest thing the GOP has to a performance review — to the tough-but-fair moment familiar from The Apprentice where, no matter what, if you’ve so far failed to produce adequate results, you’re fired.

Trump’s epic incompetence as a presidential candidate constitutes a political emergency even deeper and plainer than his jangled ideology. Any CEO, board, or shareholders would cut this guy loose and bring in someone who can close in an emergency. Trump’s failure to measure up to the minimum campaign standard — and the prospect of even more spectacular faceplants to come — is the salvation Republicans have been searching for.

All they need now is a new candidate. That’s hardly as daunting as it once seemed — because everyone should agree that almost anyone else will do.

 

By: John Poulos, The Week, June 24, 2016

June 25, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, General Election 2016, Republican National Convention | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“It’s Time For You To Speak Out Against Trump”: How You’ll Feel If Trump Is Elected And You Did Nothing To Stop Him

Earlier this week, a friend of many years signed on to Facebook and surprised me — and surely many others who know her — by writing a short but powerful post about politics.

Specifically, she addressed that small and vocal percentage of Bernie Sanders supporters who insist they will never vote for Hillary Clinton in the general election.

My friend’s message to them: If Hillary loses by a narrow margin, you will share the blame.

This is so unlike her. She has plenty of political opinions she shares privately, but on social media, she is relentlessly kind and uncontroversial. She is also, however, so worried about the future of our country.

The ensuing discussion on her Facebook wall was spirited but never ugly. She was lucky. I’m not naming her, nor am I quoting her exact words, because I don’t want angry strangers to read this and hunt for her on Facebook.

Almost daily, I hear from women who want to either explain why they keep secret their support for Clinton or share their regret that they didn’t. We veterans of the misogyny wars — women who are columnists, activists or in a leadership role of any kind — know how ugly it can get when a woman dares to share her opinion. But this campaign season has been a harrowing initiation for a whole lot of women who had no idea just how quickly strangers — and people who are supposed to love them — can turn on a woman for speaking her mind.

Donald Trump is the presumptive Republican nominee, which makes this a presidential campaign like nothing we’ve seen in our lifetimes. Here in the U.S., I mean. I’ve written many times already about his misogyny, xenophobia and racism. To leaders of countries around the world, he is an abomination. His rhetoric of hate turns rallies into mobs and deceives so many into thinking he actually cares about them.

This is why all of you good women and men who normally steer clear of politics must find ways to influence the debate over who should be our next president. You are the ones who can have the greatest influence in winnowing those margins. Most of the people in your lives don’t care what people like me have to say about elections. They do, however, care what you think.

It can be scary wading into those choppy waters. When I saw my friend’s Facebook post, I thought of a 46-year-old woman who called me at my desk in the Plain Dealer newsroom in September 2008.

I had written several columns during that campaign season about how white working-class voters were reportedly struggling with the issue of race in the presidential election. I come from the white working class, and I knew from raw experience the content of too many of those conversations.

In those columns, I encouraged people like me, who were eager to elect the first black president of the United States, to talk to their loved ones — those who might only watch Fox so-called News Channel but were willing to listen to an opposing viewpoint from someone they love.

That woman who called me was one of the brave souls who took me up on it.

In a trembling voice, she told me she had finally told her beloved father, “Stop.”

I described our conversation in an essay for The Nation the day after the election:

“He said he wouldn’t vote for a black man,” she told me. “And I held up my hand and said, Daddy, stop.”

She said it was the first time in her forty-six years that she had stood up to her father, and that her knees were trembling after she did it. When I asked her what happened next, she laughed.

“Well, after he got over the shock, we talked. And we’re still talking. I don’t know if he’s going to vote for Obama, but at least he understands now why I will.”

Eight years later, I still think about that woman because of the peace she described washing over her after she had stood up for what was right. There’s nothing like it, and there’s only one way to find it.

You may think you don’t have it in you to speak up when someone you know talks about why he or she is voting for Donald Trump.

You’re just one person, you might say.

Multiply you by millions, I say.

I’m asking that you consider how you’re going to feel if Trump is elected and you know you could have done something to stop him.

 

By: Connie Schultz, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Columnist and Professional in Residence at Kent State University’s school of journalism; The National Memo, May 26, 2016

May 28, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, Women Voters | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“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

“Like Pandas At The Zoo”: Such a Curiosity, Those White Working-Class Voters

The headline: “Millions of ordinary Americans support Donald Trump.” Immediately, I bristled.

Here we go again.

“Ordinary” Americans. We know what that’s supposed to mean. Plain people. Malleable people. Nothing-exceptional-about-them people. Every four years, these white working-class voters become objects of curiosity like pandas at the zoo.

These are the people I come from. Many of their children grew up to do the same kind of work their parents did — but for less money and benefits and with fewer job protections. Make that no job protection — unless they’re in a union, which is increasingly unlikely. As NPR reported last year, nearly a third of American workers belonged to a union 50 years ago. Today 1 in 10 are union members.

I wonder how many of my fellow liberals in the pundit class have ever stepped foot in a union hall. We all talk about the importance of organized labor, but how many of us union kids are left? It matters, I think, in telling this story. If you don’t know any working-class voters, then it’s much easier to portray them as angry, racist and xenophobic — lemmings slogging their way toward the cliff’s edge, dragging their expired lives behind them.

Earlier this week, I shared on Facebook a photo of an abandoned union hall tweeted by MSNBC reporter Tony Dokoupil. “It’s like touring the Titanic,” he wrote.

The room was dark and still, but folding chairs still circled a dozen or so round tabletops, as if the union’s annual Christmas party were just around the corner. My father was a utility worker, and the union hall was the one place where I could always count on seeing my parents relaxed and happy. They danced and laughed and let us kids eat as much dessert as we wanted. We were a boisterous collection of families celebrating our bigger family. Even as children, we understood why we were sticking with the union.

This Trump phenomenon has made me testy, I fear. “Why start off angry?” my mother would say if she were alive. “There’s already enough of that in the world.” She was your typical working-class mom, believing each of us had the power to change the world with kindness.

That headline I hated topped a Guardian story I appreciated by Thomas Frank, the author of “What’s the Matter With Kansas?” In the story, which is gaining traction on social media, Frank takes to task the many liberals who cast white working-class Trump voters as mere reflections of his darkest inclinations.

The problem, Frank writes, is that too few of us are actually asking these voters what is on their minds.

“When people talk to white, working-class Trump supporters, instead of simply imagining what they might say, they find that what most concerns these people is the economy and their place in it,” Frank writes. “I am referring to a study just published by Working America, a political-action auxiliary of the AFL-CIO, which interviewed some 1,600 white working-class voters in the suburbs of Cleveland and Pittsburgh in December and January.

“Support for Donald Trump, the group found, ran strong among these people, even among self-identified Democrats, but not because they are all pining for a racist in the White House. Their favorite aspect of Trump was his ‘attitude’, the blunt and forthright way he talks. As far as issues are concerned, ‘immigration’ placed third among the matters such voters care about, far behind their number one concern: ‘good jobs/the economy’.”

This is not to say that many of them are not also racist, sexist and xenophobic. Just as with any other demographic group, there is the worst among them, and we have seen too many of them at their ugliest.

But most of them know that their current appeal to presidential candidates and the gawking media is as fleeting as it is intense. They know what’s coming.

Win or lose, Trump will continue to enjoy a privileged, high-profile life, leaving behind the ordinary Americans who thought he meant it when he said, “I love you people.”

They will return to the same stack of bills and low-paying jobs and the stress that is unraveling their lives. They will keep their prayers simple: May the car last another season; may the baby’s cough not turn into a prescription for antibiotics; may love prevail.

Forgotten again by the media, the ordinary Americans will say goodbye to loved ones and bury their dead. They will bow their heads, maybe recite the prayers of their childhood. They will close their eyes tight and try not to think about how broken dreams have a way of sucking the life out of you long before you die.

 

By: Connie Schultz, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Columnist and Professional in Residence at Kent State University’s School of Journalism; The National Memo, March 10, 2016

March 12, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, Unions, White Working Class | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Poetic Justice, A Big Beautiful Wall”: Will Latinos Wall Off Trump From The White House?

How’s this for poetic justice? Donald Trump’s favorite scapegoats could end up having the satisfaction of blocking him from the White House.

Latino voters have the potential to form a “big, beautiful wall” between Trump and his goal. If Trump gets the Republican nomination and Hispanics are provoked into voting in numbers that more nearly approach their percentage of the population — and if, as polls suggest, they vote overwhelmingly against Trump — it is hard to see how the bombastic billionaire could win.

Such an outcome would serve Trump right. Unfortunately for the GOP, it would also threaten to make Latinos a reliable and perhaps monolithic voting bloc for the Democratic Party, just as African Americans have been since the 1960s. If this were to happen, simple arithmetic would make it increasingly difficult for Republicans to win the White House.

In 2012, Mitt Romney won just 27 percent of the Latino vote; his policy of “self-deportation” for undocumented immigrants is believed to have contributed to this poor showing. After Romney’s defeat, a GOP postmortem called on the party to regain its footing with the nation’s largest minority group. “We must embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform,” the report said.

This never happened. A group of senators who became known as the Gang of Eight, including Marco Rubio, managed to win passage of a reform bill, but House Republicans refused even to consider the legislation. It seemed the immigration issue would once again be a liability for the GOP in the presidential contest.

Then along came Trump, who opened his campaign by charging that immigrants coming from Mexico were criminals and rapists — and promising to build a wall along the border to keep them out. As for the 11 million undocumented immigrants already here, Trump’s solution is not self-deportation but rather forced deportation: He pledges to round them all up and send them home.

Trump may be all over the map on a host of issues, but xenophobic opposition to Latino immigration has been his North Star. He invites supporters to see their nation under siege from Latinos who allegedly take away jobs, commit crimes and alter traditional American culture. Last year, he criticized campaign rival Jeb Bush — whose wife is from Mexico — for speaking Spanish at a rally. “He should really set the example by speaking English while in the United States,” Trump said.

Trump’s chauvinism has been winning approval among the mostly white, working-class voters who form the core of his support. But there are signs that he may also be animating Latinos — to come out and vote against him.

A poll last month by The Post and Univision showed that just 16 percent of Latino voters had a favorable view of Trump, as opposed to 80 percent who view him unfavorably. The remaining GOP candidates — Rubio, Ted Cruz and John Kasich — all do considerably better. But no Republican does nearly as well as Democrats Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, both of whom are seen favorably by healthy majorities.

In a hypothetical matchup, according to the poll, Clinton would beat Trump among Latino voters by 73 percent to 16 percent. Assuming those who had no opinion went equally for the two candidates, Clinton’s share of the Latino vote would approach 80 percent. Swing states with large Hispanic populations such as Florida, Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado would effectively be off the table for the GOP.

Moreover, the sheer number of Latino voters will almost surely increase across the nation. According to the Pew Research Center, the 23.3 million Hispanics who were eligible to vote in 2012 will have grown to 27.3 million by Election Day, mostly from young citizens who turn 18. The specter of a Trump presidency is giving urgency to widespread voter-registration drives.

Trump’s claim that he “won” among Hispanic voters in Nevada is based on entrance polling at the party caucuses, but the sample was so small as to be virtually meaningless. More pertinent is that more than twice as many Hispanics participated in the Democratic caucuses as in the Republican ones.

Assuming Trump wins the nomination, where does this leave him? If Latinos come out to vote against him in greater-than-usual numbers, he would have to win what looks like an impossibly high percentage of the white vote to be competitive. Even if the Latino vote just grows proportionally with population, he would have a hard time winning states that GOP presidential candidates can’t afford to lose.

He may wish he could say “I’m sorry” in Spanish.

 

By: Eugene Robinson, Opinion Writer, The Washington Post, March 7, 2016

March 8, 2016 Posted by | Donald Trump, GOP Presidential Candidates, Hispanics, Latinos | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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