Sunday, June 26, 2016

Trump Cards, Con't.

The slow trainwreck of the Donald Trump campaign continues to disintegrate in June, where last month Trump had a slight lead over Hillary Clinton in the Washington Post/ABC News polls, he's now behind by 12 points, 51-39%.

The survey finds sweeping unease with the presumptive Republican nominee’s candidacy — from his incendiary rhetoric and values to his handling of both terrorism and his own business — foreshadowing that the November election could be a referendum on Trump more than anything else.

Roughly two in three Americans say they think Trump is unqualified to lead the nation; are anxious about the idea of him as president; believe his comments about women, minorities and Muslims show an unfair bias; and see his attacks on a federal judge because of his Mexican American heritage as racist.

A slimmer majority say they disapprove of the way Clinton has handled questions about her use of a personal email server while she was secretary of state, and half of Americans are anxious about the prospect of a Clinton presidency, underscoring the historic unpopularity of the two major-party candidates.

In fact, so strong is many Americans’ opposition to Clinton and desire for a change in Washington that even some registering their disapproval of Trump say that as of now they feel compelled to vote for him.

Nevertheless, in a head-to-head general election matchup, Clinton leads Trump 51 percent to 39 percent among registered voters nationwide, the poll found. This is Clinton’s largest lead in Post-ABC polling since last fall and a dramatic reversal from last month’s survey, which found the race nearly even, with Trump at 46 percent and Clinton at 44 percent.

And yes, Clinton would be the most unpopular candidate a major party was set to nominate in decades, except for the fact that Trump is even more unpopular and significantly so.  Of course there are people who dislike Trump who will vote for him anyway, but gosh, more people will vote for Clinton.

Of course this means Bernie Sanders supporters are starting to come around to Hillary, and they're not the only ones:

In May, Trump was more competitive with Clinton because he had just secured the Republican nomination and the party’s electorate was coalescing around his candidacy. Clinton’s unfavorable ratings among registered voters tied their record high last month, matching Trump’s at 57 percent and weighing her down.

But that dynamic reversed over the past month, with Democrats unifying behind Clinton and Republicans expressing fresh doubts about Trump. While 88 percent of Democrats or Democrat-leaning independents say they support Clinton, a smaller 79 percent of Republican-leaning voters back Trump.

And there is evidence in the poll that the emergence of Trump as the Republican Party’s standard bearer has pushed some GOP voters out of the fold. Just 69 percent of self-identified Republicans who supported a candidate other than Trump in the primary say they now support Trump; 13 percent say they back Clinton, while 11 percent volunteer “neither.”

There is also little evidence that Trump is winning over Democratic primary voters. On the campaign trail in recent weeks, Trump has made direct appeals to disaffected supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.). But the poll finds that just 8 percent of voters who backed Sanders in the primaries say they support Trump, down from 20 percent in May.

So yes, Trump is starting to really show signs of total disintegration here.  We'll see.

Sunday Long Read: Hell In A Cell

This week's long read is Shane Bauer's outstanding, heartbreaking piece on his four months undercover as a prison guard in the nation's oldest private federal correctional facility in Louisiana, making $9 an hour working for the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) and seeing every kind of hell imaginable.

At the end of one morning of doing nothing, the training coordinator tells us we can go to the gym to watch inmates graduate from trade classes. Prisoners and their families are milling around with plates of cake and cups of fruit punch. An inmate offers a piece of red velvet to Miss Stirling.

I stand around with Collinsworth, an 18-year-old cadet with a chubby white baby face hidden behind a brown beard and a wisp of bangs. Before CCA, Collinsworth worked at a Starbucks. When he came to Winnfield to help out with family, this was the first job he could get. Once, Collinsworth was nearly kicked out of class after he jokingly threatened to stab Mr. Tucker with a plastic training knife. He's boasted to me about inmate management tactics he's learned from seasoned officers. "You just pit 'em against each other and that's the easiest way to get your job done," he tells me. He says one guard told him that inmates should tell troublemakers, "'I'm gonna rape you if you try that shit again.' Or something; whatever it takes."

As Collinsworth and I stand around, inmates gather to look at our watches. One, wearing a cocked gray beanie, asks to buy them. I refuse outright. Collinsworth dithers. "How old you is?" the inmate asks him.

"You never know," Collinsworth says.

"Man, all these fake-ass signals," the inmate says. "The best thing you could do is get to know people in the place."

"I understand it's your home," Collinsworth says. "But I'm at work right now."

"It's your home for 12 hours a day! You trippin'. You 'bout to do half my time with me. You straight with that?"

"It's probably true."

"It ain't no 'probably true.' If you go' be at this bitch, you go' do 12 hours a day." He tells Collinsworth not to bother writing up inmates for infractions: "They ain't payin' you enough for that." Seeming torn between whether to impress me or the inmate, Collinsworth says he will only write up serious offenses, like hiding drugs.

"Drugs?! Don't worry 'bout the drugs." The inmate says he was caught recently with two ounces of "mojo," or synthetic marijuana, which is the drug of choice at Winn. The inmate says guards turn a blind eye to it. They "ain't trippin' on that shit," he says. "I'm telling you, it ain't that type of camp. You can't come change things by yourself. You might as well go with the flow. Get this free-ass, easy-ass money, and go home."

"I'm just here to do my job and take care of my family," Collinsworth says. "I'm not gonna bring stuff in 'cuz even if I don't get caught, there's always the chance that I will."

"Nah. Ain't no chance," the inmate says. "I ain't never heard of nobody movin' good and low-key gettin' caught. Nah. I know a dude still rolling. He been doin' it six years." He looks at Collinsworth. "Easy."

The inmates' families file out the side entrance. A couple of minutes after the last visitors leave, the coach shouts, "All inmates on the bleachers!" A prisoner tosses his graduation certificate dramatically into the trash. Another lifts the podium over his head and runs with it across the gym. The coach shouts, exasperated, as prisoners scramble around.

"You see this chaos?" the inmate in the beanie says to Collinsworth. "If you'd been to other camps, you'd see the order they got. Ain't no order here. Inmates run this bitch, son."

"None of you seem to understand. I'm not locked in here with you. You're locked in here with me."

Our mass incarceration system is awful.  Our corporations are awful.  Putting the two together was arguably the worst idea America has had over the last 20 years.
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