Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Last Call For The Sound Of Trump Pets

The Donald continues to dominate the GOP field, and if a new CNN poll is any indication, the nomination is now his to lose as he's up to 24% and pulling away from the field on key issues.

Trump is the biggest gainer in the poll, up 6 points since July according to the first nationwide CNN/ORC poll since the top candidates debated in Cleveland on Aug. 6. Carson gained 5 points and Fiorina 4 points. Trump has also boosted his favorability numbers among Republicans, 58% have a favorable view of Trump now, that figure stood at 50% in the July survey. 
These nationwide findings follow recent polling in Iowa and New Hampshire showing Trump also leads the Republican field in those two key early states.

And what of Jeb Bush's fortunes?

Bush, who held the top spot in the field in most CNN/ORC polls on the race between last fall and Trump's entry into the race in June, has seen his favorability ratings drop alongside his standing in the contest. Overall, 56% hold an unfavorable view of the former Florida governor and 42% of Republican voters have a negative impression. That's an increase in negative views among all adults (up from 43% since July) and among Republican voters (up from 34% unfavorable).

But it's on the issues where Trump is winning in his role as the GOP's unrestrained id.

Still, Trump has quickly won the trust of Republican voters on several top issues. According to the poll, 45% say they trust Trump more than any other Republican candidate on the economy -- up 25 points since June, 44% say they trust Trump over the others on illegal immigration -- up 30 points since June -- and 32% trust him most to handle ISIS, no other candidate comes close on any of these issues.

Oh but it gets better.

On the economy and illegal immigration, Trump is far and away the top choice even among those Republicans who support someone else for the nomination (33% who say they will most likely vote for someone else say Trump is their most trusted on the economy, 29% say so on illegal immigration). Trump is also most trusted on social issues, 19% say he's their top choice to handle that. Bush follows at 15%. 
On two of these issues, Trump is more trusted among conservative Republicans than among moderate Republicans: When it comes to both the economy and illegal immigration, 50% of conservatives say they trust Trump, compared with 35% among moderates on each of those issues.

And what about his rampant sexism?  It only makes the GOP ladies love him even more.

But there is no gender gap among Republicans on favorable views of Trump: 60% of Republican women voters have a positive impression as do 57% of GOP men. Outside the Republican Party, women are less apt to hold a favorable view of Trump, just 17% of women voters who are independents or Democratic leaners see him favorably, compared with 29% of non-Republican male voters.

What can the RNC do, cut off Trump's donors?  He's a billionaire.  He's the archetype of the GOP candidate, a guy so rich he can't be bought by special interests.  They love him, and the rest of the GOP is in 100% panic mode.  Think about this: 3 out of 5 Republican women are perfectly OK with Trump's special brand of misogyny.  It's capitalism meets Dominionism.

And for very good reason.  Trump shows no signs of crashing and burning.  The longer he stays on top, the more likely he'll be the nominee.  Vox's Lee Drutman attempts an explanation:

The data on this is pretty clear. Put simply: While most elite-funded and elite-supported Republicans want to increase immigration and decrease Social Security, a significant number of voters (across both parties) want precisely the opposite — to increase Social Security and decrease immigration. So when Trump speaks out both against immigration and against fellow Republicans who want to cut Social Security, he's speaking out for a lot people. 
By my count of National Election Studies (NES) data, 24 percent of the US population holds this position (increase Social Security, decrease immigration). If we add in the folks who want to maintain (not cut) Social Security and decrease immigration, we are now at 40 percent of the total electorate, which I'll call "populist." No wonder folks are flocking to Trump — and to Bernie Sanders, who holds similar positions, though with more emphasis on the expanding Social Security part and less aggression on immigration.

Math seems pretty solid to me.  Both Trump and Sanders are holding at about 24% nationally among their respective primary polls right now and both are on the upswing.

Of course, in a MUCH more likely scenario, 24% is awfully close to 27%, too, and Trump people are just racist assholes.

Go figure.

Yes, Black Lives Do Matter

Bernie Sanders has taken a lot of heat from BLM activists for his answers and for seemingly shrugging off meetings with people in the movement.  Hillary Clinton on the other hand has met with activists, but some of her answers aren't exactly making her seem all that much better than Sanders.

Clinton's exchange with the activists was respectful, but there were some tense moments. The first video starts with Jones spending three minutes going over America's history of violence toward black people, ending with Clinton's role in perpetuating mass incarceration. He concluded with a thoughtful question on what that means to Clinton personally — "Now, they may have been unintended consequences, but now that you understand the consequences, what in your heart has changed that's going to change the direction of the country?" he asked — and a Clinton aide interrupted before she could answer. 
Clinton started off with a standard politician answer, recapping her lifelong advocacy for minority children, then offered some insight into how she wants to frame the issue on the campaign trail. "Once you say that this country has still not recovered from its original sin, which is true, the next question by people who are on the sidelines, which is the vast majority of Americans, is 'So, what do you want me to do about it?'" she said. "I'm trying to put together in a way that I can explain it and I can sell it, because in politics if you can't explain it and you can't sell it, it stays on the shelf."

She added that a specific agenda is crucial because "you can get lip service from as many white people you can pack into Yankee Stadium and a million more like it who are going to say, 'We get it, we get it. We are going to be nicer.' That’s not enough, at least in my book." 

Now, she's 100% right about this. Changing the minds and the actions of white America is the key to stopping racism in this country, and Clinton is going to have to sell that change to people.

Things got more tense in the second clip, as Jones objected to Clinton suggesting that Black Lives Matter needs to have clearer policy goals to get the rest of the country onboard. "I say this as respectfully as I can: If you don’t tell black people what we need to do, then we won’t tell you all what you need to do," Jones said, adding that "this is and has always been a white problem of violence" and there isn't much black people can do to stop it. 
"Respectfully, if that is your position, then I will talk only to white people about how we are going to deal with the very real problems," Clinton snapped. Jones said it's a "form of victim blaming" for Clinton to tell Black Lives Matter what it "needs to do to change white hearts." While Clinton avoided opening up about her personal culpability in America's race problem, that provoked a passionate explanation of how she sees politics: 
Look, I don't believe you change hearts. I believe you change laws, you change allocation of resources, you change the way systems operate. You're not gonna change every heart. You're not. But at the end of the day we can do a whole lot to change some hearts and change some systems and create more opportunities for people who deserve to have them to live up to their own God-given potential ... You can keep the movement going, which you have started, and through it you may actually change some hearts. But if that's all that happens, we'll be back here in ten years having the same conversation.

She's right about some things, but wildly off-base on others.  Blaming white people who perpetrate violence against black lives isn't victim blaming when it's been happening for 400 goddamn years.

However, Clinton is right when she says unless laws and more importantly entire systems change in this country, the situation will not improve.  The issue has always been how to best go about catalyzing that change.  It's a revolutionary change that will require a revolutionary act.  My question is how BLM plans to get that done with a Republican Congress.  It's not going to happen until that ends. What policies can a Democratic president enact further that a Republican Congress won't destroy?  We've had seven years of that.  How do we win back Congress and the state legislatures and governor's mansions?

Yes, it's  important to ask if Clinton the best person to help bring that change about of the candidates available. Jury's still out on both her and Sanders.  I'm hearing a lot of why, but nowhere near enough on how, from anyone involved.  That goes for the Democrats as well as BLM.

Re-Birther Of The Fool

So what do you get when you combine rabid GOP nationalism with "I'm not a racist but..." mentality and throw in a healthy dollop of paranoia heading into 2016?  The revenge of the Birther movement as it finds some Republican candidates unacceptable.

In a column published last week on the conspiracy theory website WND, author Jack Cashill noted that questions had been raised about whether four of the 17 candidates in the GOP field were really "natural born citizens" and therefore eligible to run for President. 
Ted Cruz has already dealt with those questions publicly -- the Canadian-born senator from Texas renounced his citizenship with that country last summer in anticipation of a 2016 bid -- but Cashill also listed Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) and former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) among those who were suspect. 
He even mentioned that Jindal's preferring to go by the name Bobby -- inspired by "The Brady Bunch" -- instead of his given name, Piyush, would make for interesting evidence in a court case focused on his eligibility to run for commander-in-chief. 
But who, exactly, was suspicious of these candidates? On what grounds could these four politicians' eligibility to be President be challenged? And why was Santorum, whose background as an Italian-American doesn't get mentioned nearly as frequently as Rubio's Cuban heritage or Jindal's Indian heritage, suspect? 
TPM called up Cashill to find out. Cashill notably co-wrote the 2012 book "Officer's Oath" with former Lt. Col. Terry Lakin, who was dismissed from the U.S. Army in 2010 and sentenced to six months in prison for refusing to deploy to Afghanistan amid his questions about President Barack Obama's eligibility to serve as commander-in-chief.

And the interview is a goddman classic.

When the challenge was made against Barack Obama, people said “how dare you question he’s a natural born citizen because he was born in Hawaii." Even if he was born in Hawaii, that does not make him a natural born citizen. It’s a very strict term. I won’t say very strict -- there’s a real meaning to the term, it’s not that it’s perfectly defined but the understanding is well understood. The understanding is that you be born of American parents with unquestioned loyalty to the United States. So for instance, had Obama been born [somewhere] other than Hawaii he would not have been eligible to run for President. Even though his mother was an American, just like Ted Cruz’s mother was American, the difference is that according to the law you’d have to be an American citizen for five years after the age of 14. She simply wasn’t old enough to confer that status on Obama. If his mother had been a non-American citizen and his father had been a Kenyan, and neither had any allegiance to the United States, which in fact neither of them really did, he would not have been eligible no matter where he was born.

So the question comes up about Bobby Jindal’s parents. Both of them were in the United States on student visas. To me the real question is does the candidate have any divided allegiance. So if Jindal’s parents remained steadfastly identifying as Indians and he steadfastly identified as an Indian, even though he was born in the United States and was a citizen, he would not be eligible. Legitimately, he would not be eligible to be President. But given the fact that he changed his name after a character in “The Brady Bunch" -- as American as it gets -- I don’t think there’s any question in any of those candidates that there’s any dual allegiance. That’s what the law was designed to prevent, was people with dual allegiance. Especially in the early Republic when you had people who were from England or from France and who really reported back to the motherland first. Even if they were born here they might be children of a diplomat or something like that. The fact that you are a citizen doesn’t make you a natural born citizen.

These people are completely, certifiably bonkers. and now they are turning on each other.  It would be funny other than the fact that their votes count too, and they are much more likely to vote than your average Democratic voter.


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