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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Reactions to Trump's Racist Tweets

In Defying the Odds, we discuss Trump's character The update  -- recently published --includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms.  Yesterday, he told several Democratic congresswomen to "go back" to their countries.

Lindsey Graham goes there:

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Born in the USA

In Defying the Odds, we discuss Trump's character The update  -- recently published --includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms.

AOC's dad was born in the Bronx.  Her mom was born in Puerto Rico, which is also part of the United States.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Trump: Speech I Dislike Is Not Free Speech

Trump at his social media summit:
And we don’t want to stifle anything. We certainly don’t want to stifle free speech, but that’s no longer free speech. See, I don’t think that the mainstream media is free speech either because it’s so crooked. It’s so dishonest.
So, to me, free speech is not when you see something good and then you purposely write bad. To me, that’s very dangerous speech and you become angry at it. But that’s not free speech. Somebody came to my office — and I won’t say who, but a very big person. And I said, “Okay, you don’t like the term ‘fake news’” — which I think I get credit for, but I’m sure that, if I said I get credit, they’ll say, “Thirteen years ago, somebody came up with the terms ‘fake.’” (Laughter.) I think I’d get credit. I’d be very proud to take it. But I think I’d get credit.
Now, by the way, the worst fakers of all are using “fake news.” I saw the other day on CNN — total fakes — I see on CNN — they go, “Fake-news media has reported…” No, no — they’re fake-news media. (Laughter.) They’ve turned it around. (Applause.) They’ve turned it around.
Boarding Marine One:
And they never saw anything.  They have phony sources.  They don’t even have sources.  They write whatever they want.  The New York Times is a very dishonest newspaper.  They write what they want.  And what they do is a tremendous disservice to this country.  They are truly the enemy of the people, I’ll tell you that.  They are the enemy of the people.  And what they wrote about detention centers is unfair.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Trump's Personnel Scandalabra

In  Defying the Oddswe discuss the people surrounding Trump (The update  -- recently published --includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms.)

The choice of servants is of no little importance to a prince, and they are good or not according to the discrimination of the prince. And the first opinion which one forms of a prince, and of his understanding, is by observing the men he has around him; and when they are capable and faithful he may always be considered wise, because he has known how to recognize the capable and to keep them faithful. But when they are otherwise one cannot form a good opinion of him, for the prime error which he made was in choosing them.
Unable to satisfy the public about his lenient deal, as a prosecutor, of pedophile Jeffrey Epstein, Alexander Acosta has quit as Labor Secretary.  At WP, Paul Waldman lists other Trump officials who had to quit:

  • Michael Flynn, national security adviser (pleaded guilty to crimes)
  • Sean Spicer, press secretary (terrible liar, became object of universal ridicule)
  • Anthony Scaramucci, communications director (lasted 10 days)
  • Steve Bannon, chief strategist (fired in White House shakeup)
  • Tom Price, secretary of health and human services (had taste for private jets)
  • Rex Tillerson, secretary of state (called Trump a “f---ing moron”)
  • Brenda Fitzgerald, CDC director (bought and sold tobacco stocks while leading one of America’s chief health agencies)
  • Scott Pruitt, EPA administrator (too many scandals to detail)
  • Ryan Zinke, secretary of the interior (multiple mini-scandals)
  • Kirstjen Nielsen, secretary of homeland security (combination of malice and incompetence)
  • Patrick Shanahan, acting secretary of defense (bizarre domestic violence story)
  • David Shulkin, secretary of veterans affairs (had government pay for European vacation)
  • Rob Porter, White House staff secretary (accused of domestic abuse by both his ex-wives)
  • David Sorenson, speechwriter (accused of domestic abuse by ex-wife)

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Evangelicals and Refugees

In Defying the Odds, we discuss cultural reasons for Trump's victory.  The update  -- recently published --includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Warren: The In-House Campaign Model

In Defying the Odds, we discuss the early stages of the 2016 campaign, when many candidates were unknowns.  The update  -- recently published --includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms.  We are now in the early stages of the 2020 race.

The Warren campaign has a unique approach to campaign management. Alex Thompson at Politico:
The campaign has gone without an outside polling firm, and says it has no plans to hire one, even though it is standard operating procedure for most serious candidates. Instead of initially stockpiling resources for a home-stretch TV ad blitz, she's amassed a payroll of 300-plus staffers in the early months of the campaign — overhead that could deplete her coffers if her fundraising ever falters.
And now, the campaign told POLITICO that it is shunning the typical model for producing campaign ads, in which outside firms are hired and paid often hefty commissions for their work. Instead, Warren's campaign is producing TV, digital and other media content itself, as well as placing its digital ad buys internally.
Taken together, Warren's approach is a rebuke of the consultant-heavy model of campaigns — an often lucrative arrangement in which the people advising campaigns invariably tell candidates that the best political strategy is to buy what they sell, namely TV ads and polling. If carried out for the duration, the moves would create the most robust in-house media production and buying team in recent presidential politics.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Swalwell Out, Bullock Up

In Defying the Odds, we discuss the early stages of the 2016 campaign, when many candidates were unknowns.  The update  -- recently published --includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms.  We are now in the early stages of the 2020 race.

Ryan Brooks at Buzzfeed reports on Swalwell's withdrawal.
Swalwell’s announcement comes just three months after he declared he was running during an April appearance on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.
“The polls have had their way, so here we are in July,” Swalwell told reporters of his decision to drop out.
That decision isn’t exactly a shock. Despite qualifying and participating in the June Democratic debates, Swalwell’s campaign has failed to gain traction in the crowded field of candidates and has dwindled on the lower end of polling. Swalwell’s campaign abruptly canceled a swing through New Hampshire over the long Independence Day weekend.
Swalwell is best known for his position on the House Intelligence Committee and the House Judiciary Committee and his work on the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Swalwell, 38, was one of the youngest Democrats running for president and spent his time during the June debate telling former vice president Joe Biden that it was time for him to “pass the torch” to a younger generation of Democrats so they could solve issues like gun control, automation, student loan debt, and climate change.
The first candidate to drop out of the race was Richard Ojeda, a former West Virginia legislator and congressional candidate who briefly ran a populist campaign for the Democratic nomination after losing his House race. He quit the 2020 primary at the end of January.
The winner:  Steve Bullock, who now has a much greater chance of making the next Democratic debate.