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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Trump v. American Exceptionalism

Aaron Blake reports at The Washington Post:
The same day that Donald Trump travels to Mexico to meet with President Enrique Peña Nieto, Hillary Clinton will attack him for his opposition to the idea of American exceptionalism.
Assisting her in that effort: Donald Trump himself.
And it's not just Trump's campaign slogan to "Make America Great Again" — a formulation that suggests America is no longer great. Trump, in fact, has said at multiple points in recent years that he doesn't much like the idea of American exceptionalism. And he has explained this position in detail.
...

Appearing on Fox News with Greta van Susteren at the time [2013], Trump said he agreed with Putin:
And when he criticizes the president for using the term "American exceptionalism," if you're in Russia, you don't want to hear that America is exceptional. And if you're in many other countries, whether it's Germany or other places, you don't want to hear about American exceptionalism, because you think you're exceptional. So I can see that being very insulting to the world.
And that's basically what Putin was saying — is that, you know, you use a term like "American exceptionalism," and frankly, the way our country is being treated right now by Russia and Syria and lots of other places and with all the mistakes we've made over the years — like Iraq and so many others — it's sort of a hard term to use.
But other nations and other countries don't want hear about American exceptionalism. They're insulted by it. And that's what Putin was saying
.

Clinton Has a Much Stronger Campaign

Lisa Desjardins and Daniel Bush report at PBS:
To pinpoint campaign operations, PBS NewsHour compiled office data from 15 key states, speaking with state and national campaign officials, cross-referencing Federal Election Commission spending reports and checking local news coverage.

As of Aug. 30, Hillary Clinton has 291 offices in those 15 battlegrounds. Donald Trump has 88. (Those figures include joint presidential and party offices.) Both campaigns pledge that more offices are coming.

The Trump campaign says its number will more than double — adding another 132 offices — in coming days and weeks.
But lagging so far behind in infrastructure as the campaigns enter the post-Labor Day blitz is unprecedented. To win, the Trump team hopes that their candidate can rewrite the laws of the ground game.
John Sides writes at The Washington Post:
This is obviously unprecedented in modern presidential elections. Typically, the candidates have similar resources and campaign organizations. Typically, it is difficult for one candidate to have a large advantage in televised advertising or fieldwork. In 2012, for example, my research with Lynn Vavreck showed that neither Barack Obama nor Mitt Romney could sustain a durable advantage in advertising. Obama’s edge in fieldwork did appear to net him votes, although not enough to be decisive in the electoral college.
By comparison, Trump is being vastly outspent in advertising and is limited essentially to whatever field organization the Republican National Committee can provide — which will be exceeded by Hillary Clinton’s, much as Romney’s was exceeded by Obama’s. How much will this cost him on Election Day?
Probably the best estimate comes from a recently published piece by political scientists Ryan Enos and Anthony Fowler. They show that the effect of the 2012 presidential campaign on voter turnout was quite large, about 7-8 points overall.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Soros and DA Races

At Politico, Scott Bland reports that George Soros has spent more than $3 million on local races for district attorney in the past year.
Soros has spent on district attorney campaigns in Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico and Texas through a network of state-level super PACs and a national “527” unlimited-money group, each named a variation on “Safety and Justice.” (Soros has also funded a federal super PAC with the same name.) Each organization received most of its money directly from Soros, according to public state and federal financial records, though some groups also got donations from nonprofits like the Civic Participation Action Fund, which gave to the Safety and Justice group in Illinois.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Middle-Class Revulsion

Joel Kotkin writes at RCP:
Middle-class revulsion with the political mainstream has been driven by slow economic growth, stagnant wages, a dysfunctional education system, and, for smaller businesses, a tightening regulatory regime. Homeownership is now at a nearly half-century low. New business start-ups, for the first time in three decades, are not keeping up with the number of deaths. Both stats reveal a real decline in aspiration. Most Americans, in a stunning reversal of past trends, see a worse future for their offspring than themselves. Who can blame them? Middle-class breadwinners and working-class wage-earners now suffer from deteriorating health and shorter lifespans.

In other words, middle-class Americans could certainly use a champion. But those who chose Trump went off the rails.
He isn't cheering Clinton, either:
By elevating this disingenuous demagogue, Trump voters have assisted in the further ascendency of the oligarch class. The forces coalescing around Hillary Clinton -- mainstream Wall Street, particularly hedge funds, beltway lobbyists, the big media, Silicon Valley, Hollywood, and green capitalists -- do not share the priorities of Middle America. Bernie Sanders made an issue of Clinton’s Wall Street support, but the Vermont socialist was always too marginal, cranky and, ultimately, too doctrinaire to win even in today’s Democratic Party.
With Sanders conveniently dispatched, the crony-capitalist class is assured its worldview prevails. They can check all the boxes that Rob Atkinson has labeled as“the Davos application” of open immigration, greater globalization, free trade, and higher carbon prices.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Hillary Victory Fund and Transfers to DNC

Bill Allison reports at Bloomberg:
When the Democratic National Committee announced its $32 million fundraising haul last month, it touted the result as evidence of “energy and excitement” for Hillary Clinton’s nomination for the White House and other races down the ballot. The influx of money, however, also owes in part to an unprecedented workaround of political spending limits that lets the party tap into millions of dollars more from Clinton’s wealthiest donors.

At least $7.3 million of the DNC’s July total originated with payments from hundreds of major donors who had already contributed the maximum $33,400 to the national committee, a review of Federal Election Commission filings shows. The contributions, many of which were made months earlier, were first bundled by the Hillary Victory Fund and then transferred to the state Democratic parties, which effectively stripped the donors’ names and sent the money to the DNC as a lump sum.

Of the transfers that state parties made to the DNC for which donor information was available, an overwhelming proportion came from contributions from maxed-out donors: On average, 83 percent of the money that was sent from the state committees to the DNC in July originated with a donor who had already given the maximum $33,400 to the national party.
...
 “I’m not aware of any case law or regulations that would prohibit a state party from transferring to a national party committee funds raised through a joint fundraising committee,” Robert Kelner, an election law expert at Covington & Burling said. “But as a practical matter, it does appear that the DNC may be using Hillary Victory Fund as a mechanism for allowing donors to give more to the DNC indirectly than would otherwise be permitted directly.”

Friday, August 26, 2016

Weak Democratic Bench

Jennifer Steinhauer reports at The New York Times that just as Senate Republicans blew their shot at majorities in 2010 and 2012 before finally taking control in 2014, Democrats have fielded mediocre candidates in key races: Katie McGinty (PA) Deborah Ross (NC), Catherine Cortez Masto (NV), 72-year-old Patty Judge (IA), 75-year-old Ted Strickland (OH).
The Democrats’ problem stems from a depletion of their ranks in state legislatures and governors’ mansions over recent years and a lack of institutional support for grass-roots-level politicians who represent a changing base.
...
“Democrats have done a poor job, and I take my share of responsibility here, in not being as focused as Republicans have on building at the grass roots,” [David] Axelrod said. “Look what the G.O.P. and their related agents have done with legislative and City Council and school board races. They are building capacity, and Democrats have paid the cost.”
Many promising young Democrats in the House have been frustrated by the reluctance of Representative Nancy Pelosi, the minority leader, and her aging deputies to step aside and let new members ascend to leadership — one of the few rewards for a minority party in the House. “I was on the recruitment committee, and a lot of candidates decided to take a pass,” said Representative Karen Bass, Democrat of California. She added, “There are people who are new to Congress and have a difficult situation because they are not going to be there for 20 years.”
Some simply leave. “I was one of the few Democrats not to support Nancy Pelosi for leader,” said Representative Gwen Graham, Democrat of Florida, who is retiring after one term and planning to run for governor. “We need new voices.” Representative Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, once considered a potential House speaker, is running for the Senate.
Democratic ranks have also been decimated in state governments across the nation, where new leaders tend to plant roots for future higher office.
After the 2008 elections, Democrats controlled 62 of the 99 state legislatures; today, Republicans control 68 chambers, according to Governing magazine. Over the same time period, the number of Democrats in governor’s mansions fell from 28 to 18. In both cases, Republican control is now at or near historic highs.

Freedom Caucus and Club for Growth

Rachel Bade reports at Politico:
Rumor swirls that Freedom Caucus & Club for Growth are in cahoots. We’ve been hearing for a while that some lawmakers and political operatives aligned with House GOP leadership are growing increasingly concerned that the powerful conservative outside group Club for Growth is taking marching orders from their arch-nemesis: The House Freedom Caucus. So, yours truly went to track this rumor down.

What we found was that it’s pretty obvious why they believed there was some unholy coordination going on: 1.) All Club-backed House contenders this year are members of, or endorsed by, the Freedom Caucus. 2.) The Club's super PAC has spent $3.7 million to boost a half-dozen Republican primary candidates who've pledged publicly or privately to join the Freedom Caucus 3.) Some of the candidates' policy positions are at odds with some of the Club's positions, raising eyebrows among its detractors. 4.) And one operative told us they heard it from the horse’s mouth directly. http://politi.co/2bSfeTd
...
Don’t miss Rep. Lynn Westmoreland’s (R-Ga.) pretty scathing quote: "I was a Club-endorsed candidate when I first ran for Congress. I had to go through a very thorough interview by a committee of Club members at their office ... to make sure I agreed with their issues. Now I'm told that the Club is taking a different approach. Now all a candidate has to do is be endorsed by the House Freedom Caucus Chairman Jim Jordan. The Club is spending their members' money on candidates that don't necessarily line up with their core principles on immigration or free trade. I don't understand the coordination and I would think it would be a surprise to Club members."

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Echoing An Anti-Goldwater Ad, Clinton Video Links Trump to the KKK

A video released Thursday by Hillary Clinton’s campaign makes the case that Donald Trump is the candidate of racists, white supremacists and neo-Nazis.
“The reason a lot of Klan members like Donald Trump is because a lot of what he believes, we believe in,” a robed man identified as the Imperial Wizard of the Rebel Brigade Knights of the Ku Klux Klan says at the top of the video, followed by images of a Confederate flag fluttering in the wind, Trump waving after a speech, and a man performing a Hitler salute at what appears to be a Trump rally.



In 1964, the LBJ campaign produced a similar ad, but decided not to air it because it went too far.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Resolving a Question About Fred Trump

Trump is offending African American voters with his bleak portrayal of their living conditions.

Trump is also offending Catholics.  Raphael Bernal reports at The Hill:
Steve Bannon, Donald Trump's new campaign CEO, previously accused Catholics of supporting Hispanic immigration to prop up the church's numbers on his radio program in the spring.

"I understand why Catholics want as many Hispanics in this country as possible, because the church is dying in this country, right? If it was not for the Hispanics," Bannon told Robert P. George, a Princeton law professor who, along with dozens of other leaders, wrote an open letter to fellow Catholics denouncing Trump.

"I get that, right? But I think that is the subtext of part of the letter, and I think that is the subtext of a lot of the political direction of this."
The Hill first reported on Bannon's March 8 comments Monday. Bannon railed against House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and said he was "rubbing his social-justice Catholicism in my nose every second."
Trump also employs an openly anti-Catholic spokesperson and has directly attacked Pope Francis. 

If he is serious about "pivoting," he should follow the example of Arnold Schwarzenegger.

In 1990, responding to reports that his father had been a Nazi, he asked the Simon Wiesenthal Center to investigate.  The Center found that the reports were true.  By being open and proactive, Schwarzenegger inoculated himself against his father's taint.  In 2003, his gubernatorial campaign suffered no damage when additional details surfaced about Gustav Schwarzenegger's Nazi activities.

Trump could make a gesture of goodwill by dealing with his own father's past.  Earlier this year, news accounts provided documentation that New York City police arrested Fred Trump in the wake of a 1927 anti-Catholic Ku Klux Klan rally in Queens.  Donald Trump flatly denied the story, even though three separate contemporaneous news accounts noted Fred Trump's arrest.

These stories do not prove that Fred Trump was a Klan member, but they surely raise questions.  With his vast wealth, Trump might be able to settle these questions by sponsoring a full investigation of his father.  If the investigation finds that his father was not a Klan member, he can claim vindication. If it does, he can get credit for honesty and candor.

Mr. Trump, as you keep rhetorically asking African Americans, what do you have to lose?

Joint Fundraising Committees

Matea Gold and John Wagner report at The Washington Post:
Clinton was the first presidential contender this cycle to take advantage of recent changes in campaign finance rules that allow candidates to seek massive contributions in conjunction with the national party.
[Political parties go after million-dollar donors in wake of looser rules]
By giving to two joint fundraising committees that Clinton’s campaign set up with the DNC, a single donor can contribute as much as $619,200 this year to support her bid. (Trump now has a similar arrangement with the Republican National Committee that allows donors to give up to $449,400.)
A Washington Post analysis of Federal Election Commission filings found that 65 Clinton allies had given at least $300,000 apiece to her joint fundraising committees by the end of June, together accounting for more than $29 million in contributions.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Turning Around GOP Themes

For those old enough to remember the Cold War (not to mention the 1985 film White Nights), this linkage of the Republican nominee to the USSR is striking: "Take it from one who knows. Hundreds of thousands of people like me have fled from countries led by dangerous totalitarian opportunists like Donald Trump,"



 In 1988, the Bush campaign used the Pledge of Allegiance as an issue against Dukakis.

Priorities USA Action now uses the Pledge of Allegiance against the GOP nominee:




The Hill reports:
A pro-Hillary Clinton group is out with a new ad contrasting remarks from her GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump with children singing the Pledge of Allegiance.
The 30-second ad spot from Priorities USA Action opens with a diverse group of children singing the pledge before showing Trump's comments on Mexicans importing drugs and crime.
It also includes Trump commenting on Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly last year, remarking on "blood coming out of her ... wherever," his remarks mocking a disabled New York Times reporter and the billionaire's boast of being able to shoot somebody in the street and not lose votes.

Monday, August 22, 2016

"You Know What I'm Talking About"

The Hill reports:
 Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Monday urged the crowd gathered at his rally to both vote and "watch" when the general election comes around.
"You've got to get every one of your friends. You've got to get every one of your family. You've got to get everybody to go out and watch. And go out and vote," Trump said at the end of a rally Monday in Akron, Ohio.
"And when I say watch, you know what I'm talking about, right? You know what I'm taking about. I think you got to go out and you got to watch."
The poll watching could amount to intimidation that violates a consent decree. 


Digital Clinton v. Analog Trump

Both of President Barack Obama’s campaigns were organized around a series of six regional pods, with a lead official in each responsible for managing field, data, communication, or digital across seven or eight states.
2016 Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton also uses pods—but hers look nothing like Obama’s. As she has reoriented her campaign for the general election, her team has devised a structure that reflects not geographic contiguity, with its common weather patterns or vernacular music traditions across neighboring states, but instead the different type of campaigning she will need to win each one. Most importantly, the structure acknowledges the increasing importance of early voting, which offers Clinton the potential to lock in an early lead when ballots begin to be cast in late September.
...
In Clinton’s Brooklyn headquarters, states with major opportunities for early voting—such as North Carolina and Colorado—are in their own pod, while the remaining states are divided into two. One pod has large, diverse states like Ohio and Pennsylvania, where mobilizing minorities and young whites will be essential to her victory. The other pod contains smaller, mostly white ones like Iowa and New Hampshire, which present fewer opportunities to identify and turn out new voters but a major need for persuasion.
Jim Tankersley reports at the Washington Post: \
Hillary Clinton is running arguably the most digital presidential campaign in U.S. history. Donald Trump is running one of the most analog campaigns in recent memory. The Clinton team is bent on finding more effective ways to identify supporters and ensure they cast ballots; Trump is, famously and unapologetically, sticking to an 1980s-era focus on courting attention and voters via television.
He interviews Issenberg:
Trump is very much a throwback to that old mass-media world — this is a guy who seems to prize being on the cover of Time or featured in "60 Minutes" above anything else — but has also decided to run for president on the cheap. So he's still relying on the three national networks (and cable news), but since he isn't paying for airtime, he is reliant on the media to filter his message in a way that past candidates haven't been. No wonder he's in such a love-hate relationship with us.
...
Now I think that dramatically fails to appreciate the extent to which campaigns are not just about changing people's opinions to get them to like you. Now more than ever, thanks to partisan polarization, campaigns are about modifying the behavior of people who already like you — getting the unregistered to register, mobilizing infrequent voters to turn out. That is best done through targeted communications that don't involve the candidate
We know from dozens if not hundreds of randomized field experiments that the best way to turn a non-voter into a voter is to have a well-trained volunteer from his or her neighborhood conduct a high-quality face-to-face interaction at the doorstep. The Clinton campaign is building the structure to do a lot of that, at scale, before voters they have modeled as most likely to change their behavior as a result. That doesn't fit into Trump's idea of what an election is about. To his credit, though, unlike a lot of candidates, he doesn't go through the motions of halfheartedly opening field offices — or printing up yard signs to fill them with — without understanding how they fit into his broader strategy.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Millennials Reject Trump

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton is consolidating the support of the Millennials who fueled Bernie Sanders' challenge during the primaries, a new USA TODAY/Rock the Vote Poll finds, as Republican Donald Trump heads toward the worst showing among younger voters in modern American history.

The survey shows Clinton trouncing Trump 56%-20% among those under 35, though she has failed so far to generate the levels of enthusiasm Sanders did — and the high turn-out that can signal — among Millennials.
...
 In the new survey, half of those under 35 say they identify with or lean toward the Democrats; just 20% identify with or lean toward the Republicans. Seventeen percent are independents, and another 12% either identify with another party or don't know.
Trump's weakness among younger voters is unprecedented, lower even than the 32% of the vote that the Gallup Organization calculates Richard Nixon received among 18-to-29-year-old voters in 1972, an era of youthful protests against the Vietnam War.
Dan Spinelli writes at Politico:
“Students for Trump” has members at more than 100 colleges. It has a foothold in 41 states. And it has more than 33,000 followers on Twitter, more than five times the following of rival “Students for Hillary.”
What it can’t get, however, is any attention from Donald Trump — or the time of day from Trump’s campaign.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Republicans Endorsing Clinton

Kurt Bardella, former GOP Hill staffer:
The America that I love cannot become beholden to our lowest common denominator. And while Donald Trump is anything but a sophisticated political strategist, a man like Steve Bannon can help amplify his hateful rhetoric to an unprecedented degree.

It is glaringly obvious that Donald Trump does not have the temperament or the judgment to occupy the Oval Office. This is one of those times where the best interests of the whole outweigh any partisan allegiances or any specific issue. It’s why I’ve made the personal choice to vote for Hillary Clinton in November.

Donald Trump is dangerous for America and is surrounding himself with a team that will empower him to leave a lasting mark on the political discourse in this country. Whether he wins this election or not, he is building an organization that ensures that this personal brand of nihilism continues to have a platform.
Rosario Marin, former US Treasurer:
I have disagreed with and criticized Hillary Clinton’s positions, but I have come to the conclusion that she would be a far better president than the Republican candidate could ever be. She understands that words spoken from the White House have consequences, that sarcasm is not a strategy when dealing with delicate world situations, that our friends and foes listen to every word spoken by our president and react accordingly.
There is too much at stake both domestically and abroad to have a thoughtless individual at the helm of the most important economy in the world.

My party and its standard bearer leave me no choice; On November 8, I will vote for Hillary Clinton.
Daniel Akerson, former GM CEO:
When I worked at General Motors, our global operations comprised more than 100 plants and roughly a quarter-million employees. Supply-chain management and the orchestration of commodities, parts and components around the globe required a multinational, interdisciplinary effort. In every chief executive job I have had, my team and I spent countless hours analyzing global trends, listening to experts, learning from others and making informed, reasoned decisions. Trump does none of that. While running a successful hotel business is honorable and hard work, there is no comparison to running a sophisticated global operation such as the U.S. government. Trump is simply not up to a job of this complexity.
...
By contrast, Clinton has been tested. She has demonstrated balance, calm and an even temperament. She has an unparalleled knowledge of foreign and economic policy; she has run complex organizations such as the State Department. Over the years, she has demonstrated that she can take criticism and work with even her most strident political opponents. Like other leaders, including myself, she has made mistakes. I believe she has learned from those mistakes. In my opinion, she is ready to be commander in chief on Day One.
David Nierenberg, president of Nierenberg Investment Management:
Trump is the most dangerous major party presidential candidate in my lifetime, maybe in American history. His character, temperament, and behavior definitely are not presidential. I don't think he's fit to be our president. He speaks positively about foreign dictators and acts like one himself.
For decades, candidates, including successful business people, have released their tax returns; why does Trump think he shouldn't follow the rules of the game? Defeating him has to be our national priority.
For these reasons, I have decided to endorse and support Hillary Clinton for president, even though everybody else I will vote for this November will be a real Republican. Hillary Clinton knows her stuff. She is emotionally mature and centered. She respects and enjoys working with people from all backgrounds. She has the diplomatic skills needed to break the gridlock in Washington and lead our country well. America needs a steady hand on the tiller.
We cannot afford the risk of a man whose temperament and behavior are erratic.
Speechwriter Richard J. Cross III:
In fact, I personally drafted the speech of the "Benghazi mom," Patricia Smith. In that speech, I concluded with the following line: "If Hillary Clinton can't give us the truth, why should we give her the presidency?" As a political speechwriter, that was something of a home run moment for me. The New Yorker called the speech "the weaponization of grief."
But weeks after the end of the 2016 GOP convention, I am confronted by an inconvenient fact: Despite what I wrote in that nationally televised speech about Hillary Clinton, I may yet have to vote for her because of the epic deficiencies of my own party's nominee.
President Eisenhower would have never proposed banning Muslims from America. Nor would President Nixon. Nor would President Reagan. Donald Trump has betrayed and perverted their legacies. Consequently, I no longer recognize my party.

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Nonbarking Dog: GOP Senate Primaries

Nathan Gonzales reports at Roll Call:
Two years after Pat Roberts, Thad Cochran and Mitch McConnell labored through competitive primaries, four years after Richard Lugar lost his primary in Indiana, and six years after Bob Bennett and Lisa Murkowski lost their primaries, this year’s class of GOP senators have not only survived, but thrived in intra-party contests.
Murkowski avenged her 2010 primary loss to Joe Miller with a 72-15 percent victory in Alaska on Tuesday. And she’s not the only one who has done well.
Nineteen GOP senators have been renominated so far this year and none of them fell below 61 percent. They also averaged 86 percent of the vote and a 76-point margin of victory. Even without the nine senators who ran unopposed, senators facing at least one primary challenger averaged 74 percent of the vote and a 54-point victory margin.

Manafort Quits

David A. Graham reports at The Atlantic:
Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was already in the midst of a rough spot when The New York Times published a story Sunday night, detailing millions in cash payments to Manafort listed in a secret ledger in Ukraine.
By Friday, Manafort had resigned from the Trump campaign, two days after the Republican nominee effectively sidelined him by hiring a new campaign chief executive and a new campaign manager.
The story nicely enumerates the growing list of scandals surrounding Comrade Manafort.
Those revelations made Manafort politically toxic. (Rick Gates, a longstanding Manafort aide who was also implicated in the stories, has also reportedly resigned.) But Manafort’s demise may have been driven by Trump’s floundering standing in polls as much as by the bad press. Trump, after all, likes to win, and he hasn’t been doing much of that recently.

The Men He Has Around HIm

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.
-- Machiavelli
AP reports:
A firm run by Donald Trump's campaign chairman directly orchestrated a covert Washington lobbying operation on behalf of Ukraine's ruling political party, attempting to sway American public opinion in favor of the country's pro-Russian government, emails obtained by The Associated Press show. Paul Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates, never disclosed their work as foreign agents as required under federal law.

The lobbying included attempts to gain positive press coverage of Ukrainian officials in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Associated Press. Another goal: undercutting American public sympathy for the imprisoned rival of Ukraine's then-president. At the time, European and American leaders were pressuring Ukraine to free her.

Gates personally directed the work of two prominent Washington lobbying firms in the matter, the emails show. He worked for Manafort's political consulting firm at the time.
Kenneth P. Vogel reports at Politico
In an effort to collect previously undisclosed millions of dollars he’s owed by an oligarch-backed Ukrainian political party, Donald Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort has been relying on a trusted protégé whose links to Russia and its Ukrainian allies have prompted concerns among Manafort associates, according to people who worked with both men.
The protégé, Konstantin Kilimnik, has had conversations with fellow operatives in Kiev about collecting unpaid fees owed to Manafort’s company by a Russia-friendly political party called Opposition Bloc, according to operatives who work in Ukraine.
A Russian Army-trained linguist who has told a previous employer of a background with Russian intelligence, Kilimnik started working for Manafort in 2005 when Manafort was representing Ukrainian oligarch Rinat Akhmetov, a gig that morphed into a long-term contract with Viktor Yanukovych, the Kremlin-aligned hard-liner who became president of Ukraine
McClatchy reports:
 Allegations of anti-Semitism have surfaced against one of Donald Trump’s foreign policy advisers, raising further questions about the guidance the Republican presidential nominee is receiving.
Joseph Schmitz, named as one of five advisers by the Trump campaign in March, is accused of bragging when he was Defense Department inspector general a decade ago that he pushed out Jewish employees.
The revelations feed two themes that his opponent Hillary Clinton has used to erode Trump’s credibility: That he is a foreign policy neophyte, and that his campaign, at times, has offended Jews and other minorities.
Schmitz, who is a lawyer in private practice in Washington, says the allegations against him are lies. All three people who have cited the remarks, including one who testified under oath about them, have pending employment grievances with the federal government.
ABC reports:
A former Breitbart News spokesman slammed Donald Trump’s new campaign chief executive, Stephen Bannon, for allegedly using racist rhetoric during editorial meetings at Breitbart that he said sounded "like a white supremacist rally," while a Trump ally calls the new CEO a positive addition to the team. Both men joined this week’s episode of ABC News’ Powerhouse Politics podcast.
Kurt Bardella, who worked with Bannon at Breitbart for two years, says the former Breitbart News chairman regularly disparaged minorities, women, and immigrants during daily editorial calls at the publication.

ABC News reached out to Bannon for comment but did not receive a response.
“If anyone sat there and listened to that call, you’d think that you were attending a white supremacist rally,” said Bardella, citing what he called Bannon’s “nationalism and hatred for immigrants, people coming into this country to try to get a better life for themselves.”

Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/election/article96421087.html#storylink=cpy

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Data on Trump and Nationalism

The 2016 US presidential nominee Donald Trump has broken with the policies of previous Republican Party presidents on trade, immigration, and war, in favor of a more nationalist and populist platform. Using detailed Gallup survey data for a large number of American adults, I analyze the individual and geographic factors that predict a higher probability of viewing Trump favorably and contrast the results with those found for other candidates. The results show mixed evidence that economic distress has motivated Trump support. His supporters are less educated and more likely to work in blue collar occupations, but they earn relative high household incomes, and living in areas more exposed to trade or immigration does not increase Trump support. There is stronger evidence that racial isolation and less strictly economic measures of social status, namely health and intergenerational mobility, are robustly predictive of more favorable views toward Trump, and these factors predict support for him but not other Republican presidential candidates.
From the paper:
In any case, this analysis provides clear evidence that those who view Trump favorably are disproportionately living in racially and culturally isolated zip codes and commuting zones. Holding other factors, constant support for Trump is highly elevated in areas with few college graduates, far from the Mexican border, and in neighborhoods that standout within the communting zone for being white, segregated enclaves, with little exposure to blacks, asians, and Hispanics.
This is consistent with contact theory, which has already received considerable empircal support in the literature in a variety of analogous contexts. Limited interactions with racial and ethnic minorities, immigrants, and college graduates may contribute to prejudical stereotypes, politcal and cultural misunderstandings, and a general fear of rejection and not-belonging.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Insider Poll

At The Washington Examiner, Timothy P. Carney reports on a poll of Washington elites showing Clinton ahead of Trump 62-22 percent.
Echelon Insights conducted a scientific survey of 400 Washington elites: all those sampled live in the D.C. area, are registered voters, read or watch the news daily, and are employed with incomes of at least $30,000.
...

Clinton won the support of nearly one in five Republican insiders in the poll. And the same proportion of Republicans said they would support a minor candidate, not vote, or were still undecided. This is about triple the support Clinton gets from Republicans in the rest of the country — a recent Reuters poll showed her pulling in only 6 percent of Republicans nationwide.
...
Most of the insiders polled (53 percent) said free trade was “generally good” for the U.S. or “an unmitigated good.” Nineteen percent agreed with the statement that free trade has “been more harmful than beneficial.” The remainder were either unsure or see free trade as a wash.
...
About half of the respondents (49 percent) said the 2016 elections didn’t change their view of their connection with the rest of America, while 28 percent said the election made them feel more out of touch. Only 19 percent said it made them feel more in touch with the rest of the country.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Fighting the Tea Party

Elena Schneider writes at Politico:
The tea party has spent six years causing trouble for establishment Republicans in primaries, and Donald Trump mopped the floor with them on his way to the party’s presidential nomination. But suddenly, with the 2016 primary season winding down, the establishment is going on offense, pushing back hard against candidates backed by the hardline conservative House Freedom Caucus, including defeated GOP Rep. Tim Huelskamp — setting the stage for a titanic intra-Republican fight during the next Congress.
A collection of Republican donors and operatives loosely organized around several super PACs decided this summer to adopt newly aggressive tactics against GOP “obstructionists” — or as John Hart, a former aide to ex-Sen. Tom Coburn, calls them: “Rebels In Name Only” — after years of growing tea-party influence in Republican primaries and the halls of Congress.
Low-profile House candidates from Kansas to Georgia watched in astonishment this summer as hundreds of thousands of super PAC dollars poured into their primaries. The top aide for Roger Marshall, the Republican who beat Huelskamp in his Kansas primary, remembers sitting in his car when his phone pinged with news that donors unknown were about to inject a half-million dollars into rural Western Kansas.
“Who are these people?” Brent Robertson, Marshall’s campaign manager, thought at the time, weeks before his candidate became one of the few House primary challengers to knock off an incumbent this year.
Different groups and people involved have slightly different priorities, but the biggest goals were to both win specific primaries — Huelskamp’s clashes with House GOP leadership were well-known — and send a broader message.



Monday, August 15, 2016

Trump Loses Another News Cycle

It's another day on which Trump is to"turn the page" by giving a "serious" speech.

The New York Times reports:
On a leafy side street off Independence Square in Kiev is an office used for years by Donald J. Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, when he consulted for Ukraine’s ruling political party. His furniture and personal items were still there as recently as May.

And Mr. Manafort’s presence remains elsewhere here in the capital, where government investigators examining secret records have found his name, as well as companies he sought business with, as they try to untangle a corrupt network they say was used to loot Ukrainian assets and influence elections during the administration of Mr. Manafort’s main client, former PresidentViktor F. Yanukovych.

Handwritten ledgers show $12.7 million in undisclosed cash payments designated for Mr. Manafort from Mr. Yanukovych’s pro-Russian political party from 2007 to 2012, according to Ukraine’s newly formed National Anti-Corruption Bureau. Investigators assert that the disbursements were part of an illegal off-the-books system whose recipients also included election officials.
Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC) writes:
To him, demands that he release his tax returns are just a ploy by his opponents and enemies to undermine his campaign. But that obstinacy will have consequences. Not releasing his tax returns would hurt transparency in our democratic process, and particularly in how voters evaluate the men and women vying to be our leaders. Whether he wins or loses, that is something our country cannot afford.
I suggest this not as a partisan against Mr. Trump. I am a conservative Republican who, though I have no stomach for his personal style and his penchant for regularly demeaning others, intends to support my party’s nominee because of the importance of filling the existing vacancy on the Supreme Court, and others that might open in the next four years. However, my ability to continue to do so will in part be driven by whether Mr. Trump keeps his word that he will release his tax records.
Raw Story reports:
Trump campaign spokesperson Katrina Pierson can’t even catch a break on Fox News.
After incorrectly asserting during a CNN appearance on Saturday that President Barack Obama had invaded Afghanistan, Pierson showed up Sunday on Fox News to defend Donald Trump’s decision not to release his tax returns.
Weekend host Arthel Neville.pressed Pierson on whether he was hiding something.
Pierson insisted that lawyers had advised Trump not to release his tax returns while he was being audited.
“This really has become much of a novelty in presidential campaigns,” the Trump surrogate opined.
“What has become a novelty?” Neville interrupted.
“Just simply releasing tax returns,” Pierson stated.

“It’s been going on since the 1970s,” Neville pointed out. “It’s a tradition, not a novelty. The voters want to know.”
“It’s a novelty tradition!” Pierson shot back.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Meanwhile, Back at Scandalabra

Trump's missteps have distracted attention from news that could have been very damaging to Clinton. David A. Graham reports at The Atlantic:
Newly released emails have shown again the troublesome interconnections between the Clinton Foundation and the Hillary Clinton-led State Department.
The conservative accountability group Judicial Watch released Tuesday night a tranche of nearly 300 emails it obtained through a lawsuit, and they paint a picture of some of the conflicts of interest created by a situation in which Hillary Clinton ran U.S. foreign policy as her husband’s foundation acted around the globe. Many of the emails are redacted, and some are almost comically boring—“No new voice messages,” one reads in full—but others are not.
In one of the more piquant interactions, from April 2009, Doug Band, a close confidant of former President Clinton who was then in charge of the foundation’s Clinton Global Initiative, pressed top Clinton aides Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills for a connection at the State Department for Gilbert Chagoury, a Nigerian-Lebanese billionaire who was a major benefactor of the Clinton Foundation.
Graham's article also includes a handy guide to the multiple ethical issues surrounding Clinton.

The Scamming of the Tea Party

What began as an organic, policy-driven grass-roots movement was drained of its vitality and resources by national political action committees that dunned the movement’s true believers endlessly for money to support its candidates and causes. The PACs used that money first to enrich themselves and their vendors and then deployed most of the rest to search for more “prospects.” In Tea Party world, that meant mostly older, technologically unsavvy people willing to divulge personal information through “petitions”—which only made them prey to further attempts to lighten their wallets for what they believed was a good cause. While the solicitations continue, the audience has greatly diminished because of a lack of policy results and changing political winds.
...
According to Federal Election Commission reports between 80 to 90 percent, and sometimes all the money these PACs get is swallowed in fees and poured into more prospecting. For example, conservative activist Larry Ward created Constitutional Rights PAC. He also runs Political Media, a communications firm. The New York Times reviewed Constitutional Rights’ filings and found: “Mr. Ward’s PAC spends every dollar it gets on consultants, mailings and fund-raising—making no donations to candidates.” Ward justified the arrangement by saying Political Media discounts solicitations on behalf of Constitutional Rights.
Let that sink in. Ward takes his PAC’s money and redistributes it to his company and other vendors for more messaging and solicitations, but suggests critics should rest easy since the PAC gets a discount on Political Media’s normal rate. Con

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Disability Politics in 2016

Callum Borchers reports at The Washington Post:
Nine months after a rally in South Carolina where Trump contorted his arms in a way that was clearly meant to imitate the effects of arthrogryposis, which visibly limits flexibility in the arms of journalist Serge F. Kovaleski, voters say the incident still disturbs them. In a Bloomberg Politics poll published Thursday, 83 percent of respondents said they are bothered by the episode — more than said they were bothered by Trump’s recent feud with a Gold Star family, his praise for Russian President Vladimir Putin or lawsuits against Trump University.
In fact, making fun of a reporter with a disability registered as more unsettling than any concern about either major-party presidential nominee in the survey — ahead of Hillary Clinton's email scandal, even.
Democrats have known for a while that Trump’s attack on Kovaleski had a powerful effect on voters. Before the first ballots of the primary season were cast, a pro-Clinton super PAC was already using it in a well-funded ad campaign.
During the Democratic convention, Ari Ne'eman wrote at Vox:
People with disabilities are used to feeling like a second-class minority group. In American politics, when disability is mentioned at all, it’s too often in the context of trite inspiration porn or offensive and inaccurate myths about people faking problems to unfairly access public benefits. Rarely do disabled Americans hear meaningful discussion of the issues that impact our lives.
That’s what makes this year’s Democratic National Convention so surprising. The first two nights of the convention included an unusual level of disability-rights content. Both evenings have included prominent remarks from disabled speakers with decades-long relationships with Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
...
Behind this growing interest is a fundamental political reality. Nearly one in five Americanspossess a disability of some kind. While many are disconnected from disability politics, a substantial minority of disabled Americans and their family members consider disability issues a major factor in their voting decisions. (At the Democratic convention itself, the number of disabled delegates is up 35 percent, relative to the 2012 convention.)
Polling of the community suggests disabled voters are distributed through both political parties at about the same rate as the general population. Meaning that they remain up for grabs for either party. Disability issues can meaningfully influence voting behavior. In a 2013 poll, 87 percent of voters with disabilities reported they would consider voting against a candidate they otherwise supported if that candidate favored cutting disability services. Forty-five percent indicated such a stance would definitely lose their vote.




Friday, August 12, 2016

Miners

Maggie Haberman and Nick Corasaniti report at The New York Times:
In Pennsylvania, a state he once insisted he would win, he seemed now to hold out hope of an upset that was looking more like a long-shot. “Pennsylvania is a little further, but I think we’ll win Pennsylvania because of the miners,” he said, adding of Mrs. Clinton: “She wants the miners out of business. She wants steel out of business.”
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, total Pennsylvania employment in the mining and logging sector was about 26,000 in May of this year.   The state has over 8 million registered voters.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

"The Founder of ISIS"

Trump went on Hugh Hewitt's show:
HH: I’ve got two more questions. Last night, you said the President was the founder of ISIS. I know what you meant. You meant that he created the vacuum, he lost the peace.
DT: No, I meant he’s the founder of ISIS. I do. He was the most valuable player. I give him the most valuable player award. I give her, too, by the way, Hillary Clinton.
HH: But he’s not sympathetic to them. He hates them. He’s trying to kill them.
DT: I don’t care. He was the founder. His, the way he got out of Iraq was that that was the founding of ISIS, okay?
HH: Well, that, you know, I have a saying, Donald Trump, the pneumonic device I use is Every Liberal Really Seems So, So Sad. E is for Egypt, L is for Libya, S is for Syria, R is for Russia reset. They screwed everything up. You don’t get any argument from me. But by using the term founder, they’re hitting with you on this again. Mistake?
DT: No, it’s no mistake. Everyone’s liking it. I think they’re liking it. I give him the most valuable player award. And I give it to him, and I give it to, I gave the co-founder to Hillary. I don’t know if you heard that.
Philip Bump reports at The Washington Post:
Trump has made other comments that attempted to link the president to the terrorist group. In June, he implied that Obama was perhaps sympathetic to terrorists, telling an interviewer on Fox News that "we're led by a man that either is not tough, not smart or has something else in mind."
"And the something else in mind — people can't believe it," he continued. "People cannot believe that President Obama is acting the way he acts and can't even mention the words radical Islamic terrorism. There's something going on."
Polling subsequently showed that there was a segment of the Republican base that agreed with Trump's suggestion that the president might be sympathetic to terrorists. A survey last fall found that 43 percent of Republicans think Obama is Muslim, despite his regularly noting that he isn't. There's a reinforcement back and forth: Trump embraces arguments common among a subset of the conservative right and that subset applauds his candidacy.
Daniel Arkin reports at NBC:
Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA and NSA, said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Thursday that Trump could have made a valid point for connecting Obama and ISIS.
"The actions of the Obama administration in withdrawing from Iraq … actually set the conditions for the recovery of al Qaeda in Iraq, which then became ISIS," Hayden said. "So there's a very powerful case to be made."
But Hayden, who co-signed an open letter this week with other foreign policy and security experts saying they won't back the real estate mogul, said Trump's comments were far too inflammatory.
"He inflames the debate, and we don't need the flame, we need cold, rational discussion," Hayden said, adding, "He insults his audience. ... Does he not think that his audience could not accept the slightly more complex, the slight more reasoned message that this president made serious mistakes that led to the creation of ISIS?"

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

"Second Amendment People"

(a)Whoever knowingly and willfully threatens to kill, kidnap, or inflict bodily harm upon—
(1) a former President or a member of the immediate family of a former President;
(2) a member of the immediate family of the President, the President-elect, the Vice President, or the Vice President-elect;
(3) a major candidate for the office of President or Vice President, or a member of the immediate family of such candidate; or
(4) a person protected by the Secret Service under section 3056(a)(6);
shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 5 years, or both.
 Will Drabold writes at Time:
Donald Trump’s comments Tuesday about “Second Amendment people”could be considered a “veiled threat” against Hillary Clinton, a former top Secret Service official told TIME.
The official said that if they were still working at the U.S. Secret Service, they would contact someone on Trump’s campaign staff to have a conversation about whether he understands the consequences of that rhetoric.
At a rally in Wilmington, N.C., Trump said that if elected Clinton would get to appoint federal judges to lifetime positions, including a vacant seat on the Supreme Court.
“If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is, I don’t know,” Trump said.
The former Secret Service official said they would ask a U.S. attorney to see if Trump broke any laws with the comment.
“Look, this guy is coming pretty close to the edge here,” the official said.
Among fringe groups, "Second Amendment remedy" means "armed insurrection."

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

McMullin and the Mormon Vote

CNN reports:
Evan McMullin, the newly announced third party conservative candidate, said Tuesday he has an opening in the key state of Utah where voters are "highly dissatisfied" with the candidates.
McMullin, a Mormon and Brigham Young grad whose campaign headquarters will be in Utah, is banking on anti-Trump sentiment there and elsewhere to propel his long-shot candidacy.
"There are a lot of people there (in Utah) who are highly dissatisfied with the options they have in this election, like Americans elsewhere," McMullin told CNN's Chris Cuomo on "New Day." "That's not just a Utah thing. That's an American thing."

He has worked for the CIA, Goldman Sachs and most recently served as a top House Republican aide.
Donald Trump was thrashed in the Utah primary in March, losing big to Cruz and coming in behind Kasich. The billionaire businessman won only 14% of the vote in the state.
If he can make the petition deadline, he could also pull Mormon voters in Idaho and Arizona. 

Monday, August 8, 2016

Statement of Former National Security Officials

STATEMENT BY FORMER NATIONAL SECURITY OFFICIALS
The undersigned individuals have all served in senior national security and/or foreign policy positions in Republican Administrations, from Richard Nixon to George W. Bush. We have worked directly on national security issues with these Republican Presidents and/or their principal advisers during wartime and other periods of crisis, through
successes and failures. We know the personal qualities required of a President of the United States.
None of us will vote for Donald Trump.
From a foreign policy perspective, Donald Trump is not qualified to be President and Commander-in-Chief. Indeed, we are convinced that he would be a dangerous President and would put at risk our country’s national security and well-being.
Most fundamentally, Mr. Trump lacks the character, values, and experience to be President. He weakens U.S. moral authority as the leader of the free world. He appears to lack basic knowledge about and belief in the U.S. Constitution, U.S. laws, and U.S. institutions, including religious tolerance, freedom of the press, and an independent
judiciary.
In addition, Mr. Trump has demonstrated repeatedly that he has little understanding of America’s vital national interests, its complex diplomatic challenges, its indispensable alliances, and the democratic values on which U.S. foreign policy must be based. At the same time, he persistently compliments our adversaries and threatens our allies and
friends. Unlike previous Presidents who had limited experience in foreign affairs, Mr. Trump has shown no interest in educating himself. He continues to display an alarming ignorance of basic facts of contemporary international politics. Despite his lack of knowledge, Mr. Trump claims that he understands foreign affairs and “knows more
about ISIS than the generals do.”

Mr. Trump lacks the temperament to be President. In our experience, a President must be willing to listen to his advisers and department heads; must encourage consideration of conflicting views; and must acknowledge errors and learn from them. A President must be disciplined, control emotions, and act only after reflection and careful deliberation. A President must maintain cordial relationships with leaders of countries of different backgrounds and must have their respect and trust.
In our judgment, Mr. Trump has none of these critical qualities. He is unable or unwilling to separate truth from falsehood. He does not encourage conflicting views. He lacks self-control and acts impetuously. He cannot tolerate personal criticism. He has alarmed our
closest allies with his erratic behavior. All of these are dangerous qualities in an individual who aspires to be President and Commander in-Chief, with command of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.
We understand that many Americans are profoundly frustrated with the federal government and its inability to solve pressing domestic and international problems. We also know that many have doubts about Hillary Clinton, as do many of us. But Donald Trump is not the answer to America’s daunting challenges and to this crucial election. We are convinced that in the Oval Office, he would be the most reckless President in American history.
Donald B. Ayer
Former Deputy Attorney General
John B. Bellinger III
Former Legal Adviser to the Department of State; former Legal Adviser
to the National Security Council, The White House
StatementofFormerNationalSecurityOfficials.docx
Robert Blackwill
Former Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Planning, The
White House
Michael Chertoff
Former Secretary of Homeland Security; former Assistant Attorney
General for the Criminal Division, Department of Justice
Eliot A. Cohen
Former Counselor of the Department of State
Eric Edelman
Former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy; former National Security
Advisor to the Vice President, The White House
Gary Edson
Former Deputy National Security Advisor, The White House
Richard Falkenrath
Former Deputy Homeland Security Advisor, The White House
Peter Feaver
Former Senior Director for Strategic Planning, National Security
Council, The White House
Richard Fontaine
Former Associate Director for Near East Affairs, National Security
Council, The White House
Jendayi Frazer
Former Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for
African Affairs; former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs
StatementofFormerNationalSecurityOfficials.docx
Aaron Friedberg
Former Deputy National Security Advisor to the Vice President, The
White House
David Gordon
Former Director of Policy Planning, Department of State
Michael Green
Former Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Asia,
National Security Council, The White House
Brian Gunderson
Former Chief of Staff, Department of State
Paul Haenle
Former Director for China and Taiwan, National Security Council, The
White House
Michael Hayden
Former Director, Central Intelligence Agency; former Director, National
Security Agency
Carla A. Hills
Former U.S. Trade Representative
John Hillen
Former Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs
William Inboden
Former Senior Director for Strategic Planning, National Security
Council, The White House
StatementofFormerNationalSecurityOfficials.docx
Reuben Jeffery III
Former Under Secretary of State for Economic Energy and Agricultural
Affairs; former Special Assistant to the President for International
Economic Affairs, National Security Council, The White House
James Jeffrey
Former Deputy National Security Advisor, The White House
Ted Kassinger
Former Deputy Secretary of Commerce
David Kramer
Former Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and
Labor
James Langdon
Former Chairman, President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, The
White House
Peter Lichtenbaum
Former Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration
Mary Beth Long
Former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs
Clay Lowery
Former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs;
former Director for International Finance, National Security Council,
The White House
Robert McCallum
Former Associate Attorney General; former Ambassador to Australia
StatementofFormerNationalSecurityOfficials.docx
Richard Miles
Former Director for North America, National Security Council, The
White House
Andrew Natsios
Former Administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development
John Negroponte
Former Director of National Intelligence; former Deputy Secretary of
State; former Deputy National Security Advisor
Meghan O’Sullivan
Former Deputy National Security Advisor for Iraq and Afghanistan
Dan Price
Former Deputy National Security Advisor
Tom Ridge
Former Secretary of Homeland Security; former Assistant to the
President for Homeland Security, The White House; former Governor of
Pennsylvania
Nicholas Rostow
Former Legal Adviser to the National Security Council, The White
House
Kori Schake
Former Director for Defense Strategy, National Security Council, The
White House
Kristen Silverberg
Former Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations
StatementofFormerNationalSecurityOfficials.docx
Stephen Slick
Former Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for
Intelligence Programs, National Security Council, The White House
Shirin R. Tahir-Kheli
Former Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for
Democracy, Human Rights and International Operations, National
Security Council, The White House; former Ambassador and Senior
Advisor for Women’s Empowerment, Department of State
William H. Taft IV
Former Deputy Secretary of Defense; former Ambassador to NATO
Larry D. Thompson
Former Deputy Attorney General
William Tobey
Former Deputy Administrator, National Nuclear Security
Administration, Department of Energy; former Director for CounterProliferation
Strategy, National Security Council, The White House
John Veroneau
Former Deputy U.S. Trade Representative
Kenneth Wainstein
Former Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and
Counterterrorism, The White House; former Assistant Attorney General
for National Security, Department of Justice
Matthew Waxman
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense; former Director for
Contingency Planning and International Justice, National Security
Council, The White House
StatementofFormerNationalSecurityOfficials.docx
Dov Zakheim
Former Under Secretary of Defense
Roger Zakheim
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense
Philip Zelikow
Former Counselor of the Department of State
Robert Zoellick
Former U.S. Trade Representative; former Deputy Secretary of State

Sunday, August 7, 2016

HRC Ad Against Trump Offshoring

HRC Ad Against Trump Outsourcomg

The Republican Industrial Complex and the Conservative Echo Chamber

Matthew Sheffield writes at Praxis:
The sad reality of conservative and libertarian politics is that the generous people who donate their hard-earned cash have been fleeced for years by greedy, incompetent people who have manipulated the system to profit regardless of the policy or electoral outcomes.

In order to prevent center-Right donors from seeing the failures and demanding changes, the Republican Industrial Complex has offered false theories that (depending on who is listening) “the Establishment” or “the far Right” are responsible instead of leaders who could not deliver.
While the GOP certainly has run poorer candidates on average than Democrats, the office-seekers themselves have not been the only problem. For years, Republican politicians and donors have been tricked not just into purchasing ineffective ads, they have also been tricked into paying ridiculous commissions on placing these ads, usually 15 percent. It is no wonder that the consultants have been so eager to convince donors to go for the quick fix of a political ad instead of investing in media outlets or building up grassroots organizations
...
Besides the fact that many Republican poohbahs and advocacy group heads are double-dipping out of their organizations’ coffers, one of the other significant issues facing the Right is an apparent desire of many conservative leaders to merely preach to the choir about conservative policy ideas instead of actually trying to enact them.
Some have been more flagrant than others in proclaiming their desire to lose. Former U.S. senator Jim DeMint made himself famous by repeatedly claiming that “I’d rather have 30 Republicans in the Senate who believe in the principles of freedom than 60 who don’t believe in anything.”...
The reality is that America has some areas that are more hospitable to the brand of Christian conservatism that DeMint espouses and some that are not. To suppose that a top-down, centrally planned campaign platform handed down by inside-the-Beltway interest groups is what’s best for every part of the country is monumental arrogance. It’s also a fundamental contradiction of the idea and practice of federalism, something conservatives are supposed to respect.
Sheffield continues in another Praxis article:
Besides the fact that left-leaning mainstream news outlets help Democrats get their message out, they have the additional benefit of helping Democrats refine their own policies and messages. Smart Democratic strategists know that if a scandal is a problem to their unaffiliated sympathizers in the press, it is something worth taking seriously.

By and large, conservatives have no such positive feedback loops. Instead, the Right’s media monoculture has created negative feedback loops whereby people with little political acumen like Mark Levin, Michael Savage, and Glenn Beck are able to fill Republican voters’ heads with nonsensical ideas like planning to shut down the government with no backup plan or electing fewer GOP officeholders in pursuit of more “pure” ones, primarily because they grossly overestimate the number of conservatives in America. It is poetic justice that many of the same people who pushed these naive positions and strategies saw their own imbecilic noise machine turned against their preferred presidential candidate, Ted Cruz, in this year’s Republican primaries.
More center-right media outlets could also have been able to detect that the GOP’s economically libertarian message has little to no popularity among average Americans. Since these journalistic structures did not exist, however, the popularity of Donald Trump’s abandonment of that orthodoxy took the Republican elitecompletely by surprise. It shouldn’t have.