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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Very Transparent Lies

  In Defying the Odds, we discuss Trump's character and record of dishonesty.

Korea: Secrets and Lies

In Defying the Odds, we discuss foreign policy issues in the 2016 campaign.

Courtney Kube, Ken Dilanian and Carol E. Lee at NBC:
U.S. intelligence agencies believe that North Korea has increased its production of fuel for nuclear weapons at multiple secret sites in recent months — and that Kim Jong Un may try to hide those facilities as he seeks more concessions in nuclear talks with the Trump administration, U.S. officials told NBC News.
The intelligence assessment, which has not previously been reported, seems to counter the sentiments expressed by President Donald Trump, who tweeted after his historic June 12 summit with Kim that "there was no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea."
...
In recent months, even as the two sides engaged in diplomacy, North Korea was stepping up its production of enriched uranium for nuclear weapons, five U.S. officials say, citing the latest intelligence assessment. North Korea and the U.S. agreed at the summit to "work toward" denuclearization, but there is no specific deal. On Trump's order, the U.S. military canceled training exercises on the Korean peninsula, a major concession to Kim.
While the North Koreans have stopped missile and nuclear tests, "there's no evidence that they are decreasing stockpiles, or that they have stopped their production," said one U.S. official briefed on the latest intelligence. "There is absolutely unequivocal evidence that they are trying to deceive the U.S."
S.V. Date at Huffington Post:
Having already invented “thousands” of parents who begged him to bring home the bodies of their Korean War veteran children, President Donald Trump is now inventing hundreds of such repatriations that haven’t actually happened.

The return of the remains of American service members who were killed in that war has become a major “victory” Trump likes to claim from his June 12 meeting in Singapore with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

“It was the last thing I asked,” he told a gathering of Nevada Republicans on Saturday. “I said, ‘Do you mind, would I be able to get the remains back of all those great heroes from so many years ago?’ And he said, ‘I will do that.’ And you probably read, they have already done 200 people. Which is so great.”

On Monday, Trump told a rally audience in South Carolina: “We’re getting the remains of our great heroes back.”

The only problem: No remains have yet been returned, and it is unclear when that might happen. “We have not yet physically received them,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday, but said that he is “optimistic” it would take place “in the not-too-distant future.”

Friday, June 29, 2018

Orange and Red

In Defying the Odds, we discuss Trump's unusual approach to policy.

As President Trump heads to Europe next month for the NATO summit and then a historic meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, his personal attacks on the European Union and other pillars of the Western order are overshadowing his own administration’s attempts to reassure allies that the United States still believes in the transatlantic project it has led since the 1940s.
During a private meeting at the White House in late April, Trump was discussing trade with French President Emmanuel Macron. At one point, he asked Macron, “Why don’t you leave the E.U.?” and said that if France exited the union, Trump would offer it a bilateral trade deal with better terms than the E.U. as a whole gets from the United States, according to two European officials. The White House did not dispute the officials’ account, but declined to comment.
Margaret Talev and Toluse Olorunnipa at Bloomberg:
President Donald Trump left the door open to recognizing Russia’s annexation of Crimea, telling reporters that such a move would be up for discussion when he meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin next month.
“We’re going to have to see,” Trump told reporters Friday on Air Force One when asked if the U.S. would accept Russia’s claim on the territory it seized from Ukraine in 2014.
Trump is scheduled to meet with Putin in Helsinki on July 16, and Crimea will be one of many items on the agenda, he said. 
Robbie Gramer at Foreign Policy:
The U.S. ambassador to Estonia, James D. Melville Jr., a career diplomat and member of the senior foreign service ranks, announced to friends Friday that he was resigning amid a string of controversial comments President Donald Trump made about U.S. allies in Europe.
Melville, who has served as a diplomat for 33 years and as ambassador to Estonia since 2015, was due to retire soon but said in a private Facebook post announcing his retirement that Trump’s behavior and comments accelerated his decision.
A Foreign Service Officer’s DNA is programmed to support policy and we’re schooled right from the start, that if there ever comes a point where one can no longer do so, particularly if one is in a position of leadership, the honorable course is to resign. Having served under six presidents and 11 secretaries of state, I never really thought it would reach that point for me,” he wrote in the post, which was obtained by Foreign Policy.
“For the President to say the EU was ‘set up to take advantage of the United States, to attack our piggy bank,’ or that ‘NATO is as bad as NAFTA’ is not only factually wrong, but proves to me that it’s time to go,” he wrote, citing Trump’s reported comments in recent weeks that have unnerved U.S. allies.

Democrats Don't Have Good SCOTUS Options

In Defying the Odds, we discuss how the issue of Supreme Court nominations affected the 2016 race.

With Anthony Kennedy's retirement, the Democratic minority in the Senate does not have great options.  Matt Glassman at "Notice and Comment, " a blog from the Yale Journal on Regulation and the ABA Section of Administrative Law & Regulatory Practice
How could the Democrats increase the costs of considering the nomination? By using obstructive tactics to slow down other issues the Senate majority would like to take up. Instead of agreeing to yield back post-cloture time on other judicial nominations, they could demand (and use) the full post-cloture debate period. They could filibuster all general legislation. They could demand recorded votes for things routinely done by voice vote or unanimous consent. They could refuse to vote for cloture on appropriations bills (which require 60 votes), and shut down the government. In essence, they could conduct a cross-issue filibuster, in the hopes that a number of Republican Senators would decide that the costs of pursuing the nomination were too high in terms of other legislation they would like to pass.
This is highly unlikely to work. First, a SCOTUS seat is something the Republicans are willing to pay a very high price for. Even if you could stop all legislation and every other judicial nominations dead in its tracks (you can’t), it might not persuade them to abandon a SCOTUS confirmation. Second, if the Democrats resorted to an all-out general dilatory posture that raised the costs to an unacceptable level for some GOP Senators, the Republicans might use the nuclear option to change the rules in order to restrict the dilatory tactics. Finally—and most importantly—aggressive hardball tactics are constrained by public opinion. Even if Democrats pursued a dilatory strategy that somehow successfully blocked the nomination through the election, it would be a pyrrhic (and short) victory indeed if the cost was a net loss of 4 Senate seats, or control of the House. The fear of that public backlash creates a practical prior restraint on even attempting many theoretically-possible hardball tactics.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Immigration Reform Dies Again

In Defying the Odds, we discuss state and congressional politics as well as the presidential race

At Politico, Rachel Bade explains how the Freedom Caucus doublecrossed moderate House Republicans.
For weeks they’d been negotiating with Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows in a quest to clinch an immigration deal that could pass the House. But whenever the two sides got close, they said, immigration hard-liners would ask for more. Then, on the morning of a scheduled June 21 vote, moderates got their hands on an explosive missive from the Freedom Caucus’ top staffer: an email warning group members that voters would punish them for backing any bill with a whiff of “amnesty.”

“This is bull—-,” Rep. Tom MacArthur scolded Meadows at a meeting in Speaker Paul Ryan’s office that day. The New Jersey Republican, who had worked closely with Meadows in the past and wanted a deal, demanded to know why Meadows appeared to be backing away from a bill he helped craft.
Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.), a leader of the pro-immigration reform centrists, read the Freedom Caucus email aloud, as Meadows insisted he had no knowledge of it. Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.) said he’d been warned not to trust the Freedom Caucus, seething that he’d never make that mistake again.
And so it was that nearly two months of intense intraparty negotiations broke down.
Their “compromise” bill died Wednesday afternoon, 121 to 301 — the latest in a string of high-profile failures to overhaul the nation’s immigration system and an embarrassment to House GOP leaders and President Donald Trump. While several top conservatives had been in the room helping write the bill, every single one of them voted against it.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Socialist Beats Crowley

In Defying the Odds, we discuss the Sanders candidacy and the leftward drift of the Democratic Party.

Gregory Krieg at CNN:
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old Latina running her first campaign, ousted 10-term incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley in New York's 14th congressional district on Tuesday, CNN projects, in the most shocking upset of a rollicking political season.
An activist and member of the Democratic Socialists of America, Ocasio-Cortez won over voters in the minority-majority district with a ruthlessly efficient grassroots bid, even as Crowley -- the fourth-ranking Democrat in the House -- outraised her by a 10-to-1 margin.
This was the first time in 14 years a member of his own party has attempted to unseat Crowley, who chairs the Queens County Democrats. His defeat marks a potential sea change in the broader sphere of liberal politics -- a result with implications for Democrats nationwide that would recall, as optimistic progressives routinely noted during the campaign, former GOP Majority Leader Eric Cantor's loss to the insurgent, tea party-backed Dave Brat in June 2014.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Californians Quitting the GOP

In  Defying the Odds, we explain that Trump and his allies have renounced the conservatism of Ronald Reagan.

Emily Duruy at The San Jose Mercury News:
Citing the Trump administration’s treatment of migrant families, two San Jose City Council members announced Monday they have left the Republican Party.
District 6 Councilwoman Dev Davis and District 10 Councilman Johnny Khamis, joined by former Assemblyman Jim Cunneen, called out national GOP leadership for failing to stand up to what they see as President Trump’s “unethical” policies at a news conference outside City Hall, saying they no longer recognize the party they joined years ago.
The announcement leaves just one Republican — District 4 Councilman Lan Diep — on the council, and could have repercussions with local Republican leadership come election time. While San Jose’s city elections are considered non-partisan, local GOP leaders have helped both Davis and Khamis get elected in the past, and would likely support them in future elections if they stayed in the party.
Khamis acknowledged the risks, but said his “conscience” is more important.
An immigrant who fled war-torn Lebanon as a young boy, Khamis said he “cannot imagine being separated from my mom and dad after losing our home in a war and entering a strange country.”
The Trump administration separated more than 2,000 migrant children from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border before reversing course amid public outcry this month.

“I am not leaving the party,” Khamis said in a reference to his flight from the GOP. “I feel that the party has left me.”
Former California Assemblyman Jim Cunneen:
I want to start by expressing my gratitude to the Republican Party for all it has done for me spanning four decades and share that I will never regret the many contributions that I have made to the Party over that time as a campaign volunteer, President of the Young Republicans, a top aide to Republican officeholders, a State Assemblyman, and a Delegate to a national Republican Nominating Convention. I still applaud the wonderful and good people who volunteer for our Party at the state and local level. My actions today are aimed at what has become of a once great national political party. In May, former House Speaker John Boehner captured it perfectly, saying “There is no Republican Party, only a Trump Party”. A cult of personality has infected the Party we joined and loved. Many Republican friends now defend every criticism of President Trump. And many seem to cheer upon every exit from the once great Republican Party. They say Supreme Court appointments, tough border policies and tax cuts show that Trump is the right President for our times. I say, and I want to make myself clear, no perceived policy “victory” is worth the bigotry, the lies, the near idolatry of world dictators, the mocking of the disabled, or the way he speaks of women. And President Trump pursues so many policies, contrary to the tenets of a once great Party. The forced separation of families at our borders is not conservative. It is indecent. Protectionism is a great lie that hurts consumers. Undermining law enforcement agencies is misguided. Enacting deep tax cuts, less aimed at economic growth and more to punish political enemies, only limits stimulus options in a future recession. A foreign policy embracing enemies and shunning allies is reckless. This is Trumpism. And it is a great affliction to the national Republican Party and our country. But speaking out and standing up — and I have loudly since the day his candidacy was announced— only go so far. Sometimes, all you really have left...well, are the things only YOU can change. Today, after 39 years and one month as a registered Republican, after supporting every GOP nominee for President up to 2016 and Governor up to 2018 — every one of them — I am no longer a registered Republican.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Summer in the Swamp

In  Defying the Oddswe discuss  Trump's record of scandal.   An update on his team of grifters.

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel has opened up an investigation into whether Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt “retaliated” against staffers who “questioned his spending and management decisions,” The Washington Post reports. The office, which “responds to whistleblower complaints from federal employees,” is reportedly speaking to six agency employees or former employees. Kevin Chmielewski, Pruitt’s former deputy chief of staff operations, said that the office was taking the matter “extremely seriously,” and reportedly spoke to officials for “at least six hours” about his firing after he expressed concerns over the administrator’s spending habits. This comes after reports that several employees at the EPA were either reassigned or dismissed after they questioned or pushed back on Pruitt’s expenditures—including a 24/7 security detail, first-class flights, and bullet-resistant seat covers.
 Geoff West and Alex Baumgart at Open Secrets:
Trump’s hardline approach to illegal immigration is a boon for private prisons and security companies.
In 2016, the Department of Justice under the Obama administration began phasing out for-profit prisons for federal inmates following a DOJ report that found poor management practices at one private facility contributed to an inmate riot that killed a prison guard in 2012.
The Trump administration, however, has embraced them — particularly as a solution for the high cost of detaining people who crossed the border illegally.
The 2012 inmate riot occurred inside a prison owned and operated by CoreCivic, formerly Corrections Corporation of America. Since 2017, CoreCivic has received $225 million in ICE funding to manage immigrant detention facilities, according to USASpending.gov data.
A subsidiary of the Tennessee-based company donated $250,000 toward Trump’s inaugural festivities last year.
Another $250,000 Trump inaugural donor — GEO Group — is the country’s largest for-profit prison operator and a multimillion-dollar beneficiary of the administration’s aggressive immigration policy.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Turnout in the California Primary was Good

 In Defying the Odds, we discuss state and congressional politics as well as the presidential race.
 
News reports right after the 2018 California primary suggested that turnout was low.  But these reports were inaccurate, since there were there millions of unprocessed ballots and the deadline for accepting mail ballots would not come until Friday of that week.  Now that we have nearly-final results, it is clear that turnout was actually quite strong, at least by midterm standards. The CA Secretary of State reports on turnout as a share of registered voters.

36.4%
as of June 23, 2018, 5:04 p.m.


Historical Data
PrimaryDateVoter Turnout
PresidentialJune 7, 201647.72%
GubernatorialJune 3, 201425.17%
PresidentialJune 5, 201231.06%
GubernatorialJune 8, 201033.31%
DirectJune 3, 200828.22%
PresidentialFebruary 5, 200857.71%
GubernatorialJune 6, 200633.63%





















The UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Initiative reports on Los Angeles County:
 In 66.5 percent of the Latino precincts, there was an estimated 50 percent increase in the number of ballots cast, compared to a 20.8 percent in the non- Latino precincts. This analysis suggests two things: 1) overall increase in voter turnout across Los Angeles County from ’14 to ‘18, regardless of race/ethnicity; and 2) turnout for Latino voters was higher than the countywide average, especially in dense Latino precincts.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Midterm as Referendum

In Defying the Odds, we discuss state and congressional politics as well as the presidential race

From Pew:
The congressional elections are more than four months away, but voter engagement is high when compared with comparable points in previous midterm cycles. And a record share of registered voters (68%) say the issue of which party controls Congress will be a factor in their vote in November.

Compared with recent midterms, more voters also say their view of the president – positive or negative – will influence their vote for Congress. A 60% majority say they consider their midterm vote as essentially a vote either for Donald Trump (26%) or against him (34%). These are among the highest shares saying their view of the president would be a factor in their vote in any midterm in more than three decades.

In early voting intentions, 48% of registered voters say they would favor the Democratic candidate in their district, or lean toward the Democrat, while 43% favor the Republican or lean Republican.

The new survey by Pew Research Center, conducted June 5-12 among 2,002 adults, including 1,608 registered voters, finds that, unlike in recent midterms, voter engagement is high among members of both parties. Overall, 51% of registered voters say they are more enthusiastic about voting than usual, the largest share expressing increased enthusiasm about voting in a congressional election in at least 20 years.

Friday, June 22, 2018

Doors

 In Defying the Odds, we discuss state and congressional politics as well as the presidential race.

Josh Voorhees at Slate:
When Amy McGrath, a Kentucky Democrat, kicked off her congressional campaign last year with a slickly produced ad about her struggle to become the first female fighter pilot, it was hailed as the best ad of the early midterms cycle and helped vault her to a primary victory last month. Now, a Democrat in Texas may have done her one better.

MJ Hegar, an Air Force veteran who is running against Republican Rep. John Carter in a dark-red district in central Texas, released a bio ad on Wednesday that tells the story of how her military helicopter was shot down by the Taliban in Afghanistan, and how she later sued the Pentagon to overturn its ban on women serving in ground-combat.


Some high praise from a famous source:

Thursday, June 21, 2018

"Seperation"

In Defying the Odds, we discuss Trump's positions on immigration.

John Haltiwanger at Business Insider:
President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order he said will end the separation of migrant families at the US-Mexico border. But immigration lawyers and experts are concerned by the vague language of the order and warn it leaves significant space for interpretation.
In particular, lawyers are concerned with this line: "It is ... the policy of this Administration to maintain family unity, including by detaining alien families together where appropriate and consistent with law and available resources."
Greg Siskind, an immigration lawyer based in Memphis, Tennessee, told Business Insider that the wording grants US Customs and Border Protection the "option" to "continue with family separation."
"They didn't have to use that language. They could've been very clear family separation is not the policy of the US," Siskind added. "It all seems designed to jail people who shouldn't be jailed."


Wednesday, June 20, 2018

A New Testament Verse for the Age of Trump

James 2:2-7 (NIV)

2 Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in filthy old clothes also comes in. 3 If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, “Here’s a good seat for you,” but say to the poor man, “You stand there” or “Sit on the floor by my feet,” 4 have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?
5 Listen, my dear brothers and sisters: Has not God chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith and to inherit the kingdom he promised those who love him? 6 But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? 7 Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong?

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Rich People

In Defying the Odds, we talk about the social and economic divides that enabled Trump to enter the White House. We quote Joan C. Williams on why Trump supporters resent professionals but not rich people:
"For one thing, most blue-collar workers have little direct contact with the rich outside of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. But professionals order them around every day."

The 43% of Democrats who say the U.S. benefits from having a class of rich people is down significantly from six years ago, and Democrats remain much more negative than either Republicans or independents about the impact of a rich class. Roughly eight in 10 (81%) Republicans and 57% of independents say having a rich class is good for the nation, little changed from 2012.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Trump Effect v. Economy Effect

Here's how to predict whether Republicans will actually lose the House in November: Do you think the election will turn on President Trump's low approval ratings, or the booming economy?
  • As you see in this interactive graphic, the GOP would lose 68 seats based on the saggy presidential approval but gain 55 if you go by the booming economy.
Between the lines: The party in power tends to do well in the House during midterm elections when voters are happy with the economy, but it does poorly when the president's approval rating is low, Axios' Harry Stevens and Caitlin Owens write:
  •  There's no recent precedent in which the economy is doing well but the president's approval rating is underwater.
  • Darrell West of Brookings: “Generally, it’s been 'the economy, stupid' that’s been the major issue. But this year it could be, 'It’s Trump, stupid.' Because Trump just dominates everything. He dominates news coverage, he dominates social media activities. He’s a very inviting target for Democrats.”
So it depends what matters to voters. As we found in 2016, they matter more than pundits.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Intolerance

In Defying the Odds, we talk about the social and economic divides that enabled Trump to enter the White House.  

Many posts have discussed attitudes toward immigrants and various  ethnic and racial groups.

Thomas Edsall at NYT:
Steven Miller and Nicholas Davis, political scientists at Clemson University and Texas A&M, report on poll data collected by the World Values Survey between 1995 and 2011 in their recent paper, “White Outgroup Intolerance and Declining Support for American Democracy”:
Social intolerance of immigrants, those who speak a different language, and those from a different race leads to increased support for strongman rule in the U.S., potential rule of U.S. government by the army, and decreases support for even having a democracy in the U.S.
Intolerance, they continue,
increases white individuals’ openness to undemocratic alternatives — white Americans who exhibit social intolerance are more likely to dismiss the value of separation of powers.
Because the Miller-Davis study is based on survey data collected well before the 2016 election, the two authors write, “our analysis might undersell the strength of the relationship between intolerance and anti-democratic attitudes.”
Their research suggests that anti-democratic attitudes are on the rise. The percentage of whites who qualified as socially intolerant doubled from 12.6 percent in 1995 to 24.9 percent in 2011, when the most recent World Values Survey was conducted. If that rate of increase were to continue, the percentage of whites in 2020 who would qualify as intolerant would be almost a third.
One of Miller and Davis’s most striking findings is that among socially intolerant whites, education heightens hostility to immigrants and fails to moderate the anti-democratic orientation of these white Americans.
Miller and Davis argue that college-educated white Americans who are
prejudiced against ethnolinguistic difference are much more likely to see democracy as empowering these minority groups beyond their numerical endowment, extending rights and liberties to groups that these white Americans see as unwelcome.
How does this operate? The best educated among those already hostile to immigrants are the ones who are best equipped intellectually to recognize that “democracy involves the institutionalized protection of the rights of various minority groups,” which is just what intolerant voters oppose.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Understanding Populism

In Defying the Odds, we trace Trump's outsiderism to earlier figures.

Jay Cost has a paper at AEI titled “`The Humble Members of Society' Understanding Populism in the United States.  The executive summary:
This report traces the antiestablishment roots of populism, arguing that it is a manifestation of the principal problem inherent to representative government. In the Anglo-American political universe, it first appeared in the early 18th century in the ways the Country Whigs modified the English Commonwealth tradition to attack the economic policies of Robert Walpole.

Migrating to America after the Seven Years’ War, it manifested itself in the Anti-Federalist opposition to the Constitution, Jeffersonian complaints about Hamiltonian economics, and Jacksonian democracy. In all these instances, populist antiestablishment sentiment envisioned a kind of conspiracy of the wealthy, well-born, and connected to hijack republican government, denying the rightful rule of the people and ensconcing the elite in permanent power.

As industrial capitalism facilitated vast inequalities of wealth and power, the ancient anxieties have been notably persistent—such as the agrarian Populists and Bull Moose Progressives, the George Wallace phenomenon, and finally the tea party and Trump movement. While the complaints of each faction are different in the specifics, the underlying grievance, that the privileged few have interfered with the connection between the people and their elected leaders, has been notably consistent.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Scotch-Taping the Trump Record

In Defying the Odds, we discuss Trump's management style.

Annie Karni at Politico (and not the Onion):
Under the Presidential Records Act, the White House must preserve all memos, letters, emails and papers that the president touches, sending them to the National Archives for safekeeping as historical records.
But White House aides realized early on that they were unable to stop Trump from ripping up paper after he was done with it and throwing it in the trash or on the floor, according to people familiar with the practice. Instead, they chose to clean it up for him, in order to make sure that the president wasn’t violating the law.
Staffers had the fragments of paper collected from the Oval Office as well as the private residence and send it over to records management across the street from the White House for Larkey and his colleagues to re-assemble.

“We got Scotch tape, the clear kind,” Lartey recalled in an interview. “You found pieces and taped them back together and then you gave it back to the supervisor.” The restored papers would then be sent to the National Archives to be properly filed away.
Lartey said the papers he received included newspaper clips on which Trump had scribbled notes, or circled words; invitations; and letters from constituents or lawmakers on the Hill, including Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
“I had a letter from Schumer — he tore it up,” he said. “It was the craziest thing ever. He ripped papers into tiny pieces.”
Lartey did not work alone. He said his entire department was dedicated to the task of taping paper back together in the opening months of the Trump administration.
One of his colleagues, Reginald Young, Jr., who worked as a senior records management analyst, said in over two decades of his government service, he had never been asked to do such a thing.
“We had to endure this under the Trump administration,” Young said. “I’m looking at my director, and saying, ‘Are you guys serious?’ We’re making more than $60,000 a year, we need to be doing far more important things than this. It felt like the lowest form of work you can take on without having to empty the trash cans.”

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Staff Churn

In Defying the Odds, we discuss Trump's management style.

Maggie Haberman and Katie Rogers at NYT:
President Trump has gone overseas to embark on some of the most consequential diplomatic negotiations of his tenure, threatening an all-out trade war with allies and seizing a chance to make peace with a nuclear-armed menace.
But back home, he left behind a West Wing where burned-out aides are eyeing the exits, as the mood in the White House is one of numbness and resignation that the president is growing only more emboldened to act on instinct alone.
...
 People who did not work with Mr. Trump before the White House see his behavior as deteriorating; people who have worked for and with him for years say he has never changed, and there are simply fewer people around giving him a level of cover.
...
Being either ignored or attacked by Mr. Trump can be demoralizing, and the staff churn that was constant during Mr. Trump’s first year has not slowed. Kathryn Dunn Tenpas, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who has studied White House turnover over the last six administrations, said that Mr. Trump’s staff turnover sat at 51 percent. By the time of the midterms, Mr. Trump — who, Ms. Tenpas said, has shown a tendency to move people into new roles rather than hire from the outside — will lead an emptier White House than his predecessors had.

Saturday, June 9, 2018

"Somolia"

 In Defying the Odds, we discuss Trump's character.  

In addition to the prolific lies, the casual mistakes make it clear that Trump does not care about getting things right.  But sheesh, misspelling a message of condolence....

And also the "Special Councel."

 Image result for trump tweet councel