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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Friday, July 19, 2019

More "Send Her Back"

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

A July 16 Cabinet Meeting: 
SECRETARY CARSON: Thank you, Mr. President. And just before I talk a little bit about what’s going on at HUD, I just want to thank you for your incredible courage —
SECRETARY CARSON: — and stamina and resilience with unwithering criticism, unfair criticism, all the time. And I would just, sort of, sum it up by saying: Would you rather have a non-politician whose speech is unfiltered, who gets a lot of stuff done? Or somebody with a silver tongue who gets nothing done?
THE PRESIDENT: But I thought I had a silver tongue. (Laughter.) I heard that so often. I always thought I had a silver tongue. (Laughter.) But I agree with you.
SECRETARY CARSON: But, you know, as I told you before, I think God is using you.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much.
SECRETARY CARSON: I really appreciate that.
THE PRESIDENT: And you have said that, and I appreciate it. Thank you, Ben.
SECRETARY CARSON: Now, once again, you know, promises made are promises kept. You said in the inaugural address that the forgotten men and women of this country would be forgotten no longer.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Trumpworld in Tweets

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

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Un-American Racist Tweets

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

Yesterday, on a near-party line vote (with 4 Republicans and Amash voting aye), the House passed 
H. RES. 489

Condemning President Trump’s racist comments directed at Members of Congress.
July 15, 2019
Mr. Malinowski (for himself, Ms. Jayapal, Mr. Ted Lieu of California, Mr. García of Illinois, Mr. Carbajal, Ms. Omar, Mr. Krishnamoorthi, Ms. Mucarsel-Powell, Mrs. Torres of California, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, Ms. Tlaib, Ms. Pressley, Mr. Raskin, Ms. Jackson Lee, and Mr. Espaillat) submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

Condemning President Trump’s racist comments directed at Members of Congress.

Whereas the Founders conceived America as a haven of refuge for people fleeing from religious and political persecution, and Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, and James Madison all emphasized that the Nation gained as it attracted new people in search of freedom and livelihood for their families;

Whereas the Declaration of Independence defined America as a covenant based on equality, the unalienable Rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and government by the consent of the people;

Whereas Benjamin Franklin said at the Constitutional convention, “When foreigners after looking about for some other Country in which they can obtain more happiness, give a preference to ours, it is a proof of attachment which ought to excite our confidence and affection”;

Whereas President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “Remember, remember always, that all of us, and you and I especially, are descended from immigrants and revolutionists”;

Whereas immigration of people from all over the Earth has defined every stage of American history and propelled our social, economic, political, scientific, cultural, artistic, and technological progress as a people, and all Americans, except for the descendants of Native people and enslaved African Americans, are immigrants or descendants of immigrants;

Whereas the commitment to immigration and asylum has been not a partisan cause but a powerful national value that has infused the work of many Presidents;

Whereas American patriotism is defined not by race or ethnicity but by devotion to the Constitutional ideals of equality, liberty, inclusion, and democracy and by service to our communities and struggle for the common good;

Whereas President John F. Kennedy, whose family came to the United States from Ireland, stated in his 1958 book “A Nation of Immigrants” that “The contribution of immigrants can be seen in every aspect of our national life. We see it in religion, in politics, in business, in the arts, in education, even in athletics and entertainment. There is no part of our nation that has not been touched by our immigrant background. Everywhere immigrants have enriched and strengthened the fabric of American life.”;

Whereas President Ronald Reagan in his last speech as President conveyed “An observation about a country which I love”;

Whereas as President Reagan observed, the torch of Lady Liberty symbolizes our freedom and represents our heritage, the compact with our parents, our grandparents, and our ancestors, and it is the Statue of Liberty and its values that give us our great and special place in the world;

Whereas other countries may seek to compete with us, but in one vital area, as “a beacon of freedom and opportunity that draws the people of the world, no country on Earth comes close”;

Whereas it is the great life force of “each generation of new Americans that guarantees that America's triumph shall continue unsurpassed” through the 21st century and beyond and is part of the “magical, intoxicating power of America”;

Whereas this is “one of the most important sources of America's greatness: we lead the world because, unique among nations, we draw our people -- our strength -- from every country and every corner of the world, and by doing so we continuously renew and enrich our nation”;

Whereas “thanks to each wave of new arrivals to this land of opportunity, we're a nation forever young, forever bursting with energy and new ideas, and always on the cutting edge”, always leading the world to the next frontier;

Whereas this openness is vital to our future as a Nation, and “if we ever closed the door to new Americans, our leadership in the world would soon be lost”; and

Whereas President Donald Trump’s racist comments have legitimized fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives—

(1) believes that immigrants and their descendants have made America stronger, and that those who take the oath of citizenship are every bit as American as those whose families have lived in the United States for many generations;

(2) is committed to keeping America open to those lawfully seeking refuge and asylum from violence and oppression, and those who are willing to work hard to live the American Dream, no matter their race, ethnicity, faith, or country of origin; and

(3) strongly condemns President Donald Trump’s racist comments that have legitimized and increased fear and hatred of new Americans and people of color by saying that our fellow Americans who are immigrants, and those who may look to the President like immigrants, should “go back” to other countries, by referring to immigrants and asylum seekers as “invaders,” and by saying that Members of Congress who are immigrants (or those of our colleagues who are wrongly assumed to be immigrants) do not belong in Congress or in the United States of America.
Jessica Campisi at The Hill:
Arnold Schwarzenegger is calling out President Trump for his tweets attacking minority Democratic congresswomen and telling them to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”
“I’m disappointed in this weekend’s untrue, unfair, and un-American attack,’’ the former Republican governor from California told Politico in an email. “It is hateful, it is crude, and it is divisive.”
Susan Page at USAT:
A clear majority of Americans say President Trump's tweets targeting four minority congresswomen were "un-American," according to a new USA TODAY/Ipsos Poll. But most Republicans say they agreed with his comments, an illustration of the nation's sharp partisan divide on issues of patriotism and race.

More than two-thirds of those aware of the controversy, 68%, called Trump's tweets offensive. Among Republicans alone, however, 57% said they agreed with tweets that told the congresswomen to go back to their "original" countries, and a third "strongly" agreed with them. All four lawmakers are American citizens; three were born in the United States.
That finding may help explain the reluctance of GOP leaders and most GOP members of Congress to castigate the president for tweets and comments in recent days targeting the congresswomen, outspoken progressives who are among his sharpest critics on Capitol Hill. Only four Republicans joined House Democrats Tuesday in passing a resolution condemning Trump's comments as "racist."

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

More Reactions to Racist Tweets

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

Paul Fahri at WP:
The Washington Post initially avoided any direct characterization of the tweets, sticking to the reaction of others, in its news story about it Monday. However, later in the day, it began using the direct, unvarnished label.
“The Post traditionally has been cautious in the terminology it uses to characterize individuals’ statements, because a news organization’s job is to inform its readers as dispassionately as possible,” Post Executive Editor Martin Baron said in a statement. “Decisions about the terminology we use are made only after a thorough discussion among senior editors. We had that discussion today about President Trump’s use of a longstanding slur against African Americans and other minorities. The ‘go back’ trope is deeply rooted in the history of racism in the United States. Therefore, we have concluded that ‘racist’ is the proper term to apply to the language he used Sunday.”
George Conway at WP:
No, I thought, President Trump was boorish, dim-witted, inarticulate, incoherent, narcissistic and insensitive. He’s a pathetic bully but an equal-opportunity bully — in his uniquely crass and crude manner, he’ll attack anyone he thinks is critical of him. No matter how much I found him ultimately unfit, I still gave him the benefit of the doubt about being a racist. No matter how much I came to dislike him, I didn’t want to think that the president of the United States is a racial bigot.
But Sunday left no doubt. Naivete, resentment and outright racism, roiled in a toxic mix, have given us a racist president. Trump could have used vile slurs, including the vilest of them all, and the intent and effect would have been no less clear. Telling four non-white members of Congress — American citizens all, three natural-born — to “go back” to the “countries” they “originally came from”? That’s racist to the core. It doesn’t matter what these representatives are for or against — and there’s plenty to criticize them for — it’s beyond the bounds of human decency. For anyone, not least a president.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Reactions to Trump's Racist Tweets

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

Lindsey Graham goes there:

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Born in the USA

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

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

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Trump: Speech I Dislike Is Not Free Speech

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

Friday, July 12, 2019

Trump's Personnel Scandalabra

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

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

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

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Evangelicals and Refugees

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

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Warren: The In-House Campaign Model

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

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

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Swalwell Out, Bullock Up

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

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

Monday, July 8, 2019

Warren v. Biden: Bankuptcy Backstory

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

At NYT, Emily Bazelon writes of Elizabeth Warren's tenure as a policy adviser to the National Bankrupcty Review Commission.
By 1997, Warren had become a Democrat, but she was battling within the party as well as outside it. In particular, she clashed with Joe Biden, then a senator from Delaware. Biden’s tiny state, which allowed credit-card companies to charge any interest rate they chose beginning in 1981, would become home to half the national market. Individuals who worked for one giant lender, MBNA, contributed more than $200,000 to Biden’s campaigns over the years, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. Biden strongly supported a bill, a version of which was first introduced in 1998, to make it more expensive to file for bankruptcy and more difficult to leave behind debt. He was unpersuaded by Warren’s charts and graphs showing how the change would increase the financial burden on families. “I am so sick of this self-righteous sheen put on anybody who wants to tighten up bankruptcy,” Biden said during a Senate hearing in 2001.
The bankruptcy battles continued, and when Warren testified against the proposed changes to the bankruptcy code before the Senate in 2005, Biden called her argument “very compelling and mildly demagogic,” suggesting that her problem was really with the high interest rates that credit-card companies were allowed to charge. “But senator,” Warren answered, “if you are not going to fix that problem” — by capping interest rates — “you can’t take away the last shred of protection from these families” that access to bankruptcy offers. The bill passed two months later.
Biden’s team now argues that he stepped in to win “important concessions for middle-class families,” like prioritizing payments for child support and alimony ahead of other debt. When I asked Warren in June about Biden’s claim, she pursed her lips, looked out the window, paused for a long beat and said, “You may want to check the record on that.” The record shows that Warren’s focus throughout was on the plight of families who were going bankrupt and that Biden’s was on getting a bill through. He supported tweaking it to make it a little less harmful to those facing bankruptcy, and the changes allowed it to pass.
In the years since it became law, the bankruptcy bill has allowed credit-card companies to recover more money from families than they did before. That shift had two effects, Matthew Yglesias argued recently in Vox. As Biden hoped, borrowers over all benefited when the credit-card companies offered slightly lowered interest rates. But as Warren feared, the new law hit people reeling from medical emergencies and other unexpected setbacks. Blocked from filing for bankruptcy, they have remained worse off for years. And a major effort to narrow the path to bankruptcy may have an unintended effect, according to a 2019 working paper released by the National Bureau of Economic Research, by making it harder for the country to recover from a financial crisis.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

The Democrats' Generational Factions

In Defying the Odds, we discuss leftward drift of the Democratic Party.  The update -- recently published -- includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms.

Ryan Grim at WP:
The way the older and younger House members think about and engage with the Republican Party may be the starkest divide between them. Democratic leaders like Pelosi, Joe Biden, Steny Hoyer and Chuck Schumer were shaped by their traumatic political coming-of-age during the breakup of the New Deal coalition and the rise of Ronald Reagan — and the backlash that swept Democrats so thoroughly from power nearly 40 years ago. They’ve spent the rest of their lives flinching at the sight of voters. When these leaders plead for their party to stay in the middle, they’re crouching into the defensive posture they’ve been used to since November 1980, afraid that if they come across as harebrained liberals, voters will turn them out again.
The Ocasio-Cortezes of the world have witnessed the opposite: The way they see it, Democratic attempts to moderate and compromise have led to nothing but ruin. Republicans aren’t the ones to be afraid of. “The greatest threat to mankind is the cowardice of the Democratic Party,” [AOC spokesperson Corbin] Trent told me.

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Trump Acknowledges Partisan Motivation in Census Case

In Defying the Odds, we discuss congressional elections as well as the presidential race.   The census, of course, shapes reapportionment and redistricting.  The update  -- recently published --includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms.

At WP, Aaron Blake explains how Trump may have undercut the Justice Department's legal case for a citizenship question on the census.  In a scrum with reporters, he said there were many reaons for the question.
“Number one, you need it for Congress — you need it for Congress for districting,” he said Friday. “You need it for appropriations — where are the funds going? How many people are there? Are they citizens? Are they not citizens? You need it for many reasons.”
Take note of that first one. Not only was a redistricting rationale not mentioned by the administration in its failed legal defense of the question, but it was actually something the other side argued was the administration’s true motivation. The plaintiffs in the case — and many who oppose the citizenship question — have argued that this is a thinly veiled attempt by Republicans to gain a potential game-changing tool in redistricting.
You can read more on this here, but suffice it to say: The U.S. Supreme Court has said congressional districts must be apportioned to the states according to total population, but it has not said those states cannot then draw those districts according to citizen voting-age population (CVAP).
This is more than hypothetical. It has been studied by some of the party’s most influential voices on redistricting. One study of how this might play out in Texas — a state with a large noncitizen population — said drawing districts using CVAP “would be advantageous to Republicans and non-Hispanic whites,” while diluting the political power of Latinos.
The 2015 study was written by the late Republican redistricting guru Thomas Hofeller. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because he’s the guy whose fingerprints appear to be on the Justice Department’s legal rationale for the census citizenship question. We learned that after Hofeller’s daughter discovered some relevant documents on his computer after his death last year.

Friday, July 5, 2019

Revolutionary Airports

In Defying the Odds, we discuss Trump's curious lack of devotion to American principles.  His rhetoric is more Putin than Reagan.  The update  -- recently published --includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms.

David Jackson at USA Today quotes Trump's July 4 speech:
"In June of 1775, the Continental Congress created a unified Army out of the Revolutionary Forces encamped around Boston and New York, and named after the great George Washington, commander in chief. The Continental Army suffered a bitter winter of Valley Forge, found glory across the waters of the Delaware and seized victory from Cornwallis of Yorktown.

"Our Army manned the air, it rammed the ramparts, it took over the airports, it did everything it had to do, and at Fort McHenry, under the rocket’s red glare it had nothing but victory. And when dawn came, their star-spangled banner waved defiant."
There was no air travel back then, and the Battle of Fort McHenry was part of the War of 1812.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Partisanship and Patriotism

 In Defying the Odds, we talk about the social and economic divides that enabled Trump to enter the White House. The update  -- recently published --includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms.

Americans like to feel patriotic. Four in ten in the latest Economist/YouGov Poll say they are “very patriotic.” Three in four are at least “somewhat” patriotic. But what does being “patriotic” mean?
First of all, it makes a difference if you are a Republican. Republicans are more than twice as likely as Democrats or independents to call themselves very patriotic, and the gap is widening. Just under a third of Democrats and independents say they are “not very” or “not at all” patriotic.

Americans are nearly as likely as they were five years ago to call themselves patriotic. The number saying they are not very or not at all patriotic has risen only a bit since then.


But what does patriotism mean? There are many Americans who agree that one can criticize the government, and even disobey laws one disagrees with or think are immoral. But in nearly all cases, Democrats are more willing than Republicans to allow these actions.
 There is only one thing on the list that more Republicans believe one can do and still be considered patriotic: criticize former Democratic President Barack Obama. Both Democrats and Republicans think criticism of President Obama is acceptable for patriots, but the GOP percentage saying this has increased nine points in the last year. Majorities of both Republicans and Democrats believe a person can criticize Donald Trump and still be patriotic, too, and those partisan percentages haven’t changed much in the last year. 
But if that criticism of American leaders is made outside the US, partisans disagree. A majority of Democrats say you can be patriotic if you criticize US leaders to foreigners, a majority of Republicans’ disagree. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Hickenlooper: First to Fall?

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

Alex Thompson and Nolan D. McCaskill at Politico:
Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper’s senior team urged him last month to withdraw from the presidential race gracefully and run for Colorado’s Senate seat or pursue other opportunities, a source familiar with the situation told POLITICO.
The source said that the campaign only has about 13,000 donors, making it almost impossible to qualify for the next round of presidential debates in the fall. The campaign also only raised just over $1 million in the second quarter — about what he raised in the first 48 hours of his candidacy — and will likely run out of money completely in about a month.

At least five staffers have left or are leaving Hickenlooper’s struggling operation, including his campaign manager, communications director, digital director and finance director. Hickenlooper named a new campaign manager on Monday night.
Hickenlooper publicly blamed his former staff Tuesday for his failure to gain traction in the crowded Democratic primary.

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

The Harris Surge

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

After Democratic presidential contenders duked it out over two nights of debates, former Vice President Joseph Biden hits his lowest number yet in the Democratic primary race with 22 percent of the vote among Democrats and Democratic leaners, virtually tied with California Sen. Kamala Harris who has 20 percent of the vote. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren follows at 14 percent, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is at 13 percent, and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg gets 4 percent, according to a Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pea-ack) University National Poll released today. No other candidate tops 3 percent.

This compares to a June 11, 2019 Quinnipiac University Poll which had Biden at 30 percent, Sanders getting 19 percent, Warren with 15 percent, Buttigieg at 8 percent, and Harris with 7 percent.
Sens. Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren have made steep gains after the first Democratic presidential debate, a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS. shows, with former Vice President Joe Biden's lead over the field shrinking to a narrow 5 points.
The results indicate a significant tightening in the race for the Democratic nomination.
RELATED: Full poll results
The poll, conducted after the two-night debate, finds 22% of registered voters who are Democrats or Democratic-leaning independents backing Biden for the party's presidential nomination, 17% Harris, 15% Warren and 14% Sen. Bernie Sanders. No one else in the 23-person field tested hits 5%.
The first Democratic debate has reshaped the presidential field in Iowa, surging support for California Sen. Kamala Harris, undercutting the standing of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, and raising questions about the solidity of former vice president Joe Biden's frontrunner status.
In a new Suffolk University/USA TODAY Poll, Biden continues to lead the field, backed by 24% of those who say they are likely to attend the Democratic caucuses in Iowa that open the presidential contests next year. But Harris has jumped to second place, at 16%, leapfrogging over Sanders, whose support sagged to single digits. At 9%, he finished fourth, behind Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 13%.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Trump Not Feeling Economic Love

In Defying the Odds, we discuss the tax and economics issue in the 2016 campaign.  The update  -- recently published --includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms. and explains why the Trump tax cut backfired on Republicans.

At AP, Josh Boak and Hannah Fingerhut report on a survey from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Even though most people think the economy is doing well, fewer approve of Trump’s handling of the economy. Most do not think his trade policies are benefiting  them. And only 17% say they got a tax cut.

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Trump Greets Murderer

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

Allie Malloy at CNN:
President Donald Trump said Friday he was "extremely angry and very unhappy" about the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi but claimed that "nobody has directly pointed a finger" at Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, despite the conclusions of the CIA and a United Nations report.
"I'm extremely angry and unhappy about a thing like that taking place," Trump said when asked by CNN's Jim Acosta about Khashoggi.
Earlier Saturday, during a working breakfast with the prince, Trump brushed off a question about whether he would raise the subject of Khashoggi's murder.
"Uh," Trump said, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sat frowning next to him, "thank you very much."
And despite Trump's claim that "nobody has directly pointed a finger" at bin Salman, his own CIA, according to a senior US official and a source familiar with the matter, concluded the Saudi ruler authorized the brutal murder, CNN reported in November 2018. A United Nations report released last week also implicated bin Salman.

Neo-Nazis Go After Kamala Harris Online

 In Defying the Oddswe discuss social media and fake news in the 2016 campaign.  The update  -- recently published --includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms.  We are now in the early stages of the 2020 race.

Craig Silverman and Jane Lytvynenko at BuzzFeed:
Not long after Sen. Kamala Harris challenged Joe Biden’s record on race during part two of the first Democratic debate last night, a barrage of tweets questioned her race and US citizenship. While these claims erupted into national prominence last night, in part due to a quote-tweet from Donald Trump Jr., falsehoods about her have long been simmering in fringe conspiracy and neo-Nazi circles.
Just as Barack Obama’s US citizenship and background became a full-fledged conspiracy theory — promoted at the time by Donald Trump — Harris has also been targeted with disinformation questioning her race and legitimacy as a US citizen. Obama birther conspiracy theorists and prominent neo-Nazis, including Andrew Anglin, have questioned her eligibility to run for president, and she’s been labeled an “anchor baby.