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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Most Think Trump is a Racist

In Defying the Odds, we discuss Trump's character and record of dishonestyThe update  -- recently published --includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms. Earlier this month, he told several Democratic congresswomen to "go back" to their countries.  Then he attacked Elijah Cummings and his city of Baltimore.

Harry Enten at CNN:
A Quinnipiac University poll out this week shows that a majority (51%) of voters believe that President Donald Trump is a racist. Forty-five percent say that he is not.
To opponents of the President, this poll may not be surprising. But think about it for a second. This isn't just the normal opposition you'd expect to a president. This is a majority of voters saying their president is a racist.
Compare these numbers to a Harris poll from September 1968. Former Alabama Gov. George Wallace, a segregationist, was running for president as an opponent to the Civil Rights movement. As he campaigned, 41% agreed when asked whether Wallace was a racist. That was basically even with the 40% who disagreed with the statement.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Impeachment Becoming Less Unlikely

In Defying the Odds, we discuss Trump's dishonesty and his record of disregarding the rule of law.     The update  -- recently published --includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms. Impeachment is becoming less unlikely.

Mueller's terse and sometimes halting testimony supposedly halted the movement to impeach Trump.  It didn't. Mike Lillis and Scott Wong at The Hill:
On Monday, Reps. Emanuel Cleaver (Mo.) and Dina Titus (Nev.) endorsed the push, joining at least a dozen other Democrats who have signed on since last Wednesday, when former special counsel Robert Mueller testified before Congress on his investigation into Russia's election interference and whether Trump obstructed the probe.

That list includes a pair of freshmen — Reps. Mike Levin (Calif.) and Kim Schrier (Wash.) — who flipped Republican-held seats in last year’s midterms; Rep. Derek Kilmer (Wash.), who heads the centrist group of New Democrats; and a member of leadership, Rep. Katherine Clark (Mass.), the vice chairwoman of the caucus.

Other lawmakers signing on in recent days are Democratic Reps. Lori Trahan (Mass.), John Garamendi (Calif.), Peter DeFazio (Ore.), Lisa Blunt Rochester (R.I.), Ann Kuster (N.H.), Chris Pappas (N.H.), Suzan DelBene (Wash.) and Denny Heck (Wash.).
The additions have pushed the number of Democrats seeking impeachment to 106, according to a tally being kept by The Hill. Rep. Justin Amash (I-Mich.), who left the Republican Party earlier this month, is also backing the effort.

That means pro-impeachment Democrats are just a dozen votes shy of 118 — a “majority of the majority,” or more than half of the 235 Democrats in the lower chamber.
Burgess Everett at Politico:
Patty Murray doesn’t typically make waves. But the low-key senator’s endorsement of an impeachment inquiry is doing exactly that in the Senate Democratic Caucus.
The No. 3 Senate Democrat threw her considerable political weight behind the impeachment question on Sunday afternoon, joining Washington State’s House Democrats in a surprise statement. And the No. 4 Senate Democrat, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, followed suit on Monday.
A new ad from Tom Steyer's group


Monday, July 29, 2019

Wallace, Trump, and Violence

In Defying the Odds, we trace Trump's outsiderism to earlier figures.   The update  -- recently published --includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms.  In the book, we write of an important precursor:
In 1968, former Alabama governor George Wallace carried several Southern states under the banner of the American Independent Party.  A few years earlier, he had literally stood in the schoolhouse door as federal officials arrived to integrate the University of Alabama. Now he was running as a fighter for the little guy, attacking the “pseudo-intellectuals and the theoreticians and some professors and some newspaper editors and some judges and some preachers” who looked down on “the pipe-fitter, the communications worker, the fireman, the policeman, the barber, the white-collar worker.”   Wallace boasted that he would run over demonstrators who tried to lie down in front of his car.  Though he never did any such thing, his supporters cheered the threat.  Columnist David Broder wrote: “When Wallace has finished his harangue, the emotion is closer to that of a lynch mob -- a pack of angry, frustrated men and women, who see his cause, not just as a chance for victory but as a guarantee of vengeance against all who have affronted them for so long.” 
Kevin Kruse at NYT:
This leads us to the significant difference between Mr. Wallace and Mr. Trump. Mr. Wallace’s targets were, for the most part, presented in the abstract. Though he denounced broad categories of generic enemies — “agitators,” “anarchists” and “communists” — he rarely went after an individual by name.
Mr. Trump, in pointed contrast, has used his rallies to single out specific enemies. During the 2016 campaign, he demonized his political opponents in the primaries and the general election, and also denounced private individuals, from Megyn Kelly, the former Fox News anchor, to the former Miss Universe Alicia Machado and the federal judge Gonzalo Curiel.
At recent rallies, he has targeted four Democratic House members who have criticized him and his administration — Representatives Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley.
Participants at Mr. Trump’s rallies have been moved to attack individuals he’s singled out. For most rally participants, the attacks have been confined to ominous but nevertheless nonviolent chants — from the 2016 cries of “Lock her up!” to the recent refrain of “Send her back!” But a handful have gone further, targeting the individuals named by the president with death threats and even attempts at violence.

Now he is going further, saying that black political leaders are racist:

Sunday, July 28, 2019

More Racist Rants about Baltimore

In Defying the Odds, we discuss Trump's character and record of dishonestyThe update  -- recently published --includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms. Earlier this month, he told several Democratic congresswomen to "go back" to their countries.  Yesterday, he attacked Elijah Cummings and his city of Baltimore.





The Baltimore Sun:
Finally, while we would not sink to name-calling in the Trumpian manner — or ruefully point out that he failed to spell the congressman’s name correctly (it’s Cummings, not Cumming) — we would tell the most dishonest man to ever occupy the Oval Office, the mocker of war heroes, the gleeful grabber of women’s private parts, the serial bankrupter of businesses, the useful idiot of Vladimir Putin and the guy who insisted there are “good people” among murderous neo-Nazis that he’s still not fooling most Americans into believing he’s even slightly competent in his current post. Or that he possesses a scintilla of integrity. Better to have some vermin living in your neighborhood than to be one.
And a video response:

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Another Racist Rant

In Defying the Odds, we discuss Trump's character and record of dishonestyThe update  -- recently published --includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms. Earlier this month, he told several Democratic congresswomen to "go back" to their countries.




Friday, July 26, 2019

The Russians Targeted All 50 States

In Defying the Odds, we discuss Russian involvement in the 2016 campaign  The update  -- recently published --includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms.

The Senate Intelligence Committee has issued a heavily-redacted report on Russian interference in the 2016 election:
In its review of the 2016 elections, the Committee found no evidence that vote tallies were altered or that voter registry files were deleted or modified, though the Committee and IC's insight into this is limited. Russian government-affiliated cyber actors conducted an unprecedented level of activity against state election infrastructure in the run-up to the 2016 U.S. elections...Throughout 2016 and for several years before, Russian intelligence services and government personnel conducted a number of intelligence-related activities targeting the voting process.... the Committee found ample evidence to suggest that the Russian government was developing and implementing capabilities to interfere in the 2016 elections, including undermining confidence in U.S. democratic institutions and voting processes.
...
 DHS assessed that the searches, done alphabetically, probably included all 50 states, and consisted of research on "general election-related web pages, voter ID information, election system software, and election service companies."
...
 [Michael Daniel, Former Special Assistant to the President and Cybersecurity Coordinator, National Security Council]  told the Committee that by late August 2016, he had already personally concluded that the Russians had attempted to intrude in all 50 states, based on the extent of the activity and the apparent randomness of the attempts. "My professional judgment was we have to work under the assumption that they've tried to go everywhere, because they're thorough, they're competent, they're good."... Intelligence developed later in 2018 bolstered Mr. Daniel's assessment that all 50 states were targeted.
...
Russian intentions regarding U.S. election infrastructure remain unclear. Russia
might have intended to exploit vulnerabilities in election infrastructure during the 2016 elections and, for unknown reasons, decided not to execute those options. Alternatively, Russia might have sought to gather information in the conduct of traditional espionage activities. Lastly, Russia might have used its activity in 2016 to catalog options or clandestine actions, holding them for use at a later date. Based on what the IC knows about Russia's operating procedures and intentions more broadly, the IC assesses that Russia's activities against U.S. election infrastructure likely sought to further their overarching goal; undermining the integrity of elections and American confidence in democracy.


Jordain Carney at The Hill:
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) blocked two election security measures on Thursday, arguing Democrats are trying to give themselves a "political benefit."
The move comes a day after former special counsel Robert Muellerwarned about election meddling in 2020, saying Russia was laying the groundwork to interfere in the 2020 election "as we sit here."
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) had tried to get consent Thursday to pass a House bill that requires the use of paper ballots and includes funding for the Election Assistance Commission. It passed the House 225-184 with one Republican voting for it.

But McConnell objected, saying Schumer was trying to pass “partisan legislation.”

Thursday, July 25, 2019

The Hearings

In Defying the Odds, we discuss Russian involvement in the 2016 campaign  The update  -- recently published --includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms.










Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Article II


Then I have an Article 2, where I have the right to do whatever I want as President. But I don’t even talk about that because they did a report and there was no obstruction. After looking at it, our great Attorney General read it. He’s a total professional. He said, “There’s nothing here. There’s no obstruction.” So they referenced, “No obstruction.” So you have no collusion, no obstruction, and yet it goes on.
Trump, Marine One departure, July 12:
Also, take a look at one other thing.  It’s a thing called Article II.  Nobody ever mentions Article II.  It gives me all of these rights at a level that nobody has ever seen before.  We don’t even talk about Article II.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Recruiting Women Candidates

In Defying the Odds, we discuss state and congressional elections as well as the presidential race.   The update  -- recently published --includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms.

Maggie Astor at NYT:
For Republican women, 2018 was rock bottom. At least, that’s how Julie Conway, a Republican consultant, described it to students attending the Women’s Campaign School at Yale.
The tally: They sank from 23 representatives in the House to 13, a drop more than twice as sharp as House Republicans’ over all. They account for 31 percent of women in state legislatures, down from 38 percent last year. The Senate is a semi-bright spot, with a record eight Republican women — but Democrats have 17.
“Let’s just get it out there,” Ms. Conway said. “Now we can move on.”
And Republican women are moving on: As of last month, 187 had filed paperwork or expressed interest in running for the House in 2020, said Representative Susan Brooks of Indiana, the National Republican Congressional Committee’s recruitment chairwoman. In the entire 2018 election cycle, 120 ran.
The surge is largely because of how dismal 2018 was — or, more to the point, because of how dismal it wasn’t for women on the other side of the aisle. As their own losses poured in, Republicans watched Democratic women make historic gains and decided to adopt the Democrats’ strategy for themselves.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Lying About Talking Points

In Defying the Odds, we discuss Trump's character and record of dishonestyThe update  -- recently published --includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms. Just over a week agohe told several Democratic congresswomen to "go back" to their countries.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Trump's Week of Hate

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.





Peter Baker et al. at NYT:
Over decades in business, entertainment and now politics, Mr. Trump has approached America’s racial, ethnic and religious divisions opportunistically, not as the nation’s wounds to be healed but as openings to achieve his goals, whether they be ratings, fame, money or power, without regard for adverse consequences.
He was accused by government investigators in the 1970s of refusing to rent apartments to black tenants (he denied it but settled the case) and made a name for himself in the 1980s by championing the return of the death penalty when five black and Hispanic teenagers were charged with raping a jogger. They were later exonerated. He threatened to sell his Mar-a-Lago estate to the Unification Church in 1991 and unleash “thousands of Moonies” if city officials in Palm Beach, Fla., did not allow him to carve up his property.
Taking on competitors of his Atlantic City casinos, he questioned whether rival owners were really Native Americans entitled to federal recognition — then later teamed up with another tribe when there was money to be made. With his eye on the White House, he opened a yearslong drive to convince Americans that President Barack Obama was really born in Africa.

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Saturday, July 20, 2019

Trump v. America

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.

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 —
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.
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.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
July 15, 2019
Mr. Malinowski (for himself, Ms. Jayapal, Mr. Ted Lieu of California, Mr. GarcĂ­a 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

RESOLUTION
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.