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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Joe Walsh

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.

Bobby Allyn at NPR:
Joe Walsh, conservative talk radio show host and former Tea Party congressman, is launching a long-shot primary challenge to President Trump. He's the second Republican to officially announce a run against Trump, who has a strong approval rating among his party's base.
Walsh, 57, supported Trump during his 2016 campaign but in recent months has been offering a bitter critique of the president, calling Trump a liar, bully and unfit for office. Walsh has also attacked Trump from the right.
"Mr. Trump isn't a conservative. He's reckless on fiscal issues; he's incompetent on the border; he's clueless on trade; he misunderstands executive power; and he subverts the rule of law. It's his poor record that makes him most worthy of a primary challenge," Walsh wrote in a New York Times op-ed this month.
On the Democratic side, meanwhile, 21 candidates are vying for the White House in 2020. But there are far fewer Republicans attempting to deny Trump a second term. Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld is the only other person so far to announce he'll try to unseat Trump, whose support among Republicans usually polls in the 80s, making him a formidable party incumbent.
At WP, Aaron Blake notes some problems:
Last week, Peter J. Hasson pulled out a number of examples of Walsh’s tweets. They include the falsehood that former president Barack Obama is Muslim, employ the racist trope that he should “go back” to someplace other than the United States, and make frequent use of ethnic slurs... And this is just the tweets. Walsh has also been a radio host in recent years; imagine what he has said there that we don’t have a ready-made transcript of. We already know he was briefly pulled off the air for (similar to above) using racial slurs while discussing racial slurs. Then there’s the matter of the child-support dispute that marred his failed 2012 reelection race, in which his ex-wife accused him of being a deadbeat dad and owing her $117,000. (They later reached a settlement.)

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Economic Warning Signs

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.

Paul Davidson at USA Today:
U.S. stocks tumbled more than 600 points Friday after President Trump vowed to respond to retaliatory tariffs announced by Beijing earlier in the day and ordered American companies to seek “an alternative to China,” sharply escalating a trade war that has roiled markets for months.

Investors had hoped for more talks between the U.S. and China in September after Trump delayed part of the latest round of tariffs on $300 billion in Chinese imports from September 1 to December 15.

“I think markets thought things were moving along,” says Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer of Independent Advisor Alliance. “We just learned things are worse…. substantially worse.”

“Now it seems the truce is off,” he added. “Now it’s anybody’s guess whether there will be talks in September.”

Damian Paletta, Robert Costa, Josh Dawsey, and Philip Rucker at WP:
Top White House advisers notified President Trump earlier this month that some internal forecasts showed that the economy could slow markedly over the next year, stopping short of a recession but complicating his path to reelection in 2020.

The private forecast, one of several delivered to Trump and described by three people familiar with the briefing, contrasts sharply with the triumphant rhetoric the president and his surrogates have repeatedly used to describe the economy.
...“Everyone is nervous — everyone,” said a Republican with close ties to the White House and congressional GOP leaders. “It’s not a panic, but they are nervous.”

Yun Li at CNBC:
U.S. manufacturer growth slowed to the lowest level in almost 10 years in August, the latest sign that the trade war may be exacerbating the economic slowdown.

The U.S. manufacturing PMI (purchasing managers’ index) was 49.9 in August, down from 50.4 in July and below the neutral 50.0 threshold for the first time since September 2009, according to IHS Markit.

Any reading below 50 signals a contraction. The survey is an initial reading for the month of August. The final figure will be released Sept. 3.

“Manufacturing companies continued to feel the impact of slowing global economic conditions,” Tim Moore, economics associate director at Markit, said in a statement Thursday. “August’s survey data provides a clear signal that economic growth has continued to soften in the third quarter.”
Chris Isidore at CNN:
The Labor Department is revising down the number of jobs that employers added to payrolls by 501,000 during the 12-month period that ran from April, 2018 through March of this year. The government initially estimated the economy added 2.5 million jobs during those 12 months, or just over 200,000 a month. Now it appears it will be closer to 170,000 a month on average.
The new figures don't suggest the job market is weak. A monthly gain of 170,000 jobs is enough to keep unemployment at its current low level. But it's not quite as hot as previously believed, and risks that unemployment will start to rise if employers slow their pace of hiring any further.
Rachel Layne at CBS:
U.S. Steel is temporarily cutting about 200 workers from its Michigan plant, highlighting the ongoing struggles of a company that President Donald Trump had showcased as benefiting from his administration's steel tariffs.

The layoffs, detailed in an August 5 notice with the state of Michigan, will cover "nearly every area" at the facility, U.S. Steel said in an emailed statement Tuesday. The company already temporarily cut 48 workers at the Great Lakes plant and expects to cut more more in September, bringing the total number of layoffs to 200.
Hints of trouble at U.S. Steel have been emerging in recent months, with the Pittsburgh-based company in June announcing it would idle two furnaces, one in Michigan and one in Indiana. The company said there isn't a "single event" prompting the layoffs. Rather, "Current market conditions are being impacted by a multitude of factors," including price, demand, import volume, cost and projected profit margins, U.S. Steel said in the statement.

Friday, August 23, 2019

The GOP Center Cannot Hold

In Defying the Odds, we discuss the conservative movement and the grifters who have drained its resources.  The GOP's moderate wing is not in great shape, either. (The update of the book -- recently published --includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms.)

Susan Davis at NPR:
Three weeks after Democrats took control of the U.S. House in the 2018 midterm elections, about 40 reelected and recently defeated lawmakers in the centrist Republican Main Street Caucus gathered at the Capitol Hill Club to sift through the electoral wreckage.
The caucus — then led by Reps. Rodney Davis of Illinois, Jeff Denham of California, Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida and Fred Upton of Michigan — was scheduled to hold its regular meeting with the outside group that inspired its name, the Republican Main Street Partnership, led by president and CEO Sarah Chamberlain.
Founded in the late 1990s, RMSP raises money to support the Republican Party's moderate wing. GOP lawmakers embraced the RMSP name when, in 2017, it launched the caucus — an official member organization registered in the U.S. House. The member caucus was driven by a desire to counterbalance the weight of the conservative wing inside the House GOP. Lawmakers believe that rebuilding the centrist coalition is key to improving the GOP's odds of winning a House majority in 2020.
That Nov. 28 meeting set off a cascading series of events over the next two months. Lawmakers demanded, and were denied, an audit of RMSP's activities. Lawmakers ultimately abandoned the member caucus, and others quietly distanced themselves from RMSP and Chamberlain. Today, lawmakers still don't have answers to their questions about how Chamberlain runs the organization and whether it might be running afoul of campaign finance and tax laws

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Trump and Jewish Voters

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.  This week, he said that Jews who back Democrats are stupid or disloyal.

Lloyd Green at The Guardian:
So once again, Jew-baiting will be part of the Trump playbook, just as it was in 2016 and 2018, even if Trump’s allies now proclaim that Jexodus is just around the corner. Old campaign habits die hard, and sometimes not at all.
Three years ago, thinly veiled antisemitic messages from Team Trump were features, not bugs. Pepe the Frog was a constant campaign meme. In July 2016, Trump tweeted out an image of the star of David, Hillary Clinton and piles of money. After the initial stir, the six-pointed star was replaced by Trump with a circle. Still, folks “got it”, on both sides, just like in Charlottesville.
Then just days before the election, George Soros, Janet Yellen and Lloyd Blankfein took center stage in Trump’s closing ad. Back then Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar were not on the stage – someone else would have to make do.
Said differently, religion and ethnicity were fair game for Trump from start to finish, and Jews were not off-limits. As one of Trump’s lawyers told me, it was about expedience, that’s all; nothing personal, just look at Jared Kushner. Or as Steve Bannon confided to Michael Wolff, he couldn’t vouch that Trump wasn’t a racist, but Bannon could say that Trump “probably wasn’t an antisemite”.

Philip Rucker at WP:
Trump’s use of the word “disloyalty” drew immediate criticism from Jewish groups, whose leaders said it echoed anti-Semitic tropes about where American Jews’ loyalty lies. The president insisted his comments were not anti-Semitic.
Regardless, this turn in the president’s rhetoric about Jews magnifies his transactional approach to politics and his miscalculation that his support for Israel should automatically translate into electoral support from Jewish Americans.
It also reveals a fundamental misunderstanding of the motivations of many Jews, who are not a monolithic voting bloc and but rather prioritize a wide range of issues — not only Israel, but also education, the economy and the environment, as well as civility and morality.

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Wacky Week

In Defying the Oddswe discuss Trump's character and record of dishonestyThe update -- recently published --includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms

Martin Selsoe Sorensen at NYT:
The astonishment in Denmark over President Trump’s apparent desire to buy Greenland turned to bewilderment and anger on Wednesday after the American leader abruptly scrapped a state visit because the Danes have no desire to sell.
The cancellation was a rare snub of Denmark’s head of state, Queen Margrethe II, who had extended the invitation to the president and would have hosted him and the first lady.
Mr. Trump further strained ties on Wednesday, calling the Danish prime minister’s rejection of the idea “nasty.”
News that Mr. Trump had called off his visit “came as a surprise,” the Royal House’s communications director told the state broadcaster, adding, “That’s all we have to say about that.”

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Americans Turn Against Trump on Race, Immigration, and Trade

 In Defying the Odds, we talk about public opinion on key issuesThe update  -- recently published --includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms.

At The Atlantic, David A. Graham says that Trump has turned the public against his views on race, immigration, and trade.
A Reuters poll released today contains a trove of interesting data on race. Trump has long sought to use racial tension to gain political leverage, but this summer he has become especially explicit about exploiting and exaggerating racial divisions, with a series of racist attacks on four Democratic congresswomen, and then on their colleague Elijah Cummings, as a strategy ahead of the 2020 election.
But the Reuters poll casts doubt on that strategy: “The Reuters analysis also found that Americans were less likely to express feelings of racial anxiety this year, and they were more likely to empathize with African Americans. This was also true for white Americans and whites without a college degree, who largely backed Trump in 2016.”
Reuters found that white Americans are 19 percent more supportive of a path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants than they were four years ago, and slightly less supportive of increased deportations. Other polls find related results. A record-high number of Americans—75 percent—said in 2018 that immigration is good for the United States. Although the Trump administration took steps last week to limit even legal immigration, the Trump presidency has seen an increase in the number of Americans who support more legal immigration—not just among Democrats, but even slightly among Republicans.
One big problem for Trump is that voters have now gotten a chance to see him implement ideas that seemed novel or at least worth a shot during the campaign, and they don’t like what they’re seeing in practice. A trade war with China might have seemed worthwhile in summer 2016, but now that there’s actually one being fought, the public is having second thoughts, and fears of a recession are growing. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released yesterday found that 64 percent of Americans think free trade is good, up from 57 in 2017, 55 in 2016, and 51 in 2015. Meanwhile, the percentage who say free trade is bad has dropped 10 points since 2017.

Monday, August 19, 2019


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.
-- Machiavelli

Susan B. Glasser at The New Yorker:
On March 5th, Trump and Senator Ted Cruz, of Texas, arrived in Wichita for the caucus. Rubio left his closing argument to Pompeo, who told the crowd at the Century II arena, “I’m going to speak to you from the heart about what I believe is the best path forward for America.” An Army veteran who finished first in his class at West Point, Pompeo cited Trump’s boast that if he ordered a soldier to commit a war crime the soldier would “go do it.” As the audience booed, Pompeo warned that Trump—like Barack Obama—would be “an authoritarian President who ignored our Constitution.” American soldiers “don’t swear an allegiance to President Trump or any other President,” Pompeo declared. “They take an oath to defend our Constitution, as Kansans, as conservatives, as Republicans, as Americans. Marco Rubio will never demean our soldiers by saying that he will order them to do things that are inconsistent with our Constitution.” Listening backstage, Trump demanded to know the identity of the congressman trashing him. A few minutes later, Pompeo concluded, “It’s time to turn down the lights on the circus.”

Extreme Liberals

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

Samuel Abrams at The Washington Examiner:
To many, those on the extreme left appear to be more politically radical, insular, vocal and politically active than their moderate or even extremely conservative counterparts. It turns out that this is entirely correct.

In addition to a host of new studies and reports showing that liberals live in a digital bubble and have less diverse social media networks than moderates or conservatives, new data from the AEI Survey on Community and Society adds another layer to the story: Extreme liberals are notably more active on social media generally and are far more politically engaged than their moderate and even very conservative counterparts.
The AEI data reveals that social media has helped created an echo chamber around extreme liberals at rates significantly greater than other ideological groups. While 25% of very liberal respondents stated that social media made them “a lot” more involved with like-minded others, just 13% of moderates and very conservative identifiers believed that the internet increased their connections to similar people to that degree.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Economic Clouds

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.

Trump has a somewhat conspiratorial view, telling some confidants that he distrusts statistics he sees reported in the news media and that he suspects many economists and other forecasters are presenting biased data to thwart his reelection, according to one Republican close to the administration who was briefed on some of the conversations.
“He’s rattled,” this Republican said. “He thinks that all the people that do this economic forecasting are a bunch of establishment weenies — elites who don’t know anything about the real economy and they’re against Trump.”
Trump has relentlessly bludgeoned Fed Chair Jerome H. Powell over interest rates and has told aides and allies that he would be a scapegoat if the economy goes south.
 Catherine Rampell at WP:
Trump’s economic brain trust consists of a guy who plays an economist on TV, a crank who has been disowned by the (real) economics profession and the producer of “The Lego Batman Movie.”
Moreover, Mnuchin’s Treasury Department is rife with vacancies. Many senior jobs lack even a nominee. There is likewise no nominee for the Senate-confirmed job of chair of the Council of Economic Advisers. The acting chair is a health expert.
John Harwood at CNBC reports that there is no tail wind from the tax cut:
Instead, benefits from what President Donald Trump called “the biggest reform of all time” to the tax code have dwindled to a faint breeze just 20 months after its enactment. Half of corporate chief financial officers surveyed by Duke University expect the economy to shrink by the second quarter of 2020. Two-thirds expect a recession by the end of next year.
Corporate executives blame the darkening outlook on Trump’s trade war with China. The president blames mismanagement by Jerome Powell, the Federal Reserve chairman he appointed.
But economists who have examined the impact of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act say it isn’t helping much in any of the ways advocates once advertised: overall growth, business investment, or worker pay. The strongest current case for the law’s economic benefits is that it remains too early to see them. 

Saturday, August 17, 2019

Rhetoric and Violence

At ABC, Mike Levine reports on Trump's rhetoric:
"I think my rhetoric brings people together," he said last week, four days after a 21-year-old allegedly posted an anti-immigrant screed online and then allegedly opened fire at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas, killing 22 and injuring dozens of others.

But a nationwide review conducted by ABC News has identified at least 36 criminal cases where Trump was invoked in direct connection with violent acts, threats of violence or allegations of assault.
In nine cases, perpetrators hailed Trump in the midst or immediate aftermath of physically attacking innocent victims. In another 10 cases, perpetrators cheered or defended Trump while taunting or threatening others. And in another 10 cases, Trump and his rhetoric were cited in court to explain a defendant's violent or threatening behavior.
Jeremy W. Peters et al. at NYT:
There is a striking degree of overlap between the words of right-wing media personalities and the language used by the Texas man who confessed to killing 22 people at a Walmart in El Paso this month. In a 2,300-word screed posted on the website 8chan, the killer wrote that he was “simply defending my country from cultural and ethnic replacement brought on by an invasion.”
It remains unclear what, or who, ultimately shaped the views of the white, 21-year-old gunman, or whether he was aware of the media commentary. But his post contains numerous references to “invasion” and cultural “replacement” — ideas that, until recently, were relegated to the fringes of the nationalist right.
An extensive New York Times review of popular right-wing media platforms found hundreds of examples of language, ideas and ideologies that overlapped with the mass killer’s written statement — a shared vocabulary of intolerance that stokes fears centered on immigrants of color. The programs, on television and radio, reach an audience of millions.
Brennan Gilmore at USAT:
I attended the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville equipped with only a cell phone. I happened to be filming counter-protesters as Heyer’s murderer gunned his engine down 4th Street. As the killer and his motive were mischaracterized in the hours after the attack, I feared that others might be in danger and I shared the video to give people an unobstructed eyewitness view: Heyer’s murder was an intentional act, full stop.

But I had no concept at the time of the conspiracy theory network that was about to be ginned up to maximum effect against me and others already traumatized by the events in Charlottesville, including Heather’s own mother. This online community has a terrifying capacity to warp perceptions of an event and mangle it into something unrecognizable, while also inflicting lasting damage on the victims of a heinous act and the bystanders who document it.

Alex Jones and InfoWars comprise perhaps the most powerful conspiracy factory of them all. Pointing to my work with the State Department, they and other online conspiracy theorists militantly propagated a narrative through their online channels that I was a CIA operative. They said I was part of a plot to orchestrate the Charlottesville events, and convinced untold numbers of people.
As a result, my family and I were doxed and I was incessantly harassed online and even in person, in what has become a sadly predictable pattern for online targets.
Every day since, I have had to worry if any one of the countless death threats streaming into my inboxes would materialize into actual violence. These worries are not frivolous. In May of this year, the FBI identified fringe conspiracy theories as a domestic terrorist threat for the first time, in recognition that these dangers do not remain online.

Friday, August 16, 2019

"Go Back" and "Too Bad"

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.

Joe Davidson at WP:
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) cites words similar to Trump’s in a previously issued document explaining employment harassment based on national origin:

“Ethnic slurs and other verbal or physical conduct because of nationality are illegal if they are severe or pervasive and create an intimidating, hostile or offensive working environment, interfere with work performance, or negatively affect job opportunities. Examples of potentially unlawful conduct include insults, taunting, or ethnic epithets, such as making fun of a person’s foreign accent or comments like, ‘Go back to where you came from,’ whether made by supervisors or by co-workers.”

When Trump tweeted that Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich.), Ilhan Omar (Minn.) and Ayanna Pressley (Mass.) should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came,” he used the kind of racially offensive language that has led to hefty fines, as EEOC employment discrimination cases have shown.

The congresswomen can’t complain to the EEOC because Trump isn’t their boss — he has no authority over the legislative branch and the congresswomen, though he sets the tone for the government and appoints the head of the EEOC.
Private sector employees have successfully taken action against those who make or tolerate similar comments. A Federal Insider review of EEOC documents shows the agency has won lawsuit settlements on behalf of employees in at least a dozen cases over the past decade, in part because a supervisor or colleague said “go back” to an employee in a bigoted context.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Consumer Debt and Economic Risk

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.

Anna Maria Andriotis, Ken Brown and Shane Shifflett at WSJ:
Cars, college, houses and medical care have become steadily more costly, but incomes have been largely stagnant for two decades, despite a recent uptick. Filling the gap between earning and spending is an explosion of finance into nearly every corner of the consumer economy.

Consumer debt, not counting mortgages, has climbed to $4 trillion—higher than it has ever been even after adjusting for inflation. Mortgage debt slid after the financial crisis a decade ago but is rebounding.
Student debt totaled about $1.5 trillion last year, exceeding all other forms of consumer debt except mortgages.
Auto debt is up nearly 40% adjusting for inflation in the last decade to $1.3 trillion. And the average loan for new cars is up an inflation-adjusted 11% in a decade, to $32,187, according to an analysis of data from credit-reporting firm Experian.
Unsecured personal loans are back in vogue, the result of competition between technology-savvy lenders and big banks for borrowers and loan volume.
But the debt pile is also an accumulated ledger of economic risk. It should be manageable so long as unemployment remains low. If job losses begin to rise, it would become unsustainable for some share of borrowers, raising chances of an increase in missed payments and lenders writing off unpaid balances. The Fed lowered interest rates on Wednesday because it sees rising risks of a slowdown that could boost unemployment.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

By 2-1 Margin, Americans Oppose Reparations

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.

Several Democratic candidates support reparations for slavery -- which are very unpopular.

In June, the U.S. House of Representatives' Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties held a hearing on reparations to African Americans for the first time in more than in a decade. While reparations could take many forms, the most straightforward would be cash payments by the government to descendants of American slaves. Most Americans (67%) say the government should not make such payments, but 29% say it should, including the solid majority of black Americans (73%).

Monday, August 12, 2019

Nineteen Percent Follow Trump on Twitter

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

From Pew:
A new Pew Research Center analysis estimates that around one-in-five adult Twitter users in the U.S. (19%) follow Trump’s personal account on the platform, @realDonaldTrump. Trump’s immediate predecessor, Barack Obama (@BarackObama), is followed by 26% of U.S. adult Twitter users. Bill Clinton is the only other former president with a public Twitter account, followed by 6% of adult users. (George W. Bush has a private account and former president Jimmy Carter does not have a personal Twitter account.)
The analysis goes beyond simply counting each president’s number of followers, which can include institutional or automated accounts, people in other countries and people younger than 18. Instead, it is based on a nationally representative sample of 2,388 U.S. adults who use Twitter and gave the Center permission to review their personal accounts, including who they follow. Researchers identified any accounts each respondent followed between December 2018 and July 2019.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Trump, Corker, and Conservatism

In Defying the Odds, we explain that Trump and his allies have renounced the conservatism of Ronald Reagan. The update  -- recently published --includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms.

In American Carnage (p. 511), Tim Alberta quotes Bob Corker on the four things he believes:
I believe that America is a force for good in the world, that the post-World War II institutions have been mostly beneficial to the United States and its citizens...
I believe that free trade has been an outstanding thing for the American people and for our country and for our GDP...
I believe the fiscal issues matter....
And lastly I believe that the domestic institutions that are fundamental to our democracy are important.
Corker emphasizes that Trump believes none of these tenets of pre-Trump mainstream conservatism.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Trump and the Massacres

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

Then came massacres in El Paso and Dayton.  The El Paso shooter meant to kill Mexicans, and left a manifesto echoing Trump's rhetoric.

Jake Tapper at CNN:
White House officials rebuffed efforts by their colleagues at the Department of Homeland Security for more than a year to make combating domestic terror threats, such as those from white supremacists, a greater priority as specifically spelled out in the National Counterterrorism Strategy, current and former senior administration officials as well as other sources close to the Trump administration tell CNN. "Homeland Security officials battled the White House for more than a year to get them to focus more on domestic terrorism," one senior source close to the Trump administration tells CNN.

"The White House wanted to focus only on the jihadist threat which, while serious, ignored the reality that racial supremacist violence was rising fast here at home. They had major ideological blinders on."

A USA TODAY analysis of the 64 rallies Trump has held since 2017 found that, when discussing immigration, the president has said “invasion” at least 19 times. He has used the word “animal” 34 times and the word “killer” nearly three dozen times.

The exclusive USA TODAY analysis showed that together, Trump has used the words "predator," "invasion," "alien," "killer," "criminal" and "animal" at his rallies while discussing immigration more than 500 times. More than half of those utterances came in the two months prior to the 2018 midterm election, underscoring that Trump views immigration as a central issue for his core supporters.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Health Insurance and Underinsurance

In Defying the Odds, we discuss the health care issue in the 2016 campaign.  the update  -- recently published --includes a chapter on the 2018 midterms.

Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar at AP:
Government surveys show that about 90% of the population has coverage , largely preserving gains from President Barack Obama’s years. Independent experts estimate that more than one-half of the roughly 30 million uninsured people in the country are eligible for health insurance through existing programs.

Lack of coverage was a growing problem in 2010 when Democrats under Obama passed his health law. Now the bigger issue seems to be that many people with insurance are struggling to pay their deductibles and copays.
“We need to have a debate about coverage and cost, and we have seen less focus on cost than we have on coverage,” said Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet. He is among the Democratic presidential candidates who favor building on the current system, not replacing it entirely, as does Sanders. “The cost issue is a huge issue for the country and for families,” Bennet said.
A report this year by the Commonwealth Fund think tank in New York found fewer uninsured Americans than in 2010 but more who are “underinsured,” a term that describes policyholders exposed to high out-of-pocket costs, when compared with their individual incomes. The report estimated 44 million Americans were underinsured in 2018, compared with 29 million in 2010 when the law was passed. That’s about a 50% increase, with the greatest jump among people with employer coverage.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Trump Mistakes

"United Kingston" Image result for "united kingston" "Prince of Whales"
Image result for prince of whales
"Pour over"