2016 presidential campaign

The Trump Who Stole Christmas: Win or Lose, Donald Trump Has Ruined Everything

From the vantage point of November 2016, George Orwell’s famous image of the totalitarian future — “a boot stamping on a human face — forever” — bespeaks a certain failure of imagination. It’s not the violence of the image that seems wrong, exactly, as at long last we reach the finish line of the worst presidential campaign of American history. Women and Muslims and undocumented immigrants and African-Americans in urban neighborhoods have reason to fear a level of violence under President Donald Trump that will be more than metaphorical. But Orwell’s formulation is too naked, too unconcealed. It’s too clear. It has a clear subject and object: Someone is wearing that boot, and someone else’s face is being smashed. Nothing about our current dystopia possesses that level of specificity.

Keep reading... Show less

Outrageous False Trump-Clinton Equivalencies Dominate Corporate Media and Are Distorting the Election

As national polls released Tuesday show a tightening or virtually tied presidential race, voters are being deluged with new revelations about Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump that are far from equivalent measures of their characters and fitness for office.

On the Democratic side, the solo and apparently illegal decision by FBI Director James Comey to alert Congress that the agency wants to examine newly discovered emails from the ex-secretary of state has become a gut-punch to a campaign that was rising in the polls. There is no recent precedent for Comey’s action, which violates FBI rules of not commenting on investigations and interfering in elections. Yet Comey’s letter to Congress last Friday has cut into voter enthusiasm for Clinton, polls released Tuesday found, even though it is long on innuendo and short on substance.

On the Republican side, in contrast, a string of new evidence-based revelations about Trump this week reinforce a lifelong pattern of self-centered and deviant behavior that questions his fitness for any public office. There’s his refusal to pay a top campaign consultant nearly three-quarters of a million dollars owed, just as Trump didn’t pay hundreds of contractors when building his casinos. There’s Trump using now-banned tax-avoidance tactics to evade tens of millions of dollars in federal taxes, basically claiming his investors’ losses—other people’s money—as his own. There is Trump destroying emails and other legal records over decades of litigation, even as he hits Clinton for erasing personal emails. And most insidiously, there is a series of reports saying he has longstanding links to Russia’s government, which is seen as overtly and covertly helping Trump’s presidential campaign.

The biggest double standard is that the FBI has been investigating links between Trump and Russia—apparently going beyond this year’s hack into Democratic Party and Clinton campaign emails. Yet astoundingly, Comey has said he did not want to tell Congress about that probe on the eve of an election, even though it raises serious national security questions; namely, what are Trump’s loyalties and debts to his Russian backers?

Let’s go through these false equivalencies and loose ends.      

1. The 'Comey Effect' tightens race, cuts enthusiasm for Clinton. The bombshell about the investigation broke last Friday, just before the latest Washington Post/ABC News tracking poll was conducted. That poll, whose results were released Tuesday, found Trump with a one-point lead (46 to 45 percent), which is a statistical tie. More insidious was its finding that Clinton’s base suffered a 10-point drop in supporters who are “very enthusiastic.” While no single poll can be seen as definitive—especially when 25 million people have already voted nationally—the unambiguous takeaway is that Comey’s disclosure has impacted the race and hurt a presidential frontrunner’s campaign.

It’s important to note that just because the FBI is examining emails from Clinton found on former congressman Anthony Weiner’s laptop, there is no indication the agency will announce anything before Election Day. It’s very likely the FBI has already seen most of these emails, as it has examined the computers of Weiner’s estranged wife, Huma Abedin, who is a top Clinton aide. Should the FBI find previously unseen emails, there’s no indication that any would contain classified material and not personal banter. Nonetheless, this new investigation is letting Republicans talk about something other than Trump, which is helping them.

Keep reading... Show less

Donald Trump, Domestic Terrorist: The Man Who Tried to Kill Democracy - And Why We Had It Coming

A domestic terrorist is trying to destroy America. You can’t say we didn’t have it coming. Our arrogance and grandiosity and paranoia, and even our visionary sense of our own greatness, have brought us right to the precipice. Can America be saved from this orange-hued assassin, and from the nihilistic movement he represents, which is far more dangerous than the specter of “radical Islamic terrorism”? I don’t know — the poison has spread more widely, and altered our perception of reality more profoundly, than most of us are willing to recognize.

Keep reading... Show less

Don’t Despair At this Painful and Terrible Election - Millennials Actually Offer Hope for the Future

I’m inspired by this election cycle, and it has nothing to do with any of the remaining candidates. I was feeling the Bern until it burned out. Hillary’s good with black talking points, but not good with black people. Donald Trump is incapable of inspiring anybody with an IQ that stretches past 10. I know about as much about Gary Johnson as he knows about Aleppo or foreign policy in general, and Dr. Jill Stein is barely polling at 1 percent. But still, there is hope — a beaming light of hope at the end of the tunnel, a light that is controlled, managed and directed by our young people.

Keep reading... Show less

Donald Trump As a 'Gaslighter': What We Must Learn from His Manipulative Non-Apology

The moment Donald Trump’s 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape came out, the smart money knew it was all over. Whatever Trump’s response would be, with a month to go before the election there were bound to be more revelations, and things would only get worse. The burst of revelations over the past week was surprising only in its timing.

Keep reading... Show less

Children’s Crusade: Trump’s 'Movement' Is a Bunch of Whiny, Frightened Infants Who Can’t Handle Democracy

For all their carping about political correctness, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s coalition of disaffected and delusional voters have demonstrated themselves to be the most terrified and fragile people on the planet. The frailty of the white ego, the inbred terror of the conservative and the nostalgia of the right-wing baby boomer have invaded and nearly conquered American politics.

Keep reading... Show less

The Alpha Dog that Wouldn’t Hunt: How Trump’s Ludicrous 'Alpha Male' Act Is Destroying Him

When Salon’s Brendan Gauthier recently wrote about the alt-right’s reaction to Donald Trump’s humiliating performance in the first presidential debate, he included the following quote from a 4chan user defending the Republican nominee’s alleged stiffing of contractors:

Keep reading... Show less

Behold the GOP’s Not-So-Secret Plan to Dismantle Government Services: Defund, Degrade and then Privatize

One side effect of the three-ring circus this presidential campaign has become is the distraction it provides so that other damaging agendas can be advanced with little or no attention. Take for example, the Republican Party’s long-standing efforts to dismantle America’s internationally modest, but still crucially important welfare state, which helps keep tens of millions of Americans out of poverty. Social Security and Medicare have both been top targets via various schemes over the years, and this budget cycle is no exception, regardless of what noises Donald Trump may make.

Keep reading... Show less

Real Washington Corruption? Not Hillary's Latest Emails, but Bush-Cheney Ties to Iraq's Wartime Profiteers

The latest flurry of right-wing consternation over Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while Secretary of State has crossed over into the ludicrous.

Perhaps it’s inevitable that in a year dominated by Donald Trump’s excess the Wall Street Journal’s editorial team and others would parse through the latest batch of emails obtained through federal Freedom of Information requests by longtime Clinton foes at Judicial Watch and fabricate outrage over her State Department staff’s deliberations over granting access to businessmen, pop stars and foreign leaders who previously donated to the Clinton Foundation.

Beyond the fact that in most cases Clinton's State Department staff said no—frustrating fundraisers at a foundation whose primary work was global humanitarian missions—there’s a bigger point to be made other than calling out these fake moralists when it comes to protesting the oldest game in Washington: working the channels of political access. (This week, the AP also reported that 85 of 154 foundation donors from outside government also met with Secretary Clinton, which her campaign said painted a false picture of innuendo when some of those cited included Nobel laureates and philanthropists and were a fraction of the 1,700 meetings she had.)  

Keep reading... Show less

Trading Places: If the Democrats Are Now a Coastal Elite Party and the GOP Are the Populists, Trump Is Only the Beginning

Are the two major political parties in America trading places, in demographic terms? Are Republicans becoming a populist party of the downtrodden and disenfranchised, while Democrats become the political home of the up-market urban elites? That may seem like too big a leap amid the intense divisions of 2016, when the Donald Trump distortion effect has so thoroughly warped the political landscape. But such a phase-shift has happened before, and there’s considerable evidence that it’s happening again.

Keep reading... Show less

50 Shockingly Extreme Right-Wing Proposals in the 2016 Republican Party Platform

The Republican Party platform is a wish list for what Republicans in Congress and Donald Trump would like to impose on America. What’s surprising is that it goes further to the right than what’s even been heard on the campaign trail from Trump as he has promised to build a wall along the Mexican border and embrace the religious right’s long-held tenets opposing abortion, LGBT rights and more.

Keep reading... Show less