Corey Stewart likes to pal around with people like Paul Nehlen and Jason Kessler. Nehlen is an anti-Semite who jokes on Twitter about killing political opponents. Kessler organized the Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville last August. A rally attendee and Kessler supporter killed Heather Heyerwith his car. Two Virginia State Troopers, Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen, 48, of Midlothian, Virginia, and Trooper-Pilot Berke M. M. Bates, 40, of Quinton, Virginia, died when their observation helicopter crashed on their way to assist authorities on the ground. Kessler plans a sequel, by the way. Wonder if Stewart will attend. Continue reading →
I spent Primary Day roaming the First District putting out signs and helping volunteers where we had them at the polls talking to voters. Took some photos of John Suddarthvoting. Started off at a polling place in Caroline County where I greeted a handful of voters and spent 30 minutes talking to Steven Brodie Tuckerabout the state of the Republican Party, whether Nick Freitasor Corey Stewartcan win Tim Kaine’sSenate seat this fall, and single payer health care. Interestingly, he seemed open to the idea once I explained that John’s proposal would actually free up markets in health care by removing for-profit health insurance companies from the mix. Continue reading →
@realDonaldTrump is a terrible leader and manager of staff. He had no idea which staff member had sent the memo telling surrogates not to discuss the Trump University lawsuit. Then he threw her under the bus, telling people on the call to “throw it out,” and asking if there were “any other stupid letters.” “…you guys are getting sometimes stupid information from people that aren’t all that smart,” he told supporters (including Jan Brewer and Scott Brown) on the call. He seems to forget that he’s the incompetent executive who hired “people who aren’t all that smart” in the first place.
@realDonaldTrump hasn’t the foggiest idea what it takes to run a Presidential campaign or to assemble a winning political coalition. He has no idea how to build and run the organizations and teams necessary to win the Oval Office. If someone constructed it for him he would jerk it out of their hands like a toy he covets and start throwing it at the ground just to watch pieces fly off. He doesn’t understand who does what (communications, organizers, fundraisers) or how these people achieve success (data analysis, volunteer recruiting, media plans). He apparently doesn’t realize that political campaigns are highly specialized endeavors with a handful of professional experts who know how it’s done. He has no use for either a sound strategic plan or expert guidance for the detailed tactical work needed to identify and motivate supporters.
@realDonaldTrump doesn’t understand that bullying your way through the storm after saying something offensive won’t help him expand his universe of potential supporters. He can’t seem to help categorizing and referring to people as members of groups (Muslim, “the blacks,” “the Hispanics,” Mexican). People hear this as a claim that tribal membership is the most important quality people have – it drives their behavior. This is, of course, the very definition of racism – and I believe his willingness to say some of these things out loud has driven his popularity among many Republican primary voters. At this point, however, it’s begun to offend his now wider audience. Rather than back off this rhetoric, he’s asking surrogates to emphasize it. This, by the way, puts people like Jan Brewer and Scott Brown in a tough position – they want to elect a Republican President, but probably don’t want to earn reputations as racists in the process.
#TrumpWillNeverBePresident. He’s a terrible leader and can’t manage subordinates except through fear. He calls junior staff “stupid” in front of other senior people. He hasn’t the smallest clue what it takes to put together the national political coalition needed to win the US Presidency and apparently believes he can win simply by saying silly things on television so people pay attention to him. And when he says silly things on television and the people around him advise reticence, he lacks the temperament to realize he’s in over his head.
Yves Smith (aka Susan Webber), a management consultant and principal at Aurora Advisors, writes at Politico that the “highly educated, high-income, finance-literate readers of my website, Naked Capitalism, don’t just overwhelmingly favor Bernie Sanders. They also say “Hell no!” to Hillary Clinton to the degree that many say they would even vote for Donald Trump over her.”
They (9 out of 10 Smith friends polled) developed their “conclusions” from “careful study of her record and her policy proposals,” and believe the Clintons represent a policy status quo of “crushing inequality, and an economy that is literally killing off the less fortunate.” And they think “the most powerful move they can take to foster change is to withhold their support.” Continue reading →
This argument by Kevin Zeese and Patrick Walker at Salon goes in the category of wishful thinking if you ask me. The core point they make is that by running for President on the Green Party ticket (Jill Stein has apparently agreed to this) Bernie Sanders would keep Donald Trump from expanding his coalition of voters at Hillary Clinton’s expense. This is because voters see both Trump and Sanders as outsiders, with Sanders the “real” one. They also worry that Trump could move to Clinton’s left on Wall Street and trade, “corporate trade agreements,” and militarism. Finally, Zeese and Walker argue that independents will be the key to this race, and that third party campaign risks to Democratic candidates are overblown. Well, let’s see. Continue reading →
Writing at Salon, Anis Shivani predicted last week that Donald Trump’s campaign “will surely be victorious in the end,” because he appeals “to an elemental fear in the country, torn apart by the abstraction of the market, to which Clinton has not the faintest hope of responding.” Trump, you see, “’builds’ things, literal buildings.” People can actually visualize these buildings and the cities they were built in. This contrasts with Clinton, according to Shivani, since her work with the Clinton Foundation and the State Department “represents…disembodiedness.” “In this election,” claims Shivani, “abstraction will clearly lose and corporeality…will undoubtedly win.”
Another Salon writer, Musa al-Gharbi, doesn’t actually predict a Trump win, but he does seem to think the Donald has a path to victory. He lays out three key reasons to think this: because Trump has more “opportunity to radically change public perception for the better” since voters don’t yet know Trump “as a politician,” because this election will turn on what voters think about both Obama and Bill Clinton, and because of something he calls “negative intersectionality.” Al-Gharbi doesn’t define this very clearly, but he seems to be saying something about political correctness: that Trump’s bigotry and misogyny, “heard in the context of a fundamentally anti-white, anti-Christian culture war,” could actually make some voters see him more sympathetically.
These aren’t the only two writers working to outline a Trump path to the Oval Office. These arguments mostly focus on three claims: both candidates have poor favorability ratings, Hillary Clinton is a bad candidate, and minority voters could shift to Trump. I challenge them below the fold. Continue reading →
It appears that guns and gun control could become a hot issue in next year’s state level elections here in Virginia. Attorney General Mark Herring started the hue and cry when he ended concealed carry permit reciprocity with 25 states on the grounds that they don’t meet Virginia standards. Gun rights activists objected one the grounds that it would hurt tourism and that no one can point out a case where someone from a state with lower standards had committed a crime in Virginia. One blogger called it “slavery.” They complained that Herring just wanted to go around the General Assembly to achieve a liberal result using an executive action.
There’s a genuine ideological foundation for the ethos that makes Trump and Cruz so popular. I call it white evangelical nihilism.
When you’re told by your pastor that all the people outside of your ideological tribe are utterly wicked and deserving of eternal torture, that’s how it becomes a sin to compromise with your opponents politically and work together for the common good.
Everything about secular liberalism must be utterly antithetical to the Christian gospel and profoundly offensive to God. It has to be, or else secular liberals wouldn’t be worthy of damnation. So everything about liberalism is put into binary opposition with “God’s truth.” To believe in climate change is to believe that God is not in control of the environment. To believe that the government should provide for the poor is an emulation of atheist communism and a usurpation of God’s sovereignty. To promote “political correctness” is to silence the courageous proclamation of “Biblical truth.”
This tracks with a point I make when discussing today’s polarized American political climate. Conservatives run on a set of existential issues on which there can be no compromise: abortion, homosexuality, taxes, and guns. Two of these have their basis in religion and two in racism, but all four depend on the fundamental premise that only wicked, lazy or authoritarian people disagree with the right wing on these issues. This is the fundamental American political problem we need to resolve.
Guyton goes on to reframe salvation. Rather than a search for God’s help in saving individual sinners from themselves, he argues we should seek His help in saving other people from our sin:
Philippians 2:3 says, “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility regard others as better than yourselves.” Imagine if Christians, and especially Christian politicians, were known as the people who regard everyone else as “better than [them]selves.”
Chris Matthews hit Bernie Sanders pretty hard the other night on Hardballfor his new Goldman Sachs ad, which points out that the firm recently paid fines for banking law violations that helped damage the economy in 2008. The ad goes on to remind Americans that none of the people responsible faced criminal prosecution – though actual humans acted to break the law. These individual Wall Street bankers, the ad notes, get away with this because they contribute to political campaigns and pay huge speaking fees to politicians. The ad does not mention Hillary Clinton at all – but because Clinton has a relationship with Goldman Sachs that includes both campaign contributions and speaking fees, Matthews characterized this as a slam on the Secretary.
Sanders has a reputation as a clean campaigner and has said several times that he won’t go negative in his race against Hillary Clinton. After showing several clips of Sanders saying he’s never used a negative ad and won’t start now Mathews showed the spot and then spent several minutes making a claim that Sanders has changed strategy and “gone negative.” Continue reading →