Tag: Donald Trump

Cruz Gives In

I’ve been in proposal land all week, but I thought I’d put up a quick thought. Ted Cruz just endorsed Donald Trump. So … what was that convention imbroglio in aide of? What exactly did he accomplish with his “vote your conscience” speech?

Kasich at least didn’t go to the convention. Neither did the Bushes. While they oppose Trump, they at least realized that you don’t go to the convention to make it about you. If Cruz has stuck with his conscience and voted for Johnson or McMullin or something, I might see that. But by endorsing Trump at this stage he’s revealed his convention stunt as just that: a stunt, designed to make him look good at the expense of his party. And that was not the first time or the second or the tenth time he has tried to make himself look good at the expense of the party.

It make you realize why many in the GOP who didn’t want Trump as the nominee didn’t want Cruz either.

Late Night Fight

Last week, Jimmy Fallon had Donald Trump on his show. As is his wont, he didn’t press Trump on any real issues, but mostly joked around and chatted.

Apparently, this is no longer acceptable:

On Monday’s Full Frontal, Bee called out her fellow late-night host Fallon for his widely-panned softball interview with Donald Trump.

“Why do so many Americans think playing footsie with fringe hate groups isn’t a disqualifier from polite society, much less the presidency?” Bee asked. “Maybe because that’s the message they get from entertainment giants like NBC,” she said, referencing how they fostered Trump’s image through The Celebrity Apprentice.

She said the network “tacitly condoned a race-baiting demagogue” even after they claimed to “sever ties” with him following his presidential campaign announcement. “If by severing ties, you mean inviting him on their flagship comedy programs to show millions of Americans what a fun guy he is.

Why did Trump host Saturday Night Live last fall? “I guess because ratings matter more than brown people,” Bee said. “Sure, he’s making life palpably dangerous for Muslims and immigrants, but hey, he’s good entertainment! Here’s a thought: when Holocaust survivors are telling you this guy gives me déjà vu, maybe don’t invite him up into your house to play with your adorable children.”

I guess “ratings matter more than brown people” might resonate with Bee, whose show is typically pulling in a bit under 700,000 viewers a night, placing her almost dead last in the late night derby. She’s drawing a fraction of the audience Fallon is and an even smaller fraction of the audience John Oliver is drawing on a pay cable channel. But sure, Sam. I’m sure the problem is how much you value brown people. We just don’t get you.

The thing is, this taps into something very important. Part of the appeal of Trump is precisely that he drives liberals crazy. In the Second Age of Political Correctness, there is a tendency for people, even young people, to stampede toward something different. Ross Douthat:

But the Democratic Party’s problem in the age of Trump isn’t really Jimmy Fallon. Its problem is Samantha Bee.

Not Bee alone, of course, but the entire phenomenon that she embodies: the rapid colonization of new cultural territory by an ascendant social liberalism.

The culture industry has always tilted leftward, but the swing toward social liberalism among younger Americans and the simultaneous surge of activist energy on the left have created a new dynamic, in which areas once considered relatively apolitical now have (or are being pushed to have) an overtly left-wing party line.

In late-night television, it was once understood that David Letterman was beloved by coastal liberals and Jay Leno more of a Middle American taste. But neither man was prone to delivering hectoring monologues in the style of the “Daily Show” alums who now dominate late night. Fallon’s apolitical shtick increasingly makes him an outlier among his peers, many of whom are less comics than propagandists — liberal “explanatory journalists” with laugh lines.

As Douthat goes on to point out, it’s not just late night television. Everything has becomes politicized. Awards shows, sporting events, movies, you name it. If you’re culturally conservative or just not down with latest in political correctness, you can’t turn on the TV or bring up a web page without some smarmy Lefty telling you, in condescending tones, how stupid and backward you are. Hell, I’m socially liberal and it annoys the hell out me.

(It must be said, Bee is actually one of the worst at this. I liked her on the Daily Show but her new show is unwatchable. I’m used to liberal late night hosts but Bee combines the idiocy of Bill Maher and the charm of Hillary Clinton. She says the kind of things that make smug liberals cheer — hence the frequent links from Vox — but make everyone else change the channel.)

Returning to Douthat, he argues that the monolithic cultural landscape has given the Democrats the illusion that they’ve triumphed and caused them to surge hard left. And at the same time, it has made conservatives feel like they are under siege. And we’re seeing a response culminating in the rise of Donald Trump. And that in turn is making the Lefties hysterical. Hillary Clinton is still favored to win the election, but, to listen to Democrats, you would think the apocalypse is upon us because the race has gotten very tight.

Note where Clinton is hemorrhaging support — young people. They are stampeding not just to Donald Trump but also to Gary Johnson. Why? Well, on Twitter, Robby Soave linked to his article that details how much young people dislike the current push toward political correctness and smarmy liberal self-worship. With the Left now establishing a cultural hegemony in entertainment and academia, being liberal isn’t an act of rebellion; it’s an act of conformity.

I despise this notion that everything in our society has to have a political context. This is an idea that originated with the Marxists. It was disgusting when it slithered into public consciousness and it’s disgusting now. As I’ve said over and over again, Donald Trump is not Hitler. He’s a venal, lying dumpster fire who has no business near the White House. But he is not so evil that everything in our culture must be requisitioned to oppose him. Jimmy Fallon (and SNL) decided to keep the politics out of their entertainment. I think our culture would be a darn sight better off if more people followed their example. And to judge by how thoroughly Fallon is stomping Bee in the ratings, most people agree.

Election 2016: II. The Case Against Donald Trump

This is the second part of a five-part series I will do this week making the case for and against each of the major candidates, with a wrap-up on Friday. I did this in 2012 and I will observe the same ground rule I did then: making the case for a candidate means making the case for a candidate, not a case against the opponent. That’s the subject of later posts. So “he’s not Hillary” is not a reason I will list for voting for Trump and “she’s not Trump” is not a reason I will list for voting for Clinton. Each one of them will get their own special post all to themselves about they don’t deserve our votes.

Today I’ll make the case against voting for Donald Trump. A lot of this I’ve said before, but I’ll now put it all in one place. It’s going to be long and I expect any Trump supporters will be angry. Don’t worry: my anti-Clinton post will go up on Thursday.

There has never been a Presidential candidate as controversial as Donald Trump. Half the country is insisting that he’s the next Hitler while half the country is insisting he’s our only hope to prevent the collapse of our country. Trump himself has played to this dynamic, with numerous speeches depicting the country as a ruined wasteland and himself as the only salvation.

Needless to say, I think both view are overblown. Trump isn’t Hitler. But he’s also not the only thing standing between us and the abyss. So what is he?

I think he is a deeply deeply flawed candidate who has no business near the White House. Why?

Donald Trump is a big-government populist who would wreck what’s left of conservatism. As I said in the previous post, it is hard to pin down Donald Trump on a specific policy position. However, the overwhelming theme is one of greater government power: the creation of a massive deportation force, opening up libel laws so that it’s easier to shut up his critics with baseless lawsuits, opposing entitlement reform, supporting eminent domain (which Trump has used and described as a beautiful thing), the end of free trade, forcing companies to “bring jobs back” to the US, encouraging police to engage in more brutal policing methods, reinstating torture (a war crime), murdering families of suspected terrorists (also a war crime), seizing oil (also a war crime). The ACLU has put out a 27 page PDF file, detailing all the Trump positions that violate the Constitution. Some of those, I disagree with them on. But the list is overwhelming.

Over and over again, Trump advocates more government power, more Constitutional violations, less human freedom. Here’s a question for the Trump supporters: when has Donald Trump ever spoke movingly of freedom? When has he spoken of freedom at all? Has he ever said anything about civil liberties or property rights? He has ever once said that the government can’t or shouldn’t do something because of the Constitution? If so, has he said these things with a thousandth of the passion with which he advocate for more government power?

This is even worse if you look at Trump’s past positions: in favor of a massive wealth grab, in favor of gun control, in favor of high taxes, in favor of mandating paid family leave. How is this conservatism? How is this anything that we have been fighting for for the last four decades?

Yeah, he’ll have a Republican Congress to balance him. But that didn’t work so well with Bush, who at least had a modicum of respect for basic freedom and Constitutional process. And Donald Trump will not be powerless to do things on his own. He is surrounding himself with people who believe in hard executive power. He has advocated for more executive power.

And it’s even worse than just his big-government agenda. Trump has now elevated the so-called “alt right” to a position of respectability, retweeting alt-right dreck, filling his campaign staff with alt-right dreck and making naked appeals to alt-right dreck. Is this the GOP we want? Big government, populist and friendly to bigots? Anti-trade, anti-free-market, pro-torture?

He has alarming authoritarian tendencies. Trump is constantly beating drum of a Cult of Personality, portraying himself not as an executive to lead, but as some sort of savior. There have been numerous incidents of his supporters engaging in violence and Trump either doesn’t care or even encourages it. He is an enemy of transparency, refusing to release his tax returns under the flimsy excuse that he’s being audited. He kicks out media who have the temerity to question him. He has been known to carry out decades-long vendettas against journalists and has used ruinous garbage lawsuits to try to silence his critics.

For the last eight years, we’ve heard a non-stop shower of shit about how Obama is betraying our allies and coddling up to dictators. How is Trump any different? He’s dumped on our allies, threatened to abandon our alliances and praised Vladimir Putin as a strong leader.

(The latter comment is particularly revealing because Putin is not a good leader. Over the last few years, the Russian economy has collapsed. Putin has found himself diplomatically isolated and stuck in an insurgency in the Ukraine that he can’t really win. So by what standard is he a great leader? Because he blusters, because he murders the opposition and because he appears strong even when he’s weak? I’m sorry. A man standing boldly over the wreckage of his country is not my vision of a good leader.)

Can you imagine what we’d be saying if Hillary Clinton had endorsements from Kim Jong-Un, Vladimir Putin, the KKK, Omar Mateen, Don Black and the Chinese Communist Party? Can you imagine what we’d be saying if Clinton repeatedly retweeted images from neo-Nazis and White supremacists? Can you imagine what we’d say if Hillary Clinton praised Saddam Hussein for “killing terrorists”? (Reality: Hussein funded terrorists, paying blood money to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers). Can you imagine if she said the crackdown on Tiananmen Square “showed strength”?

These are not the words of a President who will exercise Constitutional restraint. These are the words of a srongman wannnabe. Maybe some people think we need a strongman. I don’t.

His diplomatic skill is non-existent. Foreign policy is the one domain where the President has the most authority to act. As I noted above, Trump has bashed our allies and questioned our alliances. He has praised dictators and called for nuclear proliferation. What are our allies going to think about this? Why should they strengthen our alliances when Trump has indicated he’ll abandon them? Why should they engage in free trade when Trump is spewing protectionism? When has he ever shown an ability to work with other countries?

Look at Trump’s recent visit to Mexico. People are calling it a triumph because Trump didn’t actually catch on fire. But he lied about what he talked to the Mexican President about. His claims were instantly contradicted. If this happened to Obama, the Right Wing would scream themselves blue about how the world didn’t respect us anymore.

He’s a fraud and a liar. There is way too much to go into here. But basically Trump’s history makes Hillary Clinton’s look honest by comparison.

Let’s just take one example: we’ve heard a lot about the Clinton Foundation (which has a top rating from major charity graders). But have you heard of the Trump Foundation? This is a charity that follows the Clinton model — raising money from groups and then giving it to deserving causes (Trump himself, for all his boasting, has not contributed to it in 8 years). But wrapped up in that are gifts Trump has given himself (including a $20,000 self-portrait). Wrapped up in that are illegal donations to politicians who, mysteriously, subsequently dropped investigations into Trump University. Wrapped up in that are numerous violations of tax law. Wrapped up in that are donations to charities that allowed them to … rent rooms in Trump properties. The Clinton Foundation may have been used to exchange access to Clinton for donations. The Trump Foundation has been used mostly for buttering Trump’s ego.

Trump University. Trump steaks. Trump water. Multiple bankruptcies. Vendors unpaid. Casinos run into bankruptcy while being used as cash machines. Over and over again, we see how this man is a blustering fool whose only real skill is self-promotion.

Is there any reason, any reason at all to expect this will change once he’s in the White House? Then you’re probably the kind of person who believes your drunken husband will sober up once the children are born. In the White House, Trump will have more power and influence than he’s ever had. This will be like taking a raging alcoholic and putting him in charge of a liquor factory.

He shows no understanding of even basic policy. Trump said that he would “renegotiate our debt” like a corporate bond. This would set off a world-wide financial panic. Trump has show that he doesn’t understand our nuclear policy, which makes nuclear war more likely. He’s promised to support parts of the Constitution that don’t exist and advocated policies that are flagrantly unConstitutional. More to the point, after being the Republican frontrunner for 15 months, he’s shown no interest in learning any better. I can understand someone outside of government not understanding the ins and out of the bond market. But it’s unforgivable in someone who is nine weeks away from the election.

I know that’s a lot. But this post could easily have been three times as long. You’ll notice I haven’t talked much about Trump’s personality. Instead, I’ve been talking about his positions (or lack thereof), his approach to issues, his past actions, his future promises. Trump defenders have frequently admitted he’s a jerk, but said he would still be better than Clinton. I’m not convinced. Trump is the most singularly unqualified person I have ever seen run for President. I have been against Trump all year. And I remain #NeverTrump. Not now, not ever.

I don’t care if he’s the only thing standing between us and President Hillary. As I’ll post on Thursday, Clinton is a terrible Presidential candidate whose ideas are pure left wing whackadoodle. But in every way that Clinton is bad candidate, Trump is worse. She’s dishonest; Trump is a flagrant lair. She’s vindictive; Trump has nursed decades-long vendettas. She’s for big government; he’s for bigger government. She is an enemy of civil liberties; he is a bigger one. She’s corrupt; Trump is even more corrupt.

As I said yesterday, the reasons to vote for Trump are the Supreme Court and the hope that he’ll just be a rubber stamp for a Republican Congress. This does not, in my opinion outweigh the massive negatives. Maybe he’ll do those things. But he could also wreck the economy, crush civil liberties and get us into a war. I don’t think it’s worth the risk. I think it’s way more likely that he’ll wreck things than lead us into a new American century. And as someone who, while libertarian, still has a conservative heart, I can not countenance that. I can not roll those dice.

Election 2016: I. The Case for Donald Trump

This is the first part of a five-part series I will do this week making the case for and against each of the major candidates, with a wrap-up on Friday. I did this in 2012 and I will observe the same ground rule I did then: making the case for a candidate means making the case for a candidate, not a case against the opponent. That’s the subject of later posts. So “he’s not Hillary” is not a reason I will list for voting for Trump and “she’s not Trump” is not a reason I will list for voting for Clinton. Each one of them will get their own special post all to themselves about they don’t deserve our votes.

I’ll swallow the bitterest pill first: making the case to vote for Donald Trump.

Making the case for Donald Trump is exceedingly difficult because it’s not really clear what Trump stands for. He was for a wall, but now it may be more a virtual wall. He was going to deport illegals, but now he’s not sure, but maybe he still will. He’s outlined policies on his website but most of them are GOP boilerplate and are often contradicted by things he says in speeches or debates. He says he wants a moratorium on new regulation, which sounds good. But I have no idea if he’ll actually do it.

So the absence of ironclad policy, we’re left with a few things:

Trump may, in the end, just be a rubber stamp for the GOP: There have been a lot rumblings that Trump is not terribly interested in governing. His son reportedly conveyed an offer to Kasich to let the latter become the most powerful Vice-President in American history. His positions and his list of Supreme Court nominees are mostly copied from the Republican mainstream. If that is so, then Trump’s talk about policy is kind of irrelevant. Trump would become mostly a figurehead with Congress having the real power which is a bit closer to what the founders intended. A vote for Trump would be a proxy for President Paul Ryan.

A Trump election might end parts of the Culture War: Trump has evinced little to no interest in the Culture War. He bungled the abortion question because he doesn’t care. He’s been fairly friendly to gays and his election would probably put the last nail in the coffin of the anti-gay conservative faction (a nail many Republicans would love to see driven). Trump is less moderate on issues of policing, immigration and race. But this would be progress. Of a sort.

The GOP may have earned a second chance to govern: I have been reluctant in the past to give the GOP full control of the government again. The last time, they blew spending out the window, wrecked the economy and bungled a war. As a general rule, I favor divided government and the divide I favor is the one where the GOP controls the purse strings.

But Ryan has laid out a conservative agenda and shown the ability to get it through Congress. It’s been ten years. Maybe they deserve another chance.

The Supreme Court: This, even to the biggest skeptics of Trump, is the main reason to support him. I do this every election, but here is the age of the Supreme Court justices:

Liberal: Ginsberg (83), Breyer (78), Sotomayor (62), Kagan (56)
Moderate: Kennedy (80)
Conservative: Thomas (68), Roberts (61), Alito (66)

With the passing of Scalia, the Court will shift Left if Clinton is elected. She could also replace Ginsberg, Breyer and Kennedy on the Court, cementing a liberal majority for the next twenty years. You can, if you want, find many gleeful articles on liberal websites about what they hope a liberal court could do — overturn Heller, stomp out Citizens United, dash what is left of federalism, produce an unfettered regulatory state.

Now this is a bit of wish-casting by the Left. The Court tends not to overturn precedent so lightly. But some of the most important SCOTUS decisions in recent years have been 5-4. If Clinton is elected, those decisions will not be resolved in our favor.

That’s pretty much it. There are a few other reasons people have touted but none of them cross me as likely or even desirable. For example, Trump isn’t going to “smash the establishment”; he is the establishment. Of the reasons given above, the one that really resonates is SCOTUS. Assuming that Trump goes with conservative justices, the fate of the Court hangs in the balance.

Is that reason enough to vote for him? Stay tuned.

Clinton Faints

So some excitement this weekend:

Hillary Clinton has pneumonia, her doctor said Sunday, hours after the Democratic nominee stumbled and exited a 9/11 commemoration ceremony early.

“Stumbled”. Fainted would be a more apt description.

The incident seems certain to prompt further scrutiny of Clinton’s health and her campaign’s transparency — though Republican rival Donald Trump was uncharacteristically silent throughout a solemn day marking the 15th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

I can only assume this is because Kellyanne Conway seized his phone and locked herself in a vault.

Clinton, 68, was diagnosed on Friday with pneumonia, and “was put on antibiotics, and advised to rest and modify her schedule,” Dr. Lisa Bardack said in a statement.

“While at this morning’s event, she became overheated and dehydrated. I have just examined her and she is now re-hydrated and recovering nicely,” said Bardack, chairman of internal medicine at the Mount Kisco Medical Group.

Pneumonia can vary from “walking pneumonia” to a deathly illness. This explanation from the Clinton camp comports with what we saw yesterday as well as her coughing fit from a week earlier. Despite my distaste for Clinton, I hope she recovers well. Pneumonia, even a “minor” case, is scary business

A few thoughts on the wider issue of candidates’ health:

First, the health of the candidates is a perfectly legitimate concern. Clinton is 68, soon to turn 69. Trump is 70. Either would be the oldest President in American history and both are at an age where health can decline very rapidly, especially under the massive pressure of the Presidency.

The conspiracy theories about Clinton have been silly, but the “how dare you!” response of the press to those questions has been even more ridiculous. And it blew up in the media’s face this weekend. There was a hilarious period of time where the Clinton supporters were insisting that the mild temperatures and low humidity in New York were inferno conditions that would make even the most rugged human pass out. This was before the pneumonia was revealed and they decided that Clinton continuing to campaign while sick showed superhuman strength and vigor.

The health of a Presidential candidate is always a legitimate issue. It was an issue when Tsongas was concealing lymphoma back in ’92. It was an issue with Dole. It was an issue with McCain, specially given his tin dingbat of a running mate. It’s an issue this year. Let’s not pretend it isn’t.

(There’s a part of me that thinks that, in both cases, poor health would almost be a reason to vote for them since Pence and Kaine would make much better Presidents than Clinton or Trump. But the larger concern is a President incapacitated or making poor decisions due to health.)

Second, the paranoia and secrecy of the Clinton camp came home to roost. The Clintons tend to be secretive and untruthful, even when honesty and openness would suit them better. Revealing Clinton’s pneumonia diagnosis on Friday or Saturday would have made Trump’s followers crow, but it would have quickly abated as everyone else just wished her a full recovery. Having it crop up this way was the worst possible combination of circumstances.

Third, as much as the Trumpaloos are preening, they are in a glass house on this one. Trump has been completely opaque about his medical history, releasing a crazy note from a California quack and claiming to be in perfect health. Clinton, for all her concealment, release a more detailed note addressing the hematoma from her fall of a few years ago and revealing her hypothyroidism.

The gripping hand here is that it would be really hard for either of these candidates to conceal a major health issue. The schedule demanded of a Presidential candidate is absolutely brutal. During the campaign, they never get a day off and they meet with donors, media or voters all day long (and thus are constantly exposed to pathogens). The idea that Hillary Clinton is being carried to the finish line by the Secret Service or that Trump is concealing cancer is ridiculous.

However … I do think healthcare disclosure remains important. Both candidates should have their medical records reviewed by an independent physician (or three of them). But neither will do it of course since Clinton is paranoid and Trump is consumed with his own vanity and won’t reveal anything. So maybe this is something, like the release of tax returns, we’re going to have to mandate.

The Lost Opportunity

I was asked the other day what the worst aspect of the Trump candidacy is. And after thinking about it, I decided that the worst part may be the lost opportunity.

Republicans went into 2016 with a majority in both houses, a majority of state houses, a majority of governorships and a golden opportunity to defeat a weak, compromised Democratic presidential candidate. Had they nominated someone like Rubio (maybe not him specifically, but someone of that ilk), they wouldn’t be fearing an electoral disaster but wondering just how big his landslide would be.

But its worse than that.

Over the last few months, Speaker Ryan has been rolling out his agenda called “A Better Way”. It has detailed Republican plans for addressing national security, poverty, the economy, Constitutional law, health care and taxes. While I disagree with some of its points, it’s a massively superior agenda to the Far Left nonsense that Clinton has been rolling out.

This is precisely what I’ve wanted the GOP to do for years: not to just oppose Democrats, but to propose a positive alternative agenda; to give people something to vote for. A decent candidate using this agenda would be absolutely crushing Clinton and building toward a 1994 style revolution. And let’s remember, that revolution resulted in a balanced budget, a booming economy and a huge decline in poverty.

This is the worst part of Trump. Trump himself has no policies. He seems to just parrot whatever has been whispered in his ear most recently. Maybe if he were elected, he’d enact parts of the Better Way, but I doubt it. As it is, however, his personality and lack of managerial skill is dooming the GOP, possibly to minority status.

I really hope the GOP can regroup in 2020. Because if it’s a choice between the GOP’s “Better Way” and the Democrats Marxism Light, I know which bodes for a better future.

The Latest Trump Flop

I can’t say I’m surprised that Trump has now flipped his opinion on immigration, now supporting a plan that is not a mile distant from the plans promoted by Rubio and Bush, which he previously denounced as amnesty. In fact, his speech on this change used many of the exact same words Bush used (this isn’t amnesty, they will pay back taxes, etc.). Trump has no deeply held positions; he has a series of publicity stunts. And now that he’s down in the polls, he’s trying to tack left to pick up votes from moderates. Or, equally likely, pick up wavering conservatives who were bothered by his rhetoric on immigration.

What makes this really delightful, however, is that he did this on the same day that Ann Coulter released her latest book “In Trump We Trust”. Coulter has been having a fit over on Twitter. Viz:

If Trump did this just to fuck with Coulter, I may have to reassess my opinion of the man. That would be Olympic caliber trolling.

An Observation from PA

I live in Pennsylvania. It is traditionally a battleground state. Although it has gone blue in recent Presidential elections by comfortable margins, it has also elected GOP Congressman, Senators, state legislators and governors (we would still have a GOP governor if Corbett hadn’t been such a jackass).

All week, I’ve been watching the Olympics. The Olympics draws large audiences and traditionally draws lots of political ads. I have seen plenty of ads for Pat Toomey, the incumbent GOP senator who is facing an uphill battle for re-election. I have seen plenty of ads for Hillary Clinton (which, ironically, make me glad I’m not voting for her since they taut her tax and spend “economic” plans). So how many ads have I seen for Trump?

One.

And that wasn’t really a Trump ad. It was from an anti-Clinton PAC.

Donald Trump is now running around saying that if he loses Pennsylvania it will be because the election was “rigged”. I’m sure, at some point, he’ll claim it was sarcastic. Whatever. All the commentary has focused on the notion that Trump is undermining faith in the system and indulging in conspiracy theories. And sure, there’s that aspect to it. There’s a certain faction of the Right Wing that pores through district-by-district voting data to claim … something.

But I don’t think that’s what’s going on here. I don’t think Trump gives two shits about whether he undermines faith in the system. He’s simply laying the groundwork in case he loses. His pattern in business is to blame his failures on everyone but himself. We’ve seen in this election that Trump can’t be bothered to do the hard work of actually, you know, running a campaign. He has far fewer staffers, has raised far less money and has far less of a ground game than Clinton. Read this report about how how Trump is just now throwing together a slapdash operation a critical swing county in Ohio.

He’s not trying. If he were trying, I’d be seeing ads. I’d be seeing signs, volunteers and bumper stickers. I would know exactly where to go if I wanted campaign materials. I’ve heard similar things from friend and acquaintances from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh: Trump isn’t trying.

Maybe he has an idea that he can get by without these things and just coast on celebrity and speeches. But I am extremely dubious. Winning an election is about more than speeches and issues. It’s about getting people to the damned polls. This stuff matters. This is how the sausage is made. This is why you hire professionals who know the districts down to the house level and will work tirelessly to wring every single vote out of a district. At this point, with less than three months to go, I’m not seeing a lot of effort in that direction. It’s not over by any means; but it’s getting awfully late.

So no Trump isn’t “destroying Democracy”. He’s simply crying that the other team cheated to cover up his own failings.

Trump Stomps On Another Bad Clinton News Cycle

So the big political news story yesterday was supposed to be the Orlando shooter’s father turning up at a Clinton rally. I don’t generally care for the “guilt by association” game, especially when it’s guilt-by-association-by-association. But I did think it was odd to have him so appear so prominently at a rally. Any reasonable political organization would have realized the bad optics and prevented it (it’s not like Mateen is an unknown).

What’s really fun about this, however, is watching sites like LGF, which have played the guilt-by-association game for years, scramble to explain why this guilt by association means nothing. The online Left will go through lists of Trump followers on Twitter to find racist shitbags and claim that their following of Trump means … something. Had the Charleston shooter’s parents, grandparents, neighbors or college roommates turned up a Trump rally, they’d be going absolutely batshit. But when it’s Clinton, suddenly that game is no longer valid.

Uh-huh.

But as he usually does, Trump couldn’t let Clinton self-immolate.

Donald Trump suggested at a rally Tuesday afternoon that the “Second Amendment people” could do something about Hillary Clinton choosing judges if she is elected president, a comment some took to mean he was implying violence against the Democratic nominee.

“If she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks,” he said at a rally in Wilmington, N.C., to boos from the crowd. “Although the Second Amendment people … maybe there is, I don’t know.”

The comments came as Trump was discussing Clinton’s position on gun control measures, with Trump repeating his frequent claim that Clinton would “essentially abolish the Second Amendment.”

Trump senior communications advisor Jason Miller said in a statement that Trump was referring to the political power of Second Amendment supporters at the ballot box, not to any sort of violence.

Now the outrage over this is a bit overblown. Trump was making a bad joke. He was not literally calling for Clinton to be shot. It wasn’t a criminal act. And it’s the sort of thing Sarah Palin has said on several occasions. Still … it’s not something a Presidential candidate should be saying. We have a Secret Service for a reason and Trump has a bad history of winking at violence from his supporters. But no, it was not a literal call for assassination.

However … Trump keeps making these gaffes. He is constantly drawing the attention of the media from whatever Clinton is doing: lying about her e-mail investigation, failing to defend the Libya intervention, calling for massive tax hikes. A President unable to stay on message, a President who can’t get through a speech without causing a furor is a problem. Yeah, liberal media, etc. They have often been unfair. But Reagan didn’t feed the liberal media this kind of crap (well, except for that one time, which was an off-camera joke). Nor did Bush. Nor did Romney. Nor did McCain. They understood that Republicans play on an unfair field. And the only way to win the game is to Stay. On. Message. We should be talking about Clinton’s terrible track record, Clinton’s terrible plans, Clinton’s petty vindictiveness. Instead, we’re talking about Trump riling up the media again. That might be fun for people who hate the media, but it doesn’t win elections.

Presidents do need to extemporize at times (one of Bush II’s best moments was both spontaneous and deeply moving). But Trump’s improvisation is doing nothing but enabling Hillary. It’s continually distracting from her numerous faults so we can debate whether what Trump said was a joke or whether it was serious or what it means. Sorry, the carny act is getting tiresome. We have three months left. Is he ever going to campaign like he wants to win?

Because Everything is Awful

In the last election cycle, I ran a five-part series on the Presidential campaign detailing my feelings of the case for and against each candidate. I’m contemplating doing that again, if there’s interest. But it’s really hard to write something positive about these two jokers. Here’s a summary of what our Presidential candidates have been up to for the last few days:

Donald Trump attacked a fire marshall for enforcing fire code, responded angrily to the gold star father who criticized him at the DNC rally (saying, among other things, that’s he’s sacrificed for our country) and said he would support a $10 minimum wage. Oh, and he’s ready to sell out the Ukraine.

Clinton, meanwhile, gave an acceptance speech that went over like a lead balloon and was filled with trillions of dollar in promises. And this morning, she claimed that the e-mail investigation vindicated her:

This is the complete opposite of what Comey said. In his announcement to not indict, he specifically called out multiple Clinton falsehoods (e.g., no classified e-mails were compromised). Wikileaks is also hinting at more leaks from both the DNC and the Clinton campaign itself. Apparently the Democrats think cyber-security is locking the door to your server room.

Sometime in the future, we’re going to find a document signed in blood on which a drunk Clinton and a blazed Trump wrote down their pact to make the 2016 election the worst ever. It’s almost like they’re trying to outdo each other, to see just how awful a candidate they can be and still get elected. Right now, Trump has the lead on pure insanity. But Clinton is highly competitive in the sleazy socialist category.

By the time November rolls around, there won’t be enough alcohol out there to keep the nation sane.