The Clinton Campaign Continues to Help Trump Ensure That Policy Won’t Matter in This Election

By Beverly Mann. Originally published at Angry Bear

Time Magazine serves up a fascinating look at Donald Trump’s evolving campaign strategy, in which Trump and his top advisers leave little doubt that they think they can win mainly by dominating the media environment, in a way that will smash all the old rules of politics.

The piece recaps several recent episodes in which Trump was able to suck up all the media oxygen simply by being himself, and details some frustration in the Clinton camp with the same. But the Clinton team thinks that this dynamic doesn’t necessarily work in Trump’s favor, because much of that media attention is negative, such as when his attacks on a Mexican-American judge exploded across days of critical coverage. All that media focus is only deepening his hole with key general election constituencies. Besides, Clinton is breaking through at key moments, such as when she delivered her recent speech dismantling Trump as dangerously unprepared for the presidency, in part by drawing a sharp contrast between the two candidates’ policy preparedness, or lack of it.

Donald Trump just said policy won’t matter in this election. He’s wrong., Greg Sargent, Washington Post, today

No, actually Trump’s right, because Clinton and her campaign are ensuring that policy won’t matter in this election.

Two weeks ago when the details from the Trump University deposition and other documents emerged after the judge ordered them released I thought the Trump campaign could not survive it.  But as the headlines and details became a major news story Trump made his big play: the judge is biased because he is, Trump thinks, Mexican, and what he’s doing is an outrage and he should be looked into.

Voila!  Gone were the headlines, and the media conversations, and consideration by the Clinton campaign (if there had been consideration) of running ads detailing these reports, about the Trump University scam operation and exactly whom it targeted, and how.  Instead, the last 10 days or so have been about what Trump said about the judge.

Mission accomplished.

Early this week the Washington Post ran a lengthy article about more details from the release of the lawsuit information.  The information was extensive, and the reporter had by then read most of it.  As I read the article I thought, maybe this new information will break through the look-what-Trump-said-about-the-judge-because-he’s-Mexican-American loop repeated again and again because another Republican pol said something about it or because Hillary Clinton did or because her campaign released yet another comment, ad, tweet about it.

Mission continues on-track.

The Democrats are nominating someone who believes fundamentally that nothing matters unless it’s about race, ethnicity, gender or religion.  She won’t change, even if she actually ventures beyond a rope line in Ohio or Michigan or Indiana and talks to a few blue-collar workers who were laid off because their manufacturing plant closed, and now work for half of their old income and receive no benefits.  Some of them have voted Democratic all their lives.  And now they think Trump might be their savior.

So they’re considering voting for him, despite, rather than because of, his “Build the Wall” and “Ban Muslims.” They know about the-judge-is-biased-because-he’s-Mexican.  They think it’s ridiculous.  But it’s not what they care most about.

Yes, the “Mexican” judge comments were ugly.  But in a different and also important way, so is what Trump University was.  So are the details of that.  In fact, Trump believes they’re more important than the judge comments.  Which is why he made the judge comments.

Trump says, “Jump.”  And everyone does.  But especially Clinton does, because Trump knows what to dangle in front of her, and exactly when to dangle it.

Trump University isn’t exactly policy.  But it’s bait to get into economic and fiscal policy.  Or it would be if Clinton could figure out that there are some things that are already getting all the publicity needed.  And some things that matter that aren’t.  And that it might be a good idea to inform the public about the latter.

The specifics of what those documents and transcripts show cut to the very heart of who Trump is, just as much, and in just as significant a way, as the race and ethnicity baiting.  The difference is that everyone doesn’t already know about it.  Or know that Republican pols now know about it but also think he’ll help enact the Ryan fiscal plan.

Even that Japanese WWII soldier still hiding in a cave because he doesn’t know that the war has ended knows about the latest ethnic or racial or gender insult by Trump.  But not about much else, because Trump and Clinton and her campaign, along with the news media, partner to ensure that.

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  1. ewmayer

    Part of the conundrum that is posed by the Trump phenomenon is contained in your paragraph here:

    The Democrats are nominating someone who believes fundamentally that nothing matters unless it’s about race, ethnicity, gender or religion. She won’t change, even if she actually ventures beyond a rope line in Ohio or Michigan or Indiana and talks to a few blue-collar workers who were laid off because their manufacturing plant closed, and now work for half of their old income and receive no benefits. Some of them have voted Democratic all their lives. And now they think Trump might be their savior.

    Now ask yourself *how* these folks came to believe Trump might be their savior. Is it because they are benighted beer-swilling flyover-country rubes who blame Mexicans for their problems? Or might it be because they – IMO justifiably – see all the MSM hysteria about what-Trump-said-about-building-a-border-wall-to-add-to-our-already-existing-hundreds-of-miles-of-border-wall-and-fences and what-Trump-said-about-Muslims-at-the-same-time-the-U.S.-is-warring-on-much-of-the-Muslim-world-in-illegal-and-mass-lethal-fashion as just that: media-selectively-amplified hysteria? How much media coverage of the many things Trump also actually *said* about U.S. warmongering being stupid and counterproductive (and in the next breath vowing to wipe ISIS off the map, mind you), or assailing the long series of so-called “free trade” deals which have hollowed out the US economy, or NATO being a cold war anachronism, or his actually being willing to sit down and talk to the likes of Vladimir Putin – have you seen in he MSM, compared to the “ZOMG! Trump said!! Mexicans!!!” stuff? Perhaps we should give those livelihood-offshored hicks in Indiana and elsewhere a little credit for having see the MSM propaganda machine for what it is. In other words, the MSM and the political establishment may be playing their usual politics-of-distraction games, but enough people are finally sufficiently pissed off and fearful for their future that among those people, the nightly media noise fest is being tuned out.

    Now this, if true, may explain why none of the scandalous saying and doings seem to stick to Trump in terms of his base of support (or potential support) – in fact for the establishment media things may be even worse than “we are tuning you out” … there may be a “reactive opposition” at work, where when the MSM try to break the latest Trump scandal, rather than those tens of millions of people hungry for someone to say something that actually addresses their plight simply ignoring it, they actively discount it because it’s being disseminated by such a transparently and thoroughly corrupt media apparatus. I admit this is at present little more than a working hypothesis on my part, but it would seem to explain quite a lot of stuff that has the nattering-nabobs professional pundit class in such a tizzy this election year.

    1. Murph

      I think you’ve got a good point. I have definitely noticed in my interactions with my wife’s ultraconservative Long Island family over the last few years that they are bringing up the idea that big media is a noise machine more and more often. When I met them 10 years ago they would have considered that position “communist propaganda!” (Very serious here, they honestly frame things in terms like that.) We’ve got a family trip to Florida coming up soon and I’m looking forward to hearing what they have to say about the points you mentioned.

    2. TK421

      what-Trump-said-about-building-a-border-wall-to-add-to-our-already-existing-hundreds-of-miles-of-border-wall-and-fences and what-Trump-said-about-Muslims-at-the-same-time-the-U.S.-is-warring-on-much-of-the-Muslim-world-in-illegal-and-mass-lethal-fashion

      I wish this point would get made more often. Obama has deported more immigrants than George W. But building a wall is the ultimate outrage?

    3. craazyboy

      Trump did state early on that he was tired of “political correctness” and he thought many Americans were too. I’m pretty sure he was intending to set off the media reaction for free publicity and steal the stage from his 18 R competition candidates that had to grovel for money from donors. ‘Course that would also be a “dog whistle” to the segment of American voter that truly does have deep racism and bigotry issues. But it also gets the ones that realize it’s just the way the establishment and media say “shut the f*ck up” nowadays.

      As far as immigration goes, legal or illegal, there are lots of real problems with that. One is it’s not the 1800s anymore and it seems to be getting a bit crowded most places. Then in S Cal, if your are chopping lettuce at the local taco stand, does that really mean you are a migrant AG worker? And shouldn’t maids for the rich make more? I always hear low income workers don’t make enough to pay adequate taxes to cover the social services they consume at city and state level.

    4. readerOfTeaLeaves

      Perhaps we should give those livelihood-offshored hicks in Indiana and elsewhere a little credit for having see the MSM propaganda machine for what it is. In other words, the MSM and the political establishment may be playing their usual politics-of-distraction games, but enough people are finally sufficiently pissed off and fearful for their future that among those people, the nightly media noise fest is being tuned out.

      Great synthesis.

      And this description from the post is terrifyingly accurate:

      The Democrats are nominating someone who believes fundamentally that nothing matters unless it’s about race, ethnicity, gender or religion. She won’t change…

      That is an excellent summary as to why Hillary, Obama, and the entire DNC are committing institutional suicide.
      Note the absence of climate change, immigration, monetary policy, or foreign wars in that list.

      As Dylan Ratigan notes, we are deep into ‘the Ultimatum Game’; many of us — across the political spectrum — are so fed up with the existing hypocrisies and political grifters that we are willing to vote against our own interests. That’s how bad things have become.

      (FWIW, I have several bets riding on the notion that the GOP will find a way to substitute David Petraeus for Trump by the time of the GOP convention. Those Trump voters would probably vote for Petraeus.)

    5. Phil

      There is a similar mechanism for slick Willie and hidden Hillary. Haven’t worked out all the kinks, but with Hillary, Step one is dodge the press a few days and see (or try and make) something else catch the cycle. That’s the only way I can explain her many mistakes south of the boarder that never stick.

    6. Fiver

      ‘The Democrats are nominating someone who believes fundamentally that nothing matters unless it’s about race, ethnicity, gender or religion.’

      This is no coincidence of the highest order. In the ‘coming Market State’ postulated by arch-corporate globalist Philip Bobbit, the democratic rights and freedoms enjoyed over the past century have derived from sovereign rights and responsibilities, chief of which is looking to the safekeeping of the public interest. The Market State, by contrast, sees rights as attributes of consumers: you have to treat all of your customers reasonably well regardless of sex, religion, race, etc. But if he has no money, it’s out the door and don’t come back. As for corporations, they had the responsibility to help produce ‘opportunities’, these opportunities also to be handed out on bases other than sex, gender, race, ethnicity, etc.

      The very idea of economic rights and protections, that is, being poor or struggling must be countered explicitly by positive policies is simply abandoned by the Market State. Something of an Ayn Rand tinge to it.

    7. Barry Fay

      This is more than just working hypothesis – it is exactly right. It reminds me of Brer Rabbit saying ´oh please don´t throw me in briar patch!´

  2. aab

    This piece leaves out the other side to this, which is part of why Clinton does what she does. I mean, sure, lots of it is incompetence. But if you encourage the media to discuss Trump University, that might bring more attention to Bill Clinton’s payoffs from Laureate, and Hillary’s relationship to the charter school movement — both of which are more directly connected to people’s rage and suffering than Trump’s more individualized conning.

    So she really CAN’T focus on policy and corruption issues, because hers are always as bad or worse. Even that ridiculous #DeleteYourAccount thing backfired, because she can’t even safely use the word “delete.”

    And so when a substantive anti-Trump softball gets lobbed into the air, Clinton’s team is almost obligated to whiff it. If they were very, very talented, maybe they could find a way to walk that tightrope. But they’re not that talented. She’s surrounded by sycophants and the entire ruling class basically buttresses her delusions. So she doesn’t want to deal with this, wouldn’t be good at it, and doesn’t understand that she has to.

    1. jsn

      Yes, institutionally our legacy parties are like Borges “two old bald men fighting over a comb”, its pathetic to watch

      1. Mike

        You should’ve said “two bald men PRETENDING to fight over a comb”, since it should be pointed out that both parties have cooperated in keeping the rest of us bamboozled with non-policy issues that could be non-issues if only the Constitution were not being used by these rackets to decorate the bathroom. We have 2 candidates who cannot touch facts because both would evaporate if they did.

    2. Buttinsky

      That’s exactly what I was thinking as I read this article. Hillary Clinton is a minefield of “indiscretions” and when you can’t even use the word “delete” without conjuring up one of her scandals — much less “corruption” — better stick to identity politics.

    3. Laughingsong

      I was thinking something similar. When I read about scams like Trump University I’m always overwhelmed by yet another example of the sociopathic behavior it represents, at least IMO…. But Clinton and other neoliberal true believers see it as “business as usual”, and historically have found tortured logic to justify it. So they can’t credibly decry it, and I am not certain some of them even see it, so normalized in their worldview as it is.

      And not just theirs.. many people I discuss these types of news stories with have internalized this new normal and I notice signs of it more and more- thanks largely to the gift of better critical thinking that this wonderful site (and others) have imparted to me. But if I felt like a stranger in a strange land before, at least now I know I’m not alone and I’m not the crazy one.

      1. perpetualWAR

        Right. Like I keep thinking I am the ONLY normal person when I mention that it seems inconceivable to me that the Democrats are nominating a woman who is under an FBI investigation and I get shot down from some Democrat loyalist who says I’m spouting “Republican dirt.” No, this nomination is making history, not because she is a woman, but because people are ignoring her corruption.

  3. EndOfTheWorld

    Trump has said he’ll give a major anti-Hill speech Monday. There will be a lot of stuff in it. He has a lot more on her than she can possibly get on him. I’m wondering what game the Libertarian ticket of Johnson/Weld playing. They have 12% already and will probably get into the debates.

    1. hunkerdown

      Because they were allowed into the polls by the gatekeepers. Hardly a mark of quality.

  4. Alex morfesis

    Policy sadly does not matter…for $hillary to win the election, she would need to select bob Graham from florida as her vp…for trump to win, all he needs to do is convince bob menendez of new jersey to be his vp…bob menedez will help deliver the florida cuban vote if Bob Graham is not the $hillary vp choice…and $he probably wont choose Graham as he is probably too independant for the beltway plutocrat$…trump wins with bob Menendez and a focus on ohio, pennsylvania, wisconsin and Minnesota…the 242 falls to about 200 since $hillary will come across as gore/dukakis/kerry and will not ignite any core interest among the 35-45% of the population which has not bothered to vote in the last 100 yrs….

    1. Felix_47

      Really Menendez? Did he not hang out with that ophthalmologist who was injecting eyeballs with used vials of this expensive medicine and defrauding Medicare and the public for millions per year and did they not hang out together with underage girls in the Dominican Republic? I thought he was going to jail?

      1. Alex morfesis

        And christie and giuliani have relatives who were mobsters…no one goes to jail in the plutocracy except as punishment for being stupid for taking cash directly in hand…without allowing the party to take its skim…

        The donald is a failed casino operator…who fails at running a casino ??? & inherited the resorts intl crew that was still there when merv owned the joints…

        This is politics…not morality…

        just living the dream…dont shoot the messenger…

  5. dcb

    Oh, I think clinton knows things matter more race, ethnicity, gender or religion. But she sticks with the old script both parties used to rip off the public, and thinks she can get to the write house using that strategy. If the “issues become a rigged economy and legal corruption she can lose. But both party establishments want the legal corruption. Hence the “racist” republican faux outrage. Note, the dem party uses bias for it’s own ends as well. stop and frisk, sentencing, hiring in order to prove discrimination. Yet there is outrage when Trump uses the bias argument. it makes no sense. it’s all fake. .

    1. Katz

      I agree. Republicans use bigotry to distract their base, while Democrats (the current crop anyways) use anti-bigotry.

      1. BradK

        Yes, and feigned anti-bigotry at best in its most nakedly pandering form. There is no more compassion for the targets of SoCon culture war bigotry from the donkeys than from the elephants who are pushing it. Only difference is that the donkeys will whisper in your ear, “I feel your pain. Vote for me.”

        1. polecat

          “I feel your pain. Vote for me.”

          …cause I ‘want you’ to have even MORE pain….


  6. grayslady

    The average voter is not surprised by shady business people. A shady politician is something else. If Trump makes the focus of his campaign Hillary’s character, he has a winning strategy. The Donald comes right out and admits his operating mode, most of which, unfortunately, seems to be within the law. Hillary, on the other hand, desperately tries to hide everything she does. One is merely brash, the other sneaky. Based on how well Bernie has done by never running away from Socialism, I don’t see voters shying away from Trump unless he goes into denial mode.

    1. Code Name D

      Agreed. Trump’s “corruption” is “proper corruption,” the sort of activity that neo-liberalism actually encourages. Let us not forget that the only standard here is self interest. If you are making a profit at it – than it is by definition, good for society. If not – than it’s the consumers who are at blame for doing business with you when they should have been dealing with a more reputable person.

  7. Pat

    Hillary Clinton has two major problems as a candidate and one major problem as a person. The latter is going to multiply the first two, not that there was much to be done to lessen or eliminate them. That personal failing is that she really really doesn’t want to hear about what she is doing wrong, or how her thinking is flawed, and she has made sure to surround herself with people who do not do it. You could see the anger that ignites in the debates whenever Sanders would point something out about Clinton’s policy failings and her body would get more rigid and the facial expression would get tighter. So no one is going to tell her that she if she wants this, really wants this, she needs to get over the idea that she deserves it, it is hers or that the public doesn’t have a choice – including Democrats. Sanders cannot hand his voters over to her. She isn’t a lock for Latino, Female, or even Black votes. Nor are they going to tell her that she cannot win a social media war with Trump. And most of all they aren’t going to tell her that to win she is going to have to actually piss off the people she thinks got her this far and tell them to pound sand. She can no longer say she is against the TPP, and then send her surrogates out to assure all the corporate overlords feeding at the trough that it is a front. Trump is not going to let her flip flopping go, and is going to point out the mixed messages being sent. She cannot play politics as usual.
    The only way that Clinton wins this is to offer a reasonable AND BELIEVABLE alternative to Trump on things like trade and jobs and to not just echo but adopt and EMBRACE Sanders goals of Single Payer and Free Tuition. For her to win on policy she needs to get a new one that not just acknowledges that things are bad but for the very people the neoliberal policies have destroyed but she addresses that. For her to win on policy she has to decide that she and Bill have enough money and that retirement shouldn’t bring a windfall payday. And sell it by really divorcing ties financially with those who disagree with those policies. She has to forgo her greed for her ambition if possible. And that brings us to the biggest problem, Clinton is scandal ridden herself. And she does stupid things because she, and her husband and her child, are as sleazy and manipulative as Trump is. And to get past that…well she can’t. But she sure as hell cannot attack Trump on anything that twists the law or cons people, and unfortunately he can because he is more adept at media manipulation and misdirection than anyone in the Clinton camp.
    There is a line that freedom is nothing left to lose, and while that may not be entirely true, a whole lot of people in America have been down so long and sold a pig in a poke so often that they are willing to roll the dice. Clinton, and her advisors and the Washington regulars have missed this and still don’t believe it is as big as it is. They missed what propelled Obama as well. So they believe that “but, look at him. He’s more evil than I ever thought of being” is a winning campaign strategy – and it isn’t.

    So my take is that Clinton is going to lose this and the public and the DNC needs to be reminded daily that it is CLINTON who is losing this, and the DNC picked an obvious loser by picking the candidate that could least battle the Republican nominee. All because keeping the gravy train going was more important than stopping him or doing what is best for the country.

    1. PNW_WarriorWoman

      I appreciate your remarks and analysis, Pat. I would only disagree on one point by saying (with unhappiness) I think Clinton will win this because her surrogates have the flip/switch/fractional voting operation ready to go. That GEMS fractional vote feature comes in real handy.

      1. Vatch

        The Republicans can use security flaws in voting systems just as easily as Democrats can. A lot depends on which party controls more counties in the United States.

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        There are way more states with Republican governors than Democratic party governors. Yes some really big Electoral Collage vote states are blue, namely CA and NY, but it gets thin after that. And my reaction to the obviousness of the Dem vote suppression in NY and CA was, “Don’t they realize what they’ve done? They’ve given license to the Republicans to play even dirtier than usual in November. They will lose in the long run in a big way from this.”

        1. polecat

          They’re BOTH factions of the Money Party !!

          This blue team vs red team phony play just doesn’t cut it with me anymore…I mean …in the immortal words of the possible future ‘Pantsuit in Chief’…”What difference does it make??”

          ……the Titanic has broken in half…and is now sinking! ….. find a lifeboat…..

          1. Ulysses

            Excellent comment!!

            I expect that there won’t be much fiddling with votes in the general, simply because both Hillary and Donald can be counted on to serve the interests of the kleptocrats.

            Now, if Bernie were to mount a credible 3rd party campaign– different story!

        2. Pat

          Not just Republican governors, but Secretary of States or whatever department polices the election process in a state, and a county. And yes, they just told those Pubbies that they are down with officials rigging the system for a candidate. Did they know they were so obvious about it everyone with any knowledge of the system KNOWS they did it? Or did they just not care. Many of the Republicans may have, probably have been doing it for a while but with slightly more stealth. They don’t even have to do that anymore. The real question isn’t whether it will be done in November, but WHO it will be done for more – Trump, the Libertarians or Clinton. Sadly I think Clinton will come in third in that race.
          The Democratic Leadership class are some of the stupidest clueless gits in this country. Cancerous even. Oh, and some of the laziest. They don’t even bother to try to pretend they are going to try to fight the voter suppression efforts. Where is the bill sponsored by almost every Democratic Representative or Senator that demands that any state that demands documentation pay for that documentation AND for any expenses needed to get that documentation? Total lip service, but obvious. Hell, where are the actual voter registration drives? Start pointing out that to your still loyal tribal Democrats. It is one of those niggling details that don’t go away, and wear away at the tribalism.
          Still this primary has been revealing for anyone paying attention. I think the general will be even more revealing.

      3. zapster

        Republicans created the vote-stealing machinery. Clinton just happens to be favored by it at the moment, in part because local republicans can easily see that she’s easier to beat than Bernie is. I fully expect it to turn massively against her in the general.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        An empty pantsuit soaked in the blood of Muslim children. She’s still bloodthirsty.

  8. Joe Formerly of BKLYN

    Most of us have an uncle — let’s call him Uncle Bob — who we love. He’s a sweet guy. We can remember him playing with us when we were young. He’s given at least one wowser of a birthday party. He’s a member of our family.

    Yet, Uncle Bob is a little bit stuck on Koreans. He wants them exterminated. No, not just the Northern kind — all kinds. Turns out Bob is a grocery wholesaler in NYC, and he has to deal with these people on a regular basis. For one reason or another — be it business or personal — he hates these people.

    Most of the time, it doesn’t matter. He doesn’t go on a rant about Koreans. But let the North Koreans do something that gets them into the news, and Bob is on a rampage — we should nuke the whole peninsula, for Christ’s sake!

    It’s idiotic. It’s irrational. BUT: It’s Uncle Bob! We forgive him. We ignore him. We don’t dwell on this, his one HUGE shortcoming.

    Heck — at Thanksgiving, we might add kimche to the menu . . . just to see Bob erupt!

    I believe Donald Trump’s Mexican thing is like Uncle Bob’s Korean thing. Most people — maybe ALL people — don’t want to hear it, they don’t like this part of Trump, they don’t agree with him. Etc.

    However, they can overlook it.

    After all, Uncle Bob is OUR Uncle Bob.

    And, as it seems to be turning out — Donny Boy is OUR Trump.

    WANT EVIDENCE? The stuff that’s been rolled out to “prove” that the Mexican thing is hurting Trump is a YouGov poll. This is unscientific nonsense. 996 people “voted” in an online poll. They were SELF-SELECTED. This unexpurgated crapola has been cited online, and on TV (Joe the Moron’s AM show) as if it were Gospel.

    It ain’t. It’s a poll of SELF-SELECTED people with results selected by those who want to bash Trump over the head.

    I hold no brief for Donald Trump. But what’s going on here is pretty clear, if you look just a bit beneath the surface:

    a. Trump has created “affection” in people. They’ll overlook at least one irrational behavior (maybe more than one).

    b. The “liberal media” wouldn’t be able to report properly on a “fact” if one emerged from the ground, fully evolved.

    1. JustAnObserver

      Some writer somewhere (Seth Abramson ?) summarized this argument as a difference between the campaigns at the emotional level:

      Clinton supporter: I’m with her.

      Trump supporter: He’s with me.

      1. redleg

        The Dilbert guy did a compare/contrast essay looking at the campaign slogans of Trump and Clinton.
        Was that it?

        1. Christopher Fay

          I might be misremembering but Dilbert creator boiled down the two outlooks to Hillary, “women, women, women.” While Trump is “Americans.” Who wins?

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      I don’t think Trump is a nice guy with one character flaw. He has Roy Cohn as an adviser.

      I think he loves being in front of the camera and getting attention. And his enthusiasm and his calling out some of the real problems the US faces, even if his remedies are sketchy or contradictory, makes him seem way more authentic than the “no nice things for you!” technocratic and cool Dems. Authenticity, even it is artfully faked authenticity, is compelling.

      More simply: he’s a really good salesman and Hillary isn’t.

      1. Vatch

        Fortunately, the creepy connection between Roy Cohn and Trump is a few decades old, and unless The Donald is really adept with a Ouija Board, it’s permanently finished.

        1. Kim Kaufman

          “As a lawyer he [Cohn] represented such diverse clients as Donald Trump and Sam Lefrak, the real-estate executives; Francis Cardinal Spellman and Terence Cardinal Cooke and, on occasion, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York. He also represented Carmine Galante, who before his death was said by authorities to be Mafia “boss of all bosses,” and Tony (Fat Tony) Salerno, also said to be a Mafia chieftain. ”

          I’ll let someone else make the jokes about whether what they have in common is they’re all gangsters of one sort of another.

  9. DJG

    Yesterday evening, I was skirting Midsommarfest, the neighborhood festival here in Edgewater (Portlandia along Lake Michigan). At the sidewalk tables of a local pizzeria, I saw a highly politically active neighbor. She was talking to the owner. They had me sit down, and a conversation ensued. Other neighbors stopped at the table: By and large, these neighbors are radical democratic Democrats (anti-corruption, anti-Rahm, single-payer, anti-discrimination, pro-union, pro-public school). Yet they also understand very well the frustrations that have produced the phenomenon of Trump. Further, they, too tune out the outrageous comments of Trump but did note his policy positions (anti-trade pact, tighter immigration controls).

    In a neighborhood as diverse as mine, identity doesn’t matter much. Our state senator is a rich white woman in conflicts of interests about charter schools. Rahm is Jewish. No one cares about their identities, but people can no longer stand the corruption.

    Two important candidates on the horizon are Kim Foxx and Toni Preckwinkle, both black women. No one cares about their race or that they are women (who overcame much more than HRC ever did). They are effective people in a city with terrible problems.

  10. Felix_47

    I am a Bernie supporter and think Trump is a terrible choice. However, I just don’t understand the outrage over the Mexican Judge issue. I have been in court many times and every lawyer says that trials are about influencing the trier of fact. They always analyze whether the judge is a man or woman or Mexican or Jewish or black and they shape their arguments and structure their case accordingly. In fact, they often will demand another judge……for example if a wealthy Jewish man is divorcing a Gentile woman…….they do not want a Jewish judge (if representing the young lady)….and this is just so common. I am not an attorney but it is my experience. So Trump is just saying what everyone in the courthouse already figured out……after his obnoxious comments on sending Mexicans back to Mexico it seems it would be dumb to have a liberal Mexican judge in his case. So what seems like political suicide just seems to be that he is naive and parroting what he has heard in depositions and in the courtroom many many times. Ethnicity matters in a courtroom…..consider jury analysis……consider the OJ case. Ethnicity matters big time in family law. So could some reader enlighten me on why the Trump comments on a Mexican judge being potentially biased are so ourtrageous? Given his comments would that not be self evident? If Trump was going through a divorce, or any civil case, would you advise him to accept a Mexican judge absent any other factors?

    1. hunkerdown

      It’s not a matter of whether he should accept the person, but whether he should accept the limited relationships to which he and the Court are subject in due course of public business. It’s a matter of whether he should be influencing any aspect of the case in which he is involved, including but not limited to the trier of fact’s priors or suitability as a trier of fact, or even appearing to do so by speaking out of school, let alone in the process of a political campaign. Granted, that’s not a position most voters are at all likely to find themselves in, but it does speak to the authoritarian presumptions of him and his class.

  11. Brooklin Bridge

    Never underestimate the media
    Never underestimate the powers that be
    Don’t underestimate just how freaked out both of these groups are at the prospect of loosing control. It makes slave owners facing a rebellion look wise and judicious by comparison.

    This is why Obama has come out to endorse Hillary even with the prospect of a criminal indictment looming over her head.

    They are running scared.

    If you think we are scared of Trump, you haven’t even begun to imagine the fear they have of what is behind him; what is supporting him. Even more so for Sanders. They don’t even want to know. They just want it to stop.

    This is why the networks preemtively declared Hillary the primary winner in broad daylight even though it was pure fiction. It’s why voters in California, Arizona, N.Y., N.J., to name a few, where openly suppressed.

    This is why, in spite of Jim Haygood’s marvelous snark about it being the Republican’s turn, Hillary has a very good chance of winning the election, (ha,ha,ha,ha,ha), even if she were to receive not a single actual vote.

    1. Ulysses

      “They just want it to stop.”

      Absolutely! Even though I was fairly young, I still remember the tense mood shortly after the U.S. pulled out of Vietnam.

      Authoritarians were shouting at anti-war hippies– like my parents– “You can put your hands down! The war’s over!!” They were desperate to see a return to the “normalcy” of no one daring to question the actions of the MIC.

      If our corporate overlords could figure out how to put something in the water, to make us all forget that Bernie even exists, they would do it in a heartbeat!

    2. Fiver

      ‘Never underestimate the media’
      ‘Never underestimate the powers that be’

      Words to live by – watch for moves of major significance by important players made during the blanket cover of the media frenzy surrounding the terrible events in Orlando. Note that Trump had previously indicated his intention to make a major statement of some sort re Clinton and her operation on Monday. The ‘buzz’ in media was suggestive of some blunt accusations forthcoming on all the usual scandals. Does he stay on plan, or ditch it for now? For that matter, where does that entire discussion go during the next two weeks of intense pounding of the drums of hate and howling for war? Cripes, the more I think about it, the more I think the Clinton campaign has some sort of evil horse shoe following them around – instead of increasing scrutiny of the e-mails, the Foundation, of her record overall the mainstream media can now be counted on to direct full attention elsewhere, possibly right up to the Convention. How lucky is that? If Trump wants to win (and I don’t know if he does or doesn’t) he’ll keep his response to the events in Orlando to a minimum and his eye on the ball. I know which way I’m betting.

  12. Litehouse

    People vote their identities not their policy interests. It’s really that simple as much as we would like to believe otherwise. There’s plenty of policy out their for the voters to sink their teeth into, and i know far too many people who will not vote their policy interests because the wrong party label is behind it or wrong individual. People vote their prejudices and fears. I wish it were otherwise, but high minded arguments and wishing won’t change any of that. Try having a policy discussion with someone of the opposite party. It’s like oil and water, and often times one of the parties is grounded in conspiracy and myth. You can’t persuade that. You can’t even have a healthy discussion with that.

    1. aab

      I don’t think that’s completely accurate. Even with the the horrible treatment from the mainstream media (mostly suppression, with a splash of extreme distortion), Sanders right now is getting more than 50% in general election polling. Some of that is coming from Republicans.

      It’s time to stop blaming voters. Yes, some voters are too biased to vote wisely. But most — including a lot of “Republicans” — want democratic socialist policies. They are kept from voting their best economic interests not by the closure of their own minds, but by aggressive, comprehensive restrictions and manipulations by the elites.

  13. Rob Lewis

    “…blue-collar workers who were laid off because their manufacturing plant closed, and now work for half of their old income and receive no benefits. Some of them have voted Democratic all their lives. And now they think Trump might be their savior.”

    Yes, the ones who have voted Democratic all their lives are the black and Hispanic ones. Blue collar whites started to leave the Democratic party when LBJ showed them the door. Nixon’s Southern Strategy gave them an extra push, and Reagan finished the job.

    Clay Shirky’s great Tweetstorm from yesterday makes the point: from the day LBJ signed the Civil Rights Act, not one Democratic Presidential candidate has gotten a majority of white votes. Not one! Bill Clinton was the first who figured out how to win without it.

    So, in the end, aren’t we back to race and ethnicity?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Technically, it was Carter with his anti union and pro war policies. Claiming the Middle East as a protectorate is warmongering. We’ve been there ever since. Yes, Reagan was largely Carter on steroids. LBJ just lost the Southern Democrats. Vietnam hurt LBJ, not the Civil Rights Act. Blue collar whites were very supportive after the Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964 and 1966.

      The DLC push this narrative to justify moving the Democrats to the right.

  14. Ishmael

    Trump or Clinton — I generally believe what they say will not matter. The determining factor will be if the economy (and probably the stock market) nose dives before or after the election. I believe it is 50/50. Obama is doing everything in his power to keep it from collapsing, but I have to believe George the Idiot also did the same thing (why else did he put H Paulson in as Sec of Treasure) and how did that work out. Economy tanks before the election and Trump wins. Tanks after the election and Clinton wins and becomes known as the President during the Greatest Depression. There will be massive change during the next four years and she probably will not even complete her term.

    1. ian

      Policies really don’t matter – except to journalists and pundits who dissect them for a living.
      Voting, for most people, is an emotional matter. What matters is where the candidates are ‘coming from’ (general priorities and intentions) and which candidate you identify with.

    2. kimsarah

      The determining factor will be status quo vs. change. With the success Trump and Sanders had in the primaries, it’s pretty obvious where voters are coming from.

    3. Fiver

      Well, one honest investigator or lawmaker or senior executive branch employee with that rare courage of conviction to come forward and speak bluntly and even Clinton would yet be dumped by the perma-power players in New York and Washington if need be. But Trump will help them out on that, I think, and she will be the one getting that 3:00 am call on the red phone from Jamie and Lloyd and Janet because the chickens are coming home from all over the world and they are way bigger than anyone had thought.

  15. LuckyA

    “The Democrats are nominating someone who believes fundamentally that nothing matters unless it’s about race, ethnicity, gender or religion.”

    I agree that HRC most wants to debate Trump on issues related to race, ethnicity, gender, and religion. Her record on substantive actions, however, regarding these issues usually don’t make it far past making speeches.

    Gender – “Men Make Up Top 8 Most Highly Compensated Clinton Foundation Employees Key women earned 63 cents for every dollar key men made.”

    Race – “Former President Bill Clinton last week shot back at protesters who say his crime bill harmed minority communities by saying it led to a reduction in crime. He also defended his wife’s use of the term “superpredators.””

  16. armchair

    While reading Beverly Mann’s splendid analysis, I kept thinking about Trump’s reaction to Elizabeth Warren’s tweet-storms. He comes back at her by naming her Pocahontas in his opening remarks. So, while Trump is being utterly gross and totally offensive, he accomplishes the goal of not talking about policy.

    Beverly Mann’s analysis is also splendid because it points out that Clinton does not have a strong policy fortress from which to fight. Clinton’s policy positions are like pup tents in a hurricane. Clinton might be able to get a position staked down long enough for a debate session, but it flies away almost as soon as Clinton is done saying it. For instance, can Clinton come out and proclaim her strong stand on minimum wage and challenge Trump to take the same position? Maybe, but it seems like Clinton’s statements on minimum wage are a big mess. At best, the observant voter may believe that Clinton wants to do something generally positive, but nothing concrete.

    1. cnchal

      . . .He comes back at her by naming her Pocahontas in his opening remarks.

      Actually, no. What Trump did was, with derision dripping from his voice and mentioning that an apology was demanded of him, said yes, he would apologize, to Pocahontas, in effect dismissing Warren’s claim that she has native American blood running through her veins.

      My view is that Elizabeth Warren has self destroyed her credibility by waltzing over to Clinton’s house with that big grin on her face, looking like a fox that just ate all the chickens.

  17. casino implosion

    This election is about class, in the Marxian, not Trumpian, sense, and the Clintons are not the good guys here.

    I am enjoying watching the orange haired tribune of the people beat Hillary like a rented mule, tapdance in circles around her, spin three OODA Loops to her one, and in general confound her plodding hacks and advisors. The Clinton operation is a dinosaur. Their tweets lack verve. They’re going to the bottom like a carrier group eating a Dong Feng.

  18. TK421

    Is Trump University really a bigger sham than the Clinton Foundation? Did Trump U do business with arms dealers?

    1. kimsarah

      Are there any good articles out there examining the details of the Clinton Foundation, where it gets and spends its money, and the connections?

    1. John Wright

      As as been mentioned before, it seems that Obama could give a Presidential pardon to Clinton to quash all investigations and kill any upcoming indictments.


      “On September 8, 1974, president of the United States Gerald Ford issued Proclamation 4311, which gave Richard Nixon a full and unconditional pardon for any crimes he might have committed against the United States while president.”

      Obama can leverage Ford’s Proclamation 4311 and change “while president” to “while Secretary of State”.

      Obama can even say that something to the effect of “For the good of the country, I removed the legal cloud distracting our great public servant Hillary Clinton and the electorate.”

      Post-pardon, I suspect Obama would view his future $1 billion Presidential library being replaced with a tired bookmobile, but maybe the Clinton Foundation would view the Obama library as a worthy destination for considerable foundation funds and fill the funding gap.

      This new pardon might not sit well with a good portion of the population, as I remember my anger at the Ford pardon of Nixon and never viewed Ford favorably after this pardon.

      Obama does not need to run again, so he might be willing, with sufficient inducement, to pardon Clinton

      The question is whether the Clinton pardon action would push enough angry voters to choose Trump instead, causing Clinton to lose the election, Obama to tarnish his “legacy” and the Clinton Foundation to suffer financially for the Obama bookmobile upgrade.

      1. Code Name D

        Oh yay, forgot about the pardon angle. Not sure that is something I would want on my Presidential Resume though.

        Presdent Trump, Present Trump, Predentie Trump
        Sorry, just practicing. Going to have to learn how to say it sooner or later.

      2. Quantum Future

        John Wright – I agree, Clinton will be pardoned. Remember, Trump and Clintons are friends. This is likely all staged theatre. And Trump is a Democrat for single payer but with private insurance having to compete across state lines. The rest of his policy is very similar to Ike – Debt restructure in 1956 and deporation. Debt restructuring is necessary, deportation is not. Just shut off benefits for illegal aliens and fine businesses that hire them under existing law.

        It is a travesty that HRC can compromise national security and still run for POTUS. We have crossed the Rubicon.

    1. Code Name D

      I am sorry, but you are missing the main point of the discussion, which is that Clinton will be very selective in her attacks, missing the broader context over why this is a scandal.

      Point #1) Nothing that Trump did here was illegal. In fact, a number of education “reforms” actually normalizes this sort of activity. That why there is the law suit. Because this is the only recourse the students have to address their grievances. And while this is a bit damaging for Trumps ego and image, in terms of Trumps management of the school, little more than a minor inconvenience.

      You see, this is classic neo-liberal philosophy. It’s up to the students to regulate the school by choosing to go there. If they enroll, than its their fault and they get what they deserve.

      Point #2) The problems noted here at this one school are not unique. In fact, most privet schools operate under this model and even a growing number of smaller public schools are being operated under this high cost and low placement numbers business model.

      This is actually an issue that lands in front of Congress from time to time as they consider too set new rules and regulations that are to crack down on sham schools. But the school lobbyist always intervene and convince them to let the market system work. Congress falls for it every time.

      Point #3) The Clintons have done exactly the same thing with there own investments into privet schools. Let’s see the Clintons talk about that.

      The end result is that rather than talking about issues, she is going to make this about Trump.

      The secret to propaganda is not in the lies they tell you, but in the truth that they don’t.

      1. Quantum Future

        The only cojent argument Clintons make regarding education or credit in general is to pass low interest rates along to consumers. It would help but less than:

        Understandng all of this has gone too far, debt restructure where bond holders (after 300% plus gains) take the haircut is the better option than stretching out term, a long term drag of productivity.

        Debt forgiveness as a remedy to bad policy sucks but worse is not restructuring and just simply stretching out the term with lowered interest rates. Better to have not arrived at this place but here we are. And the Clintons signed the bill to repeal Glass-Steagall. Otherwise, such bubbles in speculation would have been limited as decades past as with the negative consequences.

  19. Old dreamer on acid?

    I continue to dream that Hillary’s poll numbers will begin to drop like a super-hot potato and the DNC (as in the surgical procedure!) will become so scared that the Stuper delegates will all switch to Sanders at the Convolution.

  20. Phil

    Off topic: Hilary and her faults aside, Trump is a pure narcissist; he requires a constant stream of narcissistic supply; he *has* to parry in ways that keep that supply flowing. If he is pressed enough as the campaign proceeds – in ways that interrupt the supply, he might very well crack up. I don’t know if this will happen, but the press could play a major role in this is they would only stop letting Trump use them like rag dolls.

    For instance, looking at the Washington Post every morning over the last several months, it appears that Trump, not Bezos, owns that rag. The amount of space allocated to “Trump this and Trump that” is amazing – and from the perspective of any outsider with just $.02 worth of wisdom, amazingly stupid (unless all the WAPO cares about is ad revenue, which would be entirely possible)

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