‘America Deserves Better’

After the debate last night, one of the more common refrains was that America deserves better, America can do so much better, or the American People were the losers of this debate, and similar sentiments.

The simple answer is this: No, America does not deserve better.

Andrew Breitbart once said that politics is downstream from culture, so if one is wondering why our politics are in the gutter, the first place to look is upstream at the culture.

And what you’ll find there is a culture which has been in decline for decades now.

Earlier this morning, the Wall Street Journal had this piece about the debate in which the following was written in response to the outrage over the Trump Tapes last Friday:

Our email inbox is filled with Republicans saying this is a double standard because while Mr. Trump may talk like a lout, Bill Clinton acts like one and Hillary Clinton enables him. Oh, and Democrats still revere JFK, who was a sexual predator in the White House.

 

This is all true, and it is a bit much to see the same liberals who said Mr. Clinton’s actual exploitation of an intern was merely about sex, or who called Paula Jones trailer trash, now wax indignant about Mr. Trump’s bragging. The same moralists who celebrate misogyny in pop music and a sex-crazed culture are also conveniently outraged by a man who was marinated in that culture before he entered politics.

This is spot on. We have a culture which celebrates autotuned, dumbed down music as fine art, has no qualms with the ubiquity of pornography, and eschews personal responsibility, whether that be in the realm of our diets, our commitments to marriage vows, or any hardship which may befall us. We’ve gone from scoring a touchdown and handing the ball to the ref and high-fiving our teammates, to grown men twerking in the endzone.

I don’t say this to make judgements, as I’m far from perfect in any of these matters. I only say this to highlight the fact that a culture with an eroding morality, while at the same time allowing everyone with a pulse to participate in the political process, is going to end up with nothing more than mudfights.

If everyone is granted the same rights to vote, the only way to win over a majority is going to be through an appeal to emotion, going down to a base level which all of us can relate to regardless of our individual variations in intellect and education.

This is something many have failed to understand, particularly when analyzing Donald Trump. Based on your competitive college debate rules, Trump probably hasn’t won any of the debates he has participated in throughout this election cycle.

Actually, let me rephrase that.

Based on pre-cultural decline competitive college debate rules, Trump hasn’t won any of the debates he’s been in.

That isn’t because he doesn’t possess the intellectual rigor to debate on that level. It’s because he possesses the intellectual rigor to understand that the current electorate, with its almost negligible attention span, has no time for nuanced policy discussions.

Barack Obama didn’t win his candidacy in 2008 because he flawlessly opined about the intricacies of Wall Street regulation and cap and trade. He won because he kept saying ‘Hope and Change,’ and this tapped into an emotional vein commonly felt among millions of people. That was what carried him to the presidency.

The chattering classes understood this to a large degree back then (recall Chris Matthews tingling leg), but this time around they want to judge Trump on a highly technical policy wonk basis.

The rise of the ‘fact checker,’ more aptly described as pedantic geeks with little grasp of normal human expressions, such as sarcasm and facetiousness, is emblematic of the punditry missing the mark.

Nobody gives a shit if Trump ‘lied’ by saying that Clinton ‘acid washed’ her server, when she actually used ‘BleachBit.’ The point is that she tried to destroy evidence of wrongdoing, which itself constitutes wrongdoing. The ‘fact checker’s’ subsequent attempt to declare the entire argument invalid on such technicalities would be laughable, but for the fact these positions are elevated to legitimacy by a media pushing an agenda.

That Trump relentlessly blows through these sort of ‘fact checks’ is to them evidence of the absence of intellect in the Trump campaign as a whole. The reality is that Trump understands that disseminating truths and half truths with a dose of emotion embedded is far more effective.

If we’re going to have a culture which embodies the Marcuseian dictum of ‘whatever feels good is good,’ we shouldn’t be surprised that our politicians have evolved to be world class liars who specialize in lying to the public, ensuring their stranglehold on power by playing to that feelgood element.

Any politician who is honest, and was prepared to be principled on things such as the unsustainability of entitlements, wouldn’t last long in the politics game. So those lamenting the reality show nature of this election, I’d submit this: If you really want a Lincoln-Douglas level of debates, you need a Lincoln-Douglas electorate, with a Lincoln-Douglas grasp of the English language, and a moral and intellectual pedigree befitting that level.

Until you get there, stop moaning, and stop promoting cultural changes which advance the dumbing down of society.

 

 

 

Second Debate Review – Always Darkest Before the Don

Last week, speaking at a rally in Colorado, Donald Trump said the following, recounting his trials and tribulations during the early 1990s real estate crash:

In the early 1990’s, they splashed the front pages with stories about how Donald Trump — me, they said I was finished. Everyone said I was done. There were front page articles in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times, among many others. They were thrilled and delighted.

 

The only person that didn’t think I was in trouble was a guy named Donald J. Trump. I didn’t think I was in trouble, I didn’t know what they were talking about. The power of positive thinking.

The last 48 hours have been full of similar howls of glee from the mainstream media declaring the end of the Trump campaign, following the hot mic tapes from 2005. The GOP was pulling funding, countless Republican congressmen disavowed Trump. Pressure was on for Trump to drop out of the race. Pence was rumored to have wanted off the ticket. Paul Ryan invited Trump from an event in Wisconsin. The end was nigh.

This would have been true if the candidate was your standard GOP Republican. He would have folded and begged for forgiveness. Not Trump. Trump is made of different stuff, and he showed that in this debate tonight. He won, and won handily. This was evidenced by most of the mainstream media, predisposed to a Clinton victory, being forced to declare that it was a draw. Here are my thoughts, in no real order:

  1. The Bush tapes, and the subsequent framing of Trump as the ultimate misogynist opened the door for Trump to bring up the skeletons both Hillary and Bill Clinton have in this arena. Having said that, Trump was walking a fine line. If he went nuclear and reduced Hillary to tears, he’d have lost the argument, despite being right on the facts. When the debate started, Trump was rather ‘soft,’ apologizing for his comments on the hot mic, but reiterating that it was merely locker room talk. If it was up to Trump, it would have been left there. Even when Anderson Cooper outright accused him of sexual assault, Trump remained cool and stuck to his message. Clinton raised the stakes when she went on a lengthy soliloquy insinuating Trump was a bad person. Trump had no choice but to respond.

1a. Trump’s escalation was almost flawless. He established the point that words are meaningless, compared to actions. He then calmly went through the sordid history of Bill Clinton, and Hillary Clinton herself, acknowledging that their victims were present in the audience. (This was an absolutely devastating move by Trump. Bill Clinton, upon entering the venue looked as though he was walking to face a firing squad. Hillary was clearly unnerved early on in the debate as well.) Clinton had no answer for this. Trump threaded the needle by being forceful without coming off as a bully.

2. One of the most important lines of the night was when Trump checked the moderators, Anderson Cooper and Martha Raddatz, two obvious Clinton fans, with the quip ‘one on three,’ referring to the fact that both of them were on Clinton’s side. One of the themes I’ve been harping on is that the coordinated attacks on Trump from the media and political establishments would only be effective to a point, because the ganging up on Trump would end up with him looking a victim. There was a clear change in the way the moderators behaved after that. To be sure, they were argumentative with Trump and interrupted him more than Clinton. But Trump completely nullified any sort of future ‘gotcha’ moment or ‘fact checking’ crusade the moderators had planned because he subtly put it into the mind of the viewer that everyone was against him. Incredibly effective.

3. The Wikileaks and Email portion of the debate was probably the highlight of the night, and should Trump go on and become President, some of those clips will be replayed for decades. In response to a question about Clinton’s Wall Street speech transcripts, in which she said that politicians should have public and private positions on things, she gave the following answer:

Trump followed it up with this:

From this point on, Trump was unstoppable.

4. I suspect the media will run with this moment more than anything else in the coming hours and days:

Even in the comments to that video, there are charges of ‘fascism,’ because Trump is promising to go after Clinton should he win. These accusations couldn’t be further from the truth. Why that is would be too lengthy to get into here. Suffice to say that most of those on the left and GOPe accusing Trump of fascism are merely projecting. It’s Trump supporters who are getting beaten in the street, having their property vandalized and threatened, merely for being Trump supporters. It is Trump himself who is facing all sorts of dirty tricks from all angles, merely because he stands in opposition to and is a real threat to the establishment power dynamic. He put the fear of God into them all with that remark.

The theory that Hillary Clinton was never prosecuted by the FBI was because if Hillary went down, the whole power structure of the Beltway Elite were coming with her looks more plausible by the day. You can rest assured that Barack Obama will pardon Clinton before he goes, and Trump will actually clean DC.

5. Trump was at his weakest when talking about Syria. He is fundamentally right, mind; the Russians are not our enemy, despite Clinton’s protestations throughout the evening. Trump’s problem was more stylistic in nature. He was rambling a bit too much for my taste. He was correct to blatantly disagree with Pence’s position. Pence holds the incorrect GOPe and Clinton view that the Russians are our enemy. Even though that will be another big talking point on TV, he was right to stand his ground.

6.  Further evidence that Trump won handily came in the shape of CNN being caught rigging an ‘unbiased’ focus group after the event:

It also released a ‘scientific’ poll made up of 58% Clinton supporters.

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Again, they came right out and declared that the polling group was made up of 58% Clinton supporters, and declared with a straight face that this ‘scientific’ poll showed Clinton won the debate 57-34. This disingenuous bullshit is being repeated on Twitter, attempting to fool the people into thinking that merely inserting the word ‘scientific’ into a description of a poll makes it accurate, or representative of anything. ‘Polls’ like these, and the ones using heavy D samples are simply meant to demoralize Trump supporters into thinking that he has no chance. The onslaught of coordinated fear and rumors over the Bush Tape was a clear example of that as well. And people wonder why the mainstream media is dying.

7. Finally, all of the GOPe weaklings, Paul Ryan the most prominent, need to hang their heads in shame. They’ve been exposed, yet again for the world to see. While President Obama ran roughshod over them for 8 years, they stood there and took it, not lifting a finger to advance the interests of the American People who put them in position to do just that. Yet, the minute someone says rather uncouth things on tape, or elsewhere, the knives come out.

The Paul Ryans, Ben Sasses, Mitt Romneys, and Jeb Bushes of the world are a dying breed of politician. Their deceit and backstabbing will never be forgotten. As for Trump, what he has accomplished as a political neophyte will be studied for the next 200 years, win or lose. He can celebrate his victory tonight, but the GOPe/Democrat/Media coalition, the Political Industrial Complex will not rest. We will see more polls with heavier and heavier Democrat samples. We’ll see more hit jobs, perhaps more smear attempts such as the Bush tapes. This behemoth won’t quit, because it is fighting for its survival.

 

P***y Riot 2: More Thoughts

Upon thinking further about the Trump Tape fiasco and the Podesta emails, I’ve got some things to add to my original post, in no particular order.

  1. The fact that these two events took place is telling:

Telling because it confirms that Trump has legit support, and that support isn’t being shaken by this latest smear campaign by the media

2. There are rumors on Twitter that it was the GOP establishment who leaked it. I don’t really buy that as of yet, but it were to be confirmed it wouldn’t be a surprise. Regardless, the way several of the GOPe members of House and Senate reacted, in unison to disavow Trump highlighted several things. First it highlighted that they were never on board with Trump in the first place. On a more basic level it highlights their hypocrisy, weakness, while confirming them as backstabbers. It underlines one of the main themes of the election, which is that Trump is a true outsider fighting against both the Republican and Democrat establishment, as well as a mainstream media. All 3 of those actors are set to have their influence neutered, if not destroyed completely by a Trump presidency, and this renders their actions in circling the wagons against Trump unsurprising.

3. Whether this hurts Trump, and how much is an open question. In the cold light of day, this is a nonsensical issue, tabloid fodder. Trump spoke in an uncouth manner, but there is no man on earth who hasn’t spoken in such an ‘ugly’ manner when it’s just the guys. Politics isn’t based on rational thought however, and as such Trump might be facing a hit. this is especially true because his ‘scandal,’ and indeed all of his ‘scandals’ to date have been much more visceral and emotional sounding than Clinton’s.

The ease in which encapsulating a ‘MISOGYNIST/SEXIST/EVIL/HITLER/BIGOT’ into an easily remembered sentence or phrase compared with the relative complexity in describing Clinton’s unending corruption and active humiliation and intimidation of Bill Clinton’s rape victims, not to mention her ‘dream’ of a borderless North America and executive ordered castration of the 2nd Amendment, renders Trump’s scandals more damaging, despite being not even being real scandals in the first place. Trump will have to overcome this.

4. One plus for Trump is that he was a known playboy from the start. He was never one of these Evangelical holier-than-thou politicians. As such this sort of revelation doesn’t do that much harm because it is congruent to who he is. Americans hate phony, and tape confirming what we already knew about Trump solidifies his authenticity. For all the people who might be scared away from him, others may be drawn in because he is ‘real,’ and have themselves engaged in that sort of boorish behavior themselves.

5. I can’t stress the contempt I have for the media for pulling this stunt, and others. They promote all sorts of sexual deviance, push pedophilia, push for things like mandatory sex education elementary school children about sex, yet cry bloody murder over tape of Trump being an alpha male. It’s a disgrace, which suggests to me there is an element of desperation in their tactics. The media, being part of the establishment triumvirate which wants Trump gone is stepping up its assault because Trump is too close for comfort. As I mentioned before his support is real. Having not been demoralized by a barrage of polls with unrealistic Democrat samples, the media is trying to go after Trump in this underhanded manner.

6. Related to that is an idea I’ve talked about before – the risk of the media and Clinton overplaying their hand. For a start, the MISOGYNIST/SEXIST/RACIST/BIGOT argument isn’t a real argument, it’s a slander. It works, however, owing to the issue I raised in point 3 about irrationality in politics. These hit pieces work because play on emotion. In 2016, this has been the vast majority of the attack, which is dangerous because at some stage people will get tired of it. The blatant nature of the Trump Tape attack has a decent chance of backfiring because a large percentage of people will see it for what it is – a low blow. It’ll turn Trump into an almost sympathetic figure, which might make him even stronger.

7. The debate Sunday night is going to be for all the marbles. I have no clue how Trump will play it, but early indications are he is preparing for war. If he ‘goes there’ with Clinton, he has to get it right. But even if he doesn’t, the entire debate has to be about Trump holding Clinton to the fire for her failures. It is possible the Trump Tape attack was a wad shot too early, done as a counter attack to the Podesta emails. The latter will be a slow burn, while most of the life of these Trump Tapes has already run its course. By the end of Sunday night, the debate will take over as the main talking point, along with the further digestion of the Podesta emails.

8. As I’ve said numerous times, Trump has given Americans a true choice for the first time since perhaps the 1980 election. If Americans want to eschew that real change because it comes in a boorish package, the so be it. But I prefer a p***y monger to an open border, globalist warmonger.

 

 

 

The Trump Tax ‘Bombshell’

Last night, the New York Times continued its attack on Donald Trump by dropping this ‘bombshell,’ publishing a leaked copy of part of Trump’s 1995 tax returns.

Here’s the bottom line: Trump declared a loss of over $900 million in 1995. By law, one is allowed to carry forward losses in one year to future years, which reflects the simple fact that the life cycle of a business doesn’t necessarily line up perfectly with the date.

In other words, if a business has a $5 million loss in one year, and a $6 million profit in the next, during the year with the losses, no taxes were paid. In the year in which the profit was made, the profits from the prior year is ‘carried forward,’ to reflect the fact that the business made a $1 million profit across two years. The IRS allows one to apply losses for up to 18 years, as long as it exceeds income made over that time.

Nothing about this is illegal, or even uncontroversial. The guy who owns a dry cleaner at your local strip mall faces these issues.

Yet the NYT used intentionally misleading language for the sole purpose of duping a misinformed electorate into thinking Trump has somehow gamed the system at the expense of the little guy.

The title of the piece itself is ‘Trump Tax Records Obtained by The Times Reveal He Could Have Avoided Paying Taxes for Nearly Two Decades.’ The use of the word ‘avoided’ is intentional, suggesting Trump did something sneaky. The bottom line is you don’t pay taxes on a loss, so Trump didn’t ‘avoid’ anything.

The piece spends a great deal of time talking about how the loss represented a devastation and heartbreak for those affected, while Trump was able to skate through unscathed because of extraordinary tax privileges apparently only he was privy to.

The truth is that the real estate industry was decimated in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Plenty of developers were devastated in a similar fashion to Trump. The difference was that Trump was the most high profile of the developers at the time, and as such his business trials and tribulations were in the public domain. To the extent he was fortunate lies in the fact that most developers would have been totally wiped out by a near $1 billion loss. Trump wasn’t, because he convinced the banks to work with him, so he didn’t have to liquidate all of the holdings he had already built up. Call it luck, or great negotiating, but that’s what happened. Nothing nefarious.

Yet, it will play that way to the average voter, for whom these sort of dealings are completely foreign. The concept of carrying forward a loss won’t resonate with them, and therefore they’ll be amenable to the Clinton spin that Trump is bilked the public for years.

It also represents an opportunity for Trump if indeed Clinton/the media keeps playing this line. It will almost surely come up in the next debate, at which time Trump needs to point blank state that there was nothing controversial, let alone illegal about what happened. The fact that the Clinton campaign and the media are portraying it that way can only mean one of two things.

One possibility is they do not understand even the most basic of tax law, accounting, and general business, and therefore cannot be expected to understand anything about creating jobs. Why would Clinton or the media understand anything about business or the economy, given Clinton has only worked in the public sector and the NYT’s support of failed neoliberal Keynesian economics?

The other possibility is brazen dishonesty, in knowing the average voter takes much better to a simple ‘Trump avoided taxes!’ one liner than the far lengthier, legal and accounting arguments such as what I’ve put forth here.

Furthering the dishonesty angle, there is a potential legal issue here involving the NYT releasing the leaked tax information. The Washington Post discusses it here.

So in a twist of irony, the NYT may have broken the law…to show that Donald Trump followed the law in his tax dealings. And people wonder why the mainstream media is failing.

They’re even bragging about the whole thing. The author of the piece has just written this article, breaking down the events leading to the piece. The way she describes it one could think she had solved the Jimmy Hoffa mystery rather than a data point corroborating an old saga that we already knew. Trump literally wrote a book about this period in his life, The Art of the Comeback.

The fact the leak came from Trump Tower itself is also rather intriguing. Did Trump himself leak the documents, so as to control the narrative, which he is known to do? The next few days should answer that.

Trump could use this saga to his advantage rather easily. It has been public information for decades that Trump had losses in the billions in the early 90s. Yet he is here, richer than ever. Losses happen, especially in business. But to be down on the mat, and then get up and triumph, is America in a nutshell. And this is precisely what Trump is trying to do with the country as a whole. The country is down, and trying to get back on its feet, and then some. Trump has been there, done that.

The indignation over Trump’s honest failures, compared with the silent acceptance of the dishonest enrichment of the Clintons stands as one of the clearest examples of what this election is all about. Because Clinton is on the ‘right side of history’ in terms of social justice nonsense that plagues the nation, her sins are forgiven, while Trump credits are manufactured into sins because of his resistance to the march of social justice.

Reality Doesn’t Care About Feelings, Volume 4 – The Larger Importance of the Machado Saga

Donald Trump further addressed the Alicia Machado saga yesterday with a series of early morning tweets on the matter:

The conventional political wisdom is that Trump stepped in a well laid trap that Hillary Clinton set for him. What he should have done was largely ignored the situation, maybe dealing with it in one abrupt sentence and then pivoting to something else. I think that this is a special case for a few reasons.

First, recall that it was Hillary Clinton who introduced Alicia Machado into the public conscience at the debate:

Hillary Clinton’s candidacy has been more an anti Trump plea than a pro Hillary one. The vast majority of her case has been ‘vote for Clinton because Trump is a sexist bigot.’ The use of Machado in this manner is entirely to buttress that argument. Machado is to be the smoking gun that proves Trump is a sexist, and thus Trump is disqualified.

Yes, in reality this IS side issue. But since Clinton has made such side issues central to her argument, it was necessary for Trump to address it, in my view. Had he let it slide, Clinton would have been able to parade Machado out constantly over the next month or so in an effort to influence the public with her sob story.

Furthermore, Trump is 100% in the right on this issue. For a start, the claim that he called her ‘Miss Piggy’ and ‘Miss Housewife’ are totally unsubstantiated claims. It is only Machado who is pushing that story. The background to the whole thing as follows:

  • Trump owned the Miss Universe pageant, which Machado won in 1996, the year before Trump bought it.
  • Machado then proceeded to gain weight, about 50-60 pounds.
  • The sponsors, and Miss Universe wanted to fire her, because the weight gain was in violation of her contractual obligations 
  • Trump stepped in and saved Machado’s job, by giving her a chance to lose the weight.
  • Trump made a media spectacle about it, in which he joked about his own weight problems, while addressing the serious issue that faces us all in this regard. It is below:

That was it. Now, 20 years later, Clinton has put Machado forth as the star witness in the prosecution of Trump’s sexism.

The problem for Clinton is that the credibility of Machado has now become an issue, and rightly so if she is going to be cast in this role as star witness.

In 1998 Machado allegedly drove a getaway car from a murder scene in Venezuela. She then used her connections to drug dealers to allegedly threaten the life of the judge in the case. Less criminally, she appeared on a Spanish reality show and had sex on camera with another castmate – who was not Bobby Abreu, the baseball player she was engaged to at the time. She also had the child of a Mexican Drug Lord, who is an American citizen by virtue of being born here.

Machado also claimed that because of Trump, she developed an eating disorder that is still with her today. However, in this Washington Post article, she clearly describes her problems with eating before having won the competition, which means it was before she had even met Trump, who did not purchase the pageant until a year later:

“I was anorexic and bulimic, but almost all of us are,” Machado says without so much as a blink. “When I was preparing for Miss Universe, it was an obsession for me to not gain weight. By the time I won, I was actually recovering. But the year leading to it, I didn’t eat at all. And whatever I ate, I threw up. I weighed 116 pounds when I won. I was skeletal.”

In response to all of this being brought up, Machado had this to say in defense:

“He can say whatever he wants to say. I don’t care,” she emphatically stated. “You know, I have my past, of course. Everybody has a past, and I’m not a saint girl, but that is not the point now.”

 

“That moment in Venezuela was wrong, was another speculation about my life because I’m a really famous person in my country because I’m an actress there and in Mexico, too,” she continued. “And he can use whatever he wants to use. The point is, that happened 20 years ago.”

In short, Machado, an individual with a questionable past and shaky moral values, told a story which is uncorroborated, and then told a provable lie which goes to the heart of the very story she is trying to tell. Ye she is being treated like an ‘angel’ as Trump put it his tweet.

While it is true that everyone has a past, most people’s pasts don’t include being involved in murders and judge intimidation. Furthermore, we are actually supposed to absolve her from being involved with a murder and judge intimidation simply because it was 20 years ago. Yet, we are supposed to crucify Donald Trump for allegedly calling a woman fat…20 years ago.

It boggles the mind of anyone with the slightest bit of rationality, which explains why the mainstream media decided to go all in and bat for Clinton/Machado.

The NYT wrote the following about the allegation that Machado appeared in a sex tape:

Ms. Machado appeared in a risqué scene on a reality television show, but fact-checkers have discovered no sex tape.

I’ll allow Paul Joseph Watson to explain why this nonsense stretches credulity.

Even more hilariously, the mainstream media has dug up this video of Trump from 2000:

The video was part of a 2000 Playboy softcore film. This is seemingly the intro sequence or something, I’m not entirely sure. What it shows is Trump welcoming Playboy models to New York City by pouring champagne on a limousine on a public NYC street in broad daylight, everyone fully clothed. And this is being cited as evidence of Trump as an ‘adult film star.’ A Clinton spokesperson said this:

There’s been a lot of talk about sex tapes today, and in a strange turn of events, only one adult film has emerged today, and its star is Donald Trump.

In short:

Knowingly having sex on film which is to be publicly aired = not a sex tape

Pouring champagne on a limousine in a public street, fully clothed = adult film star

The Big Picture

I’ve painstakingly gone through these details to show what a bizarro, upside down clown world we currently live in. As long as you are a person with views outside the politically correct, establishment approved norms, you are subject to having this sort of treatment foisted upon you.

And this is the larger aspect of the Machado saga. The fact that these sort of nonsensical forays into identity politics are a staple of political campaigns is something that needs to be nipped in the bud. While other politicians of lesser fortitude would have allowed themselves to be bullied by these tactics, I commend Trump for standing up to ambushes like these, because at the end of the day they do nothing but insult the intelligence of the average person.

By virtue of Clinton dramatically introducing Machado to the world on a Presidential Debate sage in front of 100 million people, backed by a complicit media which had Machado puff pieces and TV interview spots at the ready, this was always intended to be a big campaign issue. The aim was to turn women away from Trump en masse. If Trump is able to successfully combat this pathetic mode of political attack, he might render it useless in the future, to the benefit of the political discourse of this country generally.

Beyond politics, tactics like this are meant to silence. In the context of who deserves to be president, whether Trump called a woman fat years ago has no relevance. Yet is being presented in order to push the narrative of ‘sexism,’ which in turn is a weapon wielded by leftists in order to silence dissent. In the current climate, all one has to do is utter the word ‘sexist’ or ‘bigot,’ and you win the argument by criminalizing the opposition. Trump exposing the media and Clinton engaging in this intellectually lazy behavior will benefit the country culturally.

That Clinton would even pull this sort of early ‘October Surprise,’ with such a terribly flawed case and terribly flawed ‘victim’ could smack of desperation. But beyond this, for it to work would require female voters to discount the list of women Clinton allegedly intimidated to stay silent about Bill Clinton’s mistreatment of them. It would require female voters to discount the incompetence shown in allowing 4 Americans to die in Benghazi, the corruption and cronyism alleged in the Cinton Foundation and Wall Street speeches, which allowed the Clintons to go from ‘dead broke’ to having a net worth in the hundreds of millions. Female voters would have to discount the incompetence and/or outright criminality involved in deleting emails from a private server which held classified government information, her complicity in thrusting the United States in to foreign war after foreign war costing thousands of lives and creating chaos in the Middle East and an unprecedented migrant crisis, all while accepting money from countries with atrocious records with respect to the treatment of women. Female voters would have to side with a media establishment which blatantly covers for and aids Clinton in her bid for the presidency, because it’s ‘her turn.’

All because Trump may or may not have called a woman Miss Piggy 20 years ago.

 

 

Thoughts on The First Debate

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump debated each other for the first time on Monday night. Here are my thoughts after a couple days:

I watched the debate through the lens of the political pundit, and from that vantage point, Clinton beat Trump slightly. She was more coherent, and thus made more sense. The problem was that there was very little in the way of substance. It was all political inanities, and thus they didn’t hold any weight. The memorable lines she had were mostly zingers, which made for good TV, but didn’t really do much to attract a new audience, in my opinion.

Trump was rather disappointing from that political pundit lens. He rambled, and was repetitive at times which made him a bit incoherent. He interrupted Clinton and the moderator, Lester Holt quite a bit which made him seem combative. In his defense, both candidates forced Trump on the defensive by picking at some of his known personal flaws. Trump, to his credit, wanted to give his side of the story on every single point, but in doing so, he took up too much time and thus spent too little time attacking Clinton’s major flaws.

Having said that, Trump was at his best in the beginning of the debate, and got in the best exchange of the night when he put Hillary Clinton’s feet to the fire over her and Bill Clinton’s support of NAFTA and TPP:

He was also very strong when he reminded the country that Hillary Clinton has been in politics for decades, and none of the problems the country has can be fixed:

Thus, despite a less than ideal performance stylistically, Trump still ended up getting a defined message across, a message which is obviously in opposition to Clintion’s message, or lack thereof. This was one of the most important things, in my view. He established himself to new viewers as the change candidate, explicitly noting that Clinton’s experience was plentiful, but ‘bad’ experience, and thus useless.

As I said before, I thought Trump lost through the lens of the political pundit, but from the lens of the undecided voter, or individual who was seeing Trump for the first time, Trump probably made a decent impression. This is because those voters walked in expecting him to be a complete buffoon who thinks Africa is a country.

As mentioned earlier, Trump was able to put forward a clear message as opposed to tired political inanities. His specific references to the decimation of states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Michigan when talking about trade is far more effective than Clinton’s bland talk about an economy ‘working for all.’ In other words, Trump spoke to individuals, Clinton to a generic voting bloc.

According to Scott Adams, Trump had a successful debate because he showed the country that he wasn’t an absolute madman, as portrayed by the mainstream media. :

But the most interesting question has to do with what problem both of them were trying to solve with the debate. Clinton tried to look healthy, and as I mentioned, I don’t think she completely succeeded. But Trump needed to solve exactly one problem: Look less scary. Trump needed to counter Clinton’s successful branding of him as having a bad temperament to the point of being dangerous to the country. Trump accomplished exactly that…by…losing the debate.

 

Trump was defensive, and debated poorly at points, but he did not look crazy. And pundits noticed that he intentionally avoided using his strongest attacks regarding Bill Clinton’s scandals. In other words, he showed control. He stayed in the presidential zone under pressure. And in so doing, he solved for his only remaining problem. He looked safer.

 

By tomorrow, no one will remember what either of them said during the debate. But we will remember how they made us feel.

On that last point, Adams is absolutely correct. I’ll go one step further, and say that by the second half of the debate, most people were tuning out and thus couldn’t tell you what was said even 20 seconds later. I know I was zoning out, mostly messing about on Twitter while listening in the background.

As far is Trump seeming less scary, Adams is right. While Trump was combative, as I stated, he was mostly on the defensive. But more importantly, there was no ‘Little Marco’ or ‘tough guy Jeb’ moment. He didn’t go nuclear on Clinton although he could have when she left the door wide open for him to do so. On top of this, the fact that he was able to go toe to toe with Clinton without any major flubs, missteps, not knowing basic facts, etc, was a win for him, given the expectations that he would be exposed in this setting against Clinton.

All in all, he did well for his first one on one debate on that elevated of a stage.

That hasn’t stopped the media from trying to invent a scandal where there was none. Enter Alicia Machado, the Venezuelan Miss Universe winner from 1996. Hillary Clinton brought her up at the end of the debate out of nowhere to highlight how poorly Trump treats women. Clinton said that he called her ‘Miss Piggy’ and ‘Miss Housewife,’ berating her because she had gained weight after the pageant. Recall that Trump had owned the Miss Universe pageant at the time.

Clinton’s aim of course, was to use Machado to highlight how poorly Trump treats women, thus painting him as a sexist. On its face, it is a tired, old political smear tactic. As I’ve mentioned in before, this appeal to an identity group (in this case women), is slowly falling on deaf ears. Yet, politicians and professional victims are resorting to these tactics more than ever.

But even beyond this, the claim is ridiculous. For a start, Machado, having won the Miss Universe crown, took on added contractual obligations as a result. Her gaining 50 pounds was not a good look. That’s just a fact. If you win a prize because of your beauty and physical attractiveness, there is nothing wrong with being asked to maintain that form for future endorsements, which were based solely on that physical form.

She didn’t do it, and thus was about to be dropped from her endorsements and obligations. It was Trump who didn’t want to let her go, and thus gave her the option to get in shape. This video from CNN explains the whole story.

In true Trump style, he made a public event over Miss Universe working out to get back into shape. As you can see in the video, everyone there is making light of the situation. Maybe things were different off camera. But you can’t fake the warm interaction between Trump and Machado captured here. Honestly, if you an find evidence of Trump’s extreme misogyny here, you must truly be a miserable person.

And this is all before going into Machado’s rather colorful past.

Yet the media, almost across the board, went in on this story in the 48 hours after the debate. Machado did the rounds, appearing on Good Morning America, CNN, Megyn Kelly, and others. The print media salivated, and the political pundits wailed about Trump the way the usually have.

This episode highlights why the mainstream media is sliding further and further into irrelevancy. It’s like they don’t understand that we, as the public, have access to the internet, an can dig all the way down the source material, thereby highlighting lies, obfuscations and narratives driven by out of context remarks, and so forth. Yet the media keeps on keeping on. They truly know nothing else.

 

Weekend Reading, Plus Debate Preview

First, the debate:

Pat Buchanan thinks Trump can win the debate if he merely exceeds the very low bar which has been set for him:

With only a year in national politics, he does not have to show a mastery of foreign and domestic policy details. Rather, he has to do what John F. Kennedy did in 1960, and what Ronald Reagan did in 1980.

 

He has to meet and exceed expectations, which are not terribly high. He has to convince a plurality of voters, who seem prepared to vote for him, that he’s not a terrible risk, and that he will be a president of whom they can be proud.

 

He has to show the country a Trump that contradicts the caricature created by those who dominate our politics, culture and press.

I tend to agree. This debate is almost entirely about Trump. He is the reason behind all the hype, he is the reason why there will be potentially a Super Bowl level audience. At the same time, he has a higher burden of proof. Right now, the substantial portion of the electorate that is on the fence with him has concerns over his ‘temperament.’ He has been made out to be a loose cannon that will go off at the slightest provocation. Some have intimated that the next major global conflict may arise because of a Tweet.

Trump is also made out to be totally clueless when it comes to policy, in particular foreign policy. These narratives have more or less stuck to Trump, and his success has come in spite of them. The debate offers Trump the opportunity to show the nation that he is taking the office of the presidency seriously. He has to show some basic awareness of the global situation around the world, avoiding a Gary Johnson Aleppo situation.

Stylistically, Trump would do well to avoid the bombast that was a feature of his Republican debates. This is not because it is a negative in and of itself, but because it is overkill. It feeds into the narrative that he is a loose cannon. If Clinton tries to play it tough, in an attempt to show she isn’t afraid to back down to ‘bullies,’ Trump turning the tables and being the smiling charmer that he can be would be devastating.

If Clinton reverts to her natural Typical Politician demeanor, Trump might have to be a bit tougher. He will have to be careful though, due to his reputation and because of the fact that Clinton is a woman. Despite the feminist Strong Independent Woman rhetoric which underpins her candidacy, there’s no doubt in my mind that the ‘sexism’ card will be used if Trump is seen in any way as bullying. Indeed, Obama intimated that it was sexism that was the only reason the election is close.

A word on the moderator, Lester Holt. Due to the fact that the media is in opposition to Trump, I expect the debates to be a Hillary + moderator tag team versus Trump. Undoubtedly, Hillary Clinton, along with Holt, will attempt to play on the loose cannon narrative in an attempt to create some sort of memorable moment of Trump exploding. Trump will score a major blow if he explicitly points this out in real time. There will surely be a moment when the moderator tries to go out of bounds to get Trump. It may be some sort of obscure historical fact, or digging up an old tweet or Trump quote in an interview. If Trump is able to get through this moment, and even reframe it to his advantage,  it’ll be a win.

As for the substance, Hillary Clinton will obviously be more ‘informed,’ in the sense that she is far more skilled at delivering memorized, focus group tested, inane political talking points than Trump is. In comparison, Trump will sound less scholarly.

This won’t matter as long as Trump sticks to his main messaging, perhaps reminding the public that all of the knowledge Clinton and those of her ilk possess has had disastrous real world results in the Middle East, the economy and elsewhere. All talk no action.

Personally, I believe the mainstream media will declare Clinton the winner, no matter what happens, apart from a health issue on her part.

Other Things to Read this Weekend:

An accurate take on the recent goings on in the Syria Conflict:

What happened in Syria is painfully obvious: the Pentagon sabotaged the deal made between Kerry and Lavrov and when the Pentagon was accused of being responsible, it mounted a rather crude false flag attack and tried to blame it on the Russians.

 

All this simply goes to show that the Obama Administration is in a state of confused agony.  The White House apparently is so freaked out at the prospects of a Trump victory in November that it has basically lost control of its foreign policy in general and, especially, in Syria.  The Russians are quite literally right: the Obama Administration is truly “not-agreement-capable”.

 

Of course, the fact that the Americans are acting like clueless frustrated children does not mean that Russia will reciprocate in kind.  We have already seen Lavrov go back and further negotiate with Kerry.  Not because the Russians are naive, but precisely because, unlike their US colleagues, the Russians are professionals who know that negotiations and open lines of communications are always, and by definition, preferable to a walk-away, especially when dealing with a superpower.  Those observers who criticize Russia for being “weak” or “naive” simply project their own, mostly American, “reaction set” on the Russians and fail to realize the simply truth that Russians are not Americans, they think differently and they act differently.

Staying in the vein of American interventions, some Libyans are starting to regret the backing of the US in getting rid of Gaddafi:

As stated by Libyan medical student, Salem:

 

“We thought things would be better after the revolution, but they just keep getting worse and worse.

 

“Far more people have been killed since 2011 than during the revolution or under 42 years of Gaddafi’s rule combined.

 

“We never had these problems under Gaddafi.

 

“There was always money and electricity and, although people did not have large salaries, everything was cheap, so life was simple.

 

“Some of my friends have even taken the boat to Europe with the migrants because they feel there is no future for them here.

 

“I would like to escape this mess and study abroad but I have been waiting a year for a new passport and, even when I do get one, it will be hard to get a visa because all the embassies left in 2014.

 

“So now I feel like a prisoner in my own country. And I have started to hate my own country.”

From the consistently good Jefferey Snider at Alhambra: Like Everything Else, History Repeats (Almost Exactly) Because Power Truly Corrupts:

As with almost everything with regard to global monetary policies, the Fed merely copied the Bank of Japan with about a decade lag (give or take a few years). The idea of “lower for longer” wasn’t made in the USA, it was designed and first implemented overseas by the Japanese. Every policy statement since the FOMC’s December rate decision could have easily just reprinted what I quoted above.

 

And US monetary officials are making the same mistake the Japanese made; they would only get as far as a second rate hike in early 2007 because of it. The reason is the same as now – they mistook the absence of contraction as if it were the start of stable, renewed growth. Not paying any attention to actual monetary conditions, it didn’t matter how narrow the data was in furtherance of that interpretation; BoJ policymakers saw what they wanted to see and used that as if the appropriate standard. In their case it was the CPI back on the plus side (but only temporarily), while in the US since 2014 it has been the official unemployment rate that excludes far too many.

Speaking history repeating, Fannie and Freddie are reverting to housing boom tactics to spur on home buying:

Stop me if you’ve heard this one before, but Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are lowering mortgage standards.  On Monday, the two government-backed housing giants revealed a new program designed to boost mortgage origination among first time buyers and those with low to medium incomes. The new program, which will initially be limited two non-bank lenders, will allow borrowers to include the income of residents that aren’t actually on the mortgage, as well as make it easier for borrowers to include income from second jobs.

 

While these changes may strike some as sensible, anyone who has seen The Big Short would have valid concerns in the oversight of these looser lending standards – especially when you consider that the companies responsible for mortgage origination will not be the ones holding the mortgages, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will. It’s always easier to make loans when you know the taxpayers are the ones that will be holding the ris

 

 

Authenticity vs. Focus Group Approved Bureaucracy – The Choice is Yours

In yesterday’s post, I wrote the following about Trump’s unorthodox campaign, and why it was a bonus rather than a hinderance:

Trump has completely thrown that [conventional campaign] playbook out the window, and perhaps forever changed the way campaigns are run. Instead of doing huge ad buys, he interacts with his 20+ million followers on Facebook and Twitter. Because of the increasing move from TV to social media among the populace, these impressions are likely to have more of an impact than any ad buy would. It is well known that more and more people get their news from their Facebook feeds rather than the 6 o’clock evening news.

 

This means that in going directly to the people, with a much more robust message, Trump can circumvent the media and its gatekeepers. This, combined with the fact Trump has a more concrete message has meant that his campaign is having a much more profound impact on people. In comparison, the Clinton campaign’s traditional strategy of 30 second ads full of regurgitated soundbites are easily dismissed, if they are even seen at all by a public which is watching less TV in the first place.

 

To be sure, there are a few Trump-specific features to his campaign that make his robustness possible. The bottom line is that the public is starting to tire heavily of the DC class in general, which renders the hundreds of millions the Clinton campaign has and will spend utterly meaningless.

 

If Hillary loses, the fact that she is a walking stereotype of DC politicians will be the biggest reason as to why. Moreover, being that way for the best part of 30 years in public life, Hillary Clinton can’t change. That is simply who she is, a dying breed of politician. Even if she does manage to scrape by, she will probably be the last of her kind.

Almost straight away, I ran into this article in the Washington Examiner detailing the differences between Trump and Clinton’s social media game, which affirmed much of what I said yesterday:

In just a year, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and his close-knit family and team of social media warriors have shattered Internet records, collecting over 30 million followers and fans and generating billions of views, according to a Secrets analysis.

 

 

“The success to our social media is all Mr. Trump and his messaging. What sets his social media apart from the rest is simple — since day one, he has been directly involved and he LOVES communicating with the American people,” a top aide emailed.

A small team, communicating a distinct message directly to the people. It helps that the message is one that cuts rather deep, but that is beside the point. On the reach he is getting, the article points to his nearly 30 million followers on various social media accounts:

That’s a total reach of over 30 million. And just looking at Facebook activity, the campaign has registered 11.5 billion impressions.

 

By comparison, Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton, who has had a decade of experience developing an online network, has fewer followers than Trump. And even when including her popular daughter’s followers and the huge network former President Bill Clinton has, her reach is still short of Trump’s.

 

Scavino said that Trump’s fast startup is historic. “It has never been seen before. It will never be seen again. His social media platforms outperform those of Fortune 50 companies.”

Many pundits have pointed to the fact that Hillary Clinton has a ‘deep bench’ of surrogates, including the last two Democratic presidents, the current vice president, First Lady, former Democratic nominee and various A list celebrities. Meanwhile Trump has lukewarm support from the top brass in the Republican party, and virtually no support from the ‘old guard,’ such as the Bush family and former nominee Mitt Romney.

That would be well good for Hillary Clinton if the electorate as a whole was still transfixed by the allure of slick Beltway politicians pushing Politics as Usual on the masses. By all accounts, the electorate is growing weary of that lot, and is amenable to a candidate who goes to the people. In 2016, the way to do that is through social media, and the Trump campaign is clearly ahead of the curve here.

And it’s all being done without the huge social media team Clinton and others in the political world, like the White House, have. Clinton, for example, has at least 100 staffers working social media platforms for her. Trump has 131 total staffers for the whole campaign, according to Federal Election Commission records.

 

At Trump Tower it’s basically the Trump family, with Scavino on the road putting out news and features about events as they happen from Trump Force One.

Just in case you needed yet another example of the efficiency gulf between a businessman versus a bureaucrat. Trump is getting more done with a handful of people than Clinton is doing with hundreds. Just like in the primary, when Jeb Bush spent more to earn 1 of his 3 delegates than Trump did to earn all 1400+ of his. A good message is superior to money, prestige or name brand politicians. This is perhaps the most satisfying part of the campaign.

“We do not have consultants to review messages. We don’t have focus groups, to get their reactions to messaging. We don’t have a public relations firm, like Hillary, where we spend millions of dollars on ‘PR’ to craft messaging. We don’t have 15 people viewing each and every post — before it goes out. We don’t have more consultants crafting additional messaging, should Plan A not work out. We don’t have 45++ staffers working on executing posts via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and now Snapchat — it’s just me with Mr. Trump traveling the United States of America,” said Scavino.

One of the scourges of the modern age has been the obsession with putting forth a ‘polished’ appearance, in many cases at the expense of substance. This is not to say that appearance is meaningless, far from it. But the hyper focus on appearances has left much of politics extremely stale and boring. Politics has devolved to a battle of the best crafty sound bite one can muster. This has created a class of consultants and PR experts who get paid handsome sums to put forth the perfect message.

The problem with that perfect message is that it has to be utterly forgettable. If you can’t say this because it will offend one group, and can’t say that because it will offend another, you’re left with extremely boring messages like ‘Stronger Together,’ which ultimately mean absolutely nothing.

Conversely, while Trump has said ‘controversial’ things, at the very least he’s made people think, and have serious dialogues about certain issues. Trump understands that you can’t please everyone, so there’s no point trying. You go with what you think is right, and the let the rest take care of itself.

Fraying Nerves – Leftists Are Fearing the Worst: A Trump Victory

The increased gnashing of teeth among various leftists over the last week or so is indicative of fraying nerves. As we head into the debates, Hillary Clinton has had her substantial summer lead at the very least dwindle in most polls, and outright flip to a Trump lead in others. Officially, the election is currently a dead heat, but my feeling is that the tide has turned for Trump.

I suspect some on the left are starting to feel this as well, and they are not happy about it. It possibly starts all the way at the top, with Clinton herself. Consider this video today, which went viral:

I’m not sure what that video is from. I suspect it was some sort of private message to a group of donors, perhaps unions. Whatever it is, it obviously wasn’t meant for public consumption. That said, even if it wasn’t it isn’t a good showing for Clinton. She starts out speaking in a normal, if elevated tone when speaking about Trump and his aversion to unions. Then, out of nowhere, she starts screaming, wondering aloud why she isn’t ’50 points points ahead.’

The random escalation in tone, when she is speaking in a room by herself as opposed to a rally crowd, is absurd looking on its face. It just screams ‘crazy.’ That, combined with her subject matter, her disbelief that she hasn’t blown Trump away, is telling. It suggests that she expected this election to be a cakewalk. She thought that all she had to do was show up to a few events per month, talk about how ‘racist’ Trump is, sit back, relax, and prepare for her coronation in January. That isn’t how it’s gone, and she is clearly upset about it.

Of course, she still might be right. At the very least, however, Trump has made things too close for comfort for Clinton and her supporters on the left.

Some, like Charles Lane in the Washington Post article seeks to take an more measured approach to understanding why Trump is maintaining his appeal:

Why do so many Americans support Trump despite months and months of negative, truthful coverage about him?

 

To be sure, there has been too much media puffery about Trump, whether unfiltered live coverage of his rallies by cable networks or Jimmy Fallon’s sickeningly friendly tousling of the Republican candidate’s hair on “The Tonight Show.” Journalists were slow to take him seriously at the beginning of the Republican primaries.

 

The fact remains, as Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) noted in an interviewwith the Times published Sunday: “Nobody is confused about the differences between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. . . . Is she perfect? Of course not. But you’ve got enough information to make the choice.”

 

What must be going on is that people — an alarmingly large number of people, it seems — back Trump even though they know, or could easily learn, that he is a charlatan, clueless about policy, bizarrely sympathetic to Russia’s dictator, disturbingly prone to offending women and minorities, and a serial liar to boot.

Note how he states, matter of factly, that Trump is a racist and sexist, implies he has fascist sympathies and has no idea about policy. In reality, these beliefs are merely a list of opinions. Incorrect opinions at that. However in the mainstream, they have been elevated to a level of truism right up there with mathematical identities such as ‘1+1=2.’ To those with this very left leaning, mainstream worldview, it defies any sort of logic that someone could even think to cast a vote for Trump.

Lane goes on to explain that Trump is benefiting from a sort of ‘jury nullification’ writ large. Since the electorate feels the system is rigged, he reasons, they are more than willing to forgive Trump of the ‘crimes’ that system itself has alleged, particularly because Trump is promising to smash that system. There is some truth to this.

Lane ends by expressing a sort of sadness, that the journalist industry he is a part of has lost its ability to influence and guide the discussion.

Drew Magary has a quite different take.  He took to GQ to deliver this delectable screed. Here’s a sampling:

Nothing that Trump says, no damning piece of Trump reportage, and certainly no opinion piece like this one will stop his voters from pulling the lever. Nor will anything stop Trump from being the officious, braindead goon that he is. He will never answer for his crimes, and there’s a frighteningly large portion of the electorate that will always love him for that.

 

And so I’d just like to say to that portion of the electorate: Fuck you. No, seriously. Go fuck yourselves. I’m not gonna waste any more time trying to convince you that you’re about to do something you’ll regret forever. I’m not gonna show you old clips of Trump saying rotten things. I’m not gonna try to ANNIHILATE Trump by showing you records of his hypocrisy and greed. I’m not gonna link to a John Oliver clip and be like, “THIS. So much this.” Nothing’s gonna take down Trump at this point, so I’m not gonna bother. No no, this post is for ME. I am preaching to the sad little choir in my soul here.

 

Because while Trump is a miserable bastard, YOU are the people who have handed him the bullhorn. YOU are the people willing to embarrass this nation and put it on the brink of economic ruin all because you wanna throw an electoral hissy fit. YOU are the people who want to revolutionize the way America does business by voting for its worst businessman, a disgusting neon pig who only makes money when he causes problems for other people instead of solving them. YOU are the thin-skinned yokels who clutch your bandoliers whenever someone hurls the mildest of slurs at you (“deplorables”), while cheering Trump on as he leaves a bonfire of truly hateful invective everywhere he goes. YOU are the people willing to overlook the fact that Trump is an unqualified, ignorant sociopath because DURRRR HILLARY IS BAD TOO DURRRR.

Magary’s was less ‘woe is me,’ and more ‘you’re all idiots.’ He lashed out at Trump supporters in spectacular expletive ridden fashion, living up to the stereotype of the petulant, whiny modern liberal.

The emphasized part is especially delicious. In it, he displays Vox Day’s third law of Social Justice Warriors, taken from his must read 2015 book, SJWs Always Lie: SJWs always project.

Magary first channels sort of contempt Hillary Clinton did with her ‘deplorables’ comment, and then takes it another level, before declaring that Trump supporters are ‘thin skinned,’ for not taking well to that deplorables comment. This, of course, is extremely rich coming from a SJW type, some of whom have built entire careers out of being offended.

The very idea that Trump is some sort of fantastical bigot is one that is borne out of having thin skin, since in many cases Trump is merely relaying uncomfortable truths. Going even further, Magary’s literary conniption itself is evidence of his own thin skin, given it came about because other people have the temerity to vote for a candidate he doesn’t like.

Charles Pierce at Esquire co-signs Magary’s rant in his own piece, which lambastes what he calls a normalization of stupid.

No kidding. I will never stop hating this election for the incredible deluge of Stupid it has loosed upon the country. It is the pure product of the forces driving the Trump campaign in concert with the attempt to make sense of it without accounting for the pure hate without which that campaign would not exist at all. There is nothing worthwhile about it. It does not raise serious questions with which the country must grapple. It is merely a giant loogie hocked at people whom most Trump supporters have been trained over 40 years to hate.

Or, as Ross Cardinal Douthat suggests, you can blame Samantha Bee. God, he wants to be one of those people in the red ballcaps so very badly, it fairly drips from every sentence. Moron envy is not attractive in a fellow of his education.

Me? I’m with Magary.

What stands out to me is his use of the term ‘moron envy’ to describe Douthat’s piece, which itself was an honest attempt at explaining the cultural norms that Trump supporters are challenging.

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.

…the feeling of being suffocated by the left’s cultural dominance is turning voting Republican into an act of cultural rebellion — which may be one reason the Obama years, so good for liberalism in the culture, have seen sharp G.O.P. gains at every level of the country’s government.

Douthat raises good points. The fact that the leftist advance, from academia into all aspects of culture, from sports, to late night television, to music, movies and so forth, has so shaped ‘acceptable’ beliefs that one instantly becomes an outcast for displaying the slightest lean toward any conservative view. Note Magary’s appeal to John Oliver, late night TV host who specializes in Daily Shows-esque leftist comedy which masquerades as news commentary. And note the torrent of abuse Jimmy Fallon got last week for merely treating Trump like any of his guests, in a lighthearted, apolitical manner on his show.

fallon trump twitter

As I’ve discussed before, this election is starting to erode the power that screaming ‘You’re Racist!’ has had over political discourse over the years. This is behind a lot of the skittish behavior apparent in the commentaries by Magary, Pierce, and those who are so brutally critical of Jimmy Fallon.

They are starting to notice that repeating racist/sexist/bigot/whatever over and over again isn’t moving the needle the way it once did. This is largely because of the fact that those terms have come to describe more and more things, to the point where this saturation has completely rendered these terms meaningless. When correcting someone’s grammar can be considered a potentially racial offense, we have reached the point at which people will instinctively start to tune out when wailing ‘but he’s racist!’ is the main argument presented.

A more nervous group of individuals over Trump’s strength is the media, as well as the pundit class. Their consternation is revealed in the reports of Trump’s campaign spending, or relative lack thereof:

Hillary Clinton’s campaign and its allies are outspending their Republican counterparts by a factor of about five to one, according to a new analysis released Tuesday.

 

But the former secretary of State has failed to put away Donald Trump, and many anxious Democrats are baffled as to why the race remains so close.

Yet another dynamic that is being exposed during this election is the deterioration of  the legacy media, and by extension legacy politics and punditry. Hillary Clinton is running a campaign from the 80s and 90s – pandering, carefully crafted, focus group tested phrasing, accumulating a big warchest to spend on huge ad buys, etc.

Similarly, the punditry is from years gone by. Countless times I’ve heard pundits on various cable news channels going on about how Trump needed to ‘pivot,’ how his ‘ground game’ was lacking, and things of that nature. Those are chapters straight out of a conventional campaign playbook.

Trump has completely thrown that playbook out the window, and perhaps forever changed the way campaigns are run. Instead of doing huge ad buys, he interacts with his 20+ million followers on Facebook and Twitter. Because of the increasing move from TV to social media among the populace, these impressions are likely to have more of an impact than any ad buy would. It is well known that more and more people get their news from their Facebook feeds rather than the 6 o’clock evening news.

This means that in going directly to the people, with a much more robust message, Trump can circumvent the media and its gatekeepers. This, combined with the fact Trump has a more concrete message has meant that his campaign is having a much more profound impact on people. In comparison, the Clinton campaign’s traditional strategy of 30 second ads full of regurgitated soundbites are easily dismissed, if they are even seen at all by a public which is watching less TV in the first place.

To be sure, there are a few Trump-specific features to his campaign that make his robustness possible. The bottom line is that the public is starting to tire heavily of the DC class in general, which renders the hundreds of millions the Clinton campaign has and will spend utterly meaningless.

If Hillary loses, the fact that she is a walking stereotype of DC politicians will be the biggest reason as to why. Moreover, being that way for the best part of 30 years in public life, Hillary Clinton can’t change. That is simply who she is, a dying breed of politician. Even if she does manage to scrape by, she will probably be the last of her kind.

A Trump Trolling Masterclass

Call it trolling, or media manipulation, whatever you like, but Donald Trump did a number on the media earlier this morning.

It began yesterday with an interview in the Washington Post in which the Birther issue was raised again. Recall that in 2011, Donald Trump led the charge which culminated in President Obama producing his long form birth certificate to prove that he was born in the United States.

The Washington Post asked Trump whether or not he believed Obama was born in the US, and he declined to confirm, saying that it wasn’t the right time to answer the question.

This led to the media sharpening the knives, ready to pounce. Momentum started gathering last night about Trump’s refusal to acknowledge Obama’s citizenship and what it meant with respect to his racism and bigotry, the usual nonsense.

Then, this morning, Trump tweeted this:

The Trump campaign then intimated that he was going to be addressing the birther issue. That sent the media into a frenzy, sensing their moment had arrived. From the start of the Trump campaign one of the things that has infuriated the media the most has been Trump’s refusal to apologize for anything.

To be sure, he has been entirely correct in not apologizing, even when he has been in the wrong. The reason is that once he does, he succumbs to the frame of the left/media, thus empowering them to bully him into submission. Lesser Republicans, and other public figures in general have been beaten down in this manner for years, and the fact that Trump has refused to comply has been refreshing.

Going into this, however, the media clearly was expecting different. They thought they were going to get a Jimmy Swaggart ‘I have sinned’ moment. Instead they got classic Trump.

The press conference was held at Trump’s new DC hotel, and one of the first things Trump did was to let the the audience know that it had been completed under budget, and ahead of schedule. He then turned the mic over to a series of retired generals, admirals and Medal of Honor recipients. One by one, these individuals stepped to the podium and were permitted to say a few words about their time in service, and why they were choosing to put their names and careers behind the Trump campaign.

This went on for what seemed like an eternity. Finally, some of the news broadcasts cut out of the press conference to express their disappointment over the fact that Trump was pulling a fast one on them. Here’s Jake Tapper, visibly disturbed that CNN had been ‘rickrolled’:

Trump did return to the microphone after what was probably an hour of veterans speaking their minds on stage. He said a few more words, and then went into the birther issue. Of that he said the following:

Hillary Clinton and her campaign of 2008 started the birther controversy,I finished it. I finished it. You know what I mean. President Barack Obama was born in the United States, period. Now we all want to get back to making America strong and great again.

That was it. No lengthy statement of contrition. No expression of remorse or sadness, no tearful regrets. Just a point blank  statement and an abrupt moving on to more important things.

With that, the press conference ended, and Trump left, without taking any questions. And the fireworks began. The media, who had been salivating over what it thought would be their moment to derail the Trump campaign for good, got nothing.

There was outrage over the fact that Trump didn’t say he was sorry. Outrage over the fact that he did a drive-by addressing of what to them was one of the biggest issues of the moment. Outrage over the fact that he took no questions. This immediate reaction from CBS was indicative of the way the news media reacted:

The anger in his voice notwithstanding, he is right about the fact that no matter what Trump did, the controversy would linger. If Trump continued to say nothing, effectively maintaining his skepticism over Obama’s birth, he would have been hounded about it constantly in the press. The Clinton campaign would have been able to use it over and over again, to perhaps create a memorable moment in a debate scenario.

Trump had to address it, but at the same time he had to do so without getting on his knees to kiss the feet of the media/leftists as I mentioned earlier.

He accomplished this with his curt ‘statement,’ which was so brilliant because it did so many things at once. It was an official acknowledgement of Obama’s birthplace, which now takes away any power the media/Clinton campaign had. Their excitement over having Trump ‘cornered’ in the buildup to this event was indicative of how much they had banked on this being a weapon to down Trump with.

Now, when the media/Clinton bring it up, Trump can point to the fact that he, indeed has acknowledged Obama’s birth in a public manner. Any further pressing of Trump then becomes petty and unnecessarily punitive on Trump.

The event also highlighted further how in the tank the media is for the Clinton campaign. Furthermore, the event shed a revealing light on their character, given they essentially threw a tantrum over being forced to cover distinguished veterans who have served their country. Indeed, this article has a nice list of several reporters who expressed their disgust and anger on Twitter for having to cover a Trump event featuring veterans. After the event, photographic evidence of angry reporters trashing the setup also emerged on Twitter:

All this because they didn’t get the blood they were after. This sort of petulance can only further erode the trust the public has in the media as a whole.

As a campaign issue, Trump took most of the long term steam out if it, although it might simmer for a few days. The media were planning to hit Trump with this as evidence of his racism and bigotry. The problem with this argument is that every single thing Trump does is evidence of his racism and bigotry, according to the media.

The public as a whole has seem nothing but TRUMP IS RACIST coming out of the mouths of the media for months on end, and thus yet another example of Trump’s ‘racism’ is hardly going to move any sort of needle in the public’s mind.

It does speak to a creeping desperation in the media and the Clinton campaign. The tide is slowly turning, as I described yesterday. Yet their only response is to keep going to the same, tired BIGOT well, which is having less and less of an effect on people. They will continue to do it, because it is the only thing they know. At this point, the Clinton campaign is basically ‘Vote for Clinton, because Trump is a racist.’

That is not a winning message.