Five Thoughts On Tonight

As the second night of the DNC comes to a close, a few thoughts:

  • On night one, Michelle Obama once and for all obliterated the idea that only one of our two parties speaks to the values of families in modern America. On night two, the Democratic Party made the nation’s response to 9/11 one of the key issues of the night. Thanks to Trump and Trumpism, the parties have essentially flipped places on two of the defining issues of the 1990s and early 2000s. Add to that the fact that the Republicans are rapidly morphing into a pro-Putin, pro-Russian party, and it’s all really difficult to process.
  • I don’t think this is the last time we’ll be hearing about Donald Trump the war profiteer. I wasn’t previously aware of this line of attack, and I read A LOT about politics every day. The fact that Trump profited off 9/11 is truly fucked up, even by his standards.
  • Bill’s speech reminded me of two things. First and most obviously, he’s a fantastic storyteller who loves to riff, and I would hate to have been his TelePrompTer operator tonight. Second and more importantly, that in the span of about a decade, Hillary’s public image has gone from a shirll, left-wing idealist to a centrist, corporatist sellout. I suppose if you aren’t old enough to remember the 1990s that might make sense, but if you do it’s a really bizarre thing to experience. So much of what so many people “know” about Hillary just isn’t true, and in an important way, the fact that she has been believed to be both inside of a decade really illustrates how ridiculous the narratives around her are. It’s just not possible for one person to  be both of those in under a decade. She’s boring and wonky and weird and way too defensive, but she isn’t a monster, no matter what your angry Bernie Bro or Trump-tastic uncle might say to you. And remember this: Republicans tried to turn her into a monster in her race for the Senate, and although it worked at first, in the end it backfired spectacularly.
  • I know Republicans want to make Bill’s infidelities one of the central themes of the campaign, but if they do that I am absolutely certain they will live to regret it. Republicans have spent decades claiming to be the party that defends the sanctity of marriage, but now they’ve gone ahead and nominated someone who treats divorce the same way he treats bankruptcy, and if they add to that the idea that there’s something wrong with two people who choose to stay together despite their mistakes, they will be taking the position that divorce is more honorable than marriage. That might please the base because it’s an attack on the Clintons, but it will sound ridiculous to everyone else.
  • Last but certainly not least, my respect for Bernie Sanders has grown immensely over the last 48 hours. I know that it’s easier for me to make this move than it would be for a Bernie supporter to do something similar, but I hope that by the end of this week, many of them will have come around too. Because as I’ve said numerous times on Facebook, he won everything but the nomination. That might not yet be clear to everyone, but it will be soon.

Much more tomorrow….

Hang on…one more thought….a bunch of the people on my teevee seem to think that Bill Clinton should’ve talked about his infidelity tonight. So many things I could say but I will stick to just these. First: I’m going to be be gracious and assume that these people have never had their lives shattered by infidelity, and that as a result they don’t know what they are talking about. Second: you do realize that the purpose of his speech was to talk about her, yes? And that maybe, just maybe, she doesn’t want him to talk about it? That as the victim of the infidelity, she gets to choose, not you or him? Before you keep on about this, I suggest you think on that.

Trump and Russia, Sittin in a Tree…..

I don’t have time to write a full post on this right now – too much going on at the convention – so here are some bullets for you on what promises to become one of the weirdest and yet potentially most important subplots of the election:

If you don’t have time to read them all, go for the ones in bold.

UPDATE: And now POTUS has weighed in. Kevin Drum considers the implications and find Trump’s “I have ZERO investments in Russia” totally lacking. The point isn’t that Trump invests in Russia; its that Russia invests in Trump:

The evasiveness of this answer is pretty obvious. Nobody cares all that much if Trump has business in Russia, they care whether Russian money funds his business here—which might explain why he’s so friendly to Russian interests. He has very carefully avoided answering that question. That’s a bad sign since he would normally just lie about it. He must know that evidence of his reliance on Russian money is out there. Trump’s tax returns would tell us the answer, of course, but Trump has declined to release them, unlike every other presidential candidate of the past few decades. Maybe now we know why.  

UPDATE II: NYT just in: Spy Agency Consensus Grows That Russia Hacked DNC

Four Thoughts on Tonight

Four thoughts on tonight:

1) I don’t think it is a coincidence that almost all of the disruptions tonight came from the California delegation. That’s the one state that’s so far in the bag for the Democrats that you could get a double-digit vote for the Greens and still get a big victory for Hillary Clinton in the Fall. The delegations from the swing states were, by all accounts across all networks, already essentially unified.

2) Given that 45% of the delegates in the hall were Bernie delegates, there were far fewer disruptions than I would’ve expected on Day One. If the party really was deeply divided, you would’ve seen total chaos given that split. And yet….

3) Cory Booker and Michelle Obama? If either one ever runs, either one wins. I’m not sure that either will run, but I’m as sure of that predictions tonight as I was when I said the same thing about Obama back on that night in 2004.

4) I’m disappointed that no one managed to sneak a paper-mache puppet into the hall. Up your puppet game, aging hippies!

Bounce Bounce!

So looks like Trump’s Convention bounce is coming in right on schedule and size: some polls showing him up a few, some down a few, in a tighter race. Of course the CHAOS AT THE CONVENTIONS didn’t change any minds. That’s not how conventions work. Not really even how politics works, actually.

One of the 538 models has Trump up, the other Clinton. Makes perfect sense for this moment in the race. One of their models is a “now-cast,” the other a “forecast.” The former shows Trump winning, the later losing. That’s exactly what you would expect to see from a small bounce in a close race.But remember: this isn’t sports, so although the now-cast is useful for identifying short-term trends, it by design doesn’t tell us about the longer term. This isn’t actually a race, so don’t think of it like one, no matter how hard they try to get you to.

Oh, and as a partisan? I’m **THRILLED** Trump is up on the now-cast. Turnout will determine this election, and I want EVERYONE on my team to realize that nothing can be taken for granted this year. Fear is a powerful motivator.

Looking ahead…i would expect Hillary to get a bounce as well. That will fade, leaving us roughly where we were prior to the conventions. Once we get into September the polls will become more predictive, but they will still be noisy. Expect Trump to take the lead once or twice between September 1 and Election Day, each time slipping back behind Clinton. 

And no, I’m not altering my “5-point Clinton victory in a record-setting turnout election” prediction. Why would I? So far, everything has gone exactly as I expected!

On Parties

Parties exist to mobilize voters in order to win elections. In pursuit of that goal, they are supposed to identify and advance the candidates that they believe are most likely to win election and advance the party’s policy goals, and they are supposed to identify and undermine the candidates they believe won’t. In pursuit of those objectives, they are supposed to attempt to shape coverage of those candidates and those goals in the media. They wouldn’t be doing their jobs if they didn’t do these things, and in a nation of 315+ million, it’s not likely that democracy would work if they didn’t. That’s part of what you see in the leaked DNC emails.
Unfortunately for all of us, what you also see in those emails – and what you would see in similar ones from the RNC if those were ever leaked – is that most (but not all!) of the people who choose to become party professionals haven’t gotten over the fact that they didn’t get to sit with the cool kids in the High School cafeteria. And because of that, they spend much of their time creating cliques and settling scores and righting imagined wrongs. But on both sides of the aisle it’s almost always a sign of immaturity, not malfeasance. That doesn’t make what they do right or good, but if you think on it a bit an pay close attention, it might make a lot of it make more sense.

Not A President But A King

He doesn’t want to run the Executive Branch. He doesn’t want to have to deal with either domestic or foreign policy. All he wants to do is focus on “making America great again.” 

Policy? Well…that’s for the Vice President, which means that it’s actually Pence-Trump and not Trump-Pence. And even by contemporary standards, Pence is a hard-core right-wing ideologue. So all of the “Trump will shake things up and shatter the establishment” isn’t even true. Even that is a ridiculous lie.

Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Or maybe both?

But seriously: get to know Mike Pence. He’s among the most hard-core of the hard-core drug warriors. He’s among the most hard-core of the hard-core “the culture of life begins at conception and ends at birth” activists. He’s among the most hard-core of the hard-core anti-LGBT theocrats. And he’s dumb as a box of rocks to boot.

End the Revolving Door By Obliterating the Door….and the Walls…

I can’t imaging anything that could go wrong with this plan:

Flitter also reports that Christie and Trump want to “let businesspeople serve in government part time without having to give up their jobs in the private sector.” 

This is one of those stories that should be huge but won’t be because it’s just too inside-baseball for most people to care. But seriously? Allowing people to simultaneously work for for-profit enterprises while also serving in positions that regulate those enterprises? Things are bad enough as they are – you can go from running Goldman Sachs to heading up the Treasury, for example. But they want to make it possible to do BOTH AT THE SAME TIME? Because this would be better how precisely?