Tab Dump

It’s been two weeks since my last update, mostly because….this election has turned totally boring and predictable. That doesn’t mean nothing is happening, however, and I’ve got tons of stuff saved in my RSS feed. It doesn’t really make for a coherent set of points, but rather than wait any longer I’m gonna dump those links here. But first….I gotta get something off my chest here:

Remember how Trump skipped a debate and supposedly held a fundraiser for veterans? Turns out he never donated the money. Everyone else involved did, but not him. It took reporters from the Washington Post hounding him to get him to do it. That hounding, apparently, makes the media “dishonest” and “nasty.” Because when you are The Donald, you’re supposed to be able to lie about anything and never get called on it. Seriously though – what kind of fucked up human being raises money for wounded soldiers and then doesn’t donate the money?  That would be abhorrent if he were poor, but as he loves to remind us but refuses to prove, he’s rich! He doesn’t even need the money! 

Now no doubt people on the Trump Train will come up with some excuses for him, but here’s a bit of advice I always try to follow myself: before defending someone’s behavior, imagine how you would feel if your opponent did or said the same thing. Would you say “oh that’s no big deal that Hillary withheld the millions she raised from those vets?” No, of course you wouldn’t. Because it’s a genuinely fucked up thing to do! And fine, bring up the Clinton Foundation if you want to, but as you do, at the very least recognize the very obvious fact that two wrongs don’t make a right? We aren’t children, and I for one am not willing to pretend like we are. So no, changing the subject isn’t answering a question, and it’s a third-grade move to pull it. Just stop. Because what he’s done here is vile.

OK…on to the bullets:

  • You wouldn’t know it from the coverage of the campaign at this point, but Cruz’s supporters have most certainly not given up. Cruz’s people are putting up huge numbers in Washington State. Sure thing, Trump won, but all of the delegates going to the convention are Cruz people. And no, that wont lead to a floor fight, but it is yet more evidence that Trump isn’t building much of an organization. He’s won without one so far (although just barely), but a general election is nothing like a primary, and there are all kinds of people inside the Republican Party worried about that. Trump, for example, has no staff in Ohio. Ohio! But more on that later in the season. Trump does look to be organizing a serious fundraising campaign, however. What, you thought he was serious about that whole “corrupting influence of money” thing?
  • He’s also brought a new level of energy to the white nationalist movement. You can scream “it’s not his fault” all you want, but in their own words, these dudes explain why Trump has them so fired up. Given that this does not normally happen in American politics, that it has not happened in at least 50 years, surely this means something, yes?
  • And what about those polls? Sam Wang is right – May is historically the month when the polls are least accurate, so just ignore them. May produces totally nonsensical results like these. Both sides can find things to like and to hate in equal measure, but none of them hold up against the other. It’s all noise, and it wont be until after the conventions are over that we really have any idea what’s going on.  In the meantime, let’s step back for a moment and think about what polls really are and how polls really work. Take it away Matt!
  • Looks like Bernie is going to have all kinds of influence at the convention. He’s managed to get a bunch of people on the platform committee, and he’s warning of a messy convention. Good! There’s strength in diversity (No joke – I can show you the complex system math on that if you want!), and the Democratic Party will be stronger the more perspectives it brings in. 
  • Check out what’s happening in California to voter registration numbers! A state that was already blue is turning a much deeper shade, and as California goes, so goes the nation. 
  • Josh Marshall has been interested in the role of dominance in American politics for awhile now, and this election is really bringing out the best in his analysis. Given that we are apparently going to spend several months talking about whether or not a woman should be held responsible for the misdeeds of her spouse, and given that the point of that conversation has nothing to do with facts or logic or reason, you’ll want to factor what he’s saying into what’s happening. It’s barely even started and I already feel like I need to take a shower. [UPDATE: Shockingly, even Bill O’Reilly doesn’t like it. That’s unexpected.]
  • Republican efforts to reduce early voting in Ohio have been overturned by a federal judge. Because of course it wasn’t a coincidence that the changes imposed more of a burden on African Americans than on other groups.
  • Obama’s approval rating continues to rise. A majority of Americans now approve of his performance. That’s important enough that I should just delete everything I’ve written above and make it the entire post.
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