Thursday, August 18, 2016

Homegrown Hitler Chronicles: More Hate Ahead

E.J. Dionne in the Washington Post:

"If you thought the old Donald Trump campaign was wild and crazy, just wait for the new Trump campaign now that Breitbart’s Steve Bannon has taken over as chief executive. The new leadership — with Bannon and pollster Kellyanne Conway displacing Paul Manafort of the Ukrainian Connection at the top of the heap — is likely to steer Trump even more in the direction of the European far right. It also tells you something that Bannon sees Sarah Palin, about whom he made a laudatory documentary, as a model for anti-establishment politics.

Judging from Bannon’s history, Trump’s campaign will become even harsher in its attacks on Hillary Clinton and work hard to insinuate anti-Clinton stories into the mainstream media."

But as everything associated with Trump and his Trumpettes, this has possible significance for the future beyond Trump.  As Ben Shapiro , former Breitbart writer, in WPost notes, the installation of Steve Bannon at the top of the Trump campaign means that the most rabid of the rabid right--the so-called alt-right that has supplanted the Tea Party--is inside the Republican establishment.

What characterizes the alt-right, according to Shapiro, is its public support for racism and xenophobia. "The takeover, now a virtual fait accompli, represents the dangerous seizure of the conservative movement by the alt-right. Constitutional conservatives can’t stand the alt-right. Conservatives — real conservatives — believe that only a philosophy of limited government, God-given rights and personal responsibility can save the country. And that creed is not bound to race or ethnicity. Broad swaths of the alt-right, by contrast, believe in a creed-free, race-based nationalism, insisting, among other things, that birth on American soil confers superiority." 

Shapiro's column details reactions from alt-rightists to him personally, some of them identical to the hate spewed by the Nazis in the 1930s and 40s.

A New Yorker piece describes Trump's history of racism, which has focused recently on Latinos and Muslims but in the past has victimized African Americans. In my view it isn't this past that African American voters are thinking of, however, when they give him 1% support at best.  It's his racist innuendos aimed at President Obama.

Ed Kilgore shows how GOP efforts to suppress minority voters is moving to the local level.  Such efforts in Florida in 2000 cost Al Gore the presidency.

And in Siberian Candidate news, Michael McFaul in WPost: Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to see Donald Trump become the next president of the United States. To that end, Putin and his government have taken unprecedented steps to influence our electoral process to help the Republican Party’s nominee."  The reasons he gives are general: Trump's isolationism and likely chaotic administration domestically will provide Russia the openings to do what it wants, in Ukraine for example.  

Polling news: The NY Times examines internal numbers in recent polls to show that Trump is losing core support among white men, his only demographic lead.  Several recent analyses of the electoral map (NBC, Sabato) conclude that Clinton right now has enough likely electoral votes to win the presidency.  Add states where she is leading and it's a landslide.

However, there is one troublesome new poll, and it is the gold standard Pew Poll.  It shows Hillary ahead by 4 points nationally, which is down from her 9 point lead in June--contradicting the trendline of other polls from the Dem convention until now.  The poll is structured a bit differently, adding Jill Stein (Green Party) but that doesn't entirely account for the difference.  Whether this poll is an outlyer or the first in a different trend direction remains to be seen.

Trump finished the day on an apology tour, trying to redefine his message in a more palatable way.  The Politico report on this speech, easily spending as much time debunking as describing it, suggests his credibility may be too shredded---at least unless and until the polls turn in his direction.

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