Monday, August 01, 2016

It's REALLY Starting to Suck to be Donald Trump (with Updates)

Update 8/1: Two of the major polls came out Monday, both showing an impressive bump for Hillary. The New York Times CBS  poll gave her a 4 point bounce, so she leads Trump 46%-39.  The CNN poll shows an even bigger 7 point bounce for a whopping 52-43 margin.

Moreover, a Gallup survey shows that the DNC did much better than the RNC in lifting their candidates positives and driving down negatives.  Trump's negatives in particular went up. In viewing the RNC, a majority of viewers said they were "less likely" to vote for Trump--a 15 point change that is by far the worst dive Gallup has recorded.

CNN: By any conventional standard, Donald Trump just blundered through the worst three days of any presidential candidate in living memory.While Trump tells supporters the general election may be rigged and he continues to be denounced even by Republicans (though few are withdrawing support), he has helped to create a new Best Seller--the U.S. Constitution (as featured in the picture of the Khans), which ranks just behind the latest Harry Potter.

7/31: First was the powerful appearance of the parents of Captain Khan, a Muslim American soldier killed in Iraq, at the DNC on Thursday, the night Hillary Clinton accepted the nomination.  It was widely showcased in reporting the next day.

Then Donald Trump put his mouth in it in a couple of interviews, guaranteeing at the very least that the Khans riveting rebuke would be in the news for another day.

Then one of the Trump interviews aired on Sunday morning, Trump tweeted himself deeper into his hell hole, the Khans were invited onto more TV shows and suddenly the Washington Post and the New York Times were wondering if this wasn't a major event in the campaign.

Trump not only picked on private citizens and parents of an American soldier killed in action.  He not only pushed back at the father, Khizr (currently a consultant on immigration law) but on the Gold Star Mother Ghazala, for not saying anything at the DNC, where she was too moved to speak.  Plus he just really picked on the wrong people.

 Captain Humayun Khan was killed in Iraq in 2004.  After sending his troops to safety he confronted a vehicle that turned out to be suicide bombers.  He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.  He graduated from the University of Virginia, where he was part of its ROTC program.  His parents have kept in touch with the program, and especially the new cadet graduates.  WPost:

Every year since their son’s death, the Khans have invited the cadets to their house for hot dogs and burgers, to honor their son, a graduate of the program, and to give the students their first exposure to a Muslim home, to see “how similar it is to their own,” Khan said. “They’d feel like this is our aunt or uncle’s home. And I have cards from them, understanding the gesture of giving them the Constitution, because they were getting ready to take an oath to that Constitution.”

It was one of these ninety cent copies that Khizr Khan offered to lend to Trump from the DNC podium.

This story summarizes the surrounding events and the strong responses to Trump.  The Post noted the strong reaction, speculated that this might be a serious problem for Trump, but might appeal to his core constituency who prize his outrageousness. (Though both might be true simultaneously, and what they prize may more likely be his racism.)

A trio of reporters in the NY Times however, were less cautious in their appraisal:

"The confrontation between the parents, Khizr and Ghazala Khan, and Mr. Trump has emerged as an unexpected and potentially pivotal flash point in the general election...And Mr. Trump’s usual political tool kit has appeared to fail him. He earned no reprieve with his complaints that Mr. Khan had been unfair to him; on Sunday morning, he claimed on Twitter that Mr. Khan had “viciously attacked” him. Mr. Trump and his advisers tried repeatedly to change the subject to Islamic terrorism, to no avail. Instead, Mr. Trump appeared to be caught on Sunday in one of the biggest crises of his campaign..."

By early Monday morning, NBC reported: The families of 11 service members who died fighting for the U.S. demanded an apology from Donald Trump on Monday, accusing him of "cheapening the sacrifice made by those we lost."  They were joined by other military vets later Monday. The WPost article cited above mentioned that if Trump loses military families, it could be a significant part of his apparent constituency.

Also in his ABC interview Sunday, Trump stumbled in his answers about Russia and Ukraine, showing basic ignorance of the current situation.  Along those lines, new pieces by NBC and a more detailed piece by the Guardian  kept alive the questions about Trump and his campaign's connections with Russia and Russian spies.

Meanwhile the Clintons and the Kaines were quietly barnstorming Pennsylvania and Ohio, largely ignored by the national press (except for quotes on Trump) which is presumably as they like it.  In Pittsburgh, Clinton was endorsed by local bad boy made good, Mark Cuban (owner of the Dallas Mavs) who called Trump a quintessential Pittsburgh name: a "jagoff."  Cuban is kind of a jagoff himself, but I guess now he's our jagoff.

New polls taken after the DNC should begin to come out early this week.  A couple of minor polls that have been issued so far show Hillary getting a bump and ahead again--in one poll, substantially ahead.  The postconvention bump is important to keep donors donating and campaign workers enthusiastic, but otherwise may mean little. August is a long month.  But one campaign story suggests that at least some persuadable swing state voters are turning against Trump for his derogatory statements, including this latest against a Gold Star mother.

If you can still laugh about any of this, there's The Simpsons: According to NBC, The Simpsons reproduced the famous 3 a.m. global emergency call to the White House ad, speculating on how it would go with each candidate.  When it rings in the Clinton White House, a wide-awake Bill Clinton answers eagerly, but glumly hands the phone to Hillary: "It's for you."  Trump doesn't take the call,  too busy tweeting about having exiled Elizabeth Warren.

The ad is "paid for by Americans who are really starting to miss Obama."

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