Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Donald Chronicles: Debate Prep and Other Craziness

With the background of a suspicious amount of violence across the country and (fomented by Russia and its allies) in Syria, the Campaign from Crazy goes on, tumbling America ever farther down the rabbit hole towards Hitlerdom.

It turns out that while too nearly half of Americans surveyed are telling pollsters they'll vote for Trump,  these pollsters say that half also agree that if he is elected they expect Trump to use nuclear weapons on somebody.  More than half believe Trump will track Muslims and 65% believe there will be race riots.

They tell other pollsters that he's racist (60%) and without compassion (75%.)  But of course, that's okay with some of them.  Nuke 'em gets some votes, too.  Why not?  Most people alive now don't have a clue what that means.

What's driving political analysts batty is that this pathological liar scores a full ten points higher than Hillary on honesty.  It may be a category error--people might think he's sincere--you know, a sincere liar-- but honest?  Is it because the media keeps harping on the emails?  Could it be because people "just don't trust women"?

Speaking of women, the male/female dynamic of the first presidential debate looms large.  Some behavioristically inclined observers suggest that all Trump has to do to win is physically signal dominance, while in a fascinating report, Anna Walters in the WPost details how--beginning in high school and college--women debaters are judged by different (and sexist) standards.

But Trump isn't out of the woods on this--if he is perceived as a bully, it may not be to his benefit. And if moderator Lester Holt condescends to Clinton as Matt Lauer did, I don't think even the studio audience will let it go by.

People keep repeating that Trump benefits from very low expectations, and as so much in the media, repetition turns to "truth."  Jonathan Chiat has a funny column on Trump's debate "prep"--maybe funny isn't the word.

Anyway, the hype and the unsolicited advice (Hillary should be aggressive, Hillary should let Trump defeat himself) will soon be over, and what's shaping up to be the Big Show will start with the actual debate on Monday, but of course, won't hardly end there.

Meanwhile today in Siberian Candidate news: "U.S. intelligence officials are examining the relationship between Carter Page, an informal foreign policy advisor for the Donald Trump campaign, and Russian officials close to Vladimir Putin -- including a Kremlin official believed to be involved in Russian attempts to influence U.S. elections, Michael Isikoff reported Friday for Yahoo News."

Yahoo itself made news with the biggest data breach in history--fomented by the Russians, it seems. There's more stolen information dutifully being published by the media.  This stuff is getting scary.

As for the media, the WPost argues convincingly that CNN is paying a paid operative of the Trump campaign to analyze Trump, even though he is getting money from Trump as long as he keeps his agreement not to say anything bad about him.  How weird is that?  Fox gets that kind of stuff for free.

On the other hand, going into the first debate Hillary is ahead in two new national polls, by 7 points in one, by 6 points in the other.  In 2012 President Obama won easily, by just under 4 points in the popular vote.

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