Donald Trump

Debate Open Thread

 

 

Fifty-six years to the day from the first Presidential Debate:  Trump v. Nixon Clinton.  Put your thoughts on the debate in the comboxes.

 

Update:

I thought it was a wretched debate with neither Hillary nor Trump doing especially well, although I gave it to Clinton on points.  However, the online polls are showing a decisive Trump win.  That is probably bad news for Hillary as those often in the wake of a Presidential debate are a good sign of political strength as hard core partisans tend to see their candidate winning no matter what.  It looks like Trump did himself no harm tonight and Clinton did herself no good.  She needed to change the momentum of the race away from Trump, and this is an early sign that she has failed to accomplish that.

 

Ross Douthat on the Debates

 

Ross Douthat, who has the unenviable task of scattering pearls of conservative wisdom before the New York Times readership, has this prediction on the debate:

 

A series of debates between a man proudly unprepared for the office of the presidency and a woman of Clinton’s knowledge and experience should produce a predictable outcome: She should win, and he should lose.

This is not a hot take. It is a cold take, a boring take, a take that assumes that the political world, even now, is still relatively rule-bound and predictable.

And if I’m wrong, if Hillary manages to throw the debates and the election to Donald Trump, it will be the last such take I offer for many years to come.

Go here to read the rest.  I will miss the predictions of Douthat over the next few years.  I think he is incorrect for the following reasons: Continue reading

Eve of the Debate

 

Presidential debates don’t matter much except when they do.  Back in 1976 on October 6, Ford, in his second debate with Carter, denied that Poland was dominated by the Soviet Union.  He was too proud and stupid to simply admit intially he had misspoke.  This stalled his rise in the polls with Carter, and he went on to lose a close one.

 

 

In 1980 the one and only debate between Carter and Reagan occurred on October 28, 1980, six days before the election.  Reagan clobbered Carter and Carter had no time to recover before election day.

 

 

 

 

So where is the current race just prior to the debate?  The Washington Post ABC poll released last night shows a dead heat.  Go here to read about it.  Likewise the Morning Consult poll released yesterday.  Go here to read about it.  The Los Angeles Times Tracking poll shows Trump with a four point advantage.  Go here to look at it.  Battleground polls have been trending over the past few weeks in Trump’s direction.  A Pennsylvania Poll by Morning Call Muhlenberg College yesterday for example shows Trump slashing into Clinton’s lead in Pennsylvania with Clinton having only a two point lead in a four way race.  Go here to read about it.  If Trump takes Pennsylvania, Clinton’s path to victory becomes very, very difficult.  Right now Trump is ahead in all the states taken by Romney, and leads in Ohio, Florida, Iowa and Nevada.  Trump is tied with Clinton in Maine and close to tied in Colorado.  A shocking poll last week showed him only six points down in Illinois.  If that poll is accurate, and I have my doubts about it, Clinton is in deep trouble around the nation. Continue reading

Cruz Endorses Trump

 

Well, he says he will vote for him.  Here is the text of what Cruz said:

 

This election is unlike any other in our nation’s history. Like many other voters, I have struggled to determine the right course of action in this general election.

 

In Cleveland, I urged voters, “please, don’t stay home in November. Stand, and speak, and vote your conscience, vote for candidates up and down the ticket whom you trust to defend our freedom and to be faithful to the Constitution.”

 

After many months of careful consideration, of prayer and searching my own conscience, I have decided that on Election Day, I will vote for the Republican nominee, Donald Trump.

 

I’ve made this decision for two reasons. First, last year, I promised to support the Republican nominee. And I intend to keep my word.

 

Second, even though I have had areas of significant disagreement with our nominee, by any measure Hillary Clinton is wholly unacceptable — that’s why I have always been #NeverHillary.

 

Six key policy differences inform my decision.

 

First, and most important, the Supreme Court. For anyone concerned about the Bill of Rights — free speech, religious liberty, the Second Amendment — the Court hangs in the balance. I have spent my professional career fighting before the Court to defend the Constitution. We are only one justice away from losing our most basic rights, and the next president will appoint as many as four new justices. We know, without a doubt, that every Clinton appointee would be a left-wing ideologue. Trump, in contrast, has promised to appoint justices “in the mold of Scalia.”

 

For some time, I have been seeking greater specificity on this issue, and today the Trump campaign provided that, releasing a very strong list of potential Supreme Court nominees — including Sen. Mike Lee, who would make an extraordinary justice — and making an explicit commitment to nominate only from that list. This commitment matters, and it provides a serious reason for voters to choose to support Trump.

 

Second, Obamacare. The failed healthcare law is hurting millions of Americans. If Republicans hold Congress, leadership has committed to passing legislation repealing Obamacare. Clinton, we know beyond a shadow of doubt, would veto that legislation. Trump has said he would sign it.

 

Third, energy. Clinton would continue the Obama administration’s war on coal and relentless efforts to crush the oil and gas industry. Trump has said he will reduce regulations and allow the blossoming American energy renaissance to create millions of new high-paying jobs.

 

Fourth, immigration. Clinton would continue and even expand President Obama’s lawless executive amnesty. Trump has promised that he would revoke those illegal executive orders.

 

Fifth, national security. Clinton would continue the Obama administration’s willful blindness to radical Islamic terrorism. She would continue importing Middle Eastern refugees whom the FBI cannot vet to make sure they are not terrorists. Trump has promised to stop the deluge of unvetted refugees.

 

Sixth, Internet freedom. Clinton supports Obama’s plan to hand over control of the Internet to an international community of stakeholders, including Russia, China, and Iran. Just this week, Trump came out strongly against that plan, and in support of free speech online.

 

These are six vital issues where the candidates’ positions present a clear choice for the American people.

 

If Clinton wins, we know — with 100% certainty — that she would deliver on her left-wing promises, with devastating results for our country.

 

My conscience tells me I must do whatever I can to stop that.

 

We also have seen, over the past few weeks and months, a Trump campaign focusing more and more on freedom — including emphasizing school choice and the power of economic growth to lift African-Americans and Hispanics to prosperity.

 

Finally, after eight years of a lawless Obama administration, targeting and persecuting those disfavored by the administration, fidelity to the rule of law has never been more important.

 

The Supreme Court will be critical in preserving the rule of law. And, if the next administration fails to honor the Constitution and Bill of Rights, then I hope that Republicans and Democrats will stand united in protecting our fundamental liberties.

 

Our country is in crisis. Hillary Clinton is manifestly unfit to be president, and her policies would harm millions of Americans. And Donald Trump is the only thing standing in her way.

 

A year ago, I pledged to endorse the Republican nominee, and I am honoring that commitment. And if you don’t want to see a Hillary Clinton presidency, I encourage you to vote for him.

Continue reading

Of Black Swans and Worthless Elites

black-swan

 

 

Faithful readers of this blog know that I am fascinated by Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s 2007 book The Black Swan.  In this book Taleb took a look at the impact of events in history for which our prior experiences give us no inkling, Black Swan events.  Taleb states three requirements for a Black Swan Event:

First, it is an outlier, as it lies outside the realm of regular expectations, because nothing in the past can convincingly point to its possibility. Second, it carries an extreme ‘impact’. Third, in spite of its outlier status, human nature makes us concoct explanations for its occurrence after the fact, making it explainable and predictable.

I think Donald Trump is a Black Swan event in American political history, but he is also a part of a growing global revolt  against a fairly worthless class of governing elites.  Taleb has a look at this in a recent post:

What we have been seeing worldwide, from India to the UK to the US, is the rebellion against the inner circle of no-skin-in-the-game policymaking “clerks” and journalists-insiders, that class of paternalistic semi-intellectual experts with some Ivy league, Oxford-Cambridge, or similar label-driven education who are telling the rest of us 1) what to do, 2) what to eat, 3) how to speak, 4) how to think… and 5) who to vote for.

But the problem is the one-eyed following the blind: these self-described members of the “intelligenzia” can’t find a coconut in Coconut Island, meaning they aren’t intelligent enough to define intelligence hence fall into circularities — but their main skill is capacity to pass exams written by people like them. With psychology papers replicating less than 40%, dietary advice reversing after 30 years of fatphobia, macroeconomic analysis working worse than astrology, the appointment of Bernanke who was less than clueless of the risks, and pharmaceutical trials replicating at best only 1/3 of the time, people are perfectly entitled to rely on their own ancestral instinct and listen to their grandmothers (or Montaigne and such filtered classical knowledge) with a better track record than these policymaking goons.

Indeed one can see that these academico-bureaucrats who feel entitled to run our lives aren’t even rigorous, whether in medical statistics or policymaking. They cant tell science from scientism — in fact in their eyes scientism looks more scientific than real science. (For instance it is trivial to show the following: much of what the Cass-Sunstein-Richard Thaler types — those who want to “nudge” us into some behavior — much of what they would classify as “rational” or “irrational” (or some such categories indicating deviation from a desired or prescribed protocol) comes from their misunderstanding of probability theory and cosmetic use of first-order models.) They are also prone to mistake the ensemble for the linear aggregation of its components as we saw in the chapter extending the minority rule.


The Intellectual Yet Idiot is a production of modernity hence has been accelerating since the mid twentieth century, to reach its local supremum today, along with the broad category of people without skin-in-the-game who have been invading many walks of life. Why? Simply, in most countries, the government’s role is between five and ten times what it was a century ago (expressed in percentage of GDP). The IYI seems ubiquitous in our lives but is still a small minority and is rarely seen outside specialized outlets, think tanks, the media, and universities — most people have proper jobs and there are not many openings for the IYI.

Beware the semi-erudite who thinks he is an erudite. He fails to naturally detect sophistry.

The IYI pathologizes others for doing things he doesn’t understand without ever realizing it is his understanding that may be limited. He thinks people should act according to their best interests and he knows their interests, particularly if they are “red necks” or English non-crisp-vowel class who voted for Brexit. When plebeians do something that makes sense to them, but not to him, the IYI uses the term “uneducated”. What we generally call participation in the political process, he calls by two distinct designations: “democracy” when it fits the IYI, and “populism” when the plebeians dare voting in a way that contradicts his preferences. While rich people believe in one tax dollar one vote, more humanistic ones in one man one vote, Monsanto in one lobbyist one vote, the IYI believes in one Ivy League degree one-vote, with some equivalence for foreign elite schools and PhDs as these are needed in the club.

Continue reading

Les Deplorables

 

 

In 50 years of observing politics I have never seen a politician hand her adversary such a powerful weapon as Hillary Clinton did when she damned 20% of the American people as deplorables.  In that one remark she summarized the leftist contempt for Americans who stubbornly refuse to submit to leftist shibboleths, and she poured gasoline on the anger of half our population who are sick of being treated as enemies in their own nation.

 

 

Not Our Kind

 

 

It is interesting  how much that passes for liberalism these days is merely dressed up snobbishness where people with lots of money can look down their noses at people they deem “poor white trash”.  It is no accident, as Marxists used to say, that Hillary made her condemnation of 20% of the American people at a fundraising event to the cheers and laughter of the Hollywood glitterati and assorted fat cats.  Poor whites are one of the few safe groups to hate, and what is the point of having a great deal of money unless one can feel free to dump vials of loathing on those near the bottom of the economic ladder?

Daniel Henninger at The Wall Street Journal gets this aspect of our politics, an aspect rarely spoken of, but blindingly obvious:

As with the irrepressible email server, Mrs. Clinton’s handling of her infirmity—”I feel great,” the pneumonia-infected candidate said while hugging a little girl—deepened the hole of distrust she lives in. At the same time, her dismissal, at Barbra Streisand’s LGBT fundraiser, of uncounted millions of Americans as deplorables had the ring of genuine belief.

 

Perhaps sensing that public knowledge of what she really thinks could be a political liability, Mrs. Clinton went on to describe “people who feel that the government has let them down, the economy has let them down, nobody cares about them . . . and they’re just desperate for change.”

 

She is of course describing the people in Charles Murray’s recent and compelling book on cultural disintegration among the working class, “Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010.” This is indeed the bedrock of the broader Trump base.

 

Mrs. Clinton is right that they feel the system has let them down. There is a legitimate argument over exactly when the rising digital economy started transferring income away from blue-collar workers and toward the “creative class” of Google and Facebook employees, no few of whom are smug progressives who think the landmass seen from business class between San Francisco and New York is pocked with deplorable, phobic Americans. Naturally, they’ll vote for the status quo, which is Hillary.

 

But in the eight years available to Barack Obama to do something about what rankles the lower-middle class—white, black or brown—the non-employed and underemployed grew. A lot of them will vote for Donald Trump because they want a radical mid-course correction. Which Mrs. Clinton isn’t and never will be.

 

This is not the Democratic Party of Bill Clinton. The progressive Democrats, a wholly public-sector party, have disconnected from the realities of the private economy, which exists as a mysterious revenue-producing abstraction. Hillary’s comments suggest they now see much of the population has a cultural and social abstraction.

 

To repeat: “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic.”

 

Those are all potent words. Or once were. The racism of the Jim Crow era was ugly, physically cruel and murderous. Today, progressives output these words as reflexively as a burp. What’s more, the left enjoys calling people Islamophobic or homophobic. It’s bullying without personal risk.

 

Donald Trump’s appeal, in part, is that he cracks back at progressive cultural condescension in utterly crude terms. Nativists exist, and the sky is still blue. But the overwhelming majority of these people aren’t phobic about a modernizing America. They’re fed up with the relentless, moral superciliousness of Hillary, the Obamas, progressive pundits and 19-year-old campus activists.

 

Evangelicals at last week’s Values Voter Summit said they’d look past Mr. Trump’s personal résumé. This is the reason. It’s not about him.

 

The moral clarity that drove the original civil-rights movement or the women’s movement has degenerated into a confused moral narcissism. One wonders if even some of the people in Mrs. Clinton’s Streisandian audience didn’t feel discomfort at the ease with which the presidential candidate slapped isms and phobias on so many people. Continue reading

State of the Race: Revenge of the Deplorables: Trump Takes the Lead

 

 

Trump had the momentum even before Hillary’s ghastly exercise in political malpractice of the past week, but now he is clearly in the lead.  The Los Angeles Times daily tracking poll, which seems to be an accurate barometer of where the race is heading this campaign, has Trump today out to a five point lead.  Go here to look at it.  The Bloomberg Politics Poll, go here to view it, shows Trump with a five point lead in Ohio, the Buckeye state often mirroring the national race.  Perhaps most significantly, a just-released Reuters Ipsos poll, go here to read a story on the Colorado race, gives Trump a two point lead in a state that was thought to be irrevocably lost to Hillary.  Trump is beginning to expand the Romney map.  For example, if he takes the Romney states from 2012, and takes Ohio, Florida Iowa, Nevada and Colorado, he is the President even if he loses Virginia.  Current polls show him ahead in all of these states with the exception of Nevada where Hillary clings to a one point lead in the latest poll.  However, in that scenario Trump  leads in Maine 2 in current polling and if Hillary took Nevada and Trump got the one electoral vote in Maine 2, the race would be tied 269-269 with  the race decided, almost certainly in Trump’s favor, by majority vote by state delegations in the House of Representatives.  Trump is expanding his electoral college reach while Clinton’s is contracting.

Hillary Clinton has been cordially despised by many in her party for a very long time.  Leftists have never warmed to her, and many Democrats view her as simply dishonest.  If she begins to look like a sure loser, more Democrats will vote Green, Libertarian or stay home.  There would be an effort to replace her on the ticket.  Unless she dies, a possibility that in view of her health which cannot be discounted, she will never voluntarily leave the ticket.  Forcing her off the ticket would probably only enhance the disaster for the Democrats.

Trump of course is not popular, to say the least, among Republicans.  His paid leave plan for new parents illustrates again that he is neither a Republican nor a conservative.  However, as he increasingly looks like a winner, more Republicans and conservatives will come to his side, enjoying the crushing of Clinton and hoping to benefit in down-ballot races. Continue reading

Deplorables

 

Between the deplorables remark and her collapse yesterday, Trump should really name Hillary his de facto campaign manager.

Some Animals Are More Equal Than Others

 

“Comrades!’ he cried. ‘You do not imagine, I hope, that we pigs are doing this in a spirit of selfishness and privilege? Many of us actually dislike milk and apples. I dislike them myself. Our sole object in taking these things is to preserve our health. Milk and apples (this has been proved by Science, comrades) contain substances absolutely necessary to the well-being of a pig. We pigs are brainworkers. The whole management and organisation of this farm depend on us. Day and night we are watching over your welfare. It is for your sake that we drink the milk and eat those apples.”
George Orwell, Animal Farm
A Navy vet focuses in on one of the more damning aspects of this whole Clinton e-mail scandal.  Anyone else not as politically connected as Hillary Clinton would now be under criminal indictment, with excellent prospects of being a convicted felon for the rest of his life, and likely looking forward to at least a year in the slammer.   Hillary’s answer to her interlocutor isn’t even worthy of being called bovine dung.  Guy Benson at Hot Air ably dissects her farrago of lies:

In response, Clinton ran through a litany of excuses, some of which were flat-out lies. She asserted, for instance, that none of her emails were marked classified, even though some were. That’s the whole reason she had to concoct the nonsensical story that she believed ‘(C) for confidential’ was an effort at alphabetizing paragraphs — which is preposterous, especially given this context. She wrapped up her answer by insisting that she did “exactly what I should have done,” which is also false. But a prominent new element of her shifting email spin is a heightened focus on the absence of classification headers at the top of her emails as a key exculpatory factor. This is irrelevant, misleading, and stands in direct contradiction to a previous Clinton claim. First, those headers are used to underscore classification levels on emails sent through the official secure systems, which Hillary was knowingly and intentionally bypassing with the exclusive use of her private and unsecure server. Second, at the outset of her term at the State Department, Mrs. Clinton signed a binding nondisclosure agreement swearing to identify and protect all classified information, “marked or unmarked:”

 

Perhaps Clinton can be cut some slack for not immediately recognizing low-level classified information as such, but she also sent and received messages that were secret, top secret, and above top secret from the moment of origination. A number of these emails remain so sensitive that the State Department refused to release them in any form, even with major redactions. “But there were no headers” is not a valid explanation for these egregious security lapses, particularly in light of her formally-acknowledged duty to safeguard unmarked secrets. But since she suddenly wants to fixate on headers, how’s this for a relevant flashback? Continue reading

Dennis Prager: For Trump

 

The political world was shocked yesterday when CNN ran a poll showing Trump running two points ahead.  I was not.  Faithful readers of this blog know that I have long predicted a Trump victory.  I have long also stated that I will not be voting for Trump because I view him as basically a liberal Democrat wearing a Republican disguise.  I  confess that I have toyed over the past few weeks with changing my mind and supporting Trump due to how dangerous a threat to the Republic Hillary Clinton is.  However, Trump has always managed to say or do something bizarre that has confirmed me in my anti-Trump sentiments.  I desperately want to see Clinton beaten on election day, and I know that the only way to accomplish that is by Trump being elected President.  That is my quandry:  he is a man of little character, completely unfitted for the office.  Clinton is more unfit for the office and is a thorough going scoundrel, yet I cannot bring myself to support Trump.

Dennis Prager, who was vehemently anti-Trump in the primaries, at National Review Online makes the best case possible for a reluctant vote for Trump:

I cannot speak for all conservatives who are voting for Trump, but I can speak for many in making this assertion:

We have the same principles as the Never Trumpers — especially those of us who strongly opposed nominating Trump; that’s why we opposed him, after all. So almost everything that prevents Never Trumpers from voting for Trump also troubled us about the candidate. (I should note that some are less troubled today.)

So where do we differ?

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Hillary is as Healthy as a Horse!

 

On her way to the glue factory.  If we had a media that wasn’t almost completely in bed with the Democrats, the following questions might be asked:

1.  Why such a light campaign schedule?

2.  What did Huma Abedin mean in disclosed e-mails in which she said that you are frequently confused and that you need naps?

3.  What did you mean when you told the FBI that due to a concussion you could not recall the briefings you attended in December 2012?

4.  Were your 26 failures to recall information as set forth in the FBI interview notes in regard to the e-mail scandals due to health problems?

5.  Why do you often have severe coughing fits?

Continue reading

L’audace, L’audace, Toujours L’audace

 

 

In a memorable day in American political history, Donald Trump met with the Mexican President in a scene which had all the trappings of a head of state visiting another head of state.  It could easily have blown up in his face, instead Trump looked completely presidential.  Trump is clearing willing to gamble, something professional politicians are loathe to do.  He might well be audacity incarnate, and calls to mind Danton’s famous cry:  audacity, audacity, ever audacity.  He is the most dangerous opponent for a completely conventional politician like Hillary Clinton who never makes a move that is not heavily scripted.  I am looking forward to their debates. Continue reading

State of the Race

 

 

Going into the Labor Day weekend, Clinton is slightly ahead with Trump gaining ground.  The Los Angeles Times daily tracker shows Trump with a lead today of three points.  Go here to view it.  The topline result in August presidential polls isn’t important but the direction can be, and the direction for Trump is good news.  Almost all polls now show that he has at least halved the bounce that Clinton got from her convention.  As a candidate Trump seems to be learning his new trade of politician.  Clinton is bedeviled by her ongoing e-mail scandals that demonstrate that as Secretary of State she was selling access.  The New York Times published an editorial yesterday urging Clinton to cut all ties with the Clinton Foundation.  Clinton is a candidate under constant ethical fire who seems to be attempting to sit upon a shrinking lead with few public appearances for a candidate for President, while Trump ceaselessly barnstorms up and down the country.  This is political malpractice on the part of the Clinton campaign. Continue reading

Huffington Post Thinks Their Readers Are Really, Really Stupid

 

huffpo-trump

 

A current post at leftist Huffington Post brings their readership the bad news that in one week the Reuters Ipsos poll has shown Clinton’s lead tumble to five points from twelve points, and in a poll listing all four candidates, including the Libertarians and the Greens, Clinton’s lead drops to three points.  (A Gravis Marketing Poll released yesterday shows Clinton’s lead dropping from five points to one point in a two way race.)

The hilarious thing with the Huffington Post piece is the edit at the end which includes this for their readers:

Editor’s Note:  Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims-1.6 billion members of an entire religion from entering the US.

Go here to read it.  The Huffington Post editors obviously think their readers are so stupid they will be unable to sort the white hats from the black hats without help.

Hillary For Sale

 The level of corruption on display in the State Department e-mails just revealed through the litigation brought by conservative group Judicial Watch, is too great for even the mainstream media to ignore:

WASHINGTON (AP) — More than half the people outside the government who met with Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state gave money — either personally or through companies or groups — to the Clinton Foundation. It’s an extraordinary proportion indicating her possible ethics challenges if elected president.

At least 85 of 154 people from private interests who met or had phone conversations scheduled with Clinton while she led the State Department donated to her family charity or pledged commitments to its international programs, according to a review of State Department calendars released so far to The Associated Press. Combined, the 85 donors contributed as much as $156 million. At least 40 donated more than $100,000 each, and 20 gave more than $1 million.

Donors who were granted time with Clinton included an internationally known economist who asked for her help as the Bangladesh government pressured him to resign from a nonprofit bank he ran; a Wall Street executive who sought Clinton’s help with a visa problem; and Estee Lauder executives who were listed as meeting with Clinton while her department worked with the firm’s corporate charity to counter gender-based violence in South Africa.

The meetings between the Democratic presidential nominee and foundation donors do not appear to violate legal agreements Clinton and former president Bill Clinton signed before she joined the State Department in 2009. But the frequency of the overlaps shows the intermingling of access and donations, and fuels perceptions that giving the foundation money was a price of admission for face time with Clinton. Her calendars and emails released as recently as this week describe scores of contacts she and her top aides had with foundation donors.

The AP’s findings represent the first systematic effort to calculate the scope of the intersecting interests of Clinton foundation donors and people who met personally with Clinton or spoke to her by phone about their needs.

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