Jokesters at the Donald Trump Roast a few years back could joke about anything, anything at all…except that The Donald may not be worth what he says he’s worth.

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Hillary Clinton remains an inept candidate. Thankfully, Donald Trump is truly disastrous, which outweighs that. Still, sometimes I fantasize about what an above-average candidate could do against Trump.

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I wish somebody would ask Jill Stein how well having a large, left-wing third party is working out in Spain. Might be interesting.

(Spoiler alert: it’s kept the country’s awful conservative PM in office by splitting opposition and refusing to enter a coalition with the center-left party.)

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As I and others have opined, Trump really doesn’t want to be bothered with the job of governing the country.  One of the most plausible exit strategies is for him to consciously throw the election and cast himself as a wronged martyr in the eyes of his diehard supporters.  In his eyes, Trump can’t fail, he can only be cheated, or treated “unfairly”.

It continues to look like he’s setting the stage:

“I’m afraid the election’s going to be rigged, I have to be honest,” Trump said at a rally in Columbus, Ohio Monday afternoon.  The “rigged system” drumbeat is one Trump hit repeatedly during the primary season, first against the Republican establishment and, more recently, about the Democratic Party, to try to win over Sanders supporters who felt their candidate did not have a fair shake against Hillary Clinton… By turning now to say he believes the general election could also be unfairly favorable to Clinton, Trump is laying the groundwork to fuel his supporters’ fury if he loses on Nov. 8.

What better way to keep the unconditional adulation flowing than to get “cheated” out of an election?  It will inflame his supporters even more and they’ll love him even more for it.


I don’t have a lot of color commentary but this is a pretty major development in politics today:

On Friday morning, a federal appeals court struck down a number of sweeping changes to North Carolina’s voting rules made in 2013, including its voter identification law.

The ruling read in part:

“We can only conclude that the North Carolina General Assembly enacted the challenged provisions of the law with discriminatory intent.  Accordingly, we reverse the judgment of the district court to the contrary and remand with instructions to enjoin the challenged provisions of the law.”  (Emphasis mine.  Click here to view the entire court order.)

I haven’t read the whole ruling but it’s refreshing to see what’s been blindingly obvious to any reasonable-minded person reflected in an opinion from one of the highest courts in the land.

Justice Diana Gribbon Motz wrote for the majority:

“In response to claims that intentional racial discrimination animated its action, the State offered only meager justifications. Although the new provisions target African Americans with almost surgical precision, they constitute inapt remedies for the problems assertedly justifying them and, in fact, impose cures for problems that did not exist.”  “Faced with this record,” Motz wrote, “we can only conclude that the North Carolina General Assembly enacted the challenged provisions of the law with discriminatory intent.”

Lest you think it was just about the voter ID issue:

In addition to overturning the voter ID requirement, the three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit ruled unanimously to reinstate early voting; out-of-precinct voting; preregistration; and same-day registration.

Pretty damning stuff.   Sometimes sanity prevails.

And let this be a clarion call to Bernie supporters about the importance of Hillary being able to appoint non-sociopaths to the Supreme Court and Courts of Appeal.


This is a fairly trivial gripe that I probably feel more intensely than I should, but I find it utterly bizarre that every negative story about a candidate apparently has to involve an analogy to Richard Nixon. Trump’s aggrieved and holds grudges? He’s like Nixon. Hillary’s secretive? Nixon. Trump’s love of power is Nixonesque. Clinton’s ambition is Nixonesque. Nixon. Nixon. Nixon. Is Nixon the Rosetta Stone of political flaws? I doubt it–more the first resort of the lazy pundit. I do have to laugh at the funny way the online Nixon vents about all of these, but one wonders why it’s always Nixon. We’ve had 43 other presidents whose entire lives and careers can also be compressed into a unidimensional cautionary allegory, after all. Back in the day Jimmy Carter was the other one this happened to regularly, but that’s fallen by the wayside a bit. Now it’s just Nixon. And it’s really gotten stale. If everybody’s Nixon then nobody’s Nixon: if you can find the same Nixonian flaws in all politicians then they’re simply not remarkable flaws. And if that’s the case, then who cares?

In all honesty, it’s probably just as simple as Boomer pundits unable to get over Nixon, and Americans being historically illiterate. But it doesn’t speak well of the media that they keep hammering Nixon while treating the actually disastrous George W. Bush with gentle bemusement and puff pieces about his art, and trying to sell the public on George H.W. Bush as a compelling and meaningful figure, when we all know he’s a forgettable mediocrity with a Rolodex the size of Jupiter. One struggles to find a point of view that encompasses all this, except that all presidents are great and wonderful except Richard Nixon. Which is one the one hand a little too generous and on the other a little too mean.

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It’s really a stretch to make a 0 of the liberty bell.

I will admit that I watched almost none of the Democratic National Convention live, for the simple reason that I do not need to. I watched most of it in 2008 and less in 2012, but these conventions seem tailor-made to be consumed in the digested form that the web facilitates: so much chaff that can be immediately discarded, and it really is so easy to scan through it, reading and watching only the important stuff. A lot better of a plan than spending four days watching mostly useless party functionaries blather on. I do have a few observations:

  • Overall, I think it went about as well as it could have gone. Unlike the GOP convention it did what it had to do without every single night winding up snarled in its own chaos. It’s worth noting that even the bad stuff wound up being fine: the Wasserman Schultz resignation, the emails and the Bernie-or-Busters had little impact on the convention and helped provide a frisson of tension that almost certainly helped boost ratings beyond the Republicans’ convention (thanks Putin!). People tuning in to watch a trainwreck saw a perfectly fine convention. A propos, nobody really liked DWS, it was between people who hated her and wanted her gone and people who hated her and didn’t want the fuss. Ditching her wound up being anticlimactic and quickly forgotten.
  • It was a very clever idea to appropriate many of the traditional Republican rhetorical themes that Donald Trump abandoned–you know, rah-rah patriotism, exceptionalism, treacly optimism, all that. I tend to find those themes insipid but I think Joe Sixpack doesn’t, and it was a smart choice that cost nothing of substance while setting up a favorable contrast with the Republican convention (and demoralizing Republican pundits).
  • There is some truth in this, though I don’t agree with the thrust of the piece. I could not give less of a shit what Michael Bloomberg thinks about anything but elites and the media certainly do, so giving him a slot to blather about the obessions of the Economist set (with the implicit understanding that he’s speaking only for himself) gives nothing away and may add a little something. If Democrats get people to vote for them based on meaningless symbolism then so much the better. Republicans have been doing it for years, it’s about time we gave it a try.
  • My general election prediction: Clinton 52-Trump 45, which relative to 2012 would mean a slightly better performance for Democrats and a significantly worse one for Republicans (and would be quite close to Bush-Dukakis 1988, ironically enough). No landslide, but wider than would have occurred if Republicans had been able to put off reaping fifty years’ worth of sowing for just one more cycle.

I listen to my politics news on NPR on the drive to/from work.  All-too-often this week I’ve had to whiteknuckle it because upwards of 80-90% of the coverage of the DNC was a non-stop clusterfudge of pearl-clutching over delicate Bernie supporters rage-pouting and yelling Boo! sometimes.

I know it’s naive and silly to be surprised at the media seeking out and inflating any hint of conflict but, c’mon, this is the DNC.  Idealistic dumbasses like this are bound to abound:

Now that the DNC is over, polls continue to show that over 90% of Bernie supporters have already come over to supporting Clinton.  The amount of airtime this has taken up has been beyond stupid.