Excellent Read: “Shattered”

Rebecca Traister, for NYMag:

On the Sunday morning before Election Day, Hillary Rodham Clinton, the first woman ever to be nominated by a major party for the American presidency, gave a sermon at the Mt. Airy Church of God in Christ in Philadelphia. Her voice hoarse after days of multistate campaigning, Clinton sounded exhausted but happy to be there. Even at the bitter end of a nearly two-year marathon campaign, she could still get energized by speaking at a black church on a Sunday.

There was a feeling of confidence among many in Clinton’s campaign that weekend. They were spending a lot of time in Philadelphia, where the streets were overrun by canvassers who’d poured into the city to get out the vote. Polls had begun to show Clinton recovering from the dip she’d taken after FBI director James Comey’s letter re-embroiled her in the email morass. It looked at that moment, in and out of the campaign, like she was going to be the first female president of the United States.

Clinton preached to the congregation about the Founding Fathers — but not in the way that most politicians, in this era of right-wing deification of the country’s forebears, would invoke them two days before a presidential election. “Our Founders said all men are created equal,” Clinton said. “[But] they left out African-Americans. They left out women. They left out a lot of us.”…

The next night, Clinton stood alongside Barack and Michelle Obama before a crowd of 33,000 people outside Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, the spot where the architects of the nation had endowed its citizens with the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness — as they built their new country on the backs of enslaved African-Americans and subsidiary women. Clinton and the Obamas were taking an audacious risk in presenting themselves as united in a mission to broaden America’s notions of what leadership could look like, of what the power of expanded enfranchisement could mean for the kinds of people from whom it was withheld for so long.

But little more than 24 hours after these three historic figures made their case for doing more work to perfect our imperfect union, it was clear that half of the country would prefer to return to the Founders’ original vision, with people of color and women on the margins and white men restored to their place at the center. The enormity of the upset came at the end of what had already been a traumatic election for the women and immigrants and people of color to whom Clinton was trying to appeal, and who had spent months being derided, threatened, groped, caricatured, insulted, and humiliated by Donald Trump and his supporters.

It wasn’t simply that the imagined coalition did not, in the end, cohere — though it did not. It was also that the very specter of it, the threat that power could be wrested from those Americans who have traditionally enjoyed more than their share, had created a spasm of resentment and revulsion that no pollster had really been able to track. It wasn’t just that white Americans voted Republican, which they usually do. It’s that they chose a uniquely unqualified candidate who openly sold himself on promises of resistance to and revenge on the women and people of color who were poised to exert a historic degree of power…
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Open Thread: Hillary Clinton, President & Michelle Obama, Bruce Springsteen, Jon Bon Jovi Rally in Philadelphia, PA

(h/t commentor Hovercraft)

Suspect there will be some fireworks at this rally…

Meanwhile: What’s on the agenda for the evening?

Saturday Morning Open Thread: President Obama (Finally) Talks to Bill Maher

Maybe a little more complex than my usual Saturday-morning offering, but what better morning to listen to a half-hour interview? Lots of real content, too.

As previously mentioned, a few of us (at least six, maybe as many as eight or nine) will be getting together at Su Chang’s in Peabody, starting at 5pm this evening. I’m sure they can find us another chair or two if you’re in the area and discover a gap in your schedule.

And of course, there’s plenty GOTV work to be done just over the border…

Craig McMahon says:
A great idea would be for anyone planning on going to the meet-up to head just a litttttle further north to 15 Ermer Rd in Salem, NH at 12:00pm, knock a few GOTV doors for yours truly, then finish by 3pm, debrief with me, remind me there’s still sanity in the world and good Democrats in my party, then bomb up to Peabody and send everyone who can’t make it my warmest regards and fondest wishes.

GOTV door knocking is the easiest door knocking in the world! We spent the last 4 months finding you Democrats, so you can go, meet cute dogs, talk to wonderful liberals, remind them to vote, and have me charm you all with my canvass training and Keurig ability.

Apart from that, what’s on the agenda for the day?

Excellent Read: “The Final Days of Trump’s Unmanageable, Unrepentant & Unprecidented Campaign”

As part of his services to the Republican party, John Comey’s Friday dump helped obscure attention to Gabriel “Thorn in Roger Ailes’ Side” Sherman’s astonishing portrayal of the rats/fvckers exiting the S.S. Trump as the iceberg looms into view. From NYMag:

[Trump] is ending the race much as he got into it: not worrying too much about the future and not listening to any of the advisers around him. In recent weeks, I spoke with more than two dozen current and former Trump advisers, friends, and senior Republican officials, many of whom would speak only off the record given that the campaign is not yet over. What they described was an unmanageable candidate who still does not fully understand the power of the movement he has tapped into, who can’t see that it is larger than himself.

“I got really mad at him the other day,” Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway told me. “He said, ‘I think we’ll win, and if not, that’s okay too. And I said, ‘It’s not okay! You can’t say that! Your dry-cleaning bill is like the annual salaries of the people who came to your rallies, and they believe in you!’ ”

Trump may not be all that focused on what happens to the masses of white, nativist, working-class voters who have coalesced around him, but there are people in the campaign who recognize how valuable those Trump believers could be long after the election is over. As Bloomberg Businessweek recently reported, Trump’s son-in-law–cum–de facto campaign manager Jared Kushner is building a proprietary database of some 14 million email addresses and credit-card numbers of Trump supporters. That list could form the foundation of a new Trump media company. According to one Republican briefed on the talks, Kushner has approached Wall Street bankers and pitched ideas for media start-ups. “How do we monetize this?” he’s asked. (Through a spokesperson, Kushner denied having such meetings.)

Campaign CEO Stephen Bannon, who is taking a leave of absence from his role as executive chairman of Breitbart News to work with the Trump team, has an even bigger ambition for all those voters: reshaping the GOP and future elections. “The main goal for Steve was dealing a devastating blow to the permanent political class,” Breitbart editor-in-chief Alex Marlow told me. “It’s pretty clear he’s upended the Republican Establishment, so it’s a huge win for Steve’s ideas and for Breitbart’s ideas.” If the Republican Party of the past was full of rich fiscal conservatives who benefited from free trade, low taxes, low regulation, and low-wage immigrant labor, Bannon envisions a new party that is home to working-class whites, grassroots conservatives, libertarians, populists, and disaffected millennials who had gravitated toward the Bernie Sanders campaign — in other words, Trump supporters…

The paradox is that Trump’s political brand and his commercial brand are very much at odds. “The people who are passionate about his brand can’t afford it right now,” a real-estate executive who knows Trump told me. And those who can afford it are less likely to want to be associated with his name. “He might have to go into multifamily rentals. Maybe he could put gold fixtures in a trailer park,” said the executive.
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Tuesday Morning Open Thread: But What Do the Russians Think?

Seems like this just might be pertinent, given the latest developments. Daniel Drezner, “professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University”, for the Washington Post:

I was in Sochi all last week with a healthy fraction of the Russian foreign policy elite. Here’s what I learned at the Valdai Discussion Club:

1) Russian-American relations are going to be bad for a good long spell. Regardless of the nationality or ideological predisposition of the participant, everyone attending Valdai thought this to be true…

2) Russia’s grand strategy is for Russia to be treated like a great power. That’s it. A lot of high-ranking Russian officials came to chat, and the questions from the participants were quite good. But one exchange stood out. A non-American noted that Russia’s pre-2008 rhetoric toward the U.S. was, essentially, “We disapprove of your revisionist actions in the world but will not take similar actions because we believe in Westphalian sovereignty.” The post-2008 rhetoric has been, essentially, “We get to do what you’ve done in the past.”…

3) Russia’s economy is not in great shape...

4) Vladimir Putin is, like, super-passive-aggressive. Props to the Russian leader — he took questions from the participants for more than two hours, and seemed perfectly at ease doing so. But when the conversation turned to sensitive flash points, he got very snarky…

Rhetorically, Putin kept nominally declaring that he didn’t care who won the U.S. election, all the while venting his spleen about Hillary Clinton. And it’s interesting that Putin’s line about this so perfectly parallels Donald Trump’s line…


What’s on the agenda for the day, GOTV-related or otherwise?

Early Morning Open Thread: Everybody’s Sick of the “Undecided Voters”


(Jump Start via GoComics.com)

Of course us politically-minded types are thoroughly tired of this year’s war-by-other-means, but now even sweet non-political ‘funny page’ cartoonists are getting cranky!

Monday Morning Open Thread: Happy Halloween

This is actually a good thing. This is an opportunity to apply lessons from this season to predict what happens next.

First, the starting points:

– For twenty years, polarization has made voters increasingly emotional and less likely to change their views. Donald Trump represents the culmination of this trend.
– On time scales of a week, journalists get bored with a storyline, and look for ways that the trend is being violated. Until Friday, the developing story was “Clinton is coasting to victory.”
– Whichever major party you support, your optimal strategy as a citizen is to focus on knife-edge cases, i.e. cases where the outcome is in doubt.

From these, I suggest the following consequences:

The national race will not change meaningfully. This is not a story that changes anyone’s mind. Maybe the margin (national or Meta) between the two candidates will move by 1 percentage point when aggregated…2 points max. It doesn’t change the high likelihood of a Clinton win.

Journalists and pundits will continue to feed hysterics by fussing over the Comey story. They may even attempt to use polling evidence to justify their coverage. However, note that national polls had already tightened by 1-2 percentage points, even before Comeygate.

Keep your eye on the ball, which is downticket….

Oh, I’ll go out on a limb on one last item: there is time for one more weird twist in the campaign. Considering the life cycle of journalists’ hidden thought processes, I’ll say it is Donald Trump’s turn for the next adverse story.


Apart from waiting for that ‘one more weird twist’, what’s on the agenda as we start the last week before the election?