Sunday Afternoon Open Thread: Chickenshit Candidate

To riff on Betty’s morning theme… according to the NYTimes, Trump’s handlers are treating him like a big dumb feathered (golden) egg-producer. Although an actual chicken would be less of a pain to handle. “Inside Donald Trump’s Last Stand: An Anxious Nominee Seeks Assurance“:

… Aboard his gold-plated jumbo jet, the Republican nominee does not like to rest or be alone with his thoughts, insisting that aides stay up and keep talking to him. He prefers the soothing, whispery voice of his son-in-law.

He requires constant assurance that his candidacy is on track. “Look at that crowd!” he exclaimed a few days ago as he flew across Florida, turning to his young press secretary as a TV tuned to Fox News showed images of what he claimed were thousands of people waiting for him on the ground below.

And he is struggling to suppress his bottomless need for attention. As he stood next to the breakfast buffet at his golf club in Doral, Fla., eyeing a tray of pork sausages, he sought to convey restraint when approached by a reporter for The New York Times.

“I’m on message,” Mr. Trump asserted, with effort. “I’m not playing around. In fact, I’m a little nervous standing here talking to you even for just a minute.”…

In the final days of the presidential campaign, Mr. Trump’s candidacy is a jarring split screen: the choreographed show of calm and confidence orchestrated by his staff, and the neediness and vulnerability of a once-boastful candidate now uncertain of victory…

Mr. Trump’s campaign is no longer making headlines with embarrassing staff shake-ups. But that has left him with a band of squabbling and unfireable advisers, with confusing roles and an inability to sign off on basic tasks. A plan to encourage early voting in Florida went unapproved for weeks.

The result is chaotic. Advisers cut loose from the campaign months ago, like Corey Lewandowski, still talk to the candidate frequently, offering advice that sometimes clashes with that of the current leadership team. Mr. Trump, who does not use a computer, rails against the campaign’s expenditure of tens of millions on digital ads, skeptical that spots he never sees could have any effect…

This inside account of the Trump campaign’s final stretch is based on interviews with dozens of aides, operatives, supporters and advisers, many of whom were granted anonymity to describe moments and conversations that were intended to be confidential…

At one point, the article claims, Breitbart heir Steve Bannon’s pants literally catch on fire. If this were fiction, no decent editor would approve these baroque touches — but that’s The Donald!








Late Night Open Thread: Down in the Trump Bunker

Thirty-three-year-old registered Republican and designer of high-altitude balloons decided to rush the stage at a Trump rally, chaos ensues. I certainly hope the Secret Service would react similarly if the same thing happened at a Clinton rally, but I also think that a Democratic audience wouldn’t be so quick to panic (or to brag about our manly manliness in the face of nonexistent danger afterwards).

At least it gave Trump’s inner circle a brief respite…








Stamina! (And Tactical Thinking)

I’ve reached the point where my sleep patterns and the kindness I’m able to show my family both demand that I step away from the election noise machine — staying off Twitter as near totally as possible, for example — but I haven’t yet given up one habit: checking the official campaign schedule pages for both Trump and Clinton.

At this stage of the race, the only absolutely equal resource the two sides have is time, and without having any deep insight into how professionals think about deploying their stock of hours and minutes, I still find it interesting to see what each side is doing.  Right now, there’s quite a contrast.

The Republican ticket lists only its two principals’ travels.  On a quick glance Donald Trump and Mike Pence have eighteen events on their docket between now and Monday evening.  That’s deceptive, however, as the schedule includes two events at which both appear.   So that’s sixteen headlined campaign rallies over the next four days.*

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The Clinton/Kaine campaign is doing it differently.  Hillary’s campaign lists not just the ticket’s events, but those of her top surrogates.  Including those gives Clinton/Kaine sixteen events just today.  Two by the candidate (compared to four Trump rallies today, btw), one Kaine-led farrago — to which add appearances by Obama, Biden, Bernie Sanders, Bill C., Chelsea C., and a Cleveland, OH concert headlined by Jay Z. (Props to Bernie, doing four events today, three in IA and one in Nebraska, and then  two more tomorrow, in IA and CO.  Not leaving it on the table is our Senator from VT.)  Twelve tomorrow, without POTUS and Bill, but adding Katy Perry, Stevie Wonder and Jon Bon Jovi appearing in two concerts in PA (Perry and Wonder) and FL (Bon Jovi).  Sunday and Monday see fewer events, but with similar star power — Obama back on the trail, with Michelle joining him and Clinton, Bill and Chelsea for an election-eve rally in Philadelphia.

In all, and not counting some Cher-led fundraisers, the Democratic campaign has thirty eight events between now and election day.

In terms of geography, the two campaigns basically agree on what’s left to fight about.  Both show up in all the usual suspects: FL, NC, OH, PA, MI, IA, CO, and NH.  Trump, somewhat oddly, heads to NV for the rally that is half his Saturday schedule. (Odd, because early voting ends today in NV, so he’s missing a chance to give a boost to that  process, which will finish with half, perhaps as much of 70% of all ballots cast.)

Clinton, Kaine and their surrogates will skip Nevada but add stops in  Nebraska’s one gettable electoral vote (with a Sanders visit), in Colorado on (four rallies on two different days — three led by Bill Clinton, one by Sanders), and one Joe Biden visit to Wisconsin.

So there you have it:  broad agreement on where this election will be settled (if it isn’t already), and very different deployment of publicly visible resources to fight those battles.  None of this speaks to the ground game or any of the secret sauce which we believe (and I deeply hope) favors the more organized and technically skilled Democratic operation.

Make of it what you will.  For me, this kind of thing helps me detox from election madness. YMMV.  The effect won’t last that long, but I’ll get myself some help by heading to NH to GOTV on Sunday, and probably again on election day.

Open thread!

*An bit of strangeness:  while Trump is indeed making good on his promise to fill a heavy campaign schedule, Pence only has three solo appearances slated.  I’m not sure what that means, if anything — could be Trump doesn’t see the point of spending money on his number two; could be that Pence is dialing it back; could be what the goat’s entrails told someone.

Image:  William Hogarth, Canvassing for Votes, from the Humours of an Election series, 1754-55.








All Hat, No Cattle

 

Too f**king little awfully late in the game, but the Grey Lady has come up with another good story on the long-con that is Donald J. Trump.  Ross Buettner reports:

…an examination of his tax appeals on several properties, and other documents obtained by The New York Times through Freedom of Information requests, shows that what Mr. Trump has reported on those forms is nowhere near a complete picture of his financial state.

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The records demonstrate that large portions of those numbers represent cash coming into his businesses before covering costs like mortgage payments, payroll and maintenance. After expenses, some of his businesses make a small fraction of what he reported on his disclosure forms, or actually lose money.

Donald Trump got his start in life with his dad’s money. The rest of us helped him out by paying his taxes for him for almost two decades.  Shafting his subcontractors and partners helped build the kitty.  And he still can’t actually make (much) money at his supposed vocation.  I loved this bit:

On the financial disclosure forms that Donald J. Trump has pointed to as proof of his tremendous success, no venture looks more gold-plated than his golf resort in Doral, Fla., where he reported revenues of $50 million in 2014. That figure accounted for the biggest share of what he described as his income for the year.

But this summer, a considerably different picture emerged in an austere government hearing room in Miami, where Mr. Trump’s company was challenging the resort’s property tax bill.

Mr. Trump’s lawyer handed the magistrate an income and expense statement showing that the gross revenue had indeed been $50 million. But after paying operating costs, the resort had actually lost $2.4 million.

Donald Trump is a bigot, a thug, the kind of man whom women know all too well.

He’s a braggart, a bully, and the least self-made alleged rich guy short of the Walton kids.

And through it all, he’s crap at the stuff of which he claims to be the world champeen.  Would you trust the coffee fund, much less the national budget, to this guy?

But time and again, what the form presented as income did not match what was reported in other documents. Mr. Trump also runs several publicly owned attractions — the carousel and ice rinks in Central Park and a golf course in the Bronx — under agreements with New York City.

Mr. Trump’s disclosure forms reported income from the Wollman and Lasker ice rinks of just under $13 million last year, and $8.6 million the year before. But accounting figures provided by his company to the city show that those figures represent gross receipts…Recent figures were not available, but a 2011 city audit showed that for the previous three years, an average of $25,340 a year for both rinks was left after expenses.

With Logan Airport charging roughly eight bucks a gallon for Jet-A fuel right now, that would pay for barely more than a quarter of a tank of gas for The Donald’s aging jet.  He’s a bust-out artist, not a businessman.

Last word to the magistrate who heard Trump cry poor on his misbegotten Doral Golf Course purchase:

“So he spent $104 million to lose two and a half million dollars a year,” Mr. [Leonardo[ Delgado said. “I know how to lose that money without having to spend $104 million. How ’bout you, Murry?”

I’d laugh, except for the non-zero (though still small) chance that this lying sack of ferret fæces could be President-elect next week.








Early Morning Open Thread: The Coveted Scott Walker Endorsement!

Scott Walker has never pretended to be a smart person, but his political instincts are unimpeachable. Per the Washington Post:

WAUKESHA, Wis. — Donald Trump got the big October surprise. The momentum seems to be going his way. Hillary Clinton is again on the defensive, again over her emails. But in this enclave of white, upper-middle-class Republicans, the party’s presidential nominee still faces a barrier that will be difficult to clear.

“It’s a moral choice,” Dick Radder, a 68-year-old Republican, said as he cupped a black coffee outside a Starbucks here Tuesday. “I can’t get there. I can’t get to Trump. I’m a husband and a father. And I can’t convince myself to vote for a person who is weakening the fiber of the country.”

Most of the well-kept lawns here are dotted with signs for Sen. Ron Johnson (R) and for other down-ballot candidates, but support for Trump is less evident.

“You’re in a town that’s about going to college and raising a family. People are polished and hard-working. He’s not one of us,” said Andy Schwichtenberg, a 28-year-old stockbroker.

“I did try,” Schwichtenberg added with a sigh. “I went to a rally.” But he was not swayed and he was turned off by the crowd, which he noted was packed with men and women “who came there on Harleys.”…