office pool

The Donald Trump Show (Business Acumen)

Donald Trump speaks during the Conservative Political Action Conference [CPAC], 6 March 2014, at National Harbor, Maryland. (Photo: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

“Trump hiring Steve Bannon might go down as the worst campaign hire of all time.”

Eric Kleefeld

This is a point worth considering.

First off, it opened up the field for Hillary Clinton’s blistering speech yesterday against the alt-right, as well as the Clinton campaign’s other attacks linking Trump to not just Breitbart, but to Klansmen and other sundry white supremacists.

Next, the Trump campaign’s clumsy efforts to deny its alt-right connections has become utterly impossible. In the latest example, Trump himself got tripped up by Anderson Cooper. After the candidate claimed, “Nobody even knows what it is … this is just a term that was given that—frankly, there’s no alt-right or alt-left.” Cooper had only to point out that Bannon himself proclaimed Breitbart to be the voice of the alt-right. Trump’s reply: “I don’t know what Steve said.”

Certainly, it makes for a neatly-packaged talking point to call Donald Trump the candidate of the internet trolls, but the label also happens to be true. And in that context, there really is a method to the madness.

(more…)

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The Chris Christie Show (Threshold Check)

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) speaks at a town hall meeting at the American Legion Dupuis Cross Post 15, 1 July 2015, in Ashland, New Hampshire. (Detail of photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

A question arises: Is there room for Republican presidential candidates to maneuver to the left not so far-right of the GOP platform?

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Thursday that Republican primary voters in New Hampshire “should be concerned” about presidential rival Marco Rubio’s position on abortion, suggesting he is out of step with the state’s GOP electorate ....

.... Christie argued Thursday that Rubio, a U.S. senator from Florida, supports banning all abortions, including in cases of “rape, incest or life of the mother.” Appearing on NBC, he added, “I think that’s the kind of position that New Hampshire voters would really be concerned about.”

Rubio backs an exception for abortion when the life of the mother is in danger, and would back legislation with allowances for cases of rape and incest — even though he personally doesn’t support those exceptions.

“I understand it’s a difficult issue,” Rubio told reporters Thursday. “But I have to choose between the right of a person to do what they want with their body and the right of an unborn child to live. And I support and defend the right of an unborn child to live.”

(Beaumont)

To the one, it is an interesting threshold check. After all, does this question even exist in the Republican discourse, or, more accurately, to what degree does it matter?

To the other, this is what New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie is down to in search of attention for his presidential bid. And even that consideration suggests a thing or three about the state of the GOP: When all else fails, give what traditionally passes for moderation a try.

So, what’s the office pool say? Will “too anti-abortion” fly with Republican voters in New Hampshire? Or should Rubio find a disappointing day would we really attribute it to his abortion policy outlook?

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Image note: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) speaks at a town hall meeting at the American Legion Dupuis Cross Post 15, 1 July 2015, in Ashland, New Hampshire. (Detail of photo by Darren McCollester/Getty Images)

Beaumont, Thomas. “Christie: Rubio as out of place in New Hampshire on abortion”. Associated Press. 4 February 2016.

Eisele, Erik. “All (presidential) politics is local”. The Conway Daily Sun. 23 December 2015.

What Justice Says

VIII. Adjustment.

James D. Esseks reminded last week:

… two courts reaffirmed that religious beliefs can’t justify discrimination against lesbians and gay men. In the wake of the Supreme Court decision that same-sex couples have the same freedom to marry that straight couples do, a few opponents of marriage equality continue to try to use their religious beliefs as an excuse to discriminate against us and our marriages. In both of these ACLU cases, courts have said nope, that’s not okay.

The rest is worth your time, a reasonable survey of the post-Obergefell legal landscape. No matter how many times we might tell people religious freedom does not include the power to discriminate, they just need to keep trying. Anyone running an office pool on how long it takes these Christian supremacists to get over it?

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Esseks, James D. “Another Day, Another Victory: Courts Are Weighing Religious Claims to Discriminate and Finding Them Wanting”. The Huffington Post. 13 August 2015.