The more this debate continued, the more we saw how little Donald J. Trump knows. As he did in the first debate, he is never able to speak in specifics. He thinks that if he blurts out key words and insults, that will be enough to reach undecided voters. Instead, he is speaking only to his base, making them froth with even more hatred. A debate is designed to allow us to learn more about the candidates. Tonight we’ve learned or been reminded that Mr. Trump doesn’t know how American governance works — assuming that alone, as one senator, Hillary Clinton could impose her will upon the entire Congress and the Republican president at the time.
He is unfamiliar with where America’s tax rate stands in a global context. He has no understanding of what it would take to ensure that all Americans can receive health care without a federal mandate. He has no understanding of international relations and the travesty that is taking place in Syria or what the word “humanitarian” means. The list goes on, and on. It is crystal clear that a Trump presidency would lead both the United States and the rest of the world into a dystopia the likes of which even the darkest of novelists cannot fathom.
Hillary Clinton is dealing with a unique challenge — having to stay sharp with an incompetent opponent. She managed to remain on message throughout the debate. She offered several specifics while always clearly demarcating the difference between her and Mr. Trump. She demonstrated grace under pressure. And in the end, when asked to say something positive about her opponent, she reminded us of just how much she outclasses Mr. Trump as a political candidate. She complimented his children despite how easy and satisfying it would have been to say the truth — that no, there is nothing commendable about Donald Trump.
Roxane Gay is an associate professor at Purdue University, the author of “Bad Feminist” and the forthcoming “Hunger,” and a contributing opinion writer.
Hillary Clinton defeated Donald Trump in the debate ten minutes ago (as I begin writing) because she showed that, at last, someone knows how to stand up to a macho bully. She talked; he interrupted. She persisted; he went on interrupting. In this fashion, she dominated. She affirmed; he complained. Eventually an aura emanated from her side of the stage. It signified self-confidence. She banged her biggest drum on the topic of NATO’s and America’s leadership in world affairs. “Our word is good,” she said about the United States and its treaties—which is to say, she spoke for America. Then again, she herself made the point about her domination when she responded to his accusations about her stamina. She cited certain things she has done—her world tours as Secretary of State, her ability to withstand eleven hours of questioning from the House committee on Benghazi. And she said that, when he has done anything similar, “he can talk to me about stamina.” That was the powerful line. The tough guy at Hofstra University was Hillary Clinton.
Toughness has been the issue all along in this campaign, and it has been Trump who insisted on making it so. Exactly why he has had a success in making this the issue is not entirely clear to me. Maybe it is because of a revulsion on some people’s part to President Barack Obama and his personal style—a revulsion not only because Obama is black but also because he is professorial and cerebral, unlike, say, his predecessor, George W. Bush. In any case, Trump with his rude behavior and outrageous remarks throughout the campaign has thrown down a challenge to one presumably tough character after another, to require everyone to respond. And no one has shown an ability to do so.
Trump said unforgiveable things to Jeb Bush about the Bush family and even about Jeb’s wife, and Jeb remained painfully courteous and placid. Trump’s insults of John McCain were preposterous; and McCain responded by endorsing Trump. Marco Rubio endorsed Trump. Paul Ryan endorsed Trump. The president of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto, having listened to Trump insult Mexico and the Mexican immigrants, responded by greeting him as if no insults at all had been said (to which Trump responded by returning to his insults later in the day). The only person to come under Trump’s insults who seemed to respond halfway admirably was Ted Cruz—and yet, in the end, Cruz, too, fell to his knees and endorsed Trump.
Why has this been so exciting to Trump’s supporters? Surely it has been because everyone has recognized that Professor Obama is on his way out, and the ultimate battle was always going to be the Battle of the Sexes—the battle between macho masculinity in the old-fashioned street-corner style, which is Trump’s, and the modern era that, having already allowed Obama to become president, is preparing the way, at last, for a woman.The purpose of Trump’s campaign until now has been to show that he is tougher than all of the men in the campaign, and therefore to show that he alone is capable of triumphing at the showdown.
But just now was the showdown, and she was tougher. She even looked like she knew it, too—Hillary smiling as if she were enjoying herself at one moment or another, Trump interrupting yet again to complain about how he was treated. She was tougher without being grotesque—tougher because she knew how to control herself, how to be humorous without going too far, how to be more disciplined than him in her responses. She was tougher because she knew how to speak for the United States.
I do not know why the male v. female issue should be so much alive in the United States, when the world long ago underwent the spectacle ofMargaret Thatcher in the United Kingdom, and when Angela Merkel has for many years now been the most powerful person in Europe—even apart from the world’s experiences in observing Golda Meir in Israel and Michelle Bachelet in Chile and many other women leaders. But, for whatever reason, in America the male v. female issue has remained, in fact, alive. The election has been turning on this issue from the start, which is why Trump had his successes in out-machoing Jeb Bush and John McCain and everyone else. He was the Great Male Hope. And one hour ago—time has been passing—Hillary Clinton brought him down. At least, for the moment.
To read more of Paul Berman’s political and cultural analyses in Tablet magazine, click here.
Paul Berman writes about politics and literature for various magazines. He is the author of A Tale of Two Utopias, Terror and Liberalism, Power and the Idealists, and The Flight of the Intellectuals.
In any normal election year, we’d compare the two presidential candidates side by side on the issues. But this is not a normal election year. A comparison like that would be an empty exercise in a race where one candidate — our choice, Hillary Clinton — has a record of service and a raft of pragmatic ideas, and the other, Donald Trump, discloses nothing concrete about himself or his plans while promising the moon and offering the stars on layaway. (We will explain in a subsequent editorial why we believe Mr. Trump to be the worst nominee put forward by a major party in modern American history.)
But this endorsement would also be an empty exercise if it merely affirmed the choice of Clinton supporters. We’re aiming instead to persuade those of you who are hesitating to vote for Mrs. Clinton — because you are reluctant to vote for a Democrat, or for another Clinton, or for a candidate who might appear, on the surface, not to offer change from an establishment that seems indifferent and a political system that seems broken.
Running down the other guy won’t suffice to make that argument. The best case for Hillary Clinton cannot be, and is not, that she isn’t Donald Trump.
The best case is, instead, about the challenges this country faces, and Mrs. Clinton’s capacity to rise to them.
The next president will take office with bigoted, tribalist movements and their leaders on the march. In the Middle East and across Asia, in Russia and Eastern Europe, even in Britain and the United States, war, terrorism and the pressures of globalization are eroding democratic values, fraying alliances and challenging the ideals of tolerance and charity.
The 2016 campaign has brought to the surface the despair and rage of poor and middle-class Americans who say their government has done little to ease the burdens that recession, technological change, foreign competition and war have heaped on their families.
Over 40 years in public life, Hillary Clinton has studied these forces and weighed responses to these problems. Our endorsement is rooted in respect for her intellect, experience, toughness and courage over a career of almost continuous public service, often as the first or only woman in the arena. Mrs. Clinton’s work has been defined more by incremental successes than by moments of transformational change. As a candidate, she has struggled to step back from a pointillist collection of policy proposals to reveal the full pattern of her record. That is a weakness of her campaign, and a perplexing one, for the pattern is clear. It shows a determined leader intent on creating opportunity for struggling Americans at a time of economic upheaval and on ensuring that the United States remains a force for good in an often brutal world.
Similarly, Mrs. Clinton’s occasional missteps, combined with attacks on her trustworthiness, have distorted perceptions of her character. She is one of the most tenacious politicians of her generation, whose willingness to study and correct course is rare in an age of unyielding partisanship. As first lady, she rebounded from professional setbacks and personal trials with astounding resilience. Over eight years in the Senate and four as secretary of state, she built a reputation for grit and bipartisan collaboration. She displayed a command of policy and diplomatic nuance and an ability to listen to constituents and colleagues that are all too exceptional in Washington.
Mrs. Clinton’s record of service to children, women and families has spanned her adult life. One of her boldest acts as first lady was her 1995 speech in Beijing declaring that women’s rights are human rights. After a failed attempt to overhaul the nation’s health care system, she threw her support behind legislation to establish the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which now covers more than eight million lower-income young people. This year, she rallied mothers of gun-violence victims to join her in demanding comprehensive background checks for gun buyers and tighter reins on gun sales.
After opposing driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants during the 2008 campaign, she now vows to push for comprehensive immigration legislation as president and to use executive power to protect law-abiding undocumented people from deportation and cruel detention. Some may dismiss her shift as opportunistic, but we credit her for arriving at the right position.
Mrs. Clinton and her team have produced detailed proposals on crime, policing and race relations, debt-free college and small-business incentives, climate change and affordable broadband. Most of these proposals would benefit from further elaboration on how to pay for them, beyond taxing the wealthiest Americans. They would also depend on passage by Congress.
That means that, to enact her agenda, Mrs. Clinton would need to find common ground with a destabilized Republican Party, whose unifying goal in Congress would be to discredit her. Despite her political scars, she has shown an unusual capacity to reach across the aisle.
When Mrs. Clinton was sworn in as a senator from New York in 2001, Republican leaders warned their caucus not to do anything that might make her look good. Yet as a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, she earned the respect of Republicans like Senator John McCain with her determination to master intricate military matters.
Her most lasting achievements as a senator include a federal fund for long-term health monitoring of 9/11 first responders, an expansion of military benefits to cover reservists and the National Guard, and a law requiring drug companies to improve the safety of their medications for children.
Below the radar, she fought for money for farmers, hospitals, small businesses and environmental projects. Her vote in favor of the Iraq war is a black mark, but to her credit, she has explained her thinking rather than trying to rewrite that history.
As secretary of state, Mrs. Clinton was charged with repairing American credibility after eight years of the Bush administration’s unilateralism. She bears a share of the responsibility for the Obama administration’s foreign-policy failings, notably in Libya. But her achievements are substantial. She led efforts to strengthen sanctions against Iran, which eventually pushed it to the table for talks over its nuclear program, and in 2012, she helped negotiate a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas.
Mrs. Clinton led efforts to renew diplomatic relations with Myanmar, persuading its junta to adopt political reforms. She helped promote the Trans-Pacific Partnership, an important trade counterweight to China and a key component of the Obama administration’s pivot to Asia. Her election-year reversal on that pact has confused some of her supporters, but her underlying commitment to bolstering trade along with workers’ rights is not in doubt. Mrs. Clinton’s attempt to reset relations with Russia, though far from successful, was a sensible effort to improve interactions with a rivalrous nuclear power.
Mrs. Clinton has shown herself to be a realist who believes America cannot simply withdraw behind oceans and walls, but must engage confidently in the world to protect its interests and be true to its values, which include helping others escape poverty and oppression.
Mrs. Clinton’s husband, Bill Clinton, governed during what now looks like an optimistic and even gentle era. The end of the Cold War and the advance of technology and trade appeared to be awakening the world’s possibilities rather than its demons. Many in the news media, and in the country, and in that administration, were distracted by the scandal du jour — Mr. Clinton’s impeachment — during the very period in which a terrorist threat was growing. We are now living in a world darkened by the realization of that threat and its many consequences.
Mrs. Clinton’s service spans both eras, and she has learned hard lessons from the three presidents she has studied up close. She has also made her own share of mistakes. She has evinced a lamentable penchant for secrecy and made a poor decision to rely on a private email server while at the State Department. That decision deserved scrutiny, and it’s had it. Now, considered alongside the real challenges that will occupy the next president, that email server, which has consumed so much of this campaign, looks like a matter for the help desk. And, viewed against those challenges, Mr. Trump shrinks to his true small-screen, reality-show proportions, as we’ll argue in detail on Monday.
Through war and recession, Americans born since 9/11 have had to grow up fast, and they deserve a grown-up president. A lifetime’s commitment to solving problems in the real world qualifies Hillary Clinton for this job, and the country should put her to work.
That sounds good, right? Especially after all it took to pull out of the Bush recession. During the month Bush left office, 818,000 Americans lost their jobs. Unemployment increased to 10 percent before President Obama’s stimulus programs started ratcheting it down to the current 4.9 percent. Now, wages are beginning to rise again. It seems like an event that Ronald Reagan might call morning in America. But not the current Republican nominee. Trump says, “This country is a hellhole, and we’re going down fast.”
To hoist America up out of that bogus hellhole, Trump proposes the same tired-and-untrue tax- and regulation-cutting formula that Bush did.The one that actually did drop the country into a hellhole – the Wall Street collapse, massive foreclosures and high unemployment.
Trump offered yet another tax plan last week – the third of his campaign. This one, just like Bush’s, lavishes tax cuts on the rich. He would hack the 35 percent business tax rate to 15 percent. He would eliminate the estate tax paid only by the nation’s richest 0.2 percent. So, basically, Trump would cut taxes for himself – a 10 billionaire.
In Trump’s previous tax plan, low-income people, those in the lowest taxbracket, would have paid 10 percent, but now Trump makes them pay more. They’ll have to cough up 12 percent.
At the same time, Trump said, he’d eliminate all that pesky government regulation that’s getting in the way of business doing whatever it wants. So, for example, he’d abolish that annoying regulator, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. That’s the one that just fined Wells Fargo $100 million, part of a total of $185 million in penalties, for issuing credit cards and opening accounts without customers’ consent, sham accounts that customers learned about only after they started accumulating fees and damaging credit. Republicans like Trump have tried to kill the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau from the day Democrats created it.
By cutting taxes on the rich and letting businesses run roughshod over consumers, Trump claims he would create 25 million jobs over a decade. This is Reagan and Bush trickle-down economics. It worked great for the rich. They got richer and richer. It never worked for the rest. The rest always do better when there’s a Democrat in the White House, as there is now. The Census report issued last week showing progress on wages is testament to that. But there’s more. Far more.
Princeton economists Alan Blinder and Mark Watson found in 2013 that since World War II, the economy performed significantly better under Democratic presidents, regardless of the measurement used. For example, Democratic presidents average 4.35 percent Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth. Under Republicans, it was 2.54 percent.
Democratic presidents presided over higher stock market returns and corporate profits, greater compensation growth and productivity increases.
Economist Steven Stoft analyzed 72 years of jobs data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, during which Democrats controlled the White House for 36 years and Republicans for 36 years. He found that 58 million jobs were created under Democrats and 26 million under Republicans. That means Democratic presidents created more than twice as many jobs.
And here’s another noteworthy fact as Trump runs around claiming he’s going to bring manufacturing back, even though he manufactures his own signature suits and ties and shirts offshore in places like China and Mexico and Bangladesh: Democrats create manufacturing jobs; Republicans destroy them.
Bloomberg news service analyzed data from the past eight decades and found manufacturing jobs increased under each of the seven Democrats and decreased under the six Republican presidents.
Even as employment expanded, manufacturing jobs declined under Republican presidents. The largest losses occurred under Reagan and the two Bushes – an average of 9 percent.
Republicans are bad for jobs. They’re bad for manufacturing. They’re bad for the GDP in general. Trump’s 25 million job promise? Malarkey.
Americans should reject Trump’s Republican trickle-down promises that have done nothing for workers in the past but swipe their cash and flood it up in torrents to billionaires like Trump.
Americans who want a job, a raise, improved GDP, more American manufacturing, better health insurance – just improved security in general – should look to the Democrats. They’ve got a long track record of actually delivering on those promises.
Leo W. Gerard is president of the United Steelworkers union. President Barack Obama appointed him to the President’s Advisory Committee on Trade Policy and Negotiations. Follow him on Twitter @USWBlogger.
As word spread of Hillary Clinton’s characterization of half of Donald Trump’s supporters in her in a September 9 speech, the right-wing outrage machine went into overdrive. Half of the Repubican standard-bearer’s followers, Clinton said, were “a basket of deplorables,”while the rest were simply people who felt let down by the government and were desperate for change. With the help of mainstream media, focus turned to the “deplorables” part of her comments. The Trump campaign texted supporters a link to a video ad that mischaracterized Clinton’s remarks. In response to the right’s fury, Clinton gamely stated that maybe she shouldn’t have said “half.”
Truth is, we don’t really know what percentage of Trump’s current crop of supporters belong in the “deplorables” basket, but what we do know is this: There are a goodly number of public figures and leaders of odious white-supremacist organizations who love them some Trump, and Trump has either embraced them or declined to disavow them. Here we list some of the biggest eggs in the deplorables basket.
1. Stephen K. Bannon: When Trump hired Bannon, then the chief executive of Breitbart News, as his campaign CEO in August, you couldn’t ask for a clearer sign that the GOP standard-bearer was staking a potential victory on igniting the racist resentments of the right-leaning faction of the electorate. During an event in Cleveland the week of the Republican National Convention, Bannon boasted to journalist Sarah Posner that since he took the reins at Breitbart News, the site had become “the platform for the alt-right.”
The alt-right, or alternative right, is a loose affiliation of groups and publications that advance a white nationalist or white supremacistideology, often characterizing the more established conservative movement as being weak or “cuckholded.” Bannon has written and directed a number of films designed to frighten viewers into thinking their culture is being extinguished, such as Torchbearer, his latest project with Citizens United. That film features horrific scenes of violence, and stars Phil Robertson, the patriarch of “Duck Dynasty,” a reality television show that was temporarily suspended after GQ published an interview in which Robertson made anti-gay comments, and said blacks were all happy and singing “Pre-entitlement, pre-welfare.”
2. Richard Spencer: President of the innocuous-sounding National Policy Institute, Spencer, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), advocates for an Aryan homeland for the supposedly dispossessed white race and calls for “peaceful ethnic cleansing” to halt the “deconstruction” of European culture. He’s one of the leading figures of the white nationalist “alt-right” that Trump has courted. At a press conference Saturday, Spencer said of Trump, “Certainly we have been, you could say, riding his coattails, there’s been more interest in us because we’re generally pro-Trump, because we’re inspired by him and things like that.”
Even in all his vulgarity and I would never deny him, this is what we want in a leader. This is someone who can make the future. So I think that is the way I would define our love of Trump, is that he seems to be willing to go there, he seems to be willing to confront people. And that is very different from the cuckold.
3. Pamela Geller: A New Yorker with an Ayn Randfetish, Geller wandered around the right for a while before she found her calling: rallying the forces of hatred in opposition to an Islamic community center that was being developed in lower Manhattan in the early aughts. Together with Spencer, Geller took over the group, Stop the Islamization of America (SIOA), using it as a platform for opposing the Cordoba House development and spewing hatred against Muslims, even falsely suggesting they practiced bestiality, according to the SPLC. She and Spencer falsely described the planned community center as a “victory mosque” created to celebrate the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center.
Eating pork and depicting the Prophet Muhammad are both forbidden to practitioners of the Muslim faith. Yet Geller combined the two proscriptions in a cartoon on her website depicting the prophet with the face of a pig, according to SPLC, which lists SIOA as a hate group.
In Cleveland, the week of the 2016 RNC, Geller was a featured speaker at an event sponsored by the group Gays for Trump, which was hosted by Milo Yiannopoulos of Breitbart News.
4. Milo Yiannapoulos: Described by Peter Montgomery of People for the American Way as the alt-right’s gay enfant terrible,Yiannapoulos, the technology editor of Breitbart News, has become semi-famous simply for being an awful person. He was banned from Twitter for his racist dogging of the actor Leslie Jones, and he is known for his anti-Muslim invective.
Yiannapoulos likes to play his gay identity for laughs, often in the service of mocking Muslims. At an “America First” rally in Cleveland co-hosted by radio conspiracy theorist Alex Jones that took place the first day of the Republican National Convention, Montgomery reports, Yiannapoulos said: “Die on your feet or live on your knees. Well, I do live on my knees, but that’s all right. That’s all right. As long as I’m not facing Mecca, I guess I’m all right with you guys.”
5. Jared Taylor: Editor of the “racialist” American Renaissance magazine, Taylor is an unabashed Trump supporter. He even has a strategy suggestion for Donald Trump, as he told the Washington Post’s David Weigel:
[Taylor] said that Trump should “concentrate on his natural constituency, which is white people,” suggesting that winning 65 percent of the white vote would overwhelm any Democratic gains with minorities.
Watching Trump’s attacks on non-white immigrants and his courtship of the alt right—of which Taylor is a part—it would be safe to deduce that Trump and/or his advisers have been working that very strategy for a while now.
In an August 29 appearance on “The Diane Rehm Show” on NPR, Taylor discussedhis opposition to Title II of the 1964 Civil Rights act, which bars private businesses that serve the public from racially discriminating against their customers. “[I]f I am a private club, a private business, I should have the right to discriminate for good reasons, bad reasons or no reasons at all,” Taylor said. “It’s part of the essential freedom of making choices as a human being.”
During the same segment, Taylor explained his rationale for ranking racial groups differently:
“Among the many positions held by the alt-right, we reject the notion that race is some sort of sociological optical illusion. Race is a biological fact, whether we wish to recognize that or not, and we completely reject the idea that all races are exactly equal and equivalent and in effect interchangeable.”
6. Alex Jones: The radio host and conspiracy theorist is an anti-government ranter, seeing every terrorist attack as a “false flag” event that was actually conducted by the government. In 2014, Dave Niewert reported that Jones was pushing the narrative that President Obama and the media were in cahoots trying to foment a race war.
When Republicans converged on Cleveland for their convention, Jones headlined an “America First” rally that featured a number of groups with the words “for Trump” in their name: Bikers for Trump, Gun Owners for Trump, Gays for Trump. He complained that his constitutional rights were abridged when he couldn’t get permits for several of his efforts, including the small planes that were flying over the city trailing “Hillary for Prison” banners. It was, of course, all a conspiracy.
Jones also contended that Jared Loughner, the gunman who, in January 2011, shot and critically wounded Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and killed six in Tucson, was actually part of a government plot. Jones contends that the 9/11 attacks were part of “an inside job” by the government. And before Trump got around to it, Jones accused Raphael Cruz, father of U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) as being part of the plot to assassinate President John F. Kennedy.
Trump appeared on Jones’ InfoWars radio program in December, praising Jones for his “amazing reputation,” and promising not to let him down.
7. Roger Stone: Even Roger Stone probably thinks he’s deplorable. A famous Republican operative and dirty trickster, Stone is perhaps most famous for having organized what became known as the “Brooks Brothers riot” in 2000, at the Miami-Dade election board, where votes were being recounted in the Bush v. Gore presidential election whose outcome was ultimately decided by the Supreme Court.
It was Stone who, during the 2008 presidential campaign, took to Fox News to advance the false narrative that a tape existed of Michelle Obama referring to white people as “whiteys.”
In 2015, he was an official member of the Trump campaign, but later resigned to run a pro-Trump PAC. However, he remains close to the campaign. At the “America First” rally in Cleveland, he apologized for his tardiness, offering the excuse that he had been delayed because he was meeting with the Trump campaign team.
8. Roger Ailes: If you’ve been reading Gabriel Sherman’s outstanding reporting for New York magazine on the scandal that forced Ailes out of Fox News, you know just how despicable he is. After former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson accused Ailes of sexual harassment, other women came forward, including one who said Ailes had videotaped her when they had sex with the threat of using the tape against her should she cause him any trouble. (Fox has since settled with Carlson for a reported $20 million.) Sherman revealed that Ailes also illicitly acquired the phone records of journalists who had been critical of Fox News.
Ruport Murdoch, chair of Fox’s parent company, News Corporatin, is said to have been unhappy that Ailes was using Fox to support the Trump campaign. Now that Ailes is out of Fox, guess who the campaign’s latest high-profile deplorable adviser is? Roger Ailes.
9. Troy Newman: The president of Operation Rescuejumped aboard the Trump train this week. An anti-choice extremist, Newman even co-authored a book with a would-be domestic terrorist, Cheryl Sullenberger, who in 1988 was sentenced to three years in federal prison for conspiring to blow up an abortion clinic. In that 2003 book, Newman and Sullenberger argue, according to People for the American Way, “that the government has a responsibility to execute abortion providers.”
10. Ann Coulter: Where does one begin with the big, steaming pile of deplorable that is Ann Coulter? Her demonization of LGBT people at the 2006 Values Voter Summit? Her 2007 use of the word “faggot” from the stage of a major conservative conference? Her use of the word “raghead” to describe Muslims? Her creation of the false narrative that undocumented Mexican immigrants are purveyors of violent crimes and thieves of American jobs? How about her assertion that abortion clinic workers murdered by zealots “had a procedure performed on them with a rifle.” Gentle reader, I’ll leave it for you to decide.
Coulter has hitched her fading star to the Trump train, having released in August her latest spittoon of venom encased between the covers of In Trump We Trust: More fun, though, is watching her bomb of a performance at the Comedy Central roast of Rob Lowe, as comics and celebrities on the dais take her down.
11. Mike Pence: The Indiana governor and Trump running-mate is a favorite of the Koch brothers’ ground-organizing group, Americans for Prosperity. In March, Pence signed into law one of the most restrictive abortion laws in the nation, even prohibiting women from aborting a fetus because of a major defect or disability. He’s also something of a right-wing hero for his crusade against gun control. If all that isn’t deplorable enough for you, consider Pence’s response to the endorsement his ticket received from former Knights of the Ku Klux Klan Imperial Wizard David Duke. Twice asked if he would describe Duke as “deplorable,” Pence demurred, saying he isn’t “in the name-calling business.”Because Trump has disavowed Duke’s support (albeit petulantly) and Pence has oh-so-politely said he doesn’t accept Duke’s support, I have not included the odious, disgusting, despicable, DEPLORABLE David Duke on this list. Pence may have a hard time calling him such, though, because it’s hard to refute Duke when he says Trump has “embrace[d] most of the issues that I’ve championed for years.” Duke added: “My slogan remains ‘America first.’” Funny thing: Donald Trump uses that slogan as well.
12. Donald Trump, Jr.:The candidate’s oldest son, as Right Wing Watchtermed it, “has got a white supremacist problem.” Most recently, as the campaign tried to make hay of Hillary Clinton’s remarks, Junior posted a meme on Instagram featuring the tagline, “The Deplorables,” featuring his father, his brother Eric, and a number of his father’s surrogates and associates, emulating the movie poster for The Expendables, about a band of merceneries. Also included in the lineup was the Trump version of Pepe the Frog, a cartoon character that has been appropriated by white nationalists as a sort of mascot. (The Trump version of Pepe sports a cartoon rendering of Trump Senior’s trademark hairdo.)
On Thursday, Junior compared the treatment Republicans receive from the media with that European Jews received at the hands of the Nazis.Speaking with host Chris Stigall on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT, the chip off the old block complained that media had “built [Hillary Clinton] up,” even overlooking what he said was the Democratic National Committee’s attempt to get Bernie Sanders out of the nomination contest. “If Republicans were doing that,” Donald Trump Jr. said, “they’d be warming up the gas chamber right now.”
In March, [Donald Trump, Jr.] appeared on a radio show with James Edwards, host of the white supremacist radio show Political Cesspool.
Less than two weeks ago, he retweeted a prominent white supremacist. And that wasn’t even the first time he’s done so: Trump Jr. once retweeted a white supremacist’s false claim that a Trump
supporter pictured giving the Nazi salute was actually a Bernie Sanders fan in disguise.
13. The Man Himself, Donald J. Trump: You really don’t have time to read in one article all of the things that make Trump deplorable. Suffice it to say, all of the above and more. If you don’t believe me, check out this MTV compilation of racist statements, actually made by Donald Trump and interpreted by an actor.
Adele M. Stan is AlterNet’s senior Washington editor, and a weekly columnist for The American Prospect. Follow her on Twitter @addiestan.
Some are saying that by singling out the “Alt Right” in her speech yesterday linking Trump to them, she’s giving the world of white nationalists the credibility and attention they’ve been yearning for – and possibly increasing their numbers.
The fact is, Trump’s campaign has already added fuel to white nationalism — and he (and they) must be held accountable.
Trump has repeatedly retweeted supportive messages from racist or nationalist Twitter accounts to his nine million followers. Last fall, he retweeted a graphic with fictitious crime statistics claiming that 81 percent of white homicide victims in 2015 were killed by blacks (the actual figure for 2014 was 15 percent, according to the F.B.I.) Earlier this year he retweeted messages from a user with the handle @WhiteGenocideTM, whose profile picture is of George Lincoln Rockwell, the founder of the American Nazi Party. A couple of days later, in quick succession, he retweeted two more accounts featuring white nationalist or Nazi themes.
In fact, Mr. Trump’s Twitter presence is tightly interwoven with hordes of mostly anonymous accounts trafficking in racist and anti-Semitic attacks. When Little Bird, a social media data mining company, analyzed a week of Mr. Trump’s Twitter activity, it found that almost 30 percent of the accounts Mr. Trump retweeted in turn followed one or more of 50 popular self-identified white nationalist accounts.
By smoking out Trump and exposing the cell pool of white nationalism, Hillary is doing America a favor.
The following is part of a speech that I think Hillary Clinton should deliver between now and November. Its purpose is to prevent a swing toward Trump by voters who find Clinton’s political correctness on the topic of Islam and jihadism a cause for concern, especially in the aftermath of any future terrorist attacks in the U.S. or Europe.
The following is part of a speech that I think Hillary Clinton should deliver between now and November. Its purpose is to prevent a swing toward Trump by voters who find Clinton’s political correctness on the topic of Islam and jihadism a cause for concern, especially in the aftermath of any future terrorist attacks in the U.S. or Europe.—SH
Today, I want to talk about one of the most important and divisive issues of our time—the link between the religion of Islam and terrorism. I want you to know how I view it and how I will think about it as President. I also want you to understand the difference between how I approach this topic and how my opponent in this presidential race does.
The underlying issue—and really the most important issue of this or any time—is human cooperation. What prevents it, and what makes it possible? In November, you will be electing a president, not an emperor of the world. The job of the president of the United States, even with all the power at her or his disposal, is to get people, both at home and abroad, to cooperate to solve a wide range of complex problems. Your job is to pick the person who seems most capable of doing that.
In the past, I’ve said that groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda have nothing to do with Islam. And President Obama has said the same. This way of speaking has been guided by the belief that if we said anything that could be spun as confirming the narrative of groups like ISIS—suggesting that the West is hostile to the religion of Islam, if only to its most radical strands—we would drive more Muslims into the arms of the jihadists and the theocrats,preventing the very cooperation we need to win a war of ideas against radical Islam. I now see this situation differently.I now believe that we have been selling most Muslims short. And I think we are all paying an unacceptable price for not speaking clearly about the link between specific religious ideas and the sectarian hatred that is dividing the Muslim world.
All of us, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, must oppose the specific ideas within the Islamic tradition that inspire groups like ISIS and the so-called “lone-wolf” attacks we’ve now seen in dozens of countries, as well as the social attitudes that are at odds with our fundamental values—values like human rights, and women’s rights, and gay rights, and freedom of speech. These values are non-negotiable.
But I want to be very clear about something: Bigotry against Muslims, or any other group of people, is unacceptable. It is contrary to the values that have made our society a beacon of freedom and tolerance for the rest of the world. It is also totally counterproductive from a security point of view. However, talking about the consequences of ideas is not bigotry. Muslims are people—and most of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims simply want to live in peace like the rest of us. Islam, however, is a set of ideas. And all ideas are fit to be discussed and criticized in the 21st century.
Every religious community must interpret its scripture and adjust its traditions to conform to the modern world. Western Christians used to murder people they believed were witches. They did this for centuries. It’s hard to exaggerate the depths of moral and intellectual confusion this history represents. But it is also true that we have largely outgrown such confusion in the West.The texts themselves haven’t changed. The Bible still suggests that witchcraft is real. It isn’t. And we now know that a belief in witches was the product of ancient ignorance and fear.Criticizing a belief in witchcraft, and noticing its connection to specific atrocities—atrocities that are still committed by certain groups of Christians in Africa—isn’t a form of bigotry against Christians. It’s the only basis for moral and political progress.
One thing is undeniable: Islam today is in desperate need of reform. We live in a world where little girls are shot in the head or have acid thrown in their faces for the crime of learning to read. We live in a world where a mere rumor that a book has been defaced can start riots in a dozen countries. We live in a world in which people reliably get murdered over cartoons, and blog posts, and beauty pageants—even the mere naming of a teddy bear. I’m now convinced that we have to talk about this with less hesitancy and more candor than we’ve shown in the past.Muslims everywhere who love freedom must honestly grapple with the challenges that a politicized strand of their religion poses to free societies.And we must support them in doing so. Otherwise, our silence will only further empower bigots and xenophobes. That is dangerous. We are already seeing the rise of the far right in Europe. And we are witnessing the coalescence of everything that’s still wrong with America in the candidacy of Donald Trump.
Now, it is true that this politicized strain of Islam is a source of much of the world’s chaos and intolerance at this moment. But it is also true that no one suffers more from this chaos and intolerance than Muslims themselves. Most victims of terrorism are Muslim; the women who are forced to wear burkhas or are murdered in so-called “honor killings” are Muslim; the men who are thrown from rooftops for being born gay are Muslim. Most of the people the world over who can’t even dream of speaking or writing freely are Muslim. And modern, reform-minded Muslims, most of all, want to uproot the causes of this needless misery and conflict.
In response to terrorist atrocities of the sort that we witnessed in Paris, Nice, and Orlando, we need to honestly acknowledge that we are fighting not generic terrorism but a global jihadist insurgency.The first line of defense against this evil is and always will be members of the Muslim community who refuse to put up with it. We need to empower them in every way we can. Only cooperation between Muslims and non-Muslims can solve these problems. If you are concerned about terrorism, if you are concerned about homeland security, if you are concerned about not fighting unnecessary wars and winning necessary ones, if you are concerned about human rights globally, in November you must elect a president who can get people in a hundred countries to cooperate to solve an extraordinarily difficult and polarizing problem—the spread of Islamic extremism. This is not a job that a president can do on Twitter.
I want to say a few words on the topics of immigration and the resettlement of refugees: The idea of keeping all Muslims out of the United States, which my opponent has been proposing for months, is both impractical and unwise. It’s one of those simple ideas—like building a wall and deporting 11 million undocumented workers—that doesn’t survive even a moment’s scrutiny. More important, if you think about this purely from the point of view of American security, you realize that we want Muslims in our society who are committed to our values. Muslims like Captain Humayun Khan, who died protecting his fellow American soldiers from a suicide bomber in Iraq. Or his father, Khizr Khan, who spoke so eloquently in defense of American values at the Democratic National Convention. Muslims who share our values are, and always will be, the best defense against Islamists and jihadists who do not.
That’s one reason why the United States is faring so much better than Europe is. We have done a much better job of integrating our Muslim community and honoring its religious life. Muslims in America are disproportionately productive and prosperous members of our society. They love this country—with good reason. Very few of them have any sympathy for the ideology of our enemies. We want secular, enlightened, liberal Muslims in America. They are as much a part of the fabric of this society as anyone else. And given the challenges we now face, they are an indispensable part.
Despite the counsel of fear you hear from my opponent, security isn’t our only concern. We also have an obligation to maintain our way of life and our core values, even in the face of threats. One of our values is to help people in need. And few people on earth are in greater need at this moment than those who are fleeing the cauldron of violence in Iraq and Syria—where, through no fault of their own, they have had to watch their societies be destroyed by sectarian hatred. Women and girls by the tens of thousands have been raped, in a systematic campaign of sexual violence and slavery. Parents have seen their children crucified. The suffering of these people is unimaginable, and we should help them—whether they are Yazidi, or Christian, or Muslim. But here is my pledge to you: No one will be brought into this country without proper screening. No one will be brought in who seems unlikely to embrace the values of freedom and tolerance that we hold dear. Is any screening process perfect? Of course not. But I can tell you that the only way to actually win the war on terror will be to empower the people who most need our help in the Muslim world.
The irony is that my opponent in this race, who imagines that he is talking tough about terrorism and ISIS and Islam, has done nothing but voice inflammatory and incoherent ideas that, if uttered by a U.S. president, would immediately make the world a more dangerous place. Being “politically incorrect” isn’t the same as being right, or informed, or even sane. It isn’t a substitute for actually caring about other people or about the consequences of one’s actions in the world. It isn’t a policy. And it isn’t a strategy for winning the war against jihadism, or a war of ideas against radical Islam…
Joseph Stiglitz, who won a Nobel Memorial Prize in economics in 2001 for his work on information asymmetry, has been one of neoliberalism’s biggest critics in recent years, and he says the “neoliberal euphoria” that has gripped the world since the 1980s is now gone.
Since the late 1980s and the so-called Washington Consensus, neoliberalism — essentially the idea that free trade, open markets, privatisation, deregulation, and reductions in government spending designed to increase the role of the private sector are the best ways to boost growth — has dominated the thinking of the world’s biggest economies and international organisations like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
The policies of Ronald Reagan and Clinton in the US and Margaret Thatcher in the UK are often held up as the gold standard of neoliberalism at work, while in recent years in Britain George Osborne and David Cameron’s economic policies continued the neoliberal tradition.
Since the 2008 financial crisis, however, there has been a groundswell of opinion in both economic and political circles to suggest that the neoliberal consensus may not be the right way forward for the world. In the past few years, with growth low and inequality rampant, that groundswell has gained traction.
Stiglitz, who won a Nobel Memorial Prize in economics in 2001 for his work on information asymmetry, has been one of neoliberalism’s biggest critics in recent years, and he says the “neoliberal euphoria” that has gripped the world since the 1980s is now gone.
Asked by Business Insider whether he thought the economic consensus surrounding neoliberalism was coming to an end, Stiglitz argued: “I can talk about this from the point of view of academia or even in policy circles. In academia, I think it has pretty well become rejected.
“The young students are not interested in establishing that neoliberalism works — they’re trying to understand where markets fail and what to do about it, with an understanding that the failures are pervasive. That’s true of both micro and macroeconomics. I wouldn’t say it’s everywhere, but I’d say that it’s dominant.
“In policymaking circles I think it’s the same thing. Of course, there are people, say on the right in the United States who don’t recognise this. But even many of the people on the right would say markets don’t work very well, but their problem is governments are unable to correct it.”
Stiglitz went on to argue that one of the central tenets of the neoliberal ideology — the idea that markets function best when left alone and that an unregulated market is the best way to increase economic growth — has now been pretty much disproved.
“We’ve gone from a neoliberal euphoria that ‘markets work well almost all the time’ and all we need to do is keep governments on course, to ‘markets don’t work’ and the debate is now about how we get governments to function in ways that can alleviate this,” he said.
In other words, Stiglitz says: “Neoliberalism is dead in both developing and developed countries.”
Stiglitz is not alone in his belief that neoliberalism has its problems, though his argument that the consensus is “dead” is somewhat more forthright than those of many others. In a blog post in May, three economists from the IMF — long one of the greatest champions of the neoliberal consensus — questioned the efficacy of some aspects of it, particularly when it comes to the creation of inequality.
“The increase in inequality engendered by financial openness and austerity might itself undercut growth, the very thing that the neoliberal agenda is intent on boosting,” Jonathan Ostry, Prakash Loungani, and Davide Furceri argued. “There is now strong evidence that inequality can significantly lower both the level and the durability of growth.”
“There are a lot of people thinking the same thing at this point, that basically some aspects of the neoliberal agenda probably need a rethink,” Ostry told the Financial Times on the day the blog was published, adding: “The crisis said: ‘The way we’ve been thinking can’t be right.'”
The decline of neoliberalism
The decline of neoliberalism is also evident in the UK, where austerity has reigned since the accession of the Conservative Party to government in 2010. Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne presided over a period of record fiscal-deficit reduction created through a six-year programme of austerity.
But since Cameron resigned following the UK’s vote to leave the European Union, fiscal stimulus in the UK has started to gain traction once again as a viable means of stimulating growth. It is widely expected that Philip Hammond, the new chancellor under newly installed Prime Minister Theresa May, will announce some form of fiscal easing at the Autumn Statement — which will come at some point before the end of the year (last year’s was in late November). As Business Insider’s Oscar Williams-Grut argued in mid-July, “Britain’s age of austerity could be over.”
Across the Atlantic, both US presidential nominees, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, both favouring expanded government borrowing to fund infrastructure projects. As Randall W. Forsyth argued in Barron’s magazine last week:
“We are all Keynesians now, President Richard Nixon famously declared after his New Economic Plan was unveiled in 1971. The notion seems to be echoing now, with the two major parties’ presidential candidates calling for increased government spending, notably for infrastructure projects.”
Neoliberalism may not be completely dead, as Stiglitz argues, but it is certainly being challenged from many angles.
Thursday night, Trump spent considerable air time speaking (more like yelling) about how America’s steel and coal workers have been ignored and sold-out for decades by both political parties. He promised to bring back those long-disappearing jobs and to put their needs front and center in his administration. As the daughter of a steel worker, I admit it was nice to finally hear someone talk about how the old industrial working class was robbed of their dignity and livelihood, with little regard for the devastation left behind.
But that working class — the blue-collar, hard-hat, mostly male archetype of the great post-war prosperity — is long gone. In its place is a new working class whose jobs are in the now massive sectors of our serving and caring economy. And so far, neither Trump nor Clinton have talked about this new working class, which is much more female and racially diverse than the one of my dad’s generation. With Trump’s racially charged and nativistic rhetoric, he’s offering red meat to a group of Americans who have every right to be angry — but not at the villains Trump has served up.
The decades-long destruction of American manufacturing profoundly changed the working class — neighborhoods, jobs and families. What had once been nearly universal, guaranteed well-paying jobs for young men fresh from high school graduation were yanked overseas with little regard for the devastation left behind.
To add insult to injury, the loss of manufacturing jobs was often heralded as a sign of progress. As the economic contribution of these former working-class heroes to our nation dwindled and the technology revolution sizzled, in many people’s minds, millions of men became zeroes. They seemed to be a dusty anachronism in a sparkling new economy.
Black men, who had fought for decades for their right to these well-paying jobs, watched them evaporate just as they were finally admitted to competitive apprenticeships and added to seniority lists. When capital fled for Mexico or China, the shuttered factories in America’s biggest cities left a giant vacuum in their wake, decimating a primary source of jobs for black men that would never be replaced.
The economic vacuum would be filled with a burgeoning underground economy in the drug trade, which was met with a militarized war on drugs rather than an economic development plan. That war continues today — the scaffolding upon which our prison industrial complex is built and the firmament upholding the police brutality and oppression in black communities that result in far too many unarmed black men being shot and killed by police.
As for the once privileged, white working-class man, the dignity and sense of self-worth that came with a union contract and the trappings of middle-class life are sorely missed and their absence bitterly resented. In the absence of real commitments from either political party to promote high-quality job creation for workers without college degrees, conservative talk-radio’s echo chamber and the rhetoric of far-right conservative politicians have concocted a story about who is winning (and taking from government) in this post-industrial economy: African-Americans and immigrants.
These are the contours shaping our nation’s political debate.
Trump has hitched his presidential wagon to the pain of the white working class, though far more rhetorically than substantively. With his anti-immigrant pledge to “build a wall” and his unicorn promises to rip up trade agreements and bring manufacturing jobs back to our shores, Trump promises to make the white working class “winners” again.
But the sad reality is that his campaign represents nothing more than yet another cynical political ploy to tap the racial anxiety and economic despair felt by white working-class men. It is a salve to soothe with no real medicine for healing the underlying wound.
Trump, and the Republican Party more broadly, offers no solutions or even promises to address the grave economic insecurity of the broader working class today, whose jobs are more likely to be in fast food, retail, home health care and janitorial services than on an assembly line. Unlike their predecessors, today’s working class toils in a labor market where disrespect — in the form of low wages, erratic schedules, zero or few sick days and arbitrary discipline — is ubiquitous. Gone are the unions and workplace protections that created a blue-collar middle class — the best descriptor for my own family background. Today’s working class punch the clock in a country with the largest percentage of low-paid workers among advanced nations, with the paychecks of African-Americans and immigrants plunging even further, particularly among women.
Thanks to the brave action and demands of movements like Fight for $15, United We Dream and Black Lives Matter, the Democratic Party is finally offering a robust official platform to improve the lives of today’s working class, not the one of my father’s generation. After decades in which working-class plight went largely overlooked by the Democrats in favor of a more centrist, pro-business stance, the party’s progressive economic shift should claim broad support among the new working class. As noted in my book, “Sleeping Giant,” unlike a generation ago, today’s working class is multiracial and much more female — more than one-third of today’s working class are people of color. Nearly half (47 percent) of today’s young working class, those aged 25-34, are not white people. And two-thirds of non-college educated women are in the paid labor force, up from about half in 1980.
The Democratic Party, both through its platform and its candidate, supports higher wages, paid sick days, affordable child care, college without debt and reifying the right to a union. With a platform more progressive than any in recent history, especially on economic and racial justice issues, there should be no doubt that the Democratic Party is the champion of the working class, at least on the merits. But most people don’t read party platforms or study policy positions. Instead, they listen and watch, waiting for cues that a candidate “gets” them and is actually talking to them.
For despite the platform language and Hillary Clinton’s stated positions, the Democratic Party hasn’t been talking to the working class. The words “working class” seem all but erased from the Democratic lexicon — in its speeches, ads and on its social media. The party’s language still clings to vague notions of “working people” or “hard-working Americans” or the false notion of a ubiquitous “middle class.” It may well be that the party has bought the political spin that “working class” is code for “white and male” — but actually, it’s people of color who are much more likely to consider themselves working class. And as the party of racial and social justice, Democrats are missing a big opportunity to sell its economic platform to this new working class.
The heads of fact-checkers throughout the land exploded last week, as speakers at the RNC in Cleveland piled lie upon lie upon piles of lies. The favorite of all these lies is the one about crime running rampant and Americans in general being so very unsafe.
It’s just not true.
Paul Krugman dismantles this myth in Monday’s column, starting with his (and Trump’s and Giuliani’s) hometown.
Last year there were 352 murders in New York City. This was a bit higher than the number in 2014, but far below the 2245 murdersthat took place in 1990, the city’s worst year. In fact, as measured by the murder rate, New York is now basically as safe as it has ever been, going all the way back to the 19th century.
National crime statistics, and numbers for all violent crimes, paint an only slightly less cheerful picture. And it’s not just a matter of numbers; our big cities look and feel far safer than they did a generation ago, because they are. People of a certain age always have the sense that America isn’t the country they remember from their youth, and in this case they’re right — it has gotten much better.
So, the question is, what gives with the terrifying premise of the Trump speech—that crime is rampant and that he alone can fix it. (But he can’t tell you how, because then he’d have to kill you.)
It’s only one of Trump’s lies, Krugman notes. Another favorite is the bit about our being the most highly taxed country on earth, when pretty much the opposite is true among comparably economically advanced countries.)
But the fact that crime is not actually running in any way rampant is a fact that can be seen by anyone with eyes. Yet, all too many voters, and possibly a majority of white men, buy it. Again, why? Krugman:
One answer is that, according to Gallup, Americans always seem to believe that crime is increasing, even when it is in fact dropping rapidly. Part of this may be the wording of the question: People may have a vague, headline-fueled sense that crime is up this year even while being aware that it’s much lower than it used to be. There may also be some version of the “bad things are happening somewhere else” syndrome we see in consumer surveys, where people are far more positive about their personal situation than they are about the economy as a whole. Again, however, it’s one thing to have a shaky grasp on crime statistics, but something quite different to accept a nightmare vision of America that conflicts so drastically with everyday experience. So what’s going on?
Krugman’s hypothesis is that the fear is displaced. The old order is kaput. The country is becoming less racist and sexist overall, with rising diversity and muddier gender roles. Making America Great again probably involves getting women back in the home once again. Trump VP pick Mike Pence is all about espousing those traditional values, and even absurdly once wrote an essay descrying the Disney movies Mulan for featuring a strong, warrior-like heroine. Sad. Here’s the simple truth that conservatives cannot abide. All the social changes that the sixties began to usher in have made America safer, maybe even greater! The truth hurts.