ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED TUESDAY, AUGUST 2, 2016
Today’s Good News And Bad News
From Our Local Political Junkie We’ll Call “Cincy Dave”
GOOD NEWS FOR TRUMP
Trump has picked up a surprising endorsement – The president’s half-brother, Malik Obama, says he is voting for Trump. Malik was best man at Barack’s wedding so we don’t know what happened. Maybe he is mad that he hasn’t been getting invited to the White House for dinner often enough. It is unclear if Malik is even a citizen and eligible to vote. Either way, he is unlikely to sway too many Kenyan-Americans to also vote for Trump.
Donald Trump has a history of promising to release his tax returns — and then not doing so. In 2011, when Trump was spearheading the movement questioning whether President Obama was born in the United States, Trump told ABC News that he would release his tax returns if Obama released his long-form birth certificate. “I’d love to give my tax returns,” he said. But once Obama released his birth certificate, Trump hedged. “At the appropriate time I’m going to do it,” he said. The appropriate time never came.
Then, in 2012, Trump criticized Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney for being slow to release his tax returns. Trump was asked by Fox News whether he’d ever have a problem releasing his returns. “No,” he said. “I actually think that it’s a great thing when you can show that you’ve been successful, and that you’ve made a lot of money, that you’ve employed a lot of people. I actually think that it’s a positive.” But that was then and this is now.
Now he claims that he can’t do it because they are under audit., but that is merely an excuse because being under audit doesn’t preclude him from releasing him. Additionally, taxes from 2009 on back are not under audit, and he is not releasing them either. It is known from other sources that Trump paid zero taxes in at least 5 years in the 70s, 80s and 90s. (Here is a fact-check article about what is known of Trump’s taxes) Even though every other presidential candidate since Richard Nixon has released his tax returns, it is a good bet that Trump never will. Whatever he is hiding must be worth a lot of votes.
WAR OF WORDS WITH KHIZR KHAN
The uproar over Trumps comments about the Gold Star parents, Mr. and Mrs. Khan, continues. This controversy isn’t going away as easily as it did when he said that John McCain wasn’t a hero just because he got caught, and that he liked guys that didn’t get caught. Trying to have it both ways, Republican politicians are dancing every which way to avoid questions about Trump on this, some offering statements lauding the fallen soldier but failing to mention Trump’s comments. Others are repudiating the comments but still say they support Trump. This is yet another unforced error by Trump, as Mr. Khan’s comments at the Democrat Convention would probably have been pretty much forgotten by now, had Trump not attacked him. Some say that Trump has finally gone too far this time, and that his support may start to crumble. But this kind of thing has happened many times before, so don’t believe it. As Trump himself said, “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters,” It may be true.
TRUMP SAYS ELECTION MAY BE RIGGED
He said: “I’m afraid the election is going to be rigged.” It is unclear if this statement is an attempt to lure disgruntled Bernie Supporters, because Trump has already stated that the Democrat primaries were rigged against Bernie, or if it is the beginning of an excuse, in the probable event of a loss to Hillary. Either way, expect to hear this claim repeated a lot between now and November, and probably for a good while afterward. In The Donald’s mind, he couldn’t possibly fall short on his own – it has to be blamed on something or someone else. Maybe it’s those damned voters.
In response to Trump’s complaining about the Debate Schedule, the Commission on Presidential Debates announced that the schedule is set and will not be changed. They have worked very hard for the last 18 months trying to avoid conflicting with National Holidays, religious holidays and major sporting events such as the MLB Playoffs and World Series. However, they couldn’t avoid conflicts with everything and the NFL is on TV 3 nights a week. Therefore, they are not changing anything for Trump. Of course, Trump wasn’t really worried about conflicting with some football game somewhere, but just looking for excuses to back out. Well, he has one excuse now, however weak it may be. One more excuse may be enough for him. The odds of him actually debating Hillary are still about 50-50.
Here’s a good example of why Trump can’t debate with Hillary: On ABC’s This Week with George Stephanopoulos, when asked about Putin’s designs on Ukraine, Trump stated, “ He’s not going into Ukraine, OK, just so you understand. He’s not going to go into Ukraine, all right? You can mark it down. You can put it down. You can take it anywhere you want.” Little George was nearly floored by this but managed to tell him that Putin had already invaded Ukraine and taken Crimea and other territory. Trump had to scramble to cover his mistake but only managed to say that, yeah, Putin was in there but only as long as Obama is in office. Nothing like this has happened with a presidential candidate since Gerald Ford famously asserted that the Soviet Union didn’t dominate Eastern Europe when in fact they had controlled it completely since WWII. Trump really ought to know a lot more about the Ukraine because his campaign manager, Paul Manafort, was a principal adviser to the Ukraine’s former pro-Russian president before they were both run out of the country. The former president fled to Russia, while Manafort apparently went looking for another pro-Russian politician to hook up with.
GOOD NEWS FOR HILLARY
Nate Silver at fivethirtyeight today reports a huge change in the odds of Hillary winning. He now has her with a 64.8 chance of winning. Yesterday, he had the race close, with Hillary having a 53% chance of winning and Trump with 47%. The day before, he had it 51 to 49. Nate Silver has an excellent record of predicting outcomes based on polls, historical data and computer simulations. Both campaigns probably have a staffer whose main job is watching fivethirtyeight, but certainly Hillary’s does. By the way, fivethirtyeight refers to the total of all electoral votes (538), of which one-half plus one (270) are needed to win.
Today’s meaningless polls are from CNN/ORC and CBS. CNN/ORC says that Hillary emerges from her party’s convention in Philadelphia with a restored lead over Donald Trump, having earned a 7-point convention bounce. In a two-way head-to-head matchup, Clinton tops Trump 52% to 43%. The CBS poll has Hillary ahead 46% to 39%.
Trump calls CNN the “Clinton News Network” although they hired his former campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, as a commentator. CNN is widely hated by people on both the left and the right because they both think CNN favors the other side. The reality is that CNN only cares about attracting viewers and tries to sensationalize every story, so, although individual reporters and commentators may be biased one way or the other, the network isn’t on anyone’s side except their own.