By Doug Porter
The campaign season is almost over, and like an unsupervised five-year-old later in the evening on Halloween, most of us are sick of it.
Was it the candy corn or the M&M’s that pushed us over the edge? We’ll probably never know, but the one sure cure for all this queasiness is to cast your ballot. Consider it a metaphor for throwing up. Do it and you’ll feel better, honest.
As is true with hustling candy from strangers, one person’s political treat is another’s trick. So with that in mind, here’s a rundown of what I found in my bag of politics from over the weekend.
The October bombshell dropped by FBI Director James Comey on Friday over a potential batch of Hillary-related emails has largely proved to be a dud for two reasons:
**There’s no “there” there. Nobody knows what’s in the emails found on Anthony Weiner’s computer, which apparently was used on occasion by his estranged ex-wife, Clinton aide Huma Abedin.
**It won’t make any difference. Democrats are furious. Donald Trump is delirious. Voters have largely made up their minds. From Politico:
“I’d characterize it more as Trump consolidating some of the available anti-Clinton vote as opposed to Clinton’s support eroding,” said GOP strategist Bruce Haynes. “Now the question is do people interpret this news in a way that raises enough doubts about Clinton’s judgment to cut into her number. Because it’s not enough for Trump’s number to move up. Hers has to go down.”
The one likely loser in all this is the FBI Director. He’s serving a 10 year fixed term, so the only question is when he’ll resign.
Based on everything I’ve read, it’s likely that his decision to go public with what amounts to potential evidence, is based more on infighting within the FBI than partisan stupidity.
Meanwhile, Kurt Eichenwald at Newsweek has produced a damning expose of Donald Trump’s own email history.
Over the course of decades, Donald Trump’s companies have systematically destroyed or hidden thousands of emails, digital records and paper documents demanded in official proceedings, often in defiance of court orders. These tactics—exposed by a Newsweek review of thousands of pages of court filings, judicial orders and affidavits from an array of court cases—have enraged judges, prosecutors, opposing lawyers and the many ordinary citizens entangled in litigation with Trump. In each instance, Trump and entities he controlled also erected numerous hurdles that made lawsuits drag on for years, forcing courtroom opponents to spend huge sums of money in legal fees as they struggled—sometimes in vain—to obtain records.
— Salman Rushdie (@SalmanRushdie) October 30, 2016
Harry Reid Goes Ballistic, What About the Russians?
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid is mad as hell about the FBI’s letter announcing more emails, some of which may be related to Hillary Clinton.
He’s released a letter to Director Comey, accusing the FBI boss of violating the Hatch Act, which prohibits “activity directed towards the success or failure” of a candidate by executive branch employees.
From CBS News
“[Y]our highly selective approach to publicizing information, along with your timing, was intended for the success or failure of a partisan candidate or political group,” Reid wrote.
One example Reid posited of the “selective approach”: Comey’s methods in investigating Donald Trump and his campaign’s possible ties to the Russian government.
“In my communications with you and other top officials in the national security community, it has become clear that you possess explosive information about close ties and coordination between Donald Trump, his top advisors, and the Russian government – a foreign interest openly hostile to the United States, which Trump praises at every opportunity,” he said. “I wrote to you months ago calling for this information to be released to the public…and yet, you continue to resist calls to inform the public of this critical information.”
John Myers at the Los Angeles Times took a look at polling on partisan passions by the non-partisan Public Policy Institute of California, and the news for the state GOP is. plain. rotten.
Since 2012, the California Republican Party has lost more than 308,000 members. Democrats have gained more than 477,000.
Of the state’s likely voters, 72% have an unfavorable opinion of the GOP. That’s eight points higher than two years ago, 14 points worse than four years ago and a massive 21 points above the party’s unfavorable rating six years ago.
And then there’s this: 50% of registered Republicans have an unfavorable opinion of their party…
…Even more eye-catching is the erosion of the Republican brand among fast-growing subgroups of voters. Two-thirds of millennials surveyed said they have an unfavorable view of the GOP, a view shared by 70% of unaffiliated “independent” voters, 72% of women and 75% of middle-class voters.
The Politico story on the state’s partisan divide has former California Republican chairman Mike Schroeder hoping for a “decisive — and early — victory for Hillary Clinton in the presidential race.”
If Trump loses before polls close on the West Coast next week, prompting traditionally less reliable Democratic voters to stay home, Schroeder said, “That could help.”
Charity Giving, or Not
The Washington Post’s David Fahrenhold has spent many months unraveling the mysteries of Donald Trump’s charitable giving.
From Daily Kos:
…His comprehensive essay on what those efforts turned up reads like a Dickensian satire. Not only are Trump’s charitable efforts few, far between, and almost exclusively self-serving, his attempts to play the role of a philanthropist without doing the philanthropy part seem like a far more malevolent version of an Andy Kaufman prank.
The highlight of the piece, without question, is the story of Donald Trump showing up at a charity event for the Association to Benefit Children, strolling onto the stage, and plopping himself down in the seat reserved for one of the event’s real top donors.
Trump was not a major donor. He was not a donor, period. He’d never given a dollar to the nursery or the Association to Benefit Children, according to Gretchen Buchenholz, the charity’s executive director then and now.
Sometimes When You Don’t Have Candy…
…You just have to pretend.
Here’s a rundown from The Donald’s campaign over the weekend:
- At a campaign stop in New Mexico on Sunday, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump claimed that his rival Hillary Clinton would allow 650 million people to enter the country in just one week. Warning of his opponent’s so-called “open borders” policy, Trump said that Clinton’s immigration plan would nearly triple the current United States population. Think Progress.
- Donald Trump’s selection of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as a running mate came after former campaign chairman Paul Manafort lied about mechanical problems with the plane after his boss tentatively selected New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie for the V.P. slot. New York Post
- A Des Moines woman has been charged with Election Misconduct, a Class D felony, after allegedly voting twice for GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump. Terri Rote says she was afraid her first ballot for Trump would be changed to a vote for Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.“I wasn’t planning on doing it twice, it was spur of the moment,” says Rote. “The polls are rigged.” Iowa Public Radio
- Arizona resident George Lindell attended a Donald Trump rally in Phoenix over the weekend and he was seen on camera, directly in front of the press pen, turning to directly face the media and chanting “Jew-S-A!” He also shouted “You’re the enemy! You’re the ones working for the devil!” The video went viral on Twitter and George Lindell must have gotten quite a bit of backlash because he’s got a new story about what he was chanting, it was his Mexican accent. We all misheard him and it was his totally normal accent, because he spends so much time with Mexicans. Seriously. Daily Kos
— Say No To GOP (@SayNoToGOP) October 31, 2016
Fill Out the Whole Ballot, Damnit
The election isn’t over, but that hasn’t stopped Republicans from talking up the idea of impeaching Hillary Clinton, should she win.
Here’s David Atkins at the American Prospect
Clinton often made the case during the primary that she would be better equipped than Sanders to work with Congress, but GOP lawmakers do not look prepared to give her much of a chance—even if she manages to win by a substantial margin in November. Congressional Republicans have already sought to block President Obama at every turn.
Given the anti-Clinton acrimony that Donald Trump has ginned up among increasingly extremist GOP base voters, coupled with his unsubstantiated claims of a “rigged” election, Clinton will likely be welcomed to Washington with calls for her impeachment or even imprisonment.
As President Obama said, “Don’t boo – vote!”
Happy Halloween! pic.twitter.com/ADBTGFPOIF
— Alex Padilla (@AlexPadilla4CA) October 31, 2016
On This Day: 1829 – George Henry Evans published the first issue of the Working Man’s Advocate, “edited by a Mechanic” for the “useful and industrious classes” in New York City. He focused on the inequities between the “portion of society living in luxury and idleness” and those “groaning under the oppressions and miseries imposed on them.” 1926 – Magician Harry Houdini died of gangrene and peritonitis resulting from a ruptured appendix. His appendix had been damaged twelve days earlier when he had been punched in the stomach by a student unexpectedly. During a lecture Houdini had commented on the strength of his stomach muscles and their ability to withstand hard blows. 1988 – Debbie Gibson held a séance at her Halloween party to contact the spirits of Liberace and Sid Vicious.
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