Category Archives: Republican Messaging

Donald Trump’s shaky start

Anti-Trump protest in New York City, Nov. 12, 2016

Anti-Trump protest in New York City, Nov. 12, 2016

Donald Trump was able to get away with pretty much anything while campaigning for president, from admissions of sexually predatory behavior to numerous false statements. Now that he’s the president-elect, however, Trump is discovering that preparing to govern is something very different from campaigning. Trump has already gotten into a bunch of sticky or questionable situations just days after the election:

Donald Trump’s dangerous endgame

Anti-Trump protesters in Dallas, Texas

Anti-Trump protesters in Dallas, Texas

Not long ago, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders had a well-organized, unifying end to their Democratic Party primary battle. Both sides acted like adults, sat down and negotiated over the party platform and the Democratic National Convention. The result was a hugely successful convention and a more unified Democratic Party, after which Clinton took the general election lead from Donald Trump. As new revelations about Trump’s sexually predatory behavior pile up, Clinton’s lead has extended to the point where nearly no one, including Republicans, says that Trump can win. The question now becomes, how will Trump lose, and what will he do afterward? Unfortunately, the signs thus far point to an ugly and dangerous electoral withdrawal from Donald Trump.

The Republican Party, lost in the wilderness

Donald Trump behind Hillary Clinton at 2nd presidential debate.

Donald Trump behind Hillary Clinton at 2nd presidential debate.

Elections are about math, and, with about 27 days to go before the 2016 elections, the math is not looking good for Republicans. Donald Trump is not only losing the presidential election, he may be taking down the GOP with him, including its majority in the U.S. Senate, and even jeopardizing the Republican majority in the House of Representatives. Trump is now engaged in a bloody battle with leading Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, the highest-ranking Republican in America, as well as GOP stalwarts such as John McCain. Panic is setting in among some Republican office holders and donors alike, and Hillary Clinton and the Democrats are exploiting this GOP Civil War. Where did things go so wrong?

The Hillary Clinton/Donald Trump fantasy love fest

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump at their first presidential debate

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump at their first presidential debate

The 2016 presidential campaign has been relentlessly negative. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and their campaign teams, surrogates and supporters, have been bashing each other with zeal. That may be electoral politics as usual, but it doesn’t bode well for governing the country, or having Americans united on important issues around the world, once the election is over. Accordingly, here is an admittedly fantasy scenario of how Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump could come together at their next debate over one simple question, without sacrificing their principles:

Hillary Clinton beats Donald Trump in the debate and the expectations game

"If you could vote for anyone" Clinton vs. Trump

“If you could vote for anyone” Clinton vs. Trump

In their first presidential debate last night, expectations were set unfairly high for Hillary Clinton and unfairly low for Donald Trump. Surprisingly, however, Clinton exceeded and Trump fell short of such expectations. In terms of substance, style and presidential temperament, the contrast between the two candidates was stark, and Clinton walked away with a decisive win. 

The presidential election now turns on bigotry

"Will Trade Racists For Refugees" jacket, Santa Cruz, CA, July 2016

“Will Trade Racists For Refugees” jacket, Santa Cruz, CA, July 2016

Last Friday, Donald Trump made a stunning announcement, wrapped in a live infomercial for him and his new hotel, that he believes President Barack Obama was born in the U.S. This was a complete flip-flop for Trump, who began his presidential campaign on the “birther” conspiracy, falsely questioning President Obama’s birthplace and his birth certificate. When did Trump change his mind? Did he always believe that Obama is a full-blooded American and just lie all along to attract right wing extremists, including white supremacists? Trump didn’t stick around to answer these and other questions from the press.

Trump’s birther announcement comes at a time when America is being racked by police killings of unarmed black citizens. Yesterday, Tulsa, Oklahoma white police officer Betty Shelby was charged with first degree manslaughter for killing a black man, Terence Crutcher, who was waiting for help after his car had become disabled. In Charlotte, North Carolina, police killed Keith Lamont Scott who was waiting for his son to leave school for the day. Protesters have taken to the streets in Charlotte, as they have done in Ferguson, Missouri and many other locations after previous police killings of black Americans. It doesn’t help that, even though the Charlotte police killing of Keith Lamont Scott was caught on one or more police videos, the police are refusing to release the video.

These events and others are overshadowing the 2016 presidential election, largely turning it into a referendum on bigotry in America.

Avoiding Donald Trump’s pigsty

Message to Clinton voters about Donald Trump

Message to Clinton voters about Donald Trump

Playwright George Bernard Shaw is quoted as saying:

I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.
That’s good advice for Hillary Clinton. When she climbs into the mud with Donald Trump and his supporters, she gets dirty, and they seem to like it. For example, at a New York City fundraiser on Friday, Clinton said:
You know, to just be grossly generalistic, you could put half of Trump’s supporters into what I call the basket of deplorables. Right? The racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic — you name it.
There’s plenty of evidence that a portion of Trump’s supporters really are deplorable. However, the problem with these remarks (which Clinton has since walked back a bit), isn’t their truth, it’s that Clinton shouldn’t be the one making them.

Playing the Clinton vs. Trump debate expectations game

Donald Trump debates Donald Trump

Donald Trump debates Donald Trump

We’re in the post-convention phase of the 2016 elections, where the next big events planned are the presidential debates between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Assuming that Trump agrees to have the debates, many Democrats assume that Clinton is going to wipe the floor with Trump, and that he is simply going to embarrass himself. Such an assumption is a mistake. Instead, it’s important to recognize, and play, the debate expectations game.

The Republican Party is dead. What comes next?

Republican Party bends to Donald Trump

Republican Party bends to Donald Trump

This week may well be viewed as the week in which the Republican Party died. After Party primary voters chose Donald Trump as their presidential nominee in May, Trump this week chose Steve Bannon, the chairman of right wing website Breitbart News, as his campaign manager, effectively shunting aside Paul Manafort, an experienced GOP strategist and lobbyist. Today, Manafort resigned from the Trump campaign. While Manafort was facing a Russian influence scandal, had become a lightning rod for negative publicity and thus had to go, he was at least a mainstream Republican who deals in reality. Trump’s choice of Bannon as a replacement for Manafort pushes Trump’s presidential campaign, and thus the Republican Party, further into fake conspiracy theory territory.

Republicans abandon Donald Trump

Satirical anti-Donald Trump poster in New York CIty

Satirical anti-Donald Trump poster in New York City

The general election phase of a presidential campaign is when a party nominee, having garnered the majority of the party’s primary voter base, tries to expand that base to include “swing voters,” and even moderates from the other party. This year, however, Donald Trump, the Republican Party presidential nominee, is hemorrhaging Republicans while simultaneously failing to grow his base. As a result, the Republicans are in panic mode, with no end to the bleeding in sight.