Nel's New Day

August 22, 2016

Trump’s Travails

Weston-Imer-Trump-Cweston imerMuch has been said about the problems of Trump’s ground game, but nothing describes it like the director of his campaign office in Jefferson County, part of Denver metro and one of the most populous counties in Colorado at over one-half million people. Trump says that he hires only the best people, and Weston Imer (right) may be one of those—but he’s only twelve years old. His mother, the county’s official campaign coordinator, thinks that the experience will build her son’s character. Fox polls, which tend to favor conservatives, reports that Trump trails Clinton by ten points in the state. Imer plans to run for president in 2040 with Donald Trump’s 10-year-old son, Barron.

Even Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, had to laugh at Trump’s declaration that he would have the support of 95 percent of black voters in four years. At this time, the highly conservative poll from Fox gives Trump one percent of black voter support.

Data scientist David Robinson has discovered the reason that some of Trump’s tweets are rabid and others are almost benign. Using visual effects artist Todd Vaziri’s idea that campaign staff also use Trump’s Twitter account, Robinson performed a quantitative analysis to test Vaziri’s theory—and found that he is right. Trump’s Android tweets are the angry, negative outpourings, and the campaign’s iPhone  messages from four different people lack the menacing tone of Trump’s own statements and are 38 times more likely to include an image or link. Trump himself tends to ignore the “retweet” and instead copies and pastes tweets that he then puts into quotation marks.

Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort, resigned two days after the GOP candidate hired Steven Bannon as his campaign CEO last week. Manafort had “helped a pro-Russian governing party in Ukraine secretly route at least $2.2 million in payments to two prominent Washington lobbying firms in 2012 in a way that effectively obscured the foreign political party’s efforts to influence U.S. policy.” Politico also reported Manafort’s links with Russia and its Ukrainian allies.In the 1990s Bannon, the king of conspiracies on Breitbart, failed to pay some of his taxes. With the news of Bannon’s hiring, former Klan leader David Duke agreed with Stormfront-friendly white supremacist Don Advo, who said that “We’ve taken over the Republican party.”

Trump’s new campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, is working hard to soften the candidate’s image, but no one knows how long she’ll last. Last April she told CNN’s Don Lemon that it was unacceptable for Trump to not make his tax returns public. Now she’s pivoted: she asserted that now she is “on the inside” she believes that he shouldn’t make his returns public. Last spring she  said that Trump’s rhetoric was “unfortunate for children.” At the same time, she said that Trump “actually built a lot of his business on the backs of the little guy” and that Trump is known for “not paying contractors after [they have helped him] build something.” Now that doesn’t seem to be a problem for her.

Another advisor to Trump’s campaign may not last long after the publicizing of Joseph Schmitz’s anti-Semitic philosophy. Named as one of Trump’s five foreign policy advisers in March, Schmitz is accused of bragging that he pushed out Jewish employees while Defense Department Inspector General for George W. Bush. Schmitz also told Pentagon official John Crane that “the ovens were too small to kill six million Jews” during the Holocaust.  As a former board member for the private military outsourcing company Blackwater, Schmitz left the government after he obstructed an FBI investigation of John A. Shaw regarding contracting improprieties in Iraq.

Whirling dervish Trump succeeded in a pivot for three days after he calmly read from his teleprompter last Friday evening:

“Sometimes in the heat of debate, and speaking on a multitude of issues, you don’t choose the right words or you say the wrong thing. I have done that. And believe it or not, I regret it. I do regret it, particularly where it may have caused personal pain.”

Trump didn’t specify what “may have caused personal pain”—a long, long list if he means what he said. He also said in his speech that “sometimes I can be too honest,” meaning that he hasn’t changed his position, just sorry that he’s going down in the polls. The bar is so low for Trump that he is highly praised for being able to poorly read off a teleprompter a speech someone else wrote.

In the speech,Trump also said, “I will never lie to you.” That was immediately before he lied when he said that Hillary Clinton “has proven to be one of the greatest liars of all time.” Clinton has been judged to lie less than any other presidential candidates for the last three terms while Trump has the highest record of lying—over 80 percent of the time.

One of Trump’s lies comes from his promises to give money to charities and then never following through with these promises. Whenever he fired a character on The Celebrity Apprentice, he said he would give money “out of my own wallet” to a charity of the person’s choice. Evidently he never did—not to Khloé Kardashian’s pick of the Brent Shapiro Foundation or the choices that Aubrey O’Day and comedian Lisa Lampanelli made.  Any money the selected charities received came from the TV production company that paid for the show’s prizes or a non-profit that Trump controls but receives its money from other donors.

Another Trump lie is how much he owes. The man who takes pride in being a superb business man owes almost $3 billion, unlike the statement the amount of debt he cited in his public filings. Trump has ranted against China as a U.S. economic enemy and Goldman Sachs as the controller of Hillary Clinton, but China and Goldman Sachs hold part of the $950 million on a a building that he partially owns. Trump holds over $650 million in debt, at least twice as much as he has admitted.

Trump went to flood-devastated Louisiana for a photo-op without clearing the visit with the governor. He said that he intended to help people “in need” but never explained how.

Washington Post’s Friday quote of the day: In an attempt to prove that Trump has always been a conservative, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) cited Trump’s 1989 newspaper ads advocating the death penalty for five men of color wrongly convicted of raping a jogger in Central Park:

 “He bought an ad 20 years ago in the New York Times calling for the death penalty. How many people in New York, that liberal bastion, were willing to do something like that?”

BuzzFeed’s Andrew Kaczynski wrote:

“Trump spent more than $85,000 to publish controversial full-page newspaper ads … The five men who were sentenced for the rape were later exonerated, but only after they had served their full sentences. The men convicted were all black and Latino and in their mid-teens. Their wrongful conviction settlement, which ran into millions of dollars, was sharply criticized by Trump.”

Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC) is blaming Trump for the GOP’s “death spiral.” As Graham said, “Nobody knows where the bottom is.”

Melania Trump is now on the hot seat for perjury. While testifying in court under oath that she graduated with a degree in architecture from the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia. In fact, she only attended classes before become a model and coming to the U.S., possibly using illegal visas.

GOP candidate Donald Trump has been well-known for “changing his opinion” (i.e., saying whatever he thinks that his audience wants), but since the new campaign leadership, he has gone overboard in his shifts. During the past few days, he seemed to transition to being the “nice guy” who wants to protect blacks and even move toward leaving undocumented immigrants in the country after promising to throw all of them out. There was even an announcement that he would be giving an “immigration speech” in Colorado. Now, however, he has cancelled not only that speech but also appearances in Nevada and Oregon. A few hours ago, he said at a rally in Akron (OH) that he’ll build that wall on the Mexico border and that Mexico will pay for it. We’ll see what his campaign staff says about his declaration tomorrow.

Early voting for the 2016 general election starts in five weeks, and voting finishes in 77 days.

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