Relevant and even prescient commentary on news, politics and the economy.

Lock WHO Up?

I’ve been waiting for the Clinton campaign to respond to Trump’s “Crooked Hillary” meme by pointing out that fraud, including bank fraud, is generally considered crooked—i.e., illegal.  To no avail, of course; that would require some guts and going off-script.

But in light of Christie’s speech last night, might the Clinton campaign consider featuring at the convention next week a couple of people whom Trump actually defrauded or just skipped out on?

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Okay, so Hillary Clinton thinks the election outcome will be determined by whether or not her running mate has a national security background, because Donald Trump has pronounced this a law-and-order election. Seriously.

Facing a fall contest against a Republican opponent focused on law and order, Hillary Clinton has narrowed her search for a vice­-presidential candidate, telling several potential running mates that she needs a No. 2 who would bring national security experience to the Democratic ticket.

Mrs. Clinton’s shortlist includes James G. Stavridis, a retired four-­star Navy admiral who served as the 16th supreme allied commander of NATO, and Senator Tim Kaine, a former Virginia governor who serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. She is widely expected to present her choice at a rally in Miami on Saturday, according to people involved

Hillary Clinton Is Said to Seek National Security Experience for Vice Presidential Pick, Amy Chozick, New York Times, today

Oh.  Brother.

This, folks, is what’s wrong with Hillary Clinton as the Democratic Party nominee for president.  I ask you folks: How many of you think the folks who’ve been downsized from, say, their well-paying blue-collar jobs in the Rust Belt will determine their vote based on whether or not Clinton’s running mate has national security experience, because Donald Trump has pronounced this a law-and-order election?

Seriously.  Vote on this in the Comments thread.

Setting aside for moment that her supposed big selling point is the breadth of her government experience, and particularly her national security, and that most people don’t recognize that presidents normally have several national security advisors and that all that’s really necessary is that the president have a, y’know, brain and a semblance of mental stability, the fact that Clinton is so, so easily spooked into triangulation-and-toughness mode is genuinely scary.

So I’ll repeat here what I wrote yesterday:

One of my pet peeves about Hillary Clinton is how mindless—how autopilot-y—her political instincts are.  I wrote recently, and had written earlier, about her factually off attempt last summer to pander to current and aspiring small-business owners by promising that she could have the federal government streamline the time it takes to start a business and cut down on regulations on small businesses.  The federal government plays virtually no role in the regulation of small businesses—local and state governments regulate most small businesses—and the role that government at any level plays in business startup time is a matter of about a week for most businesses.

But hiding in plain sight were things she could have mentioned about the role that the federal government could play in things of critical importance to small business owners of various types.  And some things that, thanks to Dems, it already does.  Specific regulation of the financial services industry, for example—such as the Durbin Amendment, a form of antitrust regulation of Visa and Mastercard concerning business fees for credit and ATM card transactions, enacted by the Dem.-controlled Congress in 2009—has mattered a lot, and should be strengthened.  And other antitrust enforcement and proposed legislation, such as to decrease the market chokehold of the major transportation companies and Big Ag, would make a significant difference to small-business owners, including farmers.

Elizabeth Warren talked about this in a highly publicized speech a couple of weeks ago.  And Bernie Sanders discussed it often on the campaign trail, including, in Iowa, proposals for antitrust legislation to limit the market power of Big Ag.

Clinton reflexively equates the possibility of Dems attracting white rural and small town residents with triangulation.  I myself have long believed that standard-issue triangulation is not the ticket to winning some support in rural and small town areas, but that specific sophisticated policy discussions about nonconventional issues—such as about antitrust regulation—is.  Ditto for small-business owners and aspirants.

The rap on Vilsack apparently is that he’s boring.  And that he wouldn’t make a good attack dog against Trump.

I don’t think Clinton needs an attack dog, in the conventional sense, as her running mate.  Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders both get extensive media coverage for what they say, and people really listen to and care about their speeches.  They’ll play a tremendous dual role in educating the public about the Dem platform—and the Repub one.  And Warren can skewer Trump like she was born to do it.

My own choice for VP nominee is Sherrod Brown, whom I’ve been a huge fan of since he appeared on my radar screen during his 2006 Senate campaign; he and Dick Durbin are my favorite senators.  Brown would make a wonderful candidate, and would appeal to rural and small town voters precisely because he’s a liberal—in ways that would matter to them.  But I share the hesitation about him that Clinton and other Dems have: his seat would be turned over to a Kasich appointee for a while.

And I think his teaming up with Sanders, Warren, Durbin, Jeff Merkley, Baldwin and Jack Reed in a Dem-controlled Senate, along with a couple of new true progressives, would prove historic.   Which is what I think Clinton should campaign on.

And, innocently, I added:

As for progressive NeverHillary holdouts, I think they should understand the possibilities that would come from that.  And, conversely, from this.

Then I added this:

ThesePeopleAreCrazy.

That crazy thing, though, may not be enough to determine the outcome of this presidential election, after all.  And it’s not because, see, Donald Trump has declared this a law-and-order election.

Just when I thought we’d gotten lucky, in that someone within her trust-and-personal-comfort realm who is among her finalists actually could make a difference in the campaign, for the right (no, not that way) reasons, and would make a good president should that situation arise, she reverts to form.

Toughness-and-triangulation forever!

Whatever. …

Clinton will have my vote.  But I recognize now my naiveté in expecting her to run a rational, spooked-free campaign.  It’s not what she does, because it’s not who she is; whoever she is, it’s not that.

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Britain’s New Prime Minister Openly Channels … Bernie Sanders?

[New British Prime Minister Theresa] May — who campaigned for “remain” in last month’s E.U. referendum — had vowed to unify her bitterly divided party by appointing “leave” and “remain” advocates alike to top posts. She has made good on that pledge.

But she also chosen to banish Gove and others who had been critical players in David Cameron’s government since he brought the Conservatives back to power in 2010. Another key figure who found himself out of a job was George Osborne, who had been the country’s top finance official.

Cameron, Osborne and Gove had together been known as the “Nottting Hill set,” a group of relatively young, Oxford-educated men who sought to modernize a party long known for its fustiness. May is also studied at Oxford, but was never considered part of that clubby grouping. …

The thorough sweep came just a day after May’s rise to power abruptly ended a chaotic, weeks-long leadership void in Britain.

Minutes after curtsying before a handbag-toting queen at Buckingham Palace — the moment May formally ascended to the country’s highest political office — she pledged that a post-E.U. Britain will prosper in its new incarnation, and become more fair and more equitable.

“As we leave the European Union, we will forge a bold, new, positive role for ourselves in the world, and we will make Britain a country that works not for a privileged few but for every one of us,” May said as she stood in front of 10 Downing Street for the first time as prime minister.

May’s speech marked a striking departure from the typical austerity-laden rhetoric of her Conservative Party. Instead of dwelling on the deficit, the country’s second-ever female prime minister emphasized the need to fight “burning injustice,” saying she will work on behalf of the poor, women and minorities.

She also pledged to defend the “precious bond of the United Kingdom,” a nod to her determination to beat back a revitalized secessionist movement in Scotland driven by opposition to the decision to leave the European Union. …

May has been a hawk on the issue of reducing the number of immigrants entering Britain and pushed for a greater government role in electronic surveillance.

Her views on foreign and economic policy are less known. But in her first major speech on the economy this week, her tone was more liberal than expected — emphasizing the need to spur growth and close the gap between rich and poor.

Theresa May puts stamp on British government with mass firing of Cameron ministers, Griffe Witte, Washington Post, this morning  today

Whoa.  Okay, it is by now well acknowledged that Bernie Sanders effectively won the party platform debate, for the most part, anyway.  And my take on Clinton’s comments to us Sanders supporters is that they were sincere; I didn’t view the video or read a transcript, but did read two or three articles about the rally that quoted Clinton’s statements to us, and they sounded sweet, graceful and true.

I think she realizes now that she not only needs most of Sanders’ supporters but also has a better chance to win potential Rust Belt Trump primary voters and also stanch the damage from the Comey email statements last week with the platform as it is rather than as it would have been without the Sanders campaign.

But never in my wildest imagination did I expect that the new British prime minister would coopt so much of Bernie’s campaign language.

The paragraph from the above excerpt of the Post article about defending the “precious bond of the United Kingdom” would seem irrelevant to our presidential campaign, but I do think it’s relevant because Scotland voted (overwhelmingly, I believe) against Brexit.  In other words, May did not direct her Sanders-esque language solely at that Brexit, anti-immigrant, xenophobic British voters but also at Britain’s Bernie Sanders supporters’ counterparts.

The article’s sentence that “May has been a hawk on the issue of reducing the number of immigrants entering Britain and pushed for a greater government role in electronic surveillance” obviously is not Sanders-esque.  Yet apparently she chose in his speech not to mention it.

That so much of her statement today on economic policy apparently took Britain by surprise reflects the swiftness with which major Western politicians are awakening to the remarkably sudden shifts of the political tectonic plates from their positions of the last 40 years.

And I’m so proud to have been a part of the catalyst, if only a teensy tiny part.

****

AND BREAKING NEWS: It looks like PENCE!  As in: Hey, all you folks who thought I’d bring CHANGE.  Apologies.  But I decided instead to go seriously ESTABLISHMENT.

No worries, though.  I’m giving all you Rust Belt types who support me cuz of CHANGE a steep discount for classes at the soon-to-be-revived Trump University.

And by the way, I will absolutely continue to deny that I plan to resign before the inauguration or shortly afterward, this just-kidding-about-anti-establishment-and-change thing not be enough to defeat me cuz of Hillary’s email thing.  (Okay, I’ll just make sure the DONORS recognize that I will, so I don’t havetuh fund my campaign myself. But the upside is that I’ll be available as a professor at Trump U.)

Well, praise the Lord.  Hillary Clinton is, I’m sure.  (I mean, not that Christie would have been better for Trump.  But since Pence is even more Retro than Trump’s pompadour, it’s better for us true progressives and will absolutely highlight our party’s platform.  It’s different than Christie would have been.)

Perfect.  Today is a good day.

But please, Hillary Clinton, choose a true progressive as your running mate.  Seriously; heed Prime Minister May’s tacit advice.  (And mine, of course.)  Pretty please.  Beautiful please.

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Clinton’s figured out how to ensure her victory: Threaten Sanders that if he doesn’t endorse her, pronto, she’ll begin campaigning as a triangulator.

The risk is that [Sanders] will lose his moment because some Clinton partisans already see a more centrist campaign as the best way to win over millions of middle-of-the-road voters who find Trump abhorrent. Sanders has to decide if accelerating his plans to endorse Clinton is now the best way to maximize progressive influence.

Sanders is making his long goodbye count, E.J. Dionne, Washington Post, today

So there it is.  The moment that Sanders endorses Clinton, Clinton will conclude that a more centrist campaign is the best way to win over millions of middle-of-the-road voters who find Trump abhorrent.  Because there are just so very many middle-of-the-road voters who find Trump abhorrent but find the idea of a Medicare-for-all-type healthcare system, a $15/hr. minimum wage, tuition-free public colleges and universities, and compelled reduction in the size and consequent economic and political power of a few mega-banks even more abhorrent.

Throw in sizable tax increases on the wealthy, and the abhorrence of this platform as compared with a Trump presidency shoots off the charts.  At least if you’re a Clinton partisan—Bill Daley, for example, who’s a Democrat only by convenience—and your Wall Street career depended initially upon your family contacts and later upon your Clinton ones.  Or you’ve made your Wall Street fortune the new-fashioned way: private equity.

The very definition of middle-of-the-road, in other words.  Just not the definition of middle-class.  Or working-class.  Unless your work is parlaying your money into ever greater political power in order to ensure a continued inflow of huge amounts of money.

Working-classless, maybe.

In any event we have it now from the horse’s mouth—someone in Clinton’s inner circle.  The risk is that Sanders will lose his moment because some Clinton partisans already see a more centrist campaign as the best way to win over middle-of-the-road voters with millions of dollars who find Trump abhorrent.

Too late, Bernie.  You missed your moment.  You can now withhold not only your endorsement but also your mailing list of three million donors, none of them middle-of-the-road ones.

And some of those three million donors and the many millions more who voted for you, being deemed not as important as the middle-of-the-road voters who hate the idea of a Medicare-for-all-type healthcare system, a $15/hr. minimum wage, tuition-free public colleges and universities, and compelled reduction in the size and consequent economic and political power of a few mega-banks, even more than they hate Trump, may find themselves hating Clinton even more than they hate Trump.  And every bit as much as those millions of middle-of-the-road voters hate a progressive policy platform.  Which is even more than they hate Trump.

What prompted this threat, presumably, was Sanders’ response in an interview with Jake Tapper on Tuesday, when asked what he thought it would take for Clinton to win over his supporters.  “We are trying to say to Secretary Clinton and the Clinton campaign, ‘Make it clear which side you are on,’” he said.  The punditry is up in arms about that.

I myself thought it was a bit harsh, when I read about it on Tuesday.  But Sanders’ instincts were right, apparently.

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I really don’t understand what …

all the fuss about Brexit is about, given that now more people will visit Turnberry, Scotland to golf.

Or maybe not.

Although that push to repeal Dodd-Frank may save us all from another economic crisis!

____

Okay, seriously, I think that contrary to the immediate CW, Brexit will actually hurt Trump, not help him. This is a guy who thought he’d benefit financially from a crashing pound because it didn’t occur to him that if financial chaos or even just a recession occurs that spreads beyond Britain, it won’t be much help for his luxury golf resort that the pound’s exchange rate has sunk. Who in his or her right mind would think this is the guy to handle economic crises, or anything else other than, maybe, a beauty pageant?

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Oh, Please.

The Democratic National Committee brought on a new chief of staff Thursday: Brandon Davis, the former national political director of the Service Employees International Union.

The move is a sign Hillary Clinton is moving to consolidate control of the DNC now that she is the presumptive Democratic nominee for president. Davis was introduced as the new chief of staff at committee headquarters by Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook on Thursday, SEIU confirmed.

“The 2016 election is one of the most consequential of our lives,” SEIU President Mary Kay Henry said in a statement. SEIU has endorsed Clinton. “Throughout the primary season, SEIU members have come out by the thousands to get out the vote for Hillary Clinton and fight for the issues that will build a better future for our families. Together they have shifted the national consciousness and dialogue around inequality in this country.”

DNC brings on new chief of staff, David Strauss, Politico, today

Yup. It definitely was Clinton who was the Democratic primary candidate who shifted the national consciousness and dialogue around inequality in this country.

No mistaking it.  I think it was that thing she said at the first debate last fall about Denmark not being a capitalist country.

And that she opposes Sanders’ proposal of a FICA tax of $1.56 (or some such sum) a week in order to pay for guaranteed, paid medical and family leave because she wants to increase wages, not decrease them.

And that she opposes Sanders’s idea of tuition-free public universities and colleges because Donald Trump’s grandkids might use it, and because while Sanders also proposed much higher taxes on Donald Trump and his children (the parents of those potential freeloading state U. students) that would go in part to help support those universities and colleges instead of forcing them to rely almost entirely on tuition to fund them, as occurs now, she herself would tax Trump and his kids more but would not use any of that money for that purpose.

And that she told the public, repeatedly, that Sanders’s single-payer healthcare insurance plan would raise taxes substantially but that families, individuals and employers would continue to pay premiums to private insurance companies and that families and individuals would continue to pay large deductibles and co-payments to healthcare providers.  Or that taxes are the only expenses that matter to families and individuals and employers.  (It was never clear which of the two she meant, although now that she and the SEIU have managed to have shift the national consciousness and dialogue around inequality in this country, she might reveal which one of those she meant in order to push that consciousness and dialogue still further.)

And that she opposes a national $15/hr. minimum wage increased incrementally over a period of a few years because $12 would be better.

And that she opposes Sanders’s proposals to decrease the economic and political power of Wall Street and to rein in publicly-held-corporate top executive compensation, that her own proposals in this area have been, let’s say, not at the forefront of her campaign.  And that she jumped on the New York Daily News editorial board bandwagon to say that Sanders doesn’t know what’s in Dodd-Frank and that Dodd-Frank doesn’t provide what he said it provides–which is what she had said at two earlier debates (including a then-recent one) that it provides.

And that she’s oddly unwilling to campaign against Trump by pointing out that Trump indeed is taking orders from the Republican donors, which is why his policy proposals—which everyone keeps saying he doesn’t have, but he does—are being written by the Republican Billionaire Donor Foundation, a fact that finally, finally, was discussed at length by someone other than me*: Jonathan Chait, on the New York magazine website.  (YAY!!)  But not by, say, the Pennsylvanians interviewed by NYT columnist Thomas B. Edsall.

The Strauss article goes on to say, “Davis has also served as political director to Sen. Claire McCaskill.”

Which is good to know, because McCaskill implied on national television last fall in her capacity as Clinton surrogate that Sanders is a Communist.  Which doesn’t mean that Davis would imply that Sanders is a Communist.  Although, who knows?

I recognize that Clinton thinks she should be trying mainly to woo Republicans, because they won’t know enough about Trump’s views on Mexicans, Muslims, women, immigration policy, wall building, NATO and nuclear proliferation to make that choice all by themselves, and Clinton needs to educate them.  But if she thinks having surrogates say it was Clinton (along with a labor union whose top brass strongly supported her in the primaries) who shifted the national consciousness and dialogue around inequality in this country will help her secure the votes of supporters of the primary candidate who, everyone knows, was the one who did, she’s again highlighting her hallmark obliviousness.

____

*ALSO:  HereHere.  Here.   And here.

I’m tired of saying the same obvious thing again and again.  And I’m tired of being attacked for it. I’m happy to pass that torch to Chait–and anyone else with an actual media voice who is interested in picking up that mantel.

____

POSTSCRIPT:  Just to be clear, I’m absolutely going to vote for Clinton.  I wouldn’t be caught dead not voting for the Democrat.  And that’s in very large (but not exclusive) part precisely because I know what Clinton isn’t saying: that Trump would be Paul Ryan’s puppet on fiscal policy, labor policy, regulatory policy–and court appointments.

The Heritage Foundation would be staffing the administrate agencies from top to bottom and the Federalist Society would stocking the federal bench at all three levels. It does look like Clinton has decided not to go there in the campaign; she really, really wants all those Republicans to vote for her, every last one of them.  And partly because maybe she plans to be Heritage Foundation Light and Federalist Society Light on the non-identity-politics/culture-wars issues.  I.e., on fiscal and regulatory issues.  I just don’t know, at this point.

But Heritage Foundation Light and Federalist Society Light are better than Heritage Foundation Heavy and Federalist Society Heavy.  By a lot.  There truly is no equivalence there.  So I’ll be voting for her.  It’s not a close question, in my opinion.

But that’s because I actually know what the Federalist Society bench has done–the stuff that almost no one else knows. And because I know enough about the Heritage Foundation to really feel for any blue-collar voter who is confused about whose back Trump would have.

Clinton thinks it’s important to educate Republicans about what they already know about Trump, but it’s not important to educate most other voters about what the pig many of them think is in a poke about, say fiscal policy, but who is not would do through abdication of decisionmaking. Because, she thinks, these are mutually exclusive choices.  And she’s chosen.

Sanders and Warren will choose, too, once they start campaigning for Democrats. Their choice, of course, will be different than that of the person at the top of the ticket.

Added 6/16 at 5:15 p.m.  Postscript edited for clarity, 6/16 at 7:30 p.m.

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I doubt that Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee.

I’m not sure whether this is a serious post or not.

How likely is it that Donald Trump, if elected, would serve more than a few months of his term?  How likely is it that he will even continue as the nominee much beyond the convention?, Me, Angry Bear, Jun. 3

That sentence is how I ended that post.  A few days later I read, on Politico, I think, that conservative Republican donors (yes, that’s redundant, but that’s what the article said) are trying to persuade the RNC to pass an emergency rule change at the opening of the convention to release the delegates from their primary commitment on the first ballot.  (The article said this group was leaning toward favoring Scott Walker as the nominee, to which I said to myself, “Please do.  That’ll put the Rust Belt states in your corner!”)

But last night, after I posted this post arguing that the Dems and progressive pundits should not conflate media coverage of and about Trump himself, which obviously is extensive, and media coverage of Republican congressional policy proposals, which is almost nonexistent and which Ryan says Trump has assured him that he will help implement, I read this piece by the Washington Post’s Dana Milbank.  It’s titled “Trump exploits Orlando’s tragedy to smear Muslims and Obama.” Posted at 6:35 p.m. it ran through all of Trump’s many statements yesterday, and one by Trump surrogate Roger Stone.

As I read that, I realized that Trump likely won’t be the nominee.

I recalled reading a news report late last week that I had expected to gain significant traction.  Titled “Florida AG sought donation before nixing Trump University fraud case,” by CNN’s Tom LoBianco, Drew Griffin and Scott Zamost, it is stunning even by current standards: The Florida AG, Pam Bondi, announced in 2014 that she was considering having Florida join litigation by several states alleging fraud by Trump U.  There had been many complaints to Bondi’s office by former victims.  A few days later, Bondi, who was running for reelection, solicited a $25,000 campaign donation from Trump, who obliged.  A few days after the check was received, Bondi announced her decision against having Florida join he lawsuit, claiming insufficient evidence.

My first thought was that Trump wouldn’t be calling Clinton “Crooked Hillary” much longer.  My second thought was that Trump will be indicted after a plea deal with Bondi.

The article was posted at 9:31 p.m. on Friday.  Perfect timing for Sunday’s papers.  Then there was the Orlando horror, barely more than 24 hours later.  And Trump’s appalling reaction, on Sunday and throughout the day yesterday, and I guess into today.

And mainstream Republicans’ reactions to Trump’s, which Greg Sargent recounts.

Politico’s Jake Sherman reports today that Trump will meet with House Republicans on July 7:

“Since Mr. Trump became the presumptive nominee, members have asked for us to organize an opportunity for our conference to spend time with him before the convention,” an aide to McMorris Rodgers said. “The chairwoman announced to members at the morning’s conference that on July 7th they will have the chance to meet with Mr. Trump; share their policy priorities, learn about his plans to unite the party; and get details about his plans to move America forward. This was the first date that worked with everyone’s schedules for a special conference. Details of exact time and location will be forthcoming.”

I’m interested in what they tell Trump are their policy priorities.  And what happens 11 days later, when their convention begins.

____

UPDATE: Greg Sargent writes:

After President Obama ripped Donald Trump today for betraying American values and further endangering the country with his ban on Muslims and all around hatemongering, Trump responded in a brief statement to the Associated Press:

“President Obama claims to know our enemy, and yet he continues to prioritize our enemy over our allies, and for that matter, the American people.

“When I am President, it will always be America First.”

He titles his post “Republicans discover nominating world’s most famous birther might not be a great idea.”  Perfect.

I meant to say in my original post, but for forgot to, that I think the Republicans will say that their primary motive in refusing as a party to nominate Trump is based not on ideology but on Trump’s clear mental instability, which poses am existential threat to this country.  For some of them, that will be their motive.  For others it will be ideology.

I think they’ll point out that Trump did not win a majority of that primary and caucus popular vote, and they’ll say that since the effective end of the primary season more than a month ago Trump’s mental instability has become obvious enough that some voters who voted for him probably would not do so now.

I do suspect–possibly naively, I recognize–that for many party elites, concerns primarily about ideology and even the likelihood of devastating electoral losses are starting to seem like unaffordable luxuries.

Added 6/14 at 5:16 p.m.

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Paul Waldman conflates two entirely different things about media coverage: media coverage of and about Trump himself and media coverage of Republican congressional policy proposals. He’s right about one of those things, but clearly wrong about the other.

[The left’s] belief that Trump’s success is primarily a media failure has a parallel in the way conservatives have always explained their own defeats. We would have won, they insist, if only the media hadn’t been against us! If only they had told the voters just how much Barack Obama hates America, or if only they had explained what a reprobate Bill Clinton is, then of course we would have won, because the truth is so irrefutable.

It’s now becoming clear that this kind of thinking is rampant on the left as well. “I think if we had a media in this country that was really prepared to look at what the Republicans actually stood for,” Bernie Sanders said in March, “It is a fringe party. Maybe they get 5, 10 percent of the vote.” That’s a fundamental misunderstanding of how Americans think and what they believe. There are plenty of critiques you can make of how Republican policies are described in the press while still granting that they have substantial support. Conservatism isn’t going to disappear once Bernie Sanders has the opportunity for a full airing of his views, any more than Donald Trump’s support will fall to nothing once he’s “exposed.”

Here’s the truth: journalists are exposing Trump every day. How do you know about what a scam Trump University was? Because journalists told you. How do you know what a liar Trump is? Because journalists explained the difference between the truth and what he says (and yes, they need to do it more often and more quickly). Want to know more about the extent of his business shenanigans? Here’s an article on how he stiffs his contractors and workers, and here’s an article on how he bled investors for millions while mismanaging his Atlantic City casinos into bankruptcy. It’s solid investigative journalism, and it’s vitally important to the public understanding who he really is.

The media isn’t going to save the country from Donald Trump. Here’s why., Paul Waldman, Washington Post, today

I like Paul Waldman.  And I certainly agree with his basic critique of the premise that the media hasn’t exposed Trump himself—his utterances—sufficiently.  That’s pretty much all cable news and many other media outlets have covered, apparently.  And he’s clearly right that journalists have exposed Trump’s business frauds and business-failures-cum-profit-makers-for-only-him.

But what does that have to do with whether or not the media has covered Republican congressional policy sufficiently—which is what Sanders was talking about?

It’s not simply a matter of the New York Times or the Washington Post or the Wall Street Journal reporting on the Ryan budget or the legislation to kill Dodd-Frank or the separate legislation passed by both houses of Congress to repeal the Obama administration’s rule under Dodd-Frank making financial advisers legal fiduciaries.  In a story last week titled “Obama vetoes legislation to thwart financial adviser rule,” the Associated Press summed it all up:

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama has vetoed legislation designed to nullify Obama administration rules that will require financial professionals to put their client’s best interest first when giving advice on retirement investments.

Obama says that some firms have steered clients into products that had higher fees and lower returns, which he says costs families about $17 billion a year.

Republicans say the regulations will make it more expensive for smaller businesses to provide retirement savings plans to their employees, resulting in less advice and fewer choices for many consumers.

Under the “fiduciary rule,” advisers who charge commissions will be required to sign a promise to act in the client’s best interest and disclose information about fees and conflicts of interest.

The rule will take effect next April.

Paul Krugman writes today that Paul Ryan includes repealing that rule in his “anti-poverty plan.” Lewis Carroll ghostwrites for Ryan, something I already knew but most people don’t.

I regularly read the New York Times, the Washington Post, and blogs that cover this type of thing, so I knew of the legislation to repeal the fiduciary rule.  But even I didn’t know that the legislation had actually been passed and had reached Obama’s desk.

What percentage of voters knows any of this, do you think?  Was it covered on the cable stations?  Was it on the front pages of any newspapers?  What about the nightly network news shows that are watched mainly these days by seniors?

For that matter, did our presumptive Democratic Party nominee for president mention it?  Not that I know of.  Then again, she became the presumptive nominee early last week and that made her the first WOMAN presumptive major party nominee.  And Donald Trump doubled down on his the-judge-is-biased-because-he’s-of-Mexican-descent tack.  And had Clinton not mentioned these things again and again last week, the public never would have known.

Unless, of course, the news organizations hadn’t saturated print, internet, network and cable media with them.  Which they did.

Mr. Waldman, most voters don’t know what’s in the Ryan budget.  And most don’t know that financial advisers aren’t legal fiduciaries and that their business model is conflict of interest.  Much less do they know that the Obama administration has used its authority under a financial-industry regulation statute passed by a Democratic Congress and signed by Obama to end that, beginning shortly after either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton is sworn in as president.

And it’s a safe bet that few people know that the repeal of that new rule is part of Paul Ryan’s poverty, I mean anti-poverty, legislative proposal.  And they don’t know what’s in Ryan’s budget plan, and they don’t know that Donald Trump’s budget plan posted since last October on his campaign’s website is the Ryan plan on steroids, and they don’t know that the Heritage Foundation folks wrote it, and they don’t know what the Heritage Foundation is, and they don’t know that Ryan says Trump has assured him that Trump will be Ryan’s puppet.  And the Heritage Foundation’s.  Which is redundant, I know.  But they don’t.

Waldman is right that conservatism isn’t going to disappear once Bernie Sanders has the opportunity for a full airing of his views, any more than Donald Trump’s support will fall to nothing once he’s “exposed.”  But Sanders is right that conservatism will disappear if the public finally learns what it actually is.  Instead, mainly they’re learning how many times Trump’s latest racial or ethnic or religious or gender slur can be mentioned in a given time period.  And they’ve probably stopped counting.

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