Archive

August 23rd, 2016

Voting is not the same thing as democracy

    If a new poll turns out to be a good prediction -- it shows Donald Trump leading Hillary Clinton by only 6 percentage points in Texas -- I'm going to get to vote in a competitive state this November. Thrilling!

    Of course, it will be only my second time in nine presidential elections. Like most states, Texas typically isn't competitive at the presidential level.

    Strike one against the Electoral College is that it turns voters in such states into bystanders. That's why some want to abandon the Electoral College and let the popular vote totals determine election outcomes.

    I get it. In my first presidential election, Ronald Reagan took Arizona, where I voted, by 34 percentage points. That's the biggest blowout I've voted in, but other states where I've voted for president -- Arizona twice, California twice, Texas three times -- have had margins of 21, 13, 13, 21, 23 and 16 percentage points. The exception to these landslides was when I lived in Indiana in 2008. Barack Obama prevailed by a single percentage point -- just under 20,000 votes.

Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit subscription page. If you are already a subscriber, please login to the site.

We'd be happy to set up login information for a free week of the Liberal Opinion Week website for you. Please email liberal@iowaconnect.com with your request. Thanks for your interest in the Liberal!

Trump's Bannon bomb

    If you thought the old Donald Trump campaign was wild and crazy, just wait for the new Trump campaign now that Breitbart's Steve Bannon has taken over as chief executive.

    The new leadership -- with Bannon and pollster Kellyanne Conway displacing Paul Manafort of the Ukranian Connection at the top of the heap -- is likely to steer Trump even more in the direction of the European far right. It also tells you something that Bannon sees Sarah Palin, about whom he made a laudatory documentary, as a model for anti-establishment politics.

    Bannon is close to Nigel Farage, the former head of the right-wing UK Independence Party, who offered "massive thanks" to Breitbart News for supporting the party's successful campaign on behalf of Britain's departure from the European Union. "Your UKIP team is just incredible," Bannon told Farage during an interview after the June Brexit vote.

Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit subscription page. If you are already a subscriber, please login to the site.

We'd be happy to set up login information for a free week of the Liberal Opinion Week website for you. Please email liberal@iowaconnect.com with your request. Thanks for your interest in the Liberal!

Suburban voters shun Trump in three key states

    Donald Trump's presidential campaign has a lot of problems. Near the top of the list is this: Suburban voters want nothing to do with him, especially in three states where he needs to compete.

    The latest indicator was this week's Washington Post survey, which showed Hillary Clinton up by 14 percentage points in Virginia among registered voters and eight with likely voters. The driving force: she enjoys a 45-point advantage in the voter-rich Washington suburbs, almost double the margin rolled up there four years ago by President Barack Obama.

    This follows similar findings in Philadelphia's suburbs, where Clinton's big lead threatens to put Pennsylvania out of Trump's reach.

    A Marist College poll out this week shows the Democratic nominee with a 14-point lead in Colorado. Lee Miringoff, director of the poll, says looking at the statewide response, "You can extrapolate that she has almost a 3-to-1 lead in the Denver suburbs." This is a bigger advantage than Obama held while carrying the state in 2008 and 2012.

Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit subscription page. If you are already a subscriber, please login to the site.

We'd be happy to set up login information for a free week of the Liberal Opinion Week website for you. Please email liberal@iowaconnect.com with your request. Thanks for your interest in the Liberal!

August 22nd

Trump is tanking among women and college-educated whites

    Two states very much worth watching as signs for the Trump-pocalypse are Virginia and Colorado. They both represent, in somewhat different ways, the demographic challenges that Republicans face in national elections these days -- challenges that Trump is making a whole lot worse.

    A new batch of Quinnipiac polls neatly illustrates the dynamic. They find that Hillary Clinton is leading Trump among likely voters in Virginia by 50-38, and leading in Colorado by 49-39. In Iowa, a less diverse Midwestern state, it's much closer, with Clinton ahead by 47-44.

    But it's the numbers among key demographics that are really striking. In both Virginia and Colorado, Clinton holds huge leads over Trump among women and college-educated whites. Notably, in both states, more than 60 percent of both these voter groups have strongly unfavorable views of Trump. Not just unfavorable views of Trump. Strongly unfavorable views of him.

    The numbers in Virginia:

Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit subscription page. If you are already a subscriber, please login to the site.

We'd be happy to set up login information for a free week of the Liberal Opinion Week website for you. Please email liberal@iowaconnect.com with your request. Thanks for your interest in the Liberal!

Holding Trump to a lower standard

    The debate over Donald Trump's tax returns overlooks an important point: The lack of any mechanism to require presidential candidates to disclose their returns means that our system holds candidates for the nation's highest office to a much lower standard than many applicants for lesser federal positions.

    Dozens of nominees to Cabinet- and sub-Cabinet-level positions in the Treasury Department, Social Security Administration, Department of Homeland Security, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and other agencies are required to submit their tax returns to the Senate, where they are reviewed by the relevant Senate committee, sometimes working with the Joint Committee on Taxation.

Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit subscription page. If you are already a subscriber, please login to the site.

We'd be happy to set up login information for a free week of the Liberal Opinion Week website for you. Please email liberal@iowaconnect.com with your request. Thanks for your interest in the Liberal!

Gretchen Carlson is close to settling her case against Ailes; let's hope she doesn't

    For Gretchen Carlson, a big settlement in her sexual harassment lawsuit against Roger Ailes might be the best outcome personally.

    The former Fox News host would get to make her point, pick up an eight-figure check, pay her legal bills and move on with her life, which includes raising two middle-school-age children.

    But, although I wish her well, I hope that she doesn't do that.

    Already, the righteous wound she has inflicted on a misogynistic culture has begun to scab over. There are signs that not much has changed or will change. Consider:

    -Ailes is out of Fox, but the longtime news executive reportedly is re-emerging as a consultant to Donald Trump's presidential campaign.

    -Fox News apparently has not cleaned house in any substantial way, and there are signs that it has no intention of doing so.

Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit subscription page. If you are already a subscriber, please login to the site.

We'd be happy to set up login information for a free week of the Liberal Opinion Week website for you. Please email liberal@iowaconnect.com with your request. Thanks for your interest in the Liberal!

Donald Trump, Omar Mateen's father and the question of belonging

    In the course of American history, a relatively shortlist of naturalized citizens have been stripped of their U.S. citizenship and the rights that come with it, then forced out of the country.

    These individuals have, in the eyes of the U.S. government, so violated the laws of this country, so completely embraced an ideology counter to national interests or offered such critical support to enemy causes, that the pact between the individual and the nation has been irrevocably broken. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump may have just offered a potential addendum to that list.

    His name is Seddique Mateen. He is the father of Omar Mateen, the gunman who shot and killed 49 people in an Orlando gay nightclub. Seddique Mateen is also a naturalized U.S. citizen, spotted at a Hillary Clinton campaign event last week. And he's a man about whom Trump was speaking during a Fox News town hall aired Wednesday night when the GOP nominee said he would "throw him out."

Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit subscription page. If you are already a subscriber, please login to the site.

We'd be happy to set up login information for a free week of the Liberal Opinion Week website for you. Please email liberal@iowaconnect.com with your request. Thanks for your interest in the Liberal!

A socialist hankering for a lakefront view

    As his campaign for president gathered steam, Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, went on CNBC and challenged the business news network's audience.

    "You can't just continue growth for the sake of growth in a world in which we are struggling with climate change and all kinds of environmental problems. All right?" he said. "You don't necessarily need a choice of 23 underarm spray deodorants or of 18 different pairs of sneakers when children are hungry in this country. I don't think the media appreciates the kind of stress that ordinary Americans are working on."

    What a surprise, then, to learn last week that the Bern and his wife, Jane, have determined that what they need is a third piece of residential real estate.

    To go with places they already own in Washington and their hometown of Burlington, Vermont, the Sanders family has purchased a vacation home on an island in Lake Champlain. Price: $575,000, nearly triple the average cost of a house in the Green Mountain State.

Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit subscription page. If you are already a subscriber, please login to the site.

We'd be happy to set up login information for a free week of the Liberal Opinion Week website for you. Please email liberal@iowaconnect.com with your request. Thanks for your interest in the Liberal!

A memoir from inside Donald Trump's base

    When I caught up with J.D. Vance, he still sounded a bit bemused by the success of his colorfully titled book, "Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and a Culture in Crisis."

    "I was just hoping to get some attention," he told me in a telephone chat as he prepared for a network TV appearance in Washington. "I wasn't expecting nearly this much attention."

    No, but nobody was expecting Donald Trump to be the Republican presidential nominee, either -- especially not as a populist hero to a base of white working-class, non-college-educated voters.

    That's why, although Trump's name appears nowhere in Vance's book, it quickly rose to Amazon's top 10 amid glowing reviews as a narrative that helps to explain Trump's surprising appeal to the white underclass, the underprivileged group from which its author emerged.

Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit subscription page. If you are already a subscriber, please login to the site.

We'd be happy to set up login information for a free week of the Liberal Opinion Week website for you. Please email liberal@iowaconnect.com with your request. Thanks for your interest in the Liberal!

Why Blacks Loathe Trump

    So now Donald Trump is campaigning for the black vote. (Long, awkward pause.)

    Like so much of what Trump has said and done, this new outreach forces writers like me to conduct scatological studies, framing Trump’s actions in their historical and intellectual absurdity.

    But, here we go.

    Trump, who got a shocking 1 percent of support among black voters in a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, has been urged to reach out to black voters.

Full text and e-editions are available to premium subscribers only. To subscribe to the digital edition, please visit subscription page. If you are already a subscriber, please login to the site.

We'd be happy to set up login information for a free week of the Liberal Opinion Week website for you. Please email liberal@iowaconnect.com with your request. Thanks for your interest in the Liberal!