Friday, August 12, 2016

US Presidential Election: Trump playing mind games with the pundits - FURTHER UPDATES

New: Trump backs off his backpedal on Obama terror claim

Hours after stating his claim of Obama as the founder of ISIL was "sarcasm," Trump says maybe it wasn't. Read More
Trump may be having fun at the expense of the pundits. I would not be surprised that Trump in negotiating deals does this sort of thing to keep the other parties off-balance, to keep them guessing, enabling him to negotiate the best deal for himself. But in a general election he is risking boring voters with his antics. Trump fatigue. He also reinforces the growing image of him as being mentally unfit to serve as President of the United States.
New: Republicans question Trump's travel choices, tight purse strings

Concerned Republicans say their worries go beyond the campaign's decision to send its greatest resource -- the candidate himself -- to chase one or two electoral votes in Maine, or to what they believe are unwinnable states like Connecticut. The other phenomenon perplexing veteran operatives is that the Trump campaign now has the needed money to finance television ads and ground operations -- they just don't appear to be spending it. Read More
If Republicans are unhappy with the way candidate Trump is running his campaign, they are really going to be unhappy with the way President Trump runs his administration. "What you see is what you get."

Mmm. What are the rules on the use of unspent campaign money? But then Trump doesn't play by the rules, does he? May be Trump is planning a last-minute media blitz? Or may be he has a few investments he needs to prop up? Once you let a fox in a chicken coop, feathers are bound to fly. 
New: Hillary Clinton’s Tax Return Is a Message to Donald Trump: I Pay, Do You?

The couple is nowhere as rich as the Republican nominee, but they’re much more transparent about their finances. Read More
"One of the only times Trump did release his returns was in the early 1980s, according to The Washington Post , and at that time they revealed he paid absolutely nothing in income taxes.

Two tax appeals that Trump filed in the 1990s, both of which he lost, showed a similar numbers, The Daily Beast reported in June.

In May, Trump bragged to George Stephanopoulous, that he fights 'very hard to pay as little tax as possible.'

When asked what his tax rate was exactly, Trump responded, 'It’s none of your business. You’ll see it when I release. But I fight very hard to pay as little tax as possible.'" Show Me the Money, Daily Beast
New: Trump: 'Fine' with trying US citizens in military courts

Donald Trump said in an interview Thursday that he would support trying US citizens suspected of terrorism in military tribunals -- a controversial proposal that would likely be challenged as unconstitutional. Read More
Among the dangers is that US citizens could be falsely accused of terrorism and similar acts and then secretly tried in a military court, something which has happened to opponents of those in power in a number of countries with authoritarian regimes. Military tribunals could be used to suppress legitimate political dissent. 
New: A Crowd-Pleaser's Theory of Donald Trump

Think Donald Trump has some grand scheme behind his outbursts? Think his rhetoric is carefully thought out to produce a certain reaction? Think he meticulously plans each call for his followers to take up arms?

Sorry, no. There is no strategy here, folks. Read More
"Does Trump not see the danger in his words? My guess is that he doesn’t care one way or the other. He’s getting the laughs, the gasps, the cheers from the crowd -- repercussions be damned. To him, that’s all that matters." Harlan Coben, Bloomberg
New: Written In the Polls

History suggests that Trump's poll deficit in August will lead to a defeat in November. Read More

New: These three states are making a Trump win basically impossible

Donald Trump's week of bad polls just got much worse. Read More

New: 3 Reasons We Care About Politicians' Taxes

It has become tradition in U.S. presidential politics that the party standard-bearers release their tax returns. In fact, every major-party nominee in recent history has done so. Trump, though, has declined to follow suit. Why? Trump says he is being audited by the IRS and won't release his taxes until that audit is done. But there's nothing preventing Trump from releasing his taxes while under audit, a point the Clinton campaign and its supporters have pressed, arguing that Trump must be hiding something....

Below are three reasons we care about what's in those tax returns — and a little history of where this tradition came from. Read More

Trump demanded Obama’s records. But he’s not releasing his own.

Trump has ensured that Americans know relatively little about him.

He has refused to release many of the same documents that he demanded from Obama, including college transcripts and passport records. He has shirked the decades-old tradition of major nominees releasing their tax returns and other documentation to prove their readiness and fitness for office. And he has yet to release records showing why he received a medical deferment during the Vietnam War and whether he has actually donated the millions of dollars he claims to have given to charity.

...Trump, in building a wall around his records, is setting a new standard for secrecy for modern-day candidates. Read More

Clinton releases 2015 tax return, prods Trump to do the same

Hillary Clinton released her 2015 tax return Friday, as her campaign dials up the pressure on Republican Donald Trump to do the same. Read More

Donald Trump tries to walk back claim Obama founded ISIS: 'Sarcasm'

Donald Trump on Friday attempted to walk back the widely criticized false claim he repeatedly made over the last two days that President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were "co-founders" of ISIS -- saying he was being sarcastic. Read More
This is the same pattern to which previous articles have drawn attention: Trump makes an outrageous or false statement, repeat it several times, and then two or three days later denies that he made the statement or minimizes what he said. It was a joke. He was being sarcastic. And so on. Typically he blames the media for misunderstanding or misinterpreting what he said. And maintains that he has done nothing wrong. But the statement by then has caused damage to himself and to others. And it continues to cause damage as others repeat it as it circulates among Trump supporters and the general population. This could be a characterological problem on Trump's part. More seriously it could be what the late Eric Berne described as a pyschological game - a series of interpersonal transactions by which Trump maintains his view of himself and others - his existential position - and keeps Trump at the center of attention. It fits on what is known as the Karpman Drama Triangle with Trump alternating between the role of Persecutor and Victim. It does raise questions about Trump's fitness to be president of the United States. It is not something that can be dismissed lightly. It could not only get Trump into hot water but also the whole country.
Trump Calls Comments About Obama Founding ISIS ‘Sarcasm’

Donald Trump is blaming the media for misunderstanding controversial remarks he made this week about President Barack Obama being the “founder” of ISIS and Hillary Clinton being the terror group’s “co-founder.” Read More

Donald Trump’s ISIS-Obama Comments First Came From the Russians and Crazy People

Trump’s charge that Obama and Hillary Clinton co-founded ISIS would sound familiar if you lived in the Kremlin or in a bunker in your backyard. Read More

Subdued Trump tells home builders he's one of them

A subdued Trump showed up to the National Association of Home Builders conference the morning after a raucous Broward County campaign rally Wednesday night. In front of a nonpartisan, buttoned-down audience, Trump found little taste for the red meat he delivers from the stump.

“Wouldn’t it be nice if we could actually get along with Russia?” he floated at one point, to utter silence. Read More
Trump may surround himself with knowledgeable people but will he listen to them? The pattern that he has exhibited to date is to either ignore advice or to seemingly accept it only to go back to doing things his way. A number of Republican leaders who went along with Trump's candidacy out of the mistaken belief that he was manageable are discovering to their consternation that he is not. 
Trump: Clinton getting nervous about losing the election

Donald Trump says that Hillary Clinton is starting to get “nervous” about losing the presidential election, describing a “tightening” race that is at odds with most recent polling data. Read More

Trump campaign, RNC to hold “emergency meeting” today in Orlando

Team Trump insists it’s a routine meeting but that’s not how Politico’s sources describe it, and that’s not the sort of meeting you’d expect when the nominee is sliding out of contention in early August. Two interesting details from Politico. One: It was Trump’s campaign, not the RNC, that allegedly requested the meeting. This isn’t a “Reince chews out Trump and his staff” thing. This is, supposedly, a “Trump’s staff begs the RNC for help” thing.

Two: Trump himself won’t be at the meeting, as he’s campaigning in Pennsylvania today. He was, however, in Florida yesterday. Why didn’t they hold the meeting on Thursday so that he could attend? Or did he not want to attend? Read More

GOP insiders: Trump can't win

'Trump is underperforming so would take video evidence of a smiling Hillary drowning a litter of puppies while terrorists surrounded her with chants of ‘Death to America,’' said an Iowa Republican. Read More
"Democrats, however, aren’t breaking out the champagne just yet. Seventy-two percent of Democratic insiders said despite Clinton’s clear advantage at this stage of the race, the presidential election isn’t effectively over.

Democrats cited the unpredictability of the 2016 campaign, along with some of Clinton’s own weaknesses, for their bridled optimism. It’s a message that fits neatly with what party leaders are saying publicly and behind closed doors: Don’t get too cocky, even with Clinton well ahead of Trump in the polls." Steven Shephard, Politico
Donald Trump’s Missteps Risk Putting a Ceiling Over His Support in Swing States

For a candidate who once seemed like an electoral phenomenon, with an unshakable following and a celebrity appeal that crossed party lines, Mr. Trump now faces the grave possibility that his missteps have erected a ceiling over his support among some demographic groups and in several swing states. He has been stuck under 45 percent of the vote in Ohio and Pennsylvania for weeks, polls show, while Mrs. Clinton has gained support. Read More

Polls: Clinton Running the Table in Key Battlegrounds

Democrat Hillary Clinton leads Republican Donald Trump in some of the most diverse battleground states - including by double digits in two of them - according to four brand-new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist polls. Read More

Clinton well ahead in several battlegrounds, new poll shows

New polls released Friday show Hillary Clinton with significant leads over Donald Trump in three key battleground states. Read More

Polls: Clinton's Lead Over Trump Increases in Three Battleground States

Democrat Hillary Clinton leads Republican Donald Trump in three key battleground states after the conclusion of the political conventions, including in all-important Ohio, according to a trio of new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist polls. Read More

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