ACV Democratic News

Keeping In Touch with politics and other issues in Central Virginia .....The Virginia 22nd Senate District and The 6th Congressional District......Vote Democratic for a Better Future....Protect Your Benefits

Democratic Committee Meeting

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

GOP Letter Calling Trump the Worst President in History

50 top GOP national security officials sign letter warning Trump would be 'the most reckless president in American history'


The undersigned individuals have all served in senior national security and/or foreign policy positions in Republican Administrations, from Richard Nixon to George W. Bush.   We have worked directly on national security issues with these Republican Presidents and/or their principal advisers during wartime and other periods of crisis, through successes and failures.  We know the personal qualities required of a President of the United States.

None of us will vote for Donald Trump.  
From a foreign policy perspective, Donald Trump is not qualified to be President and Commander-in-Chief.   Indeed, we are convinced that he would be a dangerous President and would put at risk our country’s national security and well-being.  

Most fundamentally, Mr. Trump lacks the character, values, and experience to be President.  He weakens U.S. moral authority as the leader of the free world.  He appears to lack basic knowledge about and belief in the U.S. Constitution, U.S. laws, and U.S. institutions, including religious tolerance, freedom of the press, and an independent judiciary.  

In addition, Mr. Trump has demonstrated repeatedly that he has little understanding of America’s vital national interests, its complex diplomatic challenges, its indispensable alliances, and the democratic values on which U.S. foreign policy must be based.  At the same time, he persistently compliments our adversaries and threatens our allies and friends.  Unlike previous Presidents who had limited experience in foreign affairs, Mr. Trump has shown no interest in educating himself.   He continues to display an alarming ignorance of basic facts of contemporary international politics.  Despite his lack of knowledge, Mr. Trump claims that he understands foreign affairs and “knows more about ISIS than the generals do.”

Statement of FormerNational Security Officials.docx

Mr. Trump lacks the temperament to be President.  In our experience, a President must be willing to listen to his advisers and department heads; must encourage consideration of conflicting views; and must acknowledge errors and learn from them.  A President must be disciplined, control emotions, and act only after reflection and careful deliberation.  A President must maintain cordial relationships with leaders of countries of different backgrounds and must have their respect and trust.  
In our judgment, Mr. Trump has none of these critical qualities.   He is unable or unwilling to separate truth from falsehood.  He does not encourage conflicting views.  He lacks self-control and acts impetuously.  He cannot tolerate personal criticism.  He has alarmed our closest allies with his erratic behavior.  All of these are dangerous qualities in an individual who aspires to be President and Commander in Chief, with command of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.  
We understand that many Americans are profoundly frustrated with the federal government and its inability to solve pressing domestic and international problems.  We also know that many have doubts about Hillary Clinton, as do many of us.  But Donald Trump is not the answer to America’s daunting challenges and to this crucial election. We are convinced that in the Oval Office, he would be the most reckless President in American history.
Donald B. Ayer Former Deputy Attorney General

John B. Bellinger III Former Legal Adviser to the Department of State; former Legal Adviser to the National Security Council, The White House   

Statement of Former National Security Officials. docx

Robert Blackwill Former Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Planning, The White House

Michael Chertoff Former Secretary of Homeland Security; former Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division, Department of Justice 

Eliot A. Cohen Former Counselor of the Department of State 

Eric Edelman Former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy; former National Security Advisor to the Vice President, The White House 

Gary Edson Former Deputy National Security Advisor, The White House
Richard Falkenrath Former Deputy Homeland Security Advisor, The White House

Peter Feaver Former Senior Director for Strategic Planning, National Security Council, The White House

Richard Fontaine Former Associate Director for Near East Affairs, National Security Council, The White House 

Jendayi Frazer Former Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs; former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs 

Statement of Former National Security Officials. docx
Aaron Friedberg Former Deputy National Security Advisor to the Vice President, The White House 

David Gordon Former Director of Policy Planning, Department of State

Michael Green Former Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Asia, National Security Council, The White House

Brian Gunderson Former Chief of Staff, Department of State 

Paul Haenle Former Director for China and Taiwan, National Security Council, The White House 

Michael Hayden Former Director, Central Intelligence Agency; former Director, National Security Agency 

Carla A. Hills Former U.S. Trade Representative 

John Hillen Former Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs 

William Inboden Former Senior Director for Strategic Planning, National Security Council, The White House 

Statement of Former National Security Officials .docx
Reuben Jeffery III Former Under Secretary of State for Economic Energy and Agricultural Affairs; former Special Assistant to the President for International Economic Affairs, National Security Council, The White House 

James Jeffrey Former Deputy National Security Advisor, The White House 

Ted Kassinger Former Deputy Secretary of Commerce 

David Kramer Former Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor

James Langdon Former Chairman, President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, The White House 

Peter Lichtenbaum Former Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Export Administration 

Mary Beth Long Former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs 

Clay Lowery Former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs; former Director for International Finance, National Security Council, The White House 

Robert McCallum Former Associate Attorney General; former Ambassador to Australia  

Statement of Former National Security Officials. docx
Richard Miles Former Director for North America, National Security Council, The White House 

Andrew Natsios Former Administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development

John Negroponte Former Director of National Intelligence; former Deputy Secretary of State; former Deputy National Security Advisor 

Meghan O’Sullivan Former Deputy National Security Advisor for Iraq and Afghanistan

Dan Price Former Deputy National Security Advisor 

Tom Ridge Former Secretary of Homeland Security; former Assistant to the President for Homeland Security, The White House; former Governor of Pennsylvania

Nicholas Rostow Former Legal Adviser to the National Security Council, The White House 

Kori Schake Former Director for Defense Strategy, National Security Council, The White House

Kristen Silverberg Former Assistant Secretary of State for International Organizations

Statement of Former National Security Officials. docx
Stephen Slick Former Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Intelligence Programs, National Security Council, The White House 

Shirin R. Tahir-Kheli Former Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Democracy, Human Rights and International Operations, National Security Council, The White House; former Ambassador and Senior Advisor for Women’s Empowerment, Department of State 

William H. Taft IV Former Deputy Secretary of Defense; former Ambassador to NATO 

Larry D. Thompson Former Deputy Attorney General 

William Tobey Former Deputy Administrator, National Nuclear Security Administration, Department of Energy; former Director for CounterProliferation Strategy, National Security Council, The White House

John Veroneau Former Deputy U.S. Trade Representative 

Kenneth Wainstein Former Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, The White House; former Assistant Attorney General for National Security, Department of Justice 

Matthew Waxman Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense; former Director for Contingency Planning and International Justice, National Security Council, The White House 

Statement of  Former National Security Officials. docx
Dov Zakheim Former Under Secretary of Defense 

Roger Zakheim Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense 

Philip Zelikow Former Counselor of the Department of State 

Robert Zoellick Former U.S. Trade Representative; former Deputy Secretary of State 

Does The Republican Party Have a Future? 

The future of the Republican Party hangs in a precarious balance.

There are two routes, one that follows the libertarian route or the route they are on.

The way of Rand Paul, Justin Amash, and Thomas Massie, defenders of liberty and the Constitution. We can see epic 13-hour filibusters of unconstitutional drone strikes, showing to the job you are supposed to do, and railing against the debt while also going through with being against the debt. To be restrained in foreign adventures and not spy on every American. The Republican Party will return to its founding principles; individual liberty, free-market capitalism, and following the Constitution.

Or they can go through the route they are on. Continue to massively expand the debt. To pay lip service to the Constitution (which in reality is just the Second Amendment) and continue to violate it by spying on every American and imprisoning them through the war on drugs. To continue to attack various countries around the Earth in a misguided sense of patriotism and desire for democracy abroad. To continue to look, as John Quincy Adams put it, for monsters to slay abroad.

The Republican Party is on a crossroads. The old guard is dying out. People like John McCain are on their way out.

But what about the new breed of neo-conservatives? People like Chris Christie and Marco Rubio? The candidates who campaign on bombing more countries than before, expanding the United States' role in the Middle East and hellbent on confronting the Iranians and the Russians. To rip up the Iranian deal. To spy on all Americans via unconstitutional spying programs.

Even John Kasich, a moderate, said it is time to 'punch the Russians in the nose.'

Or will it adopt the more restrained voice of Ted Cruz? A man who said it wasn't right to dispose the tyrants of Libya and Iraq. A man who sees himself as a pragmatic voice, the in between of the non-interventionist of Rand Paul and the neo-conservatism of Marco Rubio.

However, he promises to carpet bomb the Middle East to see if 'sand glows in the dark.' He also brags of the USA Freedom Act, an act he said expands the government's ability to collect all phone records. The senator has also promised to rip up the Iranian deal on day one. And he has criticized the Cuba Thaw as well. A man who has praised a man who called gay marriage evil.

Justin Amash, Thomas Massie, Rand Paul, Mike Lee should have been the future of our party.

We should have been the party to recognize that we don't need to intervene in every single conflict in the Middle East, to spy on every American, to have an unfair criminal justice system, to have corporate welfare and to have unlimited military spending. The Republican Party had to stand for limited government, free-market capitalism, and individual rights. To recognize that there should be a separation of powers instead of granting them to a president regardless of their political party.

In most ways, the 2014 midterm elections represented more of the same for mainstream American politics.   The Republican Party’s increased majority in the House of Representatives and their capture of the Senate, despite appearances, does not signify any more of a “sea change” in public opinion than their 2010 victories.

The substantial shifts in party Congressional representation were the results of miniscule shifts in the popular vote. In the more representative House, the Republicans won 52% of the popular vote, but secured 57% of the seats. In the Senate, a model undemocratic body, the Republicans won only 51% of the vote, but now hold 54 seats.

Continuing declines in voter participation only further exaggerate the effects of small shifts in partisan voting patterns. Despite claims from both the mainstream and progressives, voter participation in 2014 hit its lowest level since 1942. Only 36.4% of all eligible voters turned out in 2014, compared with 40.9% in the 2010 midterm election — a drop of over 10%.

Not surprisingly, working-class and poor voters — generally those earning less than $50,000 — are overrepresented among “non-voters.” According to the Census Bureau, slightly over 75% of all Americans earned less than $50,000 in 2010. But only 36% of those who voted earned less than $50,000 a year.

Put simply, tiny changes in voter preference among an increasingly professional, managerial and wealthy electorate propelled the Republicans to majorities in both houses of Congress. Working-class and poor people, traditional Democratic constituencies, have become profoundly alienated from a party who has consistently disappointed them as it embraces neoliberalism and austerity.

There were some minor changes in the impact of capitalist campaign financing on the election results. As a result of the Supreme Court’s Citizen United decision, it has become more difficult to track the sources of capitalist funding to the two major parties. Contributions from individual businesspeople and corporate political action committees that are public, increased slightly from $1.358 billion in 2010 to $1.433 billion in 2014; while the proportion of capitalist funding actually dropped from 74.2% to 69.8%.

“Dark money” from organizations that do not report all or some of their donors jumped sharply from $160.8 million in 2010 to over $219 million this year. Corporate funding went overwhelmingly (58%) to Republicans in 2014 especially compared to 2010 when Republicans received only 49% of capital’s largesse.
The Tea Party Insurgency

What may be different about the 2014 elections, especially compared with 2010, is the relationship of social forces within the Republican Party. Since the Civil War, the Republicans — representing the new industrialist class — have been American capital’s “A-Team.” While capitalists in certain sectors (telecommunications and entertainment), from newer immigrant groups (particularly Jews and Catholics), and urban real estate and construction have dominated the Democratic Party for over a century, the Republicans have always been capital’s preferred political representatives.

Capital turns to the Democrats when the Republicans have been compromised by scandal or political missteps, or during periods of popular insurgency when the former’s ties to the labor officialdom and the middle-class leaders of many social movements can be useful. However, no matter how far the Democrats drift to the right and embrace pro-capitalist policies, capital views the Republicans, with their historic links to key transnational industrial and financial corporations, as their most reliable spokespersons.

The rise of the right-wing populist Tea Party threatened to undermine capital’s traditional dominance of the Republican Party. As Kim Phillips-Fein pointed out, the Citizens United undermined “older ruling class institutions, making it far more difficult for the business lobby to act in any concerted way. Citizens United enables wealthy individuals to spend lavishly and to do so with little sense of collective purpose.” As a result, right-wing billionaires like the Koch brothers and their Club for Growth have backed the Tea Party since its emergence in 2009. However, it is professionals, managers, and small businesspeople who lead the Tea Party and provide the bulk of its electoral support.

On many issues, capitalists and the Tea Party agree. They both want to lower corporate taxes, cut social services, dismantle any and all regulations on capital, and, of course, destroy what’s left of the labor movement.

However, middle-class populism is also hostile to capital. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, a key Tea Party leader, was quite clear: “Big business is very happy to climb into bed with big government. Republicans are and should be the party of small business and of entrepreneurs.” The conflict between capital and a radicalized middle class is clearest on the Tea Party’s willingness to shut down the Federal government and risk a credit default, as well as their complete hostility to immigration reform.

The Tea Party is a “political Frankenstein” for capital, as Phillips-Fein puts it. While important segments of the capitalist class funded Tea Party candidates during the 2010 election, by early 2011, they found themselves endangered by their own creation.

Specifically, the Tea Party’s opposition to an immigration reform that would maintain a workforce without citizenship rights and their willingness to risk the global credit of the US state and shut down the government alienated the two most important capitalist-financed and -led policy planning networks — the Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable. While the Chamber represents a broad cross section of American capitalists and the Roundtable speaks for the largest transnational corporations, both opposed the Tea Party on these issues in 2011 and 2012.

Scapegoating immigrants for rising crime, deteriorating public services, and growing unemployment, segments of the middle class and the white working classes support tightening of the borders and blanket deportations, and oppose any form of amnesty or legalization for undocumented immigrants.

Capitalists, however, have a very different perspective. Not only do high-tech industries want access to skilled foreign professionals, but labor-intensive industries like agriculture, construction, landscaping, domestic service, child-care, health care, and hospitality rely on low-wage, vulnerable immigrant labor. Capital wants a precarious migrant workforce without legal status, disciplined by selective deportations, to labor for substandard wages in these industries.

Both the Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable have been leading the fight for an immigration reform that would preserve and regulate a new migratory workforce in the US; and in opposition to wholesale deportations and other policies that reduce the immigrant workforce. The Business Roundtable has long advocated a comprehensive immigration reform that would “strengthen border security,” allow more workers, skilled and unskilled, to enter the US on temporary work visas, and provide a “path to citizenship” for the millions of undocumented immigrants already in the country.

In 2010, the Chamber joined the American Civil Liberties Union and the League of United Latin American Citizens in challenging Arizona’s anti-immigrant law (SB 1070) which resulted in thousands of immigrants fleeing the state in fear of arrest and deportation. More recently, the Chamber has argued that comprehensive immigration reform is necessary to “address worker shortages, not only in high-skilled jobs, but also in lesser-skilled industries . . . like home health care, landscaping and hospitality.” The Tea Party’s opposition to any immigration reform that is not based on mass deportations of those in the United States without papers has profoundly alienated US capitalists.

Like the Tea Party, business also wants massive cuts to social spending. However, the movement’s political brinkmanship — its willingness to let the country default by failing to raise the debt ceiling in 2011 and to shut down federal government operations in 2013 in order to leverage cuts in spending or short-circuit Obamacare — has also estranged capital.

In 2011, the Chamber’s Bruce Josten mobilized members to urge their Congressional representatives to raise the debt ceiling, in order to prevent rising interest rates that would make “car loans, mortgages, and business and student loans . . . more expensive.” The Business Roundtable, in a letter to the Congressional leadership cosigned by the Chamber of Commerce and a dozen industry-based associations, claimed that raising the debt ceiling “is critical to insuring global investor’s confidence in the trustworthiness of the United States.”

The fall 2013 government shutdown marked the end of any uneasy alliance between the Tea Party and the capitalist class. John Engler, president of the Business Roundtable, and leaders of the Chamber issued numerous statements to the press condemning the closure and again warning of the dire consequences for capital of a government default.

The clearest sign of a schism between the Republican populist right and capital was the emergence of “The Campaign to Fix the Debt.” Originally formed in early 2012 in the wake of 2011 debate on raising the debt ceiling, Fix the Debt brought together dozens of former senators and congressmen and over 150 CEOs of some of the largest US transnational corporations, with a budget of nearly $50 million. Their “core principles” formed the basis of the proposed “grand bargain” of closing corporate tax loopholes while lowering the overall tax rate “in exchange” for “restructuring” federal pensions, Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. While the “bargain” garnered the support of Obama, the Democratic leadership and mainstream Republicans, key leaders of the Tea Party refused to accept this compromise, sparking the shutdown.

Capital Disciplines the Republicans
Amid the 2013 budget crisis, leaders and staff of key elements of the “business lobby,” including the National Retail Federation, National Federation of Independent Businesses, National Association of Manufacturers, US Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable, and the Fix the Debt campaign began to discuss “helping wage primary campaigns against Republican lawmakers who had worked to engineer the political standoff in Washington.”

The Tea Party’s initial success in raising funds for the primary races led the Chamber of Commerce to take the lead in mobilizing for mainstream Republicans. Scott Reed, the Chamber’s chief political strategist launched “Vote for Jobs,” targeting key Senate and House races to defend incumbents like Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and defeat Tea Party rebels. In a public statement, the Chamber argued “Americans need leaders with the courage to govern on issues that matter, not those who refuse to acknowledge the unsustainable rate of federal spending or consider pragmatism to be an antiquated concept.”

With the first Republican primaries in March 2014, the Chamber of Commerce saw the first fruits of its efforts to discipline the Republican Party in the interest of capital. John Cronyn of Texas soundly defeated his Tea Party challenger, Steve Stockman by a margin of 59% to 19%. In the next wave of primaries in early May, the results were a bit more mixed. Mainstream Republican Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia garnered 87.5% of the vote, but Chamber-backed candidates barely squeaked out a victory in North Carolina (45.7% for Thom Tillis versus 43.6% for two Tea Party candidates) and lost in Nebraska to a “moderate” Tea Party candidate Ben Sasse in Nebraska.

Chamber of Commerce backed candidates swept the Republican primaries in Kentucky, Idaho, and Oregon on May 21. Senate minority leader McConnell used a massive spending advantage to easily defeat his Tea Party challenger 60.2% to 35.4%. In a key Idaho primary, Mike Simpson routed the Tea Party’s Bryan Smith 61.6% to 38.4%, with nearly $2 million in support from the Chamber and other mainstream groups.

In Oregon, Monica Wehby defeated her Tea Party challenger by an almost two-to-one margin. The only setback was in Georgia, where no candidate won a majority in May, but David Purdue — the only Republican elected to the Senate in 2014 without Chamber endorsement — eked out his opponent 50.9% to 49.1% in a July runoff. Despite this hiccup, the Washington Post declared the Chamber of Commerce “the biggest winner in primaries” who “spend more than $12 million in races around the country and came through with an undefeated record.”

During the summer 2014 primaries, Chamber candidates were generally successful, but there were important stumbles for capital’s struggle to discipline the Republicans. Tea Party challengers were defeated in Kansas, Tennessee, and South Carolina, returning mainstream Republicans committed to immigration reform and keeping the federal government operating. However, the Chamber suffered a near setback in Mississippi and a stunning defeat in Virginia.

In the initial Mississippi primary, incumbent Senator Thad Cochran actually received approximately 1,400 fewer votes than his Tea Party challenger. Because neither candidate had received an absolute majority, there was a run-off in September, where Cochran squeaked out a victory of fewer than 7,000 votes — mostly from black Democrats in an open primary.

The biggest defeat for the Chamber and mainstream Republicans came in Virginia on June 10. Republican House majority leader Eric Cantor was defeated by an almost unknown Tea Party challenger David Brat. While Cantor outspent Brat ten to one in the primary campaign, Brat won the election with more than 60% of the vote. Brat successfully mobilized middle-class voters with his denunciations of “crony capitalism” and “the collaboration of public and private elites at the expense of workers and small businesses.” Brat “denounced Cantor for being too close to Wall Street . . . explained business support for immigration reform as a ploy for cheap labor and demonized the Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable.”

Most media commentary have argued the Chamber and other capitalist lobbying organizations’ strategy was successful, producing a primary season where “mainstream Republicans have enjoyed most of the victories,” which allowed the Republicans to increase their majority in the House and win the Senate in November.

Business groups have greeted the general election results with a cautious optimism. Bill Miller, a senior vice president at the Business Roundtable told the New York Times “There is a pent-up demand for legislative action, and there was a logjam because of the campaign . . . The three issues we’ve got teed up now are corporate tax reform, then immigration reform, as well as getting new trade agreements passed.”

The Fix the Debt campaign praised the House and Senate Republican leadership’s commitment to tax reform, debt reduction, and to keeping the federal government running. Thomas Donahue, president of the Chamber of Commerce was also cautiously optimistic, claiming that “voters made it clear: They want a Congress with the courage to lead and the ability to govern,” and pledging to pursue the Chambers’ agenda of “comprehensive tax reform, immigration reform, domestic energy production, regulatory reform, and international trade.”

The business lobby’s caution is well-founded. Only one Republican was elected to the Senate without the endorsement of the Chamber of Commerce — David Perdue of Georgia. However, there is still a substantial number of incumbent Tea Party Senators who follow the lead of Ted Cruz of Texas. Even more worrisome for the capitalist class is the fact that of 244 Republicans in the House, 32 were elected over the opposition of the Chamber.

Even though six or seven House Democrats were elected with Chamber Support, at least 13% of the Republican House caucus remain independent of, and possibly hostile to the business lobby’s agenda in the coming Congress. While the thirty-three Republicans outside the capitalist mainstream of their party is many fewer than the six dozen elected in 2010, they may have the capacity to undermine the Republican leadership’s commitment to keeping the government open and paying its bills, and to a comprehensive immigration reform that will regularize precarious migrant labor.

The first fruits of the capitalist class’s attempts to discipline the Republican Party could be seen in earlier this month. Despite calls by the still sizable Tea Party contingent on both chambers to shut down the government to block Obama’s Executive Order on immigration, bipartisan coalitions in both the House and Senate pushed through the nearly $1.1 trillion spending plan and kept the federal government running through early next spring. The Tea Party’s presence will be reduced in the next Congressional session.

Unfortunately, for much of the “progressive left” in the United States, in particular the leadership of the labor, civil rights, women’s, and LGBT organizations, the main lesson of the 2014 election will be to deepen their support of the rightward-moving Democrats. Despite the abysmal failure of this strategy to deliver any gains for working and oppressed people, other than during the tumultuous social struggles of the 1930s and late 1960s, the forces of official reform continue to tell us to support the Democrats as the “lesser evil” compared with an increasingly militant right-wing.

Unfortunately, it is precisely the failure of the organizations of working people in the United States to act independently and against the Democrats that has opened the road to the Right. The absence of any real left-wing alternative to the Democrats has made the Tea Party and other right-wing populists the only viable alternative to a bipartisan neoliberal consensus.

Only when working people begin to act independently of the Democrats — and of our official leaders — to struggle in our workplaces and communities for our own agenda, will we be able to stem the rightward drift of US politics.

Amherst Democratic News


Sunday, August 7, 2016

Repblicans Flee Trump

Republicans are fleeing Donald J. Trump and some are not shy about sharing their thoughts.

Donald J. Trump Jokes about the Purple Heart

A veteran injured in Iraq released a video blasting Trump for his Purple Heart comments.   This Marine had three brothers, two were also wounded and one died.   All received purple hearts.   All paid a high price so that Donald Trump could joke about being awarded the purple heart.   Please view this short message from Marine Will Fisher.   Click to View

Shame On Donald Trump 

                Evan McMullin calls Trump out.

Reports: Anti-Donald Trump Republican official mounting independent presidential bidA former CIA official and anti-Donald Trump Republican was expected to announce an independent bid for the presidency on Monday, according to reports.
Evan McMullin, who currently serves as chief policy director for the House Republican Conference, will mount an independent presidential bid that will launch just three months from election day, according to BuzzFeed and MSNBC host Joe Scarborough.
McMullin has repeatedly denounced Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, questioning the real-estate magnate's temperament and foreign policy credentials.

Like many other third-party candidates, McMullin's begins his bid with obvious shortcomings.

He has little name recognition, and will likely have difficulty getting his name on the ballot in many states. BuzzFeed reported, however, that some major Republican donors are planning on backing the former CIA official's bid.

Republicans want very much to see Donald trump defeated so they can save the party.   A Trump win destroys the GOP.

Frank Levin, Vice President of News and Opinion at CNN Digital

Levin writes:

‘I will do something that I have not done in 40 years of voting: I will vote for the Democratic nominee for president. The depressing truth of the Republican nominee is that Donald Trump talks a great game, but he is the emperor who wears no clothes.’

Lavin didn’t bother holding back with his approximation of the Republican presidential nominee, saying:

‘Trump is a bigot, a bully, and devoid of grace or magnanimity. His thin-skinned belligerence toward every challenge, rebuke, or criticism would promise the nation a series of high-voltage quarrels. His casual dishonesty, his policy laziness, and his lack of self-awareness would mean four years of a careening pin-ball journey that would ricochet from missteps to crisis to misunderstandings to clarifications to retractions.’

Levin managed to summarize exactly what many pundits have already been thinking, especially with the almost daily dissent of Republicans who refuse to support Donald Trump, many of whom have even endorsed the Democratic presidential nominee for present.

Despite the fact the decision to vote Democratically wasn’t easy for him, Frank Levin says that he Trump can’t manage to focus on his goals, constantly distracted and picking fights that are unrelated to his goals.

Levin then notes:

‘The most pronounced example in this regard was his tasteless criticism of the family of deceased Army Capt. Humayun Khan. We owe that young man our gratitude for the ultimate sacrifice. And we owe his parents our respect for the dignity with which they reproached Mr. Trump for his grotesqueries.’

Frank Levin goes on to address the four bankruptcies that Trump has taken some heat for over the course of the election so far. Many Republicans claim that the reason they’re voting for Trump for president is the fact that he’s an excellent businessman. Donald Trump is not a great businessman — he’s a great salesman. There is a difference. Unfortunately, the voters eating up his words cannot see that they’re being conned.

Not only has Trump had four bankruptcies, he has also continued to live a ridiculously lavish lifestyle throughout the course of each. That’s disgusting. It’s bad business to let one business go bankrupt and leaving employees jobless and unsure, but four of them is a little extreme.

Lavin concluded his od-ed with:

‘There are many issues on which Hillary Clinton and I are not in agreement. However on the core foreign policy issues our country faces — alliance relationships — she comes closer to Republican views than does Trump. And Donald Trump makes me cringe. I am voting for Hillary. And I live in Ohio.’

As November draws closer, Republicans are leaning left this election season, and it could cost Donald Trump the presidency.

 Run, don’t walk, from Trump, Republicans
By Eugene Robinson

Washington • To Republicans who hope to emerge from the Donald Trump fiasco with any shred of political viability or self-respect, I offer some unsolicited advice: Run, do not walk, to the nearest exit.

I'm speaking to you, House Speaker Paul Ryan. And you, Sen. John McCain. And Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — along with so many other elected Republicans and party stalwarts. You are not fools. You are well aware that the erstwhile Party of Lincoln has nominated for president a man wholly unfit to hold the office.

I realize that puts you in a tough spot politically. Breaking with the party's standard-bearer, chosen by voters in primaries and caucuses, would surely mean short-term pain. For some of you it could be politically fatal. But sticking with Trump, as far as I can see, will almost surely be worse — for you, for the party, and potentially, heaven forbid, for the country you have sworn to serve.

You're taking a position that is indefensible on both philosophical and real-world grounds: Begging Trump to pretend to be sane and competent until Election Day.

"Anyone who is horrified by Hillary [Clinton] should hope that Trump will take a deep breath and learn some new skills," Newt Gingrich told The Washington Post on Wednesday. "He cannot win the presidency operating the way he is now."

This week, Republicans, your calls for Trump to tone it down shifted into panic mode. Apparently you thought it was a bad idea for him to attack a Gold Star mother who lost her Army captain son in Iraq, then clumsily contrive to keep the story alive for nearly a week. You thought Trump's pointed refusal to endorse Ryan and McCain in their primaries, even though both are supporting him, might not be the best way to foster party unity. You thought perhaps that while there are many things a candidate might say at a rally to win friends and influence people, "Get the baby out of here" is not one.

Your response is to hope against hope that someone will convince Trump to feign rectitude for the next three months. But think of the implications of imploring him to look and sound "presidential." You know full well how out of control and unbalanced he is, and you just wish he'd do a better job of conning voters into thinking he can be trusted with the nuclear codes. Shame on you, Republicans, for encouraging such a dangerous ruse.

And in any event, it should be clear by now that Trump cannot or will not pretend to be a normal candidate. How many resets have there been already? Let me make a bold prediction: Within the next week or so, Trump will give a stilted, non-crazy, teleprompter-aided speech. Supporters will rejoice that the campaign has finally turned a corner. And then, a few days later, some perceived slight will have Trump once again tilting at windmills and baying at the moon.

Republican officials and party leaders, you got into politics because you believed in certain principles. I may disagree with many of your views on policy but I do not question your sincerity. I firmly doubt, however, that Trump knows what the word sincerity means.

You believe in conservative values; he manifestly does not share them. You believe in sound, prudent fiscal management; he runs his real estate empire like a pirate, trailing bankruptcies in his wake. You believe, generally, in a strong defense posture; he is open to handing Crimea and perhaps the Baltics to Vladimir Putin. You believe in limited government, answerable to the people; he describes a bleak, failed America in his acceptance speech and proclaims that "I alone can fix it!"

Republicans, you are aiding and abetting a latter-day Juan Peron in his quest for power. You know that he believes in no coherent policy agenda beyond his own self-proclaimed greatness. You see how unhinged he becomes when anyone challenges him. You know what a grave risk it would be to have a man like that in the Oval Office.

You may be making the calculation that tepidly supporting the party's nominee will leave you best situated to help revive and reform the GOP after Trump is soundly defeated by Clinton. Judging by this week's polls — Clinton has leapt into a solid lead — your bet on the election's outcome may be sound.

But even if he loses, Republicans, Trump will leave a lasting stain. If you tell us such a man should be president, why should the nation ever believe anything else you say?

A Letter From G.O.P. National Security Officials Opposing Donald Trump

Fifty former top Republican national security officials have signed an open letter in The New York Times opposing Donald Trump's candidacy, warning that he would be "the most reckless president in American history."

Many of the officials served in the administration of former President George W. Bush, but some served other Republican administrations.

"From a foreign policy perspective, Donald Trump is not qualified to be president and commander-in-chief," the letter said. "Indeed, we are convinced that he would be a dangerous president and would put at risk our country's national security and well-being."

The letter called into question Trump's temperament as well as his knowledge of US foreign policy issues.

"Most fundamentally, Mr. Trump lacks the character, values, and experience to be president," the letter said. "He weakens US moral authority as the leader of the free world. He appears to lack basic knowledge about and belief in the US Constitution, US laws, and US institutions, including religious tolerance, freedom of the press, and an independent judiciary."

It continued: "In addition, Mr. Trump has demonstrated repeatedly that he has little understanding of America's vital national security interests, its complex diplomatic challenges, its indispensable alliances, and the democratic values on which US foreign policy must be based."

The letter was signed by, among others, Michael Hayden, a former director of the CIA and the NSA, John Negroponte, a former director of national intelligence and deputy secretary of state, and Michael Chertoff, a former secretary of homeland security.

This isn't the first open letter from former national security officials who publicly oppose Trump, the Republican nominee for president. More than 100 Republican national security experts signed a similar letter in March.

The Times points out that some of the signatories on this letter refused to sign the first letter, but changed their minds when they heard Trump jokingly invite Russian hackers to find Hillary Clinton's missing emails and suggested that he wouldn't help NATO allies in the event of a Russian attack if they didn't pay enough money for their own defense.

A significant number of national security officials have come out against Trump's candidacy for president, but he has built his campaign on an anti-establishment image, pushing the message that America's foreign policy is broken and the country needs to rely on fresh thinking from outsiders.

 Virginia Rep. Has Spine and Courage

 Rep. Scott Rigell of Virginia became the second Republican member of Congress to break from party lines and endorse a candidate that is not his party's nominee.

Rigell told the New York Times on Saturday that he will be voting for for New Mexico Governor and Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson instead of Republican nominee Donald Trump.

"I've always said I will not vote for Donald Trump and I will not vote for Hillary Clinton," Rigell told The Times. "I'm going to vote for the Libertarian candidate."

According to The Times' report, this is the first member of Congress to endorse Johnson. Rigell has said he would not be supporting Trump since March, but had not endorsed another candidate until Saturday's report.

Rigell also told The Times that he expects more Republican politicians to follow his lead and endorse someone other than Trump as the election gets closer.

Rigell also said he would no longer consider himself a Republican if the party becomes identified with Trump and his policies.

The move comes after Republican Rep. Richard Hanna of New York endorsed Hillary Clinton on Tuesday. Both Hanna and Rigell are retiring at the end of their terms.

Hillary Clinton and the Democrats Won the Conventions

Elections may not be won in the summer, but one candidate can gain a lead that makes a win much more likely. That's Hillary Clinton across the board.

On July 17, the day before the Republican National Convention began, Clinton led Republican Donald Trump by about 3 points in the Real Clear Politics General Election Polling Average — 43.8% to 40.6%. On Friday, August 5, her lead was almost 7 points in the average — 47.3% to 40.5%
There are other measures. On July 17, the 538 Election Forecast said there was a 65% chance Clinton would win in November and a 34.9% chance Trump would win. On August 5, the numbers were Clinton 81% and Trump 19%. PredictWise had the odds at 70% Clinton and 30%Trump on July 17 and at 77% Clinton and 23% Trump on August 5. The movement was uniform.
On top of that, days after the conventions, the Trump campaign fired a strategist who helped organize the Republican convention. Those numbers and actions show there was one big winner out of the conventions: the Democratic nominee.

College Educated White Voters Are a Big Problem for Trump


This week's NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows that Hillary Clinton now has a 7-point edge over Donald Trump among college-educated white voters (47%-40%). The July NBC/WSJ poll showed that Clinton had only a 1-point edge over Trump with those voters (43%-42%).
And that growing edge is echoed in other polls. This week's CNN/ORC poll showed her edge was 10 points with college-educated whites. A poll just after the GOP convention showed her lead with those voters was only 4 points.
Considering Trump's very poor numbers with minority voters, his slide among college-educated whites suggests a road to a rough November.

The 2016 Urban/Rural Divide in the Electorate is Growing


While polls show a pretty uniform slide in the polls for Trump, there are some signs that he remains strong rural locales.
An analysis of the latest NBC/WSJ poll by the American Communities Project finds that while Clinton has grown her advantage over Trump in dense urban suburb counties mostly around big cities. She led him by 20 points in those places in the post-convention poll (53%-33%). Before the conventions her edge was 15 points (50%-35%). The suburbs are increasingly Hillary-land.
But in rural counties, Trump actually saw bigger margins of support in the last month. He leads Clinton by 28 points in those counties now (55%-27%). Before the conventions he led in those counties by 19 points (55%-36%). Clinton's numbers are down, but Trump is holding steady at 55%. Even after a hard few weeks, there is still a solid Trump country — it's in rural America.

Clinton's Growing Lead is More About Trump Falling


Hillary Clinton grew her edge over Donald Trump in the latest NBC/WSJ poll to 9-point lead from a 5-point lead. But Clinton's support actually only climbed 1 point to 47% from 46% before the convention.
Her real gain came from Trump's slide. He fell three points to 38% to 41%.
In other words, Trump may have a road back into the 2016 race. The numbers suggest he doesn't have to "flip" Clinton supporters, he just needs to find a way to get his own supporters back.

The Map in November Could Look Different Than Usual


State polls from around the country show a set of surprising states in play. From Georgia, where a new poll Friday showed Clinton leading, to Arizona where Republican Vice Presidential Nominee Mike Pence campaigned this week, to Utah, where Trump is having a hard time gaining traction in a solid Republican state.
Even within states, county-level maps may look different in part because of the unique education-divide on Trump. A Detroit News/WDIV poll in Michigan this week found Clinton leading Trump in conservative western Michigan, home of some highly-educated suburban population centers.
A new poll in Pennsylvania found enormous edges for Clinton in the suburbs around Philadelphia in the southeastern part of the state — 60% to 20% for Trump. But up in the northeast corner of the state, a poll from a Republican firm of the "battleground" county of Luzerne, which President Barack Obama won in 2012, shows Trump with 23-point lead.
The point? 2016 really is shaping up to be different. Rearrange your old ideas of "key demographics" or "key counties" or even "key states," standard rules may not apply.

 Be Sure to Vote, anything can happen.

Amherst Democratic News



Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Trump Takes Cleveland, Really!

Trump did not go away.   There has been one fun night for the GOP in Cleveland so lets look at how we got here.

It has been over six months since Donald Trump rode his surreal Trump Tower escalator down down down to announce he was running for president to a likely hired audience.   Most people assumed it was be a joke and he’d flame out quickly.   Late-night comedians rejoiced.  

 Nobody, least of all the Republican establishment, seemed particularly worried that this was a reality-based campaign.

 Now everybody is pretty worried.   After numerous announcements of his imminent demise as the frontrunner for the GOP nomination, the Donald remains firmly on top of the polls.   Every controversy, every a**hole comment seems to make him stronger.   People are taking him a lot more seriously.   The Huffington Post removed him from the entertainment page and put him back in politics, though comedians and other cultural figures continue to crack wise.   J.K. Rowling has suggested that Voldemort comes out on top compared to Trump, and real-life Voldemort Dick Cheney has said Trump’s call for a ban on Muslim immigrants goes too far. 

  Most of his opponents, except for rising-in-the-polls Ted Cruz and no-longer-relevant Ben Carson, have denounced his extremism. 

Establishment figures like Paul Ryan, Lindsey Graham, Karl Rove, Jeb Bush and party leaders have hastened to express their dismay, though Ryan still says he’d support the blatant Islamophobe if he wins the party nomination.   

The Republican Party, failing to recognize or acknowledge that it might have any part in creating and enabling the rise of the Trump monster, is showing signs of the kind of full-scale freak-out that often accompanies extreme forms of denial.   This probably has more to do with the realization that Trump may really guarantee the party’s loss in the general election rather than any bonafide moral objections to what he says.   The thin-skinned mogul’s tweet that he might just run as an Independent if Republicans are going to be so mean to him only intensified the panic.   

Here are seven examples of a party in chaos and denial since Trump’s announcement Monday.

 1.  Jeb Bush is the frontrunner in freaking out. Still in a state of shock that the nomination he was so sure would be handed to him is not materializing, the feckless Bush is scrambling for an explanation.   On Monday he tweeted, “Donald Trump is unhinged.   His ‘policy’ proposals are not serious,” in response to Trump’s proposed Muslim ban.   But how different are Trump’s ideas from Bush’s?   Just a few weeks ago, Bush suggested a religious test for Syrian refugees and that we only let Christians into the U.S.   Was that a serious policy proposal?   And both of these deep thinkers have similar ideas for how our crackerjack border agents would determine if people were Muslim, Christian or some other religion.   They’d ask, “Are you a Muslim?” Trump thoughtfully explained to an inquiring reporter.   Bush’s apoplexy only increased to fever pitch when Trump tweeted about reconsidering a run as an Independent.   

In a tweet Bush floated the idea that there is a vast Trump/Clinton conspiracy that’s all about handing the White House to Hillary.   “Maybe Donald negotiated a deal with his buddy?@HillaryClinton,” Jeb Bush tweeted.   “Continuing this path will put her in the White House.”   Works like a charm.   When all else fails, float a conspiracy theory involving that evil witch Clinton.   Because that’s what responsible political leaders do. 

 2.   Dick Cheney sees threat to his title of most evil living Republican.   Not so long ago, Dick Cheney’s supremacy as the most evil Republican was unchallenged, except perhaps by Donald Rumsfeld.   And just a few short weeks ago, his anti-Clinton zeal was such that he pledged to support the Republican nominee no matter what, even if it was Mr. Trump, whom many Republicans have accused of being insufficiently conservative.   

But Monday, it looked like Cheney might have to walk that back when he said,  “This whole notion that we can somehow ban all Muslims…goes against everything we stand for and believe in.”    Hmmm, going too far for Cheney, the man who manipulated us into invading Iraq under false pretenses of fictitious weapons of mass destruction, enriching himself and his Halliburton friends in the process, thinks Trump has gone too far.   What a concept.   He did stop short of saying he would withhold support for a candidate Trump in a race against Clinton, or in fact any Democrat.

3.   Karl Rove says Trump won’t be the nominee, and he’s never ever wrong.    Last Summer Karl Rove received warm applause from the American Legion Boys State meeting when he called Donald Trump a “compete idiot” who was “unlikely to break through.”   Prescient.   In return, Trump has called Rove a “totally incompetent jerk,” and a “biased dope,” and it’s hard to disagree with that.

 Obviously, all this name-calling from the top of the party is really having an effect.   The former quintessence of the Republican establishment is devoting as much time as he can to taking Trump down, digging into history to find examples and finding one he thinks works in the 1896 election of William McKinley.   Recently asked by New York magazine why the Republican establishment is having so much trouble taking on Trump, Rove had a bulletproof plan.   “I don’t think the issue is taking on Trump.   The issue is consolidating the parts of the party that are becoming increasingly resistant to Trump.   What we’ve got are a bunch of people crowding each other saying, ‘I’m not him,’ and what will be interesting to watch is to see how they consolidate or if they do consolidate around someone.   My sense is they probably will.”   

On CNN this Sunday, Rove doubled down and recited a long list of reasons why he still thinks Trump will not be the nominee:  highest negative ratings of any 2016 candidate, attacks on Latinos and a disabled reporter, calling all of his competitors “a clown, a loser and a moron.” 

Sticking to his someone else will get it theme, he said, “You can’t win the nomination by saying any body else who’s running against me is a jerk and still win their supporters.”   We’ll see… 

 4.   Paul Ryan, who is very fit, wants to have his cake and eat it too.   It’s okay, he’ll work it off.

 Showing the leadership skills that elevated him to the coveted position of Speaker of the House that no one else would take, Paul Ryan said of Trump’s Muslim ban idea, “This is not conservatism.”   Banning members of one religion from the U.S., he continued is “not what this party stands for.”   Still unclear is why Ben Carson’s statement that a Muslim should not be allowed to be president or Jeb Bush’s suggestion that only Christians be allowed in did not elicit similarly strongly worded condemnations.   About Trump, Ryan continued portentously:  “More importantly, it’s not what this country stands for.”    But there is a limit to what Ryan thinks is unacceptable and un-American.   Asked if he would back Trump if he wins the nomination, Ryan went straight back into party faithful mode, principles be damned.    “I’m going to support whomever the Republican nominee is,” he said.   “I’m going to stand up for what I believe as I do that.” 

 5.   Lindsey Graham says Trump should be forced to emigrate somewhere very warm with no religious test.   The largely irrelevant presidential contender said Monday:  “What has been in the past absurd and hateful has turned dangerous.”    He told the Guardian,  “Donald Trump today took xenophobia and religious bigotry to a new level.”

 Yeah, we were comfortable with his previous level of xenophobia and bigotry, but not now.    Graham does not have a lot to lose, but he was probably proud of himself when he came up with his own Bible-thumping-type zinger.   “If you want to make America great again,” he said, referring to the Donald’s campaign slogan, “tell Donald Trump to go to hell.”   Ooh, burn. 

 6.   Carly Fiorina makes sure to have it both ways.

 Fiorina manages to be hateful even when she is supposedly confronting hate.   “Trump’s over-reaction is as bad as Obama’s under-reaction,” she pronounced ickily.   And no it isn’t.   Trump and Obama’s reactions do not even occupy the same universe. 

 7.   RNC chair Reince Priebus: HEEEEEELP!

 Priebus basically has no idea what to do about the Trump effect.   He just knows it isn’t good for his peeps.   “I don’t agree,”  Priebus said when asked what he thought of Trump’s proposal to ban all Muslims.   “We need to aggressively take on radical Islamic terrorism but not at the expense of our American values.”   Beyond that, like what it means for his party if Trump is the nominee, he’s just in quiet freak-out mode.   “That’s as far as I’m going to go,” he said of his carefully crafted previous statement.   But he is really really excited about next week’s debate!   Republican leaders seem to be dealing with the fact that there might not be a magic bullet to destroy this monster of their own making, who has thus far failed to self-destruct.   And that is scary!

That's 7 examples of how we got to today.

Sponsors of ACVD News

Blog Archive