One reason Donald Trump gets the attention he does is that he’s Donald Trump. He is already a household name. Becoming one as a presidential candidate takes a lot of money, shoe leather, and time. Bernie Sanders will need all three. The Washington Post explains:

A new Washington Post-ABC News national poll offers a fresh look at Clinton’s and Sanders’s standing among Democrats. The survey finds Clinton is overwhelmingly popular across the Democratic Party, but Sanders is a far-less-familiar pol and is weak among a handful of key voting blocs.

Overall, 82 percent of Democrats have a favorable view of Clinton, while 15 percent are unfavorable (a scant 3 percent have no opinion). Sanders’s favorable rating is 36 percent among Democrats, with even more offering no opinion of him. Nearly a quarter — 23 percent — give Sanders negative marks. That’s notable because, despite being better-known than Clinton, his negatives are eight percentage points higher than Clinton.

I assume the Post meant that to say “less-known than Clinton.”

While strong among liberal Democrats, Sanders is still weak with moderate and conservative Democrats, those without college degrees, and non-whites. A high percentage of those groups have no opinion of Sanders, while Hillary Clinton’s favorables are high, unfavorables are low, and virtually no Democrats have no opinion of her. She’s a household name.

That’s a tough, but not insurmountable hill to climb for a Clinton challenger like Sanders. Some little-known guy named Obama has some experience with that.

(Cross-posted from Hullabaloo.)

Categories : Presidential Race
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Jul
17

Friday Open Thread

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It’s hotter than Heater in Hellmouth. And pretty toasty at Netroots 2015 in Phoenix. What’s happening in the the cool mountain air?

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Jul
16

Beyond the hate

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One story that really struck me in the wake of the Charleston murders and the Confederate flag debate in South Carolina was actually about Kentucky. James W. Loewen, emeritus professor of sociology at the University of Vermont mentioned it on NPR. He explains in his July 1 article for the Washington Post, “Why Do People Believe Myths About The Confederacy? Because Our Textbooks And Monuments Are Wrong.” He writes, “As soon as Confederates laid down their arms, some picked up their pens and began to distort what they had done, and why.” The project to rewrite history began in earnest:

Take Kentucky. Kentucky’s legislature voted not to secede, and early in the war Confederate Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston ventured through the western part of the state and found “no enthusiasm as we imagined and hoped but hostility . . . in Kentucky.” Eventually, 90,000 Kentuckians would fight for the United States, while 35,000 fought for the Confederate States. Nevertheless, according to historian Thomas Clark, the state now has 72 Confederate monuments and only two Union ones.

Neo-Confederates also won western Maryland. In 1913, the United Daughters of the Confederacy put a soldier on a pedestal at the Rockville, Md., courthouse. Montgomery County never seceded, of course. While Maryland did send 24,000 men to the Confederate armed forces, it sent 63,000 to the U.S. Army and Navy. Nevertheless, the Confederate monument tells visitors to take the other side: “To our heroes of Montgomery Co. Maryland / That we through life may not forget to love the Thin Gray Line.”

Pretty stunning stuff. Loewen provides examples of how the “states’ rights” rationalization for secession quickly replaced slavery in Southern memory and in schoolbooks, until people will insist slavery had nothing to do with the “War Between the States” (itself renamed), in spite of plenty of contemporary evidence to the contrary. Then, of course, there is the romance of the “Lost Cause” and the battle flag.

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Jul
15

Kafkaesque harassment

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Annie Kinsella: Who’s for Eva Braun here? Who wants to burn books? Who wants to spit on the Constitution of the United States of America, anybody? Now who’s for the Bill of Rights? Who thinks that freedom is a pretty darn good thing? Who thinks that we have to stand up to the kind of censorship that they had under Stalin?

Always loved that scene. What brings it to mind today?

Washington, D.C. ­– Academy and Pulitzer Prize Award-winning documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras sued the Department of Justice (DOJ) and U.S. transportation security agencies today demanding they release records documenting a six-year period in which she was searched, questioned, and often subjected to hours-long security screenings at U.S. and overseas airports on more than 50 occasions. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is representing Poitras in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security, DOJ, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

“I’m filing this lawsuit because the government uses the U.S. border to bypass the rule of law,” said Poitras. “This simply should not be tolerated in a democracy. I am also filing this suit in support of the countless other less high-profile people who have also been subjected to years of Kafkaesque harassment at the borders. We have a right to know how this system works and why we are targeted.”

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AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka responding to Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s announcement yesterday that he’s running for president:

Scott Walker is a national disgrace.

As CNN reports, Walker told the crowd in Waukesha, “Americans want to vote for something and for someone.” Walker qualifies.

Several outlets noted that Walker’s support for requiring photo identity cards for voting is a big applause line. This from an NBC news political correspondent:

There was more. The Castle Doctrine, drug testing for public assistance recipients, dismantling organized labor, etc. Many of Walker’s applause lines were retreads from the Reagan and George W. Bush administrations. Walker wants to rebuild the economy using the Laffer Curve and Reagan-era tax levels. It was a speech virtually ghostwritten by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) the way the Koch brothers-funded ALEC ghostwrites legislation in states across the country. During each pause, Walker nodded left and right like a bobblehead doll.

Walker campaign staffers were prepared for protesters, but none appeared MSNBC reported, “save for an airplane overhead that carried a sign reading ‘Scott Walker has a Koch problem,’ a reference to his relationship with conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch.”

The thing is, Scott Walker has a Scott Walker problem.

(Cross-posted from Hullabaoo.)

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This is breaking about 4 a.m. EDT.

Greece reaches a deal with creditors after all-night summit:

Euro zone leaders clinched a deal with Greece on Monday to negotiate a third bailout to keep the near-bankrupt country in the euro zone after a whole night of haggling at an emergency summit.

“Euro summit has unanimously reached agreement. All ready to go for ESM programme for Greece with serious reforms and financial support,” European Council President Donald Tusk announced on Twitter, referring to the European Stability Mechanism bailout fund.

However the tough conditions imposed by international lenders led by Germany could bring down Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ leftist government and cause an outcry in Greece. Even before the final terms were known, his labour minister went on state television to denounce the terms.

The deal would create a fund for repaying Greek debt from privatizing unspecified state assets.

Details now trickling out (via the Guardian, 5:34 a.m. EDT):

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Something noticed in watching Donald Trump’s interview with NBC News correspondent Katy Tur the other night: he rarely closes his lips except to make certain consonant sounds.

Perhaps it’s just to signal everyone that he’s not done talking, as if he ever is. According to Donald Trump, he gets the biggest crowds, he gets the most standing ovations, he gets great reviews, he’s made a lot of money, and he has great relations with other countries. Furthermore, we have leaders that don’t know what they’re doing, we have stupid negotiators, he knows how to negotiate, etc. He’s the last competent man in America.

“Trump makes demagoguery his campaign strategy” reads a later headline at All In with Chris Hayes. He’s an oratorical train wreck from which the public and the press cannot look away.

Two polls this week put Trump at the head of the Republican pack, and with a four-point lead over Jeb Bush in North Carolina.

GOP primary voters will love this guy. He can out-bluster Fox talking heads. When Tur cited Pew research data on illegal immigrants, that they commit less crime than others, Trump trumps with “You’re a very naive person” and “You don’t know what you’re talking about.” The Donald is right. The data is wrong. Full speed ahead.

Which was Dana Milbank’s point the other day. “Trump is the Republican Party,” he wrote:

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Jul
12

Sunday Morning Music

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King Midas with his daughter, from A Wonder Book for Boys and Girls by Nathaniel Hawthorne (text author). Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

The troika didn’t take well to Greek voters telling them where they could stick their austerity. Rebels from the country that invented democracy last week seemed poised to jump into their X-wing fighters and … okay this is really going off the rails. Or maybe not.

Creditors counterattacked and tightened their grip. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras now seems ready to accept more austerity with no write-down of his country’s debt, something voters soundly rejected just last Sunday:

“Each one of us shall be confronted with his stature and his history. Between a bad choice and a catastrophic one, we are forced to opt for the first one,” Tsipras said in a speech before his party’s lawmakers, according to local media. “It is as if one asks you for your money or your life.”

It’s just slightly less than Bond-villianish. The Washington Post reports that the deal includes “phasing out a subsidy for poor pensioners and privatizing sprawling state industries.” The voters have spoken and were ignored.

At the Guardian, George Monbiot examines how the financial powers have built a colonial empire that essentially renders democracy moot. (Throughout, I’m citing the referenced version of this piece from Monbiot’s blog.):

Consider the International Monetary Fund. The distribution of power here was perfectly stitched up: IMF decisions require an 85% majority, and the US holds 17% of the votes. It’s controlled by the rich, and governs the poor on their behalf. It’s now doing to Greece what it has done to one poor nation after another, from Argentina to Zambia. Its structural adjustment programmes have forced scores of elected governments to dismantle public spending, destroying health, education and the other means by which the wretched of the earth might improve their lives.

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Jul
10

“This is our Selma!”

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On Monday at 8 a.m. EDT, the North Carolina NAACP chapter takes NC Gov. Pat McCrory and the cheerfully nicknamed VIVA voter suppression act to court:

On July 13, a federal court in Winston-Salem will hear North Carolina NAACP v. McCrory, our lawsuit to reverse North Carolina’s unconstitutional and immoral voter suppression law. North Carolina’s law is the first and the worst since the 2013 Shelby v. Holder decision that gutted the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Our voting rights, gained because people stood up despite great consequences in Selma and across the South, have been compromised. Now we must march!

The outcome of this historic case in North Carolina will have an impact on voting rights across the nation. This is a battle for voting rights for all of us. We will not surrender the most fundamental right of a democracy: the right to vote. 
 Just like in Selma, we must march!

Join us in Winston-Salem on July 13 at 5:00 p.m. for a Mass Moral Monday March for Voting Rights.  

This is Our Selma!

Activists believe Winston-Salem was chosen as the venue for hearing the case because its small size. Few observers will get inside and no audio or video feed will be available. The NAACP will nonetheless hold a press conference at 8 a.m. at the courthouse, plus other events during the day, prior to the planned march led by Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, president of the North Carolina NAACP and leader of the weekly Moral Monday marches.

Republicans in the legislature appear nervous about the case. After hundreds of citizens spoke against the law at State Board of Elections forums held across the state, the legislature amended the law to loosen the ID requirements just weeks ahead of the July hearing. Think Progress:

[V]oters who lack the an ID will still be able to cast a ballot, but only if they sign an affidavit swearing they fall into one of the acceptable categories of reasons they couldn’t obtain a government photo ID: a lack of transportation, disability or illness, lost or stolen photo ID, a lack of a birth certificate or other documents to obtain a photo ID, work schedules or family responsibilities. The voter would also need to present an “alternate form of identification,” the last four digits of their Social Security number, and their date of birth.

That is, they swapped out some of the barricades against voting for hoops.

Yet the voter ID provision — which does not allow for the use of student IDs — is just one piece of the sweeping voting law overhaul that the state passed just weeks after the Supreme Court struck down a cornerstone of the Voting Rights Act. The law also eliminated same-day voter registration, cut a full week of early voting, barred voters from casting a ballot outside their home precinct, ended straight-ticket voting, and scrapped a program to pre-register high school students who would turn 18 by Election Day.

University of California law professor Richard Hasen, of Election Law Blog, described the law in 2013, saying:

It rolls into a single piece of legislation just about all of the tools we’ve seen legislatures use in recent years to try to make it harder for people to register and vote.

On Monday, we’ll see if we can’t roll it back.

(Cross-posted from Hullabaloo.)

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