ON THE RECORD ....

HAPPY HOLIDAYS! -- The editor

“Donald Trump is like that stray dog anybody can pet and it will follow you home. Putin praises him so he loves Putin. It’s embarrassing and sad. He’s a seriously damaged individual who is deeply insecure and needs attention and praise and the source doesn’t matter.” —GOP strategist Stuart Stevens

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"It is time to say enough is enough. It is time to end religious bigotry, it is time to build a nation in which we all stand together...condemn the anti-Muslim rhetoric that we are hearing," -- Senator Bernie Sanders calling Donald Trump'scomments "xenophobic"

“When I stand across from King Hussein of Jordan, I say to him you have a friend sir who will stand with you to fight this fight.” — Gov. Chris Christie, arguing that President Obama is not trusted by world leaders. The only problem is that Hussein has been dead since 1999.

"It is not our business to determine his merits, that is up to US voters, but he is the absolute leader in the presidential race. He is a very outstanding person, talented, without any doubt. He wants to move to another level of relations, a closer, deeper level of relations with Russia,. How can we not welcome this? Of course we welcome this."-- Vladimir Putin about Donald Trump 12/17/15

“Ted Cruz speaks like a traditional powerful, well-versed proud — unabashedly proud — conservative. He is an articulate representative of conservatism and the conservative movement, and he is a happy warrior.” -- Rush Limbaugh lavishing praise on Sen. Ted Cruz. 12/16/15

"Rubio's candidacy is like a village. It looks great, but once you get behind the facade, there's nothing there." -- Jonathan Capehart. 12/18/15

“Stop politicizing and work to ensure that what took place is remedied.” -- Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook, angry that Sanders tried to fundraise off the data breach incident by acting like he was a victim of the Democratic National Committee.

“You know, he feels good about me. I feel, frankly, good about him. I think that we can do things with Russia that are to our advantage… It’s a mutual advantage. Now, they’re jealous as hell because he’s not mentioning these people. He’s not going to mention them, so they’re jealous as hell.” -- Donald Trump said that anyone who criticizes the warm compliments he has swapped with Russian President Vladimir Putin is simply jealous. 12/19/15

‘Nobody has proven that he's killed anyone. ... He's always denied it. It's never been proven that he's killed anybodyYou're supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, at least in our country. It has not been proven that he's killed reporters." [...] “If he has killed reporters, I think that's terrible. But this isn't like somebody that's stood with a gun and he's, you know, taken the blame or he's admitted that he's killed. He's always denied it,” -- Donald Trump on ABC’s “This Week” 12/21/15

"Hell no. Hillary Clinton will not be apologizing to Donald Trump for correctly pointing out how his hateful rhetoric only helps ISIS recruit more terrorists." -- Clinton spokesman Brian Fallon

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““Where did Hillary go? They had to start the debate without her. Phase two. Why? I know where she went. It’s disgusting. I don’t want to talk about it. It’s too disgusting. Don’t say it, it’s disgusting. We want to be very, very straight up.” -- Trump attacking Clinton for taking a bathroom break during the most recent Democratic debate.

"I hate some of these people. I hate 'em,. I would never kill them. I would never do that." -- Trump may hate America's journalists, but as he assured a crowd that he wouldn't kill "such lying disgusting people." 12/22/15

"He (Trump) would not exist were it not for Barack Obama. He is the [antidote] in some people's minds to the politically correct, divisive policies of Barack Obama." -- Jeb!, who seems to be enjoying all the attention he’s getting for attacking Donald Trump, is now trying to drag President Obama into that mess: 12/22/15

 

 

IN THIS ISSUE

FYI

1. The Daily Show w/Trevor Noah: What Are The Actual Facts - Stretching The Truth At The GOP Debate
2. SNL Cold Open: GOP Debate
3. The DAILY GRILL
4. Mark Fiore Cartoon: Trumplandia
5. From MEDIA MATTERS (They watch Fox News so you don't have to)
6. Military Strategist Explains Why Donald Trump Leads—And How He Will Fail
7. Late Night Jokes for Dems
8. SNL: Clinton From '08 Visits Clinton From '15
9. Third of GOP Voters Want to Bomb Fictional Country
10. President Obama's Interview With NPR's Steve Inskeep
11.Donald Trump's tax plan gives the top 0.1 percent $1.3 million each
12. 2015 Lie of the Year: the campaign misstatements of Donald Trump

OPINION

1. Gail Collins: Fear, Loathing and Republican Debaters
2. Washington Post Editorial: For Republicans, bigotry is the new normal
3. E.J. Dionne Jr.: The GOP candidates’ appalling hypocrisy on Christianity, refugees and war
4. Michael Tomasky: Trump’s Big, New, Stalinesque Idea
5. David Ignatius: Obama is a rationalist president in the age of anxiety
6. Jeet Heer: Who Will Stop Republican Islamophobia?
7. Jeff Greenfield: Will the GOP Mount a Third-Party Challenge to Trump?
8. Jesse Berney: Trump's Terrifying Nuke Answer at the Debate Should End His Campaign (But It Won't)
9. Mark E Andersen: Land of the free, home of the fearful
10. Peter Holley and Sarah Larimer: How America’s dying white supremacist movement is seizing on Donald Trump’s appeal
11. Paul Krugman: The Donald and the Decider

   
FYI
 
   

1. The Daily Show w/Trevor Noah: What Are The Actual Facts - Stretching The Truth At The GOP Debate

http://www.cc.com/video-clips/ojwnfo/the-daily-show-with-trevor-noah-what-the-actual-fact----stretching-the-truth-at-the-gop-debate

2. SNL Cold Open: GOP Debate

https://youtu.be/r0Th70moeuc

3. The DAILY GRILL

"No, I have never spoken to the president. That's not accurate, and I never served this administration. I served the previous administration." -- Gen. Jack Keane saying that Fiorina got the facts wrong surrounding his retirement.

VERSUS

"No, I didn't misspeak.” -- GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina apparently still convinced that Gen. Jack Keane retired early because he "told President Obama things that he didn't want to hear."

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“Most muslims are not out confronting the cancer of terrorism.” -- GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum

VERSUS

"I mean, come on, Rick Santorum. You know better, you're a smart guy. You're telling Muslim-Americans they all need to come out and talk about the tiny percentage of their community that has quite frankly wreaked havoc but yet you look at the data of white men with guns wreaking havoc on this country. Why aren't white men all coming froward? Why don't you call on them to do that? I mean, come on." -- "Morning Joe" co-host Mika Brzezinski confronted Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum by asking why he won't address the growing problem of white men committing gun violence in America if he is so worried about terrorism. 12/21/15

 

"We should be using our brilliant people — our most brilliant minds to figure a way that ISIS cannot use the internet. ... I would certainly be open to closing areas where we are at war with somebody. I sure as hell don't want to let people that want to kill us and kill our nation use our internet." -- Donald Trump 12/16/15

VERSUS

The internet is not organized into "areas" that can be switched on and off. The internet was deliberately designed to be a globally integrated network, with everyone on the planet having access to content anywhere in the world — something our "brilliant people" would have told Trump if he'd actually asked any of them. -- VOX 12/16/15

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“The FBI has expanded its investigation of Hillary Clinton’s private email server and is now looking into whether “materially false” statements were given to federal agents, Fox News is reporting.” -- The Daily Caller 11/12/2015

VERSUS

“There is no FBI investigation of Clinton. In fact there never was one. And the FBI has publicly said as much.” -- Bill Palmer in the DailyNewsBin 12/21/15

4. Mark Fiore Cartoon: Trumplandia

https://vimeo.com/149242441

5. From MEDIA MATTERS (They watch Fox News so you don't have to)

Fox Host Andrea Tantaros: Everything Obama "Is Doing Is The Antithesis Of Being Pro-American" http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/12/17/fox-host-everything-obama-is-doing-is-the-antit/207583

Limbaugh: Democrats Support Immigration Reform Because They Need "A Permanent Underclass Of Dependent People Who Are Ill-Educated, Poor," And Don't Speak English http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/12/17/limbaugh-democrats-support-immigration-reform-b/207588

Rush Limbaugh: "If Donald Trump Didn't Exist," The GOP Would "Have To Invent Him" To Win http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/12/17/rush-limbaugh-if-donald-trump-didnt-exist-the-g/207584

O'Reilly: "The Black Lives Matter Crew ... Basically Hate Their Country" http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/12/17/oreilly-the-black-lives-matter-crew-basically-h/207598

O'Reilly Compares Donald Trump To President Obama, saying that Donald Trump's Campaign Is "Exactly The Same" As President Obama's 2008 Campaign http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/12/17/oreilly-compares-donald-trump-to-president-obam/207595

Fox Co-Host Kimberly Guilfoyle Suggests Killing Detainees To Close Gitmo http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/12/18/fox-co-host-suggests-killing-detainees-to-close/207610

Fox & Friends Is Upset That Obama Acknowledged The Unique "Circumstances" Of Being The First Black President http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/12/21/fox-amp-friends-is-upset-that-obama-acknowledge/207627

Media Fixate On Clinton "Video" Remark, Ignore That ISIS Does Reportedly Recruit Using Trump's Islamophobia http://mediamatters.org/research/2015/12/21/media-fixate-on-clinton-video-remark-ignore-tha/207632

CNN Points Out Irony Of Donald Trump Attempting To Fact Check Hillary Clinton: Ryan Lizza: "There Has Never Been A Presidential Candidate Who Has Said More Things That Have Proved To Be False Than Donald Trump" http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/12/21/cnn-points-out-irony-of-donald-trump-attempting/207630

Fox & Friends Is Upset That Obama Acknowledged The Unique "Circumstances" Of Being The First Black President: Peter Johnson Jr.: "He Shouldn't Resort To That. It Divides America"http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/12/21/fox-amp-friends-is-upset-that-obama-acknowledge/207627

Fox Host Andrea Tantaros: Trump's "Masterful" Attack On Clinton's Bathroom Break Makes Her Look Like A "Whiny, Weak Female .. She Looks Very, Very Weak and Victim-Like"http://mediamatters.org/video/2015/12/22/fox-host-trumps-masterful-attack-on-clintons-ba/207657

6. Military Strategist Explains Why Donald Trump Leads—And How He Will Fail

No matter how much you dislike Donald Trump and his effect on the Republican presidential primary race—and there are many, many good reasons to do so—you have to spare a little grudging admiration for the sheer madcap genius of Trump’s ability to disrupt, unsettle, and exploit the primary system.

To better understand what Trump has done successfully, as well as his ultimate limitations as a candidate and why he would be such a terrible president read Dan McLauglin’s December 16th article in the Federalist at http://thefederalist.com/2015/12/16/military-strategist-explains-why-donald-trump-leads-and-how-he-will-fail/

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7. Late Night Jokes for Dems

"Ted Cruz's campaign announced that it's going to launch a national 'prayer team' where people will pray for Cruz to win. Then God said, 'Oh I tuned out of this thing weeks ago.'" –Jimmy Fallon

"The group Anonymous, an international network of computer hackers who attack websites and steal personal information in the name of justice, announced last week that they are going to war with ISIS. As if ISIS didn't already have its hands full, now they have to change all their passwords!" –James Corden

"So far, Anonymous has been responsible for the deletion of over 5,000 ISIS Twitter accounts. That's right. They're hitting ISIS where it hurts the most. Retweets." –James Corden

"After a protestor was assaulted at a Donald Trump rally Trump told reporters, 'Maybe he should have been roughed up because it was absolutely disgusting what he was doing.' And he might have a point, because what the man was doing was attending a Trump rally." –Seth Meyers

"Bernie Sanders recently joined Snapchat. So in case you were wondering, you can get Snapchat on a rotary phone." –Conan O'Brien

"A protester had to be escorted out of a Donald Trump rally for yelling, 'Trump's a racist.' The protester was removed because the Trump campaign has that phrase copyrighted." –Seth Meyers

"Hillary Clinton recently decided to make her Myspace page 'private,' so people can no longer see some of her old campaign ads. When somebody told her she can just delete it, Hillary said, 'I’m not fallin' for that again!'" –Jimmy Fallon

"According to Politico, the new most-searched-for phrase associated with Jeb Bush is 'is Jeb Bush still running for president?' Even worse, it’s the most-searched-for phrase on Jeb Bush’s computer." –Seth Meyers

8. SNL: Clinton From '08 Visits Clinton From '15

http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/a-hillary-christmas/2957157

9. Third of GOP Voters Want to Bomb Fictional Country

A new Public Policy Polling survey finds that 30% of GOP voters favor bombing Agrabah, the fictional country from the animated film Aladdin. 46% also support creating a national database of Muslims in the United States. 12/18/15 Read more at http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/pdf/2015/GOPResults.pdf

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10. President Obama's Interview With NPR's Steve Inskeep

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MNop1dom1m8

11. Donald Trump's tax plan gives the top 0.1 percent $1.3 million each

The plan would reduce federal revenues by $9.5 trillion over its first decade before accounting for added interest costs or considering macroeconomic feedback effects. The plan would improve incentives to work, save, and invest. However, unless it is accompanied by very large spending cuts, it could increase the national debt by nearly 80 percent of gross domestic product by 2036, offsetting some or all of the incentive effects of the tax cuts.

The proposal would cut taxes at every income level, but high-income taxpayers would receive the biggest cuts, both in dollar terms and as a percentage of income. Overall, the plan would cut taxes by an average of about $5,100, or about 7 percent of after-tax income. However, the highest-income 0.1 percent of taxpayers (those with incomes over $3.7 million in 2015 dollars) would experience an average tax cut of more than $1.3 million in 2017, nearly 19 percent of after-tax income. Middle-income households would receive an average tax cut of $2,700, or 4.9 percent of after-tax income. http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/UploadedPDF/2000560-an-analysis-of-donald-trumps-tax-plan.pdf

12. 2015 Lie of the Year: the campaign misstatements of Donald Trump

PolitiFact awarded its annual Lie of the Year award to Donald Trump's "many campaign misstatements," because "it was hard to single one out from the others." Politifact noted that 76 percent of the statements they checked from Trump were "Mostly False, False or Pants on Fire" and "no other politician has as many statements rated so far down" as Trump.

FactCheck.org conferred "for the first time ... the title 'King of Whoppers'" to Donald Trump, stating that "in the 12 years of FactCheck.org's existence, we've never seen his match" when it comes to"political falsehoods."

Wash. Post Fact Checker said that Trump's "Easily Debunked" Lies Far Outpaced "Any Other Candidate['s], earning him more Four-Pinocchio ratings -- the most extreme rating the Post awards falsehoods -- "than any other candidate." The newspaper's fact checker noted that "most politicians drop a claim after it has been fact-checked as false. But Trump is unusual in that he always insists he is right, no matter how little evidence he has for his claim." http://mediamatters.org/research/2015/12/22/the-king-of-whoppers-fact-checkers-call-out-don/207656

   
OPINION
 
   

1. Gail Collins: Fear, Loathing and Republican Debaters

But the real battle [in the Republican presidential debate] was over who could make things sound more dire, or offer solutions more drastic. Trump wants to target the families of terrorists, and he drove home the point by repeating his story about the World Trade Center attackers sending all their loved ones back to the Middle East in advance. (“… they wanted to watch their boyfriends on television.”) The fact that the terrorists had no families or girlfriends in the United States never seems to take the steam out of this argument.

Christie got a Facebook question from a young woman who thought it was a little uncharitable to rule out accepting any refugees, including orphans under the age of 5. “Now listen, I’m a former federal prosecutor. …” he responded. All told, Christie mentioned being a former prosecutor five times during the debate, giving the distinct impression that in the wake of 9/11, he was the only thing standing between New Jersey and oblivion.

His answer to the question was that the 5-year-olds have to stay out: “And it was widows and orphans, by the way, and we now know from watching the San Bernardino attack that women can commit heinous, heinous acts against humanity just the same as men can do it. And so I don’t back away from that position for a minute.”

In summary: Kill the families. Screw the orphans. Carpet-bomb Syria, but in a targeted way. Send Jeb Bush a dollar. On to 2016. 12/17/15 Read more at http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/17/opinion/fear-loathing-and-republican-debaters.html?ref=opinion

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2. Washington Post Editorial: For Republicans, bigotry is the new normal

The GOP’s ideological sands are shifting with whiplash-inducing speed. Just a week after House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) denounced Mr. Trump’s callto bar entry to any Muslim immigrant, Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Ted Cruz (Tex.) both said they could “understand” the impulse behind the patently un-American idea, although each politely disagreed. As for Mr. Trump’s four other main rivals, who flanked him on the stage in Las Vegas, none bothered even to address what surely counts as one of the most incendiary proposals ever made by a candidate seeking a major party’s presidential nomination.

It could be that the candidates quail at contending with the question of banning Muslims because polls suggest that about 60 percent of GOP primary voters like the idea. (A roughly equal proportion of all Americans don’t.) However, lunacy has always had a constituency in this country — plenty of people think the moon landing was a hoax and that the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks were an inside job. A litmus test for presidential candidates is whether they have the spine to speak truth to the fringe. By that standard, most of the current crop of Republican hopefuls fail.

The candidates were no more courageous on the question of admitting Syrian refugees victimized by a dictatorial regime and the Islamic State’s death cult. Despite the fact that neither the San Bernardino, Calif., assailants nor any of the known Paris attackers appears to have been Syrian — most in Paris were French nationals — virtually all the GOP contestants jockeyed to vilify Syrian refugees, with Mr. Trump raising the fact-free specter of “tens of thousands of [refugees] having cellphones with ISIS [Islamic State] flags on them.”

Fear-mongering and raw xenophobia were once the hallmarks of fringe candidates. Today the fringe candidates have stormed center stage, brandishing their zeal and hyperbole and, disturbingly, dragging the mainstream along with them. 12/16/15 Read more at https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/for-republicans-bigotry-is-the-new-normal/2015/12/16/b3a01efe-a435-11e5-ad3f-991ce3374e23_story.html

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3. E.J. Dionne Jr.: The GOP candidates’ appalling hypocrisy on Christianity, refugees and war

It was billed as a foreign policy debate, but Tuesday’s encounter among Republican presidential candidates was in large part an acting competition over who could convey the impression of being the baddest, meanest foe of the terrorists — and of Hillary Clinton and President Obama.

As my Post colleague Janell Ross pointed out, every tool of foreign policy other than force — aid, economics, diplomacy, democracy promotion — got short shrift Tuesday. There was nothing on climate change except for a couple of dismissive asides by Trump and Ohio Gov. John Kasich. By my count, the word “trade” came up six times, but three were references to the World Trade Center. Asia, Africa and Latin America received little attention. But variations on the word “war” were used 54 times.

Perhaps I am influenced by the Christmas season, but there was something genuinely appalling that candidates who so often claim to be devout Christians allocated the bulk of their time to warfare, to throwing people out of our country and to walling them off. There was almost nothing about our obligations to millions around the world who are suffering, from the very wars the candidates were so focused on and from a depth of poverty that is hard for us in rich countries to fathom.

Overall, Republicans are betting that our country is in a warlike mood. I’m skeptical. But even if they’re right, they will have to do better than playing tough guys on TV. 12/16/15 Read more at https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-gop-candidates-appalling-hypocrisy-on-christianity-refugees-and-war/2015/12/16/d342bdc4-a436-11e5-ad3f-991ce3374e23_story.html

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4. Michael Tomasky: Trump’s Big, New, Stalinesque Idea

In a season full of comments we never thought we’d hear during a modern American presidential campaign, this one, spoken at the debate Tuesday night by of course Donald Trump, is arguably the most shocking: “I would be very, very firm with families. Frankly, that will make people think because they may not care much about their lives, but they do care, believe it or not, about their families’ lives.”

It’s not the first time Trump has said it, but it hasn’t gotten the focus it deserves. This idea of punishing or somehow threatening the family members of criminals has a name. It’s called collective punishment. And it has a history, which as you’d imagine is not pretty—think, oh, Stalin, for starters. And finally it has a status in international law. Under the Geneva Conventions, collective punishment is a war crime.

It’s yet another new Trump low, and it raises the specter of a lawless government ditching norms that we’ve (mostly) stood by for decades. And if we ditch them, look out, because others will too. One doubts we will, but the mere fact that the front-runner for the Republican nomination is putting this stuff into the national discourse is horrible enough. And good God, what’s coming next week? 12.17.15 http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/12/17/trump-s-big-new-stalin-esque-idea.html

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5. David Ignatius: Obama is a rationalist president in the age of anxiety

As Obama prepares to begin the last year of his presidency, he stands in an unusual position on the national stage: He is the rationalist, a creature of intellect rather than emotion. Dry as a bone, often disdainful of politics, averse to selling his policies (and also not very good at it), he is sometimes his own worst enemy. But compared with our other recent two-term presidents who stumbled as they neared the finish line, Obama seems to be gaining strength.

Certainly this was a year in which the president delivered on the rationalist’s agenda, against intense emotional opposition. He achieved an Iran nuclear deal that was bitterly opposed by Israel and the GOP; a Trans-Pacific Partnership on trade rejected by much of his own party; a normalization of relations with Cuba that broke a national political taboo; and a climate change agreement that triumphed over a right-wing cult of rejecting scientific evidence.

This was a good year, you might conclude, for fact-based governance. But watching the swelling movement symbolized by Trump, you might think otherwise. It’s a paradox that Obama can have so many successes, and yet be seen by some at home and abroad as weak. 12/18/15 Read more at https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/a-rationalist-president-in-an-age-of-anxiety/2015/12/18/1aec30c4-a4fa-11e5-9c4e-be37f66848bb_story.html

6. Jeet Heer: Who Will Stop Republican Islamophobia?

With the rise and election of Barack Obama, whatever trepidation Republicans elites might have had about Islamophobia disappeared. In the new political circumstances, they were no longer defending a Republican president from fringe figures like Frank Gaffney, but rather seeking to attack a Democratic president with the middle name Hussein using Gaffney-created memes.

As Rosie Gray reported in Buzzfeed earlier this week, “On Monday, four Republican presidential candidates appeared either via video or in person at an event for Gaffney’s group, the Center for Security Policy, ahead of Tuesday’s Republican primary debate here in Las Vegas.” The four candidates were Rick Santorum, Carly Fiorina, Ben Carson, and Senator Ted Cruz. Now seen as a front-runner along with Trump and Rubio, Cruz was particularly effusive in praising Gaffney. “Frank is a patriot, he loves this country and he’s clear eyed about radical Islamic terrorism,” Cruz said.

As Cruz’s words make clear, fringe Islamophobia is now mainstream Republican thought. One big challenge for Democrats in the coming debate and next year’s election is to come up with vigorous language to fight this now virulent Islamophobia. But given the history of Republican Islamophobia, it’s worth asking how effective even the strongest language from the Democrats could be. Perhaps the only way to stem the tide of Islamophobia is for powerful GOP figures like George W. Bush stand up against it. But there is scant evidence that such Republicans are willing to do so. 12/18/15 Read more at https://newrepublic.com/article/126148/will-stop-republican-islamophobia

7. Jeff Greenfield: Will the GOP Mount a Third-Party Challenge to Trump?

Donald Trump may have eased some Republican fears Tuesday night when he declared his intention to stay inside the party. But if their angst has been temporarily eased at the prospect of what he would do if he loses, they still face a far more troubling, and increasingly plausible, question.

What happens to the party if he wins?

With Donald Trump as its standard-bearer, the GOP would suddenly be asked to rally around a candidate who has been called by his once and former primary foes “a cancer on conservatism”, “unhinged” “a drunk driver…helping the enemy.” A prominent conservative national security expert, Max Boot, has labeled him flatly “a fascist.” And the rhetoric is even stronger in private conversations I’ve had recently with Republicans of moderate and conservative stripes.

This is not the usual rhetoric of intra-party battles, the kind of thing that gets resolved in handshakes under the convention banners. These are stake-in-the-ground positions, strongly suggesting that a Trump nomination would create a fissure within the party as deep and indivisible as any in American political history, driven both by ideology and by questions of personal character.

Indeed, it would be a fissure so deep that, if the operatives I talked with are right, a Donald Trump running as a Republican could well face a third-party run—from the Republicans themselves. 12/20/15 Read more at http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/12/donald-trump-2016-third-party-bid-213449#ixzz3utqLPmsz

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8. Jesse Berney: Trump's Terrifying Nuke Answer at the Debate Should End His Campaign (But It Won't)

Trump has said a lot of scary (and racist) things on the campaign trail, from calling undocumented immigrants rapists to saying he'd ban Muslims from the country to urging supporters at his rallies to attack protesters.

But his answer Tuesday night was especially terrifying; it revealed what it means to put an ignorant blowhard with a head full of jagged rocks in charge of enough munitions to blow up the entire world several times over.

The problem isn't simply that Trump doesn't have detailed plans to make sure our nuclear weapons are safely maintained. The problem is that he doesn't understand even the most basic premise of a relatively simple question. He couldn't muster a "I'll make sure we have the most modern, best nuclear arsenal the world has ever seen," because he didn't know what he was being asked.

Imagine handing over the nuclear codes to a man with the comprehension skills of Donald J. Trump. Do you honestly believe he would understand the consequences of using them? Trump is obsessed with tough-guy machismo. How much provocation does he need to press that button?

Trump hasn't walked back any of the racist, ignorant, stupid things he's said over the course of the campaign, and he certainly won't admit to making a mistake last night. But his inability to muster ten remotely sensible words about what he would do as president with the most destructive collection of weapons in the history of mankind should be an automatic disqualifier for the presidency.

This moment should be the beginning of the end for his campaign. Just like all the other moments should have been. 12/16/15 Read more at http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/trumps-terrifying-nuke-answer-at-the-debate-should-end-his-campaign-but-it-wont-20151216#ixzz3utwN0D7S

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9. Mark E Andersen: Land of the free, home of the fearful

Many Americans fear immigrants, they fear religions that are not their own, they fear young black men, and they generally live in a world of fear. It’s impressive that they ever manage to leave their homes.

As President Roosevelt said, the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. Yet here we are, 82 years later—living in fear, and allowing those same fears to control us. Instead of learning about Islam, many Americans have chosen to be fearful of it. Instead of understanding migrant labor, or why people come here from Mexico and Central America, many Americans fear immigrants, even though those immigrants are the people who pick our crops and do many of the jobs that Americans cannot or will not do.

In the aftermath of the Paris terror attacks we saw unprecedented firearms sales during Black Friday, likely due to fears of terrorism in America. This despite the fact that the odds of being a victim of terrorism are about the same as being killed by your television set falling on you.

We have become victims of our own fears, but this is a time when we cannot afford to be afraid. Fear leads to poor policy decisions. Even FDR was a victim of fear when he interned American citizens of Japanese descent during World War II. There was no justification for his actions then, just as there are no justifications for fearing Muslims or immigrants—regardless of where they come from—today.

We are no longer the land of the free and the home of the brave. Today, we are the land of the panicked, and home of the fearful. 12/20/15 Read more at  http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2015/12/20/1460925/-Land-of-the-free-home-of-the-fearful

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10. Peter Holley and Sarah Larimer: How America’s dying white supremacist movement is seizing on Donald Trump’s appeal

Marilyn Mayo, co-director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, said it’s difficult to verify white supremacist claims that Trump is drawing new members into their ranks because their ranks are closely held secrets.

What is verifiable, she said, is the surge in postings on websites such as Stormfront each time Trump makes a controversial statement.

That excitement, she noted, stems from the belief among white supremacists that a front-runner is knowingly championing their agenda by using both explicit and coded language.

“These groups are constantly trying to reach whites that they think would be attracted if they were just inspired enough,” Mayo told The Post. “What it does is allow the mainstreaming of hate.”

“They’re using Trump and his message to bring more people and more money into their fold, and that’s a tremendous concern.” 12/21/15 Read more at https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/12/21/how-donald-trump-is-breathing-life-into-americas-dying-white-supremacist-movement/

11. Paul Krugman: The Donald and the Decider

Almost six months have passed since Donald Trump overtook Jeb Bush inpolls of Republican voters. At the time, most pundits dismissed the Trump phenomenon as a blip, predicting that voters would soon return to more conventional candidates. Instead, however, his lead just kept widening. Even more striking, the triumvirate of trash-talk — Mr. Trump, Ben Carson, and Ted Cruz — now commands the support of roughly 60 percent of the primary electorate.

But how can this be happening? After all, the antiestablishment candidates now dominating the field, aside from being deeply ignorant about policy, have a habit of making false claims, then refusing to acknowledge error. Why don’t Republican voters seem to care?

Well, part of the answer has to be that the party taught them not to care. Bluster and belligerence as substitutes for analysis, disdain for any kind of measured response, dismissal of inconvenient facts reported by the “liberal media” didn’t suddenly arrive on the Republican scene last summer. On the contrary, they have long been key elements of the party brand. So how are voters supposed to know where to draw the line? 12/21/15 Read more at http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/21/opinion/the-donald-and-the-decider.html