ON THE RECORD. . .

"Either they want to get behind the presumptive nominee who will be the nominee of this party and make sure that we do everything we can to win in November or we're just asking them if they can't do that, then just shut the hell up. That's what we're asking them to do." -- Trump campaign co-chair Sam Clovis. 6/16/16

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“I think the tailspin could be really bad — historic proportions bad. I think it’ll be a historically bad loss. I’ve said that from the very beginning.” — Former White House press secretary Tony Fratto on the impact of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign on the Republican party. 6/16/16

"Hillary’s negative ratings are the result of a billionaire-funded conservative effort to destroy her image. Trump, on the other hand, is despised by millions of people because his behavior is unquestionably despicable." -- Peter Daou5/23/16

“It’s a fantasy. Romney got 19 percent of nonwhites. Is Trump going to do better? I don’t think so. It’s a joke. It’s just talking. It has no grounding in reality.” — Romney strategist Stuart Stevens on Donald Trump’s chances. 6/19/16 

“Bless his heart. Donald Trump is the gift that keeps giving to us.” — Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). 6/19/16

"Now Trump University failed, and that's no surprise. Think about all the other Trump failures. Trump casinos. Trump Airlines. Trump steaks. Trump magazines. Trump vodka. Trump Mortgage. Trump Games. Trump Travel. Trump Ice. Trump Network. Donald Trump is a proven businessman — a proven failure." --Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) continuing her attacks on Donald Trump, calling him a "thin-skinned, racist bully."

“In May alone Trump spent nearly $350,000 on private jets owned by Trump's TAG Air, over $423,000 on rental and catering at his Mar-a-Lago club, and $4,000 on his son's wine company. All told, Trump ran up over a million dollars (nearly 20% of the money spent) just at Trump companies or reimbursing family members' travel expenses last month.-- The Week 6/21/16

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"She appreciates that it is essential to maintain our strong military advantage, but that force must only be used as a last resort. I believe Hillary Clinton has the wisdom and experience to lead our country at this critical time." --Statement by Brent Scowcroft, a security adviser to former Presidents Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush. 6/221/6

"It doesn’t appear that I’m going to be the nominee." -- Bernie Sanders 6/22/16


IN THIS ISSUE

FYI

1. GOP Approval Sinks to New Low
2. Primary Voting Problems Have Advocates Concerned About November Elections 
3. The DAILY GRILL
4. From MEDIA MATTERS (They watch Fox News so you don't have to)
5. Late Night Jokes for Dems
6. From the Late Shows
7. Political Ads/Statements
8. Trump’s Campaign Is Cratering
9. Can Clinton Do to Trump What Obama Did to Romney?
10. Clinton Begins Battleground Ad Blitz
11. Donald Trump Accused of Using His Charity as a Political Slush Fund
12. Donald Trump’s campaign manager is out. Here are the brutal numbers that tell us why
13. A Year Of Donald Trump
14. Every two days, a suspected terrorist buys a gun in the U.S.
15. Republicans Should Worry About Losing the House
16. “Thoughts and Prayers,” a cartoon by MarkFiore 
17. Andy Borowitz: Cash-strapped Trump Campaign Auctions Chris Christie On Ebay
18. 7 Of The Biggest Fibs In Trump’s Speech Attacking 'World-Class Liar' Clinton

OPINION

1. Nicholas Kristof: Some Extremists Fire Guns and Other Extremists Promote Guns
2. Benjamin Wallace-Wells: Trump’s Unrecognizable America
3. John Avlon: Trump’s Campaign Con Collapses. Sad! 
4. NY Times Editorial: How Donald Trump Tends His Media Blacklist
5. Gail Collins: A Pistol for Every Bar Stool
6. WA Post Editorial: The N.R.A.’s Complicity in Terrorism
7. Paul Krugman: A Tale of Two Parties
8. Jonathan Capehart: Bernie Sanders is asking the DNC for something it has no power to do
9. Madeleine Albright: Turning Refugees Into Enemies Is Self-Defeating
10. Eugene Robinson: Trump's Relentless Assault on the Truth
11. Andrew Prokop: Trump's first month as presumptive Republican nominee has been an epic disaster
12. Karoli Kuns: I Was One of the Most Ardent Hillary Haters on the Planet…Until I Read Her Emails
13. Suzanne Nossel: How Hillary Clinton went from loser to winner
14. Maureen Dowd: Trump in the Dumps
15. Bob Garfield: We’ve Lost
16. Dan Balz: November is fast becoming what the GOP fears: A referendum on Trump
17. NY Times Editorial: Mr. Ryan’s Plan to Revert, Regress and Deregulate
18. Howard Dean: How Clinton can redraw the map
19. Jonathan Chait: Today in ‘Donald Trump’s Campaign Is a Garbage Fire’

FYI  

1. GOP Approval Sinks to New Low

A new Bloomberg poll finds just 32% of Americans view the Republican Party favorably, the lowest level recorded since the poll’s inception. The Democratic Party, by contrast, is seen favorably by 49%.6/15/16 Read more at http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2016-06-15/national-poll-part-2?wpmm=1&wpisrc=nl_daily202

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2. Primary Voting Problems Have Advocates Concerned About November Elections

Problems with mail-in ballots in California.Overcrowded polling places in Arizona. Missing names on the voter rolls in New York.

Those are just some of the problems that Democratic and Republican primary voters faced over the last few months, leaving voting rights advocates concerned about the November elections, where turnout will be dramatically higher.

“We are at a crossroads in our democracy. This is a moment that really requires that states and elected officials to explore ways to make voting easier,” said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.

There’s no single fix to the problems, since each state runs elections in its own way. But advocates have found issues with malfunctioning voting machines, too few polling places and election workers misunderstanding state laws.

The most restrictive laws have been passed in states that are GOP-controlled and the second trend is related to race, Brater said. Brater said seven of the 11 states that had the highest African-American turnout in 2008 have new voting restrictions in place. Eight of the 12 states that have seen the largest Hispanic population growth between the years 2000 and 2010 also have new restrictions.

Still, he sees some signs of progress on voter registration. In March 2015, Oregon implemented automatic voter registration, in which eligible voters with driver’s licenses are automatically registered to vote unless they opt out. Within three months of automatic voter registration being put in place, more than 34,000 new voters were being added to the rolls. 6/15/16 Read more at http://time.com/4370479/voting-rights-problems-primary-general-election/

3. The DAILY GRILL

In his presidential disclosure Trump valued the Trump National Golf Club Westchester, located roughly 33 miles north of Trump Tower in Manhattan, and its 50,000 square foot, $20 million clubhouse at more than $50 million. --David Cay Johnston 5/24/16

VERSUS

In tax documents Trump valued the same property at just $1.35 million." -- The Daily Beast 5/24/16

 

"Barack Obama is directly responsible for it (Orlando), because when he pulled everybody out of Iraq, al-Qaida went to Syria, became ISIS, and ISIS is what it is today thanks to Barack Obama's failures, utter failures, by pulling everybody out of Iraq. So the responsibility for it lies with President Barack Obama and his failed policies." -- Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)

VERSUS

I misspoke. I did not mean to imply that the President was personally responsible. -- John McCain ✔@SenJohnMcCain

 

“We’re going to try and raise over a billion dollars which is what’s going to be necessary.” —Donald Trump, quoted by Reuters on May 4, 2016.

VERSUS

“I’m not looking to spend $1 billion.” — Trump, in a June 21st interview on Fox News.

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

It’s Not Just Trump Fans; His Media Supporters Also Call Clinton A “Bitch” http://mediamatters.org/blog/2016/06/16/it-s-not-just-trump-fans-his-media-supporters-also-call-clinton-bitch/210998

Bill O'Reilly: "I Just Want To Slap" Congressman James Clyburn For Focusing On Gun Safety After Orlando http://mediamatters.org/video/2016/06/16/bill-oreilly-i-just-want-slap-congressman-james-clyburn-focusing-gun-safety-after-orlando/210995

Fox & Friends Hypes "Conspiracy" That That Google Is Manipulating Searches To "Bury The Bad Stuff" On Clinton http://mediamatters.org/video/2016/06/16/fox-friends-hypes-conspiracy-google-manipulating-searches-bury-bad-stuff-clinton/210990

Limbaugh Conspiracy: Obama Will Use Situations Like Orlando To "Take Control Of The Internet" http://mediamatters.org/video/2016/06/17/limbaugh-conspiracy-obama-will-use-situations-orlando-take-control-internet/211023

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Fox's Greg Gutfeld: "It's Homophobic" To Not Allow Guns In Bars - To Think A Gay Club That Serves Alcohol Can't Have People In There With Guns" http://mediamatters.org/video/2016/06/17/foxs-greg-gutfeld-its-homophobic-not-allow-guns-bars/211028

Sean Hannity Threatens Paul Ryan: “It’s Time To Get A New Speaker” If You Won’t Support Trump http://mediamatters.org/video/2016/06/17/sean-hannity-threatens-paul-ryan-it-s-time-get-new-speaker-if-you-won-t-support-trump/211026

Wash. Post Reporter Robert Costa: Trump Surrounds Himself With Conspiracy Theorists Like Ed Klein, Roger Stone, And Alex Jones http://mediamatters.org/video/2016/06/20/wash-post-reporter-robert-costa-trump-surrounds-himself-conspiracy-theorists-ed-klein-roger-stone/211047

Reporters React To Trump’s Clinton Cash Citations By Noting "Widely Discredited" Book's Factual Problems http://mediamatters.org/research/2016/06/22/reporters-react-trump-s-clinton-cash-citations-noting-widely-discredited-books-factual-problems/211118

Politifact’s Angie Holan Dissects and Dismantles Three Trump Lies In Three Minutes http://mediamatters.org/video/2016/06/22/watch-politifact-s-angie-holan-dissect-and-dismantle-three-trump-lies-three-minutes/211114

MSNBC's Katy Tur Fact Checks Trump's Dubious Claims In His Anti-Clinton Speech http://mediamatters.org/video/2016/06/22/msnbcs-katy-tur-fact-checks-trumps-dubious-claims-his-anti-clinton-speech/211104

Trump’s Benghazi Lies Came From Fox News http://mediamatters.org/blog/2016/06/22/trump-s-benghazi-lies-came-fox-news/211105

On CNN, David Gergen Calls Trump’s Speech “Slanderous” http://mediamatters.org/video/2016/06/22/cnn-david-gergen-calls-trump-s-speech-slanderous/211102

5. Late Night Jokes for Dems

"According to a political science professor, all of Donald Trump's speeches are given at a fifth-grade level or below. Today Trump said the professor who did the study was a doody head." –Jimmy Fallon

"Bernie Sanders is still upset because he says his fundraising dinners didn't raise as much money as Hillary Clinton's. Well, of course they didn't. Nobody wants to eat dinner at 4:00 in the afternoon." –Jimmy Fallon

"Former Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain said in a speech today that he feels Donald Trump is not a racist. Said Trump, 'Thank you, Ben Carson.'" –Seth Meyers

"While they were in the DNC cyber matrix, the Russians apparently stole opposition research on Donald Trump. Russia, what are you doing? If you want damaging information about Donald Trump, just wait for him to talk." –Stephen Colbert

"In a speech, Donald Trump said thousands of people in the United States are 'sick with hate.' Then Trump said, "I’d like to thank them for their support.'" –Conan O'Brien

"Donald Trump has called for a ban on all immigration to the United States. Of course, Trump said the ban would be lifted if he ever needs a new wife." –Conan O'Brien

"Bernie Sanders is set to meet with Hillary Clinton this evening. Bernie said the meeting will give Hillary one last opportunity to bow out gracefully." –Conan O'Brien

"President gave a speech this afternoon in which he angrily called out Republicans for being too obsessed with his refusal to use the term 'radical Islam' — or as Fox News reported it, 'Angry Black Man Spotted Talking About Radical Islam Near Capitol Building.'" –James Corden

"The president has a lot going on as he wraps up his term in office, including the construction of his presidential library in Chicago. It will be a place devoted entirely to Obama and his achievements — or as that’s also known, MSNBC." –Jimmy Fallon

"Hillary Clinton said yesterday that she would like to see the FBI investigation of her emails wrapped up. Hillary then said, 'Or deleted, whatever is easiest.'" –Conan O'Brien

"After his meeting at the White House, Bernie Sanders said he's going to do everything he can to 'make sure that Donald Trump does not become president of the United States.' Bernie said, 'I'm even willing to make Hillary my vice president.'" –Conan O'Brien

"Bernie Sanders met with President Obama at the White House today to discuss the status of the Democratic race. Though I'm not sure Bernie is getting the hint because he arrived at the meeting in a U-Haul." –Seth Meyers

"A Virginia man recently found an outline of what looks like Donald Trump in one of his bathroom tiles. Of course, at one point or another we've all found something in our bathroom that looks like Donald Trump." –Seth Meyers

6. From the Late Shows

Revisited: Seth Meyers Slams Donald Trump At 2011 White House Correspondents' Dinner!

https://youtu.be/Mv4MzaGk2VI

Daily Show with Trevor Noah: senate-democrats-filibuster-for-gun-control

http://www.cc.com/video-clips/pbmjci/the-daily-show-with-trevor-noah-senate-democrats-filibuster-for-gun-control

Inside Amy Schumer - The Gun Show

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W8gs3_Byfoo

Stephen Colbert Takes The Gloves Off: Gun Control

https://youtu.be/buFbk5fQCRc

7. Political Ads/Statements

Hillary Clinton: Always

https://youtu.be/ZiS-WGv8Dps

Trump Has Tiny Hands PAC: Release The Measurements"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5LhNjWoBZck

Sen. Elizabeth Warren at the Clinton campaign headquarters

https://amp.twimg.com/v/42320e9b-faa0-4f6a-b43f-93e54569c9e3

8. Trump’s Campaign Is Cratering

Not only are Trump’s poll numbers slipping, they are at a low that no one, Republican or Democrat, has seen in the past three election cycles. Looking at the window of time between 200 and 100 days before each of those elections, you can see that Trump has consistently polled worse than George W. Bush in 2004, John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012. He caught up briefly after clinching the GOP nomination — and then sank again.”

“There’s every reason to think that those numbers will get worse. . Trump essentially has no campaign at this point; there’s no sign that he has started staffing up significantly.” 6/19/16 Read more at https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/06/19/the-brutal-numbers-behind-a-very-bad-month-for-donald-trump/?postshare=2911466343534988&tid=ss_tw

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9. Can Clinton Do to Trump What Obama Did to Romney?

In post mortems of the 2012 presidential race, President Obama’s team gave much credit for their victory to early ad campaigns portraying Mitt Romney as an uncaring, out-of-touch rich guy.

Said David Axelrod to the Harvard Political Review in 2013: “We defined the race and Gov. Romney before the conventions. And he was digging out of that hole for the remaining two months.”

“Now, there’s talk in the political world that Hillary Clinton and Democratic strategists are trying to do the same thing to Donald Trump — to define him, and the race, before the conventions and put him in a hole he can’t dig out of. Democrats are running millions of dollars in ads portraying Trump as dangerously unfit for the office of president.” 6/16/16 Read more at http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/byron-york-can-clinton-do-to-trump-what-obama-did-to-romney/article/2594052?platform=hootsuite

10. Clinton Begins Battleground Ad Blitz

“Don’t be surprised if the positive spots run more often than the anti-Trump contrast ad. Why? Because the Clinton camp probably realizes it needs to work on Hillary’s favorable numbers, especially since Trump’s unfavorable ratings are about as low as they can go. More than anything else, the ad blitz demonstrates Clinton’s financial superiority right now. How long will she have the battleground-state airwaves to herself? Remember, the pro-Clinton Super PAC is already on the air in these states. But where’s the Trump/GOP cavalry?” 6/16/16 Read more at http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/2016-election/first-read-clinton-begins-battleground-ad-blitz-n593566

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11. Donald Trump Accused of Using His Charity as a Political Slush Fund

When the presumptive GOP nominee doled out money to veterans’ groups over the past few months, he did so using the Trump Foundation—which, according to FEC and IRS rules, should not be engaged in political activity.

The Trump Foundation, Donald Trump’s nonprofit organization, is under fire for allegedly operating as more of a political slush fund than a charity. The foundation is accused of violating rules prohibiting it from engaging in politics—prompting ethics watchdogs to call for public investigations.

In key early primary states this year, Trump handed out Foundation checks to charities at campaign rallies. This also calls into question “whether the foundation provided the campaign with an illegal in-kind contribution by providing services for what was a campaign event. Under the campaign finance laws… providing anything of value to a campaign for free or at less than fair market value is a contribution to the campaign,” said Larry Noble, the general counsel at the Campaign Legal Center.

And in 2013, the Trump Foundation donated $25,000 to a political organization supporting Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi—an action the foundation is prohibited from taking, and which it failed to report on its disclosures.

The Trump campaign blamed this failure on clerical mistakes, but legal experts are sounding the alarm because at the time Bondi was reviewing complaints surrounding the businessman’s controversial Trump University project. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/06/16/donald-trump-accused-of-using-his-charity-as-a-political-slush-fund.html

12. Donald Trump’s campaign manager is out. Here are the brutal numbers that tell us why.

Not only are Trump's poll numbers slipping, they are at a low that no one, Republican or Democrat, has seen in the past three election cycles. Looking at the window of time between 200 and 100 days before each of those elections, you can see that Trump has consistently polled worse than George W. Bush in 2004, John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012. He caught up briefly after clinching the GOP nomination — and then sank again. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/06/19/the-brutal-numbers-behind-a-very-bad-month-for-donald-trump/?wpisrc=nl_most-draw5&wpmm=1

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13. A Year Of Donald Trump

A video by FiveThirtyEight at http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/a-year-of-donald-trump/

14. Every two days, a suspected terrorist buys a gun in the U.S.

Last year alone, people on the terrorist watch list attempted to purchase guns 244 times. Of those, 223 attempts were successful. 6/17/16 Read more at https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2016/06/17/every-two-days-a-suspected-terrorist-buys-a-gun-in-the-u-s/?wpisrc=nl_wonk&wpmm=1

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15. Republicans Should Worry About Losing the House

Republicans accept the conventional wisdom that Hillary Clinton is favored to win the presidency, and they know that her election would probably end their majority in the Senate. But in a year that has upended political expectations, they have clung to one comforting assumption: Their hold on the House is secure.

But Clinton’s lead in the polls is widening to the point that Republicans need to set aside their complacency. Split-ticket voting has declined over the last generation. If Clinton wins big — because Republican voters stay home, or swing voters choose her party, or both — House Republicans will struggle to win re-election. 6/17/16 Read more at http://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-06-17/republicans-should-worry-about-losing-the-house

16. “Thoughts and Prayers,” a cartoon by MarkFiore

https://vimeo.com/170905810

17. Andy Borowitz: Cash-strapped Trump Campaign Auctions Chris Christie On Ebay

In what some are calling a sign of its desperation to raise cash, the Presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump is auctioning off New Jersey Governor Chris Christie on the popular e-commerce site eBay, campaign officials have confirmed.

Christie, who is described on the site as being in slightly used but good condition, is believed to be the first sitting governor to ever be auctioned on the Internet.

According to the description of Christie on eBay, the governor can perform a full range of escort duties and has “extensive experience in chauffeuring, door-opening, umbrella-holding, reflexive clapping, and soothing end-of-the-day foot massages.”

Speaking at Trump Tower in Manhattan, the presumptive Republican nominee said that he was still considering financing his general-election campaign himself, but he added, “First I wanted to see what I could get for Chris.” Read more at http://www.newyorker.com/humor/borowitz-report/

18. 7 Of The Biggest Fibs In Trump’s Speech Attacking 'World-Class Liar' Clinton

Donald Trump laid out his line of attack against Hillary Clinton in a Wednesday speech, criticizing her failure to keep America “safe” as secretary of state and charging that she profited off global trade deals that hurt American workers.

The real estate mogul painted Clinton as a "world-class liar," yet many of the specifics in both his prepared and off-the-cuff remarks either stretched the truth or were just flat-out untrue. TPM catalogued some of the most blatantly false statements below:

1. The U.S. has the highest tax rate in the world

2. Clinton has no plan to screen millions of new Syrian refugees

3. Hundreds of recent immigrants have been convicted of terror charges

4. Trump was one of the first to criticize the Iraq War

5. Clinton slept through a 3 a.m. phone call the night of the Benghazi attacks

6. U.S. trade deficit with China soared during Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state

7. Clinton accepted $58,000 in jewelry from the leaders of Brunei Details at http://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/fact-check-trump-speech-clinton

For more about Trump’s of inaccurate and misleading statements see http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/23/us/politics/donald-trump-speech-highlights.html

OPINION  

1. Nicholas Kristof: Some Extremists Fire Guns and Other Extremists Promote Guns

It’s staggering that Congress doesn’t see a problem with allowing people on terror watch lists to buy guns: In each of the last three years, more than 200 people on the terror watch list have been allowed to purchase guns. We empower ISIS when we permit acolytes like the Orlando killer, investigated repeatedly as a terrorist threat, to buy a Sig Sauer MCX and a Glock 17 handgun on consecutive days.

A great majority of Muslims are peaceful, and it’s unfair to blame Islam for terrorist attacks like the one in Orlando. But it is important to hold accountable Gulf states like Saudi Arabia that are wellsprings of religious zealotry, intolerance and fanaticism. We should also hold accountable our own political figures who exploit tragic events to sow bigotry. And, yes, that means Donald Trump.

When Trump scapegoats Muslims, that also damages our own security by bolstering the us-versus-them narrative of ISIS. The lesson of history is that extremists on one side invariably empower extremists on the other.

So by all means, Muslims around the world should stand up to their fanatics sowing hatred and intolerance — and we Americans should stand up to our own extremist doing just the same. 6/16/16 Read more at http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/16/opinion/some-extremists-fire-guns-and-other-extremists-promote-guns.html?ref=opinion&_r=0

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2. Benjamin Wallace-Wells: Trump’s Unrecognizable America

“Us versus them” has been Trump’s theme since the beginning of his candidacy. But the more often he applies it, the more slippery and opportunistic those categories seem. A week ago, in his attack on Judge Gonzalo Curiel, Trump suggested that Hispanic-Americans might have divided loyalties. In Orlando, most of the dead were Hispanic-Americans, and so he pledged to protect “all Americans within our borders. Wherever they come from, wherever they were born, I don’t care.” Hispanics, formerly “them,” were all of a sudden “us.” Trump moved quickly toward a different “them,” Muslims, the people who “know what’s going on.” That same day, he suggested that Barack Obama’s own loyalties might be divided and that the President might have known about the attack in advance. (“He doesn’t get it, or he gets it better than anybody understands,” Trump said.) Echoing the candidate, Trump’s ally Roger Stone claimed that Huma Abedin, the vice-chair of Hillary Clinton’s campaign, could be a “Saudi spy” or “terrorist agent.”

In Trump’s speeches, lines of ethnic strife are always present but forever being rearranged—suddenly drawn, then erased, and then drawn again. The pattern shows an intellectual habit of Trump’s—ethnic essentialism, in which individuals are blurred out in favor of the groups to which they belong. Not Muslim-Americans, but “the Muslims.” Not African-Americans, but “the blacks.” (2011: “I’ve always had a great relationship with the blacks.”) This talk is something of a relic of the New York of the nineteen-eighties, from which Trump himself emerged, suffused with ethnic competition and fear. It was Trump’s sensibility as a real-estate executive of that era, whose managers marked “C” for colored on rental applications. These views incline a business executive and those around him to acts of discrimination and bias. They have an additional effect in a politician trying to make sense of human events: they nudge him toward seeing the entire group as responsible, and blind him to the individual. 6/15/16 Read more at http://www.newyorker.com/news/benjamin-wallace-wells/trumps-unrecognizable-america

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3. John Avlon: Trump’s Campaign Con Collapses. Sad!

If you want to find the truth in politics, follow the money. And the Trump campaign’s latest Federal Election Commission filing shows why the self-proclaimed billionaire and conservative populist deserves to be known as Con Man Donald. 

The celebrity demagogue who delights in telling crowds that he is “very, very rich” is presiding over a Ponzi‑scheme‑like presidential campaign that — even as it has paid his own businesses millions of dollars — has just $1.3 million cash in hand. 

If this were a business, it would be going bankrupt. Instead it’s a presidential campaign whose moral bankruptcy is on the verge of actual bankruptcy. 

To put it in terms Con Man Donald might understand: Size matters.

All the spin of a celebrity demagogue can't eclipse the fact that the thicket of 22 businesses that he has paid through his campaign are evidence of a Potemkin marketing empire that exists to fund his lifestyle while avoiding as many taxes as possible in the process. 

Old habits die hard and based on the filing and its payments to Trump Ice and other afterthought entities, my guess is that when and if Con Man Donald ever releases his taxeswe’ll see the true meaning of what his fellow 1980s real estate celebutante, Leona Helmsley, used to say: “Only the little people pay taxes.”

The final evidence of the ugly truth underneath Con Man Donald’s campaign is this: much of the money that Trump has bragged about pouring into his campaign is a loan. It will be reimbursed by donors and U.S. taxpayers if Trump accepts matching funds, which looks like a financial necessity after months of unforced organizational errors and the RNC taking in a pathetic $11 million in May, after Toxic Trump won the nomination.

That's right America; you're going to pay for Con Man Donald's presidential dreams, one way or the other. 6.21.16 http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/06/21/con-man-donald-and-the-trumpster-fire-financial-report.html

4. NY Times Editorial: How Donald Trump Tends His Media Blacklist

Few public figures have more avidly tended their relationships with the media than Donald Trump. For four decades he has courted the press to promote himself and his enterprises. Yet when the coverage doesn’t go his way, he can retaliate with lawsuits and childish fits of pique.

Mr. Trump’s annoyance with the press is not without precedent. Presidents have often sparred with the press, some have found ways to retaliate, and all seek in one way or another to control the political story line or duck cross-examination. Hillary Clinton, Mr. Trump’s likely Democratic opponent, has not held a news conference in months.

Yet the sheer breadth and recklessness of Mr. Trump’s attacks reveal dark impulses that would not bode well for First Amendment freedoms in a Trump presidency. If elected, Mr. Trump vows to “open up” American libel laws, making it easier to sue reporters — a weapon of intimidation he deploys liberally in business. He requires campaign staff members to sign nondisclosure agreements; in government, these could be used to go after federal whistle-blowers and any reporters they contact.

Indeed, the very idea of the press as the independent eyes and ears of the public seems foreign to him. Witness his bizarre assertion that Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder and the owner of The Washington Post, was using The Post as a “political lobbyist” so that Amazon could avoid taxes and lawsuits “for monopolistic tendencies.”

More generally, Mr. Trump’s media-bashing seems another instance of his targeting entire groups for criticism and control — yet another broadside of the sort he has already launched at Mexicans and Muslims. The world according to Donald Trump gets smaller by the day. 6/16/16 Read more at http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/16/opinion/how-donald-trump-tends-his-media-blacklist.html?emc=edit_ty_20160616&nl=opinion&nlid=74243604

5. Gail Collins: A Pistol for Every Bar Stool

The nation hasn’t exactly joined hands in a united response to the Orlando massacre. But since this terrible mass shooting happened in one of the most weapons-friendly places in the country, maybe we can at least all agree that having wildly permissive gun laws does not make a city safer.

O.K., probably not.

On Wednesday, Donald Trump took time out from vilifying Muslims and put some of the blame on gun control. If the patrons of Pulse, the gay bar in Orlando, had been carrying concealed weapons, he said, they could have taken control of the situation. The gunman would have been “just open target practice.”

(This was at the same speech where he congratulated himself for his stupendous relationship with the gay community, suggesting he didn’t “get enough credit” for having a club in Palm Beach that was “open to everybody.” This is a little off our topic today, but I have to once again point out that Trump’s club is open to everybody with $100,000 to cover the membership fee.)

But about guns. Let’s follow Trump’s thought. It’s easy to buy a gun in Florida and supereasy to get a permit to carry around a concealed weapon. Even the Florida Legislature, however, doesn’t allow people to carry s into bars. Trump did not specifically say that we need to uphold Americans’ freedom to drink while armed. But there doesn’t seem to be any other way to interpret his argument. 6/16/16 Read more at http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/16/opinion/a-pistol-for-every-bar-stool.html?emc=edit_ty_20160616&nl=opinion&nlid=74243604

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6. WA Post Editorial: The N.R.A.’s Complicity in Terrorism

“America is absolutely awash with easily obtainable firearms,” one spokesman for Al Qaeda said in a 2011 recruitment video. “So what are you waiting for?”

What makes the legislative inaction all the more maddening is that there is general public agreement in favor of attempts like these to reduce the bloodshed. An overwhelming majority of Americans — including gun owners and even N.R.A. members — support universal background checks, while strong majorities want to block sales to suspected terrorists and ban high-capacity magazines.

And yet the N.R.A. rejects these steps, even though it says that terrorists shouldn’t be able to get guns. Instead, it clings to the absurd fantasy that a heavily-armed populace is the best way to keep Americans safe. That failed in Orlando, where an armed security guard was on the scene but could not stop the slaughter.

Most of the rest of the world figured this out long ago. But in the United States, the gun industry and its enablers continue to insist that the only solution is more guns, and more bullets flying.

The gun industry lobbyists may be beyond reason, but the lawmakers have a duty to respond to their constituents. Unfortunately, after each new massacre, far too many offer nothing more than condolences and moments of silence. That silence is killing us. 6/16/16 Read more at http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/16/opinion/the-nras-complicity-in-terrorism.html?emc=edit_ty_20160616&nl=opinion&nlid=74243604

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7. Paul Krugman: A Tale of Two Parties

Why is Mrs. Clinton holding up so well against Mr. Trump, when establishment Republicans were so hapless? Partly it’s because America as a whole, unlike the Republican base, isn’t dominated by angry white men; partly it’s because, as anyone watching the Benghazi hearing realized, Mrs. Clinton herself is a lot tougher than anyone on the other side.

But a big factor, I’d argue, is that the Democratic establishment in general is fairly robust. I’m not saying that its members are angels, which they aren’t. Some, no doubt, are personally corrupt. But the various groups making up the party’s coalition really care about and believe in their positions — they’re not just saying what the Koch brothers pay them to say.

So pay no attention to anyone claiming that Trumpism reflects either the magical powers of the candidate or some broad, bipartisan upsurge of rage against the establishment. What worked in the primary won’t work in the general election, because only one party’s establishment was already dead inside. 6/20/16 Read more at http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/20/opinion/a-tale-of-two-parties.html?emc=edit_ty_20160620&nl=opinion&nlid=74243604 or http://nyti.ms/28IedM6

8. Jonathan Capehart: Bernie Sanders is asking the DNC for something it has no power to do

“We need real electoral reform within the Democratic Party. And that means — among many, many other things — open primaries,” Sanders said on Tuesday in Washington. “The idea that in the state of New York, the great state of New York, 3 million people could not participate in helping to select who the Democratic or Republican candidate for president would be because they had registered as an independent not as a Democrat or a Republican is incomprehensible.”

Sanders is absolutely right — and completely wrong.

That only Democrats could vote in New York’s Democratic primary is not the fault of the party or its embattled chairwoman, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.). The responsibility lies with state government. If Sanders is truly serious about this demand, he needs to march his political revolution up to Albany and every other capital of a state that doesn’t allow open primaries. The same must be done for his call for same-day registration.

Demanding that the DNC change rules in those states reveals a fundamental ignorance of the electoral process as a whole. But it also reveals ever more clearly that the democratic socialist isn’t a Democrat. 6/16/16 Read more at https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2016/06/16/why-doesnt-bernie-sanders-know-hes-asking-the-dnc-to-do-something-it-has-no-power-to-do/

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9. Madeleine Albright: Turning Refugees Into Enemies Is Self-Defeating

Trump has responded to the tragedy in Orlando by spewing hatred, promoting outlandish conspiracy theories, and engaging in political attacks. But his overriding focus has been to blame refugees and immigrants for what happened.

Ironically, the people he is holding responsible share more in common with the victims of this attack than with the perpetrator, who was born in the United States. This does not matter to Trump. His entire campaign has been based on the notion that our country is headed for catastrophe simply because foreigners fleeing terrorism would like to live in a free and secure country such as ours.

This offends me deeply because 70 years ago, I was one of those foreigners. My family had been forced to leave the land of my birth, Czechoslovakia, after it was taken over by communists. The United States beckoned to us as a land of opportunity, and we never stopped being grateful for the chance we had to build a new life in freedom. We prospered, we gave back, and I cherished the opportunity to serve the country that had adopted me as its own.

‪June 20, marks World Refugee Day—a day which reminds us that my story is not unique. It has parallels in the lives of millions of Americans who came before me and millions who have come since, including many of the Orlando victims. And in our time, it is also echoed in the stories of millions of people who have fled the destruction wrought by ISIS and Syria’s brutal dictator, Bashar Al-Assad. http://time.com/4374320/madeleine-albright-world-refugee-day/?xid=homepage

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10. Eugene Robinson: Trump's Relentless Assault on the Truth

Donald Trump must be the biggest liar in the history of American politics, and that's saying something.

Trump lies the way other people breathe. We're used to politicians who stretch the truth, who waffle or dissemble, who emphasize some facts while omitting others. But I can't think of any other political figure who so brazenly tells lie after lie, spraying audiences with such a fusillade of untruths that it is almost impossible to keep track. Perhaps he hopes the media and the nation will become numb to his constant lying. We must not.

Trump lies when citing specifics. He claimed that a "tremendous flow of Syrian refugees" has been entering the country; the total between 2012 and 2015 was around 2,000, barely a trickle. He claimed that "we have no idea" who those refugees are; they undergo up to two years of careful vetting before being admitted.

Trump lies when speaking in generalities. He claimed that President Obama "has damaged our security by restraining our intelligence gathering and failing to support law enforcement." Obama actually expanded domestic intelligence operations and only dialed them back because of bipartisan pressure following the Edward Snowden revelations.

Trump lies by sweeping calumny. "For some reason, the Muslim community does not report people like this," he said of Omar Mateen, the shooter in the Orlando massacre. But according to law enforcement officials, including FBI Director James Comey, numerous potential plots have been foiled precisely because concerned Muslims reported seeing signs of self-radicalization.

Trump's lies present a challenge for voters. The normal assumption is that politicians will bend the truth to fit their ideology -- not that they will invent fake "truth" out of whole cloth. Trump is not just an unorthodox candidate. He is an inveterate liar -- maybe pathological, maybe purposeful. He doesn't distort facts, he makes them up.

Trump has a right to his anger, his xenophobia and his bigotry. He also has a right to lie -- but we all have a duty to call him on it. 6/17/16 Read more at http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2016/06/17/trumps_relentless_assault_on_the_truth_130912.html

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11. Andrew Prokop: Trump's first month as presumptive Republican nominee has been an epic disaster

Trump’s month so far has been a remarkable cavalcade of ugliness and incompetence. In just 16 days, he has:

Said Indiana-born Judge Gonzalo Curiel shouldn't preside over lawsuits against Trump University because he is "of Mexican heritage"

Banned Washington Post reporters from covering his campaign events

Hinted that President Barack Obama may have sympathies with terrorists

Doubled down on his proposal to block Muslim immigration to the US, a proposalpreviously considered beyond the pale in the GOP

Accused American soldiers of stealing money from Iraq (which, to be fair, has some merit, but isn’t the sort of thing one normally plays up in a heated campaign)

So much has happened that it’s difficult to even remember that in between all this, after days of criticism about his Judge Curiel comments, Trump made a major attempt to turn the page and adopt a more presidential affect. On Tuesday of last week, Trump read a speech from a teleprompter that actually stayed on message against Clinton and avoided any offensive or racially inflammatory comments. Some political pundits found this new Trump to look less exciting but more like a candidate who could actually win.

But all this seems to be in the distant past now, as the endless cycle of Trump-caused controversies has continued on. Indeed, what’s really remarkable is that he’s still doing as well as he is in the polls despite all this. http://www.vox.com/2016/6/17/11954054/donald-trump-polls-hillary-clinton

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12. Karoli Kuns: I Was One of the Most Ardent Hillary Haters on the Planet…Until I Read Her Emails

I have a confession to make: In 2008, I was one of the most ardent Hillary Clinton haters on the planet. I was ferocious about how much I didn’t want her to win the primaries, and I rejoiced the day she gave her concession speech.

I believed with all of my heart in Barack Obama in 2008, and saw Hillary Clinton as the one single impediment to his election and a soaring presidency. I believed in the “fierce urgency of now.”

I was impressed but unmoved by Hillary’s concession speech, still not ready to forgive the anger and harsh rhetoric which became so much of the 2008 primary campaign.

It was not until President Obama nominated Hillary Clinton as his Secretary of State that my attitude began to soften, and it’s here I want to begin.

She was a great Secretary of State. Secretary John Kerry may be basking in the credit for closing the deals, but he walked through the doors Secretary Clinton opened for him.

Her tenure as Secretary of State, of course, led to the bogus email scandal, which in turn led to the slow-drip release of the emails on her home server. I decided I was going to read them.

In those emails, I discovered a Hillary Clinton I didn’t even know existed.

I found a woman who cared about employees who lost loved ones. I found a woman who, without exception, took time to write notes of condolence and notes of congratulations, no matter how busy she was. I found a woman who could be a tough negotiator and firm in her expectations, but still had a moment to write a friend with encouragement in tough times. She worried over people she didn’t know, and she worried over those she did.

The Hillary caricature you see in the press is not the Hillary Clinton I came to know by reading those emails. Originally published 1/28/16  https://bluenationreview.com/i-was-a-hillary-hater-until-i-read-her-emails/

13. Suzanne Nossel: How Hillary Clinton went from loser to winner

Before she won this year’s Democratic primary, Hillary Clinton was a loser. Her defeat by Barack Obama in 2008 was painful and public. She had entered the campaign with an aura of inevitability that disintegrated torturously with every primary loss and superdelegate defection. As journalist John Heileman summed it up at the end, “Her legacy has been tarnished, her status degraded, and her reputation diminished.”

Eight years later, Clinton is back on top. Analysts have chalked up her rise to grit, political acumen and the backing of the Democratic establishment. But as elemental to her resurgence as any other factor is Clinton’s exemplary approach to failure. For many a politician, a high-stakes rout can be career-ending. Clinton’s dexterity in defeat holds lessons for anyone faced with coming back from a harsh setback — that is to say, for all of us.

A Hillary Clinton primer on the art of losing would have several tenets. First, nurse your bruises in private; jettison any public evidence of the emotional detritus of defeat, including frustration, embarrassment and bitterness. En route to her 2008 concession, Clinton’s most severe stumble was a shocking third-place finish in the Iowa caucus. After letting a tear roll down her cheek during a public appearance at a New Hampshire diner, Clinton regained her composure and was focused, substantive and even witty at a debate. She expounded on the hunt forOsama bin Laden and managed a chuckle when Obama called her “likable enough.” Anyone who has to address a crowd right after hearing bad news would do well to channel Clinton’s poise in that debate.

The pivotal moments of a presidency are always haunted by the prospect of failure. President Obama’s decision to greenlight the raid that killed Bin Laden was courageous precisely because it could well have ended in catastrophe. Although no president aims to fail, all need the confidence that failures can be endured. That mettle allows leaders to press forward on efforts — ambitious policy reforms, peace plans — that are as uncertain as they are consequential. We need a president who can win, but also one who knows how to lose. 6/17/16 Read more at http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-nossel-hillary-clinton-loser-20160617-snap-story.html

14. Maureen Dowd: Trump in the Dumps

HE won’t pivot. So I have to.

Having seen Donald Trump as a bragadocious but benign celebrity in New York for decades, I did not regard him as the apotheosis of evil. He seemed more like a toon, a cocky huckster swanning around Gotham with a statuesque woman on his arm and skyscrapers stamped with his brand. I certainly never would have predicted that the Trump name would be uttered in the same breath as Hitler, Mussolini and scary menace, even on such pop culture staples as “The Bachelorette.”

Trump jumped into the race with an eruption of bigotry, ranting about Mexican rapists and a Muslim ban. But privately, he assured people that these were merely opening bids in the negotiation; that he was really the same pragmatic New Yorker he had always been; that he would be a flexible, wheeling-and-dealing president, not a crazy nihilist like Ted Cruz or a mean racist like George Wallace. He yearned to be compared to Ronald Reagan, a former TV star who overcame a reputation for bellicosity and racial dog whistles to become the most beloved Republican president of modern times.

Trump was applying his business cunning, Twitter snarkiness and bendy relationship with the truth to his new role as a Republican pol. The opposition was unappetizing: Cruz, a creepy, calculating ideologue; Marco Rubio, a hungry lightweight jettisoning his old positions and mentor; Chris Christie, a vindictive bully; Jeb Bush, a past-his-sell-by-date scion.

Trump shocked himself by shooting to the top of the Republican heap. It was like watching a bank robber sneak into a bank, only to find all the doors unlocked. But like Dan Quayle and Sarah Palin, Trump refused to study up on policy. So he has been unable to marry his often canny political instincts with some actual knowledge.6/18/16 Read more at http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/19/opinion/sunday/trump-in-the-dumps.html?_r=0

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15. Bob Garfield: We’ve Lost

Let’s start with the inconvenient fact that 13,300,472 Americans cast their primary votes for Donald Trump. Notwithstanding his recent popularity plunge, if polls are correct and the election were held today he’d still collect 40 percent of the vote. Which is in the neighborhood of 50 million.

Fifty million — pulling the lever for a pathological liar, peddler of vile racist, misogynist, xenophobic ravings and sneering trampler of our most fundamental American values. Not to mention the Constitution, with which he seems unfamiliar. Not to mention a personality I’d call infantile, if I weren’t afraid of insulting infants. And tiles.

Fifty million Americans are for that. If you took those voters and laid them end to end around the circumference of Mars, you’d get no argument from me. Because to support Trump is to spit on the American flag and all it stands for.

But let’s just pretend for a moment that the 50 million number is deceiving, that just as there’s a structural unemployment rate that will never entirely vanish, there’s a structural disenchantment rate — ordinarily populated by the dumbest, the most gullible, the most irritable, the meanest, the hurtingest, the most selfish Americans — whose numbers swell during certain frightening moments in history. Such as war, economic recession, globalization and inequitable concentration of wealth along Gilded Age lines.

That’s the narrative we’re hearing in the press. The problem is, what’s happening now isn’t some transitory blip; it’s the culmination of a 40-year campaign, an incessant drumbeat of grievance against minority rights, gun control, same-sex marriage, secularization, tax-and-spend Big Government, climate hoax, “job killing” regulation, feminism and the rest of a sinister Liberal Agenda that amounts, of course, to tyranny.

Yes, Trump is riding a wave of resentment, but this isn’t a natural ocean, it’s a wave pool at a bizarro theme park, operated by the Heritage Foundation, the American Family Association, Fox News Channel, the NRA, Mark Levin, the Club for Growth, the American Enterprise Institute, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Breitbart and the Tea Party. Trump’s calumnies are little more than a “Best of” collection from the Great Rightwing Conspiracy. 06/17/2016 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bob-garfield/donald-trump-2016_b_10523982.html

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16. Dan Balz: November is fast becoming what the GOP fears: A referendum on Trump

The hole that Donald Trump has dug for himself keeps getting deeper. On nearly every front, his position continues to deteriorate. Unless he reverses course, Republicans are heading toward a wrenching week at their convention in Cleveland next month, and potentially worse in November.

National polls alone provide an incomplete picture of the current state of the presidential race, but the shifts over the past few weeks should make Republicans beyond nervous.

What looked like a tight contest between Trump and presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in late May has morphed into a Trump deficit that cannot be wished away.

The RealClearPolitics poll average now gives Clinton a lead of almost six percentage points over Trump, a marked shift from a month ago. Perhaps even more telling is that every poll on the RCP list that was conducted entirely in June showed Clinton leading. That’s a change from May, when several polls showed Trump leading narrowly.

Given the terrible two weeks Trump has gone through, it is no surprise that the trend line also indicates that Clinton’s lead is widening. The last four polls on the list — all completed in the past week — put her lead at 12, nine, five and six points. Four polls completed earlier in June showed her with leads of three, four, eight and three points.

Under normal conditions, the general election would be a choice between the two major-party nominees — in this case two unpopular nominees. Instead, it looks increasingly as if it could become a referendum on Donald Trump, and right now, that’s the last thing Republicans want this fall.6/18/16 Read more at https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/november-is-fast-becoming-what-the-gop-fears-a-referendum-on-trump/2016/06/18/f942ddd2-34dd-11e6-8758-d58e76e11b12_story.html?wpisrc=nl_draw2&wpmm=1

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17. NY Times Editorial: Mr. Ryan’s Plan to Revert, Regress and Deregulate

By House Speaker Paul Ryan presented his economic agenda last week, but it does not deal with the country’s problems with jobs, wages, investment, trade, inequality or other pressing economic issues. Rather, its 57 pages boil down to one idea: Roll back hundreds of federal regulations that protect consumers, investors, employees, borrowers, students and the environment.

Mr. Ryan seems to think his ideas would become reality in a Donald Trump administration. “We feel very confident that our presumptive nominee is comfortable with this agenda,” he said in announcing the plan.

That may be, but the American people are unlikely to be comfortable with it. One of the bills promoted in the plan would repeal “all climate-change regulations under the Clean Air Act.” Others promote coal mining and offshore oil drilling. These proposals are consistent with statements by Mr. Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, that he would eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency, but they do not reflect public opinion.

The Ryan plan is not, in other words, an economic agenda. It is a corporate wish list and a catalog of House Republicans’ fantasies. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/19/opinion/sunday/mr-ryans-plan-to-revert-regress-and-deregulate.html?emc=eta1&_r=0

18. Howard Dean: How Clinton can redraw the map

Most presidential campaigns follow the same playbook. Candidates parse the map into red states, blue states and so-called "swing states"—and they focus their time and resources exclusively on that third category.

Hillary Clinton's campaign is rejecting that strategy in favor of a much broader one. The plan that Clinton began to execute this week is a 20-year strategy to create a new vision for America. To fulfill it, she is dispatching staff to all 50 states and is working to identify and organize supporters in each one.

There are a lot of reasons why adopting a 50-state strategy is both the right thing and the smart thing for Clinton to do. For one, voters deserve it. When candidates write off entire states or regions for being too blue or too red, they also write off the people who call those places home.

In her campaign, Clinton will show up everywhere and take no voter for granted. That's why solidly red states like Georgia, Utah and Arizona already appear a few shades more purple. And as Donald Trump might say -- she hasn't even started on them yet. Even though we may not turn them blue this year, she's taken the necessary steps to ensure they won't stay red forever.

Pasteur was right; in politics, as in scientific innovation, chance does favor the prepared mind. And Hillary Clinton's mind is nothing if not prepared. 6/19/16 Read more at http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/19/opinions/clinton-50-state-strategy-howard-dean/

19. Jonagthan Chait: Today in ‘Donald Trump’s Campaign Is a Garbage Fire’

Trump dominated the Republican primary because he mastered one weird trick. The trick was to constantly spout wild and offensive comments, frequently targeted at women or people of other races or nationalities, generating a constant stream of news coverage focused on Trump’s latest outrage. Since most Republican voters really like outrageous comments, especially when they’re directed at women and people of other races or nationalities, this technique worked well enough to overcome Trump’s massive strategic and organizational liabilities as a candidate. But since most voters in the electorate as a whole feel differently, Trump’s outrageousness is now compounding rather than hiding his technical incompetence. http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/06/today-in-trump-campaign-is-a-garbage-fire.html

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