Democratic Convention opens amid WikiLeaks dump and Trump bump

Good morning Austin.

Left Cleveland. Stopped in Pittsburgh. Now in Philadelphia.

The prime time Democratic Convention should get off to a rip-roaring rhetorical start with speeches tonight by First Lady Michelle Obama, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

But the convention opens on the heels of Sunday’s announcement by DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz that she will be stepping down, amid evidence, via a WikiLeaks dump of DNC emails, that DWS’s DNC, which Sanders and his supporters always felt had its thumb firmly panted on the scales for Clinton, actually had its thumbprints on the scale. Also, as of this morning, new polling indicates that for all the conflicts at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Donald Trump emerged with a significant bump, a more favorable image, and a lead over Clinton.

On DWS, From the New York Times:

PHILADELPHIA — Democrats arrived at their nominating convention on Sunday under a cloud of discord as Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, abruptly said she was resigning after a trove of leaked emails showed party officials conspiring to sabotage the campaign of Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

 The revelation, along with sizable pro-Sanders protests here in the streets to greet arriving delegates, threatened to undermine the delicate healing process that followed the contentious fight between Mr. Sanders and Hillary Clinton. And it raised the prospect that a convention that was intended to showcase the Democratic Party’s optimism and unity, in contrast to the Republicans, could be marred by dissension and disorder.
 
The day also veered extraordinarily into allegations, not easily dismissed, that Russia had a hand in the leaks that helped bring down the head of an American political party.

 

I understand why Texas wasn’t up front at Donald Trump’s  Republican Convention in Philadelphia. It was the largest Cruz delegation. California and New York had the pride of place of being right up in front of the podium – two states with huge Trump delegations but no recent history of voting Republican in the general election and little likelihood this time.

The reverse logic applies in Cleveland. Texas presumably gets rear seating because it is a such a red state. But, by Trump logic, Texas ought to have been up front because, like New York and California for him, Texas is the richest trove of delegates for Clinton.

Garry Mauro, leader in Texas of the Clinton forces – and its whip operation –  explains.

“The only thing that matters in a convention setting is how many delegates you have to the plus side. We actually had 72 delegates on the plus side (the number of Clinton delegates minus the number of Sanders delegates)  – the most of any state in the nation,” Mauro said.

New York had a 67-vote Clinton margin, and California a 63-vote margin.

“We are providing Hillary with her biggest delegate advantage in the country,” Mauro said. “We played a huge role in maintaining her lead.”

The positioning of the delegations matters.

Cruz’s speech to the Republican Convention might have ended differently if he had not been in direct eye contact and earshot of an angry, taunting New York delegation immediately in front of him.

Then again, I think Cruz reveled in the moment. If Trump loses in November, or is elected and proves a disaster as president, Cruz in four years will be able to run ads of him being booed at the Republican Convention when he refused to endorse Trump and instead said that Republican voters should follow their conscience, with a voice over pointing out that when all Trump’s other rivals were bowing before him, Cruz alone stood up to Trump and he boos of the mob.

The day after the convention, Trump was still on the warpath against Cruz, and it continued on Meet the Press Sunday with Chuck Todd asking Trump about his threat Friday to fund an anti-Cruz super PAC.

From Meet the Press:

CHUCK TODD:

All right. Ted Cruz, I’m going to amend it, are you really going to fund a super PAC to help defeat him–

DONALD TRUMP:

Well, it’s not the number one thing on my mind. Look, what’s on my mind is beating Hillary Clinton. What’s on my mind is winning for the Republican Party. With that being said, yeah, I’ll probably do a super PAC, you know, when they run against Kasich, for $10 million to $20 million, against Ted Cruz. And maybe one other person that I’m thinking about–

CHUCK TODD:

Who’s that other one person?

DONALD TRUMP:

–but I won’t tell you that. I mean, he’s actually such a small person, I hate to give him the publicity. But yes, I will probably do that at the appropriate at time. But I’m not going to do that until–

CHUCK TODD:

Oh, give me the small person here.

DONALD TRUMP:

No, no, don’t worry about it. We’ll give it to you another time.

Small person, small person, small person. Hmm. Who could that be? Little Marco? Nah. He endorsed Trump. Must be South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham.

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Texas Democratic Party Chair Gilberto Hinojosa:

“Texas Democrats thank Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz for her hard work, leadership, and commitment to our great party. She has fought heart and soul for our party, and we are well poised to succeed in November because of her efforts.

“In our humble opinion, Texas Democrats believe that both Julian and Joaquin Castro have what it takes to pick up the reins and move the party forward. It would be remarkable to have the first Hispanic Chair of the Democratic National Committee.”

Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s  fall from grace recalled another Clinton convention and another fall from grace, in Chicago, 1996.

From the New York Times.

CHICAGO — Dick Morris, President Clinton’s chief campaign adviser and the central force behind the emphasis on family values that had its apex at this week’s Democratic convention, resigned Thursday after a tabloid reported that he had a relationship with a call girl.

More than a strategist, Morris had come to be known as a confidant and alter ego of Clinton, and his departure marred Clinton’s appearance Thursday night, the big moment of a convention scripted to be his star vehicle.

Beyond his role in helping shape Clinton’s address, Morris is widely credited for orchestrating the president’s move to the political center. Morris, whose consulting fees were paid by the campaign and not the government, liked to say that he was going to have Clinton run more as “pope than president,” by acting as a moral guide for the nation, especially its teen-agers.

The culmination of that effort was to be unveiled here at what until Thursday was a jubilant convention that had gone largely as scripted.

In a statement he issued after he and his wife, Eileen McGann, left Chicago this morning for their home in Connecticut, Morris did not rebut the accusations or address them specifically.

“While I served I sought to avoid the limelight because I did not want to become the message,” he said. “Now, I resign so I will not become the issue. I will not subject my wife, family or friends to the sadistic vitriol of yellow journalism. I will not dignify such journalism with a reply or an answer. I never will.”

Morris had already created unease and jealousy in the White House by a self-promotional campaign that gave him the cover of Time magazine this week with an article suggesting he was the puppeteer of a presidential makeover. His final statement as a campaign strategist reflected the degree to which he saw himself as Clinton’s Pygmalion.

“I was deeply honored to help this president come back from being buried in a landslide and to make it possible for him to have a second chance at a second term,” Morris said.

But this morning, Morris found a far less flattering article about him splashed on the front page of The New York Post. It was based on an upcoming story in Star magazine, the same publication that staggered Clinton’s campaign in 1992 with its disclosure of Gennifer Flowers’ claims of a longtime affair with the then-governor of Arkansas.

The Trump Bump

 

 

 

 

 

 

From CNN:

(CNN)The bounce is back.

Donald Trump comes out of his convention ahead of Hillary Clinton in the race for the White House, topping her 44% to 39% in a four-way matchup including Gary Johnson (9%) and Jill Stein (3%) and by three points in a two-way head-to-head, 48% to 45%. That latter finding represents a 6-point convention bounce for Trump, which are traditionally measured in two-way matchups.
There hasn’t been a significant post-convention bounce in CNN’s polling since 2000. That year Al Gore and George W. Bush both boosted their numbers by an identical 8 points post-convention before ultimately battling all the way to the Supreme Court.
The new findings mark Trump’s best showing in a CNN/ORC Poll against Clinton since September 2015. Trump’s new edge rests largely on increased support among independents, 43% of whom said that Trump’s convention in Cleveland left them more likely to back him, while 41% were dissuaded. Pre-convention, independents split 34% Clinton to 31% Trump, with sizable numbers behind Johnson (22%) and Stein (10%). Now, 46% say they back Trump, 28% Clinton, 15% Johnson and 4% Stein.
The poll also reflects a sharpening of the education divide among whites that has been prevalent throughout the campaign. Among white voters with college degrees, Clinton actually gained ground compared with pre-convention results, going from an even 40% to 40% split to a 44% to 39% edge over Trump. That while Trump expanded his lead with white voters who do not hold a college degree from a 51% to 31% lead before the convention to a 62% to 23% lead now.

 

 

clintonwomenJPG

Jackie Soliz-Chapa, on the left, Austin Council Member Leslie Pool, in the center, and Mary Ann Neely, who has been Democratic Party precinct chairwoman in Barton Hills since 1980, on the right. Soliz-Chapa is a Clinton delegate, Poole is a Clinton whip and Neely is a Clinton alternate.

 

Trump puts the Q in LGBTQ

From Trump’s acceptance speech.

Only weeks ago, in Orlando, Florida, 49 wonderful Americans were savagely murdered by an Islamic terrorist. This time, the terrorist targeted our LGBTQ community. No good. We are going to stop it. As your President, I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology, believe me.

And I have to say as a Republican it is so nice to hear you cheering for what I just said. Thank you.

From Vox:

CLEVELAND — Donald Trump’s Republican convention speech had a genuinely surprising, sincere moment.

It came when Trump brought up the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida. He said, “Only weeks ago, in Orlando, Florida, 49 wonderful Americans were savagely murdered by an Islamic terrorist. This time, the terrorist targeted [the] LGBTQ community. No good. And we’re going to stop it. As your president, I will do everything in my power to protect our LGBTQ citizens from the violence and oppression of a hateful foreign ideology. Believe me.”

The crowd cheered and clapped — not exactly a sure thing with a Republican audience when it comes to protecting LGBTQ people’s rights. And Trump, in an unscripted moment, acknowledged the crowd’s surprising reaction: “And I have to say, as a Republican, it is so nice to hear you cheering for what I just said. Thank you.”

It’s long been said that Trump doesn’t care much about LGBTQ or other cultural issues. (Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel said as much in his Republican convention speech.) To the extent that Trump opposes same-sex marriage, it’s out of political convenience. This brief moment in the speech provides a sign that may be true.

But the rhetoric Trump is using has some ugly roots: It’s essentially a European right-wing strategy to pit LGBTQ people against Muslims. As my colleague Dylan Matthews explained, European right-wingers often use Middle Eastern countries’ horrific records on gay rights to try to foster Islamophobic sentiments among LGBTQ communities — a sentiment they can tap into to garner restrictions on immigration from predominantly Muslim countries. It’s effectively pro-gay Islamophobia.

The crowd’s reaction also does not mean that Republicans have progressed on gay rights or LGBTQ issues more broadly. Despite some LGBTQ advocates’ hopes that the party would drop these types of battles after losing on same-sex marriage, the 2016 platform includes continued opposition to marriage equality, support for North Carolina’s anti-transgender bathroom law, support for anti-LGBTQ conversion therapy, and a tacit condemnation of same-sex parents.

But at the very least, the Republican convention will clap and cheer for ending anti-LGBTQ murder.

From RainbowWelcoming.org.

The “Q” can stand for Questioning and/or Queer:

  • Questioning refers to individuals who are unsure of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
  • Queer is an umbrella term encompassing a variety of sexual orientations and gender identities excluding heterosexuality. The term was originally used as a slur but has been reclaimed by younger generations to also refer to political ideologies not adhering to heteronormativity or a gender-binary.

 

Where Trump came up with the “Q” I don’t know. Maybe Ivanka.

Whatever the back story, it was a moment when, in the context of the Republican Convention, Trump was truly politically incorrect, and struck a blow for those not adhering to heteronormativity or a gender-binary.

Rachel Hoff, a D.C. delegate at the Republican Convention, the first openly gay member of a GOP National Convention platform committee, and the founder of the Barry Goldwater Society at the LBJ School at UT, sought to include something very much like what Trump said in the party platform, but was slapped down.

From Pema Levy at Mother Jones:

Rachel Hoff, a delegate to the Republican National Convention from the District of Columbia, begged her fellow delegates drafting the party’s platform in Cleveland this week to recognize the LBGT victims of “radical Islamic terrorism.” No such luck.

The issue arose when a delegate from Rhode Island, Giovanni Cicione, proposed language that specifically noted terrorists’ targeting of LGBT people. Other delegates quickly suggested adding “Christians, Jews, and women” after LGBT. Hoff, who is a lesbian and had introduced a similar amendment in a subcommittee, spoke in favor of these changes.

“This is about standing up for the basic human rights of gays and lesbians—in this country and around the world,” she said. “If you do support me and people like me, then can you not at the very least stand up for our right to not be killed along with these other groups by people who want to bring harm not only to our country but to people based on their identity?”

She continued, “We saw that in the terrorist attack in Orlando—it was one month ago today—that was a targeted attack on the LGBT community for simply living in freedom as who they are. And it’s important that we as a party—that you stand with me now, that you stand up for basic human rights [for] the LGBT community, Christians, Jews, and women.”

Most of her fellow delegates disagreed. The language pertaining to “LGBT individuals, Christians, Jews, and women” was struck and replaced with a condemnation of “the brutal assault on all human beings.”

This is not the first time Hoff has tried to get her party to be more inclusive toward LBGT people. On Monday, Hoff, who is the first openly gay Republican to sit on the GOP’s platform committee, put forward language calling for a “thoughtful conversation” on same-sex marriage. “We’re your daughters, your sons, your neighbors, colleagues, and the couples you sit next to you in church,” Hoff said, close to tears. “Freedom means freedom for everyone, including for gays and lesbians.” That amendment was shot down by the platform committee, but it appeared to get enough support to put it to a vote before the full convention for next week.

Also on Tuesday, Hoff, who works at a national security think tank, proposed language supportive of women serving in combat positions in the military. Again, her fellow delegates disagreed, voting to keep in place language that opposed women serving in combat—even though Secretary of Defense Ash Carter opened combat positions to women last year.

I stood with the Texas delegation while Trump delivered his speech. They applauded when he applauded the convention for applauding him and his mention of LGBTQ. No one seemed bothered by it.

After Trump’s speech I mentioned to Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, who chaired the Texas delegation, that Trump had added the “Q” to LGBT.

“Twice,” said Patrick, with a smile.

 

 

 

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