Good morning Austin:
When the surprising news broke Friday morning that Donald J. Trump was going to be holding a rally at the Travis County Expo Center right here in Austin, I sent an email to a Texas Republican political operative asking for his reaction.
His reply: “He’s coming to Texas? Says who?”
From Adam Epstein at Quartz:
On Wednesday, Aug. 17, something great happened.
Michael Cohen is an attorney and executive vice president for the Trump Organization. Sometimes, he appears on television to speak for Donald Trump, the Republican candidate for president of the United States. Wednesday was one such day: Cohen appeared on CNN to answer questions from anchor Brianna Keilar about the Trump campaign’s latest shakeup. What followed was the genesis of the year’s best political meme to date.
“You guys are down.”
“Polls. Most of them. All of them?”
“Polls. I just told you, I answered your question.”
“Okay. Which polls?”
“All of them.”
Had Keilar played this differently, this exchange probably never even see the light of day. The way she says “polls” and then “all of them” so flatly, as if she can’t believe she even has to say the words, is ultimately what gives the clip its comedic value.
“Says who” encapsulates the entire dynamic of Trump’s campaign.
It’s easy to look at “Says who?” as a lens onto how the Trump campaign views polls. Dating back to the beginning of the Republican primaries, Trump has boasted of polls that show him in the lead, even while he ignored polls that show he’s losing.
Trump’s current numbers are so bad that many of his supporters have created new, “unskewed” polls to give their candidate a more favorable outcome. Cohen’s childish repetition of “says who?” when confronted with actual evidence that Trump is down might seem funny to us, but it’s exactly how the campaign has approached the race since the very beginning.
Make America Great Again is good but at four words, 21 letters, it’s simply too long, too cumbersome.
Says who? is better, punchier – two words, seven letters.
F You! would be even punchier, but maybe too punchy, not classy.
Says who? carries just the right touch of lead-with-your-chin belligerence without being offensive. And, to be fair, when Keilar said who says, Cohen was OK with that.
I told the Republican operative in Austin that he should move quickly to create T-shirts to sell at Tuesday’s rally with SAYS WHO? and Cohen’s image on the front, and an image of Trump, and maybe TRUMP ’16, on the back.
I’d buy one. Who wouldn’t?
So why is Trump at this stage holding a rally in Texas, let alone in Austin.
Well, he was coming to Texas for the usual reason presidential candidates of both parties come to Texas – to raise money – in this case at fundraisers in Fort Worth and Austin. And, as is his wont, Trump decided to throw in a rally.
“It probably doesn’t do any harm, but if you’re even moderately concerned about winning Texas, then you’ve already lost the presidential election,” said Rice University political scientist Mark Jones.
But, as Jim Henson, who directs the Texas Politics Project at the University of Texas notes, “until Cable TV stops covering those rallies, he’s going to keep having them everywhere. Nobody in Austin should be under the impression that the rally is for them.”
(From Henson this morning, Donald Trump Visits a Lukewarm Texas.)
That’s a good point. Each rally is an opportunity for more free media, and holding it in Austin, the liberal bastion in the home state of Ted Cruz – who Trump has vowed to defeat for re-election in 2018 – has some added elements to make it newsworthy and potentially interesting.
(The rally will take place in the Luedecke Arena, 7311 Decker Lane, at 7:30 p.m. Doors open at 4:30 p.m., and tickets are available online through the Trump campaign.)
My guess is that the crowd at the arena will have more than a few non-Trumpers, probably including perhaps a bunch of Bernie Sanders folks who have experience at having their protests drowned out by chants of USA, USA, USA by the Clinton folks at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.
Meanwhile, Friday night at a rally in Dimondale, Michigan, Trump tried out another new slogan to rival, Says Who, as part of its outreach to the black community – What the hell do you have to lose?
From Geoff Earl at the Daily Mail:
Speaking to a mostly white audience in Michigan, the Republican nominee said: ‘You’re living in poverty. Your schools are no good. You have no jobs. Fifty-eight per cent of your youth is unemployed. What the hell do you have to lose?’
The businessman then made the astonishing claim that he will win 95 per cent of the African American vote at the end of his first term if elected President, despite currently polling at around 1 per cent with that voting bloc.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Let’s talk about those comments that Mr. Trump made about the African American community. Here’s part of them this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DONALD TRUMP, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: What do you have to lose?
Look, what do you have to lose?
You’re living in poverty. Your schools are no good. You have no jobs; 58 percent of your youth is unemployed.
What the hell do you have to lose?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANOPOULOS: As you know — you were just talking about that. But many in the African American community saw that as insulting because they say most African Americans don’t live in poverty and that Mr. Trump was making those comments in communities that are more than 90 percent white.
CONWAY: Those comments are for all Americans. And I live in a white community. I’m white. I was very moved by his comment. In other words, he is trying to tell Americans that we can do better. And the thing that he said that I think got a great deal of resonance is that maybe Hillary Clinton looks at you as voters as your — takes you for granted. I look at you as people.
And you — again, George, if you think 58 percent of unemployment in the African American youth community is a good idea, then absolutely please go vote for Hillary Clinton, everyone.
But he’s saying, you can’t do any worse. We’re the party, he’s the candidate that believes in school choice vouchers and charter schools for African American and Hispanic students and everybody really. But these benefit — I’ve done a lot of work in that space here in New York City. And it’s just remarkable to see the quality education that these students who are fully capable and very intelligent receive through school choice and charters. Hillary Clinton’s against those.
Well, I suppose if insults are a sign of Trumpian affection, then, yes, this amounts to outreach.
But the question, “What the hell do you have to lose?” has an answer, has plenty of answers, as the black community contemplates the sheer possibility that the first black president could be followed by Donald Trump.
Make America Great Again is a fraught slogan for many African Americans who do not share a gauzy nostalgia for the way America used to be.
From a very good piece by David Weigel in the Washington Post this weekend.
OAKTON, Va. — Jared Taylor hits play, and the first Donald Trump ad of the general election unfolds across his breakfast table. Syrian refugees streaming across a border. Hordes of immigrants, crowded onto trains.
“Donald Trump’s America is secure,” rumbles a narrator. “Terrorists and dangerous criminals kept out. The border, secure; our families, safe.”
Taylor, one of America’s foremost “racialists,” is impressed and relieved. “That’s a powerful appeal,” he said. “If he can just stick to that, he is in very good shape.”
From his Fairfax County home, Taylor has edited the white nationalist magazine American Renaissance and organized racialist conferences under the “AmRen” banner. He said that Trump should “concentrate on his natural constituency, which is white people,” suggesting that winning 65 percent of the white vote would overwhelm any Democratic gains with minorities.
The rise of the alt-right — named for the Alternative Right website that the “identitarian” nationalist Richard Spencer set up in 2010 and adopted by those opposed to multiculturalism and mass immigration — has come to define how many of its adherents see Trump. There’s less talk now about a “pivot,” or a moment when Trump will adopt the ideas of people that he conquered. His strategy now resembles the alt-right dream of maximizing the white vote — even as polling shows his standing with white voters falls short of Mitt Romney’s in 2012.
Trump’s newest speeches, read from a teleprompter, hit all of their favorite notes. “I don’t think Trump had mentioned ‘sanctuary cities’ previously,” Spencer said in an interview. “There’s reason to believe that Bannon is returning him to his powerful, populist message — indeed, honing it. [Former campaign chairman Paul] Manafort was turning Trump into a standard Republican, with the [Mike] Pence [vice-presidential] choice, the economic policy, talk of how ‘Hillary is the real racist,’ if not quite in those words. Bannon is making me hope again, making Trump Trump again.”
Although there is no data gauging the size of the alt-right, its adherents point to Trump’s primary victories as proof that their ideas have been winning. They are so active on social media, from Twitter to Reddit, that critics are beginning to feel overwhelmed.
Breitbart, not founded as part of their movement, became a welcoming place for it. The site found millions of new readers clicking on stories about “black crime” and the threat of Syrian refugees. At Breitbart, undocumented immigrants are “illegals,” Black Lives Matter activists venerate “cop-
killer heroes,” and Gold Star father Khizr Khan is a busy promoter of sharia law. Michael Brown, the man whose death kicked off the protests in Ferguson, Mo., was unfairly mythologized by the media.
From Lee Stranahan at Breitbart.
Breitbart News has given #BlackLivesMatter more detailed, deep, and honest coverage than any other media outlet on the planet in 2015, and for good reason. From covering every major protest they did to exposing the cop killer that the group worships to revealing the secret funder behind the movement to Milo Yiannopoulos’s complete shredding of activist Shaun King, Breitbart News has been the go-to source for original reporting on Black Lives Matter.
Why is Breitbart News so on top of the Black Lives Matter movement?
Easy. We saw it coming.
In the face of all this feckless kowtowing, no wonder the blunt and in-your-face style of billionaire Donald Trump has hit home for so many Americans. Trump – like Ronald Reagan in the 1960s – seems to be one of the few people in public life willing to tell Black Lives Matter protesters to sit down, shut up, and stop taking the loser road of self-victimization.
This is one of the reasons that Donald Trump, more than any other political candidate on the scene right now, has incurred so much of the wrath and anger of Black Lives Matter. They are keenly aware that he simply will not play their game. The other current frontrunner for the Republican nomination is Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who has already demonstrated that he is no cupcake either. Should either Cruz or Trump be the nominee, expect Black Lives Matter’s army to take to the streets and try to shut them down at every opportunity.
For that reason, the current political season is set to be even more divisive than either of the last two election cycles, which had already set a very high bar for vitriol.
As the newest incarnation of the activist Left, Black Lives Matter will not back down or rest until it is either stopped by someone gutsy enough to call them out or until it gets what it wants: a bloody revolution leading to a socialist/anarchist America.
Meanwhile, Trump delivers his plea to black voters in front of an almost entirely white crowd in a an overwhelmingly white suburb of Lansing, Michigan.
Will Trump reprise his black outreach in Austin Tuesday?
Who knows. This being Texas – future site of The Wall – one might suppose he might address his serious problem with Hispanic voters.
Maybe he will invite Austin City Council Member Don Zimmerman to open for him by inviting any young Hispanics in the crowd to come to the front to be lectured and insulted.
From the Statesman’s Nolan Hicks last week:
A group of kids were at the City Council meeting Thursday night during the debate over Austin’s proposed budget for next year.
Their parents — many of whom are Hispanic and addressed the City Council in Spanish — came to City Hall to campaign for continued funding for after-school programs at Austin’s public schools.
At the conclusion of the debate, Council Member Sheri Gallo asked all the children to promise that when they turn 18, they would register to vote. Then Council Member Don Zimmerman spoke up and it went downhill from there.
“I’d ask for everyone here, including the children, when you grow up, I want to ask you to pledge to finish school, learn a trade, a skilled trade, get a college education, start a business, do something useful and produce something in your society so you don’t have to live off others,” he said, adding: “Thank you” as boos erupted in the chamber.
And from Nolan’s follow:
“To hear him just say those words, it was very offensive, especially because the kids were there. We’re taxpayers,” said Montserrat Garibay, vice president of Education Austin, the teacher’s union for Austin’s public school teachers. “I felt very disrespected.”
Garibay, who previously taught for eight years, added: “I was listening and I was like, ‘This is the Trump of Austin.’”
In addition to the fundraisers and the rally, Trump will also be interviewed by Fox’s Sean Hannity while in Austin.
Sean Hannity and 2016 Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump will be in Austin for an exclusive two hour event and you can be a part of it!
TAPING STARTS AT 4P CDT – PLEASE ARRIVE EARLY – DOORS OPEN AT 1P CDT.
Seating will be based on a first come, first served basis.
NOTE: This is a private event hosted by Fox News and therefore is closed to the press.
SPREAD THE WORD & INVITE YOUR FRIENDS BY SHARING THIS EVENT ON FACEBOOK AND TWITTER!
From Jim Rutenberg this weekend at the New York Times:
During major inflection points in Donald J. Trump’s campaign, the advisers, family members and friends who make up his kitchen cabinet burn up their email accounts and phone lines gaming out how to get his candidacy on track (and what counsel he might go along with).
But one person in the mix brings more than just his political advice. He also happens to control an hour of prime time on the Fox News Channel.
That person is Sean Hannity.
Mr. Hannity uses his show on the nation’s most-watched cable news network to blare Mr. Trump’s message relentlessly — giving Mr. Trump the kind of promotional television exposure even a billionaire can’t afford for long.
But Mr. Hannity is not only Mr. Trump’s biggest media booster; he also veers into the role of adviser. Several people I’ve spoken with over the last couple of weeks said Mr. Hannity had for months peppered Mr. Trump, his family members and advisers with suggestions on strategy and messaging.
So involved is Mr. Hannity that three separate denizens of the hall of mirrors that is Trump World told me they believed Mr. Hannity was behaving as if he wanted a role in a possible Trump administration — something he denied to me as laughable and contractually prohibitive in an interview on Friday.
But he did not dispute that he lends his thoughts to Mr. Trump and others in his close orbit whom Mr. Hannity has known for years.
“Do I talk to my friend who I’ve known for years and speak my mind? I can’t not speak my mind,’’ he said.
But, Mr. Hannity said, “I don’t say anything privately that I don’t say publicly.’’ And, he acknowledged, it’s unclear how far his advice goes with Mr. Trump, given that “nobody controls him.”
Mr. Hannity is unapologetic about his aim. “I’m not hiding the fact that I want Donald Trump to be the next president of the United States.” After all, he says, “I never claimed to be a journalist.”
That makes Mr. Hannity the ultimate product of the Fox News Channel that Roger Ailes envisioned when he founded it with Rupert Murdoch 20 years ago, as a defiant answer to what they described as an overwhelmingly liberal mainstream news media that was biased against Republicans. Mr. Hannity was there from the beginning with Mr. Ailes, who was forced out over sexual harassment allegations last month.
I remember way back when Hannity was fair and balanced, at least as between Trump and Ted Cruz.