Today's Trump Apocalypse Watch: Millionaire Ivy League Heir Wears Camouflage Hat
The Trump Apocalypse Watch is a subjective daily estimate, using a scale of one to four horsemen, of how likely it is that Donald Trump will be elected president, thus triggering an apocalypse in which we all die.
In 2016, a University of Pennsylvania graduate and New York real estate heir wearing a garment that has traditionally symbolized membership in the deer-hunting, tobacco-chewing rural American working class is actually something that makes perfect sense. What a world!
Anyway, Donald Trump is still doing poorly in the polls. Our danger level stays low.
Trump Brags About “Blacks for Trump” Supporters, Some of Whom Appear to Be White
Donald Trump held a rally in Sanford, Florida, on Tuesday. For the second time in less than two weeks, several Twitter users noted that a woman holding a “Blacks for Trump” sign appeared to be white.
Here’s the photo from Tuesday's rally:
Trump: "I love the signs behind me... blacks for Trump."— Steve Kovach (@stevekovach) October 25, 2016
(Held by a white woman) pic.twitter.com/fHtU0nITS6
And here’s one from a rally in Lakeland, Florida, earlier this month:
My eye keeps coming back to this older white woman holding up a "Blacks for Trump" sign to Trump's left pic.twitter.com/lOdcjQ8wqy— Catherine Thompson (@KT_thomps) October 12, 2016
It’s possible that Trump has a lot of old very, very light-skinned black women supporting him. Or, as CBS suggested of the Lakeland rally, the women could have just picked up a wrong, poorly placed sign. It certainly seems like his team might start wanting to do more advance work with those signs, especially if the candidate himself is going to point them out to brag about his black supporters, who may or may not be white.
Trump notices signs behind him: "Blacks for Trump -- you watch. You watch." pic.twitter.com/UrQO6wPXMe— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) October 25, 2016
Australia Could’ve Fixed a Major Government Website Outage by Turning Router Off and On
For almost two full days in August, a distributed denial of service attack shut down Australia’s 2016 online census system. Now engineers from IBM, the service provider for Australian Bureau of Statistics, admitted the problem could have been prevented if it had turned one of the routers off and on again.
Everyone Wishes the Election Were Over, and That’s a Good Thing, but Also a Bad Thing
The menacing nature of Donald Trump's campaign rallies, his repeated insistence that the election is "rigged" against him, and his suggestions that his supporters travel to monitor potential voter fraud in "certain areas" have raised the possibility that widespread violence could break out on or after Election Day. In August, my colleague Josh Voorhees wrote that Trump was "sowing the seeds for civil unrest." An Oct. 15 Boston Globe article found a number of Trump fans raising the possibility of such unrest approvingly:
“If she’s in office, I hope we can start a coup. She should be in prison or shot. That’s how I feel about it,” Dan Bowman, a 50-year-old contractor, said of Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee. “We’re going to have a revolution and take them out of office if that’s what it takes. There’s going to be a lot of bloodshed. But that’s what it’s going to take. ... I would do whatever I can for my country.”
That's the bad news. The good news: A large majority of Americans, including a large majority of our sizable Republican-American population, aver that they do not want to continue to litigate the outcome of this election after Nov. 8. In fact, they never want to think about this election again. From HuffPo:
An 81 percent majority of Americans say they wish this election were over, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll, with just 12 percent saying they’re enjoying watching things play out. More than three-quarters of people in both parties say they’re ready to move on.
Your mileage may vary, and I can tell you that several of my esteemed Slate colleagues do not understand what I'm on about right now, but: 75 percent of Republicans being "ready to move on" does not read to me like a population primed for civil unrest. (And when I say "civil unrest" I mean riots in multiple cities, organized armed protest, etc.) It reads to me like a population that is ready to sublimate its feelings about this election into apathetic gridlock—aka our national status quo.
Trump has brought hateful extremism into the realm of acceptable public discourse; he has made unconstitutional and un-American policy proposals seem normal; he has legitimized some of the ugliest parts of our politics and encouraged his supporters' most inhumane tendencies. But what he hasn't done is reorganize white-nationalist Americans into a force capable of or interested in creating mass physical disruption. (Trump is actually terrible at organizing things, which is part of the reason he's losing.)
There has been some rioting perpetrated by the nationalist parties in Europe that preceded Trump's rise. In Greece, Golden Dawn supporters took part in riots that were triggered by austerity cutbacks in public spending, while Germany's Pegida rioted over Muslim refugee resettlement. Those riots were a response to a loss or sharing of resources being imposed from above. The last widespread white riots in America were also a response to government-imposed resource sharing—desegregation busing. But in part because of the severe backlash against desegregation efforts, American politics is often reduced to a contest between one party stoking white fears that someone is trying to take their stuff away and another party trying to soothe them. But no one is actually doing any taking. (To wit: Our admission of Muslim refugees is a relatively tiny phenomenon.)
So the relevant precedent indicates that while elections may intensify white resentment, they don't cause violence. (One could note that the Civil War was triggered by an election—but that was because the 1860 campaign was essentially a policy referendum on allowing slavery in U.S. territories.) Is it possible that, after this year's election, there will be sporadic terrorist violence around the country perpetrated by white extremists? Yes—but, unfortunately, that is also the American status quo. Dylann Roof, John Russell Houser, Frazier Glenn Miller, and Robert Lewis Dear didn't need the excuse of a Hillary Clinton presidency to begin shooting strangers. Our political system is currently aligned in a way that rewards the fomentation of anger but makes actual disruptive large-scale redistribution of resources impossible. If that's the Trumpian dystopia you're worried about, you already live in it.
Watch Donald Trump Supporter Marco Rubio Get Booed Offstage by a Crowd of Latino Voters
On Sunday, Marco Rubio attended Calle Orange, an Orlando, Florida, street festival popular among the city’s Puerto Rican community. The Republican senator and former presidential candidate is currently locked in a tight race with Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy and is struggling to capture Latino support. While Florida’s large Cuban American population broadly supports Rubio, who is Cuban American himself, the state’s many Puerto Rican voters skew heavily Democrat. Rubio has further alienated these voters by endorsing Donald Trump, who has referred to Latinos in disparaging terms and favored policies anathema to their community. It’s no surprise, then, when Rubio took the microphone, the heavily Puerto Rican crowd promptly and vigorously booed him offstage:
NPR’s Adrian Florido was on the scene and asked the audience about their reaction. “Latinos might have differences amongst each other, but we're also united as one,” one man said, noting that he resented Rubio endorsing Trump. “And when we have someone like Trump, who hits our Mexican brothers, our Latino brothers, then you jump on that bandwagon after all that stuff he says not only about you personally ... as a Latino, you're a freaking sellout. I would not vote for him if they paid me.”
“He's from the party of Trump,” another audience member told Florido. “I've never belonged to any political party, but this year, I'm inclined toward the Democrats. The little I've seen of Trump and the Republicans and how hard they've made it for immigrants has left me unconvinced with them.”
Florida has long been a critical state on the path to the presidency, and Republicans routinely rely on its Cuban American population to tilt the state red. But Puerto Ricans are set to outnumber Cuban Americans in Florida within four years—and in two incredibly tight races, they may already have the opportunity to tilt the state both against Trump and Rubio.
Start Your NBA Season Off Right With This Remorseless Twitter Burn of Former Warriors Center Andrew Bogut
I was rooting for the Warriors in the Finals and I have no interest in actually getting into the debate over whether "social justice warriors" have caused political correctness to run amok online, but this is a good burn.
Ya burnt, former Golden State Warriors center and current Dallas Mavericks center Andrew Bogut! The NBA season begins Tuesday night.
Does the President of the Philippines Hate America? Depends What Time of Day You Ask Him.
Consistency is not one of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s virtues. On a visit to Japan Tuesday the president declared that the United States would remain the Philippines’ sole military ally, saying, “There should be no worry about changes of alliances. I do not need to have alliances with other nations.”
This is not exactly what he said when visiting Beijing last week, when he told Chinese leaders that “America has lost now. I’ve realigned myself to your ideological flow” and suggested a three-way anti-American alliance between China, Russia, and the Philippines.
It’s also not quite in the spirit of remarks he made at the airport earlier Tuesday morning just as he was boarding the flight to Japan, when he said, addressing the United States, “son of a bitch, do not make us your dogs, as if I am a dog with a leash, and you throw some bread, where I can't reach.”
The U.S. and the Philippines are close military allies, particularly on counterterrorism and anti-drug issues. Until Duterte arrived on the scene, the Philippines had been at odds with China over overlapping territorial claims in the South China Sea, which the U.S is also concerned about. Recently, though, Duterte has been playing down the issues with China. But his problems with America seem less motivated by strategic calculations about his country’s relationship with China than personal animosity.
The bad blood dates back to when Duterte was campaigning for president earlier this year and U.S. Ambassador Philip Goldberg criticized him for joking about the rape of an Australian missionary. Duterte responded by calling Goldberg a “gay son of a whore.” He also called President Obama a “son of a whore,” apparently his go-to insult, for criticizing his bloodthirsty anti-drug policies, which involve empowering police and vigilantes to kill hundreds of drug users and dealers. Duterte’s beef may actually go back even farther: In his remarks at the airport Tuesday morning, Duterte told a story of having once been denied a visa to travel to the United States to visit a girlfriend. Dude holds on to a grudge.
The U.S. seems a little flummoxed about how to deal with Duterte. His own subordinates sometimes seem just as confused. In September, foreign minister Perfecto Yasay denied that Duterte had ordered a halt to joint U.S.-Philippines military exercises, just moments after Duterte had ordered a halt to joint U.S.-Philippines military exercises. (At the moment, it’s unclear whether these operations will continue or not.) After Duterte’s remarks in Beijing, his spokesman Ernesto Abella denied that the Philippines was severing relations with the U.S. and said Duterte was merely hoping to forge an “independent foreign policy.” This hedging prompted White House spokesman Josh Earnest to dub Abella “the Filipino Mike Pence.” Silver lining: At least Hillary Clinton will have some practice dealing with a guy like Duterte by the time she gets into office.
American Bar Association Produces Report Calling Trump a Libel Bully, Censors It Because He’s a Libel Bully
Throughout his career, Donald Trump has consistently threatened his critics with lawsuits in order to silence them—including, just last week, the women who have accused him of sexual assault. Disturbed by this censorial use of the law, the American Bar Association commissioned a report on Trump’s attempts to stifle free expression. (Disclosure: I am a member of the ABA). The result is a comprehensive, thoroughly documented study concluding that Trump is a “libel bully.”
But the ABA refused to publish the report, out of fear that Trump would sue the organization for libel.
As reported by the New York Times, ABA leadership stepped in upon seeing a draft of the report with pleas to tone down its language. James Dimos, the group’s deputy executive director, asked the Forum on Communications Law—the media-law committee that authored the report—to eliminate the “libel bully” label and remove its bite in other ways. Dimos explained that while “we do not believe that [any potential Trump] lawsuit has merit, it is certainly reasonable to attempt to reduce such a likelihood by removing inflammatory language that is unnecessary to further the article’s thesis.” In other words, the ABA shouldn’t call a libel bully a libel bully because the libel bully might sue the ABA for libel.
The committee refused to comply—rightly so, of course—and the ABA declined to publish its work. Charles D. Tobin, a former chairman of the committee,called the ABA’s decision “colossally inappropriate,” slamming the organization for “sponsor[ing] a group of lawyers to study free speech issues” then “censor[ing] their free speech.” George Freeman, another former committee chairman, concurred. “As the guardian of the values of our legal system,” Freeman said, “the A.B.A. should not stop the publication of an article that criticizes people for bringing lawsuits not to win them but to economically squeeze their opponents.”
It Could Cost You $100 to Park in Cleveland Today
Tuesday night, the first game of the World Series will be played in Cleveland, whose Indians haven't won a championship since 1948. (They're facing the Chicago Cubs, who also have a title drought you may have heard about.) Across the street from that game, the Cleveland Cavaliers will be opening the NBA season against the New York Knicks—and receiving their championship rings for winning the 2016 NBA Finals, which was Cleveland's first title victory in any major sport since 1964.
So it's going to be a wild night in Cleveland. And parking prices are apparently rising accordingly.
$100 to park in downtown Cleveland! Truly, wonders never cease.
Justice Department Reportedly Replaces Investigators in Eric Garner Chokehold Case
In a highly unusual move, the Justice Department replaced the team investigating the controversial 2014 death of Eric Garner, the 43-year-old black man who was choked to death on camera by police officers. In 2014, a local grand jury refused to indict the NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo most involved Garner’s death. Since then, the DOJ has been putting together a civil rights case with limited success.
From the New York Times:
Federal authorities have been investigating whether officers violated Mr. Garner’s civil rights in his fatal encounter with the police. But the case had been slowed by a dispute because federal prosecutors and Federal Bureau of Investigation officials in New York opposed bringing charges, while prosecutors with the Civil Rights Division at the Justice Department in Washington argued there was clear evidence to do so… Another complicating factor, according to three federal officials, is that the disagreement between Washington and New York is reflected in the F.B.I. reports, which often become evidence at trial.
In recent weeks, the F.B.I. agents who have been investigating the case were replaced with agents from outside New York, according to five federal officials in New York and Washington. Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn are no longer assigned to the case. It is not clear whether civil rights prosecutors from Washington will work alone in presenting evidence to a grand jury in Brooklyn and in trying the case if charges are eventually brought.
Garner’s death came in the wake of Michael Brown’s shooting death at the hands of police in Ferguson, Missouri. Garner was accused of illegally selling individual cigarettes on the street corner when officers surrounded him and took him to the ground. The incident was recorded on a camera phone; Garner was on the ground screaming “I can’t breathe” when he was killed. The city of New York agreed to a nearly $6 million settlement with the Garner family last year.