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July 28 2016 7:15 PM

We Hereby Nominate Emanuel Cleaver’s “She Won’t Stay Throwed” as HRC’s New Slogan

This was very fun. It might be the most fun moment of the Democratic National Convention. Missouri Rep. Emanuel Cleaver was addressing the convention on Thursday when he went on an animated, righteous riff about Hillary Clinton’s tenacity in the face of adversity.

In it, Cleaver compared Clinton with President Andrew Jackson and baby Jesus, and in the process came up with what I feel should be immediately made Clinton’s new campaign slogan.

The portion of the clip in question begins at around the 1 minute, 55 second mark in the video above when Cleaver starts recounting an “old story about Andrew Jackson as a child.”

Jackson, Cleaver says, used to lose to his friend Jim Brown in wrestling 3 out of 4 times, even though wrestling matches are supposed to be best of 2 out of 3.

In Cleaver’s retelling of a story by a friend of Jackson’s, “Jim would throw old Andy, but he’d get right up because Andy just wouldn’t stay throwed. He wouldn’t stay throwed.”

Cleaver continued, growing more excited.

“Now, the first person in history who wouldn’t stay throwed was a little baby born in Bethlehem of Judea,” he said. "Now that little baby grew up, created a tumult. They put him in a grave and three days later, the world knew he wouldn’t stay throwed.”

Finally, here’s where the Democratic nominee for the presidency and the potential new slogan comes in.

“Now here’s a warning to those who might be tempted to spend the next four years trying to knock Hillary Clinton down. You better get ready for a woman who won’t stay throwed,” Cleaver said as he grew more and more impassioned. “They threw her down as the first lady, but she didn’t stay throwed! They threw her down as a U.S. senator, but she wouldn’t stay throwed! They threw her down as a secretary of state, but she wouldn’t stay throwed! They threw her down in this very campaign—this campaign—but she won’t stay throwed! No, she ain’t gonna’ stay throwed! She won’t stay throwed! She won’t stay throwed!”

Cleaver then left the lectern for a brief second, immediately returned and said this: “You better listen to me—I said she won’t stay throwed!”

If Clinton receives a 10-point polling bump in the next few days, I will attribute it entirely to Cleaver.

July 28 2016 7:06 PM

Today's Trump Apocalypse Watch: Now We Wait

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.

President Obama gave a speech last night at the Democratic National Convention that even many conservatives liked. On the whole, the consensus among media elitists seems to be first three days of the DNC have made an effective case for the Democratic Party's welcoming worldview and for Hillary Clinton's competence and work ethic as a candidate. And Clinton will likely deliver a speech tonight that, even if it's not spectacular or inspirational, will forcefully underline these themes. The question, as Slate's Michelle Goldberg asked today: Will that matter? Will this salesmanship, and Clinton's many policy proposals, be enough to convince undecided voters that she has the "shaking things up" mojo to attack the seemingly intransigient challenges—economic and racial inequality, gun violence, terrorism—that even the "America is already great" camp must admit we are plagued by? That's the big question, especially given that the one thing everyone agrees on is that her opponent will, for better or worse, shake things up if he's elected. And we're still months away from answering it.

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Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Getty Images, Wikimedia Commons

July 28 2016 6:00 PM

Watch Night 4 of the Democratic National Convention Live

After a night of malarkey, dad jokes, and a valedictory appeal to common American decency delivered with aisle-bridging panache by President Obama, the Democratic National Convention reaches its final crescendo on Thursday. Will night 4 deliver a knockout blow to divisions within Democratic ranks and reassure nervous voters headed into the general election that a Trump presidency is far from inevitable?

July 28 2016 4:43 PM

Meanwhile, Donald Trump Did a Q&A Wednesday Night on a Hate Speech Forum

What was Donald Trump doing Wednesday night during the Democratic National Convention? Answering questions from hateful wackjobs on the internet, obviously. Wednesday night Trump conducted a Reddit "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) interview, but it wasn't held on the popular message board site's IAmA "subreddit" forum*—it was on a subreddit called The_Donald which, to use Vice's description, is characterized by a "broken-record style of ranting and raving about Muslims, Mexicans, Black Lives Matter, Social Justice Warriors, Hillary Clinton conspiracies, Reddit censorship, and little else." The_Donald's moderators even set up special rules to make sure that Trump didn't field any questions from people who weren't already Trump supporters.

Trump ultimately took questions from 12 users: trexroarroar, platypapaya, bka1, yiannopoulos_m, davidg1996, PM-ME-UR-BEST-PHOTO, likethisandlikethat, triopat, oldie101, GodEmperorDonald (lol), iamaAMAfan (who asked if Trump is "getting tired of winning") (answer: no), and shadow6463.

Yiannopoulos_m is Milo Yiannopoulos, the notorious "alt-right" hate-speech idiot and anti-Semitic troll. Here are some of the things the less famous users that Trump took questions from have posted on Reddit.

Homophobia:

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Screenshot/Reddit

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Screenshot/Reddit

Sexism:

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A reference to Peyton Manning's accuser as a "little whore":

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Screenshot/Reddit

A comparison of "clock kid" Ahmed Mohamed to the Nice, France, terrorist Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel:

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Screen shot/Reddit

A reference to multiracial Daily Show host Trevor Noah as "filth from South Africa":

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Screenshot/Reddit

A reference to Black Lives Matter protests as "chimp outs":

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Screenshot/Reddit

A reference to attorney general Loretta Lynch as "cock suckin Lynch":

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Screenshot/Reddit

Again, those are just the individuals Trump took questions from; compiled here are some of the other egregious posts (by other users) that have appeared on The_Donald: one that asserts "race mixing is unhealthy" and claims Nazis had high IQs, another about racial separatism, one about race war, one about the "Jewish influence" in America, and on and on.

To be clear, every candidate has supporters who make extreme and offensive statements. But this isn't a case of the Trump campaign happening to interact with extremists. This was intentional outreach to a forum that was already known to be characterized by hate speech and that went out of its way to block other Reddit users from participating in its event.

After every time something like this happens—i.e. the Trump campaign engages with white supremacists—Trump and his craven apologists insist that Trump himself isn't racist and can't be held accountable for the views of some of his fans. But if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck and holds exclusive Q&As on sewer forums for racist ducks, isn't it just a goddamn duck?

*Correction, July 28, 2016: This post originally misstated that Reddit AMAs are usually held on its "AMA page"; public figures' AMAs are typically held on the IAmA subreddit.

July 28 2016 4:18 PM

The Freddie Gray Case Proves That Prosecutors Can’t Be the Enforcers of Police Reform

In a press conference Thursday morning, the two lead prosecutors on the Freddie Gray case, Michael Schatzow and Janice Bledsoe, spoke publicly for the first time about their efforts to convict six Baltimore police officers in connection with Gray’s death. Their comments came one day after Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby dropped all charges against the officers, concluding that her office had no chance of achieving a successful prosecution in any of the upcoming trials.

Most of the questions Schatzow and Bledsoe addressed were about the particulars of their investigation, and what Mosby on Wednesday had called a deliberate effort on the part of the Baltimore Police Department to thwart the prosecution. But just before the press conference concluded, Schatzow took a question that went to the heart of why so many people around the country—including Black Lives Matter activists and law enforcement loyalists—are feeling as though the year-long legal process that ended Wednesday has been a failure.

“People feel that justice wasn’t done on either side here,” said the reporter who asked the question. “That justice wasn’t served for Freddie Gray’s family or for the police, and in the end we don’t know exactly what happened to Freddie Gray. Can you address that?"

Schatzow’s answer began with a statement implying that the police officers who interacted with Gray before his death had not been completely honest: “We can’t know what happened to Freddie Gray unless the people involved tell us what happened to Freddie Gray.” While those people had told the prosecutors “some things,” Schatzow said—maybe even “everything they know”—it was not enough to establish a definitive narrative.

But Schatzow rightly took the reporter’s question to be about more than the facts of the case—that what she really wanted him to talk about was why the criminal justice system had failed to bring about the kind of closure that people tend to look for in trials, and who was responsible for that failure.

Here’s what Schatzow said:

A trial is not about answering broad questions. A trial is focused on whether the state can prove beyond a reasonable doubt the guilt of the defendant who is charged. A trial may not be the best vehicle to determine broad questions of public policy; broad questions of what the law should be; broad questions, in this case, of how the police should police; or how citizens should interact with the police. A criminal trial may not be the best place to do that.

This reply could be seen as a deflection, and maybe it is. But it also gets at a frustrating truth about how acts of fatal police misconduct have tended to be processed and discussed in press coverage and social media over the past several years.

Too often, it seems like the first and last question we ask when we hear about cases like that of Freddie Gray, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, and Akai Gurley is whether the officer responsible for causing the victim’s death will be charged with a crime and sent to prison. On one hand this makes sense: One of the foundational arguments behind the movement for police reform is that police officers should be held to the same standards as the rest of us and that when they commit crimes, they should be vigorously prosecuted. The fact that police officers almost never face criminal sanctions when they kill people is proof that the system is rigged, and that the lives being lost matter less in the eyes of the law than a desire to protect cops from consequences.

It’s natural, in other words, to be focused on the issue of punishment when it seems like a police officer has done something wrong. But what the tortured prosecution of the Freddie Gray cops proves—and Schatzow’s comments underscore—is that the justice system alone cannot bear the burden of advancing the cause of police reform. As intuitive as it feels to look to the courts to establish the difference between good law enforcement and bad, the fact that every case is tried on its own merits—and cannot justly be decided with an eye toward the broader social implications of the outcome—means that police prosecutions should not be freighted with all the expectations we often bring to them.

Put another way, the systemic problem of violent, careless behavior by police officers cannot be addressed merely by charging individual cops with crimes, even if, in some cases, justice demands it.

Critics of Marilyn Mosby, Schatzow’s boss, have accused her of rushing to charge the six officers in the Freddie Gray case in order to send a political message—that the spirit driving her to indict was more about a general belief about holding police responsible for misconduct than it was about the actions of these particular officers. Schatzow’s comments at Thursday’s press conference were an implicit rejection of that diagnosis—an assurance that he and his team never saw their duty in these cases as being about advancing a social justice agenda, or a matter of providing satisfaction to people who hold certain beliefs about American law enforcement.

There are those who would say that advancing a social justice agenda is exactly what a prosecutor is paid to do, one case at a time. But the point of Schatzow’s remarks Thursday was that trials are not designed to be used as vehicles for activism or reform, and courtrooms should not be seen as the primary arena in which our society deals with the crisis in policing. No, there is nothing wrong or naïve about wanting bad police officers to answer for their misdeeds. But to allow the debate around curbing misconduct to become completely focused on putting cops behind bars risks entrusting the imperative for change to a system that is ill-equipped to deliver on it.

July 28 2016 4:05 PM

The DNC Has Been a Rousing Success. So Why Am I Terrified?

PHILADELPHIA—The Democratic National Convention has been far better produced than the Republican one. There have been soaring, electrifying speeches. Michelle Obama was show-stopping. Joe Biden’s performance was charming, folksy, and combative, the distilled essence of everything Democrats love about him. Michael Bloomberg offered the perfect backhanded endorsement for wavering moderates: “Let’s elect a sane, competent person.” Barack Obama was elegant and inspiring, the starkest possible contrast to Donald Trump. The star power, including performances by Alicia Keys and Lenny Kravitz, vastly outshone the sad crew of C-list soap stars and sitcom has-beens who appeared at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

Yet as I walked around Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center—usually teeming with people, unlike Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena—I was sick with dread. Each day brought news that Trump had overtaken Clinton in at least some polls; on Thursday morning, Nate Silver published a piece at FiveThirtyEight titled, “Election Update: Why Our Model Is Bullish on Trump, for Now.” Silver now gives him a 40 percent chance of winning the election. Yes, I know that Trump had a convention bounce and that Clinton will likely pull back ahead next week. All the same, here was the cream of the American meritocracy, as well as heroic progressive figures like Bernie Sanders and the Mothers of the Movement, uniting behind Clinton. It couldn’t be more different from the chaotic and apocalyptic scene in Cleveland. And still, the election is close.

One of the unofficial slogans of this election, at least among the green room flotsam and millennial ironists on Twitter, is “nothing matters.” It’s an expression of weary incredulity at each new Trumpian outrage that should be the end of him but isn’t. This election isn’t a contest of ideology. It’s certainly not about experience or competence. It’s being fought at the level of deep, unconscious, Freudian drives. Trump promises law and order, but he is the Thanatos candidate, appealing to the people so disgusted by the American status quo that they’re willing to blow it up. Clinton is the candidate of dull, workmanlike order and continuity. She once described herself as a “mind conservative and a heart liberal,” but her convention has almost been the opposite, with the most liberal platform in decades married to a show of sunny, orderly patriotism. “America is already great!” is as anti-radical slogan as can be imagined. The question in this election is whether the forces of stability are a match for those of cynical nihilism. This convention has been, for the most part, impeccably choreographed. Will it matter? Will anything?

July 28 2016 3:09 PM

Do Democrats and Republicans Brag Differently During Their Convention Roll Calls?

The Democratic and Republican national conventions may be about the collective future of the country, but the convention-hall hush as delegations throw their support to presidential candidates briefly spotlights the individual states, territories, and districts that comprise it. Most treat their few seconds of fame like a soapbox, a pulpit from which to proclaim something good about themselves. Last week, Slate brought you its definitive ranking of roll-call brags by GOP delegates to the RNC in Cleveland (our winner? Connecticut, the Pez-manufacturing capitol of the union “where men are men and the women are champions.”)

July 28 2016 2:59 PM

Donald Trump Hates Immigrant Labor, Except When It Saves Him Money

Donald Trump hates illegal immigration. He calls illegal immigrants criminals and rapists. He wants to build a wall to keep illegal immigrants out and deport millions and millions of undocumented immigrants who are already here. “They’re taking our jobs. They’re taking our manufacturing jobs. They’re taking our money. They’re killing us," Trump has said of immigrant labor. He hates illegal immigration. He hates it.

Also, though, Donald Trump is a successful businessman. And to be so, it seems as though he has to rely upon immigrant labor on a not irregular basis.

For example, Trump Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, has relied for years on foreign workers coming in on temporary visas. Trump has brought in these employees for at least 15 years, because he says he can’t find qualified American workers for the same jobs.

As CNN reported earlier this year, between 2013 and 2015 Mar-a-Lago posted 250 seasonal job openings. Of those, 246 went to foreign workers and four went to Americans.

Now that Trump has based a good deal of his presidential bid on hating illegal immigration and the labor force that comes with it, though, will that reliance on foreign labor change in 2016? No, no it will not.

BuzzFeed reported on Wednesday that Mar-a-Lago Club and the nearby Trump National Golf Club, Jupiter, are seeking to fill 78 server, housekeeper, and cook positions with foreign laborers under H-2 guest worker visa applications because Trump's organizations claim they couldn’t find Americans to do the work.

Just since his presidential run began a little more than a year ago, in fact, BuzzFeed reports that Trump has gotten permission from the Labor Department to hire 149 other foreign guest workers, again under the auspices that there aren’t enough qualified American workers available to do the jobs.

Why is it so hard to find a qualified American cook, housekeeper, or server in southern Florida? Trump’s businesses argue that these are temporary jobs and that American workers are looking for something more permanent.

Reporting has shown that there are at least some such workers in existence in southern Florida, though. BuzzFeed, for example, spoke to Tom Veenstra, a senior director at Palm Beach’s career services center, who said that his agency has a database of 1,327 Palm Beach County residents interested in server, cook, and chef positions. Veenstra has said in the past that “we have hundreds of qualified applicants for jobs like those” for which Trump is hiring.

Mar-a-Lago has only used his agency once, though, to fill just one position. In the past, the resort has done “the bare minimum required by law” to attempt to fill these jobs with American workers before seeking foreign visas, CNN reported in March.

So if there are American workers who want these jobs and there is more that Donald Trump—who has billed himself as the great champion of American workers—can do to find and hire these people, why hasn’t he?

One possible answer comes from David Seminara, a fellow with the Center for Immigration Studies. In a February article originally published by CIS and then republished in National Review, Seminara explained the appeal of importing foreign workers this way:

I wrote an in-depth report on H-2Bs in 2010, and I interviewed many H-2B visa applicants as a Foreign Service officer. The H-2B program is more or less despised by both sides of the immigration debate. The human-rights community considers the program legalized slavery, and those who advocate stricter immigration enforcement believe that H-2B workers contribute to unemployment and wage stagnation for U.S. workers. But the business community loves this program because it brings them cheap, reliable labor—people who can’t quit or demand better working conditions.

Seminara is not the only person to describe these employees this way. “You almost have them as indentured servants,” Danny Fontenot, the director of the hospitality program at Palm Beach State College, told the New York Times in February. “And they affect everyone else’s wages. You can make a lot of money by never having to give your employees raises.”

So, shockingly, it turns out there is possibly something that Donald Trump cares about more than helping the American worker: That is finding the cheapest and easiest possible labor for Donald Trump. Maybe that will all change, though, once he’s in the White House.

July 28 2016 12:18 PM

Trump Says His Russia Comments Were a Joke. He Always Lies Like This.

Donald Trump says he was just being “sarcastic” when he asked Russia to conduct cyberespionage against his political opponent on Wednesday. “Of course, I was being sarcastic,” Trump told Fox News Wednesday night about his much-discussed request. “And frankly, they don’t even know if it’s Russia, if it’s China, if it’s someone else. Who knows who it is.”

Here, again, is the quote that got Trump in trouble in the first place: “Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing,” the GOP nominee said, referring to those messages that Hillary Clinton deemed personal and deleted from her private server before turning over her State Department emails for archiving. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press. Let's see if that happens. That will be next.”

Haha! Ha … ha? Wait, I don’t get it.

The fact Trump felt the need to clean up after himself at all is somewhat surprising, and is indicative of just how swift and strong the bipartisan backlash was on this one. The celebrity businessman prides himself on never apologizing or admitting a mistake, and while he isn’t doing either here, his explanation is the closest thing to a clear-cut no-that’s-not-my-position clarification we’ve seen from the man in some time. More often, Trump barrels ahead into controversies of his own making for a few days without providing the least bit of clarity on the situation before ultimately deciding that he either never said what he said in the first place, or that he didn’t mean what everyone heard.

To pick but a few examples from many, that’s more or less what he did after: inciting violence at his political rallies; suggesting that women who have abortions should be “punished”; and saying that, under his watch, the United States wouldn’t automatically come to the aid of its NATO allies. It’s a similar script this time around; he’s just reading from it a little faster.

If his comment about Russian hackers really was intended as a joke, it clearly missed. His own campaign didn’t even seem to grasp it in the moment. Shortly after Trump spoke, his team scrambled to do damage control by claiming that the candidate wasn’t specifically “calling on anyone to intervene,” as one senior aide put it to NBC News, only for anyone who already had the Clinton emails to turn them over to authorities—a reading that clearly didn’t line up with Trump’s actual words, joking or not. If Trump’s sense of humor was lost on his own team, it’s hard to imagine that it wasn’t also lost in translation when word arrived at the Kremlin.

Trump wasn’t joking or being sarcastic; he was just being Trump. He was speaking without thinking and didn’t grasp the full implications of what he was saying in the moment or even its immediate aftermath. It’s possible that now that enough people have explained the situation to him, he understands the danger of calling on a geopolitical rival to conduct cyberespionage against your political opponent. That, though, should make us all sleep only marginally better given this time next year there is a legitimate chance this man could be performing his belligerent and ill-informed improv in the White House.

July 28 2016 10:58 AM

Anonymous Trump Goon Bars Reporter in Latest Incident of Press Suppression

An anonymous security goon at a Mike Pence rally took the Donald Trump campaign’s efforts to stifle a free press to a new low on Wednesday.

The Washington Post reported that reporter Jose A. DelReal was banned from entering the event at the Waukesha County Exposition Center outside Milwaukee after a security official, who refused to give his name, had him patted down by police for a cellphone that wasn’t there. The newspaper has been blacklisted from receiving credentials by the Trump campaign but has continued to cover his events by attending via general admission.

First, DelReal was rejected for a credential and was denied entry through the press table, which would adhere to Trump’s despicable policy of First Amendment suppression of media outlets he doesn’t like.

But that suppression was taken to a new level when DelReal attempted to enter via general admission. First, a private security official told him he couldn’t enter with his laptop and cellphone.

In the past, the Trump general admission policy has been this: “No posters, banners, or signs may be brought into the event. There is no dress code. No professional cameras with a detachable lens are permitted. No tripods, monopods, selfie sticks, or GoPros. ID is not required for entry.” Cellphones are not on the list.

DelReal said he asked the security official if others were allowed to enter with cellphones and the official responded, “Not if they work for the Washington Post.”

When the reporter returned without his cellphone or computer, the security official called over county sheriff’s office Deputy John Lappley and Capt. Michelle Larsuel to pat him down and search for the phone. When the sheriff’s deputies didn’t find a phone, the security official then denied DelReal entry anyway.

“He said, ‘I don’t want you here. You have to go,’ ” DelReal told the Post.

“The security person wouldn’t give his name when DelReal asked him to identify himself,” the Post reported. “He also denied DelReal’s request to speak to a campaign press representative as he escorted the journalist out.”

The Post is one of about a dozen organizations that have been banned by the Trump campaign.

“First, press credentials for the Washington Post were revoked by Donald Trump,” Post executive editor Martin Baron told the paper. “Now, law enforcement officers, in collusion with private security officials, subjected a reporter to bullying treatment that no ordinary citizen has to endure. All of this took place in a public facility no less. The harassment of an independent press isn’t coming to an end. It’s getting worse.”

Pence press secretary Marc Lotter issued a statement saying, “Our events are open to everyone, and we are looking into the alleged incident.”

One official from the Pence campaign blamed the incident on an overzealous volunteer. “It sounds like they misinterpreted what they were supposed to be doing,” the official told the Post. “This is not our policy.”

But the incident fits perfectly into a larger pattern of retribution against press outlets he doesn’t like by Donald Trump.

He said in February that as president he wanted to make libel laws more stringenta power he wouldn’t legally have, except perhaps through Supreme Court appointments that changed First Amendment interpretation.

“I'm going to open up our libel laws so when they write purposely negative and horrible and false articles, we can sue them and win lots of money,” Trump said at the time. During that speech he promised “problems” for disliked members of the press if he were to win the White House.

"Believe me, if I become president, oh, do they have problems," Trump said of these media members. "They're going to have such problems."

Trump has taken a particular hard line with the Post, saying that owner Jeff Bezos had “antitrust” issues with his company Amazon and alleging that Bezos was using the newspaper to influence tax policy for his company’s benefits. The implication seemed to be that Trump would go after Bezos, Amazon, and the Post if he were president, and the reason seemed specifically to be the Post’s negative coverage.

“Every hour we’re getting calls from reporters from the Washington Post asking ridiculous questions and I will tell you, this is owned as a toy by Jeff Bezos, who controls Amazon,” Trump said at the time.

Whether or not this latest incident was an actual policy of the campaign, it fits in perfectly with the candidate’s authoritarian instincts to try to stifle a free and critical press.

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