Colin Powell Endorses Hillary
Retired Gen. and former Secretary of State Colin Powell has joined a long list of prominent old-school Republicans who've endorsed Hillary Clinton's candidacy, announcing at an event in New York on Tuesday that he will be voting Democratic this year. From Newsday:
“She is smart. She is capable. She was a good secretary of state,” Powell said. “She is balanced, she has temperament, and no matter what anyone says she’s got stamina. ... I think she is fully qualified to serve as the president of the United States and I think she will serve it with distinction.”
Powell was also heavily critical of Donald Trump, who he'd also slammed as "a national disgrace" in private emails that were hacked and leaked earlier this year. (Lot of hacking in this cycle!) Said Powell of Trump on Tuesday: “He insults us every day.”
The Powell hack also included criticism of Clinton's handling of her private email scandal. Wrote Powell to a Democratic donor on the subject: "Everything HRC touches she kind of screws up with hubris." (Powell resented Clinton's efforts to downplay her use of a personal server by pointing out that Powell has also admitted to conducting official State Department business using a personal email address.)
Newt Gingrich Goes on Megyn Kelly’s Show, Accuses Her of Being “Fascinated With Sex”
Former speaker of the House, and born-again Donald Trump true believer, Newt Gingrich went on Fox News on Tuesday night to speak to Megyn Kelly. The underlying thesis Newt was peddling was: “The next two weeks are a contest of two parallel universes.” Sounds about right. Gingrich then went on to describe the totally real universe that he and a couple other guys live in where everything is a lie and Donald Trump is winning. The gaslighting continues, this time with a Gingrich aftertaste.
The interview didn’t shed much light on much of anything that we didn’t already know, but at one point, Gingrich accused Kelly of “being fascinated with sex!” The conversation started off about polling (yawn) and Gingrich’s dual-universe theory (ick) and somehow ended up, well, here.
To the transcript!
(The back-and-forth starts with Kelly recounting the sexual assault allegations against Trump and the possibility that he’s a sexual predator.)
Newt: You want to go back through the tapes of your show recently. You are fascinated with sex and you don’t care about public policy.
Kelly: Me, really?
Newt: That’s what I get out of watching you tonight.
Kelly: You know what Mr. Speaker, I’m not fascinated by sex, but I am fascinated by the protection of woman and understanding what we’re getting in the Oval Office and I think the American voters would like to know …
There does not appear to be any head-to-head polling on sex vs. public policy, in either universe.
The Republican Nominee, Astonishingly, Has Given Up Fundraising for the Ticket and Party He Leads
The Washington Post snagged this astonishing, sign-of-the-times scoop Tuesday night: Donald Trump, the Republican candidate for president and de facto leader of the party, and his campaign have stopped fundraising for the Republican National Committee. In fact, Trump Victory, the joint fundraising committee for the party and the campaign, held its last formal fundraiser on Oct. 19, nearly three weeks before the election, the campaign’s national finance chairman, Steven Mnuchin, told the Post. “We’ve kind of wound down,” Mnuchin said in reference to formal fundraisers. “But the online fundraising continues to be strong.” (Update, 11:45 p.m.: The Trump campaign issued this statement from spokesman Jason Miller in response to the reporting on its fundraising, “All fundraising, large and small including our Victory effort, will continue through the end of the election.”)
Just, kinda, wound down? Wound down trying to win? It seems pretty clear, if it wasn’t clear already, that both sides—the GOP and the Trump campaign—have given up on each other. Trump never appeared to care about building a governing majority, or governing in general, so it doesn’t seem like much of a shock that raising money for the GOP party apparatus wasn’t his bag. And, in fairness to Trump, his entire campaign was based on sticking it to the party apparatus, so giving big sums of money to Trump wasn't exactly traditional GOP donors' bag either. In the end, the big ticket fundraisers also likely wound down because there weren't many more funds to raise. Either way, from a party perspective, this could be a (the latest?) death knell, certainly for Trump, but likely for many Republican candidates in tight races up and down the ballot.
“The consequences of halting major fundraisers will compound the challenges facing a candidate and a party already straining to match Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s much larger and better-financed operation,” the Post notes. “Unlike Clinton, who has an extensive turnout operation of her own, Trump and many other GOP candidates down the ballot are relying heavily on the Republican National Committee to bring voters to the polls.”
By contrast, the Clinton campaign has 41 fundraising events lined up between now and Election Day, accord to the Post.* Hillary Clinton’s last fundraising gig will be Tuesday night, but the campaign still has dozens and dozens more lined up featuring other high-profile surrogates. Clinton has also been reportedly weighing her strategic options when it comes to redirecting funds to bolster Democratic candidates in tight races. Obama has also been on the road trying to take advantage of the GOP's top of the ticket weakness to pick off some congressional districts and Senate races that weren't considered winnable previously.
*Update, Oct. 25, 2016: This sentence was updated to make more clear that the Clinton campaign has 41 fundraisers remaining, not Clinton herself.
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.