Election Campaign 2016: Democrats

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democrat-donkeyThe Democratic Donkey and the Republican Elephant
Ever wondered what the story was behind these two famous party animals?
The now-famous Democratic donkey was first associated with Democrat Andrew Jackson’s 1828 presidential campaign. His opponents called him a jackass (a donkey), and Jackson decided to use the image of the strong-willed animal on his campaign posters. Later, cartoonist Thomas Nast used the Democratic donkey in newspaper cartoons and made the symbol famous.

FiveThirtyEight: On A Scale From 1 To 10, How Much Should Democrats Panic?
It’s uncertain, in part, because of the risk of a popular vote-Electoral College split. And, in part, because there are various reasons to think polling error could be high this year, such as the number of undecided voters.
You can see those forces at play in the recent tightening. Clinton hasn’t really declined very much in these latest polls. But she was at only 46 percent in national polls, and that left a little bit of wiggle room for Trump.
If we start to see Clinton creep up to 47 percent or 48 percent, Democrats can begin to panic less.
Harsh, but more than a little truth
Winner but for Weiners
How lecherous men could ruin Clinton’s path to the presidency.
(Slate) Now, it seems possible that the first woman to beat back a lifetime of sexist attacks all the way to the door of the Oval Office might be thwarted in the final push by the misogyny and sexual predations of three lecherous men.
29 October
Clinton Slams FBI Chief James Comey’s Email Probe as ‘Deeply Troubling’
(NBC) Comey’s extraordinary move Friday — a week and a half before the Nov. 8 election — sparked a political firestorm.
“It’s pretty strange to put something like that out with such little information right before an election,” Clinton said to huge cheers inside a small community center gymnasium. “In fact, it’s not just strange, it’s unprecedented and it is deeply troubling.”
James Comey fails to follow Justice Department rules yet again
This entire episode has exposed a troubling character flaw that calls into question Comey’s very fitness to lead the FBI. He is without a doubt an outstanding lawyer and public servant. But as he has carefully nurtured his reputation for independence and integrity, he seems to have become intoxicated by the plaudits that have come his way. That praise has emboldened him to ignore the rules that apply to others, both because he believes in his own reputation and because he wants to thwart critics such as Republicans in Congress who might question it.
FBI’s Comey Feeds Election Mistrust
(Bloomberg) Comey is now mistrusted and despised on all sides. The institution he leads is similarly mistrusted. The FBI is in disrepute. The fairness of the election is broadly in doubt. Comey should have known that you cannot appease rage, or reason with a fever dream.
28 October
The Atlantic: A Scandal Revived: FBI director James Comey shocked the political world today when he announced in a letter to lawmakers that the bureau would be investigating another, unspecified set of emails related to Hillary Clinton’s use of a private server. In the confusion that followed the announcement, U.S. stocks took a nosedive, though they had partially recovered within a few hours. Eventually, reports revealed that the emails in question had been found in the investigation of Anthony Weiner’s sexting. How will this new episode of Clinton’s ongoing believability problem affect the election that’s just 11 days away? You can read a full primer on the email scandal here. (Very complete) And if you’re exhausted by the Clinton drama, you’re not alone: Even the world’s dictators think this election is a mess.
Doug Saunders: Clinton’s e-mails reveal a deal maker, for good or bad
(Globe & Mail) There is nothing very innocent or free from compromise and equivocation in the Clinton universe – it is old-school, bare-knuckle politics – but there is also not, so far as anyone has been able to find, any evidence of personal corruption on her part, of anti-democratic manipulation on the part of her organizations, or of private and secret agendas that differ from her public and stated agendas and principles.
What you will find, in great droves, are conflicts of interest. Ms. Clinton crosses boundaries between private and public sectors, charity and politics, personal and political with very little interest in such distinctions.
Media Freak Out At FBI Letter, Disregard Facts And Run With GOP’s False Description Of Clinton Email Review
(Media Matters) Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) claimed that a letter from FBI Director James Comey indicated that the FBI had “reopened” its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server as secretary of state, triggering a media firestorm. But Comey’s letter says no such thing, and according to CBS News, it’s “premature” and “going too far” to say the investigation has been “reopened.”
Chaffetz’s spin has triggered an avalanche of breathless coverage. Many news outlets quickly reported that the FBI had “reopened” their investigation, including Politico, Fox News, NPR, USA Today, among others. All three cable news networks have covered the story non-stop since it broke, often adopting the “re-opening” framing and suggesting the news is a major election bombshell. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump himself subsequently echoed that language, adding that Clinton’s actions were “worse than Watergate.”
27 October
Hacked emails show Clinton aides surprised at 2015 email revelations
(Reuters) Two aides in charge of running Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign were taken aback as news broke in March 2015 of Clinton’s use of private email for her work as U.S. secretary of state, according to stolen emails published on Thursday by WikiLeaks.
Many voters have pointed to the unauthorized email system, which stymied attempts by the public to seek Clinton’s emails through open-records laws, as a reason they find Clinton untrustworthy.
26 October
Donations to Foundation Vexed Hillary Clinton’s Aides, Emails Show
(NYT) In the years before Hillary Clinton announced she would run again for president, her top aides expressed profound concerns in internal emails about how foreign donations to the Clinton Foundation and Bill Clinton’s own moneymaking ventures would affect Mrs. Clinton’s political future.
The emails, which came from the account of John D. Podesta, who had a leadership role at the foundation and is now Mrs. Clinton’s campaign chairman, have not contained evidence to support Republican contentions that Mrs. Clinton performed any favors for foundation donors.
But they do show pronounced worries among the Clintons’ closest advisers about the millions of dollars coming into the foundation, and to Mr. Clinton personally, and how they could inoculate Mrs. Clinton from criticism over it.
25 October
Liberals Hope Elizabeth Warren Will Serve as Clinton’s Scrutinizer in Chief
(NYT) Mrs. Clinton has vowed that if elected she will work across the aisle with congressional Republicans, but relations with liberals, including Ms. Warren of Massachusetts and Senators Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Sherrod Brown of Ohio, could prove quite contentious.
Mrs. Clinton won over many liberals when she adopted Mr. Sanders’s plan for free in-state college tuition for middle-class families and when she turned against the Trans-Pacific Partnership, Mr. Obama’s 12-nation trade pact. On Monday, Mrs. Clinton said she looked forward to “working with” Ms. Warren “to rewrite the rules of our economy.”
But many on the left remain skeptical of whether Mrs. Clinton would push liberal policies or adopt a more centrist agenda, like that of her husband.
“I’m going to vote for Hillary Clinton on Nov. 8 — and on Nov. 9, I am going to demand the platform we wrote be implemented,” said Jonathan Tasini, a labor activist who challenged Mrs. Clinton for her Senate seat in New York in 2006 and supported Mr. Sanders in the primary.
24 October
Matt Stoller on how the Democratic Party changed after Watergate:
How Democrats Killed Their Populist Soul
(The Atlantic) In the 1970s, a new wave of post-Watergate liberals stopped fighting monopoly power. The result is an increasingly dangerous political system.
Over the next 40 years, this Democratic generation fundamentally altered American politics. They restructured “campaign finance, party nominations, government transparency, and congressional organization.” They took on domestic violence, homophobia, discrimination against the disabled, and sexual harassment. They jettisoned many racially and culturally authoritarian traditions. They produced Bill Clinton’s presidency directly, and in many ways, they shaped President Barack Obama’s.
The result today is a paradox. At the same time that the nation has achieved perhaps the most tolerant culture in U.S. history, the destruction of the anti-monopoly and anti-bank tradition in the Democratic Party has also cleared the way for the greatest concentration of economic power in a century. This is not what the Watergate Babies intended when they dethroned [Wright] Patman as chairman of the Banking Committee. But it helped lead them down that path. The story of Patman’s ousting is part of the larger story of how the Democratic Party helped to create today’s shockingly disillusioned and sullen public, a large chunk of whom is now marching for Donald Trump.
23 October
Daily Kos: The New Yorker’s Excellent Endorsement Of Hillary Clinton
As endorsements go, this one is hardly unexpected. The New Yorker  has provided some of the most insightful coverage of this election, including the single most important piece of analysis written thus far (IMO). That said, their endorsement of Hillary Clinton today is particularly discerning:
The New Yorker Endorses Hillary Clinton
The election of Hillary Clinton is an event that we would welcome for its historical importance, and greet with indescribable relief.
17 October
Paul Ryan: If Republicans Lose the Senate, Bernie Sanders Wins
The house speaker knows that if the GOP loses seats in Congress, Bernie Sanders could become the Senate Budget Committee Chairperson.
(The Nation) The senator from Vermont is the ranking member of the budget committee, and if Democrats gain control of the chamber on November 8, he would be in line to chair it. But Sanders could also end up chairing the powerful Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, which he could use to advance many of the proposals (for affordable college, empowering unions, and investing in public-health programs) that made his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination so popular.
The final list of committee assignments will be influenced by the choices of senior senators, such as Washington’s Patty Murray. “There’s lots of individual choices ahead, of people who are senior to Bernie,” says Senator Charles Schumer of New York, who is set to replace retiring Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada. Yet Schumer says of Sanders, “He will chair a significant committee if we win the majority.’’
Clinton Shifts Message as She Eyes Congressional Takeover
(NBC) Should Democrats use Donald Trump against other Republicans or use other Republicans against Trump?
That question is dividing Democrats this year, as Hillary Clinton’s campaign has sought to drive a wedge between Trump as the GOP standard bearer at the same time Democrats in down ballot races have been more interested in chaining the unpopular Trump to their Republican opponents.
Now, with Trump underwater in almost every poll and Republicans retreating from him, Clinton’s campaign and its surrogates are aligning their own message with that of down-ballot Democrats.
… The pivot is a sign that Clinton is confident enough in her own prospects to start thinking about what comes after Nov. 8, when she’ll need a friendly Senate to approve her nominees, and would like to help Democrats make inroads in the House. Her advisers feel they’ve made Trump as radioactive as possible, so now is the time to use him against his colleagues.
Clinton’s campaign will still try to make moderate Republican voters feel comfortable supporting her, an aide said, but the summer’s attempt to persuade undecided voters to come her way has been superseded by the fall’s need to mobilize the base.
Clinton Haters and Lovers Feel Vindicated By WikiLeaks
There’s something for everyone in the 12,073 released pages of John Podesta emails.
Now into its second week, WikiLeaks’ daily releases of emails — allegedly stolen by Russian hackers from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair personal account — are confirming what everyone thought they knew about Hillary Clinton.
For Donald Trump fans, they show the Democratic nominee is corrupt; for Bernie or Busters they show she’s beholden to Wall Street; for Clinton supporters, they show she’s as thoughtful and substantive in private as in public.
For everyone else, there’s an unprecedented look inside a powerful political network, with all its messy complexities and contradictions, thanks to what will likely become a seminal primary source for students of political campaigns for years to come.
WikiLeaks is still sitting on over 50,000, which means they could keep dribbling them out at the current pace every day until Election Day and still have some left over.
If nothing else, the constant drip is a distraction — and the possibility of some explosive revelation yet to come will haunt the closing 22 days of the campaign.
14 October
Shields and Brooks on Clinton leaked email insights
DAVID BROOKS: Well, I was shocked to how boring it was. Usually, if you’re in the height of campaign, they are setting up private e-mails, ripping into so-and-so.
… You know, they’re saying like Bill de Blasio, the mayor of New York, is kind of annoying and overbearing and Governor Richardson from New Mexico can be a bad guy or sort of pain in the rear.
But by the standard of what I expected, to get the inside of a campaign, it’s pretty mild. I think Clinton people should be lot more imaginative.
MARK SHIELDS: I think, Judy, if there weren’t what’s going on with Donald Trump’s campaign, I think it would be a big story. I think it’s hard to make the case reading those e-mails that Hillary Clinton is a candidate of change. She’s very much an establishment candidate. She’s a status quo candidate.
Paul Krugman: The Clinton Agenda
Things will be quite different if Democrats retake the Senate. Poll-based models give this outcome only around a 50-50 chance, but people betting on the election give it much better odds, two or three to one.
Now, even a Democratic Senate wouldn’t enable Mrs. Clinton to pass legislation in the face of an implacably obstructionist Republican majority in the House. It would, however, allow her to fill the Supreme Court seat left vacant by the death of Antonin Scalia.
Doing that would have huge consequences, for environmental policy in particular. In his final years in office, President Obama has made a major environmental push using his regulatory powers … the most important piece of his push — the Clean Power Plan, which would greatly reduce greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants — is currently on hold, thanks to a stay imposed by the Supreme Court. Democratic capture of the Senate would remove this roadblock.
And bear in mind that climate change is by far the most important issue facing America and the world, even if the people selecting questions for the presidential debates for some reason refuse to bring it up.
11 October
Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Strained to Hone Her Message, Hacked Emails Show
[The emails] show a candidacy that began expecting a coronation and was thrown badly off course by a misreading of the electorate and a struggle to define what she stood for.
Stretching over nine years, but drawn mainly from the past two years, the correspondence captures in detail the campaign’s extreme caution and difficulty in identifying a core rationale for her candidacy, and the noisy world of advisers, friends and family members trying to exert influence.
8 October
Leaked speech excerpts show Clinton at ease with Wall Street and free trade
(The New York Times News Service) In lucrative paid speeches that Hillary Clinton delivered to elite financial firms but refused to disclose to the public, she displayed an easy comfort with titans of business, embraced unfettered international trade and praised a budget-balancing plan that would have required cuts to Social Security, according to documents posted online Friday by WikiLeaks.
The tone and language of the excerpts clash with the fiery liberal approach she used later in her bitter primary battle with Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, and could have undermined her candidacy had it become public.
Clinton comes across less as a firebrand than as a technocrat at home with her powerful audience, willing to be critical of large financial institutions but more inclined to view them as partners in restoring the country’s economic health.
In a statement, a Clinton spokesman, Glen Caplin, suggested that the leak could have been engineered by Russian officials determined to help Trump. … Foreign hackers – authorized by Russian security agencies, according to national security officials – have successfully penetrated the operations of the Democratic Party and its candidates over the past year. They broke into the e-mail servers of the Democratic National Committee, revealing embarrassing internal messages in which party leaders who were supposed to be neutral expressed their preference for Clinton even as she was campaigning against Sanders. And Assange is an avowed critic of Clinton who has made clear that he wishes to hurt her chances of winning the presidency.
6 October
We’re Not With Him: Since its founding almost 160 years ago, The Atlantic has endorsed a presidential candidate only twice: in 1860, when founding editor James Russell Lowell urged readers to vote for Abraham Lincoln, and in 1964, when the magazine anti-endorsed Barry Goldwater in favor of Lyndon B. Johnson. Today, we’ve added a third election to that list, declaring our opposition to Donald Trump.
Against Donald Trump
For the third time since The Atlantic’s founding, the editors endorse a candidate for president. The case for Hillary Clinton.
Hillary Rodham Clinton has more than earned, through her service to the country as first lady, as a senator from New York, and as secretary of state, the right to be taken seriously as a White House contender. She has flaws (some legitimately troubling, some exaggerated by her opponents), but she is among the most prepared candidates ever to seek the presidency. We are confident that she understands the role of the United States in the world; we have no doubt that she will apply herself assiduously to the problems confronting this country; and she has demonstrated an aptitude for analysis and hard work.
Donald Trump, on the other hand, has no record of public service and no qualifications for public office. His affect is that of an infomercial huckster; he traffics in conspiracy theories and racist invective; he is appallingly sexist; he is erratic, secretive, and xenophobic; he expresses admiration for authoritarian rulers, and evinces authoritarian tendencies himself. He is easily goaded, a poor quality for someone seeking control of America’s nuclear arsenal. He is an enemy of fact-based discourse; he is ignorant of, and indifferent to, the Constitution; he appears not to read.
3 October
Russell Riley on how Hillary Clinton learned to govern
(The Atlantic) Most White House veterans agree: The only certain training for the Oval Office is on-the-job.
Hillary Clinton was “there” for eight years as first lady—meaning that if elected, she would take the oath of office with an unprecedented familiarity with the arcane and sometimes thorny levers of presidential power. This prior experience—described in confidential oral-history interviews recorded by the University of Virginia’s Miller Center—is as revealing as anything she might say in this year’s presidential debates about how she would function if elected herself. Indeed, much of what was on display by Hillary Clinton in the first debate—her detailed grasp of policy, her manifest preparation, and her willingness to go aggressively after her Republican opponent—are features of a well-established operating style that is detailed extensively in these oral histories.
Keep reading here, as Riley delves into the histories to show the decision-making process of the former First Lady, who “was recognized as a key source of discipline in a White House that often tended toward chaos.”
28 September
Voters say Clinton won the debate, but whether it has improved her standing remains uncertain
More than half a dozen polls show that voters say Hillary Clinton won Monday night’s debate against Donald Trump, but it’s still too early to know how much impact that will have on the candidates’ standings.
The latest evidence comes from an NBC/SurveyMonkey poll that found more than half of likely voters viewed Clinton as the winner of the televised debate. About one in five voters said Trump had won, and one-quarter said neither did.
The survey showed that the debate helped Clinton solidify her support among fellow Democrats. It also found a majority of voters said that she has the temperament to serve as president. By contrast, more than 60% of voters said that Trump does not have the temperament for the job.
Similar results about who won the debate have come from polls by CNN, YouGov and other polling organizations. The YouGov poll, for example, showed voters saying 57% to 30% that Clinton won.
Trump and his supporters repeatedly have cited what they refer to as polls that show him as the winner. The surveys they point to, however, are not scientific polls that try to get a representative sample of the population. Instead, they are so-called opt-in surveys, which measure the reactions of anyone who chooses to participate.
Whether Clinton’s advantage in the debate has given her a boost in the race won’t be known for sure for a few more days.
27 September
From Bloomberg:
How Clinton Beat Trump in Their First Debate, By the Numbers
Video: The Three Biggest Non-Facts From the Debate
Clinton Excels by Laying Traps on Trump’s Temperament
Clinton Keeps Her Cool
The Democrat’s command and poise left her rival looking frustrated, peevish, and out of sorts.
(The Atlantic) It was a commanding performance from the Democratic nominee. Clinton delivered a series of detailed answers on subjects ranging from race to the Middle East to tax policy. Meanwhile, she delivered a string of attacks on Trump, assailing him for stiffing contractors, refusing to release his tax returns, fomenting birtherism, and caricaturing black America. She stumbled only occasionally, but left few openings for Trump. She remained calm and often smiling as Trump repeatedly attacked her and interrupted her answers—doing it so often that moderator Lester Holt, often a spectral presence at the debate, finally cut in twice in short order to chide him.
24 September
The New York Times endorses Hillary Clinton
Our endorsement is rooted in respect for her intellect, experience and courage.
Hillary Clinton for President
Through war and recession, Americans born since 9/11 have had to grow up fast, and they deserve a grown-up president. A lifetime’s commitment to solving problems in the real world qualifies Hillary Clinton for this job, and the country should put her to work.
22 September
Robert Kennedy Would Have Hated Donald Trump
The GOP candidate is not the man of peace my former colleague makes him out to be.
By Peter Edelman
(Politico) Writing as a former legislative assistant to Senator Robert F. Kennedy and an enthusiastic supporter of Hillary Clinton for president, I was disappointed to see in Politico the screed written by my former colleague, Adam Walinsky, excoriating Clinton’s record on foreign policy and national security and going on to conclude that Donald Trump should therefore be elected president.
We should be clear that Walinsky’s critique is not confined to Clinton. He lays out (and massively overstates) a dark view not just of Clinton but also of President Obama and almost the entire Democratic Party. The analysis is overwrought, but even one who buys the argument defies all logic in imagining that the solution is Trump.
… Walinsky finds in Trump a rationality and consistency that do not exist. Any reasonable observer of the presidential campaign has seen that at one moment, Trump will represent himself as an isolationist who wants to end ties with NATO and other allies; at another, he will lash out at any perceived insult to the U.S. or to himself, and pledges that America’s pride needs to be vindicated militarily.
21 September
I Was RFK’s Speechwriter. Now I’m Voting for Trump. Here’s Why.
The Democratic Party has become something both JFK and RFK would deplore—the party of war.
By Adam Walinsky
(Politico) … while we chased a chimera of peace and justice in lands far from our own, imposing ourselves and our concepts on strangers who rejected our teachings, we were neglecting our own country and our own people, our own neighbors, our own children and our own friends. And now we can see the result. The violence we took to other countries bounces back to our own. The money we squandered on bombs in Iraq was not available for our own schools. The brilliant young men and women, who gave up their bodies and their lives on distant battlefields, were not here to teach and mentor and guide the young people of the ghetto. They were not here to police the mean streets, to suppress and eliminate the crime that is the greatest cause of poverty. They were not here to bring the protection and the blessings of the American Constitution to the least among us. They were not here to protect American cities and enrich American lives.
12 September
The American people agree with Clinton: Trump is a bigot. This new poll confirms it.
The new Post/ABC News poll released over the weekend raises questions about whether Clinton’s remarks were really a political mistake. If Clinton’s goal was to force a public discussion of Trump’s bigotry and chauvinism, well, the Post poll finds that a large majority of Americans agree with her that Trump is biased against women and minorities, including among the voter groups that Trump needs to improve among in order to win.
6 September
Election Update: Clinton’s Lead Keeps Shrinking
(FiveThirtyEight) 10 questions as the stretch run begins.
What’s the degree of uncertainty?
Higher than people might assume. Between the unusually early conventions and the late election — Nov. 8 is the latest possible date on which Election Day can occur — it’s a long campaign this year. But just as important, many voters — close to 20 percent — either say they’re undecided or that they plan to vote for third-party candidates. At a comparable point four years ago, only 5 to 10 percent of voters fell into those categories.
High numbers of undecided and third-party voters are associated with higher volatility and larger polling errors. Put another way, elections are harder to predict when fewer people have made up their minds. Because FiveThirtyEight’s models account for this property, we show a relatively wide range of possible outcomes, giving Trump better odds of winning than most other statistically based models, but also a significant chance of a Clinton landslide if those undecideds break in her favor.
1 September
Bill Clinton aides used tax dollars to subsidize foundation, private email support
Program for ex-presidents paid salaries and benefits to Clinton aides at the center of controversies.
(Politico) … even as the Clintons got rich and grew their foundation into a $2 billion organization credited with major victories in the fights against childhood obesity and AIDS — while paying six-figure salaries to top aides — Bill Clinton continued drawing more cash from the Former President’s Act than any other ex-president, according to a POLITICO analysis.
30 August
Brilliant essay by Sauvé Fellow Chris Kutarna
Hillary Clinton Is America’s Machiavelli
And Donald Trump is a fanatic prophet
(TIME) Though the epic presidential battle between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton may feel unique, these same personalities have clashed before.
More than 500 years ago, the prophet Savonarola enthralled Renaissance Europe while Machiavelli, chief policy wonk of the age, scorned the showman’s demagoguery. Trump and Clinton are replaying those parts—and will leave similar marks on history.
29 August
Clinton Weaknesses Spotlighted in New Poll
(Bloomberg) A close look at Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Michigan reveals some of the challenges ahead for Hillary Clinton.
A national poll released today by New Jersey-based Monmouth University gives Clinton a 7-point lead, down from her 13-point advantage in a comparable survey earlier this month
In the RealClearPolitics average of recent national polls, Clinton’s lead stood at 4.4 pts as of late this afternoon
28 August
He was a billionaire who donated to the Clinton Foundation. Last year, he was denied entry into the U.S.
(LA Times) Nigerian billionaire Gilbert Chagoury, one of Africa’s richest men, has built a reputation as a giant of global philanthropy … Since the 1990s, Chagoury has also cultivated a friendship with the Clinton family — in part by writing large checks, including a contribution of at least $1 million to the Clinton Foundation.
By the time Hillary Clinton became secretary of State, the relationship was strong enough for Bill Clinton’s closest aide to push for Chagoury to get access to top diplomats, and the agency began exploring a deal, still under consideration, to build a consulate on Chagoury family land in Lagos, Nigeria.
But even as those talks were underway, bureaucrats in other arms of the State Department were examining accusations that Chagoury had unsavory affiliations, stemming from his activities and friendships in Lebanon. After a review, Chagoury was refused a visa to enter the U.S. last year.
Chagoury is a prominent example of the nexus between Hillary Clinton’s State Department and the family’s Clinton Foundation, which has come under renewed scrutiny during her presidential run.
27 August
hillary_clintonfoundation_getty2014Seven ways the Clinton Foundation failed to meet its transparency promises
(The Hill) During her confirmation hearing, the Clinton Foundation was mentioned 62 times as senators worried that foreign governments could use donations to the foundation to curry favor with the Clinton State Department.
Clinton said at the hearing that “all contributors will be disclosed,” and pointed to a memorandum of understanding co-signed in December 2008 between the foundation and the transition team of then president-elect Barack Obama that pledged unprecedented transparency into her family’s sprawling organization.
Some of Clinton’s transparency promises ended up not being kept.
A glimpse inside operations at the Clinton Foundation (video & transcript)
(PBS Newshour) The Clinton Foundation has been subject to increasing scrutiny in the presidential race, as its funding and Hillary Clinton’s role as secretary of state appear ever more intertwined. Clinton vowed this week to change donor restrictions if she wins. Hari Sreenivasan speaks with James V. Grimaldi of the Wall Street Journal, Columbia University’s Doug White and foundation president Donna Shalala.
James Grimaldi, The Wall Street Journal: “It’s possible and perhaps even likely that the Clinton Global Health Access Initiative, which has a separate board, may actually continue to take foreign government contributions and corporate gifts. This was revealed to us today in our questioning. While we found out that Bill Clinton will leave the Clinton Foundation board, we now know that Chelsea Clinton, their daughter, is going to remain on the board. And we don’t know, because they haven’t said or apparently have not decided. She may actually be raising money for the Clinton Foundation going forward. So there’s a possibility that we will have a president of the United States whose daughter is raising millions of dollars for their foundation, or the remnants of their foundation, going into her administration. That has to be a cloud that should — will probably hang over her if there ends up being appearances of conflicts of interests.”
Shields and Brooks on the alt-right and a general lack of trust in Clinton video and transcript
25 August
Hillary Clinton’s Reaction to Her Foundation Scandal Is Disastrous
By Elise Jordan, NBC News/MSNBC political analyst
(TIME) Even though in theory I know the Clinton Foundation does good work, it’s impossible not to question appearances. Contrast the image of former President Jimmy Carter wielding a hammer for Habitat for Humanity in the rural South with Bill Clinton jet-setting about Africa on a do-gooder field trip for rich people.
It comes down to Clinton’s judgment, and the culture she and the former President create. Even if you give Clinton the benefit of the doubt that her staff acted on her behalf trading access in a way that’s technically above board, she created the culture that encouraged the behavior. As Secretary of State, she did not clip her husband’s wings, a scary precedent that promises Bill Clinton would be a distraction for her entire presidency. The unseemly overlap of the Clinton Foundation with her official role as our nation’s lead diplomat shows she cannot keep her worlds separate and disconnected.
24 August
Election 2016: The unpopularity contest
In our latest report, Election 2016: The unpopularity contest, the Economist Intelligence Unit (the EIU) forecasts that Hillary Clinton will win the 2016 presidential election, with the Democrats winning a majority in the Senate, while the Republicans retain control of the House of Representatives. However, the high unfavourability ratings of both candidates means that the next president will start from a position of weakness and a divided Congress will make passing key pillars of their agenda even more difficult.
23 August
From Whitewater to Benghazi: A Clinton-Scandal Primer
More than half of the people outside the government with whom Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met were also donors to the Clinton Foundation.
(The Atlantic) Here’s the case against the Clinton Foundation, in a nutshell: If Bill and Chelsea Clinton are leading a powerful private philanthropy while Hillary Clinton holds a high-ranking government post, it is guaranteed to create at least the appearance of donations to the foundation in return for access to the government.
Conscious of this danger, the Obama administration extracted an agreement from the foundation to disclose its donors, as a prerequisite for Hillary Clinton becoming secretary of state. That disclosure does not seem to have prevented potential conflicts of interest—but it does undergird two important stories Tuesday.
20 August
The LATimes reports: While Trump continues to falter in some swing states, a major question mark still remains for Hillary Clinton. Congressional staff on Tuesday were poring over classified documents the FBI gave Congress related to its investigation of Clinton’s emails. Republican lawmakers are continuing to probe why prosecutors chose not to pursue a case against her.
In a letter to the committee looking into the matter, the FBI said because of the intense interest in Clinton’s emails, it wanted to again explain Director James Comey‘s rationale for declining to recommend prosecution. “The FBI did find evidence that Secretary Clinton and her colleagues were extremely careless in their handling of certain, very sensitive, highly classified information,” wrote Jason V. Herring, acting assistant director. “The director did not equate ‘extreme carelessness’ with the legal standard of ‘gross negligence’ that is required by the statute.”
19 August
2016 U.S. election: A Clinton win would still spell turmoil
If the results come close, the idea that the election was rigged — even if false — could blow up into a serious storm. Stephen Blank on what to expect in the final months of the campaign, and after.
(Open Canada) All things being equal, Hillary Clinton wins. But in this circus, things are not always equal. And the election outcome may be less important than what follows.
16 August
New Chief of Clinton’s Transition Team Is a Strong Backer of TPP and Free Trade
Hillary Clinton was for the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a massive Asian trade deal, as secretary of state before turning against it while a candidate for president. One of her closest allies, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, said at the Democratic convention she would renew support for the deal — with some tweaks — if she wins in November, something the campaign denied. Now, a high-level campaign appointment has further muddied the waters on Clinton’s true views of the pact.
On Tuesday, the former secretary of state announced Ken Salazar, a former U.S. senator and secretary of the interior, would serve as the chairman of her transition committee. He brings with him one inconvenient policy position: outspoken support for TPP.
12 August
The Real Scandal of Hillary Clinton’s E-Mails
(The New Yorker) The many different anti-Clinton camps, on the left and on the right, share an assumption that all of the Clintons’ decisions are oriented around off-the-books agendas, and that these agendas emerge in moments of stress. This has amped up the fervor of the various probes into Clinton’s e-mail and the Benghazi episode—by means of FOIA, subpoena, and Russian hack—and it has also created a wild hype. The insistence that the probes will reveal illegal activity has crowded out the more realistic possibility that the relationships around Clinton are simply unsavory—and this, in turn, has reduced the chances that this episode will end with efforts at reform.
Clinton Up 6 on Trump in Two-Way Race in Bloomberg National Poll
The findings suggest damage has been done to one of Trump’s main calling cards, his business expertise
The Democratic presidential nominee’s advantage in a new Bloomberg Politics national poll is smaller than in some surveys conducted the week after her convention, including some that sampled registered voters, a broader group. When third-party candidates are included, her lead in this poll shrinks to close to the margin of error.
In a four-person race that includes Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson and Green Party nominee Jill Stein, Clinton leads Trump 44 percent to 40 percent
8 August
Wall Street’s Reluctant Embrace of Clinton
(The New Yorker) The tilt in Clinton’s favor among financial-industry types may have less to do with their love of her than with a rejection of what Trump represents: instability. As Warren put it in an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek last week, “Nuclear war is bad for business.” Wall Street’s backing of Clinton is therefore less a vow of support than an attempt to stave off catastrophe.
5 August
Hillary Helps a Bank—and Then It Funnels Millions to the Clintons
The Wall Street Journal’s eyebrow-raising story of how the presidential candidate and her husband accepted cash from UBS without any regard for the appearance of impropriety that it created
(The Atlantic) Democrats are hurtling toward a farce. The coalition that insists on the corrupting effect of Citizens United and the unlimited campaign contributions it permits is poised to nominate a couple that has seen riches flow from big banks to their personal accounts.
How can mainstream Democratic Party beliefs about the corrupting effects of money in politics and the perniciousness of Big Finance possibly be squared with elevating as their leaders a couple as cozy with Big Finance as anyone in American politics?
Even Democrats who aren’t concerned about the agenda of Big Finance ought to ask themselves if America is best served by a president and first spouse who care so little about preserving the confidence that the public can reasonably have in the integrity of their actions.
5 August
NYT Editorial board: The Perils of Writing Off Mr. Trump
Mr. Trump’s bad week suggests he will not evolve into a politician whom anyone can count on or predict. This is Mrs. Clinton’s chance to present herself not just as a safe and conventional alternative, but as a morally serious leader determined to address the country’s real problems.
(Quartz) Hillary Clinton gained a nine-point lead over Donald Trump. The Democratic presidential candidate’s lead in the polls jumped from 5 percentage points before the national conventions last month, according to the WSJ/NBC survey. Support for Trump has dropped to 38p% in the wake of his post-convention missteps. But it’s still early days for polling numbers
I Ran the C.I.A. Now I’m Endorsing Hillary Clinton.
I spent four years working with Mrs. Clinton when she was secretary of state, most often in the White House Situation Room. In these critically important meetings, I found her to be prepared, detail-oriented, thoughtful, inquisitive and willing to change her mind if presented with a compelling argument.
LA Times Op-Ed Bernie Sanders: I support Hillary Clinton. So should everyone who voted for me
I understand that many of my supporters are disappointed by the final results of the nominating process, but being despondent and inactive is not going to improve anything. Going forward and continuing the struggle is what matters. And, in that struggle, the most immediate task we face is to defeat Donald Trump.
1 August
Doubts Start Creeping In for Democrats
Outwardly confident about their numbers, party veterans admit that all bets may be off this year.
(Politico) As startling as it was for Democrats to watch Donald Trump emerge from the GOP convention more or less even in national polling with Hillary Clinton, the campaign professionals who had labored for decades returned again and again to one overriding proposition: The numbers show that there are more of us than there are of them. And they’re right: That’s what the numbers say.
But ask enough people close to the campaign, privately, and you hear something else: a note of worry. What if, in this one unusual year, past isn’t prologue? What if the patterns don’t hold up?
just beneath the surface lies a persistent sense of uneasiness, driven by one question: What if everything we think we know about politics has been rendered inoperative?
Back last August, I argued in these pages that every once in a long while a dormant, disengaged, alienated slice of voters discovers it had a power it never realized it had; and that realization alone becomes a significant force.
30 July
Cleo Paskal: Hillary has to cross the Trans-Pacific hurdle
If Clinton flips on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, it could fundamentally rip the US Democratic Party apart.
(Sunday Guardian) The TPP may have started as a 21st century geopolitical construct, but as a result of the influences in the negotiations, some say it has become just 20th century old school geoeconomics. That risks undermining the whole geopolitical point as the hard edged US corporate interests could potentially alienate those who are supposed to be US political allies.
All this spilled over on the convention floor. The speeches by Biden, Kaine and even Obama were faced by demonstrators holding up anti-TPP signs. Anti-TPP demonstrators stormed the media enclave. And the TPP became the issue that coalesced Sanders’ supports and spurred the #DemExit movement.
There is support for their position among some major Democrats.
The Party is behind Clinton. What is less clear is how many members are still behind their own party. In particular, if Clinton flips on the TPP, it could fundamentally rip the party apart.
29 July
Both Campaigns Stunned After Houston Chronicle Makes VERY Surprising Endorsement
On Friday, the Houston Chronicle made its official endorsement known in an article titled: “These are unsettling times that require a steady hand: That’s not Donald Trump.”
Clinton Reaching Beyond Stalwart Democrats to Build a Coalition Against Trump
Along with diehard Sanders supporters, Clinton is looking to convert disaffected Republicans
(Bloomberg) “It Takes a Village” became a mainstream catch phrase in the U.S. after it appeared as the title of a 1996 bestseller in which then-first lady Hillary Clinton argued that all of society, not just the family, has a stake in every child’s success.
Accepting the Democratic nomination for president on Thursday night in Philadelphia as the first woman to be chosen by a major U.S. political party, Clinton, 68, returned to that African proverb for her strategy to defeat Donald Trump in November. It may take more than stalwart Democrats for Clinton to reach the White House, so she’s hoping to assemble her own village of disaffected Republicans, independents, military veterans, white men, as well as women liberals and minorities.
Computer Systems Used by Clinton Campaign Are Said to Be Hacked, Apparently by Russians
The attack on the congressional committee’s [Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the fund-raising arm for House Democrats] system appears to have come from an entity known as “Fancy Bear,” which is connected to the G.R.U., the Russian military intelligence service, according to an official involved in the forensic investigation.
27 July
Who Should Bernie Voters Support Now? Robert Reich vs. Chris Hedges on Tackling the Neoliberal Order
The day after Senator Bernie Sanders spoke at the Democratic National Convention and urged his supporters to work to ensure his former rival wins the presidential race, we host a debate between Clinton supporter Robert Reich, who served as labor secretary under President Clinton, and Chris Hedges, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who backs Sanders.
26 July
Ronald Brownstein: The Class Inversion of American Politics Accelerates
Donald Trump’s Republicans are becoming the party of blue-collar white voters, as college-educated white voters slip away.
(The Atlantic) Democrats have struggled among non-college-educated whites for years, but have won the popular vote in five of the past six presidential elections anyway by improving their performance among white-collar whites and maintaining their dominance among non-white voters. Data from both the media exit polls and the Census agree that both of those latter groups are growing as a share of the electorate, while the blue-collar whites are declining (though the Census gives them a larger remaining share than the exit polls).
Still the possibility that Trump could further expand even the usual Republican margins among working-class whites has led many Democrats to the grudging conclusion that the race could be more competitive than they originally expected-or hoped. As much by necessity as preference, Democrats this year are increasingly placing their hopes on maximizing their margins and turnout among the “coalition of the ascendant”-the minority, Millennial and college-educated, single and secular whites (especially women) at the core of their modern coalition.

Links:

Only 9% of America Chose Trump and Clinton as the Nominees
All the terrible things Hillary Clinton has done — in one big list
The so-called charges of the past 25 years are staggering
This tongue-in-cheek view pretty well sums up all the criticisms of HRC
This may shock you: Hillary Clinton is fundamentally honest
lack of transparency, rather than any actual corruption,
is her greatest flaw
(March 2016)
Hillary Clinton and Henry Kissinger: It’s Personal. Very Personal.
The Clintons and the Kissingers regularly spend holidays together
John Oliver on Democratic National Convention, Destroys Donald Trump Again

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