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Editor's Blog





Updated: 2016-10-01T07:02:00Z

 



Caught in Trump's Cycle of Rage and Abuse

2016-10-01T03:02:46-04:00

“She’s nasty, but I can be nastier than she ever can be."

That's the takeaway quote from a disturbing article in the Times out tonight, describing an agitated, febrile Donald Trump, off the high of his overnight Twitter rampage but settled into a steady rage over a week of humiliations and electoral reverses. Trump's biggest liability and weakness through his eighteen months as a politician has been his inability to focus or rule his emotions. He goes off on jags in which he seems to forget what he's at least notionally trying to do: win an election. In the quotation above, his rage against Clinton and Alicia Machado appears to have deluded him into believing that the election is a contest to see who can be the bigger monster. There is little basis to believe that this is how most voters judge the race.

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Rudy Stumbles Outside the Race War Bubble

2016-09-30T23:21:27-04:00

I sense this has gotten little attention given all that's happened in the news today. But it seems both a revealing and embarrassing nugget of news. So I wanted to share it with you. Last week Rudy Giuliani gave a speech at an awards dinner for a financial services trade group in New York City. The event was the 40 under 40 Dinner hosted by the Commercial Finance Association at the Waldorf Astoria hotel. So far nothing too surprising. But on Monday the CFA felt compelled to send out an email to attendees and members apologizing for Giuliani's “unscripted personal opinions.” Less delicately, the apology was required because what CFA CEO Bob Trojan delicately termed 'unscripted personal opinions' would more frankly be called racist digressions, jokes and jabs.

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My Podcast: Episode 4 - How Do Polls Work Edition!

2016-09-30T16:34:46-04:00

This week's episode of my new podcast is a treat. I talk to Professor Charles Franklin, one of the nation's top polling experts. Charles is also the outside consultant we work with for statistical and methodology questions tied to PollTracker. We're now in the thick of a presidential campaign. Everybody's obsessing about polls, everybody gets worried about polls and everybody - at least real political junkies - knows some of the basics of how polls work. But I thought it would be interesting and helpful to run some basic questions by a true expert. That way you and I could both get a really grounded understanding. Should you try to un-skew polls if the crosstabs look weird? How do pollsters "weight" samples? Are the online polls as good as the traditional phone polls? We get into all of that and more in this week's podcast. I hope you enjoy it.

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Inside Trump's Machado Rage Spiral

2016-09-30T15:12:30-04:00

We've seen a lot of Trump meltdowns. But I'm not sure we've seen one quite like this one with Alicia Machado. We had a recent preview with what I believe was his reaction to being gently rebuked by Pastor Faith Green Timmons of Flint, Michigan. But here we appear to have a special confluence of events. Trump becomes unhinged whenever he is challenged or insulted or injured by someone he perceives as beneath him in the gender or racial hierarchy. The list is almost endless: Hillary Clinton, Alicia Machado, Obama, the Khans, Judge Curiel. Trump is a bully who lives in a zero sum psychic economy of dominance. There are dominators and the dominated. That operates with white men too, as we saw in the Republican primaries. But when the injury comes from someone he believes is beneath him, there is a special intensity and charge. Taking down a Bush or a Cruz, Trump was vicious and dominating but seemingly in control. He wielded his aggressive bullying as a weapon. There's aggression but not rage. In these other cases, he's clearly not in control. It overcomes him.

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999!

2016-09-30T11:11:55-04:00

We are currently at 999 new Prime sign ups for the month! The transcendent glory of being number 1000 is right there in front of you. 1000 is this month's goal. It's right there! Click. Yes. Click.

Yes, even if it's not about the glory, joining TPM Prime gives you an expanded, smoother, faster, less ad-cluttered TPM to read every day and also supports our independent journalism.

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Trump Slumpin'

2016-09-30T12:10:14-04:00

I'd recommend everybody bear in mind the dynamic we've discussed several times recently, which is that the presidential race has with a fair consistency oscillated between a substantial Clinton lead and a minuscule Clinton lead (ref the 'Clinton Wall'). That said, we seem to be back in the Trump fall off part of the cycle. The TPM Electoral Scoreboard stands at Clinton 302, Trump 203, where it's been for the last couple days. But within those numbers, over the last 48 hours we've gotten a range of quality state polls taken after Monday night's debate. And they're uniformly bad for Trump.

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Trump: Debate Was "Rigged"

2016-09-29T16:47:11-04:00

Despite claiming for days that every online poll of his supporters say he won Monday night's presidential debate, Trump now insists first debate was a "rigged deal."

"I had to put up with the anchor and fight the anchor all the time on everything I said."

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Why Did Trump Bumble into Khan 2.0?

2016-09-29T15:43:50-04:00

Nobody could help noticing that Steve Bannon's takeover of the Trump campaign did impart a significant degree of discipline on the campaign and Trump himself. Zero to ten mph in 20 seconds, sure. But improvement is improvement. What we should note, however, is how little control the campaign has over Trump (let alone how little control Trump has over himself) when he is forced to operate without a teleprompter and when his ego is put under any form of assault or even pressure. As many have already noted, Clinton's mention of Alicia Machado's treatment at Trump's hands was no random, momentary decision. They'd seen Curiel; they'd seen Khan. She and her team know how Trump's lack of empathy, self-awareness and narcissism makes him ripe for these days' or weeks' long self-destructive tirades.

They laid the trap and he walked right into it.

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Trump Goes After Machado Again

2016-09-28T21:13:59-04:00

In the situation Donald Trump is in with former Miss Universe Alicia Machado, any media professional or really anyone with a conscience would say this: "We quarreled many years ago. It's in the past. I truly wish her the best." Done and done.

But just an hour ago Trump went on O'Reilly to again trash Machado, now saying that he saved her job, gave her a shot at not being fat and this is the thanks he gets. Yes, he really said that. "You know, they wanted to fire her. The company itself wanted to fire her. I saved her job ... I saved her job because I said that's going to -- I did that with a number of young ladies. The staff itself [wanted to fire her]. Look what happened. Look what I get out of it. I get nothing. A lot of things are coming out about her."

Full Transcript after the jump ...

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Someone Knew I Needed Cheering Up

2016-09-28T16:18:03-04:00

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Trump Prepped With Trump's Razor

2016-09-29T12:07:21-04:00

There isn't much of a debate over who won the first presidential debate, though the significance of 'winning' is a more complicated question. Trump has devoted most of his Twitter feed since Monday night to finding online polls of his supporters that 'prove' he won. The more interesting news is about what prep Trump had and what prep he can actually accomplish. There are numerous reports that Trump's team tried to get him to prepare for the debate but that he couldn't focus or couldn't muster the patience to do so.

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Trump Could Be in Big Trouble

2016-09-27T18:57:07-04:00

Our reporter Tierney Sneed spent the day reporting on the latest information on the Trump Foundation. We now have clear evidence of self-dealing in the payouts made by the Foundation and as of yesterday pretty clear evidence that Trump has used the Foundation to avoid paying taxes on income. The combination could spell real legal trouble for Trump, possible even criminal penalties. In short, you're not allowed to use a family foundation as a piggy bank or slush fund for tax avoidance and personal or business purposes. We've proceeded cautiously in what we know and what we don't. We've also tried to be cognizant of the fact that this is an area of criminal law where intent is critical - which is to say, ignorance of the law is a defense. That said, one top former IRS official involved in oversight of tax exempt organizations told TPM, "Once you see a pattern of that kind of egregious nature, you start to think if whether there’s an appropriate criminal referral there." Here's the story.

If you're a tax law expert, either a practitioner, a professor or involved in enforcement, we are continued to probe this story. So we would like to hear from you with your opinion, thoughts, advice on issues most in need of probing.

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Trump's Razor Merch!

2016-09-28T13:53:41-04:00

Check out the latest addition to TPM's merch store: a Trump's Razor shirt and mug! The items feature a custom illustration of "Trump's razor" and the definition of the phrase Josh popularized -- both are printed on high-quality materials. Buy them here and get ready to explain Trump's latest antics by pointing at your shirt or mug!

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Electoral College Update

2016-09-27T14:44:13-04:00

The TPM Electoral Scoreboard currently stands at Clinton 264, Trump 203. Four states are currently listed as toss-ups: Colorado, Ohio, North Carolina and Florida. The PollTracker Average for the national presidential contest is Clinton 48%, Trump 45.4%.

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The End of Christie

2016-09-27T14:30:24-04:00

It's only barely getting national news attention because of the heat of the presidential battle. But the Bridgegate trial is going on. And it now seems very clear - what was probably obviously all along - that Christie knew all about the traffic james in Fort Lee were engineered as payback. He knew and he was in on it. All from testimony in federal court.

Remember, Christie was 'exonerated' of any involvement by a tax payer funded 'investigation' by Christie's own attorney in matter.

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Give Hillary Her Due

2016-09-27T12:42:40-04:00

Trump didn't have a terrible night last night. For anyone who's watched him closely for a year and a half he was simply himself. Cocky, angry, lashing out as an opponent increasingly dominated and embarrassed him. This wasn't a bad showing. It was him. But it's a good moment for all of those who constantly complain about Hillary being a terrible candidate, making this or that mistake, screwing this or that up, her performance last night was pitch perfect.

Yes, he did badly. But she brought it at least as much as he blew it.

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Trump Goes Full Khan on Miss Universe Winner

2016-09-27T09:01:02-04:00

Wounded and angry, this morning on Fox Trump went after that Miss Universe pageant winner who Hillary brought up in the debate. Trump said she was "the worst" and "gained a massive amount of weight and it was a real problem."

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A Transcript Littered With Bombs

2016-09-27T02:14:14-04:00

As I wrote earlier, I didn't think Donald Trump would lose his cool this quickly or that Hillary Clinton would be able to bait him that effortlessly. But it turned into such a mess that there were almost countless little comments from Trump, each one of which was in its own way quite ridiculous or damning or both. Many will likely come up again after people get a good night's sleep and start picking out these almost countless nuggets.

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A Few Peak Trump Moments #2

2016-09-27T00:58:44-04:00

One of the more bizarre Peak Trump Moments (PTM) tonight was this stream of consciousness answer when Trump seemed to argue that even though he never publicly said anything negative about the Iraq War until almost three years later when it was deeply unpopular, he had private conversations on the subject with the highly credible Sean Hannity. And all you have to do is call Hannity who will totally back him up.

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A Few Peak Trump Moments #1

2016-09-27T00:18:10-04:00

It doesn't get more peak Trump than this, when Trump said how he was going to have some kind of ugly outburst against Hillary and her family but just couldn't since it would be wrong. He wants credit for not doing it.

Hillary is hitting me with tremendous commercials, some of it said in entertainment, somebody who's been very vicious to me, Rosie o'donnell, I said very tough things to her, and I think everybody would agree she deserves it, and nobody feels sorry for her. I was going to say something extremely rough to Hillary, to her family, and I said to myself, I can't do it. I just can't do it. It's inappropriate. It's not nice, but she spent hundreds of millions of dollars on negative ads on me, many of which are absolutely untrue.

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