The Republican establishment seems to be slowly going through Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’s five stages of grief, with many politicians and pundits unable to get past the first: denial.When it became clear that Trump could not be ignored, party leaders and conservative columnists looked hard for evidence that the combed-over mogul’s political ascendancy was bound to fizzle. The establishment didn’t search at all for signs that it might be deeper and more lasting — forgetting an elementary rule of social science, which is that what you look for sets the parameters of what you’ll find.
So the lords of the GOP counted all the ways that Trump was unlike a traditional politician and decided he would soon be toast. […] But Trump’s numbers in the polls have gone steadily up. And if you add his numbers in the Quinnipiac survey to Carson’s, you see that a full 40 percent of Republican voters want their party to nominate for president someone who has never run for office before, let alone held it.
POLITICO’s Ben Schreckinger and Hadas Gold:
It’s been a steady march up, undeterred by scandals that had pundits predicting his political demise. His favorability rating from the late July poll was significantly better than his ratings from a Quinnipiac poll conducted in late May. In that period, his favorability improved from being 49 points underwater to 32 points underwater, despite the claims he made about undocumented immigrants and the jab at McCain’s war record that he made in the interim.
According to Real Clear Politics’ averages of polls, one of Trump’s biggest jumps in support was between July 12 and July 23 — in the heat of the controversy about his “rapists” comment and after the July 18 comments about McCain’s war record — when he edged out former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush for first place.
Paul Krugman analyzes the field on China:
“Obama is endangering America by borrowing from China” is a perfect political line, playing into deficit fetishism, xenophobia and the perennial claim that Democrats don’t stand up for America! America! America! It’s also complete nonsense, but that doesn’t seem to matter.In fact, talking nonsense about economic crises is essentially a job requirement for anyone hoping to get the Republican presidential nomination..even the supposedly sensible candidates call for destructive policies. Thus John Kasich is being portrayed as a different kind of Republican because as governor he approved Medicaid expansion in Ohio, but his signature initiative is a call for a balanced-budget amendment, which would cripple policy in a crisis.
The point is that one side of the political aisle has been utterly determined to learn nothing from the economic experiences of recent years. If one of these candidates ends up in the hot seat the next time crisis strikes, we should be very, very afraid.
Michael Scherer points out that Trump refuses to provide policy details:
It was not the first time Trump has declined to describe the process of carrying out his stated policies. When asked on ABC News Sunday about the cost of building a wall, Trump said, “We need a wall. We have to get a wall.” When asked how he would round up 11 million people for deportation, Trump repeated his familiar “management” line.Five days earlier, Trump offered a similar answer to TIME. “It’ll all work out,” he said on Aug. 18, while emphasizing his managerial credentials. “Politicians can’t manage. All they can do is talk.”
Mira Oberman, AFP:
With mass shootings seemingly on a daily basis, it appears no place in the United States is safe from carnage: not churches, not schools, not even the morning newscast.The shocking on-air murder of a young reporter and a cameraman by a disgruntled former colleague Wednesday has once again renewed calls for stricter gun controls.
That is simply not going to happen, experts said, and the trend in recent years has actually gone in the opposite direction.
“You can’t get rid of them,” Harry Wilson, a professor at Roanoke College in Virginia — near the scene of the latest shooting — told AFP.
Heaven forbid Republicans acknowledge the need for gun control. Laura Vozzella and Jenna Portnoy analyze the situation in Virginia:
Gov. Terry McAuliffe has rankled some Virginia Republicans by repeatedly calling for greater gun control after Wednesday’s deadly shootings in Southwest Virginia.“Clearly, that gentleman should not have owned a gun,” McAuliffe said of Vester L. Flanagan II, who killed a two-person news crew on live television early Wednesday. “That’s plain and simple. That was a tragedy. Now, I have no idea if any new gun laws would have changed that, we don’t know, but my job as governor is to do everything I humanly possibly can do to make our communities safe.”
On a final note, Faith Gemmill-Fredson and Princess Daazhraii Johnson at The Daily Beast write about President Obama’s environmental legacy:
The Obama Administration’s official recommendation of a Wilderness designation for the Coastal Plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge was a huge step in the right direction—the sort of strong action that we need to see more of from leaders across the globe. Alas, it is only a ‘recommendation’ and stronger protections are needed immediately to counter the rush for resources that is taking place all over the Arctic […]We hope that Obama hears first hand from our Alaska Native communities the impacts we are facing due to climate change and that he takes this visit as an opportunity to take further actions. The hardships experienced in Alaska, with unprecedented heat and wildfires, have already begun to echo across America. Our Ancestors knew that in order to survive we had to work together. A culture of caring for one another and deep ecology is necessary if we are truly going to tackle climate change. Now is the time to rise.