Donald Trump

This is why Donald Trump didn’t correct that supporter who said Obama is a Muslim

Darren McCollester/Getty Images


Donald Trump is getting a lot of flack for failing to correct a supporter at a town hall event in New Hampshire yesterday who asserted that President Obama is a Muslim and that the U.S. needs to “get rid” of all Muslims. Trump’s roll-with-the-bigotry approach contrasted starkly with a similar episode in 2008, when presidential candidate John McCain flatly contradicted a voter who said Obama is an Arab.

But Trump’s less than presidential response may actually work in his favor, serving to shore up his support after his uneven performance at the GOP debate on Wednesday. As the liberal-leaning Public Policy Polling recently showed, the false belief that Obama is a Muslim is held by more than half of Republicans.


Furthermore, PPP reported that a full 66 percent of Trump’s supporters believe Obama is a Muslim, while 61 percent do not believe he was born in the States. This is Trump’s core constituency, and it is a fairly influential segment of the GOP primary electorate.

Ryu Spaeth

Nate Silver: ‘Stop Comparing Donald Trump And Bernie Sanders’

Bernie Sanders speaking at an event in Phoenix, Arizona.

attribution: Photo: Gage Skidmore/CC


Nate Silver took a look at the media’s comparisons of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders and found them lacking. He makes ten points, each of which are blockquoted below and followed by my own reactions, but you’ll have to click through to read the entirety of Silver’s analysis.

1. Trump is “winning” (for now), and Sanders isn’t.

Silver thinks there is reason to believe Trump’s lead won’t hold. I’ve tended to agree, assuming that as the ridiculously large GOP field gets narrowed, supporters of mainstream Republicans will coalesce around another mainstream Republican. But I’m no longer sure that will matter. Ben Carson is now second in many polls, and when you add his numbers to those of Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, and Ted Cruz, it appears that there may be enough unhinged GOP voters to carry Trump, after all. This shouldn’t frighten Democrats now eyeing the head-to-head general election polls. Most Americans know the personality, but not his politics. Most Americans don’t like bigotry and misogyny. My guess is that if Trump is the GOP nominee, Democrats could bring back Michael Dukakis and still win.

2. Sanders is campaigning on substantive policy positions, and Trump is largely campaigning on the force of his personality.

This is the big one, and if we ended up with a Sanders/Trump general election, it would become even more apparent. Trump is an ignorant blow-hole, and Sanders has a long, deep, and wide history of substantively analyzing and taking stands on issues. The guy is a wonk. Trump is an affectation.

3. Sanders is a career politician; Trump isn’t.

To the GOP base, that’s a big plus for Trump. For voters who want a president that knows what he or she is doing, that’s a big plus for Sanders. It’s also another fundamental difference between the two men. Sanders is the real deal, while Trump is a fake tan and a bad toupee.

There’s more …

4. Trump is getting considerably more media attention.

This says everything about the media. Silver looked at Yahoo News and found that over the past month, Trump has received more media “hits” than Sanders and Hillary Clinton combined. Of course, the media find it much easier to cover personalities than policies. It’s their basic mode of operation.

5. Sanders has a much better “ground game.”

Sanders has a professional campaign apparatus in place, while Trump is more of a TV phenomenon. That can make a huge difference when it comes time for people to vote.

6. Sanders holds policy positions of a typical liberal Democrat; Trump’s are all over the place.

Sanders is not some whacky outsider trying to elbow into the Democratic base: He actually supports Democratic Party positions overwhelmingly often. This means base Democrats will like him. He even voted the same as Hillary Clinton 93 percent of the time when they served in the Senate together. Trump’s positions align well with the GOP base on some issues, but are anathema on others. That will make it easier for Democrats to want to vote for Sanders, and harder for Republicans to want to vote for Trump.

7. Sanders’s support divides fairly clearly along ideological and demographic lines; Trump’s doesn’t.

This one may better serve Trump, whose support is ideologically widespread among Republicans. Sanders appeals primarily to white, liberal Democrats. That’s not a secret, and it’s where Sanders will have to expand his support if he’s going to make a serious run at Clinton for the nomination. However, polls do show that Democratic voters who don’t prefer Sanders as their first choice are fine with him as their second choice. As is the case in reverse—it’s not that Clinton’s supporters don’t like Sanders, it’s just that they like Clinton more.

8. Sanders’s candidacy has clear historical precedents; they’re less obvious for Trump.

Silver compares Sanders to previous insurgent Democratic candidates, such as Bill Bradley, Howard Dean and Eugene McCarthy. They all gave the mainstream candidate a scare, but ultimately fell short. But Trump is more openly hostile to the GOP than were previous insurgent Republican candidates. Given how much the GOP base hates all things government, that may actually help Trump in the primaries.

9. Trump is running against a field of 16 candidates; Sanders is running against one overwhelming front-runner.

The diluted Republican field has prevented the GOP establishment from rallying behind just one of their own, and has helped Trump jump to his current lead. I will add that it also means Trump’s lead is a relatively small plurality, which may or may not grow as other candidates drop out. See my comment on Silver’s point No. 1. But were the Democratic field as diluted, Sanders might also enjoy a plurality lead.

10. Trump is a much greater threat to his party establishment.

Sanders is an outsider. But because he has aligned with Democrats so often, if he were to win the nomination the Democratic establishment base wouldn’t have a lot of trouble aligning behind him. The Republican establishment would have a much tougher time rallying behind Trump. His open hostility to the party, his animosity toward right wing media, and his apostasy on some key Republican issues means that if he did win the nomination, the GOP establishment might not even mind if he lost. The GOP establishment does not like not being in command. As Silver says:

A Trump nomination would be more of an existential threat to the Republican establishment.

Could Trump win without it? Not likely. It’s even less likely given his inattention to the ground game, which would make him particularly dependent on the party’s. Sanders would have the entire Democratic establishment behind him and he’d have his own ground apparatus. He’d have his long experience both with the politics of politics, with understanding and articulating his understanding of the issues, and he’d have stands on the issues that are much more aligned with those of the electorate than are Trump’s.

The media love a simplistic narrative, and for them equating the outsider candidacies of Trump and Sanders is too easy. But as is so often the case with narratives promoted by the major media, this one is also absurdly wrong.


Trump insults Carly Fiorina’s looks, then says ‘I’m not talking about look’

Donald Trump, CPAC 2011

attribution: Gage Skidmore/Creative Commons

” ‘Murica the beautiful…”  

Spare me the Trumpisms, Huckabees, Religious Right fanaticism, etc.  In my opinion, these people are freakin’ dangerous!  (ks)


Here’s Donald Trump, the Republican Party’s leading candidate for president, with his deep thoughts on Carly Fiorina, one of his opponents for the 2016 nomination:

… Trump’s expression sours in schoolboy disgust as the camera bores in on Fiorina. “Look at that face!” he cries. “Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?! … I mean, she’s a woman, and I’m not s’posedta say bad things, but really, folks, come on. Are we serious?”

And doing Trump-style damage control this morning:

“Probably I did say something like that about Carly,” Trump said. “I’m talking about persona. I’m not talking about look.”

Uh huh. Or he’s a jackass and a liar. You make the call.

Barbara Morrill

Trump Pretends To Domesticate Himself



But his real brand remains the same.

To launch a building project in New York, you need to be a ruthless, egotistical bully: intimidating bureaucrats, buying politicians and unions, and selling your dream by spinning the local media like a top.

But to finish it, you need to be adaptable. If you hit unexpected bedrock, you change the footprint. If a supplier goes bankrupt, you sue and find another. If interest rates rise and the project no longer “pencils,” you build fewer floors. If the deal falls apart, you declare it bankrupt and unapologetically stick your investors with the loss, dismissing them as greedy predators even more ruthless than you are.

Then you start over, for the goal remains the same: to get your name on yet another Taj Mahal on the island of Manhattan.

And so it is with Donald Trump, the New York-based builder/TV host who was always too scary to be a joke and who is now the frontrunner for the 2016 Republican nomination.

He cold-bloodedly has used personal attacks; fear based on class, race and ethnicity; cynical appeals to marginal voters – and lots of his own jet fuel – to impose at least a temporary stranglehold on most of American campaign politics.

He has built his campaign foundation on the Manhattan Schist of disaffected white voters who believe in a variety of ideologies, including none at all. But there are not enough of those voters, and not enough proof that they will show up at the polls, to guarantee victory, even in a crowded field.

So now Trump must adapt. That is, he must be seen as adapting.

Trump is ever so slightly but noticeably domesticating himself: throwing fewer counter-punches, hiring politically experienced staff, soliciting small donations, pledging to remain a Republican (on his own terms), and offering somewhat less-combative statements and policy proposals.

Late this week, for example, Trump said that he would not repudiate the six-nation nuclear arms deal with Iran, comparing it to a bad contract he would inherit and work to salvage.

Asked about the migrant crisis in Europe, where fleeing refugees from Syria are facing hardship and generating controversy, Trump said that he would “possibly” accept some in the U.S.

Although he still relies largely on bluster and vague promises, Trump’s team is working on “position papers” on tax and foreign policy — the former likely to include proposals for tax hikes on the rich and on hedge fund managers.

Trump has made common cause with one of his rivals, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, on foreign policy, even though Trump earlier said that anyone who goes to work in Washington becomes “impotent” and corrupt by definition.

Confronted by GOP rules in various states that require candidates to pledge fealty to the party to run in a primary, Trump shrewdly made a virtue of political necessity. He insisted that a new national party pledge be signed by all of the GOP candidates, not just him — assuring that the others, in a sense, must testify to his mainstream credentials.

Trump more or less walked away from another war with a media figure, in this case influential conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt. Hewitt surprised Trump by asking him to identify by name and comment on several key Middle Eastern terrorism leaders. An embarrassed and confused Trump failed the test.

Trump dismissed Hewitt as a “third-rate radio announcer,” but chose not to prolong the argument, perhaps because Hewitt is slated to be a panelist at the next TV debate.

And in a way Hewitt did him a favor: Trump will learn the names.

The Donald foreshadowed the arrival of this new, semi-domesticated self two months ago, long before rumors arose that he would sign a pledge of allegiance to the GOP. He did it by saying that he was running in the name of a new “Silent Majority.” In saying so, Trump was telling the world that his GOP role model was Richard Nixon, not Patrick J. Buchanan.

Trump knows the history.

In 1992, “Pitchfork Pat” upset then-President George H.W. Bush in the New Hampshire GOP primary with a gut-punching, openly xenophobic populist attack. But his style and speech, which contained touches of Savonarola and Joe McCarthy, made him obviously unelectable.

In 1968, by contrast, Nixon was the ultimate party man (former GOP representative, senator and vice president). And he ran in the name of a newly discovered “Silent Majority,” who merely wanted “law and order” — a shrewdly benign slogan in which to wrap an appeal to racial fear.

Nixon’s core supporters were angry about and fearful of social changes rocking the U.S. in the ’60s, led by the push for racial equality. But even as he played to those fears, Nixon calmly promised the country that he would “bring us together.” He cleverly didn’t ever say who “us” was.

Trump is now moving toward his own version of the same thing. Having secured the lowest fetid ground, he is edging upward.

Has he had a change of heart? No. Does he now suddenly care about the courtesies of traditional campaigning? Hardly. His brand remains the same. It’s all about disruption and the Great Man Theory of how to solve problems.

It’s just that to build a new skyscraper, even a Great Man must act like a mortal now and then.

Donald Trump just tripped up on the air over foreign policy. Again and again.

(AP Photo/Richard Shiro)


Donald Trump, leading in the polls and riding a wave of momentum in the race for the Republican presidential nomination, just hit a speed bump named Hugh Hewitt.

The conservative radio host peppered Trump with a host of foreign policy questions in a Thursday interview that produced some uncomfortable moments for the real estate mogul, who appeared upset at the line of questioning.

At one point, Hewitt asked Trump if he was familiar with “General  Soleimani” and the “Quds Forces.” (He referred to Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, commander of the elite Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guard Corps.) Trump said he was but then appeared to mistake the Quds for the Kurds, a Middle Eastern ethnic group.

“The Kurds, by the way, have been horribly mistreated by us,” said Trump.

Hewitt corrected him: “No, not the Kurds, the Quds Forces, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Quds Forces.”

A portion of the video was posted on YouTube:

After that, Trump said he thought Hewitt said “Kurds.”

“No, Quds,” responded Hewitt.

Later on, Hewitt insisted he didn’t believe “in gotcha questions.” Trump disagreed.

“Well, that is a gotcha question, though,” he said. “I mean, you know, when you’re asking me about who’s running this, this this, that’s not, that is not, I will be so good at the military, your head will spin.”

Asked what he would do as president if China were “to either accidentally or intentionally sink a Filipino or Japanese ship,” Trump refused to say.

“I wouldn’t want to tell you, because frankly, they have to, you know, somebody wrote a very good story about me recently, and they said there’s a certain unpredictable, and it was actually another businessman, said there’s a certain unpredictability about Trump that’s great, and it’s what made him a lot of money and a lot of success,” said Trump. “You don’t want to put, and you don’t want to let people know what you’re going to do with respect to certain things that happen.”

Hewitt told Trump that when it comes to terrorism, “I’m looking for the next commander in chief, to know who Hassan Nasrallah is, and Zawahiri, and al-Julani, and al-Baghdadi. Do you know the players without a scorecard, yet, Donald Trump?”

Trump said he did not.

“No, you know, I’ll tell you honestly, I think by the time we get to office, they’ll all be changed,” he said. “They’ll be all gone. I knew you were going to ask me things like this, and there’s no reason, because number one, I’ll find, I will hopefully find General Douglas MacArthur in the pack. I will find whoever it is that I’ll find, and we’ll, but they’re all changing, Hugh.”

For the record, Hasan Nasrallah is the secretary general of Hezbollah; Ayman al-Zawahiri is the new leader of al-Qaeda after the death of Osama bin Laden; Abu Mohammad al-Julani is the leader of Jabhat al-Nusra, or al-Nusra Front, an al-Qaeda affiliate fighting in Syria; and Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is the leader of the Islamic State, which controls parts of Syria and Iraq.

Ordinarily, an interview like this would put a candidate at serious risk of falling in the polls. But nothing about Trump’s candidacy has been ordinary, so it remains to be seen whether it will hurt him or not.

In the same episode, Hewitt interviewed the GOP race’s other business leader-turned-candidate, Carly Fiorina. He asked her the same questions — informing her that “there’s been social media” coverage of how Trump did.

“Aren’t you familiar with General Soleimani?” Hewitt asked.

“Yes,” said Fiorina, who also recognized the name of the Quds Force. “We know that the general of the Quds Force has been a powerful tool of the Iranian regime to sow conflict. We also know that the Quds Forces are responsible for the deaths and woundings of American soldiers. We also that the Quds Forces have been in Syria and a whole bunch of other countries in the Middle East.”

Fiorina was more hesitant when Hewitt mentioned Nasrallah, Zawahiri and Julani, as well as Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

“Do you know most of these without a scorecard, Carly Fiorina?” Hewitt asked.

“I have to be very honest with you,” said Fiorina, “and say that sometimes I can get confused a bit between the name and group because they sound a bit alike sometimes, so I have to pause and think sometimes. But, I certainly know all those names both of the individual leaders and of the terrorist groups.”

The former Hewlett-Packard CEO was on firmer ground when Hewitt asked her to differentiate between Hamas and Hezbollah. “Hamas is focused in Palestinian territories,” she said. “Hezbollah focuses in Beirut and other places, but the truth is, both of them are proxies of Iran.”

Trump hasn’t seen the last of Hewitt. He is slated to ask questions at the second Republican debate later this month.

“At the debate, I may bring up Nasrallah being with Hezbollah, and al-Julani being with al-Nusra, and al-Masri being with Hamas. Do you think if I ask people to talk about those three things, and the differences, that that’s a gotcha question?” asked Hewitt.

“Yes, I do. I totally do. I think it’s ridiculous,” Trump responded.

Sean Sullivan and David Weigel

Tea party and Trump supporters can’t accept people like Jorge Ramos and Barack Obama as Americans


attribution:    |     American


Let’s start with the obvious. Given that the candidate himself has characterized Mexican immigrants as criminals and rapists, we can’t be surprised that one of his partisans told Jorge Ramos, the most influential Latino journalist there is, to “get out of my country.” Ramos responded: “This is my country. I’m a U.S. citizen too.”  Clearly thrown by the idea that this man with a Spanish accent might actually be an American, the Trump supporter spluttered: “Well, whatever. No. Univision. No. It’s not about you.”  Ramos, able to form actual sentences in English, calmly replied, “It’s not about you.  It’s about the United States.” It’s not clear whether Trump’s rhetoric exacerbates this kind of bigotry, or simply attracts those who already possess it. Either way, he and his supporters are a perfect match.

At a press conference only a few minutes earlier, Trump himself had dismissed Ramos—and, by extension, his large Latino audience—with the insult: “Go back to Univision.” This was after the journalist asked a question about the candidate’s immigration plan without waiting to be called on. Trump’s insult sounded to many Latinos a lot like: “Go back to Mexico.” Ramos discussed the interaction here.

Beyond this incident, in just the past week or so we saw two brothers—one of whom stated that he was inspired by Mr. Trump—ambush a man they targeted as Latino, leaving him with a broken nose, “battered” arms and chest, and, just for kicks, a face full of urine. Trump, in response, offered that “it would be a shame….I will say that people who are following me are very passionate. They love this country and they want this country to be great again. They are passionate.” Indeed.

Keep reading, and we’ll take a closer look.

An array of hate was on display in the crowd at a recent Trump rally in Alabama, where neo-Confederate activists passed out flyers, a reporter heard a number of “off-color remarks about minorities,” and one especially enthusiastic gentleman couldn’t stop chanting “white power.” Speaking of white power, you remember former KKK grand wizard David Duke, right? He endorsed Trump, declaring that the Donald “understands the real sentiment of America.” By the way, Duke isn’t the only white supremacist, white nationalist, or Neo-Nazi jumping on Trump’s bandwagon. What does Trump say about all these cheeky rapscallions who think he’s the Great White Hope? When asked about Duke’s endorsement, Trump claimed he hadn’t heard of him. He then added, “people like me across the board. Everybody likes me.” Well, not quite everybody.

The hate we’ve been discussing here largely stems from white racial anxiety about our country’s demographic future, an anxiety that, as I’ve written elsewhere, we ignore at our own peril. In terms of electoral politics, these sentiments strongly resemble those that motivate the tea party.

In their extensively researched book, The Tea Party and the Remaking of Republican Conservatism, Vanessa Williamson and Theda Skocpol found that tea party members expressed a significant degree of racial animus, and that their positions on various policies followed. Tea party rhetoric defines Latinos and African-Americans as being outside the national community. Supporters expressed profound resentment over what they saw as government redistributing the wealth of “hard-working” (read: white) Americans to “undeserving” (read: black and brown people) takers. In another article, Skocpol summarized:

[Tea Party members] are overwhelmingly older, white, conservative-minded men and women who fear that “their country” is about to be lost to mass immigration and new extensions of taxpayer-funded social programs (like the Affordable Care Act) for low- and moderate-income working-aged people, many of whom are black or brown. Fiscal conservatism is often said to be the top grassroots Tea Party priority, but Williamson and I did not find this to be true.

Similarly, a study published by Florida State University sociologists in the journal Social Science Research found race-based anger to be a “distinct factor” pushing people to embrace the tea party, a factor that operated “largely independent” from actual ideology. Here’s more from this study:

The Tea Party movement is an outlet for mobilizing and expressing racialized grievances which have been symbolically magnified by the election of the nation’s first black president….The findings suggest that, among conservatives, racial resentment may be a more important determinate of membership in the Tea Party movement than hard-right political values….Conservatives who were more racially resentful were substantially more likely to claim Tea Party movement membership.

Certainly it is possible to say that one wants to “take our country back” without being motivated by racism. As conservative pundit Byron York rightly pointed out, Democrats from Al Gore to John Kerry to Howard Dean all used a version of that phrase during the George W. Bush administration. However, the tea partiers who talk incessantly about taking their country back aren’t just talking about ideology, as the research cited above makes clear. It’s not just the use of those words—it is what’s behind them, the hate we saw expressed in countless other ways by members of the tea party.

Racist anti-Obama signs.

attribution: The Colbert Report screenshot

The above is a compilation of signs from tea party rallies put together by the staff of The Colbert Report. Host Stephen Colbert noted that it took them “almost 15 seconds to put that together.” What they show is much more than a rejection of Barack Obama’s policies. They show both a profound degree of racism, as well as a rejection of Obama as an American. That’s why the tea party embraced birtherism for so long and so loudly. And which prominent individual has clung longest and most loudly to birtherism, right up to the present in fact? Donald Trump.

We didn’t constantly see signs expressing bigotry at Gore, Kerry, or Dean rallies. And that’s the difference. When the tea party talks about taking their country back, it’s about more than politics alone. Likewise, when Donald Trump talks about Mexican immigrants being rapists and criminals in order to gin up anger over undocumented immigrants, it’s about more than just concern regarding the rule of law. That anger—fueled by racial anxiety—is what we saw in the video where a “passionate,” “inspired” Trump supporter clearly saw Jorge Ramos as not American.

This isn’t just one guy, one video, and one insult. It provides another window into the soul of right-wing America, an entity so full of hate that almost any little scratch brings the bile right up and out of its mouth. You can see the hate on that Trump supporter’s face, and you can hear it in his voice. That hate fuels the tea party, and it fuels support for Donald Trump. It is, in fact, the very same hate. That hate may not motivate every single participant in those two movements, but their successes would be impossible without it.

Daily Kos Staff

Donald Trump isn’t rich because he’s a great investor. He’s rich because his dad was rich.

Donald Trump, amongst stocks | Michael Nagle/Getty Images



“It takes brains to make millions,” according to the slogan of Donald Trump’s board game. “It takes Trump to make billions.” It appears that’s truer than Trump himself might like to admit. A new analysis suggests that Trump would’ve been a billionaire even if he’d never had a career in real estate, and had instead thrown his father’s inheritance into a index fund that tracked the market. His wealth, in other words, isn’t because of his brains. It’s because he’s a Trump.

In an outstanding piece for National Journal, reporter S.V. Dáte notes that in 1974, the real estate empire of Trump’s father, Fred, was worth about $200 million. Trump is one of five siblings, making his stake at that time worth about $40 million. If someone were to invest $40 million in a S&P 500 index in August 1974, reinvest all dividends, not cash out and have to pay capital gains, and pay nothing in investment fees, he’d wind up with about $3.4 billion come August 2015, according to Don’t Quit Your Day Job’s handy S&P calculator. If one factors in dividend taxes and a fee of 0.15 percent — which is triple Vanguard’s actual fee for an exchange-traded S&P 500 fund — the total only falls to $2.3 billion.

It’s hard to nail down Trump’s precise net worth, but Bloomberg currently puts it at $2.9 billion, while Forbes puts it at $4 billion. So he’s worth about as much as he would’ve been if he had taken $40 million from his dad and thrown it into an index fund.

But if you compare Trump’s performance since 1982, when the stock market started to take off after the early-’80s recession, it looks pretty abysmal. Forbes estimated that Trump was worth $200 million that year. If he’d put that money in an index fund that year at a 0.15 percent fee, he’d have $6.3 billion today after dividend taxes, almost certainly more than he actually does. This jibes with analyzes prior to Dáte’s which have found that Trump has underperformed compared with the market since 1988; an AP analysis found that if he’d put his money in an index fund that year, he’d have $13 billion today; the S&P calculator similarly suggested he’d have $11.3 billion, after fees and dividend taxes.

These calculations vary a lot depending on the size of fee you introduce, how much of the investments you take off for living expenses, which exact day of the year you buy the index funds in, etc. If Trump had invested $40 million in an index fund in January 1974, for example, he’d have $500 million less, after fees and dividend taxes, than he would have if he’d invested in August.

But the exact numbers aren’t the point. The point is that after decades of touting his business acumen, his ability to negotiate tough deals and spot good investments, and after spending this entire campaign season arguing that he’s qualified for the presidency based on his skills in the market, Trump nonetheless has an investment record that at best roughly matches and at worst underperforms the market. He did only as well or possibly worse than a retiree with a Vanguard 401(k) did.

That’s not really impressive. Worse, it suggests that his success is almost entirely the result of having inherited money from his father. His own actions might have even cost him money.

Don’t be like Trump. Put your money in low-fee index funds from a company like Vanguard or State Street Capital; Vox’s Tim Lee has a good explainer of how to do this. Other presidential candidates are smart enough to take this approach. Hillary Clinton’s savings are primarily in index funds, including Vanguard’s S&P 500 fund.

Disclosure: I have most of my retirement and other savings in Vanguard mutual funds, and because Vanguard is structured as a cooperative, that technically makes me a Vanguard shareholder.

It’s on: Jeb Bush embraces a risky fight with Donald Trump

Republican presidential candidates Donald Trump, left, and Jeb Bush participate in the first Republican presidential debate Aug. 6. Bush has ratcheted up his attacks on Trump, who is ahead in most polls. (Andrew Harnik/Associated Press)


Jeb Bush went on the offensive Tuesday against GOP presidential front-runner and frequent antagonist Donald Trump, releasing an attack video portraying the mogul as a closet liberal and signaling that he will attempt to bring Trump down in coming weeks.

“He attacks me every day. He attacks me every day with barbarities,” Bush said in Spanish in response to questions from reporters at a Presbyterian school here. “They’re not true. What we did today was to put out in his words to show that he’s not conservative.”

But in fully embracing a fight against Trump, Bush is embarking on a risky strategy that could further fuel Trump’s unexpected rise and complicate his own path to the nomination. Allies of the former Florida governor insist that he had no choice but to adopt a more aggressive posture, elevating his feud with Trump to the marquee contest in the GOP primary contest.

Republicans said the dilemma for Bush is obvious. If he hangs back, voters may conclude he is weak. If he attacks, he engages a candidate who has proved to be an effective counterpuncher. For now, the conclusion in the Bush campaign is that appearing weak is the greater risk.

“Knowing Jeb, I’m sure he’d prefer to be talking about policy proposals rather than trading verbal jabs with Trump,” said Ana Navarro, a longtime GOP strategist backing Bush. “But what . . . is he going do? Let the guy mischaracterize his record and positions and attack him daily? Enough is enough. If Trump wants to pick a fight with Jeb, Jeb needs to embrace it and hit back.”

Ed O’Keefe and Sean Sullivan

Vast majority of Trump supporters think Obama is a Muslim born in another country

Donald Trump giving the peace sign.



We should have known (via PPP):

Our new poll finds that Trump is benefiting from a GOP electorate that thinks Barack Obama is a Muslim and was born in another country, and that immigrant children should be deported. 66% of Trump’s supporters believe that Obama is a Muslim to just 12% that grant he’s a Christian. 61% think Obama was not born in the United States to only 21% who accept that he was. And 63% want to amend the Constitution to eliminate birthright citizenship, to only 20% who want to keep things the way they are.

Looks like The Donald’s birtherists were his initial base of support and he’s just expanded out from there. But it’s not like that base is a small, marginalized slice of the GOP.

Trump’s beliefs represent the consensus among the GOP electorate. 51% overall want to eliminate birthright citizenship. 54% think President Obama is a Muslim. And only 29% grant that President Obama was born in the United States. That’s less than the 40% who think Canadian born Ted Cruz was born in the United States.


Kerry Eleveld

Ben Carson, Advancing in Polls, Is a Sharp Contrast to Donald Trump


When I was a little girl and heard my parents use the term “six in one…half dozen in the other…” the phrase often drew my attention.  As I grew older and researched the idiom I learned that it meant:   The two alternatives are equivalent or indifferent; it doesn’t matter which one we choose.

That sentence aptly describes Donald Trump and the distant runner-up in the GOP campaign, Dr. Ben Carson due to their extreme conservative political views.  Therefore as an observer of the current GOP political race for POTUS I see no difference in the two men. ~ KS


The spotlight rarely found Ben Carson this summer. While other presidential candidates shot flaming arrows at rivals and sometimes the news media, the soft-spoken Mr. Carson seemed to struggle to be noticed. “Well, thank you,” he told moderators in the first Republican debate. “I wasn’t sure if I would get to speak again.”

But while almost all Republicans were upstaged by the bombast of Donald J. Trump in recent months, Mr. Carson, a retired neurosurgeon whose low-key personality and celebrated medical career are the antithesis of a politician’s usual path, has gained ground as few seemed to notice.

A recent Quinnipiac University national poll placed him in second place in the Republican field, and a Monmouth University survey of Iowa Republicans released on Monday had him tied with Mr. Trump. Another Iowa poll, by The Des Moines Register and Bloomberg, had the two candidates running closely within the poll’s margin of sampling error.

Like Mr. Trump, Mr. Carson has never held elected office, a quality that seems particularly prized by Republican voters this year. More than 90 percent of voters in the Register/Bloomberg poll conducted, last week, said they were unsatisfied or “mad as hell” with government and politicians.

And yet, in almost every other way, Mr. Carson is Mr. Trump’s opposite. He is almost professorial, where Mr. Trump is loud, combative and unfiltered.

“At the end of the day, I attribute it to the power of nice,” said Rob Taylor, a chairman of Mr. Carson’s campaign in Iowa, reflecting on the rise of his candidate.

Mr. Carson has worked hard to tame his habit of making highly provocative statements, often on homosexuality, a move that advisers said had saved his campaign after it nearly derailed amid negative early headlines. They predicted that Mr. Trump’s own tendency toward such statements, whether directed at illegal immigrants or in personal attacks on Twitter, could undermine his headline-grabbing run.

“We’ve been there and realize no matter how much the base will love you for it, people will not think it’s presidential,” said Armstrong Williams, a close adviser to Mr. Carson.

Mr. Carson’s campaign did not immediately respond on Tuesday to requests to interview him.

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