That ‘basket of deplorables’ Clinton mentioned? This is what she was talking about.

CREDIT: AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

THINK PROGRESS

21 percent of Trump supporters think white people don’t have enough influence.

Weeks after Hillary Clinton notoriously said that half of opponent Donald Trump’s supporters could be placed into a “basket of deplorables,” a new poll reinforces the point she was making.

According to a Langer Research Associates survey, 38 percent of Trump supporters think minorities have too much influence in American society. Despite the fact that white men constitute 80 percent of Congress while only comprising 31 percent of the country’s population, the survey found that 21 percent of Trump supporters actually think white people don’t have enough influence.

On the other hand, 67 percent of Clinton supporters think minorities have too little influence, and just seven percent think whites don’t have enough.

Trump and Clinton supporters also diverge in their views on how much power women currently have in America. Twenty-one percent of Trump supporters think women have too little power, compared to 58 percent of Clinton supporters.

“Controlling for demographics, partisanship, ideology and presidential approval, seeing too little influence for whites and men and too much influence for minorities and women independently predicts support for Trump,” a summary of the poll says. “Other than disapproval of Barack Obama, which is by far the best predictor of support for Trump, views of group influence have a similar effect as partisanship, ideology and race.”

Polls conducted earlier this year found that 65 percent of Trump supporters believe Obama is a Muslim; 59 percent believe Obama wasn’t born in the United States; 40 percent believe blacks are more “lazy” than whites; 31 percent support banning homosexuals from the country; 16 percent believe whites are a superior race; and 20 percent disagree with Lincoln’s signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed Southern slaves.

For context, Clinton’s comment about “the basket of deplorables” — those with “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, [and] Islamophobic ” views — was directed toward 50 percent of Trump supporters. That’s a greater percentage than those who believe minorities currently have too much power according to the new poll, but a lesser percentage than those who believe Obama is a Muslim — a quickly discredited conspiracy theory that nonetheless brought Trump to national political prominence.

Aaron Rupar

Fox News’ Presidential Debate Moderator Says He’ll Let Candidates Lie

Trump shakes hands with Fox News’ Chris Wallace, who will moderate the third presidential debate. | Screen Cap – Fox News Channel

THINK PROGRESS

For the first time, Fox News has been selected to moderate a presidential debate. The Presidential Debate Commission selected Chris Wallace, host of Fox News Sunday, to moderate the third presidential debate, scheduled for October 19 in Las Vegas.

Wallace appeared on Fox News’ Media Buzz to discuss what his selection meant to him personally and “what it means to Fox News.”

The host of the program, Howard Kurtz, asked Wallace, “What do you do if they make assertions that you know to be untrue?”

“That’s not my job,” Wallace replied, without skipping a beat. “It’s not my job to be a truth squad.”

VIDEO

A moderator who lets the candidates lie with impunity could be an advantage for Donald Trump, based on his Politifact scorecard. (Here is Hillary Clinton’sscorecard, for comparison.)

Trump rose to political prominence making false claims about Barack Obama’s birth certificate. He has recently been consulting with one of the nation’s most notorious conspiracy theorists.

Wallace is has close personal and professional ties to Roger Ailes, who was his boss until a few weeks ago and is now reportedly helping Trump prepare for the debate.

When Ailes was forced out of his position due to a string of credible sexual harassment allegations, Wallace showered him with praise.

Wallace said that he was “very proud to be a representative of Fox” in his role as debate moderator. He agreed with Kurtz that his selection dispelled the notion that Fox was a “right-wing network” that “favors Republicans.”

According to Wallace, his selection means the debate commission looked at Fox News’ body of work and decided it really was “fair and balanced.”

Judd Legum

Watch the latest video at video.foxnews.com

White Nationalists Love Twitter And Donald Trump, Report Says

CREDIT: AP PHOTO/GERALD HERBERT

THINK PROGRESS

The alt-right, Nazi sympathizers, and their ilk prefer to use the microblogging platform to wake people up and raise awareness.

It’s confirmed: White nationalists on Twitter now outnumber members and sympathizers of the Islamic State (ISIS) thanks to Donald Trump’s campaign. At least that’s what one study published by George Washington University’s extremism program found.

“White nationalist users referenced Trump more than almost any other topic, and Trump-related hashtags outperformed every white nationalist hashtag except for #whitegenocide within the sets of users examined,” wrote J. M. Berger, the study’s author and renowned terrorism expert.

The report characterizes white nationalism as an umbrella term for related political ideologies including Nazi sympathizers, right-wing European groups, and to a lesser extent the Ku Klux Klan, alt-right, and fascist South American movements.

Berger identified over 25,000 “seed” accounts of people who have connections to white nationalist organizations or leaders on and offline.

CREDIT: GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY/J.M. BERGER

White nationalist sentiments on Twitter increased 600 percent in 2012 due to a spike in activism and people who identified with white nationalism joining the service, along with a rise in “ organized trolling communities seeking to flood social media platforms with negative content,” the report states.

Those individuals then hitched to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. The number of followers for major white nationalist Twitter “seed” accounts jumped from 3,542 in 2012 to 25,406 in 2016.

The #whitegenocide hashtag was by far the most popular with #tcot (top conservatives on twitter) coming in second. But together, Trump-related tags — #Trump2016, #Trump, and #MakeAmericaGreatAgain — appeared more often and had nearly as many uses as #whitegenocide. White nationalists used Trump hashtags 9,201 times while Nazi sympathizers used them 6,628 times.

CREDIT: GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY/J.M. BERGER

But despite being a prime topic of conversation, Trump is merely a conduit for white nationalists’ prime talking points: the mistreatment of whites. “Less than 1% of white nationalist accounts tweeted exclusively about Donald Trump,” Berger wrote. Instead many accounts had varied interests split between discussing anti-Islam or anti-Muslim beliefs, sharing Nazi imagery, and other white nationalist ideas.

The rise of white nationalists on Twitter intersects with ISIS’ dwindling influence on the platform. That’s likely due to Twitter’s crackdown campaign on ISIS-linked accounts. Since 2015, Twitter has removed nearly 250,000 accounts promoting or creating ISIS propaganda. The militia group has turned more of its focus on “community-building” than social media activism, Berger found.

White nationalists on Twitter are the opposite: “Red Pill” white nationalists, who took their name from The Matrix movie and set out to “awaken” people to the realities of an anti-white agenda, skew antagonistic and gear their messages toward users they consider to be “anti-white,” the report found. They also tweet more, averaging 33 tweets a day. And where ISIS recruiters try to welcome newcomers, white nationalists bond over “feelings of disenfranchisement or dislike of minorities.”

CREDIT: GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY/J.M. BERGER

Trolling and harassment have become hallmarks of white nationalists on Twitter. There have been several high-profile incidents of harassment from sub-groups particularly the alt-right, such as repeated attacks on comedian Leslie Jones. As a result, Twitter shut down accounts that incited or perpetuated the harassment.

Trump and his campaign have been tightly linked with white nationalists despite his many efforts to distance himself. Democratic presidential rival Hillary Clinton painted Trump and his white nationalist supporters as online trolls in a campaign speech in August.

Trump responded by saying his supporters weren’t racist for wanting to close the borders: “It doesn’t make you a racist. It makes you smart. It makes you an American.”

Lauren C. Williams

That Time The President Of Mexico Compared Donald Trump To Hitler

CREDIT: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

THINK PROGRESS

On Tuesday night, Donald Trump announced that he would be making a last minute trip to Mexico to visit with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto. Trump made the announcement, naturally, on Twitter.

The Mexican government has also confirmed the meeting, which will be private.

There have been episodes in human history, unfortunately, where these expressions of this strident rhetoric have only led to very ominous situations in the history of humanity. That’s how Mussolini got in, that’s how Hitler got in — they took advantage of a situation, a problem perhaps, which humanity was going through at the time, after an economic crisis. And I think what (they) put forward ended up at what we know today from history, in global conflagration. We don’t want that happening anywhere in the world.

Trump famously launched his campaign by describing Mexican immigrants as “rapists.” Since that time he has insisted that he will build a wall across the entire southern border and get the Mexican government to pay for it.

Nieto has categorically rejected the idea. “There is no scenario,” he said.

The New York Times called the meeting a “conciliatory gesture.” But at least one Congressman thinks it’s a trap.

 

Fox News Host Explains How Tweet Of Hillary In Blackface Actually Made A Really Good Point

Screencap via Goldie Taylor

THINK PROGRESS

Trump’s top pastor stands by the message in his since-deleted tweet.

Pastor Mark Burns, a prominent surrogate for Donald Trump, said he believes his “intentions were honorable” when he posted a cartoon of Hillary Clinton in blackface to his Twitter account Monday afternoon.

During a Tuesday morning appearance on Fox News, Burns acknowledged that “the blackface imagery has been used in the past and it is offensive to African Americans, but my message, I stand behind it.”

He said “the real offense” is that many minority families in America “don’t know where their next meal is coming from.”

Fox News host Martha MacCullum then suggested Burns made a good point with his blackface tweet, saying he “used that blackface, which you explained, to say that you thought that she, in this case, is pandering to black voters.”

MacCullum told Burns she “thought it was interesting” that the media wanted to ask him about “the blackface part” of his tweet, but not “the underlying stuff of what you’re talking about — the violence that exists in our inner cities, the fact that more black people are killed my members of their own black community in our inner cities, that that is the issue that plagues them more than any other.” She then read a quote from Trump before Burns jumped back in and accused liberals of “playing the race card.”

Here’s the tweet Burns posted, which was later deleted from his feed:

Burns’ case for why African Americans should vote for Trump is basically the same as the one Trump has been making to the largely white audiences that attend his rallies — black people have it bad as it is, so why not vote for Trump and see what happens?

“Black people are Americans, and when Donald Trump talks about jobs, he’s talking to all Americans. When he talks about security, he’s talking to all Americans,” Burns said in his Periscope video.

On MSNBC, Burns said “millions of African Americans are on welfare, [millions] of African Americans are on food stamps… we are not at the promise land that Dr. King spoke about.”

“The problem is we live in a political PC environment… where we go after the African American vote like all of us African Americans are the same,” he added.

Burns, who referred to Democrats as “the enemy” and called on God to “defeat” Clinton during his aforementioned RNC speech, is helping to promote Trump’s upcoming appearance at a predominately black church on Saturday. The New York Times reports that it will be Trump’s first event in front of a predominately black audience in more than a year.

New polling released by Public Policy Polling indicates African Americans aren’t buying what Trump and Burns are selling. According to the poll, Trump’s favorability rating among African Americans is zero percent, with 97 percent viewing him unfavorably and three percent undecided.

 Aaron Rupar

Federal Judge Says Religion Gives You A Right To Discriminate

CREDIT: AP PHOTO/ ERIC RISBERG

THINK PROGRESS

There are two narratives, both of which are true, that can be told about America’s long history of bigotry and discrimination.

The first is a narrative of progress and improvement. In this version, the descendants of former slaves serve in Congress. Same-sex couples enjoy the right to marry. A woman is poised to become the next President of the United States. It’s the narrative President Obama appealed to when he implored voters to “choose our better history.” And it is the story of America that allowed him to become the first African-American president.

But there is another, far more sinister American story. In this story, Native American slavery is largely abandoned, but replaced by African slavery. African Americans become freedmen, only to be trampled by Black Codes and peonage. America’s darker history is what led Stokely Carmichael to quip that the only position for women in his civil rights movement is “prone.” It’s the history that brought millions to the polls in 2004 to lash out against marriage equality.

The original Jim Crow, a caricature of people of African descent

In America’s sinister history, someone must always be Jim Crow. Someone must be the scapegoat. The hated other. Bigotry never dies, it just finds a new home.

On Thursday, Judge Sean F. Cox, a George W. Bush appointee,declared that transgender people are the new scapegoats. He did so in a 56-page legal opinion that sits as much on the knife-edge of America’s culture wars as it does at a crossroads between two very different futures for American law.

His opinion, should it be upheld on appeal, offers a license to business owners to engage in anti-trans bigotry. It also opens the door to a whole new round of cases alleging that discrimination is permissible just as long as it is justified by an appeal to religious faith.

What Hath Hobby Lobby Wrought?

Judge Cox’s opinion in Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes confronts a legal issue that is genuinely uncertain in the wake of a Supreme Court decision that could remake the balance of power between religious objectors and the rule of law. Prior to the Supreme Court’s 2014 decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, a religious objector’s right to defy the law ended when such defiance intruded on the rights of others — and this was especially true in the business context. As the Supreme Court explained in United States v. Lee, “when followers of a particular sect enter into commercial activity as a matter of choice, the limits they accept on their own conduct as a matter of conscience and faith are not to be superimposed on the statutory schemes which are binding on others in that activity.”

Additionally, a long line of cases established that religion cannot be used specifically to justify bigotry. A unanimous Supreme Court held that a restaurant owner’s religious challenge to the ban on whites-only lunch counters was “patently frivolous.” A religious university could not demand tax subsidies so long as it maintained racist policies. A Christian school could not use religion to justify its decision to compensate its women employees less than men.

Then came Hobby Lobby, which held, for the first time, that a religious liberty claim could trump the rights of third parties — in that case, the rights of women seeking contraceptive coverage. Justice Samuel Alito’s majority opinion did address the question of what impact this new regime would have on civil rights laws, but only incompletely. “The Government has a compelling interest in providing an equal opportunity to participate in the work force without regard to race,” Alito conceded. “And prohibitions on racial discrimination are precisely tailored to achieve that critical goal.” Left unspoken is whether other forms of discrimination, such as discrimination against women or LGBT people, also remains forbidden when someone claims that they have a religious right to disriminate.

Enter Judge Cox

R.G. & G.R. Harris should have been a very easy case. The case involves a funeral home owner who fired one of his funeral directors, Amiee Australia Stephens, after Stephens came out as trans and announced her intention to begin living as a woman. Stephens’ boss admits that he fired her because Stephens “was no longer going to represent himself as a man” and because she “wanted to dress as a woman.” He added that he believes that permitting Stephens to dress as a woman “would violate God’s commands because, among other reasons, [the owner] would be directly involved in supporting the idea that sex is a changeable social construct rather than an immutable God-given gift.”

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits an employer from firing an employee “because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin,” where “sex” refers to gender and not sexual orientation. So the law forbids discrimination “because of . . . sex” and this particular employer openly admits that he fired Stephens because of his personal prejudices regarding sex. This really isn’t a hard case.

Judge Cox decides to complicate the issue, however, by denying that firing someone because they are transgender is a form of sex discrimination. Instead, he holds that Stephens sole claim is under a line of cases prohibiting “sex/gender-stereotyping.” Stephens case is allowed to proceed because she was fired for failing to “conform to the Funeral Home’s sex/gender based stereotypes as to work clothing.”

A protester offers a different view than the one expressed by Judge Sean Cox in a recent opinion. (CREDIT:(AP PHOTO/PABLO MARTINEZ MONSIVAIS)

As a practical matter, this may seem like a purely semantic difference. Regardless of whether Stephens’ case is framed as a sex discrimination case or a sex stereotyping case, her employer still broke the law. But Cox manages to make a great deal of this seemingly minor distinction.

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) permits religious objectors to ignore laws that “substantially burden” their “exercise of religion,” unless the government can show that applying the law “is in furtherance of a compelling governmental interest” and “is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.” Prior to Hobby Lobby, there was little question that anti-discrimination laws were not trumped by RFRA, and Hobby Lobby itself concedes that laws banning race discrimination further a compelling interest and use the least restrictive means of doing so.

But what about laws banning sex stereotyping?

To answer this question, Judge Cox draws a very fine distinction. The specific conflict in this case arose because of the funeral home’s gendered dress code. Male employees who interact with the public are required to wear a male business suit and tie, while women are required to wear a skirt suit. As a woman, Stephens wanted to wear a skirt suit. Her employer demanded that she wear a male pant suit and tie.

As Judge Cox writes, the federal agency that sued on Stephens behalf “has not challenged the Funeral Home’s sex-specific dress code, that requires female employees to wear a skirt-suit and requires males to wear a pants-suit with a neck tie.” Instead, it argued that “Stephens has a Title VII right to ‘dress as a woman’ (ie., dress in a stereotypical feminine manner) while working at the Funeral Home, in order to express Stephens’s gender identity.” For Cox, this very fine distinction is fatal to Stephens’ case:

If the compelling interest is truly in eliminating gender stereotypes, the Court fails to see why the EEOC couldn’t propose a gender-neutral dress code as a reasonable accommodation that would be a less restrictive means of furthering that goal under the facts presented here. But the EEOC has not even discussed such an option, maintaining that Stephens must be allowed to wear a skirt-suit in order to express Stephens’s gender identity.

In essence, Cox argues that the right Stephens seeks, the right to wear a skirt suit at work, is not the “least restrictive means” of eliminating gender stereotyping at work. Instead of seeking this right, she could have instead sued to challenge the workplace’s rule requiring men and women to dress differently.

It’s a confusing ruling for several reasons. For one thing, Stephens wasn’t seeking a sweeping change to her employer’s policy. She was seeking an narrow, individualized accommodation that would allow her to wear female attire to work. It’s far from clear why Judge Cox thinks that forcing an employer to change a company-wide policy is a “less restrictive” option than simply allowing one woman to wear a skirt to work.

Cox’s solution, moreover, doesn’t really address Ms. Stephens’ concern. The entire point of this lawsuit is that Stephens wants to be able to continue her vocation while also living her life as a woman. Changing the employer’s policy so that women can wear stereotypically masculine clothing does little to address her core concern.

The New Hated Other

So Judge Cox’s opinion is an odd one, but it is also a very clever decision. AfterHobby Lobby, there is some uncertainty about whether religious objectors enjoy a right to discriminate. But pre-Hobby Lobby law is clear that such discrimination is not allowed. And even Hobby Lobby itself says that religious objections are not a license to engage in some forms of discrimination.

Cox resolves this uncertainty in two questionable steps. He denies trans people the right to bring basic sex discrimination suits, as opposed to sexstereotyping suits, and then he limits the force of sex stereotyping suits in a way that neuters their effectiveness against anti-trans employees. In effect, he imposes a kind of least-favored-litigant status on transgender plaintiffs, weakening their civil rights claims without having to dive into the thorny question of whether RFRA permits other kinds of discrimination.

Cox, in other words, chooses America’s sinister history. In his courtroom, someone must always be Jim Crow. And now, Jim Crow is a trans person.

Ian Millhiser

Justice Editor

5 absurd right-wing moments this week: Katrina Pierson displays most stunning ignorance yet

Katrina Pierson (Credit: CNN)

This article originally appeared on AlterNet.

SALON

Hard to compete, but Tucker Carlson also had the most ridiculous hissy fit ever

Sure, sure, sure, Donald Trump had his worst and most heinous week ever. (If we had a dollar for every time we’ve said that!) The man floated the idea of assassinating Hillary Clinton; insisted repeatedly that President Obama founded ISIS, then chided everyone for taking him seriously; suggested illegally trying U.S. citizens at Gitmo; and railed about a rigged election that has not occurred. More conservatives and dozens of national security officials fled the Republican nominee, as did voters. Just another week in the Trumpoverse.

But man, this guy attracts the best and the brightest. Winners like Katrina Pierson,Jeffrey Lord and now Carl Paladino.

Not familiar with these three outstanding political thinkers, these Trumpian spinners of tales? Read on for some of their latest antics.

1. Katrina Pierson just can’t stop revising history.

It’s very hard for Katrina Pierson to keep track of who started which war. C’mon guys, that’s hard. Especially when these wars go on and on forever. Also history, schmistory. It’s all Obama’s fault.

After being severely dressed down recently for saying that Captain Khan was killed in Iraq under Obama’s watch in 2004 — when Bush was president and Obama a senator who had opposed the war — Pierson decided to put her knowledge of recent wars on display again Saturday.

This time, she accused Obama of owning the war in Afghanistan, which is odd, because he was a state senator when that war was launched in 2001.

“Remember we weren’t even in Afghanistan by this time,” Katrina Pierson told a puzzled CNN host. “Barack Obama went into Afghanistan, creating another problem.”

Asked to clarify whether she meant he launched that war, she said, “That was Obama’s war.”

Well, no, though he did announce a surge there in 2009 when he actually became president.

Next up? Pierson blames Obama for WWII. Stay tuned.

2. Meet Carl Paladino! He’s completely awful!

Although Donald Trump declared the Khan family controversy over and “put to bed” this week (and Mika Brzezinski tried to point out to him that he does not get to choose when people stop talking about it), apparently the chairman of his New York campaign did not get the memo. Carl Paladino, an atrocious GOPer who has run for governor of New York and been thoroughly humiliated in that attempt, is of the belief that it’s always a good idea to attack Muslim families, no matter who they are.

On Friday, Paladino said this about Clinton and Trump to the host of “Imus in the Morning.”

“We’ve got an un-indicted felon [Author’s note: OK, not a thing] as his opponent and you’re talking about Khan, about him making a remark about this man? All right, I don’t care if he’s a Gold Star parent. He certainly doesn’t deserve that title, OK, if he’s as anti-American as he’s illustrated in his speeches and in his discussion. I mean, if he’s a member of the Muslim Brotherhood or supporting, you know, the ISIS-type of attitude against America, there’s no reason for Donald Trump to have to honor this man.”

It’s hard to be worse than Trump himself, but apparently manageable for some.

Keeping the level of discourse as high as possible, Paladino went on insist that Obama is a Muslim and Hillary Clinton is “devious” for hiding her alleged health problems, health problems that have been debunked.

“But if you’re really looking at what’s been exposed about Hillary and Hillary’s demeanor, I mean, just look at the deviousness. If it is true about her health problems, I mean, how devious can a woman possibly be? And not telling the American people that she’s got some sickness, she’s definitely impaired.”

3. Tucker Carlson’s has a new hissy fit defending Trump.

Things are getting desperate over at Fox News. To the difficult question of how to spin the Orange One’s really bad, no-good, horrible week, Tucker Carlson had to dig really deep.

The headscratcher he came up with? The fact that mean old Hillary Clinton acknowledged the existence of white privilege back in June is just as bad as all the bad things Trump has said lately.

Here’s the core of what Hillary said:

“White Americans need to do a much better job of listening when African Americans talk about the seen and unseen barriers you face every day. We need to recognize our privilege and practice humility, rather than assume our experiences are everyone else’s experiences.”

Man, that is hurtful stuff. That is like a personal attack on privileged, thin-skinned white guys like Carlson. Why doesn’t the media get all up in her face about that, like they do with Trump when he suggests assassination, or that Obama founded ISIS.

Carlson’s whine fest:

“I think [the media] have a right to ask Trump tough questions…Totally fair. But they are giving Hillary a complete pass. They’re acting on her behalf and they’re devaluing their moral authority in doing it. It’s a big mistake. […]

“He can’t back down. That’s for sure. I just wish that they would apply the same standard to Hillary when she says, for example, all white people are privileged and therefore should apologize. It’s like, really?”

Putting aside the insanity of comparing Clinton’s reasonable and inarguable statement to Trump’s incitement of violence, might we also mention that no one else seems to have heard Clinton saying all white people should apologize.

Tucker tantrumed on, undaunted:

“If you’re an unemployed machinist in Toledo, you’re really more privileged than the millionaire, Harvard educated African-American President of the United States? That’s actually an insane statement. And not one person called her on it or even noticed it. So just apply the same standard to Hillary.”

Get the sense he might still be a little upset about the whole African American in the White House thing?

4. Karl Rove loses his shit.

You know it’s bad when Karl Rove thinks you’ve gone off the deep end.

On a Fox show with host Charles Payne, Republican guru Karl Rove was unable to maintain the fantasy that Trump is a reasonable person to be the party’s nominee for the presidency. The former Bush chief of staff went off at the suggestion that it is in any way a good idea for Donald Trump, “as a New Yorker,” to “hit back” at every perceived slight.

“Yeah, well, you know what?” Rove began. “If he does that between now and the election, what do you think is going to happen? The Clinton campaign is going to provoke him every day to stay off of message. And he is going to fall for all of these things and waste valuable time. Does he want to win or does he want to respond? If he wants to be the New Yorker and punch back at everybody who comes his way — fine! That’s an open invitation for everybody to come his way with things like this.”

Might we just interject that it seems Rove is no great fan of New Yorkers in general? Also, Donald Trump has a message?

Rove was just getting started.

“He has 88 days to make his case,” Rove said. [Author’s note: 85 days now] “He has squandered the last three weeks by responding to the Gold Star mother. The day after he had his presidential nomination, he became the official nominee of the Republican Party. The first news conference he had was not devoted to laying out the case against Hillary Clinton or bashing Barack Obama or laying out what he wants to do as president. It’s renewing and revisiting all of things he said about Ted Cruz, who was yesterday’s news at that point!”

“And why? He felt compelled to do it. He ought to get control of his impulses and keep focused on the main target. Otherwise you’re going to have more of these Republicans saying ‘why do we want to stand by this guy when he just keeps going after the wrong target.’”

Your guess is as good as ours, Karl. No, we don’t exactly feel your pain, but we acknowledge it.

5. We can’t. We just can’t.

Simone Manuel won a gold medal in Olympic swimming competition this week, becoming the first African American ever to do so.

That’s big.

Michael Phelps added four more gold medals and a silver one (how terrible) to his history-making tally.

The San Jose Mercury News covered the news of these events with this headline, and an identical tweet:

“Olympics: Michael Phelps shares historic night with African American.”

And the winner of the most Olympically offensive headline is…!

Note, unlike Trump, the paper’s editors did apologize.

, ALTERNET

BREAKING: Illinois Governor Vetoes Law That Would Have Registered 2 Million Voters

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R). CREDIT: AP Photo/Seth Perlman

THINK PROGRESS

Late Friday afternoon, Illinois’ Republican Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed a bill that would have made the state the sixth in the nation to automatically register millions of voters.

Rauner had expressed some support for the policy back in May, telling reporters: “I am a big fan of simplifying the voter registration process and trying to get everyone who should be able to vote, to get them registered and vote.”

By early August, he had a different view. While expressing support for the general idea of automatic voter registration, he wrote in his veto notice on Friday: “The consequences could be injurious to our election system.” Urging the legislature to make reforms to the bill before sending it back to him, he cited the threat of non-citizens registering to vote and casting ballots.

Yet study after study has found such voter fraud to be vanishingly rare, and recent federal court rulings asserted that the threat of illegal voting is not a serious enough justification for laws that make it harder for eligible voters to participate.

Illinois Poised To Automatically Register 2 Million Voters
This week, Illinois took a final step toward becoming the sixth state in the nation to approve a system where residents…thinkprogress.org

The non-partisan watchdog group Common Cause Illinois estimates the policy could help add two million new voters to the states rolls. In a statement Thursday, the group’s lead organizer Trevor Gervais accused the governor of “playing politics with something as important as voting rights.”

“He wants to delay implementation until 2019, after the next gubernatorial election,” Gervais said.

Because the Illinois state legislature passed the measure with anoverwhelming majority in early June, they can now vote to override the veto.

If they do, the state will launch a program in 2018 that automatically registers Illinois residents to vote every time they visit a Department of Motor Vehicles, office of Human Services, office of Healthcare and Family Services, the Secretary of State’s office, or an Employment Security office.

If Rauner had approved the bill, the state would have followed the lead ofOregon, California, West Virginia, Vermont, and Connecticut, which have all approved the policy over the past few years. In Oregon, the only state so far where the policy has gone into effect, registration and voter participation have surged. The primary had one of the highest number of voters in Oregon’s history, second only to 2008’s historic election. The turnout rate also bested Kentucky’s, which held its primary that same day.

Illinois residents hope the policy could do the same for their state, which has seen dismally low turnout in recent elections, including the one that put Rauner in office. Advocates for the measure also say it will save the state money and make the voting rolls more accurate.

“When I go to the DMV and I’m asked if I want to register to vote, I currently have to fill out a separate form, by hand,” Christian Diaz with the organization Chicago Votes told ThinkProgress. “I then give it to a state worker who types the information from the paper sheet into the computer system, even though the government has already collected that same information. Human error also presents a huge issue. So this will make it a lot more efficient.”

But Illinois Republicans have complained that the policy makes political participation too easy.

“I think it’s important for the voter to have a little bit of initiative to do what they need to do and not just automatically be signed up,” said Rep. David Harris (R-Arlington Heights), adding that he worried if voters effortlessly registered, they wouldn’t do the work of educating themselves about the candidates on the ballot.

Alice Ollstein

Va. governor: I’m ‘baffled’ by federal probe

Getty Images

THE HILL

Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-Va.) on Tuesday said he is perplexed by the federal probe into campaign donations to his 2013 gubernatorial run.

“I’m really baffled by this story in the first place,” he told reporter Ronica Cleary during an interview with Fox 5 D.C. “I’ll be honest with you — if I was sitting in the private sector, not as governor, I don’t think someone would, this would have risen to the level.

“But listen, it’s OK. You get in this business. You open yourself up and I’m fine doing that when you’re confident you haven’t done anything wrong.”

Reports emerged on Monday that the FBI and the Justice Department’s public integrity unit are looking into campaign contributions to McAuliffe three years ago.

The agencies are investigating, among other things, $120,000 in donations from Chinese businessman Wang Wenliang. Foreign nationals are not allowed to donate to any American campaign unless they have a green card, which clears such contributions.

McAuliffe on Tuesday said Wenliang has a well-documented record of donating to individuals and institutions in the U.S.

“Well, as I say, he’s a major contributor to Harvard,” he said. “He sits on the board of New York University. Two of our most prestigious universities. He’s very active. Everybody takes his money.”

McAuliffe added that federal scrutiny into his past campaign contributions would not hinder his current duties as Virginia’s governor.

“Listen, I’m carrying on my schedule as governor,” he said. “No one’s alleged I’ve done anything wrong. And you just got to continue to do.

“I’m governor, I’m out doing what I need to do to help the people of the Commonwealth of Virginia,” added McAuliffe, who has previously endorsed Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton.

McAuliffe tried distancing the probe from his ties with the Clinton family during a press conference earlier Tuesday.

“This has nothing to do with Clinton Foundation,” he said at the State Arboretum of Virginia. “This was an allegation of a gentleman who gave a check to my campaign. I didn’t bring the donor in; I didn’t bring him into the Clinton Foundation. I don’t even know if I’ve ever met the person.”

Officials are also purportedly investigating McAuliffe’s role at the Clinton Global Initiative, former President Bill Clinton’s charitable organization.

A Washington Post report from last year found that 120 donors who gave to Clinton charities gave more than $13 million to McAuliffe’s election efforts in 2013.

McAuliffe is a long-time Clinton ally who spearheaded Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2008. He also served as the chairman of the Democratic National Committee in 2000.

By Mark Hensch

Biden wants ‘uncomfortable’ racism debate

Getty Images

THE HILL

Vice President Biden said on Thursday that Americans must confront “institutional racism.”

“No one wants to say that,” he told a National Urban League legislative policy conference in Washington, according to Politico. “I know I sometimes speak out too loudly, sometimes, but I make no apologies for it. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable, but these are uncomfortable times.

We’ve got to shake up the status quo a bit.

“You know, we see this institutional racism today in voting, in children’s education, in the very makeup of our neighborhoods, housing patterns, employment, transportation, access to transportation,” he added.

His speech focused on “the overwhelming problems of the legacy of institutional racism which we still live with,” Politico reported.

Biden said the 2008 economic recession had particularly hurt minorities and the impoverished.

“[The] freefall was particularly bad for poor folk and particularly bad for African-American and Hispanic poor folk,” he said.

“You have a disproportionate share of African-Americans living in cities who do not own an automobile,” he added.

“You can’t have a job if you can’t get there to the interview. So we’ve got to put a lot of money into transportation, meaning everything from streetcars to buses to rail transit, connecting inner cities to the suburbs.”

Biden also said that Americans “can’t pretend that children of different races have the same opportunities.”

“I’ll be here with you pushing the next president to level the playing field,” he said.

“I don’t know what the hell I’m going to do,” Biden joked of his term’s upcoming end. “[I’ll need] career advice from some of you.”

Biden ruled out a third Oval Office bid last October, likely signaling the end of a political career that has spanned four decades.

He concluded that he did not have the time or emotional energy for a viable campaign after the death of his son, Beau Biden, following a battle with brain cancer last year.

By Mark Hensch