The Trump Watch: Mid-August (part 1 of 2)

The Curmudgeon continues to follow the ridiculous Trump campaign, trying, whenever he can, to wander off the beaten-to-death track.

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Two important states in the upcoming election are Pennsylvania and Ohio. The vote may be close, and both candidates need those states. The Trump campaign knows this and is going after what it considers an important swing vote in both states: the Amish.

Because Trump's all about family values, right?

Because Trump’s all about family values, right?

Yes, the Amish.

The Trump campaign plans to target the Amish with billboards and maybe some other campaign tools. Social media won’t cut it with this group: you’re not going to catch an Amish guy buried in his smartphone while checking his Facebook page and Twitter feeds while steering his horse and buggy on the back roads of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania (and yes, if you go Lancaster, you really do see those horses and buggies all the time).

You have to wonder what the Trump folks are thinking: yes, Ohio and Pennsylvania are important states and every vote counts, but there are only about 250,000 Amish people in the entire country and only about 70,000 in both Pennsylvania and Ohio. Most, though, don’t register to vote: in Lancaster County, the place with the most Amish in Pennsylvania, there are only an estimated 2500 Amish people registered to vote. The Trump people must be counting on a very, very close race.

Recent polls suggest that may be wishful thinking.

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Trump made his big pitch to black voters and it consisted of these magical words:

What do you have to lose by trying something new like Trump? What do you have to lose?

Golden, huh? Talk about your compelling arguments.

He also riddled his remarks with bad information, saying “you live in poverty” when blacks live in poverty at no higher a rate than some other minority groups; saying black youth unemployment is 58 percent, which it only is if you include high school students among those unemployed (and in which case the white unemployment rate is 50 percent); and insisting that if they elected him president they would be so happy with his performance that he would win 95 percent of the black vote in four years (even though he currently polls at only two percent and Barack Obama’s high was 93 percent in 2012).

So you have to hand it to The Donald: the guy can sure tell a tall tale.

The BBC offered the testimony of two people who attended one of Trump’s recent speeches to black audiences:

“This is Trump’s SALES PITCH to black voters, ostensibly. Telling us we’re dumb, broke suckers who have no jobs is the best he could do,” Jamil Smith, a black reporter for MTV News, wrote on Twitter.

Ana Navarro, a Latina Republican strategist, wrote: “Trump’s ‘Black outreach’ so tone-deaf & condescending, his ‘Hispanic outreach’, (eating a taco bowl), suddenly not that bad & stupid.”

This was quite a turnabout for a guy who, just a month earlier, turned down an invitation to address an NAACP convention. Maybe a guy who boasts of his great “relationships with the blacks” doesn’t think he needs to make a special trip just to talk to “the blacks.” Or maybe he just wants to avoid being asked to explain this statement he made on television in 1989:

A well-educated black has a tremendous advantage over a well-educated white in terms of the job market. And, I think, sometimes a black may think that they don’t really have the advantage or this or that but in actuality today, currently, it’s, uh, it’s a, it’s a great. I’ve said on occasion, even about myself, if I were starting off today I would love to be a well-educated black because I really believe they do have an actual advantage today.

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One of the many stars Trump inspired to come to his convention.

One of the many stars Trump inspired to come to his convention.

In a past post listing the “big stars” Donald Trump attracted to speak at the Republican convention The Curmudgeon unintentionally omitted one: Willie Robertson, a member of the television Duck Dynasty family. In 2014 the Robertson family captured a new kind of national attention when Willie’s father, Phil, told GQ magazine:

It seems like, to me, a vagina – as a man – would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.

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Presidents are typically big readers. JFK was a big reader, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama are voracious readers, even George W. Bush had a contest with some of his staff members to see who could read more books. His father was a big reader, as were Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter.

Donald Trump is not much of a reader.

Does that surprise you?

Consider this, from the Washington Post:

As he has prepared to be named the Republican nominee for president, Donald Trump has not read any biographies of presidents. He said he would like to someday.

 He has no time to read, he said: “I never have. I’m always busy doing a lot. Now I’m more busy, I guess, than ever before.”

Trump’s desk is piled high with magazines, nearly all of them with himself on their covers, and each morning, he reviews a pile of printouts of news articles about himself that his secretary delivers to his desk. But there are no shelves of books in his office, no computer on his desk.

Trump figures that any magazine smart enough to put him on the cover is worth studying for ideas on how to run the country.

Trump figures that any magazine smart enough to put him on the cover is worth studying for ideas on how to run the country.

Hmmm, magazines with Trump on the cover: since when is People preparation for the presidency?

The Post continues:

He said in a series of interviews that he does not need to read extensively because he reaches the right decisions “with very little knowledge other than the knowledge I [already] had, plus the words ‘common sense,’ because I have a lot of common sense and I have a lot of business ability.”

Just what America needs: a president making important decisions “with very little knowledge…”

At the heart of this approach is Trump’s belief that experts – the people whose work some folks might find useful – have anything of value to offer:

Trump said he is skeptical of experts because “they can’t see the forest for the trees.” He believes that when he makes decisions, people see that he instinctively knows the right thing to do: “A lot of people said, ‘Man, he was more accurate than guys who have studied it all the time.’

And just like with presidential candidates’ fingers, length matters to Trump:

Trump said reading long documents is a waste of time because he absorbs the gist of an issue very quickly. “I’m a very efficient guy,” he said. “Now, I could also do it verbally, which is fine. I’d always rather have — I want it short. There’s no reason to do hundreds of pages because I know exactly what it is.”

Even when Trump doesn’t read, moreover, he often has opinions about things that have been written – especially about him. As the Post explains,

Trump has no shortage of strong opinions even about books he has not read. He told the Washington Post that he has not read four biographies written about him, yet he called three of the authors of those books “lowlifes,” and he sued one of them for libel.

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As The Curmudgeon has written in the past, the idea of serious vote fraud in this country is a myth perpetuated by people on the losing side of election results. As a former employer of The Curmudgeon once observed, “To the losers, elections are never lost. They’re stolen.”

The Donald is the latest in a long line of people pursuing this line of argument, but interestingly, he’s pursuing it preemptively as his chances of winning wane. Now, he maintains, if he loses it can only – only – be because the election was rigged. Of course, Trump’s idea of a rigged vote is any vote not cast in his favor.

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Surely Trump didn’t serious suggest that the Russians hack American computers in search of Hillary Clinton’s lost emails.

Surely he didn’t.

Surely…

He did.

Yikes!

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Like a lover, The Donald can be fickle. Once upon a time, for example, he loved Michael Bloomberg.

Really loved him.

In 2012, he tweeted

Mike Bloomberg is doing a great job as Mayor of New York City. Ray Kelly is a great Police Commissioner.

And this:

At very end of @MikeBloomberg  term, A@realDonaldTrump: “You have been a great Mayor…I mean this guy is FANTASTIC”

But when Bloomberg endorsed Hillary Clinton, the singer changed his tune:

“Little” Michael Bloomberg, who never had the guts to run for president, knows nothing about me. His last term as Mayor was a disaster!

And of course there were his convention-week remarks, clearly about Bloomberg:

“I was going to hit one guy in particular, a very little guy,” Trump said, making a clear reference to Bloomberg’s stature. “I was going to hit this guy so hard his head would spin and he wouldn’t know what the hell happened. He came out of nowhere!”

Hell hath no fury like a candidate scorned.

Or The Donald scorned.

(more tomorrow)

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