Trump and the media

Hell, yeah, I’ve been writing a lot about Trump.  It’s not every day we get a likely major-party presidential nominee who has absolutely no respect for the first amendment much less established norms of decency.  Slate’s Seth Stevenson spent some time with the Trump campaign and it’s reporters, and wow:

Asking policy questions is like throwing a rock down a bottomless well. “If I have a question about women’s issues, or Hispanic issues,” said one reporter, “it’s not like they point me to specific press liaisons who handle those. There aren’t any such people.” Most policy queries simply go unanswered. When a response does come back, it’s rarely sufficient. “There’s no point anyway,” said another reporter. “You might get a response to a question about immigration policy, but the next day on TV, Trump will contradict it.”

And of course there are the lies. Politico Magazine tallied more than 60 in a week of Trump appearances. At a rally in Boca Raton, Florida, on March 13, I heard him utter at least two bald untruths in the first two minutes of his speech (he said there were 25,000 people at his Chicago rally when the arena holds fewer than 10,000, and then he repeated the falsehood that no one had been injured at the event). But journalists I talked to who continue to report the lies as such don’t feel their efforts have much effect. “How many times can you write that the same statement is untrue?” mused one reporter. “At some point, the lie stops being news.” And debunking a claim doesn’t stop Trump from making it again. [emphases mine]

The hokum washes over you after a while. A reporter sitting next to me at the Saturday rally in Cleveland chuckled when Trump bragged there were 29,000 people in the room. “That can’t be remotely possible,” she said, lifting her head for a moment to assess the crowd, then giving up and returning her gaze to her laptop. A fire marshal later announced the attendance had been about 7,000. The lie, though, never made it into her piece. Why bother to spend the time and column space to correct a silly exaggeration, when this same man has said he might want to summarily execute enemy combatants and defile their bodies? You need to pick your battles.

“We used to fact-check everything, every day,” another reporter told me, “but it gets hard to keep up.” For a writer filing on deadline an hour after a rally ends, there’s not enough time to thoroughly fact-check the dozens of fabrications that spilled from the stage. It’s also hard to know who the fact-checking is for. At this point, anyone who hates Trump has ample evidence he’s a liar. And anyone who loves Trump doesn’t care.

Donald Trump, a genuine threat to American democracy as we know it?  Yes.

Trump in perspective

Hans Noel likes this chart, with the admonition, “The next time someone tells you that “the people” have spoken in 2016” so much he made it his FB profile photo:

The biggest gender gap ever?

I think it is somewhat of an open question whether the chance to have a woman president might pull in any additional female voters for Hillary Clinton.  I think maybe.  But, also, maybe not.  That said, women sure don’t like Donald Trump.  For that reason alone, 2016 may end up giving us the largest gender gap ever.  The Voteview folks have used 2016 ANES Pilot data to look at demographics and attitudes towards Republican candidates.  Here’s the graph– note that this is essentially already controlling for the fact that women are more likely to be Democrats.  The thing is that at each level of partisanship (excepting ceiling and floor effects at the extremes), Trump is way less popular among women:

Also, some good stuff on education and trade if you want to check it out, but here’s the summary:

The main finding is that Trump divides the electorate by gender, education, and trade attitudes like no other. Among independents (coded “4” on the party ID scale), for instance, there are huge gaps in predicted Trump support on each of these variables. Across party identification, women, those with college/postgrad degrees, and voters supportive of free trade agreements are much less likely to support Trump than men, those with high school degrees or less, and voters opposed to free trade agreements.

Can Trump win a general election?  Sure.  Is it going to be really, really hard.  You betcha.

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