My professional anti-Trump endorsement

So, I gave a talk on the election to a great group of engaged NC State “Scholars” today.  I framed it around the idea of the “Trump Tax” (as nicely explained in Vox) in that Trump is a uniquely poor presidential candidate falling way below where we would expect a generic Republican to.

I was pretty critical of Trump’s quality as a candidate in all the usual ways, but never anything particularly harsh.  But something towards the end got me onto the topic of the “rigged election.”  And I’ve written plenty here so that you know what I think of the matter.  So, I took the opportunity to speak not just as liberal Steve Greene, but Professor of American Politics Steven Greene.  I said that, as a Political Scientist, I would never have advocated voting against any previous Republican nominee in my lifetime.  And, yes, there’s plenty to disagree about with regards to health care, abortion, immigration, etc.  But some things are far more important– like the respect for bedrock democratic values such as the rule of law and peaceful transitions of power.  Donald Trump is clearly a threat to these foundations of American democracy, as someone who is a scholar studying our democracy– and loves our democracy, warts and all– we truly have a responsibility to see to it that Trump is not president.

I had some great conversations afterwards with some thoughtful young Republicans who appreciated my words and were upset and sad their party had nominated Trump.  I encouraged them to work to make it a better party.  And then there was the guy who said, “how can you say that about Trump but not bring up the threat to democratic values from Hillary Clinton and Benghazi?”  I really just wanted to say “seriously??!!”  I tried to be nice about it, but I have very much come to the conclusion that when somebody starts with “Benghazi!” they have done you the favor of instantly letting you know they are just not somebody intellectually serious about politics.

Even the AP has had it with Trump

So, I enjoy telling my classes about how the Associated Press symbolizes the era of “objective press” that took over reporting in the 1900’s (prior to that, newspapers were agressively and openly partisan).  The AP was in the business of selling news stories to outlets around the country, from Minnesota to Mississippi so it was in their interest to adopt a “just the facts, m’am” approach that plays this as straight and down-the-middle as possible.  That means not always the most helpful news, but it has worked well for the AP.  So, when the AP is leading a story like this, that’s telling you something:

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. (AP) — A beleaguered Donald Trump sought to undermine the legitimacy of the U.S. presidential election on Saturday, pressing unsubstantiated claims the contest is rigged against him, vowing anew to jail Hillary Clinton if he’s elected and throwing in a baseless insinuation his rival was on drugs in the last debate.

Not even the country’s more than two centuries of peaceful transitions of political leadership were sacrosanct as Trump accused the media and the Clinton campaign of conspiring against him to undermine a free and fair election.

Of course the fact that prominent Republicans have called out Trump for this dangerous, shameles, stupidity, is important for the AP to be able to write the article this way instead of a mindless, “he said, she said,” but, still, good on them.


Photo of the day

Recent National Geographic photo of the day:

A Flash in the Distance

Flashes of lightning illuminate the night sky above Lake Ontario, as seen from an overlook in Lyndonville, New York—located about an hour from the Canadian border at Niagara Falls.



The utter failure of the mainstream media as Trump attacks Democracy itself

So, Saturday afternoon I’m sitting in McDonalds eating my post-soccer-coaching ice cream cone, and being the attentive, dedicated parent I am, I was checking twitter while my daughter was eating her ice cream.  Twitter was basically blowing up with commentary on Trump’s truly egregious attacks against the very foundation of democracy by his ever more zealous assertions that the election is “rigged.”

Meanwhile, the McDonald’s TV is on CNN and they are going on and on about Trump and sexual assault.  I check some other headlines on-line and it’s all about Trump’s absurd statement that Hillary should take a drug test.  Now, the sexual assault is, of course, a real and important issue, but there’s was nothing new.  The simple, sad fact is that it is good ratings to be able to talk about groping and “grabbing pussies.”  And when that, fails, drugs!  The far more substantial news of the day was Trump so forcefully attacking our fundamental democratic norms.  But, hey, things like “peaceful transition of power” is boring when you can talk about sex and drugs.

I will seriously be using this weekend as an example of real media bias in my classes for years.  It is so not about ideology or policy, it is about whatever salacious elements of a story may draw the best ratings.

And, for some good commentary on the truly horribleness of Trump, CNN’s Brian Stelter is great:

And a nice piece from Dara Lind explaining how awful this is.

In other news, on the bright side, my Dad now believes that Trump is “evil.”  (I didn’t object).  But, somehow, my stepmom (who really loves Jesus) is still planning on voting for the guy.

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