Donald Trump gets the worst people. The worst

Presumably  you’ve heard about a deranged NC man attacking a DC pizza restaurant because of a fake news story about Hillary Clinton and a satanic, pedophile ring being run out of the back.  Seriously.  Sure, there’s lots of idiots and crazy people out there.  Alas, you really don’t want then running the National Security Agency, i.e., Michael Flynn.  Drum:

So far this has no connection to Donald Trump, and perhaps you’re thinking that’s another silver lining, aside from the fact that no one was hurt in the attack. But I’m afraid you’ll have to make do with only one silver lining today. You see, Gen. Michael Flynn, who will soon be Donald Trump’s National Security Advisor, tweeted this a few days before the election:

And that’s not all. Here is Michael Flynn Jr., who is not just Flynn’s son. He is also Flynn’s chief of staff and closest aide. Here he is yesterday, after the shooting:

Until proven to be false, it’ll remain a story. The left seems to forget and the many “coincidences” tied to it. https://twitter.com/jackposobiec/status/805559273426141184 

There’s much more in Flynn Jr’s Twitter feed following this, all pointing in the same direction: he is a complete crackpot. And he is one of the closest confidantes of his father, who is also a crackpot. And Flynn Sr. is the top national security aide to Donald Trump, who is well known to have a weakness for conspiracy theories already.

Obviously Democrats have no influence over Donald Trump’s White House. But presumably Republicans do. They need to figure out a way to get Flynn booted from the NSA position and as far away from Trump as possible. This isn’t an amusing joke, and it’s not just politics anymore. It’s a serious national security weakness. [emphasis mine]

Ugh.  Of course, if you go over to Flynn Jr’s tweet, there’s a lot of people having fun with his utter idiocy.  Of course, anybody that stupid shouldn’t be within 1000 miles of our national security, much less a key adviser in our national security apparatus.  And here’s an article on an exchange between Flynn Jr and Jake Tapper:

Flynn’s son, Michael Flynn Jr., vehemently defended the story, which baselessly alleged that a pedophilia ring involving high-level Democratic Party officials — including Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair, John Podesta — is operating out of a Washington pizzeria called Comet Ping Pong.

Flynn is President-elect Donald Trump’s incoming national security adviser.

The conspiracy led a 28-year-old man to bring an assault rifle to the restaurant on Sunday, police said. They said the gunman was looking to investigate the story himself.

“Until #Pizzagate proven to be false, it’ll remain a story,” Flynn Jr. posted to Twitter. “The left seems to forget #PodestaEmails and the many ‘coincidences’ tied to it.”

That’s when Tapper apparently began to direct message Flynn Jr. on the app, asking for one piece of evidence proving that the pizza shop was “the site of a satanic pedophilia cult.” Those direct messages were posted by another user.

“Michael — the police called pizza gate a fictitious conspiracy theory tonight,” Tapper wrote. “Does someone have to die before you take this s— seriously. Spreading this nonsense is dangerous.”

“I want it to be false,” Flynn Jr. responded.

“It is not the site of a satanic pedophilia cult,” Tapper shot back. “It is a f—— pizzeria. Show me what you’re talking about that proves a satanic pedophilia cult. Your tweet is wildly irresponsible. Listen to me. You are going to get someone killed. Maybe an innocent child. For what??????”

Flynn Jr. later posted another screenshot of a DM thread with Tapper with the caption, “Want evidence??? I must’ve really hit a nerve.”

Flynn Jr. has a government transition email, as CNN reported. Flynn also shared a similar conspiracy theory on Twitter days before the November election that claimed Clinton was involved in sex crimes with children.

Just wow.  In this isn’t just some Know-Nothing looking to head up HUD.  This is national security.  Ugh.

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Finally

Well, reality seems to have finally set in with Pat McCrory today and he conceded the NC governorship.  I like this US News story because, instead of using a single anodyne quote– as so often seems to happen– they used some of my best lines:

“It was a self-inflicted, fatal wound to his re-election,” said Steven Greene, a political science professor at North Carolina State University. Donald Trump took the battleground state by five points and the state’s incumbent GOP senator, Richard Burr, was re-elected. “Without HB2, that [McCrory loss] doesn’t happen,” Greene says…

But McCrory, instead of working to repeal the law, “doubled down,” Greene said, perhaps thinking he would win by appeasing and igniting the Republican base. “He calculated wrong. It blew up in his face,” Greene said.

Cooper’s win represents a stunning turnaround for the LGBT movement. In 2008, Democrat John Kerry lost the presidential election in part because of public worries about same-sex marriage. This time, it was a Republican who paid the price for not being inclusive enough of LGBT people.

The race also underscores the importance of North Carolina as a battleground in years to come. While Republican nominees have won the state in the last two presidential elections, the defeat of McCrory – and over a social issue like LGBT rights – shows the state’s population is not as conservative as the legislature, and that their votes are very much up for grabs, Greene says.

Image result for pat mccrory

I really thought McCrory was on the way to a loss even before HB2.  As narrow as his loss was, though, I definitely think it is safe to say this proved instrumental to his defeat.  I’m glad as I much prefer Roy Cooper, but boy did McCrory screw this up.  Vox’s German Lopez:

More than 200 major CEOs and business leaders signed an open letter calling for the law’s repeal. PayPal, the NBA, the NCAA, and Bruce Springsteen, among others, pulled business out of the state. By Wired’s estimate, North Carolina has so far lost $395 million — “more than the GDP of Micronesia” — as a result of the law.

This was an intentional strategy from LGBTQ groups. The thinking was simple: If the governor and other Republicans don’t care about LGBTQ rights, maybe they’ll care about the law’s economic impact. At the very least, voters will care about the economic impact. It’s a way of transforming an identity politics issue into an economics one. [emphases mine]

“Whether you’re a Democratic governor or a Republican governor, virtually without exception, goal No. 1 is to keep jobs in your state and to attract new jobs that you don’t currently have. That is one thing that is shared between conservative governors, liberal governors, moderate governors,” Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin previously told me. “So the increase in business [engagement and lobbying against these laws] has been key to our success, and I think it will be key to our success as we engage in these battles in the future.”

The strategy seemed to work. Public Policy Polling’s surveys on HB2, the anti-LGBTQ law, found that only 30 percent of North Carolina voters supported the law and 42 percent opposed it. About 58 percent of voters said the law is hurting the state, compared with 22 percent who said it’s helping — with even a majority of Republican voters by a 24-point margin agreeing that it’s doing more harm than good to the state economy. And 43 percent of voters said that the way McCrory handled the law made them less likely to vote for him, compared with 31 percent who said the way he handled the law made them more likely to vote for him.

As Public Policy Polling concluded in August, “There’s a good chance that if not for HB2 McCrory would be favored for reelection at this point.”

And, speaking of PPP, Tom Jensen takes to some broader political analysis (rather than just strictly polling analysis) to highlight the importance of Moral Mondays and Democratic opposition:

McCrory spearheaded or went along with all of this [a list of unpopular Republican legislation precedes]. And he might have gotten away with it without much impact on his image. Most voters don’t pay close attention to state government.

But the Moral Monday movement pushed back hard. Its constant visibility forced all of these issues to stay in the headlines. Its efforts ensured that voters in the state were educated about what was going on in Raleigh, and as voters became aware of what was going on, they got mad. All those people who had seen McCrory as a moderate, as a different kind of Republican, had those views quickly changed. By July McCrory had a negative approval rating- 40% of voters approving of him to 49% who disapproved. By September it was all the way down to 35/53, and he never did fully recover from the damage the rest of his term.

Moral Mondays became a very rare thing- a popular protest movement. In August 2013 we found 49% of voters had a favorable opinion of the protesters to only 35% with an unfavorable opinion of them. And their message was resonating- 50% of voters in the state felt state government was causing North Carolina national embarrassment to only 34% who disagreed with that notion.

Pushing back hard on McCrory worked. The seeds of his final defeat today were very much planted in the summer of 2013. And it’s a lesson for progressives in dealing with Trump. Push back hard from day one. Be visible. Capture the public’s attention, no matter what you have to do to do it. Don’t count on the media to do it itself because the media will let you down. The protesters in North Carolina, by making news in their own right week after week after week, forced sustained coverage of what was going on in Raleigh. And even though it was certainly a long game, with plenty more frustration in between, those efforts led to change at the polls 42 months after they really started.

Yep.  Safe to say that the strong Democratic pushback– embodied in Moral Mondays– set the groundwork that enabled HB2 to seal McCrory’s fate.  Democrats should not expect great things from Roy Cooper with Republican super-majorities, but, nonetheless, good riddance to Pat McCrory.

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