Downticket Republican candidates threaten libel suits over TV spots tying them to Trump


Five Republican Congressional candidates -- Reps. Bob Dold (R-Ill.), Mike Coffman (R-Colo.), David Jolly (R-Fla.), John Katko (R-N.Y.) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) -- have threatened broadcasters with libel suits over Democratic campaign ads that tie the men to their own party's presidential candidate, millionaire Donald J Trump. Read the rest

"High agitated" Trump shouts at NYT reporter asking him about sex assault claims: “You are a disgusting human being”


The New York Times reports that two women have come forward to accuse Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump of inappropriately touching them. When asked about the claims, he became angry and insulting.

In a phone interview on Tuesday night, a highly agitated Mr. Trump denied every one of the women’s claims.

“None of this ever took place,” said Mr. Trump, who began shouting at The Times reporter who was questioning him. He said that The Times was making up the allegations to hurt him and that he would sue the news organization if it reported them.

“You are a disgusting human being,” he told the reporter as she questioned him about the women’s claims.

Jessica Leeds, 74, a retired businesswoman, says Trump sexually assaulted her on a plane flight in the early 1980s, forcing her to change seats: “He was like an octopus,” she said. “His hands were everywhere.”

Rachel Crooks, then a 22-year-old receptionist working in Trump Tower, says he forced a kiss on her in 2005: “It was so inappropriate,” Ms. Crooks recalled in an interview. “I was so upset that he thought I was so insignificant that he could do that.” Read the rest

Republican senators supporting Trump again after denouncing him


Sens. Deb Fisher of Nebraska and John Thune of South Dakota both condemned Donald Trump's boasts of groping women and urged him to quit the race. Surprise! They've changed their minds.

"I plan to vote for Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence on Nov. 8," Fisher told Lincoln radio station KLIN. .... During a tour of a research facility in Lead, South Dakota, The Rapid City Journal reported, Thune said the 2005 recording was "more offensive than anything I’ve ever seen," but that won't stop him from voting for Trump.

There's a lot you could say about them, but what matters is what they're saying about you. Read the rest

The coming conservative "civil war" is going to be weird


Jeb Lund writes about Trump's Vile Game of Distraction, running the wargames for what happens to his party now that he has destroyed its "beautiful dream of a permanent Christian ethnocentric oligarchy."

The twitter-consensus is that there's some kind of divide between principled conservatives and the Trumpkins who want to pick up his supporters after he's gone. Ah, but:

Ordinarily, a rich and powerful man amplifying the anguish of powerless women who claimed to have been raped by another extremely powerful man would be a noble gesture. Out of context and devoid of sound, it would have been a silent, stunning reminder that Bill Clinton would be nearly unthinkable as a Democratic candidate today. ... except, this time, it was done to distract from the very real possibility that the Republican Party nominee for President of the United States is a sex offender. That, and only that, was enough to arrest the endless forward movement of a party happy to glide on racism, religious discrimination, misogyny and xenophobia – profitably and seemingly forever.

Here's Paul Krugman, writing that Trump and the GOP are Predators in Arms, that it's naive to think Republicans care about sexual assault on any level other than its consequences for the horse race.

As many people are pointing out, Republicans now trying to distance themselves from Donald Trump need to explain why The Tape was a breaking point, when so many previous incidents weren’t. ... Of course, we know the answer: The latest scandal upset Republicans, when previous scandals didn’t, because the candidate’s campaign was already in free fall.
Read the rest

Republican leaders' support for Trump unwavering despite his boasts of groping women


Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Mitch McConnell reaffirmed their support for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Saturday, offering only milquetoast rebukes to his boasts of groping women.


“I am sickened by what I heard today. Women are to be championed and revered, not objectified. I hope Mr. Trump treats this situation with the seriousness it deserves and works to demonstrate to the country that he has greater respect for women than this clip suggests.”


“As the father of three daughters, I strongly believe that Trump needs to apologize directly to women and girls everywhere, and take full responsibility for the utter lack of respect for women shown in his comments on that tape.”

Some Republicans have had enough: Carly Fiorina and Sen. Kelly Ayotte withdrew their endorsements today, as did Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz.

Update:Sen. John McCain too.

Illo: Beschizza. Read the rest

Republican party more or less doomed to Trumpism, white supremacy, self-loathing


The Republican Party spent decades telling its base to hate and mistrust the mainstream media. But now conservative outlets are lurching to the far right, taking the base with it and leaving the party and its brand of conservatism stranded in political no-mans land.

As [former George W. Bush speechwriter David] Frum predicted and we’ve witnessed over the years, there is not much the Republican Congressional leadership can do to satisfy these folks in the right wing media because their ratings rely on fomenting anger and threats to “blow shit up!” I suspect this is precisely why Paul Ryan resisted taking on the role of House Speaker after John Boehner was ejected from his leadership position. He knows that he is now the target and this won’t end well.

Four years ago, I wrote "this is American conservatism's immune system going into anaphylactic shock. Fun to watch, while it lasts!"

It's not fun anymore. Read the rest

Funny GIF of Laura Ingraham realizing that she's Nazi saluting at the Republican National Convention


The classic Roman salute, complete with a stiff quarter turn, is an entirely natural thing to do after a stirring patriotic speech in the service of an anti-immigrant populist strongman. She makes a smooth recovery, if you ask me, once she realizes what she just did. But it's the suggestion of oops that makes it: it's easy to find photos of politicians and pundits appearing to salute like this, but video showing that crisp, heel-clicking snap are magic. Some believe it was intentional, a dogwhistle a la "Sheriff's Star".

Read the rest

America's biggest health crisis? Not gun violence but porn and gays, GOP says

We like pie.
The Republican party platform is veering to the right as GOP delegates descend on Cleveland to produce the party’s principles document. Several positions about same-sex marriage and scientifically debunked “gay conversion therapy” passed preliminary votes today.

Read the rest

Conservative "suckers" were primed for Trump


Jeet Heer explains that Republicans fell for Trump because of years of conservative policy that told them science, reason and skepticism were bad. Put simply, they were primed to be suckers: “It’s very possible that I could be the first presidential candidate to run and make money on it.”

Conservative ideology, as Perlstein persuasively argues, is particularly vulnerable to grifters because of its faith in the goodness of business and its concomitant hostility toward regulation—which makes it easy for true believers to buy into the notion that some modern Edison has a miraculous new invention that the Washington elite is conniving to suppress. In Perlstein’s words, “The strategic alliance of snake-oil vendors and conservative true believers points up evidence of another successful long march, of tactics designed to corral fleeceable multitudes all in one place—and the formation of a cast of mind that makes it hard for either them or us to discern where the ideological con ended and the money con began.” There’s another factor at work here: The anti-intellectualism that has been a mainstay of the conservative movement for decades also makes its members easy marks.
Read the rest

Kasich quits Republican race

Pic: Reuters
A day after Cruz threw in the towel, John Kasich follows suit. Trump is not officially the Republican nominee--the Republican convention this summer is when he will be anointed (or somehow shivved) by the party--but this leaves him without a campaigning rival.
Mr Kasich's announcement clears Mr Trump's path, although he was never a significant threat and only won his home state. Earlier on Wednesday, he had released a Star-Wars themed advert describing himself as the "only hope" against Donald Trump.
Read the rest

Ted Cruz quits Republican race; Trump is presumptive nominee

Illustration: Rob Beschizza

After a brutal thrashing at Donald Trump's hands in Indiana's Republican primary election today, Ted Cruz is calling it quits. Trump, reports the BBC, is now almost certainly the party's nominee for president.

"We left it all in the field in Indiana, and the voters chose another path," he told supporters in Indiana."With a heavy heart, but with boundless optimism for the long term future of our nation, we are suspending our campaign."

I'll say one thing about Carly Fiorina, she knows how to get a company to make layoffs when it has to. Read the rest

Republican rivals team up to stop Trump at all costs


Neither can beat him, but Ted Cruz and John Kasich are teaming up against Donald Trump in a last-ditch effort to prevent him winning the Republican presidential nomination.

The two candidates, at opposite spectrums of the Republican spectrum, still agree on enough things (e.g. that Donald Trump is bad for America) to put aside their differences and announce the collaboration. The deal will involve Kasich supporting Cruz in Indiana while Cruz supports Kazich in Oregon and New Mexico – and perhaps other states where one or the other candidate is too weak to challenge Trump.

“To ensure that we nominate a Republican who can unify the Republican Party and win in November, our campaign will focus its time and resources in Indiana and in turn clear the path for Gov. Kasich to compete in Oregon and New Mexico, and we would hope that allies of both campaigns would follow our lead,” wrote Cruz's campaign manager, Jeff Roe.

John Weaver, from Kasich's camp, said that they were giving Cruz “a clear path in Indiana.”

“In turn, we will focus our time and resources in New Mexico and Oregon, both areas that are structurally similar to the Northeast politically, where Gov. Kasich is performing well,” Weaver wrote.

Trump hit Twitter almost immediately to denounce the deal as "DESPERATE!" and "sad!" collusion.

Read the rest

Sweaty realdoll Marco Rubio quits Republican race


Thrashed by Donald Trump in today's Florida GOP primary election, Marco Rubio is quitting the race to be the party's pick to run for President. The NYT reports that his youth did him in.

And one crucial shortcoming was out of his control: his youth. Many Republicans were simply unwilling to entrust the presidency to a young first-term senator.

Mr. Rubio’s campaign was a cycle of high hopes and dashed expectations. He finished an unexpectedly strong third in the Iowa caucuses, only to be embarrassed in a debate three days before the New Hampshire primary, consigning him to fifth place . He came in second to Mr. Trump in South Carolina, then was y to be all but wiped out in the Super Tuesday contests 10 days later

Nope. Read the rest

Obama was "raised white", says Ben Carson

Dr. Ben Carson

Ben Carson, a Republican candidate in this year's general election, hopes to be America's first black president that wasn't raised as a white person in Indonesia.

…"He was, you know, raised white. Many of his formative years were spent in Indonesia. So, for him to, you know, claim that, you know, he identifies with the experience of black Americans, I think, is a bit of a stretch," the retired neurosurgeon told Politico's Glenn Thrush on his "Off Message" podcast aired Tuesday.

Obama was born in Honolulu to a white American mother and a Kenyan father. Carson was born in Detroit to two black American parents.

"Like most Americans, I was proud that we broke the color barrier when he was elected, but I also recognize that his experience and my experience are night-and-day different. He didn't grow up like I grew up by any stretch of the imagination," Carson said. "Not even close."

Read the rest

Republicans flummoxed by prospect of Trump picking up Jeb's votes

Illo: Rob Beschizza

Salon's Heather Digby Patron summarizes the consensus opinion that the Republican party is responsible for his "creation"—but also suggests that it still doesn't understand him and enjoys little prospect of stopping him.

The assumption among the establishment types is that if only Cruz, Kasich and Carson would get out of the way, all those voters would go to Rubio and they could finally knock out Trump and carry on with the plan. Unfortunately, even if they were able to finally get Rubio a free lane in which to run, there’s no guarantee that he would be the beneficiary of all those freed up votes. That’s because Trump draws from every demographic.

Trump isn't consistently right-wing, after all. In practice, he's a mix of centrist vacillations and a few extremist stunt positions. He panders to an angry middle of people with inane and self-absorbed media-fed beliefs about politics they never cared to understand in the first place: "it doesn’t matter what he says, as long as he delivers his lines with that big swinging attitude of his."

Think of tired boomers drifting into shitty retirements and angry adolescents drifting into shitty adulthoods, and you get Trump. Say another Hitler joke. And another. And another for the road. Read the rest

Jeb Bush quits 2016 presidential race

Photo: Reuters. Shoop: Rob Beschizza
Please clap. Read the rest

Texas Board of Education candidate claims Obama worked as a prostitute


Why does United States President Barack Obama have a soft spot for homosexuals? Because he was a gay hooker in the '80s, reports Mary Lou Bruner, a Republican candidate for the Texas State Board of Education.

"That’s how he paid for his drugs. He has admitted he was addicted to drugs when he was young and he is sympathetic with homosexuals; but he hasn’t come out of the closet about his own homosexual/bisexual background."

This is only one tread among many in the bright tapestry of Bruner's moral rug.

Meanwhile, “Climate change has nothing to do with weather or climate, it’s all about system change from capitalism (free enterprise) to Socialism-Communism. The Climate Change HOAX was Karl Marx’s idea. It took time to ‘condition’ the people so they would believe such a HOAX!”

Salon's article offers a smorgasbord of similarly spectacular Republicans from the Lone Star State.

Correction: The headline of this article originally identified Bruner as a mayor. She is a retired teacher. Read the rest

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