U.S. ElectionsDonald Trump booed for calling Clinton 'corrupt' as bipartisan dinner soured
Audience not amused at annual Alfred E Smith fundraiser in New York where presidential candidates usually trade lighthearted barbs, to the enjoyment of all
Sabrina Siddiqui in New York
Friday 21 October 2016 07.32 BST
If Donald Trump’s campaign has been defined by going where no candidate has gone before, on Thursday the real estate mogul went even further: getting himself roundly booed at a Catholic charity dinner that is usually a moment of bipartisan good cheer in the presidential race.
The Republican nominee encountered a chilly reception at the Alfred E Smith dinner, an annual Catholic fundraiser for needy children in New York City, where Hillary Clinton was also in attendance.
Presidential candidates have long traditionally addressed the white-tie affair, roasting themselves while throwing in a few good-humoured jabs at their opponents.
At first Trump did earn some laughs with his speech inside the famed Waldorf Astoria Hotel. But it quickly deterioriated into an attack on Clinton that prompted jeers from the audience and shouts for him to stop speaking.
“Hillary believes it’s vital to deceive the people by having one public policy and a totally different policy in private,” Trump said, invoking the emails of her campaign chairman John Podesta that were illegally hacked and published on the website WikiLeaks.
“That’s okay,” Trump responded to the audible boos that followed.
“I don’t know who they’re angry at, Hillary, you or I?”
“You!” a voice cried out from the crowd.
Trump pressed on, standing at a podium a few feet away from the Archbishop of New York, Timothy Dolan, who served as the evening’s host.
“For example, here she is tonight in public, pretending not to hate Catholics,” Trump said.
While the charity event is known for self-deprecating jokes, the genuine contempt between the two nominees overshadowed proceedings.
Upon being introduced Trump and Clinton settled into their seats on a dais without so much as an acknowledgement of each other’s presence.
Clinton shook the hand of Trump’s wife, Melania, but only later were she and Trump spotted leaning across Dolan, who sat between them, to have a chat that appeared to last all of 30 seconds.
Trump was the first to speak and initially seemed to embrace the spirit of the evening.
“Some people think this would be tough for me,” he said, “but the truth is … I’m actually a modest person, very modest.
“Many people tell me that modesty is perhaps my best quality, even better than my temperament.”
In a riff on what he has dubbed bias within the media, Trump brought the house down by poking fun at his wife’s partly plagiarised speech during the Republican National Convention in July.
“Michelle Obama gives a speech and everyone loves it, it’s fantastic,” Trump said. “My wife Melania gives the exact same speech and people get on her case. I don’t get it.”
But the barbs he subsequently threw at Clinton – delivered as though at a Trump campaign rally – fell flat.
“This is the first time that Hillary is sitting down and speaking to major corporate donors and not getting paid for it,” Trump said.
“Hillary is so corrupt she got kicked off the Watergate commission.”
The audience of roughly 1,500 clad in tuxedos and ballroom gowns were not laughing. Nor were they amused when Trump made light of his assertion in the final presidential debate, held less than 24 hours earlier in Las Vegas, that Clinton was “a nasty woman”.
“This stuff is all relative,” he said. “After listening to Hillary rattle on and on and on, I don’t think so badly of Rosie O’Donnell any more. In fact I’m actually starting to like Rosie a lot.”
Clinton’s speech was less bitter in its tone but also included a series of jokes not far removed from the attack lines she has employed against Trump on the stump.
The Democratic nominee needled her opponent over his admiration for Russia and its president, remarking of Trump’s refusal to disclose his health records: “Donald Trump really is as healthy as a horse – you know, the one Vladimir Putin rides around on.”
Of his inability to stick to teleprompters, Clinton quipped: “I’m sure it’s even harder when you’re translating from the original Russian.”
Both candidates laughed along for parts of one another’s remarks, but in other moments sat stoney-faced. The frostiness was uncharacteristic of previous election cycles but then so has been the tenor of the 2016 contest.
As Trump focused on Clinton’s trustworthiness, the former secretary of state honed in on his behavior toward women.
“Donald looks at the Statue of Liberty and sees a four,” Clinton said, “maybe a five, if she loses the torch and tablet and changes her hair.”
“You know what would be a good number for a woman? 45,” she added, in reference to the number marking the next president’s place in US history.
Her roast also nodded to the previous night’s debate, in which Trump refused to endorse the US democratic process, leaving open whether he would accept the outcome of the 8 November election.
“It’s amazing I’m up here after Donald. I didn’t think he’d be OK with a peaceful transition of power,” Clinton said, before tossing in a dig at Trump’s running mate: “After listening to your speech I will also enjoy listening to Mike Pence deny you ever gave it.”
Clinton’s remarks were met with occasional groans but not the open show of distaste that greeted Trump. Relishing her standing with less than three weeks remaining until election day, Clinton made sure to capitalize on the moment by calling out her opponent for saying she should be drug tested prior to the final debate.
“I am so flattered that Donald thought I use some sort of performance enhancer,” she said. “Actually I did – it’s called preparation.”
Throughout the evening the collective toll of an election distinct in its ugliness separated the event from previous years’.
Even Nicholas DiMarzio, the reverend who conducted the invocation at the start of the ceremony, deadpanned: “I think most of us, including Secretary Clinton and Mr Trump, are praying for this election to be over soon. So let us pray.”
Al Smith IV, the great-grandson of the late Al Smith in whose memory the dinner earned its name, cautioned the candidates in his own introduction: “Tonight we’re all friends.”
But even Smith couldn’t help himself when commenting on a race that with each passing day has never ceased to shock the public.
“Donald went up to Hillary and asked her how she was doing,” Smith joked.
“Hillary replied: ‘I’m fine. Now get out of the ladies’ dressing room.’”
Just a few breaths later he skewered Trump again over the allegations of sexual assault and a lewd tape in which the former reality TV star bragged of kissing and groping women without their consent.
“Don, even though there’s a man sitting next to you in a robe, you’re not in a locker room,” Smith told the New York developer in his hometown. “So please watch your language.”
Click to watch: <iframe src="https://embed.theguardian.com/embed/video/us-news/video/2016/oct/21/trump-clinton-speech-jeered-insults-new-york-fundraiser-video
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****************In A Chilling Moment, Trump Tells Women That They Don’t Deserve To Live
By Sarah Jones on Thu, Oct 20th, 2016 at 1:47 pm
Donald Trump doesn't respect women at all. He doesn't even respect their right to live. During Wednesday night's final presidential debate, moderator Chris Wallace asked Republican Donald Trump about the many accusations of sexual assault various vetted women have come forward with. In response, Trump said nobody respects women more than he does. Fact check: False. Big league.
Donald Trump doesn’t respect women at all. He doesn’t even respect their right to live.
During Wednesday night’s final presidential debate, moderator Chris Wallace asked Republican Donald Trump about the many accusations of sexual assault various vetted women have come forward with. In response, Trump said nobody respects women more than he does. Fact check: False. Big league.
And I’m not alone. The debate audience literally laughed when Donald Trump said, “Nobody has more respect for women than I do.”
It’s funny and then it’s horrifying and sad.
It’s not just Donald Trump’s contempt for women or his crude and rude language. Sure, it was off-putting when Trump said, “Such a nasty woman” of his Democratic opponent as Clinton answered a question about funding Social Security.
And it further branded Trump as a misogynist, which is the last thing he needed with him losing the women Romney had in 2012. Things got so bad for Trump on the nasty woman front that a website named “nastywomengets***done.com” was immediately created and redirects to Hillary Clinton’s policies. #nastywomenvote was trending last night.
But there is also the horrifying way Trump discussed women’s right to make their own healthcare decisions last night and his cluelessly proud announcement that appointing conservative justices would “automatically” overturn Roe V Wade.
Donald Trump moved the goal post to suggest that Hillary Clinton’s position is to support fictional last hour late term abortions, “Now, you can say that that’s OK, and Hillary can say that that’s OK, but it’s not OK with me. Because based on what she is saying, and based on where she’s going and where she’s been, you can take a baby and rip the baby out of the womb. In the ninth month, on the final day and that’s not acceptable.”
Yeah. That sounds really bad. Except no one is doing that. According to Everyday Feminism stats, “…abortions performed after 20 weeks only make up about 1% of total abortions.” Who has them? As Hillary Clinton was trying to point out last night, many late term abortions are had by women who wanted their pregnancy, but either her health is at risk or they find out at 20 weeks, which is the time most people find out, that there are tragic birth defects.
There are already 43 states that “prohibit some abortions after a certain point in pregnancy”.
But even if Trump was right and women were doing this at the very last minute, this is no reason to make abortion before viability illegal, as Trump is suggesting his justices would (he is also wrong about assuming that would happen automatically, but no one is going to accuse Trump of understanding how government works).
This means that Donald Trump would seek to make abortion illegal in all cases, otherwise why is he objecting to a law that already allows states to set restrictions based on the health of the mother.
Since 59% of women seeking an abortion are mothers, Trump is dismissing that this is a family planning and medical decision best left to women, their families and their personal beliefs. Government has no right to order women to die to save a fetus. That is a precedent that is simply absurd, and any thinking person can see why.
Legislating that a fetus has more of a right to live than a woman does is also a non-starter because that can’t be labeled “pro-life.” Republicans keep insisting this is about family, and yet they have Donald Trump – serial adulterer who has been married three times and says women “expire” after 35 – as their standard bearer.
There is no way around the fact that if a woman’s life is in jeopardy, it’s unconstitutional to order her to die to save a fetus. That is the result of making abortion illegal.
Hillary Clinton deals in facts, and she knows that many families are faced with horrible decisions later in their pregnancies. Many don’t have the money to travel to a state where it’s legal to get a late term abortion. They shouldn’t have to. They shouldn’t be punished even more for what is already a tragic situation.
Donald Trump has said he wants to punish women for getting an abortion.
Donald Trump doesn’t have the moral authority to condemn anyone for their behavior, he is an unrepentant braggart about sexual assault and a serial liar. The fact that he seeks to remove women’s right to live is beyond alarming. The fact that he doesn’t understand that his viewpoint makes him a better fit for a third world country than the U.S. is also alarming.
Those who dismiss Trump’s behavior as “locker room talk” need to face that fact that his policies are just as bad and just as dangerous for women as his sexual assaults.
But as President Obama always says, don’t get mad. Vote. If you care about women and families getting to make their own medical decisions, don’t take it for granted. Vote as if your life depended on it, because for many of us, it actually does.
****************Michelle Obama Hammers Trump For Humiliating And Treating Women Like Objects
By Jason Easley on Thu, Oct 20th, 2016 at 7:02 pm
While speaking for Hillary Clinton in Phoenix, AZ, First Lady Michelle Obama hammered Donald Trump for humiliating women and treating them like objects.
Michelle Obama: Trump "demeans and humiliates women as if we're objects meant solely for pleasure and entertainment" https://t.co/Q9fkt13DsG
— The Situation Room (@CNNSitRoom) October 20, 2016
The First Lady said:
Maybe that’s why he sees veterans enduring the wounds of war as weak. Why he insults Gold Star families, folks who’ve spent months praying not to get that knock at the door. Heroes who love this country so much, they’re willing to die for it. He just can’t see them.
Maybe it’s easy for him to mock people with disabilities because he’s unable to see their strength and their contributions. Maybe that’s why he demeans and humiliates women as if we’re objects meant solely for pleasure and entertainment, rather than human beings worthy of love and respect. He just doesn’t understand us.
Mrs. Obama continues to reveal herself to be a powerful advocate for America’s decent and moral core. The argument that she made is more than political. First Lady Obama is arguing that the Republican nominee will be incapable of leading people that he can’t see as equal human beings.
The central question of the 2016 presidential election is centered around our collective moral conscience as a nation. Donald Trump has forced America to look itself in the mirror and ask who we are and who we want to become.
First Lady Obama is showing the country the brighter moral path, as she urges the American people to reject the dark portrait directly from the nation’s yesteryear that is being painted by Donald Trump.
**************GOP Senate Majority Crumbling Under Trump As New Poll Shows Kelly Ayotte Losing Big
By Sean Colarossi on Thu, Oct 20th, 2016 at 8:56 pm
Donald Trump's unraveling presidential campaign is clearly taking a toll on down-ballot Senate races.
It’s not just Donald Trump’s presidential campaign that is crumbling in recent days. New polling indicates that he may be bringing down the Republican’s Senate majority with him.
A survey released from WMUR/UNH on Thursday shows Democratic Senate candidate Maggie Hassan pulling into a nine-point lead over Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte in the New Hampshire Senate race.
Ayotte (R) 39%
Hassan (D) 48%
(WMUR/UNH, LV, 10/11-17)
— PollingReport.com (@pollreport) October 20, 2016
The poll represents a seven-point shift toward the Democrat since the pollster’s last survey and could be the difference-maker when it comes to Democrats winning a majority in the chamber.
The surge of momentum for Hassan comes on the heels of two major events: 1. The implosion of Donald Trump’s campaign, and 2. Ayotte’s comments earlier in the month in which she said that Trump is a person children could look up to.
“Well, I think that certainly there are many role models that we have, and I believe he can serve as president, and so absolutely I would do that,” Ayotte said after being asked if she would consider the Republican nominee a role model.
Ayotte was forced to walk back the comment, saying she “misspoke,” but the damage clearly appears to be done.
The numbers out of New Hampshire are also consistent with polling out of other key states, like Nevada, which has shown a surprising late surge of momentum for Democratic Senate candidate Catherine Cortez Masto. After trailing in most polls throughout the year, Cortez Masto’s recent surge now has her leading the race by an average of 2.3 percentage points.
According to FiveThirtyEight’s forecast, the Democrats now have a 73 percent chance of retaking the Senate on Nov. 8, and it’s in large part because of these two key races.
Donald Trump’s unraveling presidential campaign is clearly taking a toll on down-ballot Senate races with less than three weeks until Election Day.
*************Trump National Political Director Abandons Imploding Campaign While He Still Can
By Sean Colarossi on Thu, Oct 20th, 2016 at 7:58 pm
The news couldn't come at a worse time for the Republican nominee, who is plummeting in recent national and statewide polling.
Even Donald Trump’s national political director recognizes that his candidate’s ship is sinking.
According to Politico, three sources say that Jim Murphy, who has been the Republican nominee’s national political director since June, is taking a “step back” from Trump’s presidential campaign.
“I have not resigned,” Murphy told Politico, but he did say he would no longer play a role in the campaign due to “personal reasons.”
More from Politico:
“Several Trump aides said that Murphy has been conspicuously absent in recent days as the campaign mobilizes for the final push.
Since joining the Trump campaign in June, Murphy, a longtime party operative, has played a key role in setting up field programs in battleground states. He has emerged as a central point person between top Trump campaign officials and the Republican National Committee. Murphy also helped to oversee floor operations at the Republican National Convention in July.”
Now, hoping to preserve some sense of dignity, Murphy is calling it quits.
Bad news for @realDonaldTrump is that his pol director has taken a leave. The good news is he’ll be back in a month. https://t.co/stUB5Ea0Kw
— David Axelrod (@davidaxelrod) October 20, 2016
The news couldn’t come at a worse time for the Republican nominee, who is plummeting in recent national and statewide polling. It also comes on the heels of the third presidential debate, which surveys say Clinton won – again – very easily.
Murphy’s decision to distance himself from Trump’s dumpster fire may also be the result of a long list of recent events that have disqualified the GOP nominee, including the ‘Access Hollywood’ tape, Trump’s reckless whining about a rigged electoral process, and a growing number of women coming forward accusing him of groping them.
From the beginning, Trump’s campaign infrastructure – to the extent that it exists at all – was already lagging far behind Hillary Clinton’s operation. With less than three weeks until Election Day, losing his national political director is the latest sign that his campaign is coming apart at the seams.
***************The lies Trump told this week: voter fraud and the 'rigged' election
The Republican presidential nominee used a Pew study and news reports to talk about how the election is ‘rigged’ against him, but he omitted a lot of context
Alan Yuhas in San Francisco
Friday 21 October 2016 11.00 BST
“The election is absolutely being rigged by the dishonest and distorted media pushing Crooked Hillary – but also at many polling places – SAD.” – 16 October, Twitter
“Of course there is large scale voter fraud happening on and before election day. Why do Republican leaders deny what is going on? So naive!” – 17 October, Twitter
“So many cities are corrupt and voter fraud is very, very common.” – 17 October, Green Bay, Wisconsin
Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump)
The election is absolutely being rigged by the dishonest and distorted media pushing Crooked Hillary - but also at many polling places - SAD
October 16, 2016
All available evidence shows that in-person voter fraud is exceedingly rare: you are more likely to be struck by lightning in the next year (a one in 1,042,000 chance, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) than to find a case of voter fraud by impersonation (31 in more than a billion ballots cast from 2000 to 2014, according to a study by Loyola law school).
Voter fraud would have to happen on an enormous scale to sway elections, because the electoral college system decentralizes elections: each of the 50 states has its own rules and local officials, not federal ones, that run the polls and count ballots. This complexity makes the notion of a “rigged” national election, at least in the US, logistically intimidating to the point of impossibility. Thirty-one states have Republican governors, including the swing states of Florida, North Carolina, Iowa, Nevada and Ohio; Pennsylvania only elected a Democratic governor in 2015. Polls show Trump losing even in some states where governors have strongly supported him. In Maine, for instance, the Real Clear Politics average shows him down five points.
About 75% of the ballots cast in federal elections have paper backups, and most electronic voting machines are not connected to the internet – though they have other flaws and may be vulnerable to tampering. But voter fraud to swing a major election – whether by tampering, buying votes or official wrongdoing – would quickly attract attention by its necessarily large scale.
Trump and his allies have repeatedly suggested that voter fraud took place in cities such as Philadelphia and Chicago in 2012, citing as evidence the fact that Mitt Romney failed to win a single vote in 59 almost wholly black precincts of Philadelphia’s 1,687 total. But with the right demographics, it’s not unusual for a presidential candidate to be shut out of whole precincts or districts – and Philadelphia’s Republican party and an investigation by the Philadelphia Inquirer rejected claims of fraud or wrongdoing.
In 2012 after Obama won 93% of black voters nationwide, 85% of Philadelphia and 52% of Pennsylvania. But he couldn’t win a single vote in whole counties of deeply conservative Utah that year. Similarly, John McCain failed to win votes in Chicago and Atlanta precincts in 2008. Both Democrats and Republicans, including Trump supporters Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio, have rejected his doubts about the electoral system.
If Trump loses the presidential election, it will be because American voters do not want him in the White House, not because of a conspiracy involving Republicans and Democrats alike at state and city levels around the nation – a conspiracy for which Trump has provided no evidence.
“The following information comes straight from Pew Research, quote: ‘approximately 24 million people, one of every eight, voter registrations in the United States are no longer valid or significantly inaccurate.’” – 17 October, Green Bay, Wisconsin
Trump is quoting a study about voter registration, not about actual voting practice, as he misleadingly suggests. The Pew study points out that inefficiencies among state registrars are mostly the cause of innocent, if unfortunate, circumstances: one in eight Americans moved between 2008 and 2010, many pushed by the financial crisis, which also strained local budgets, and 51 million more Americans were not registered anywhere to vote at the time of the study.
“More than 1.8 million deceased individuals right now are listed as voters. Oh, that’s wonderful. Well, if they’re gonna vote for me we’ll think about it, right? But I have a feeling they’re not gonna vote for me. Of the 1.8 million, 1.8 million is voting for somebody else. Approximately 2.75 million people have registrations in more than one state.” – 17 October, Green Bay, Wisconsin
Again, Trump is misreading the Pew report to suggest sinister results. The report nowhere suggests that 1.8 million dead people have cast any votes, only that registrars have failed to catch up with deaths. Nor does it suggest that people who registered in more than one state have actually voted in more than one state. The report also highlights problems with registering in the first place: in 2008, 2.2m votes “were lost because of registration problems”, and another 5.7 million people “faced a registration problem that needed to be resolved before voting”.
“The following comes from a 2014 report from the Washington Post, [titled] ‘Could non-citizens decide the November election?’ … More than 14% of non-citizens in both 2008 and 2012 samples indicated that they were registered to vote.” – 17 October, Green Bay, Wisconsin
Trump omits important context for the article in question, which was written by two academics on the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog about their own study. The authors admitted their report was “fraught with substantial uncertainty” and relied on a small sample size of self-reporters: 339 non-citizens respondents in 2008 and 489 non-citizen respondents in 2010, about 1% of survey respondents overall. Other academics also noted that there is a high error rate in self-responding among non-citizens, and that the report’s conclusions relied on large assumptions about the national population.
“President Obama has commuted the sentences of record numbers of high-level drug traffickers. Can you believe this? Many of them kingpins and violent armed traffickers with extensive criminal histories and records. I mean, the whole thing is – honestly, the whole thing is unbelievable.” – 15 October, Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Barack Obama has commuted the sentences of 774 people, most of whom were serving long sentences for nonviolent drug offenses – and could not be described as “kingpins” or “high-level drug traffickers”. In August the president broke a record for commutations in a single month by reducing the sentences of 325 inmates.
The commutations are meant to combat the strict mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes – symbolically, at least – an area where Republicans and Democrats both support reform. Legislation seemed near completion earlier this year, until election acrimony put it on hold.
“Remember when in Massachusetts I got almost 50% of the vote with 11 people? I got 49.7% of the vote.” – 15 October, Portsmouth, New Hampshire
Trump won 49.3% of the vote against four candidates, not 11: John Kasich (18%), Marco Rubio (17.9%), Ted Cruz (9.6%) and Ben Carson (2.6%).
****************What would happen if Donald Trump refused to concede this election?
The vote of the electoral college is conclusive, legal experts say, and it’s irrelevant whether the loser concedes or not
Lauren Gambino in Washington
Friday 21 October 2016 12.34 BST
Donald Trump’s refusal to say whether he would accept the outcome of next month’s US presidential election if he were to lose is unprecedented and chilling, legal experts have said.
But although the failure by a major party nominee to concede defeat on election night would throw American democracy into uncharted territory, from a legal standpoint, it would hardly make a difference, experts from across the political spectrum said.
“Frankly, under our system, it is irrelevant whether the loser concedes or not,” said James Bopp, the conservative constitutional lawyer. “The vote of the electoral college is conclusive.”
In the third and final presidential debate on Wednesday night, Trump twice declined to say whether he would accept defeat if he felt the outcome was “rigged” against him, a statement that appeared intent on sowing doubt about the integrity of the electoral process.
The moderator, Fox News anchor Chris Wallace, pressed him, noting that the peaceful transition of power is a long-respected principle of American democracy.
“There is a tradition in this country, in fact, one of the prides of this country is the peaceful transition of power,” Wallace said. “And no matter how hard fought a campaign is that at the end of the campaign, that the loser concedes to the winner.”
“I will look at it at the time,” the Republican nominee replied, drawing gasps from the audience. “I will keep you in suspense.’’
“That’s horrifying,” his Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton interjected. “I am appalled that someone who is the nominee of one of our two major parties would take that position.”
In a speech on Thursday, Trump raised new questions about the issue, saying first: “I will totally accept the results of this great and historic presidential election if I win,” and then adding: “Of course I would accept a clear election result, but I would reserve my right to contend or file a legal challenge, in the case of a questionable result.”
Trump’s reticence does not appear to be shared by those closest to him. Just hours before the debate, Trump’s running mate Mike Pence, his campaign manager Kellyanne Conway and his daughter, Ivanka Trump, all insisted that the campaign would accept the result of the election.
Under the electoral college system, Americans do not directly elect their president. They choose a slate of electors who pledge to vote for a certain presidential ticket. A candidate needs to win 270 electoral votes to win the election.
Though a winner is usually projected on election night, the official vote of the electoral college does not take place until some weeks later.
In those intervening weeks before the electoral college vote, Trump could mount a legal challenge to contest the result or demand a recount under certain circumstances but unless the vote margin is slim his chances of his case being successful are low.
“He could try to litigate,” said Rick Hasen, a University of California-Irvine professor who runs the Election LawBlog. “But if he loses by a wide margin he’s not likely to get far in court.” Current polling suggests Trump is careening toward a landslide defeat.
Hasen said he is more concerned that Trump’s comments, which he called “appalling and unprecedented”, will lead to violence on election night if he does not win.
“There was no hedging from Trump, as in ‘of course I’d accept the results unless the results were very close and there was room to contest things’. Nothing like that. This is the full Breitbartization of the election,” Hasen wrote on his blog after the debate, referring to Breitbart, the alt-right website that has become a cheerleader for Trump’s campaign. “It makes me worry about violence in the streets from his supporters if Trump loses.”
After the debate, Trump supporters tried to deflect scrutiny of Trump’s comments by pointing to the recount in 2000 following the extremely close race between George W Bush and Al Gore. But legal experts reject the comparison.
“This is not Bush v Gore,” said Richard Reuben, a University of Missouri law professor. “There were legitimate questions about the vote after the votes were cast. The case went through the legal process and Gore graciously accepted the supreme court’s decision, as problematic as that was.
“This is a premeditated attempt to delegitimize the result of any decision that doesn’t go his way – unprecedented in American politics in my lifetime.”
Trump’s reluctance to accept possible defeat echoes his months-long effort to in effect declare the outcome of the election invalid well before the first votes were cast. This week he raised the prospect of 1.8 million dead people voting for his opponent, and he has called on his supporters to monitor polling booths for instances of fraud.
Under the US system, it is possible to win the popular vote and lose the electoral college, which is what happened – it eventually transpired – in 2000. Bush lost the national popular vote to Gore by 0.51% but won the electoral college by 271 votes to 266.
After initially conceding to Bush on election night and minutes before he was due to formally admit defeat, Gore famously phoned Bush back to explain that circumstances had changed and he now wanted to change his mind.
“You’re calling me back to retract your concession,” Bush said.
“There’s no need to get snippy about it,” Gore shot back.
The election result hinged on Florida, where the margin of victory was so slim it triggered a recount. Gore sought recounts in a handful of counties and Bush sued to stop them. A case was ultimately brought before the US supreme court, whose 5-4 decision stopped the recount and in effect awarded Bush Florida’s electoral votes.
Gore disagreed with the decision but conceded nonetheless. In his concession speech, delivered days before the electoral college vote, Gore quoted Stephen Douglas, who lost the presidency to Abraham Lincoln: “Partisan feeling must yield to patriotism. I’m with you, Mr President and God bless you.”
*****************What would a Trump TV network mean for America?
Donald Trump's candidacy has struck a chord with a large segment of Americans who feel they have been left behind by mainstream politics. That sentiment is unlikely to disappear after Election Day.
By Gretel Kauffman, Staff October 20, 2016
Roughly 200,000 viewers tuned in to watch the third and final presidential debate through a live stream on Donald Trump's Facebook page Wednesday night, marking what many deemed the unofficial birth of "Trump TV."
The Facebook broadcast – complete with news crawl banners, pre-debate commentary from Trump surrogates, and Trump campaign advertisements – came less than a week after Mr. Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, reportedly met with investment firm LionTree to discuss the possibility of a Trump television network, adding to mounting speculation that such an endeavor could be in the works in the event of a Clinton victory.
Though the practical likelihood that any such plan will become a reality is widely debated, the rumors have led some to celebrate, others to worry, and all to wonder: What would an America with a Trump TV network look like, exactly?
The launch of a Trumpian network would be unlikely to dramatically alter the already highly polarized media landscape, media observers say. But it could broaden national dialogue by giving an enduring voice to the largely white, working-class, far-right demographic that feels ignored by the media and political leaders, and which Trump's campaign has brought into the spotlight.
In other words, says Matthew Baum, a professor of public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School in Cambridge, Mass., it could ensure that issues championed by Trump – illegal immigration, US job loss due to global competition, how to fight ISIS – don't fade out of mainstream discourse anytime soon.
A Trump network could "shine more light on some ideas that have traditionally been relegated to the fringe and, until this campaign, really haven't been heard much in the mainstream," Dr. Baum tells The Christian Science Monitor in a phone interview. "Some of that’s sort of been brought out of the shadows, and I guess you could say this could keep it out of the shadows."
Trump's campaign, and the rumors of his next media endeavor, come at a time when Americans are as polarized on politics as they've ever been. This polarization is due in part, political analysts say, to the rise of the internet and cable news channels, which have carved out a space for highly partisan, niche news sources.
The current media climate suggests that a Trump television network, if launched, could be "quite successful," says David Jones, a professor of political science at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va. – assuming, of course, "he doesn't completely tarnish himself" before election day.
"There seems to be a demand for highly opinionated, explicitly one-sided information that affirms the reader or viewer’s existing viewpoints," Dr. Jones says in a phone interview with the Monitor. "There's enough dissatisfaction out there with establishment Republicans – and, for that matter, establishment Democrats – and even the existing popular partisan outlets seem more connected with the establishment than many people are happy with."
Fox News, a longtime bastion of conservative views on television, isn't enough anymore for some Republicans, and particularly those in Trump's core fanbase, Jones adds, "especially since Fox News has been willing to raise tough questions about Donald Trump on some of its programs."
Furthermore, Trump's far-right rhetoric has entered the political sphere at a time when Fox News is beginning to shift to a less blatantly partisan, more "even-keeled" approach to journalism, says Danielle Sarver Coombs, associate professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Kent State University in Ohio.
The slow, subtle rebranding of Fox News could leave a void for the Trump network to fill, allowing it to "take on some of that more bombastic approach" that Fox has begun to shift away from, Dr. Coombs tells the Monitor in a phone interview. That approach, she says, would be characterized by "more of a hardcore, 'We're going to speak to people who agree with us, who think like us' " mentality.
Whether "Trump TV" will ever reach Americans' televisions or even computer screens is yet unknown, and launching such an effort would take, at the very least, several months, media experts say. But in the meantime, if a television network truly is in Trump's sights, that goal could affect the Republican nominee's behavior in the final weeks of, and immediately following, the election.
The "worst possible thing," Baum says, "would be for him to sort of fade into the background for an extended period of time" between November and the launch of a network or other form of media, "because if he does, some other entrepreneur is going to try to fill that space."
But maintaining the sort of relevance and momentum necessary to support a Trump network would require significant effort by the business mogul.
"Regenerating all of the angst and passions that are peaking now is not a trivial thing, and he would not be able to do it to the extent that he can when he's a major party nominee in the center spotlight every single day," Baum says. "It would give him an incentive not to go quietly into the night if he lost."
**************Carl Bernstein fears Trump TV will serve as nexus of ‘a real neo-fascist movement and media empire’
21 Oct 2016 at 08:55 ET
A lot of Americans are wondering what Donald Trump’s most fervent supporters will do if he loses his presidential race — but it’s becoming increasingly clear that the GOP presidential nominee is cultivating them as an audience for Trump TV.
It’s easy to imagine what Trump TV might look like: Deplorable hosts pushing white grievance like Fox News, but with wilder, Alex Jones-style conspiracy theories, a Putin-approved message like RT, and scantily clad women wandering around like a Mexican talk show.
That could set up Trump to preside over a genuine neo-fascist movement in the United States, warned journalist Carl Bernstein.
Hitler anyone ? “I think the most interesting thing going on right now is Trump saying that he may not go along with the results of this election,” Bernstein said. “What does it really mean? It means, I think, he is setting himself up — again, I’m going to go back to that neo-fascist term — of a real neo-fascist movement and media empire.”
Trump will have little to lose after tarnishing his brand with a toxic campaign, Bernstein said, and will likely turn to campaign CEO Steve Bannon — the former chairman of Breitbart News — to set up an alt-right competitor to the conservative Fox News.
“His businesses are going into the tank as a result of where he has come out in this election, and there’s talks going on — I think we know about that — about a media empire,” Bernstein said. “(Are) there going to be remnants of a neo-fascist movement that he leads in this country after this election?”“It’s a dangerous thing,” Bernstein added. “We’re in a dangerous place.”
.@carlbernstein on Trump: "He is setting himself up as the head of a real neo-fascist movement and media empire" https://t.co/AnjFhcA6AA
— New Day (@NewDay) October 21, 2016