July, 2016

Koch Brothers Reject Effort to Meet with Trump

“Top Donald Trump donors tried to set up a meeting between the GOP presidential nominee and Charles Koch in Colorado Springs on Friday, but Koch aides rejected the entreaties,” Politico reports.

“Koch and his brother David Koch, who helm an influential network of advocacy groups and major conservative donors, have been sharply critical of Trump’s rhetoric and policy stances and have indicated they do not intend to support his campaign.”

Fox Employee Was Harassed by Ailes for 20 Years

Gabriel Sherman: “The morning after Fox News chief Roger Ailes resigned, the cable network’s former director of booking placed a call to the New York law firm hired by 21st Century Fox to investigate sexual-harassment allegations against Ailes. Laurie Luhn told the lawyers at Paul, Weiss that she had been harassed by Ailes for more than 20 years, that executives at Fox News had known about it and helped cover it up, and that it had ruined her life.”

“This is the account of a woman who chose to go along with what Roger Ailes wanted — because he was powerful, because she thought he could help her advance her career, because she was professionally adrift and emotionally unmoored. Doing so helped Luhn’s career for a time — at her peak, she earned $250,000 a year as an event planner at Fox while, according to both her own account and four confirming sources, enjoying Ailes’s protection within the company. But the arrangement required her to do many things she is now horrified by, including luring young female Fox employees into one-on-one situations with Ailes that Luhn knew could result in harassment.”

Said Luhn: “He’s a predator.”

More Watched Trump’s Speech Than Clinton’s

Hillary Clinton’s acceptance speech last night for the Democratic party’s presidential nomination drew 27.8 million TV viewers, Bloomberg reports.

That was fewer than the 30 million who watched Donald Trump accept the Republican nomination last week.

Hollywood Reporter: “Updated returns for Clinton’s speech, delivered during the 10 o’clock hour on nearly all television networks, offer a tally of 33.3 million viewers from the four broadcast networks and three cablers with coverage. Trump brought in 34.9 million viewers across all nets carrying the speech.”

Convention Dispatch: The Last Election of the 1960s

Just for members: Leonard Steinhorn, Professor of Communication at American University and a CBS Radio News Political Analyst, offers this report from Philadelphia.

Leonard Steinhorn

Leonard Steinhorn

It may be 2016, but as the final night of the Democratic convention made clear, this election will be the last of the 1960s. Both parties are deeply rooted in the cultural conflicts and transformations of the Sixties — and the side of that decade that prevails in November will say a lot about where we go as a nation in the years ahead.

Just walking into the two conventions was a jolt of cultural symbolism — the almost all-white GOP gathering versus the remarkably rainbow diversity of the Democrats, and the rifle bearing open carry men demonstrating their masculinity and power outside the Cleveland arena versus the ratification of LGBT equality in Philadelphia.

But more important is what these parties have come to represent. For Democrats, America is a nation conquering its bigoted demons of old, a nation that is advancing what the Sixties liberation movements started. Think back to an era before the Sixties when African Americans straightened their hair with a mixture of lye, potato, and egg that burned fiery sores in their scalp, or when they bought skin whitener called “Black No More.” Or when classified ads told women they were qualified for the job if they were attractive and 5’5″ to 5’7″ in heels. Or when gays and lesbians pretended to be something they weren’t, or when Jews bought Christmas trees and changed their names to stay inconspicuous.

We still have plenty of progress to make, Democrats say, but the very fact that we have buried the old ways and are internalizing and indeed living the new — this next generation in particular — is cause for celebration and pride. The Sixties were all about changing norms, about egalitarian values, about respecting individuality, about everyone having an equal seat at the table where no one is left outside with their noses pressed to the glass simply because they look, act, or live differently from the mainstream. Even today the one main Sixties-style activist movement, Black Lives Matter, is no different from what the movements of that decade were all about — being treated with dignity. And giving it a platform at the Democratic convention was fully in keeping with the convention’s Sixties spirit.

And thus Democrats had an answer for Donald Trump — that our nation is great and greater than ever because we have become a more open, inclusive, free, and equal society than at any time in our history. So the angry party that protested against an outmoded and discriminatory society in the Sixties is now the sunny party celebrating what we have accomplished and what we have become. The culture wars are over, Democrats are saying, and the Sixties have won.

Not so fast, says the GOP of Donald Trump. America is being undermined by this emphasis on diversity, by elites that want to impose a politically correct culture on traditional Americans who believe that Black Lives Matter activists show no respect, that gay advocacy undermines our families and faith, that immigrants are interlopers, and Muslims pose an existential threat. To them, it was their stiff backbones, sturdy hands, and lunch pail jobs that built America, and the fact that liberals and minorities show them no deference and in fact label them as bigots is infuriating.

Now this of course is nothing new. It may wear different clothing, but it’s exactly what Richard Nixon tapped into during the 1960s when he appealed to an increasingly aggrieved and resentful Silent Majority — a Donald Trump term as well — and campaigned against elites that impose “quotas” which demonize whites to privilege minorities.

Back in 1964 the great journalist Theodore White wrote what may be the most prescient piece of that decade about the roiling white middle-class resistance to racial integration. “Backlash,” he called it, and he described it as an “unease whose impact will be felt not as much now as over the long range,” one that would force the Republican Party, “born in racial strife, to choose whether it abandons its tradition and becomes the white man’s party or refreshes its tradition by designing a program of social harmony.”

Donald Trump may not represent the entire GOP, but from the look and feel of the Republican convention, Theodore White got it right 52 years ago. The Trump constituency wants its America back, and this may be the last election in which the backlash that began in the Sixties will have an opportunity to win.

The Sixties are long over. Long live the Sixties.

Angry at Mike Pence

David Brooks: “The Sanders people have 90 percent of the Democratic Party’s passion and 95 percent of the ideas. Most Sanders people are kind- and open-hearted, but there is a core that is corrupted by moral preening, an uncompromising absolutism and a paranoid unwillingness to play by the rules of civic life.”

“But the extremist fringe that threatens to take over the Democratic Party seems less menacing than the lunatic fringe that has already taken over the Republican one.”

“This week I left the arena here each night burning with indignation at Mike Pence. I almost don’t blame Trump. He is a morally untethered, spiritually vacuous man who appears haunted by multiple personality disorders. It is the ‘sane’ and ‘reasonable’ Republicans who deserve the shame — the ones who stood silently by, or worse, while Donald Trump gave away their party’s sacred inheritance.”

Flake Says Voters Won’t Take GOP Seriously

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) told WGN-AM that chants of “lock her up” at the Republican National Convention hurt the party’s case against Hillary Clinton.

Said Flake: “I had a bit of trouble with some of the chants, the ‘lock her up’ and what not. I don’t think that that, while it certainly appeals inside to that room, it doesn’t appeal much on the outside.”

Trump Says He Wanted to ‘Hit’ Several DNC Speakers

Donald Trump told ABC News that he wanted to “hit” some of the Democratic convention speakers “so hard” while watching them.

Said Trump: “You know what I wanted to. I wanted to hit a couple of those speakers so hard. I would have hit them. No, no. I was going to hit them, I was all set and then I got a call from a highly respected governor.”

He added: “I was gonna hit one guy in particular, a very little guy. I was gonna hit this guy so hard his head would spin and he wouldn’t know what the hell happened.”

The Party for Grown-Ups

Josh Barro: “Many of the conservatives who watched with dismay as the Republican Party nominated Donald Trump have now watched with amazement as Democrats co-opted some of Republicans’ favorite themes at the Democratic National Convention.”

“Democrats’ thinking was clear: We’re the only political party left for grown-ups, so we’d better make sure we have something to offer voters on both sides of the aisle.”

“There was a clear choice about tone, especially on the last two days of the convention: Speakers would not mock conservatives for getting into bed with Donald Trump. They would mock Trump and make the case that conservatives should be embarrassed and ashamed that their party nominated him — and should look across the aisle at a party that shares more of their goals and values than they may have realized.”