Samir Mehta | October 8, 2016
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Chris Lemler | October 8, 2016
I think in my eyes Trump don't have a chance but I could be wrong. There are alot of Trump fans out there but do you think they support what he's been saying about woman.

Scott Hardie | October 9, 2016
The main defense that I've heard is that Trump's words were just words, while Clinton's actions as secretary of state were tangible actions that were damaging to the country. I think this argument misses the point about Trump, that he appears to be describing actual sexual assault that he has actually committed, and I think it confuses potential damage to the country with actual damage to the country, but sure, the argument does make some sense. After all, I have defended Roman Polanski's movies for years, saying that just because he's an awful human being doesn't mean that he's not a talented filmmaker, so I cannot claim that being a rapist (or at the very minimum a sexual harasser) would lessen Trump's competency for the presidency. But I can say that it makes him unworthy of being voted for, and an unacceptable representative of the United States on the world stage, as if there weren't already hundreds of precursors having the same effect.

Is it over? Well, I had wondered about the "October surprise" that Wikileaks has been promising and whether it would sink Clinton. It came and went without much fuss because we have all been focused on Trump's leaked audio, the deliberate timing of which is obvious. Clinton's camp had to be sitting on that audio for a very long time, waiting to deploy it whenever really bad news was about to hit Clinton and the country needed a distraction that made Trump look worse, and boy did they pick the perfect time to release it.

Also, GOP voters are not abandoning Trump, so no, it's not completely over. What effect this leaked audio has on independent voters, and whether this finally emboldens GOP leadership against Trump, are the questions here. (Personally, I think that if Trump loses the election badly, and especially if it costs them down-ballot elections, we will see an deluge of criticism from GOP elites who had kept it bottled up all of this time. They hate Trump and what he has done to the party, and they will spit venom at him for years to come.)

Meanwhile, hardcore Trump supporters continue being horrible people.

Samir Mehta | October 9, 2016
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Steve West | October 9, 2016
This represents an opportunity for the GOP to select a candidate that can actually win. I suspect they won't exercise the opportunity presented. Too bad. I cannot vote for Hillary or Trump. Searching right now for a decent write-in candidate.

Samir Mehta | October 10, 2016
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Scott Hardie | October 22, 2016
Steve, did you find one? Evan McMullin perhaps? I'm considering voting for him but his lack of executive experience is a big drawback. People knock Gary Johnson's policies but the man's experience as governor doesn't come up often enough. Experience is certainly not everything, but I think it matters. :-\

I am relieved that the rules of gravity at last seem to apply to Trump -- after more than a year of saying the most awful things and watching his poll numbers go up, finally now he says the most awful things and they go down -- but I'm worried about the promise (threat?) of "TrumpTV" launching sometime in the next year or two. Fox News spins the truth to fit its worldview but at least there's a grain of truth there; I don't trust a Trump network to tell the truth at all. Can you imagine a 24-hour cable channel that pumped out the same frequent, blatant lies that Trump does? The last thing this country needs is another media outlet further dividing us, but this one would actually create a different objective reality based on entirely different facts. That's not as dangerous as a President Trump, but dangerous all the same.

Steve West | October 22, 2016
Gary Johnson seems best of the leftovers although his foreign policy experience is weak (how much experience can you get as a governor in the southwest beyond Mexico?). I don't necessarily need or expect experience in this area as past presidents have done well (Obama, Reagan) and others not so well (Carter, Bush II). I'm hoping that the electoral college delegates conspire to split the electoral votes so that neither Trump nor Clinton wins a majority 270 and are therefore not elected. Can we trust the House of Representatives to elect a President?

Erik Bates | October 24, 2016
Can the electoral college even make a difference, what with so many states binding them to the popular vote?

Samir Mehta | October 24, 2016
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Scott Hardie | October 25, 2016
Two thoughts in Trump's defense:

1) The media coverage *is* rigged against him in the sense that he's not taken seriously. Sarah Palin had the same problem. At a long press conference a few days ago, Trump tried a hail-mary pass to save his campaign by spelling out what he would do during his first one hundred days in office, phrasing it as a contract that he was signing with the country. He happened to mention in passing that yes, women were accusing him of assault, and his lawyers would be filing lawsuits over false allegations. What did the press report almost exclusively? "Donald Trump suing his accusers," with little to no mention of the substance of his presentation. All throughout the primaries and even well into this summer, it was Trump's gift to be able to say something brash and seize all of the headlines whenever one of his opponents needed some air time for something substantial. Now it has become his curse.

2) I don't understand why "such a nasty woman" has become such a symbol of Trump's misogyny. In the debate, Clinton had been talking about taxes, and in the middle of her sentence she made some aside like "*if* Donald ever pays his," and kept going. He responded to the insult by muttering on mic, "such a nasty woman." I didn't take his comment to have anything to do with her gender; if he'd been debating Bernie Sanders instead, "such a nasty man" would not have elicited any reaction. But somehow, instead of the million or so other examples of Trump being a misogynist, "such a nasty woman" has become *the* prime example and a rallying cry for women. Is it because the phrase is so simple and meme-ready? It just doesn't seem like Trump deserves the criticism in this one particular case. Am I wrong?

Scott Hardie | October 25, 2016
If the electoral college is split and the House of Representatives gives the presidency to Evan McMullin, expect a thunderous national outcry for a constitutional amendment preventing that from ever happening again.

Samir Mehta | October 25, 2016
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Erik Bates | October 25, 2016
Samir, I understand your argument re: the Electoral College. My comment was more in response to Steve's comment about the electoral college "conspir[ing] to split the electoral votes."

From what I understand most states have laws on the books that bind the state's electors to follow the will of the people of the state vis-a-vis the popular vote.

In other words, the electoral college cannot, legally, conspire to split votes, as they are bound to vote in accordance with the vote of their respective state.

Hence, every 4 years we know who wins the election the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November (or shortly thereafter, in the case of hanging chads), as opposed to the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December.

That's what I mean when I ask if they make a difference. Sure, they make a difference if the popular vote in the right combination of individual states binds the electors in such a way that a clear majority does not emerge. But even then it's just a numbers game, as the electors are just going to vote for who they have to vote for, without the legal ability to sway the actual eventual outcome.

I hope that makes sense.

Steve West | October 25, 2016
I was using the word conspire semi-tongue in cheek but I did mean that I hoped a discussion amongst interested parties would occur. By loose definition that would comprise a conspiracy. I don't believe electors are required to pledge all state votes to one candidate. Although that seems to be traditional, it isn't state or federal law (again, I think).

Samir Mehta | October 25, 2016
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Erik Bates | October 25, 2016
I could very well be wrong in my understanding of how the electors are bound.

Now that I think of it, I may be thinking of the primaries. And in that case, it's not a law, it's just a rule of the state party.

Now I'm questioning everything.

Samir Mehta | October 25, 2016
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Scott Hardie | October 26, 2016
There will be future Trumpian candidates. I have trouble believing that anyone will do it nearly as well as he does, but count on people trying. He's been way too successful not to inspire imitators, and his followers feel way too underserved and eager to support someone who caters to them.

Ok, so saying "such a nasty woman" makes Trump a loutish, clumsy bully. Does it make him a misogynist?

I want the GOP back too, but not the obstructionist, belligerent, stand-for-nothing-except-blocking-Obama GOP (not to mention the science-denying, tabloid-citing, conspiracy-theory-spreading GOP) of the last eight years. I want back the principled GOP that takes sober positions on important issues and offers legitimate solutions to the problems facing the country.

Samir Mehta | October 26, 2016
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Scott Hardie | October 28, 2016
Good points. I have no actual concern over how Trump is treated. I merely found it interesting that while his candidacy is often accused of having little substance or specificity, here he is trying to give a long detailed speech about what exactly he'll do in office, and the media focuses almost exclusively on just one of his sentences that's off-topic.

Saying that media coverage is "rigged" against him is wrong because that's a very loaded word with major implications that I didn't intend. How about I say instead that media coverage is "unserious in a way that disadvantages this candidate, beyond the large degree to which he has already disadvantaged himself by being unserious, and that this kind of unfairness is a tiny danger to our democracy, albeit a lesser danger than the candidate himself." Better? :-)

Samir Mehta | October 28, 2016
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Scott Hardie | November 2, 2016
I'm so very tired of relitigating Clinton's emails in the court of public opinion over and over again. Rather than being tempted not to vote for her because she broke the law or acted carelessly, I'm tempted not to vote for her because I don't want to hear about this for four more years. The emails are either a lapse in judgment or a sign of corruption, and in either case I don't believe they outweigh Trump's mistakes or misdeeds, or other various disqualifications from office. A meme going around from someone commenting in DeadState sums it up:

Clinton emails. Trump admitting sexual assault. Clinton emails. Trump charity fraud. Clinton emails. Trump calls for nuclear proliferation. Clinton emails. Trump calls for national stop and frisk. Clinton emails. Trump violates trade embargo with Cuba. Clinton emails. Trump sued over Trump University fraud. Clinton emails. Trump bribes District Attorney. Clinton emails. Trump doesn't pay taxes for 20 years. Clinton emails. Trump employs campaign manager involved in illegal corruption with Russia. Clinton emails. Trump calls for ban of an entire religion from entering U.S. Clinton emails. Trump lied about support for Iraq War over and over during debate. Clinton emails. Trump in court for rape of a minor. Clinton emails. Trump unaware of Russia's Crimea occupation. Clinton emails. Trump unaware of situation in Syria. Clinton emails. Trump penalized for racist housing discrimination. Clinton emails. Trump files for bankruptcy 6 times. Clinton emails. Trump goes 0-3 in debates by showing scant knowledge of world politics. Clinton emails. Trump slams people for being POWs. Clinton emails. Trump calls Mexicans rapists. Clinton emails. Trump questions judge's integrity because of parent's heritage. Clinton emails. Trump deletes emails involved in casino scandal. Clinton emails. Trump commits insurance fraud after Florida hurricane. Clinton emails. Trump has dozens of assault victims and witnesses come forward with allegations of abuse. Clinton emails. Trump attacks former Miss America for being overweight. Clinton emails. Trump tweets about non-existent sex tapes at 3am. Clinton emails. Trump calls for U.S. citizens to be sent to Gitmo. Clinton emails. Trump calls for more extreme forms of torture to be used. Clinton emails. Trump asks why cant we use our nukes if we have them. Clinton emails. Trump calls for women and children related to suspected terrorists to be bombed. Clinton emails. Trump says women should be punished for having abortions. Clinton emails. Trump makes fun of disabled people. Clinton emails. Trump calls for end to freedom of the press. Clinton emails. Trump calls global warming a Chinese hoax. Clinton emails. Trump praises Putin's strong leadership. Clinton emails. Trump openly admits to not paying his employees during debate. Clinton emails. Trump calls Obama an illegitimate non-citizen hundreds of times over 7 years. Clinton emails. Trump uses campaign donations to enrich his own businesses. Clinton emails. Trump says Ted Cruz involved in JFK assassination unironically citing National Enquirer. Clinton emails. Trump says laziness is an inherent trait in black people. Clinton emails.

Samir Mehta | November 2, 2016
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Samir Mehta | November 2, 2016
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Lori Lancaster | November 2, 2016
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Samir Mehta | November 3, 2016
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Lori Lancaster | November 3, 2016
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